Google Scholar

by Brian on November 18, 2004

“Kai von Fintel”: links to one of the newest (and coolest) toys in the toolbox.

bq. “Google Scholar”:

It returns academic papers matching a search phrase you look for, ranked by number of citations. Hours and hours of fun to be had!



Russell Arben Fox 11.18.04 at 8:16 pm

Oh man, and I thought Jacob Levy’s announcement that you could do in-text searches of books at Amazon was the limit. But this! I may never leave my office again.


conan the librarian 11.18.04 at 8:33 pm

Have you ever used a citation index, like ISI’s Web of Science? This is just a googlification of that tool, except not as functional and its free. And you can’t even look at the abstracts without logging into the journal database. And of course, your university library probably subscribes to web of science, so you already have access to that for free.


Jim Henley 11.18.04 at 9:15 pm

All together now: The ranking algorithm just means that the citation rich get richer, while the citation-poor get poorer! Make Google_scholar a public utility!


Jacob T. Levy 11.18.04 at 9:29 pm

‘sfunny– I was just reading a paper this morning complaining about the sometimes-apparently-arbitrary decisions SSCI makes about which journals to include and which to exclude, and the skewed effects such exclusions can have. The paper speculates about possible solutions– and never mentions googlifying the whole process. (I hadn’t thought of it either, though I’ve used targeted google searches on citation hunts in the past.) Presumably there are decisions buried somewhere in here as well about what’s in and what’s out; but it does at least create an alternative with which to compare SSCI.

That said, so far I’m not sure google’s improved on SSCI. It’s a little easier to start the search, and the interface is friendlier– but, at least until the links through to the citing papers are activated, I think SSCI is on net superior.


Jacob T. Levy 11.18.04 at 9:34 pm

Never mind what I just said; it was based on only doing author searches. Now I’ve played around for another few minutes and get why this is much cooler than SSCI…


Brian Weatherson 11.18.04 at 9:34 pm

I know ISI Web of Science is available, but frankly it’s a pain to use (try searching for all the papers by someone with a last name like Smith or Jones) and slow. This is convenient and fast – and free. If I’m doing serious research where I really need to know what is covered where, I’ll use ISI. For everyday purposes, I’ll use Google.


chun the unavoidable 11.18.04 at 9:51 pm

It’s, at least in my field, so far from having even a significant sample that I must spit on your technofetishismery.


alkali 11.18.04 at 10:54 pm

Hours and hours of fun to be had!

Erratum: for “fun” read “seething envy interspersed with schadenfreude”


taak 11.19.04 at 12:06 am

Wow, you just made my day.

Love, A person w/o access to an academic library


Omri 11.19.04 at 4:03 am

I’m discovering that scholarly Google whacking is a lot mroe fun than the ordinary variety.


agm 11.19.04 at 9:20 pm

I haven’t used an online index in years, they’re just too clumsy in getting the job done. Google was been superior to any index for my needs for years now (I’ve never needed to go to the library for ISI). And it pulled up papers that the respective journal’s search engines couldn’t find, one of which is 40 years old!


Dennis G. Jerz 11.19.04 at 10:42 pm

I find Google Scholar will be very useful for curious people who are Googling in search of connections, or as a way of seeking inspiration. Students who don’t know how to interpret the results will be attracted by the citation results, frustrated by the dead ends (when Google accumulates PageRank for offline objects that have merely been cited by online sources). Still, I’ve told my students for year now, “Don’t use Google for academic research, because it doesn’t search academic databases.” Now it does… somewhat. I’ve blogged a longer review for anyone who’s interested, but in general anyone who deals with information literacy is going to have to rewrite their Google lecture.

My review:

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