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Google Scholar Searches Academic Content

Big news from Google - they have just launched a search service called Google Scholar which searches the Web "specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports"

Where available, some sources are labeled by type, such as "book," "citation," "pdf," etc. Book results offer the option of a "Library Search," which helps you locate the book in a local library, or a "Web Search," which returns a list of Web sites mentioning the book.

According to SearchEngineWatch, Google has worked with some publishers to gain access for its spiders to search material that wouldn't ordinarily be accessible without a paid subscription. This reveals content that would normally be "invisible" to web searchers. [For more on the concept of the "invisible Web" see my article in The Wisconsin Lawyer]

Although abstracts should be available at no charge, be prepared to pay, however, when you click on the link to access the full text. BUT BEFORE YOU PAY, try locating the article in one of the subscription databases freely available to you from your library. And remember that Badgerlink, a great database of news & scholarly articles, is available free to all Wisconsinites from the DPI.

Another excellent feature in Google Scholar is citation analysis. On many search results, you will see "Cited by" followed by a number. This links you to other sources indexed by Google Scholar that cite that source. Try the search environmental justice to see an example.

For more on Google Scholar, check out the NY Times, SearchEngineWatch, & ResourceShelf