Windows Live Academic Launches

As part of their overall Windows Live initiative Microsoft has just launched a direct competitor to Google Scholar in Windows Live Academic. It is good to see such a comprehensive offering and strong competition so that we users can hope for a better service.

My initial impression is that the search on Live Academic produces somewhat better results than Google Scholar on the small number of tests I have conducted so far. I now wish Live Academic had been available to me when writing my wiki paper for AusWeb 2006. The Live Academic results just on the wiki keyword are substantially better for example. Perhaps this is not surprising since at launch Live Academic has over 6 million records for Comp Sci, Elec Eng and Physics.

In user experience (new preferred term for user interface) Live Academic introduces some powerful Ajax features. Moving the mouse over a returned result in the list on the left shows the full reference including abstract and DOI on the right. An information zoom slider adds or subtracts details in each result in the list without a page refresh exploiting Ajax to the full. Mind you it is never very difficult to beat Google’s page layout and design which tends to be minimal.

What’s really cool is the ability to generate EndNote import format for each reference with the click of the button. An in-page window opens with the import text ready for copying and pasting directly to EndNote. Also my PhD student Matt will like the same import facility for BibTex as well.

Our librarians will like the support for OpenURL and the ability to link our university catalog into Live Academic. Researchers will like the ability to ‘stay informed of the latest developments in their field or area of study by submitting their academic query to live.com with a single click at the top of the page. When a new article related to that search is posted, they are alerted instantly via an RSS feed.’ This is a feature I will make use of over the next few days and report back on soon.

Isn’t Web 2.0 great!

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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