February 1, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 3)
Strong Points: A lot of information to access
Weak Points: Thoroughness of database in question
ScienceDirect is an information-retrieval and notification service for the scientific community. At ScienceDirect, visitors can search/access over 8.3 million (gulp) articles contained in journals, books, etc. An alerting service is available with free registration. Paid subscribers gain additional functions not available to guest users. These include different alerts, advanced search features, PDF articles, and more. I accessed the site as a guest and was only moderately impressed. The awesome collection of articles and the nicely organized set of disciplines were decided pluses. On the minus side was the fact that a search of my name only pulled up some very obscure peer-reviewed references I had and my most noteworthy one in PNAS wasn’t listed at all. Judging a database is always hard, though, so my results could be a fluke. Interested researchers should check out the guest option for themselves before taking the plunge and spending any dough.