Chemical Information in Scirus and BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine)

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The author sought to determine to what extent the two search engines, Scirus and BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engines), would be useful to first-year university students as the first point of searching for chemical information. Five topics were searched and the first ten records of each search result were evaluated with regard to the type of document, relevance, and full-text access. Results show that both search engines retrieve some useful information as a starting point for research in chemistry and that BASE is better at excluding commercial web sites. The latter also tends to have a higher number of theses indexed, a fact that would be of interest to upper level or graduate students. Both showed limited results with retrieving chemical information when searching by chemical formula and users need to have at least some familiarity with advanced search features when few or no results are obtained.