Sarah A.V. Kirby recently polled the ELDNET-L list for some names of good free abstract search engines. She has kindly allowed me to post her summary of the results. Thanks, Sarah!
Here is our list of free resources that contain searchable abstracts for multiple science/technology/engineering journals, magazines, and governmental publications. The abstracts have to be free, but the articles do not. Site registration is o.k., so long as it is free.
US GOVERNMENT (OR GOVERNMENT-SPONSORED) PUBLICATIONS
DOD STINET - http://stinet.dtic.mil/ - Helps the DoD community access pertinent scientific and technical information to meet mission needs effectively.
GPOAccess - http://www.gpoaccess.gov/ - Congressional documents, executive agency announcements (i.e. Federal Register), some government publications (via the Bookstore), locator for federal repositories, and much more.
NASA STI - http://www.sti.nasa.gov/ - Providea desktop access to the STI (scientific and technical information) produced by NASA and the world's aerospace community.
National Technical Information Service - http://www.ntis.gov/ - Serves our nation as the largest central resource for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information available today. Here you will find information on more than 600,000 information products covering over 350 subject areas from over 200 federal agencies. Free version of the catalog begins with items published since 1990. You can call customer support to have the database searched back to its beginning (items cataloged in 1964, could be published earlier). http://grc.ntis.gov/ offers subscriptions for a day or a year to search the entire database yourself. EBSCO, Engineering Village 2, and other large database providers frequently have the entire NTIS database as an option.
NIOSH TIC-2 - http://www2.cdc.gov/nioshtic-2/Nioshtic2.htm - NIOSHTIC-2 is a bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and other communication products supported in whole or in part by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
OSTI E-Prints - http://www.osti.gov/eprints/ - The E-print Network is a set of powerful tools that facilitate access to and use of scientific and technical e-prints communicating the results of a wide range of research activities of interest to the Department of Energy. These e-prints reside on thousands of Web sites and data bases, both large and small, at remote locations worldwide, employing a wide variety of technologies, architectures, platforms, formats, software, and search engines to manage and retrieve data.
Agency library OPACs - Many of the agency libraries have Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs) that include many of their agency's scientific and technical reports, or reports produced for their agency.
GENERAL PUBLICATIONS (MULTIPLE DISICPLINES)
EEVL Ejournal Search - http://www.eevl.ac.uk/eese/eese-eevl.html - Search the content of over 250 freely available full-text ejournals, selected for relevance and quality. Academic journals, professional and trade publications, and Society journals are covered.
Coming in May - EEVL Xtra is a subject-based deep-mining meta-search tool which gives access to material which is largely hidden to normal search engines.
FindArticles - http://www.findarticles.com/ - Not as good as it used to be, but worth a look in computing, automotive, and some biology/botany.
Google Scholar - http://scholar.google.com/ - Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research.
HowStuffWorks - http://www.howstuffworks.com/index.htm - HowStuffWorks is widely recognized as the leading source for clear, reliable explanations of how everything around us actually works. Great site for normal English explanations of things, but beware of annoying pop-ups.
some publisher websites
INFOMINE - http://infomine.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/search?category=ejournal - INFOMINE is a virtual library of Internet resources relevant to faculty, students, and research staff at the university level. It contains useful Internet resources such as databases, electronic journals, electronic books, bulletin boards, mailing lists, online library card catalogs, articles, directories of researchers, and many other types of information. INFOMINE is librarian built. Librarians from the University of California, Wake Forest University, California State University, the University of Detroit - Mercy, and other universities and colleges have contributed to building INFOMINE.
IngentaConnect - http://www.ingentaconnect.com/ - IngentaConnect offers one of the most comprehensive collections of academic and professional research articles online - some 17 million articles from 28,000 publications, including 6,100 online.
Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations - http://www.ndltd.org/browse.en.html - Several databases of theses and dissertations that can be freely searched. Access to documents requires a subscription and/or purchasing links are provided.
OAIster - http://www.oaister.org/o/oaister/ - Our goal is to create a collection of freely available, previously difficult-to-access, academically-oriented digital resources (what are digital resources?) that are easily searchable by anyone.
Scitation - http://scitation.aip.org/ - Scitation is the online home of more than 100 journals from AIP, APS, ASCE, ASME, SPIE, and a host of other prestigious science and engineering societies.
Sirus - http://www.scirus.com/srsapp/ - Scirus is the most comprehensive science-specific search engine on the Internet. Driven by the latest FAST search engine technology (owned by Yahoo!), Scirus returns results from the whole Web, including access-controlled sites that other search engines don't index. Scirus currently covers over 167 million science-related Web pages, including: 58.5 million .edu sites, 18 million .org sites, 6.8 million .ac.uk sites, 18.6 million .com sites, 5 million .gov sites, Over 45 million other relevant STM and University sites from around the world. In addition to Web pages, Scirus indexes the following special sources: 14.6 million MEDLINE citations, 5.5 million ScienceDirect full-text articles, 1.2 million patents from the USPTO, 261,000 e-prints on ArXiv.org, 5,352 BioMed Central full-text articles, 10,600 NASA technical reports, 14,878 full text articles from Project Euclid, 56,000 full-text articles on Crystallography Journals Online, 230,0!
00 full-text journal articles on Scitation.
DIRECTORIES, SEARCH ENGINES, OR WEB SITES WHICH MAY CONTAIN FINDING AIDS OR LINKS TO MAJOR REPOSITORIES OF STI INFO
ALA's Machine Assisted Reference Section's (MARS) Best Free Reference Websites - http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaourassoc/rusasections/mars/marspubs/publications.htm - A list of librarian-evaluated websites on all sorts of topics.
Article "Science and Technology Sources on the Internet There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch: Freely Accessible Databases for the Public," Sandy Lewis, Iss Sci Tech Librarianship (29) Win 2001. - http://www.library.ucsb.edu/istl/01-winter/internet.html
EEVL - http://www.eevl.ac.uk/ - EEVL is the Internet Guide to Engineering, Mathematics and Computing. EEVL's mission is to provide access to quality networked engineering, mathematics and computing resources.
Internet Public Library - http://www.ipl.org/ - a public service organization and learning/teaching environment at the University of Michigan School of Information.
Librarian's Index to the Internet - http://lii.org/ - The mission of Librarians' Index to the Internet is to provide a well-organized point of access for reliable, trustworthy, librarian-selected Internet resources, serving California, the nation, and the world.
Memorial University of Newfoundland Database List - http://www.library.mun.ca/eindex/index_nets.asp - You can search by subject or you can check the full alphabetic list. Free indexes all include the phrase "Internet access unrestricted" in the description.
Pinake - http://www.hw.ac.uk/libWWW/irn/pinakes/pinakes.html - A directory of subject directories, including EEVL.
Research and Documentation Online - http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/index.html - An extensive annotated list of specialized sources for more than 25 disciplines. The resources are organized by type -- databases and indexes, Web sites, and reference texts
Resource Discovery Network - http://www.rdn.ac.uk/ - The RDN selects, catalogues and delivers high-quality Internet resources for further and higher education: the best of the Web.
Science.gov - http://www.science.gov/ - Each agency selects its best science information for science.gov. Two major types of information are included -- selected authoritative science Web sites and often hard-to-access scientific databases (specific content varies by database). This gateway to government science information allows searches across 30 databases and more than 1,700 science Web sites.
SciTechResources.gov - http://www.SciTechResources.gov - The government catalog that provides the scientist, engineer, and technologist with easy, one-stop access to key U.S. Government web resources. Thousands of web sites are being reviewed to select just those sites that will provide valuable links to government expertise, services, laboratories, information centers, and other important resources.
University of Michigan Documents Center - http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/ - A central reference and referral point for government information, whether local, state, federal, foreign or international.
University of Missouri-Rolla STI List - http://campus.umr.edu/library/gov/sti.html
WWW Virtual Library - http://vlib.org/ - The WWW Virtual Library (VL) is the oldest catalog of the Web, started by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of html and the Web itself, in 1991 at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. Unlike commercial catalogs, it is run by a loose confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key links for particular areas in which they are expert; even though it isn't the biggest index of the Web, the VL pages are widely recognised as being amongst the highest-quality guides to particular sections of the Web.
and the usual suspects (Google, MSN, Yahoo!, DMOZ/ODP, etc.),
SITES THAT FOCUS ON ONE OR A FEW RELATED DISCIPLINES AND ARE NOT MENTIONED ABOVE
COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SCIENCE/ ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING
CiteSeer - http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/ - A scientific literature digital library and search engine that focuses primarily on the literature in computer and information science.
Energy Citation database -http://www.osti.gov/energycitations - abstracts and a lot of full-text.
IEEE Xplore - Indexed by Google (Use IEEE as one search term)
Chemweb - http://www.chemweb.com/ - in transition and requires registration but has been very useful and may be so again soon.
Elemental Data Index - http://physics.nist.gov/PhysRefData/Elements/cover.html - Provides access to the holdings of NIST Physics Laboratory online data organized by element. It is intended to simplify the process of retrieving online scientific data for a specific element.
WebElementsTM - http://www.webelements.com/ - aims to be a high quality source of information on the WWW relating to the periodic table.
Agricola - http://agricola.nal.usda.gov/ - For agriculture, plant science, veterinary science, some environmental toxicity and other various areas that relate to agriculture.
AGRIS - http://www.fao.org/agris/ - The international information system for the agricultural sciences and technology. It was created by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1974
Eric Weisstein's World of Science - http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/ - Contains budding encyclopedias of astronomy, scientific biography, chemistry, and physics.
Publications of the U.S. Geological Survey - http://usgspubs.georef.org/usgsns.htm - subset of the GeoRef database established by the American Geological Institute. This database provides access to the publications of the USGS and includes references to U.S. Geological Survey reports and maps published from 1880 to date, references to non-USGS publications with USGS authors published from 1983 to date, and 225 references to reports produced by the Hayden, King, Powell, and Wheeler surveys. The database contains more than 130,000 references.
PubMed - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=PubMed - for biomedical articles: (sometimes includes other technology articles, e.g. ventilation, when in a fully-indexed journal)
TRIS online - http://trisonline.bts.gov/search.cfm - From the Transportation Research Board
ASCE Publications - http://www.pubs.asce.org/cedbsrch.html - Index to their publications (fairly substantial for the field of civil engineering)
Quakeline - http://mceer.buffalo.edu/utilities/quakeline.asp - A bibliographic database produced by the MCEER Information Service. It covers earthquakes, earthquake engineering, natural hazard mitigation, and related topics. It includes records for various publication types, such as journal articles, conference papers, technical reports, maps, and videotapes. QUAKELINE was launched in May 1987.
ASSIST Quick Search - http://assist.daps.dla.mil/quicksearch/ - For current military specifications
Math Forum - http://mathforum.org/ - A leading center for mathematics and mathematics education on the Internet.
NSSN - http://www.nssn.org/search.html- Setting the pace worldwide in promulgating standards information to a broad constituency. Whether it's searching for a specific standard, tracking the status of a new development project, or identifying a contact person who can interpret a standard, NSSN serves as your one-stop information repository.
ScienceDaily - http://www.sciencedaily.com/ - ScienceDaily is one of the Internet's leading online magazines and Web portals devoted to science, technology, and medicine.
Where to Find Material Safety Data Sheets on the Internet - http://www.ilpi.com/msds/index.html - Directory of MSDS websites