Another new beta offering from the guys at the 'plex is Google Scholar, an engine confined to the narrow search space of academic documents.
Google scholar represents more than niche searching, it also allows users to access information that would normally be part of the "invisible web". Danny Sullivan writes: "Google has worked with publishers to gain access to some material that wouldn't ordinarily be accessible to search spiders, because it is locked behind subscription barriers."
However, not all of the information revealed by the search is available through the internet, Sullivan explains. "In some cases, the material is not actually online. Google may know about a paper only through references it has seen on other papers. In these cases, a Library Search and Web Search link will appear next to the paper or book's title."
So why show these results at all? Well, for those doing scholarly work, just being aware that a publication exists can be beneficial; they can then go and hunt the publication down elsewhere (in the offline world).
Amother feature of Google Scholar is citation extraction and analysis, whereby next to each document listed is a "cited by" link, and the overall number of citations. Interestingly, citation analysis -- which has long been a feature of the world of academic information -- is the idea that Google adapted in giving birth to its own PageRank concept.