Academic Semantic Search Needs To Go Beyond Text Results

December 4, 2018

A little over a decade ago, search engines only returned Web sites in their results. That has since stopped and search engines now offer a variety of results, images, videos, news, services, products for sale, and (of course) the traditional links. Users expect accurate, relevant, and updated search results. When you step into the academic database world, however, search goes back to the basic text results. Semantic search offers so much more than Web links and citations. GeekWire shares that academia might finally be catching up with its commercial counterparts in the article, “AI2’s Semantic Scholar Spices Up Academic Search Engine With Blogs, Videos And More.”

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) developed the Semantic Scholar AI-based search engine to search through academic research for the best and most relevant results. AI2 has indexed more than forty-million research papers and now their algorithms will index slide presentations, blogs, news articles, videos, social media, and more, adding them to Semantic Scholar.

Semantic Scholar hopes to bridge the gap between old-fashioned academic databases and the new information and media types not available in the traditional database.

“If a particular paper happens to spark a lot of news articles and blog posts, that doesn’t affect Semantic Scholar’s ranking of the paper’s scientific quality. But those extra resources could help researchers using Semantic Scholar get a better understanding of the paper’s scientific point. For example, a recently published study traced the impact that sugar and artificial sweeteners could have on strokes or dementia. The study hasn’t been out long enough to spark follow-up research, but Semantic Scholar serves up dozens of reports specifically about the findings. ‘We are crossing the chasm between academic papers and more popular media to facilitate a new and smarter way to do science,’ Oren Etzioni, AI2’s CEO, explained in a news release.”

Can Semantic Scholar make headway in the search market as incumbents like Ebsco and LexisNexis, among other, battle to keep newcomers at bay?

Whitney Grace, December 3, 2018

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