Google Scholar searches millions of "scholarly" web sites and online information sources, including mostly resources on the public web, but some fee-for-service resources. The database is targeted to include scholarly resources from professional and industrial organizations, academic presses, universities, public online scholarly resources (such as public online journals and databases), and sites within .edu domains. The full text of many resources can be freely available online, although in several instances snippets or abstracts with links to fee-based document services are displayed. Result rankings are determined by "relevance." Google Scholar "aims to sort articles the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each article, the author, the publication in which the article appears, and how often the piece has been cited in other scholarly literature. The most relevant results will always appear on the first page."
- Targets your search to "scholarly" resources
- Targets publicly-available resources
- Automated indexing
- Includes information often left out of subscription (invisible) scholarly databases
- Not at all clear what is included, and what is excluded - may include resources of dubious scholarly value, and exclude others of better quality.
- Familiar user interface
- Barrier-free access
Academic Research with Google Scholar Research Guide
Web of Science
Web of Science Searches seven citation indexes--Arts & Humanities, Science, Social Sciences, two conference proceedings indexes, and two book indexes --which permit searching for articles and chapters that cite a known author or work, as well as searching by subject, author, journal, and author address. Covers 10,000+ journals and some books.
- Targets high-impact journal resources
- Targets private/hidden/deep web resources along with some Open Access resources
- Indexed by people; every journal indexed goes through a standard evaluation process
- Provides list of what is indexed so you know what you are searching. See list.
- Integration with citation managers
- More complicated user interface
- subscription-based access