You know when you have been using something for a while, and you think that everybody else has heard of it too – and then you find out it’s not as widely known as you think? eg because I use it all the time, I’d assumed that everybody knows that "Windows Key + E" launches Windows Explorer.
Well, here’s another thing I’ve known about for ages, and assumed other people did too:
Microsoft Academic Search
Microsoft Academic Search is a free service developed by Microsoft Research to help academics and researchers quickly and easily find academic content, researchers, institutions, and activities. Microsoft Academic Search indexes not only millions of academic papers, it also surfaces key relationships between and among subjects, content, and authors in a manner that highlights the critical links that help define scientific research. It makes it easy for you to direct your search experience in interesting and heretofore hidden directions with its suite of unique features and visualisations. The difference to a normal search engine like Bing or Google, is that the scope is limited to scholarly materials only – making the results much more relevant. But despite the limited scope, it still indexes over 35 million publications, from 19 million authors!
It’s really useful for searching – but it’s the visualisations that make it come alive. Like the ability to navigate geographically through organisations and authors, or graph authors and co-authors, or quickly search for conference ‘call for papers’
Visualisation in Academic Search
The range of visualisations that are available are:
|Academic Map||Navigate geographically through organizations and authors in a specified domain|
|CFP Calendar||Search for conferences you may be interested in by domain, time and location|
|Domain Trend||Visualize the research trends in computer science through an interactive stacked area chart|
|Organization Comparison||Juxtapose two organizations and compare their citation counts, keywords, top authors and more|
|Co-author Graph||Display which researchers have the most collaboration with a particular author|
|Co-author Path||Display how two researchers are connected via their co-authors|
|Genealogy Graph||Display the advisor and advisee relationships of a particular researcher|
|Paper Citation Graph||Discover which publications have cited a particular publication|
And finally, there’s a Windows Phone Client for Academic Search, that allows you to search by author, title, keyword etc.
This isn’t only useful for researchers and academics, because if you’re a teacher in a school, you can quickly use this to check out current research on a specific topic. For example, a quick search can reveal the latest research papers published on "Interactive Whiteboards" (233 papers) or academic research papers published on "Bring Your Own Device" (1 paper, published in 2004!)