Free search tools for finding research information

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This article reviews some of the free search tools that are available for finding research information on the web. It looks at how Google operates, how you can search Google and the alternatives more effectively, and reviews a selection of specialist tools covering research information. It includes five things you need to know about Google, advanced searching in Google, alternative web search tools, institutional repositories and specialist tools.

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Five things you need to know about Google search

1. Google personalises your results
2. Google automatically looks for variations on your terms and omits terms
3. Google does not search everything
4. Google changes its algorithms several hundred times a year
5. We are all Google's lab rats

Advanced searching in Google

Phrase searching
Think file format
Site search
Numeric range search
Words in the title
Words in the URL
Reading level

Alternative web search tools

Million Short

Institutional repositories

BASE - Bielefeld Academic Search Engine
CORE (COnnecting REpositories)
DART-Europe E-theses Portal
Institutional Repository Search (IRS)
RIAN - Pathways to Irish Research
ROAR - Registry of Open Access Repositories

UK public library access to research (new section)

Specialist tools

BioMed Central
Chemistry Central
Deep Web Technologies
Europe PubMed Central
Google Scholar
Microsoft Academic Search
Open Biology
PhilPapers: Online Research in Philosophy
PubMed Central

Final comments

Links to search tools mentioned in the review


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