Release notes for 2021


How the system evolved in 2021

Please note: this is an older page, you can find the current set of release notes here

This page lists the important data updates, fixes and new features that we added to Overton over the course of 2021. An easy way to keep up to date is to sign up for our newsletter, which will highlight any major changes to the app or data.

We deploy changes to Overton daily: there isn’t a fixed release cycle and typically new features are released as soon as they are tested and pass QA.

If you’ve got any questions about any of the items below please reach out to support or your account manager and they’ll be happy to help.

Updates in 2021

Week of 6th December 2021

  • You can now filter by “published after” and “publisher before” dates.
  • We changed the way we handle invalid dates in the system. This happens when we’re either unable to find the publication date for a policy document or it looks invalid. Previously these documents were given a placeholder date of Jan 1st 1970 (“0” in Unix time) which was confusing for users, now instead you’ll see “unknown date”. Documents with an unknown publication date still appear in search results but aren’t included in the “published by year” filter or publications by year graph in the report view. Find out more.
  • We fixed a bug in the people mention finding algorithm where it wasn’t finding matches where the first name and last name were separated by a newline
  • Fixed a bug in the people mention finding algorithm to do with last names containing a hyphen

Week of 29th November 2021

  • You can now filter by “added after” and “added before” dates. These work on the date that each policy document was added to Overton (not their publication dates!) and are mainly useful to list all the new documents since a given date or when you want to reproduce a search you’ve run on a specific date previously.

Week of 22nd November 2021

  • Excel exports of search results now include the lines of text that matched any free text search queries. Find out more.

Week of 15th November 2021

  • We’ve started moving away from Microsoft Academic as a source of affiliation data and replacing it with a mix of data from OpenAlex, CrossRef, journal publishers and PubMed.
  • We have started a monthly newsletter which contains recent product updates and user guides. You can sign up here.

Week of 25th October 2021

Week of 18th October 2021

  • You can now search for ISBNs, PubMed IDs and PubMed Central IDs as well as DOIs. The same list can include a mix of different identifier types. Find out more.
  • After pasting in a list of identifiers Overton will give you a quick heads up about how many were matched and how to interpret that number.
  • Administrators can now set some “example searches” that all of the users in their organization see on their start page. Find out more.

Week of 11th October 2021

  • Improved the speed and reliability of full text searching by adding more servers, allowing more complex queries to run quickly.
  • We improved book support by making sure we collect ISBNs for any items we see that also have a DOI.
  • Allowed searching for names in LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME format

Week of 27th September 2021

  • We’ve made it easier to search for links to specific websites in the database in two ways:
    • domains will now match in full text search. You need to search for a full domain name (including the “.com” part…), but any subdomains will be matched automatically e.g. a search for will match, and so on.
    • a new “domain:” field specific search allows you to search any part of linked domains, e.g. domain:gov or domain:senate
  • Added EUR-Lex, legislation and case law from across the EU

Week of 13th September 2021

  • We’ve improved how you control and customise email alerts for your saved searches. After saving a policy document search to your dashboard using the “Export” dropdown menu you’ll see an “Email alerts” button next to it on the dashboard screen. Click on this button to control how often the search results are emailed to you – weekly or monthly. Find out more.

Week of 6th September 2021

  • You can now save topic maps (you can find these in the “Explore” button when looking at policy document searches) to your dashboard as saved searches
  • Fixed duplicate document issues with several policy sources

Week of 9th August 2021

  • Added VIVO connector to pull in customer publication lists and departmental affiliations – this requires some custom work to set-up and maintain, just let us know if you’d like more information

Week of 2nd August 2021

  • Overhauled scraping logic for larger policy sources (especially at the national and state levels), which means that they will be refreshed more frequently

Week of 19th July 2021

  • Drastically improved search speed, especially for queries where fulltext search is not required
  • Improved design & layout of reports when printed, avoiding page breaks in the middle of tables where possible

Week of 12th July 2021

  • We’ve added some brand new off the shelf reporting functionality for both the policy and scholarly article views. It works on any query in those views and you can reach it by using the “See report” button in the toolbar just above the results. Find out more.
  • Simplified layout of the toolbar and search results views. Commands are now grouped into “Export” “Explore” and “See report”

Week of 3rd July 2021

  • We now collect and index MeSH terms, so you can see which articles you’ve authored or funded with a given term and where it has been cited in policy.
  • We’ve also added article types from PubMed, so you can e.g. look at just systematic reviews, or ignore editorials
  • We now show the first line of abstracts in the scholarly articles view where that data is available in PubMed

Week of 28th June 2021

  • Fixed issues with now that they’ve completed their website redesign

Week of 21st June 2021

  • Extensive fixes to congressional data sources, thanks v much to Kellogg researchers

Week of 14th June 2021

  • Drastic improvements to citation contexts, which are now shown on both the policy and scholarly article search views. Overton always shows what text where a citation was identified – typically in bibliography sections – but now also tries to determine where that citation was actually used in the policy document body. Find out more.

Week of 7th June 2021

  • Improved FundRef support. You can search for policy documents citing articles funded by a given FundRef funder, or see the scholarly articles themselves. FundRef coverage is still limited to recent years and a subset of funders but is constantly improving.
Updated on March 9, 2023

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