Microsoft’s Bing seems to have radically expanded its specialist academic journal search engine, since the late summer of 2011. It now claims to index over 1,102,000 publications in the arts and humanities…

… however, I found its search results sparse and all paywalled. Judging from a few test keyword searches, it’s only hooks into the ‘big beast’ services of the likes of Informaworld, Muse, and Oxford Journals. Even a search for something quite wide such as gothic + novel gave me just 38 results, all paywalled. I had nothing for Mongolian + folk + song. I would have expected more, considering it’s indexing the likes of Oxford Journals. So for now it seems there’s not much reason to shun your university access, Google Scholar, or JURN. The page design is also a bit ‘Microsoft clunk’, and it demands Silverlight (Microsoft’s version of Flash)…

But… there are some nice touches. Journals have their own pages, telling you what dates are being used by Microsoft Academic Search. You can limit results by knowledge type (i.e.: only arts and humanities) and there is a Google Scholar -like citation index on the page for each result. Academic authors can seemingly get name authority, by bagging their own name and page. That latter point makes me kind of see where they might be going with it. In time, not just a search-engine — but something based more around individual scholars and their work?

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