Search for names in Overton

Tips for searching for people by name

The author name data we get in Overton ultimately comes from publishers and is a mix of full first names, initials and middle initials.

To get the complete picture for an author you’ll want to try and find all of their name variants.

To make this easy Overton tries to intelligently match name variants for the queries you give it on the Search People tab.

To get more matches replace the firstname in your search with the first initial.

Here’s what happens behind the scenes when you search for a name:

Step 1: Query clean-up

If there’s a comma after the first word we assume that’s the last name, and the rest is the first name. We’ll rewrite your query to be in Firstname Lastname format e.g.

Smith, Alice G

will be changed to:

Alice G Smith 

Step 2: The actual query

If it’s one word we search for it inside any name parts e.g.


will match

Alice Smith

Mr Smithers

Robert Smith

… If the first word is one letter long we treat it as an first initial e.g.

A Smith

will match

A Smith

Alice Smith

Arthur Smith

Alice B Smith

… If it’s two words (and the first isn’t a nobiliary particle – e.g. the Von in “Von Bismarck”) then we’ll also match anything in between them e.g.

Alice Smith

will match

Alice Smith

Alice B Smith

Searching using DOIs

If you are searching for one specific author and have a reliable, up to date list of their scholarly publications, you can search the list of DOIs from their publications in our ‘Scholarly
Articles’ search tab.

Then use the ‘Explore’ option to see the Policy Documents citing that authors’ scholarly work.

Updated on February 9, 2024

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