Monday, December 08, 2008

New Evaluation of Google Scholar

Peter Jacso of the University of Hawaii has recently published SAVVY SEARCHING - Google Scholar revisited in the Online Information Review, Vol 32, Issue 1 (2008) - reprinted on his own website.

Google Scholar is a "federated search engine" that searches across multiple databases offering scholarly content. Access to the full-text depends on a particular institution's subscriptions but it is a useful finding tool.

Jacso analyzes the pros and cons of the popular tool:

"Its content has grown significantly - courtesy of more academic publishers and database hosts opening their digital vaults to allow the crawlers of Google Scholar to collect data from and index the full-text of millions of articles from academic journal collections and scholarly repositories of preprints and reprints. The Google Books project also has given a massive and valuable boost to the already rich and diverse content of Google Scholar. The dark side of the growth is that significant gaps remained for top ranking journals and serials, and the number of duplicate, triplicate and quadruplicate records for the same source documents (which Google Scholar cannot detect reliably) has increased."

"While the regular Google service does an impressive job with mostly unstructured web pages, the software of Google Scholar keeps doing a very poor job with the highly structured and tagged scholarly documents. It still has serious deficiencies with basic search operations, does not have any sort options (beyond the questionable relevance ranking). It recklessly offers filtering features by data elements, which are present only in a very small fraction of the records (such as broad subject categories) and/or are often absent and incorrect in Google Scholar even if they are present correctly in the source items."

Earlier Library Boy posts about Google Scholar and other federated search tools include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:36 pm


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