Digital Culture

Microsoft Academic Live Search

Today, Microsoft launched their answer to Google Scholar: Microsoft Academic Live Search. It’s an interesting product, but clearly young. Google Scholar is much larger (Academic Live currently only indexes a few scientific sources), and seems to have more integration with libraries. But the interface for Academic Live is much better, from a librarian’s point of view. Here’s a quick roundup of the important differences:

  • Academic Live allows sorting of results…Google Scholar only sorts by relevance
  • Academic Live has a much better interface, and allows customization of what you see…Google Scholar does not
  • Academic Live has built in support for citation managers like EndNote…Google Scholar doesn’t
  • Academic Live does a very poor job of letting you know if a paper is available freely, or via library subscription…Google Scholar is far ahead in this area

In all, it’s nice to see some competition, even if it is from the evil empire. Librarians will definitely have to keep an eye on this, and see how we can integrate it into our search strategies. Things I’d like to see:

  • RSS feeds for common searches…Google does it for News, why not Scholar?
  • Live Bibliography: using GreaseMonkey or some other client side script, enable an automatic search of information in a bibliography of a paper…being able to look at a bibliography, and link out of it to another Google Scholar search would be amazing

Last thought: in the FAQ, Microsoft Academic Live suggests that if a library is interested in getting their OpenURL resolver attached to Academic Live, they contact their link resolver company. This strikes me as a completely unrealistic expectation. We’re supposed to drop our provider a line, and then expect them to provide Microsoft with our IP range? Seems easier to do it the Google way, and have each school contact Google if they want listing.

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