Find Scientific Information Online With Scirus

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What is Scirus?:

Scirus is a science search engine dedicated to only searching science-specific content. At the time of this writing, Scirus searches over 250 million science-specific web pages, filtering out those results that are not science related in order for you, the user, to quickly pinpoint what it is that you're looking for.Scirus's results are powered by Fast.

A brief overview of how Scirus works:

The Scirus home page is refreshingly uncluttered. It's just you and the search bar. On the top right-hand corner is a direct link to news from New Scientist - it would be nice to have an RSS feed enabled here; I didn't see one at this time. The Basic Search allows you to just type in your query, and you have the immediate options of checking or unchecking the boxes for Journal Sources, Preferred Web Sources, Other Web Sources, or Exact Phrase. Journal Sources, Preferred Web Sources and Other Web Sources are all checked by default, but Exact Phrase is not, most likely because unless you really, really are sure of what you're searching for among all the scientific abstracts, it's best to start out general and gradually narrow your search.

How to search with Scirus:

I typed in my search query using the Basic Search box, Botswana Guinea Hens, and got interesting results. 201 total results were found, and of these there were three journal results, 13 preferred Web results, 185 other Web results. You have the option of saving your search results (you must use the checkbox, and then the next time you visit Scirus, your options have been saved and are ready for you.), you can email your checked results to someone else, or you can export your results (save file to disk or open Reference Software).

On the right-hand side of your search results page is a box inviting you to "Refine your search using these keywords found in the results". Not all were relevant to what I was searching for, but still, they gave me good ideas to make my search string more robust than I would have thought of.

Advanced search options:

You have the Basic Search option which allows you to pop in a query and see what happens, or you can also go Advanced Search or set your Search Preferences.

Advanced Search allows you to narrow your results by date, information types (abstracts, articles, books, patents, scientist homepages, etc. Any Information Type is checked by default.), file formats (.pdf files, Word files, etc. Any format is checked by default.), content sources-you can choose to only include Journal Sources (BioMed Central, Medline/PubMed, Project Euclid, etc.) or you can go for Preferred Web Sources (NASA, CogPrints, Patent Offices, etc. All is checked by default.). In addition, you can look at Subject Areas to really narrow your search down from the get-go; this includes Agricultural and Biological Sciences, Engineering, Energy and Technology, Computer Science, and many more. The "All Subject Areas" box is checked by default.

Search Preferences enables you to drive your searches the way you would like them to appear. What this means is you get to choose how many results show up on the page, you get to choose if your search results open in a new browser, you can cluster your results by domain, but the coolest of them all is something called "query rewriting." Now, I'm not the most scientific-minded girl, so this especially caught my eye - Scirus will "automatically rewrite queries to improve results" if you leave this box checked (it's checked by default).

Either of these options (Advanced Search and Search Preferences) will equip you to find what you're looking for without too much of a fuss, but if you need extra help, check out the Search Tips page. Scirus has outlined some of the various search operators that will help you, and there's also a much more detailed explanation of how to use the Advanced Search settings than I've gone into here.

Why Scirus is worth using:

Scirus is a incredibly rich resource. For one thing, it searches over 250 million science-specific web pages, including scientific journals. Say you are looking for information on the lifecycles of Botswana guinea hens - because Scirus is a science-targeted vertical search engine, you're more apt to find the research information that you're looking for than other, more general search engines. Plus, it helps you rewrite your query if you're having a tough time figuring out the correct scientific language; suggesting better keywords or phrases to use.

Scirus also finds information that is not readily available in the more general search engines, such as peer-reviewed papers or .pdf files. Lastly, the biggest reason I can recommend Scirus is that they draw their results from a vast repository of scientific sources - you'll want to check out the range of scientific content that Scirus covers in order to really appreciate what this science search engine has to offer.

Note: Search engines change frequently, so the information in this article can and will get outdated as more information or features about science search engine Scirus are released. Be sure to check About Web Search for more updates as they become available.


If you're looking for scholarly, peer-reviewed, scientific information on an incredibly wide range of subjects, you'll want to look at Scirus, a search engine that focuses specifically on only science-related information.