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Google Scholar seems to have gotten a lot more scholarly since the last time I tried it. In fact, it is now kind of awesome and might be my sole portal to papers from now on.

Why? Because if you happen to have an account or faculty appointment or maybe your job gives you a password you can load that account into Google Scholar Preferences. (Look for "Library Links".) Then, when you get your list of papers you can go immediately to a full pdf of the paper because there is a link to the right of each. Their example is "Harvard" and I happen to own an account there. Hopefully it works as well for other accounts.

The other cool trick (of many) is that once you get a nice search of specific words in title, text string in document etc and you like the results you just click the "email alert" then whenever a new paper meets the criteria you get an email.

I have used similar tools through the university and other venues but this is by far the simplest most all encompassing search tool out there since it glues all my favorites into one.

Now if you are going to comment that Google Scholar has had these capabilities for years go ahead and post. I won't feel bad. ;-) (And there are still some glitches in the Library Links. Sometimes even if there are three links to pdfs they all end in a subscription entry window for the journal which the library should have filled out automatically.)
Biology, Life Sciences, and Environmental Science, Medicine, Pharmacology, and Veterinary Science. Business, Administration, Finance, and Economics, Physics, Astronomy, and Planetary Science. Chemistr...
Peter Smalley's profile photoGustavo MacIntosh's profile photoPaul T Morrison's profile photo
Those are excellent features, and even if some of them are not new, not everyone may be aware of them. On my wishlist for Google Scholar is a search function that brings up only links to full-text articles. I despise finding the perfect article only to run into a paywall.
My main complain is that you cannot sort the search results by year. You can search for specific years, but the search results are always sorted by number of times an article is cited.
That's a good complaint +Gustavo MacIntosh. I couldn't figure out how it was sorted until you pointed it out. I do a lot of "since 2012" then "since 2011" but a sort by date most recent should be an obvious choice. There are a ton of other search criteria which I have in other programs, "search in address field of corresponding author" is a strange one that I happen to need all the time. Hopefully as GScholar grows it incorporates all these niceties.
+Paul T Morrison I hope so, but Scholar seems to be getting demoted to the back of Google every time. I have to navigate quite a bit now to find it. It used to be that there was a Scholar link right on the Google bar. Now it is in the "even more" category (3 clicks away from the home page). If this shows the level of priority, we may be waiting for a long time for improvements.
I noticed that too. Why read the original paper if all you have to do is Google and skim a few sentences? So much easier that way to find someone who agrees with your preconceived beliefs.

But I digress. Hopefully Google will consider Google Scholar as their pro bono work to slow the dumbing down of the earth's population.
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