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Google Scholar (Beta)

:: In case you haven't heard, Google has released its latest product, Google Scholar:

Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web.

Just as with Google Web Search, Google Scholar orders your search results by how relevant they are to your query, so the most useful references should appear at the top of the page. This relevance ranking takes into account the full text of each article as well as the article's author, the publication in which the article appeared and how often it has been cited in scholarly literature. Google Scholar also automatically analyzes and extracts citations and presents them as separate results, even if the documents they refer to are not online. This means your search results may include citations of older works and seminal articles that appear only in books or other offline publications.

Analysis and response has been swift, from Shirl Kennedy and Gary Price at Resource Shelf, and Danny Sullivan at SearchEngineWatch, and comes only three days after OCLC and Yahoo! announced their free toolbar that allows searches of OCLC WorldCat as well as Yahoo! Search's web search engine.

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