Wednesday, April 05, 2006

And they call it puppy love ...

Stephen Abram was due to present the "uneasy relationship" between libraries and Google; instead, Peter stays up on the podium to tell us about "Puppy love versus reality", debunking our infatuation1 with Google Scholar

Peter likes Carole Goble's project, but is less sure about Carole's fondness for Google.

Google Scholar is excellent for undergraduates who need the odd article but not for real scholars -- should be called Google Student!

The reality of Google Scholar is:
  • Secrecy -- about sources, journals, time span, size -- everything
  • Huge gaps in collections crawled -- Google Scholar finds far fewer results than native search engines [I wonder if this is related to how Google displays result statistics; numbers given in Google results do vary and I've heard an explanation for this which I now can't recall ...]
  • Crawling not allowed by e.g. Elsevier
"Information professionals beware of your reputation"

Cited-by numbers are unreliable -- following links shows that the "citing" articles do *not*
cite the "cited" articles. And it displays a number but only shows the first few. Google matches cited/citing references "like a senile neighbour" e.g. confusing zip codes or page numbers for publication years (i.e., it's machine-reading citations using relatively crude algorithms, and results aren't eyeballed for accuracy). Also contains links to e.g. journal subscription rates pages as "scholarly documents". This is a major concern because people use its flawed data (e.g. numbers of results or citations) in analyses and debates; particularly disturbing since there is talk of Google Scholar's citation figures being used for e.g. promotion, tenure and funding decisions.

1 Can an infatuation be debunked, or only a myth?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sweet! I love this! And I want to share this link with you:Find what is love here! send this link to the people you love! Don't be afraid to show you love! Express your feelings!

12:35 pm  

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