Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Web of Science v. Scopus v. Google Scholar

I attended a seminar last November presented by the JIBS user group entitled 'The Battle of the Giants: a comparison of Web of Knowledge, Scopus and Google Scholar'. It was exceptionally interesting and I thought I'd add the link to the powerpoint demonstrations here and in the links section over to the right.

The really important issue here is the comparison between Thomson Scientific's 'Web of Knowledge' and Elsevier's new product 'Scopus'. Those of you interested in Google Scholar as a competitor to either of these products should go straight to the powerpoint by Roger Mills and Louise Clarke of Oxford University as they sum up the pros and cons of Scholar very objectively and succinctly.

Whilst most researchers in the sciences will be familiar with Web of Knowledge and more specifically the Web of Science database, Scopus is a new entry in the field from Elsevier, one of the biggest publishers of scientific material. Linda Humphreys, Science Faculty Librarian here at the University of Bath conducted an excellent comparison between these two databases based on their content, currency, and author, title and citation searching capacities. Why go to all the trouble to compare the two? Because it looks as though Scopus is a worthwhile product, and after 2008 when Scopus finishes it's free trial, there will be some serious budget implications in terms of which product best suits the needs of our University. Analysing which database has the least gaps in coverage, returns the most accurate results on an author seach because there has been consistant indexing of author names, and so on will help inform that decision when the time comes.

Apart from comparing the two, it's interesting to see the directions both databases are heading in. Both Web of Science and Scopus are moving towards including material from open access sources and institutional repositories, and from selected sources on the open web.

The link given above to the powerpoint presentations includes demonstrations from Thomson Scientific and Elsevier. It will be interesting to see how these giants evolve. As usual, if there are any questions or comments, please let me know.

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