An Alfred Workflow

Short Description

Search papers on INSPIRE or ADS

Last Updated

18 Jun 2017


Mountain Lion
Snow Leopard
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Bundle ID





adsinspire is an Alfred 3 workflow for searching papers on INSPIRE or ADS. It can do the following:

  • Searching all of INSPIRE/ADS from within Alfred.
  • Open the INSPIRE/ADS record page of a paper.
  • Search for more publications of a paper author.
  • Download and open the arXiv PDF of a paper.
  • Open the DOI referral of a paper.
  • Lookup references of a paper.
  • Lookup citations of a paper.
  • Copy the paper's BibTeX to the clipboard.
  • Search locally stored papers

It is forked from ainspire


Download the latest release and open it (from the Finder or from Alfred) to import it in Alfred.

To use ADS in app search, you need to get the API token from ADS, and use ads setting to set API token.


Searching INSPIRE or ADS

You can search INSPIRE or ADS by typing insp {query} or ads {query} in Alfred's main input. insp and ads are the default keywords, which can be changed editing the workflow via Aflred's prefences. For instance,

incomplete query

will search for all papers that match clusters. In order to perform the actual search, you will need to hit enter after typing a search query. Beforing hitting enter, adsinspire will show you list of previous searches that match the current one.

After pressing enter, Alfred will display the INSPIRE search results:

example search

The loading of results may a couple of seconds or more, depending on the current traffic. Each paper in the search results is formatted as follows:

Title of paper
(Eprint or Year) Authors (Journal)

After selecting a paper from the results and pressing enter, a menu for that paper appears:

paper menu

From this menu, it is possible to do further searches (e.g. for more papers of the authors or for citations of the paper), to go various websites (e.g. the record page or the DOI referral page), or to copy the BibTeX of the paper to the clipboard.

If the paper has more than one author, selecting the Find more papers of authors item will display another menu, from which it is possible search for papers from one of the authors.

Selecting the arXiv e-print will download it to a local folder (which can be set in ainspire's settings) and open it.


By only entering the adsinspire keyword (which is insp or ads by default), it is possible to go to adsinspire's settings:

no query

There, the following can be changed:

  • The cache can be cleared, which erased all stored previous searches.
  • The cache timeout (in days) can be adjusted, which affects how long searches are cached.
  • The local directory where PDFs from the arXiv can be set. It defaults to ~/Papers.
  • The API token for ADS searching

Local search

Not only does the local directory contain the PDFs downloaded from the arXiv, it can also be searched for PDFs with the paper keyword:

local search

Besides returning PDFs that match the search query, the local search also offers a fallback search for the same query, in case the locally stored PDFs are not what you're looking for.


adsinspire only loads up to 100 (INSPIRE) 9 (ADS) results per search. Also, when looking up citations or references of a paper, adsinspire only shows those papers that have records in INSPIRE or ADS. Thus citations to websites and such will not be included in the list of citations. Furthermore, the BibTeX that can be copied to the clipboard is not the exact same BibTeX as obtained directly from the websites, but is equivalent to it.

ADS searching is slow, and the rate limit is too easy to be exceeded. A browser search is another solution currently.


adsinspire needs the following Python libraries:

If you check out the source from Git, you need to include these libaries in the adsinspire directory root in order obtain a working Alfred workflow. When you download the workflow from the releases page, this is not necessary.


WTFPL, of course.