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Title: ETDEWEB versus the World-Wide-Web: a specific database/web comparison

A study was performed comparing user search results from the specialized scientific database on energy-related information, ETDEWEB, with search results from the internet search engines Google and Google Scholar. The primary objective of the study was to determine if ETDEWEB (the Energy Technology Data Exchange – World Energy Base) continues to bring the user search results that are not being found by Google and Google Scholar. As a multilateral information exchange initiative, ETDE’s member countries and partners contribute cost- and task-sharing resources to build the largest database of energy-related information in the world. As of early 2010, the ETDEWEB database has 4.3 million citations to world-wide energy literature. One of ETDEWEB’s strengths is its focused scientific content and direct access to full text for its grey literature (over 300,000 documents in PDF available for viewing from the ETDE site and over a million additional links to where the documents can be found at research organizations and major publishers globally). Google and Google Scholar are well-known for the wide breadth of the information they search, with Google bringing in news, factual and opinion-related information, and Google Scholar also emphasizing scientific content across many disciplines. The analysis compared the results of 15more » energy-related queries performed on all three systems using identical words/phrases. A variety of subjects was chosen, although the topics were mostly in renewable energy areas due to broad international interest. Over 40,000 search result records from the three sources were evaluated. The study concluded that ETDEWEB is a significant resource to energy experts for discovering relevant energy information. For the 15 topics in this study, ETDEWEB was shown to bring the user unique results not shown by Google or Google Scholar 86.7% of the time. Much was learned from the study beyond just metric comparisons. Observations about the strengths of each system and factors impacting the search results are also shared along with background information and summary tables of the results. If a user knows a very specific title of a document, all three systems are helpful in finding the user a source for the document. But if the user is looking to discover relevant documents on a specific topic, each of the three systems will bring back a considerable volume of data, but quite different in focus. Google is certainly a highly-used and valuable tool to find significant ‘non-specialist’ information, and Google Scholar does help the user focus on scientific disciplines. But if a user’s interest is scientific and energy-specific, ETDEWEB continues to hold a strong position in the energy research, technology and development (RTD) information field and adds considerable value in knowledge discovery. (auth)« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
TRN: US201014%%747
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDE Operating Agent), USDOE/OSTI (Office of Scientific and Technical Information), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Energy Technology Data Exchange (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States