Google Scholar

Google Scholar. It doesn’t find everything – hardly surprising – but it did find interesting things I didn’t previously know about, on topics where I thought I knew the literature. Count me as impressed, and likely to use it further.

Via Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Dave Bacon.

Update: Well. Having just replied to a referee report, I can say that “Google Scholar” was exceedingly useful. Now it just needs to be linked to’s “look inside a book”, wikipedia, MathWorld, and PlanetMath.

It also appears to be a great way of constructing reading lists: search for your topic of interest, and look to see what comes up first. Eventually, pagerank may be a better measure of impact and utility than citations. Describing potential problems caused by this is left as an exercise for the reader…


  1. I tend to be somewhat more skeptical of wikipedia than most of the other named sources. But the signal to noise is high enough that I often find it useful, particularly for finding keywords I didn’t know were relevant to my topic of interest. And it’s not like there’s not a lot of papers that aren’t wrong, sometimes incredibly badly.

  2. Impressive. Really.

    Just the same week this is announced, I am risking myself to spam (well, pseudo) all the physics community with an automated “cited by” alert. And Now it seems that google could be able to set it up in a couple script lines. Hmm.

  3. It needs some sorting options, such as by number of citations or by date. Useful for working the chain of references back to (or up to) what you need.

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