JURN search results seem to have changed a bit recently. Specifically, those that are obtained with the popular intitle: search modifier. It seems Google is now running intitle: against the actual document title, rather than against the text that forms the hyperlink.

For instance, search via JURN for…

intitle:turtles Hawaii “longline fishing” bycatch

… and some of the ’10 blue links’ titles returned will lack the word ‘turtles’ in them. I don’t remember that happening before. Did Google break? It seems not — loading up such links shows that the fulltext does indeed have ‘turtles’ in the article title (the title that heads the actual document).

This means that users of JURN should not overlook intitle: results links that seem to lack their desired keyword or phase.

My guess is that Google Search’s document title identification and extraction is improving, behind the scenes. But that the results server is told not to waste good computational time, and so is free not to plug each and every article title into the results links. Maybe the Googleplex figures that anyone smart enough to use intitle: will pretty soon figure out that all the search results need to be considered when using intitle:, whether or not the desired intitle: keyword appears in a blue link or not.

I also noticed that Google may even be truncating the oh-so-hip preambles that are common on academic article titles in the arts and humanities. For instance, the results link that in 2009 appeared in JURN worded as…

   “Home on the Range: Space, Nation, and Mobility in John Ford’s The …”

… now appears in JURN simply as…

   “Space, Nation, and Mobility in John Ford’s The Searchers”

I haven’t tested this very extensively, but if I’m correct it may be more evidence of Google getting better at article title identification and manipulation, and/or at weighing a long article title against the article’s abstract. Something like…

   SPLIT document title on “:”
   MATCH both sides of “:” against the article abstract
   IF the words that occur before a “:” DO NOT MATCH words in the abstract
   THEN truncate the document title before “:”

The snippet below a JURN results link is also starting to be a citation of sorts, in certain circumstances…


Author surname in capitals, even. Very nice, even if it is taken from the document’s own formatting rather than from some new gee-whizz improvement in Google. Journal editors, and those slapping generic cover pages on repository PDFs, might do well to check out that particular PDF article’s front page and seek to duplicate its simplicity. Since it obviously plays so well with Google.