Thursday, May 11, 2006

Competing free 'scholarly search' engines

A competitor to Google Scholar has arrived on the scene with the beta version of Microsoft Scholar which has a few million articles in computer science, electrical engineering and physics with some economics material.

A blogsite by a librarian, Dean Guistini reviews the alternatives here. While similar in broad approach, MS has a split pane - allowing your mouse to hover over a selection on the left hand list of references gives more information about that entry in the right pane which is useful.

GS has far richer search capabilities in the economics area. I searched a few items as a trial and, for example, ‘public goods’ got 494,000 responses using GS and 8,490 using MS. But MS is rumoured to be planning to index all Elsevier journals which might change things.

Competition between ‘open access’ software is hotting up and teachers and researchers will be winners from this. Along with free or low cost provision of research information online this helps to resolve increasing costs of published scientific journals. The role of librarians such as Paul Haschak in this activity is noteworthy. Open Access News reviews material in this area.

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