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Citeseer's strength lie in it's sophisticated citation system. In addition to search for and in documents, it is possible to search only for citations. In addition, the hits for a document-search are ranked according to how often they have been cited. However, I don't understand why a search for the citation "Sketchpad" gives me the the document "Sketchpad - A Man-machine Graphical Communication System" as the best hit (with 124 quotations), while the same document is not listed at all for a document-search. After all, the term "Sketchpad" is mentioned in the document quite a few times. Except for the "best" hit, all other hits also have been cited less often than Sketchpad itself. Personally, I like the option to get the bibtex entry for selected documents.

The ACM Digital Library is a pure archive. The search isn't too helpful if the concrete author, conference, or title is known in advance. However, the database of computer related papers and articles is excellent and extensive. The search and pdfs of all the documents are free when accessed from University IP-addresses, which is a big benefit for us. The documents are also documented in a comprehensive way, including formats for bibtex and endnote. I didn't care for the file-names, though. The format PAGE-AUTHOR is very rarely helpful when looking for a downloaded document (or when trying to find out where this document is from).

Google Scholar is stereotypical for google's success. The search is simple and the hits/results are almost complete. In addition, google doesn't (solely) rely on own work but uses existing databases and archives. When the user doesn't know what exactly S/he is looking for, google scholar is a big help. It can also give new ideas by showing relations between books, papers, authors. Finally, the option to search for documents at the local library is helpful (though not too inovative – as google scholar in general is a nice compilation of existing ideas and tools).

Last modified 2 October 2007 at 8:58 pm by hodie