Alex Wright


June 21, 2004

Scirus is a new specialty search engine for scientific research, that lets users trawl through a few million science-related Web sites (mostly of the .edu variety) along with scholarly journal databases like MEDLINE, ScienceDirect and BioMed.

This is a good example of the growing trend towards vertical search engines, with an interface closely tailored to its audience (scholarly researchers, as opposed to general-purpose Googlers) with nifty features like:

  • Smart parsing - if you search for a common term, e.g. [cell biology], it translates it into a quoted phrase ["cell biology"] to help narrow the result set

  • Controlled vocabularies- maps incoming search terms against some kind of basic subject taxonomy, and lists related subject headings alongside the search results

  • Citation export - lets you select individual entries from the search result list and mail them to yourself (helpful for padding that bibliography)
Worth a look, even for scientifically challenged liberal arts types like myself.


File under: User Experience

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