June 1, 2005 (Vol. 25, No. 11)


Strong Points: The power of google
Weak Points: The breadth of Google

I long ago gave up attempting to review the many tools that have been around forever and are used by most scientists regularly, such as PubMed, because it’s hard to say something about them that readers don’t already know. New entries are fair game, however, and that is the case with Google Scholar. Google Scholar attempts to do in a very Google kind of way what PubMed does while adding a little hook to it. The results are a bit of a mixed bag. On the Plus side, the Googlishness of the site provides users users broader access than they get out of PubMed. I could, for example, retrieve a textbook that I published out of Google Scholar that is invisible on PubMed. On the other hand, PubMed had references that Google either didn’t know or didn’t place near the top of the rankings (this IS Google, after all). Bottom line–Google Scholar is a site whose primary virtue seems to be as a complement to PubMed, not a replacement.