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Google Adds Search Site for Scholars

Google today launched a site dedicated to results that it says will help scientists and other academics get up-to-date research that might not be available at libraries. Searches on scholar.google.com target academic, scientific and technical publications.

The company worked with some scholarly publications to unlock content that is normally hidden from spiders by subscription barriers. Searchers will be able to see what content is available, but would have to subscribe to the site to gain access to the whole article.

The company said that although it will not initially have advertising on its pages, they will probably be added.

A Plus for Google

Jupiter Media analyst Gary Stein said the new engine is a good move for Google.

“Search engines are increasingly consumer in nature,” Stein told TechNewsWorld. “Results that are inherently non-commercial are getting harder and harder to find among standard searches. As such, there is a growing opportunity for search engines that specifically focus on a particular vertical. Academic information is one, but you can also imagine one for engineers, say, or architects.”

He added that he believes the demand from advertisers would be strong.

“Companies are hungry to find ways to target people. You can imagine a site like biocompare.com seeing this as a great opportunity, since it will give them an a great targeting opportunity,” Stein said.

Tool for Laziness?

But at traffick.com, a news site about search engines, Andrew Goodman worried that the site would just create another means to sloppy research.

“Students, take note: the stuff you pull up on Google Scholar will be a fairly random, incomplete selection of materials, including many abstracts,” Goodman wrote in a blog entry. “The best way to write your paper is still to identify the key readings you need to consult to put together a coherent argument, and plop your butt down in the library and actually read through them.”

The site will also send researchers to the library with instructions on how to find materials that are not online, so perhaps Goodman’s worries won’t be realized. There are also many places where current hard copy research is not available in libraries.

With search engine competition being so tight, it is likely Yahoo or another company will add to its capabilities as well.

“The search space is a real neck-and-neck race right now, so there will probably be some sort of move in this direction. But I don’t know that there would be a focus on academic works,” Stein said.

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