Monday, May 15, 2006


Those Microsoft guys, what pranksters! Always out for a laugh.

There was a short blurb in Science recently about, a new search engine Microsoft has created for academic journals. Since I'm such a fan of, I figured I'd give academic a whirl.

But I don't use Windows, only Linux (cue "Jaws" theme). I went to the site, and it popped up a nice search window, with FAQ below and other tidbits. I typed in something, hit search, and it moved to "Loading..." and never left that state.

I thought, "A website that doesn't work with my Linux box! From Microsoft! How unusual. Let's see if it works on Windows..." so I turned to my neighbor, who does use Windows (the Japanese version of XP), and got him to try it. Enter something, hit search, hung his browser! Not even the kill button in the toolbar works. Can't iconify or background it. At least the task manager managed to kill it, though.

Just made my day...

P.S. From their FAQ:

How do you determine relevance? Are you using citation counts in the relevance ranking?

We are determining relevance based on the following two areas, as determined by a Microsoft algorithm:
# Quality of match of the search term with the content of the paper
# Authoritativeness of the paper.

I can kind of imagine what "quality of match" means, but what's "authoritativeness of the paper"? They explicitly rule out citation count (claiming that an iffy cite count is worse than no cite count), but never explain what they do use. Maybe a journal impact factor, like the one at CiteSeer? Inquiring minds want to know...


At 9:42 AM, Blogger Joe said...

I can't get it to work under linux (Konqueror/Firefox) either. Guess I'm sticking with google.

At 9:51 AM, Blogger rdv said...

I should have pointed out that both machines were using the "obvious" browser -- Firefox for me, IE for my neighbor.

I just tried it from my wife's Japanese XP machine (IE), and it redirects to the main page, though from my Linux box it still brings up the academic page. Not sure why, nor which behavior they think is supposed to happen. Are they taking it offline for the moment, or is it some glitch or due to some language setting? Who knows...

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Joe said...

Ok, I can now just about get it to work in the english version of IE 6. Literally everything I've tried (even some versions of IE under windows) has failed to display results.


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