John J. Meier and Thomas W. Conkling have a great new article out in the May 2008 issue of the Journal of Academic Librarianship (v.34: no.3, pp.196-201). In “Google Scholar’s Coverage of the Engineering Literature: An Empirical Study”, they compare retrievals in both GS and Compendex for eight searches in various areas of engineering. GS compares favorably well to Compendex, particularly in recent decades. GS is also very good in searching areas such as aeronautical and nuclear engineering in previous decades.
Two important points from this article: GS is much better at indexing the technical report literature than Compendex. Meier and Conkling emphasize that many of the records in GS (as I’m sure most of you are aware) are fragmentary or “information thin” as they put it. This can be a serious shortcoming in terms of finding an abstract or tracking down the original article – unless you happen to be a librarian, of course.
The proxied link to access this article via Waldo Library is as follows (you will be prompted for your BroncoNet ID if you are off-campus):
Post idea courtesy of John Dupuis’ “Confessions of a Science Librarian“ – hope I get a chance to meet him at next week’s ASEE Conference in Pittsburgh.