August 21, 2008

Science 2.0 Gains Another Search Engine: Q-Sensei From Lalisio

.: Barbara Quint reports in the 21 August 2008 InfoToday about another new search engine that has joined the ranks of other like Scirus and Google Scholar, to be used for searching topics in science and technology. Excerpt from her article:

Another sci-tech search engine has joined others to serve the needs and tastes of scientists. This one comes from a small company whose main service is the Lalisio social network for scientists. While the 2 million-plus article content nowhere near reaches the size and scope of behemoths such as Elsevier’s Scirus or Google Scholar, the Q-Sensei search engine ( has a metadata orientation that offers some interesting search capabilities. It can suggest alternative search strategies and allows searchers to narrow and focus their search results in a manner familiar to traditional searchers. At this point, it only searches open access content from ArXiv and PubMed Central, but parallel services also reach IngentaConnect and a series of book citation sources.

The arXiv database focuses on papers in physics, mathematics, nonlinear science, computer science, quantitative biology, and statistics. PubMed Central, from the National Library of Medicine, archives biomedical and life science journals. Under recent regulations, NIH-funded research must emerge—in time—into open access on PubMed Central. The National Institutes of Health are among the largest funders of medical research worldwide. In handling PubMed Central content, Lalisio uses MeSH thesaurus headings.

In addition to suggesting search strategies and terms, Q-Sensei lets users search within the search suggestions. It structures searches within categories, e.g., author, keyword, publisher, language, and year of publication. Users can remove search suggestions as well as adding them to focus search results. The service analyzes search results into different metadata categories, such as author, keyword, or document type, and displays terms in these categories that appear most often.

January 27, 2007

Specialized Engineering Search Engines from Rich Hoeg

.: Rich Hoeg maintains an fascination and detailed blog called eContent. Rich wrote recently to advise that he has created some specialized engineering search engines using Google Co-op. Rich's search engines index

Among the screencasts Rich has created is the Google Co-op Screencast Tutorial, which provides guidance to those who wish to create their own search engine using Google Co-op.

January 15, 2007

More on Search Engines

.: A couple more interesting articles on search engines, via the Online Education db and Degree Tutor:

  • Librarian's Ultimate Guide to Search Engines - "Librarians were the ultimate search guides before search was re-invented with the web. They are trusted, credible sources for historical information, and pioneers and innovators of taxonomy of information. Librarians witness, search for, find, organize and catalog knowledge.Online research and the power of the web, have made accessing information only fingertips away from all of us, but the taxonomies and standards used for search will impact how people learn online and off for years to come. Below are some of the things librarians understand about search - and things that anyone doing online research can benefit from."
  • The Ultimate Guide to the Invisible Web - "When you use a search engine on the Internet and can't find what you're looking for, what do you do? Maybe you're seeking to learn something, which means you're probably going to keep trying until you find it. Or give up in frustration. Don't give up that easily. There's information out there that is actually not indexed in the big search engines. Such Web pages are part of what's called the Dark, Deep, Hidden or Invisible Web. Those pages that are actually indexed are known by some as the surface Web. Fortunately, the invisible Web is getting easier to search, with tools beyond the standard big three search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

    In the early days of the Web, computing power and storage space was at such a premium that the few search engines that were around often indexed only a tiny fraction of Web pages and not even full pages at that. But eventually space became relatively cheap and engines started indexing pages in full (full text), as well as more pages. Still, engines miss a lot of pages. Here's a guide to those "invisible" pages."

November 7, 2006

Research Beyond Google: 119 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources

.: Jimmy Atkinson of OEDb, the Online Education Database, send me a note about a recent post, "Research Beyond Google: 119 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources". Jimmy writes: "I feel that it is a helpful starting point for anyone -- librarian, professor, or student -- wanting to do accurate research on the Web without relying solely on Google (or the visible Web).", and I would agree. The review covers search engines in these categories: Deep Web Search Engines | Art | Books Online | Business | Consumer | Economic and Job Data | Finance and Investing | General Research | Government Data | International | Law and Politics | Library of Congress | Medical and Health | Science | Transportation. You will find some search engines with which you are familiar, but no doubt discover some new to you as well.

Thanks, Jimmy, for this information.

January 4, 2006

InfoToday Updates

.: The following are from recent InfoToday Newslinks, and may be of interest to you:

  • CSA Acquires Community of Science and Scirus to Index IoP Journals.
  • Wrapping up 2005; Looking Forward by Paula J Hane, where I learned another new word, "swicki":
    Eurekster introduced the swicki, a free search engine designed for personal Web publishers (including bloggers) and small-business Web sites to put on their sites ( It’s a blend between a search engine and a wiki in that it learns from the behavior of a site’s users to deliver tailored search results. There’s also a link on every search results page for swickis that allows you to compare the results side by side with any of the main search engines. It’s designed to show that the swicki results are more targeted.
  • Into The 'Tagosphere', also by Paula J Hane, from the Issue 75/January 2006 Newslink. Excerpt:
    I recently went to check out Yet Another Search Engine that had just launched (I call it the YASE phenomenon). But this one had a new twist and some intriguing language. Here’s what is posted at the site ( “Warning: This isn’t your Dad’s search engine… Wink lets you search across the Tagosphere. If you’re using services like Digg, Furl, Slashdot, or Yahoo! MyWeb, this is your search engine. Find the latest links that people like you think are great. Enjoy!”

    Now, you may just be feeling good that you understand the term “blogosphere,” and here we’re thrown a new term, “tagosphere.” While I’d been following the popular use of Web tags, I was introduced to social tagging firsthand when I helped blog several ITI conferences. Readers were able to easily locate blog posts about the Internet Librarian 2005 event because those of us involved agreed to use “IL05” as the way to identify posts about this conference. Tags seem to work best for close-knit social communities.

June 9, 2005

SLA Session - Future of Search Engines (Google View)

:: I attended a session at SLA in Toronto called The Future of Search Engines. One of the speakers was Cathy Gordon, Director of Business Development for Google. After stating that her opinions were her own, and didn't reflect those of Google, she began with a mini infomercial (standard fare, and expected) about the infamous search engine, noting that users can now search in >100 languages, it is the #1 search engine in 17 of 20 countries (didn't say which 17 countries, or the names of the other 3), and that Google powers 70% of all Internet searches. Google doesn't create its own content, tries to knock down spam results, and does not accept payment for inclusion. Users may submit web pages to Google for indexing, and currently it indexes >8 billion pages, and >12,000 news sources.

She mentioned "Premium Content" (apparently a new or forthcoming feature in which Google will somehow get behind subscription firewalls to for-fee dbs), and noted that book search results from Google Print are not integrated into Google web searches, as the pages from the books are not ranked.

In discussing Google Scholar, she said it was created by an engineer looking for scholarly content. Some dbs and full-text scholarly journals are being indexed, along with theses, dissertations, books, technical reports, and other material. When asked about a source list of what is indexed in Google Scholar, she said she didn't know exactly why this still isn't being offered by Google. GS uses link resolvers to allow for access to articles on an IP-authenticated machine (where the institution subscribes to the publication in which the article is found).

As for the topic of the session itself, Gordon believes that users will continue to demand more control, while the search engine will become more personal and sophisticated but must remain simple to use. The depth, breadth and type of searchable content will continue to expand, and the challenge is to present this variety of information in a coherent and cohesive manner. Geographic and language barriers will continue to decrease, and desktop tethering will be eliminated - i.e., the need to have a desktop computer to search will no longer be the case as searching becomes ubiquitious. To this end, Google offers the option of personalizing your Google homepage, along with My Search History.

She summarized as follows: searching remains a primitive function, users must be at the centre of improvements, the increasing amounts of searchable information will require innovative solutions to manage its complexity, and searching must be accessible at any time, from any location, using any device.

November 25, 2004

Google Scholar - Commentary by Jay Bhatt

:: Jay Bhatt, writing on ELDNET-L, offers the following detailed analysis of Google Scholar. His comments are posted here with his permission, and are well worth the read:

There are (at least eight) areas that the present version of Google Scholar does not cover:
  1. It does not index online electronic books and handbooks such as those from ENGnetBASE, NEUROSCIENCEnetBASE, ENVIROnetBASE, INFOSECURITYnetBASE, MATERIALSnetBASE, and Knovel, etc. It becomes even more important to educate our students especially those working on Freshman and Senior Design Projects, to use electronic books and the books available in print when they need to develop sufficient background in their project areas before using Google Scholar. We want them not to carried away by Google Scholar so much that they ignore other important resources. Especially for design projects, scholarly interature is just a component of their research; not the only component.
  2. Conference papers indexed in Ei Village (Engineering Village) appear to be not yet available in Google Scholar. I did a search for 'Biomaterials', limiting to only conference articles in Engineering Village2. I found 507 articles in Engineering Village. I tried a few in Google Scholar but could not find any.
  3. We may not be able to download citations to Refworks to create your bibliography. Students will need to add them manually if they want to add them in Refworks. This will be time consuming.
  4. Advanced features such as searching within just Abstract rather than Full Text may not be available. Limiting search using advanced features avilable tends to increase relevancy of articles.
  5. Google Scholar does not provide what is being covered, what journals are indexed, what other databases are covered, so just relying on Google Scholar may not be helpful.
  6. Searching online codes (MAD CAD) is not available in Google Scholar. MAD CAD is very heavily used by our Senior Design students. "Subscription based MAD-CAD contains the building codes and knowledge based solutions and guidelines to meet the codes. MAD-CAD provides access to a comprehensive cross-referenced collection of building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire, maintenance codes from BOCA, SBCCI, ICBO, ICC, and NFPA; and state and local codes. This comprehensive set of codes in conjunction with the search engine and organizational tools provide an intelligent and efficient system for architectural, engineering and educational solutions.".
  7. Computer Science/IST - Books24x7, Safari, Lecture Notes in Computer Science - are important not yet available in Google Scholar. As the name implies ('Scholar'), they will not be available in future, too.
  8. One can not browse among different volumes/issues of a particular journal.

Continue reading "Google Scholar - Commentary by Jay Bhatt" »

November 19, 2004

EEVL Announces New Subject Specific Ejournal Search Engines

:: Four new search engines, indexing freely available e-journals published in computing science, engineering, mathematics, and all three subjects together, are now available from EEVL, the "Internet Guide to Engineering, Mathematics and Computing." The four engines are:

A list of the journals indexed is here.

When looking for information of higher quality and utility, users are being offered more options to search the 'net than just Googling. These include EEVL's new search engines, Google Scholar, RedLightGreen, the Yahoo! toolbar with OCLC WorldCat searching capabilities, along with Scirus.

November 18, 2004

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.

November 12, 2004

Librarians Vs Technology

:: In the Nov-Dec 2004 issue of Information Highways, from the e-Content institute, is an interesting article on how librarians need to deal with the belief of so many people that if it isn't on Google, it doesn't exist. The article features comments from Rita Vine, Gary Price and Gwen Harris. Vine notes:"The three of us comment on how librarians can bring added value to the work of amateur researchers who live in a plug-in-the-keyword world." Price adds:

Note: I'm not a big fan of the headline. Librarians need to learn how to exploit available technology to best serve ourselves and our users. We also need to be doing much the same with info technology developers. I don't look at it as an adversarial situation -- one (librarians) versus the other (technology). Maybe our users see it this way (at least today), but here's where improving our marketing skills (both as a group and individually) can come into play and make a difference. Technology/web search, etc., offers our profession plenty of chances to use our teaching skills. It's all about learning to be relevant in the age of 24x7, "everyone is a searcher" technology.

October 13, 2004

All of OCLCs WorldCat Heading Toward the Open Web

:: Some months ago, I wrote about Yahoo! and Google's inclusion of OCLC WorldCat records. In 2003, Barbara Quint wrote of the OCLC test project, where approximately 2 million of the 53 million+ records on OCLC WorldCat were made available via Google. Quint follows up with a report that the pilot project has been a success, and as a result, OCLC will open its entire collection of 53.3 million items for "harvesting" by Google and Yahoo! :

Excited by the "resounding success" of the Open WorldCat pilot program, the management of OCLC, the worlds largest library vendor, has decided to open the entire collection of 53.3 million items connected to 928.6 million library holdings for "harvesting" by Google and Yahoo! Search. A letter from Jay Jordan, president and CEO of OCLC, went out to members on Oct. 8. Currently, the Open WorldCat subset database contains about 2 million records, all items held by 100 or more academic, public, or school libraries, some 12,000 libraries all told. The new upgraded Open WorldCat program will automatically include all OCLC libraries contributing ownership information (holdings) to WorldCat, unless the library asks to have its holdings excluded. In January 2005, Open WorldCat will officially graduate from a pilot program to a permanent "ongoing program"; however, the database will be open for "harvesting" to Google and Yahoo! Search as early as late November 2004.

September 20, 2004

News Items of Interest from Information Today

Amazon Launches Search Site, Inc., a subsidiary of, Inc., has launched to make searching the Internet more effective. The new site builds on a beta test version the company introduced in April 2004 that offered Google searching of the Web combined with searches of Amazon's books and site information from Amazon's subsidiary, Alexa Internet. The official launch of adds several information sources and new search and organizational features. The company says the new site is more of an information management tool.

Continue reading "News Items of Interest from Information Today" »

April 22, 2004

Google vs Science Direct vs Bibliographic Databases vs Laziness

:: Dana forwarded an interesting e-mail recently that noted the following:

Dr. John J. Regazzi, the Managing Director of Market Development at Elsevier gave the keynote address at the NFAIS annual meeting in February. Links to his text and slides are available at

I was astounded to find this tidbit in his text:

"In a survey for this lecture, librarians and scientists were asked to name the top scientific and medical search resources that they use or are aware of. The difference is startling. Librarians named Science Direct, ISI Web of Science, and Medline, while scientists named Google, Yahoo, and PubMed (librarians also named PubMed)."

Here are the numbers for librarians:
ScienceDirect 42%
ISI Web of Science 37%
Medline 31%
PubMed 11%

I'm assuming the numbers add up to more than 100% because multiple responses were possible. There was no mention of how this survey was conducted.

I read this, and felt the same way. I am not aware of any colleagues who were surveyed for Dr Regazzi's presentation, nor am I aware of any who would rank Science Direct as the top search resource in science or medicine (or engineering or agriculture, for that matter).

In the latest Sitelines entry, "Google - Loyalty or Laziness", Rita Vine discusses Chris Sherman's comments about a search engine loyalty survey. She cites Carol Tenopir's article in the 1 April 2004 issue of Library Journal, "Is Google The Competition?", which refers back to Dr Regazzi's report. Vine sides with John Battelle on the loyalty assertion:

I'm not sure I buy the whole search engine loyalty thing. I think folks aren't loyal, they're lazy. As Yoda might say, not until a compelling choice they have, switch will they.

I work closely with dozens of engineering professors and students. Many use Google as a quick reference tool, but beyond that, I'd be hard pressed to find faculty members who would tell me that they regularly use Google as their first choice when researching a topic. As a librarian, I would advise students and faculty to use one or more major bibliographic databases to research a topic first, rather than restrict a search to a full-text e-journal package, such as Science Direct.

April 13, 2004

Google Teams Up With 17 Colleges to Test Searches of Scholarly Materials

:: From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Google, the popular search-engine company, has teamed up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and 16 other universities around the world to provide a way to search the institutions' collections of scholarly papers, according to university officials.

A pilot test of the project is just getting under way. If all goes as planned, the search feature could appear on Google in a few months, said MacKenzie Smith, associate director of technology for MIT's libraries. She said the search would probably be an option on Google's advanced-search page.

(Thanks to Robert Michaelson for posting this to various listservs.)

November 5, 2003

20 Google Secrets

:: From Rita Vine's Sitelines: Tara Calishain, creator of ResearchBuzz, has written a short article called 20 Great Google Secrets. Many of these tips would be of use to us when helping our students search on the web. Like most searchers, most often I type in a word or phrase in quotations, and hope for the best. Some highlights from the article:

  • Using the expression intitle: at the beginning of a search restricts the search to the title of the web page.
  • I wasn't aware that Google could be used as a phonebook. Enter the person's name, city and state. If a result is found, it will appear at the top of the results page. Calishain advises that you can restrict searches to residential listings by prefacing your search with rphonebook:, and bphonebook: for business listings. What's weird is that there is no mention of these two search modifiers on the Google site where "Phonebook" is explained. How does Calishain know these commands exist? Problem for us in Canada: this feature only works for US listings.
  • Need a quick definition of a word or a phrase? Type define: followed by the word or phrase, and Google will search for the meaning of what you typed.
Another interesting feature: Google can restrict a search to a university site.

:: This is the homepage for the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Library. They offer resource guides in areas including engineering and science.

August 18, 2003

Google Update

:: Many of us use Google in library and research skills instruction. A number of good reviews and writeups have appeared on the web recently.

    Greg Notess' 18 August 2003 review of Google includes mention of databases covered, strengths and weaknesses, default operation, Boolean searching, proximity searching, truncation, case sensitivity, field searching, limits, stop words, sorting, display, and documentation. I was surprised to learn that no truncation function exists within Google, nor does Google offer automatic plural searching or stemming.

    Greg also reviews Google's inconsistencies (17 Aug 2003.)

    Tara Calishain lists a number of Google Hacks, tips, tricks and resources which will help you become a better Google searcher.