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I am trying to search on MathSciNet for articles which contains $C^*$ in their title (as in $C^*$-algebras) however I can't figure out how to get MathSciNet not to interpret the '*' as a stand in for an arbitrary sequence of characters.

(I am moving this question from MathStackExchange as no one there seemed to have an answer.)

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    $\begingroup$ Barr apparently deliberately called his book "*-autonomous categories" to toy with librarians. Modern technology still hasn't caught up! $\endgroup$ – Chris Heunen May 21 '15 at 22:01
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    $\begingroup$ The close voters come to bury $C^*$, not to praise it. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson May 21 '15 at 22:39
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    $\begingroup$ Did you write to the support-mail address of MathSciNet? Assuming you did not: I think it is in the long run harmful not to ask such things at the proper place. $\endgroup$ – user9072 May 22 '15 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is something one should ask on the support email of MathSciNet. $\endgroup$ – user9072 May 23 '15 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ This is clearly a question of interest to research mathematicians (indeed uniquely to research mathematicians). $\endgroup$ – Tom Church May 24 '15 at 4:32
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There seem to be some deficiencies in that search interface. They don't use safe HTML encoding to sanitize the input. Try the following "Title":

<script type="math/tex">Something's wrong...

and you get some kind of crash.

It would be nice to have an escape character like \ so that you could write \* to get a *, but I guess in light of the above it's not surprising that there's not.

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    $\begingroup$ Would it really be so hard to allow some kind of TeX encoding for searching for formulas or math notation? $\endgroup$ – Manfred Weis May 24 '15 at 19:25
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    $\begingroup$ I'm tempted to start a search for little Bobby tables ( xkcd.com/327 ) $\endgroup$ – Johannes Hahn May 27 '15 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ @JohannesHahn yes well so far the server is still serving a page, just an incomplete one $\endgroup$ – Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen May 27 '15 at 22:05
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I have emailed technical support at MathSciNet. Unfortunately they do not know how to search for a string containing a *, as * is interpreted as a wild card. However, if you know the word before and after the * then you can use the proximity search tool adjN which is a stand in for at most N-1 words.

For example, searching for "C adj2 algebra" will find "$C^*$-algebra", as well as "l.m.c. algebras".

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  • $\begingroup$ technically '\*' should work, no? $\endgroup$ – 1.. May 26 '15 at 19:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Turbo: No as '\' does not act as an escape character and '\*' returns a parsing error. $\endgroup$ – Nate Ackerman May 26 '15 at 20:08
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MR often encodes the star with \ast. Searching for that in the title gives 4618 hits, not all of which have to do $\mathrm C^\ast$-algebras; searching for C adj2 \ast or C adj6 \ast still gives 1943 (resp. 1973), almost all of which seem relevant.

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