Google Scholar

I just learned about Google Scholar, a new search engine devoted strictly to so-called scholarly or academic publishing, apparently replacing the html links used for the usual google ranking with citations (i.e., references).

I’m not yet sure this is better than the ArXiv that I mentioned in this post, or subject-specific search engines such as NASA’s Astrophysical Data Sevice (ADS). Of course, google is far broader, but that inevitably makes it harder to find what you’re looking for. It seems to lack any obvious way of sorting or sifting through the results; I want to be able to sort by journal, or by author, or most especially by publication date, see the abstract when it’s freely available, and I would love goodies like the tree of citations between articles (which is what they’re using for ranking anyway, and just the thing that google’s software should be good at). Just as importantly, services like ADS allow you to transform the search results into useful forms for bibliographies and citations, which is fantastic when actually writing.

On the other hand, if I needed to find something outside of my field, in statistics or math (or politics or philosophy), this might be a good start, although that’s just when I need further “reputation” information about the journal and authors (always a dangerous and subjective thing to ask for).

An aside: typical of academic egotism, the first FAQ is ‘How do I find my own articles?’ (And of course, that’s the first thing I tried, too.)

(Thanks to the Thousand-Faced Moon for pointing me to this.)