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Microsoft Launches Academic Search Tool

Microsoft this week took another shot at nemesis Google as it released the first beta test copy of its own academic search system.

The beta of Windows Live Academic Search service debuted in seven countries, according to a Microsoft statement.

Windows Live Academic Search is designed to help students, researchers and university faculty conduct research "across a spectrum of academic journals," according to Microsoft's announcement. The program is a cooperative effort between Microsoft, industry association CrossRef and more than 10 leading publishers.

In the area of scholarly research systems, Microsoft is a late comer. Google's academic search tool, Google Scholar, launched in November 2004.

The first beta's focus is on computer science, electrical engineering and physics publications, and offers peer-reviewed content from societies such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). It also provides content from publishers Elsevier and John Wiley & Sons.

One element meant to make Microsoft's offering stand out is Live Academic Search's user interface, which features a preview pane that lets readers view abstracts of results by hovering the mouse over them. Results can also be grouped and sorted by author, journal, conference and date.

The beta of Windows Live Academic Search is available at http://academic.live.com. There are English language versions in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and Australia. Additional markets and content will be added throughout the beta period, Microsoft said.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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