Untangling the scientific information web
Jane List (Extract Information Limited, UK)
Professional users of information expect their sources to be reliable, secure, complete and current Microsoft Academic search, Google Scholar, and Elsevier’s scirus all provide access to academic scientific, technical, legal and medical information. All three provide search of academic journal articles, theses, ebooks, abstracts, and conference papers from academic publishers, universities, and professional societies. This paper will review the three search engines by comparing inclusion criteria, ranking methodology, citation analysis, link analysis, visualisation, social media and collaborative tools. Could a professional search service depend on Elsevier, Google or Microsoft to straighten out the tangled web of published academic information? More recently reference management tools have entered the scientific search arena, for instance Mendeley, and Qiqqa. These tools are rapidly growing content of cited articles which users can access through social networking linkages and user added search tags. This paper will conclude by considering the searching opportunities offered by reference management products; could they offer users a real alternative to the ranked results search engine?