Of Google and scholarly search

March 11, 2012 11:02 pm | Updated November 22, 2021 06:55 pm IST

Google is a verb. That's old news, but that's the problem too, at least if you are a researcher, or if you are looking for material for a college project.

Google throws up millions of results and what you want may be in the 76th page, and it is doubtful if you will even cross the first ten pages.

The receiving end of this is scientists and researchers. A researcher says, “Forget about ten pages. How often we go to the second page? Almost never. What will we do? If we don't find a ‘good' result, we will rather alter the search query. Because filtering mechanism, leave the performance part now, is not available with generic search engines. If you decide to provide a filter for your search results, you have to decide upon the filter.”

>Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research.”

Google's another service (in the process of being shut down) is >Knol . Google has asked Knol users to migrate to >Annotum . Knol or Annotum are not exactly search engines, but a platform for ‘authoring scholarly articles'. In other words, they are blog platforms that contain not rantings or personal opinion, but much more serious articles, that may even include research findings.

But Knol (till it is shut down) or Annotum are not search engines like Scholar. And Scholar may not still be the ideal search engine for finding research papers. Fortunately, there are search engines that cater to researchers.

There are other tools that help one to either get a more meaningful search or give access to research articles. Some are free and some need subscription.

Search engines such as >Hakia , >Kngine , >Sensebot or >DuckDuckGo are not exactly research search engines, but are different from Google because they use semantic search technology. Of the above, >Sensebot provides a summarised page containing the search results that helps us find “sense in a heap of Web pages”.

Of the semantic search engines, >Deepdyve is a full-fledged research engine where your usual vanity search or “Aishwarya's latest film” won't work, but you can be rest assured you will get rich results if you search for “artificial intelligence”.

Thomson Reuters has several products of help to researchers. Its >Web of Knowledge is a “research platform for information in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities”. ResearcherID is where researchers can search for other researchers and connect.

>SciVerse ScienceDirect claims access to more than 10 million journal articles and book chapters in its scientific database. Another tool of SciVerce, >Scopus , has “the world's largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and quality web sources” and offers sophisticated tools to track, analyse and visualise research.

One area that has gained importance over the last few years is patents. The perpetual war among Apple, Google and Microsoft has generated a lot of curiosity about patents. A researcher trying to patent his product will not find much help from Google, but there are search engines specifically for patents he can tap.

On the top is Thomson Reuters's >Micropat.com that is a great source for patent and trademark information. The product's name is MicroPatent and offers “online searching, document delivery, patent analysis, file histories, or professional search assistance”.

Another engine for searching patents is >SumoBrain . It also “offers cross-collection searching, portfolios, alerts, and other collaboration tools, as well as bulk PDF downloading.”

>Relecura , too, offers patent search, but is different. Patent analysts have to “just upload the document to Relecura and Relecura identifies important key-phrases and concepts in the uploaded document. Relecura retrieves relevant documents from patent databases with key-phrases and identifies concepts for each of those documents,” just saving a lot of hassles. It also makes a long and cumbersome process extremely easy.

Relecura is from a company called Indus TechInnovations, and as the name suggests, it is an Indian start-up company based in Bangalore.

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