One of my pet annoyances is searching on a journal website for an article that I know exists, but not being able to find it. Let's take a real-life example...
I met Douglas Hawkins at the ACS and wanted to look up his papers in JCIM/JCICS. I've bookmarked the JCIM TOC page, so I go there. At the top is a handy little shortcut for finding papers by a particular author. So I type in "Hawkins" next to the Author drop-down box, and click "Search"...
10 documents. Of which half are Douglas Hawkins (the right guy), and the other half are Donald Hawkins (the wrong guy). In addition, both JCIM and JCICS were searched. Great. This is where I should have stopped. Instead I decided I only wanted to find those papers by Douglas Hawkins. The following are my attempts to find his papers:
Hawkins, D. M.: 7 article. All false positives.
Hawkins D M: ditto
"Hawkins, D. M.": 0 documents
D M Hawkins: It's my favourite 7 articles again.
D Hawkins: 24 articles. No articles by D. M. Hawkins included.
But how can I have found 24 articles for the last search? That's more than I found with just "Hawkins". Wait a second, I've been moved onto the "Advanced Article Search" page, which is searching all of the journals. So what did it find instead? It found "...Mass, J. D.; Hawkins, A. R.;". Pretty advanced searching, eh?
Thankfully, I happen to know that unlike most chemistry journals, the ACS has contributed data to PubMed. So off I go, and try:
Hawkins, D. M.: first hit contains "M. M. Hawkins"
DM Hawkins: first hit contains "Hawkins EC"
Hawkins DM: jackpot!
Now I just want those papers where Basak is a co-author:
Hawkings DM Basak: jackpot!
Incidentally, this is the first time that Pubmed has ever worked for me. This is because I always try "DM Hawkins Basak" which gives no hits (even after reading the instructions I was never able to find anything). As for how to limit the results to a particular journal? Why isn't there a drop-down box with a list of journals? Why do I have to read the instructions for the obscure syntax used by PubMed every time I want to find a paper?
What about Google scholar? "DM Hawkins" or "D. M. Hawkins" gives 1700 hits, of which the first page at least are true positives. Advanced Search allows me to specify the journal, and I get 1 hit with "J Chem Inf Comput Sci", a different hit for "J Chem Inf Comp Sci" (of which there are 5 versions, one of which has "Comput Sci" instead of "Comp Sci") and 1 for "J Chem Inf Model". In fact, Hawkins has 3 papers in JCICS and 2 in JCIM. You look good Google, but you're not trying very hard.
Searching by author should be easy. It's not quantum mechanics. It's not even rocket science. Can't they make it work better?