sos: Searching Help Pages of R Packages


The sos package provides a means to quickly and flexibly search the help pages of contributed packages, finding functions and datasets in seconds or minutes that could not be found in hours or days by any other means we know. Its findFn function accesses Jonathan Baron's R Site Search database and returns the matches in a data frame of class "findFn", which can be further manipulated by other sos functions to produce, for example, an Excel file that starts with a summary sheet that makes it relatively easy to prioritize alternative packages for further study. As such, it provides a very powerful way to do a literature search for functions and packages relevant to a particular topic of interest and could become virtually mandatory for authors of new packages or papers in publications such as The R Journal and the Journal of Statistical Software.