Free Search for Paid Journal Articles

The deep Web contains a significant amount of information that you cannot reach with typical Web search engines.  The emergence of Proquest‘s Udini search enables to you retrieve content from their databases: 150 million articles from 12,000 journals according to the promotional content on the Web site.  The site represents the best of online search, where everything but the search box has been stripped away.  It is nice to not have the typical glut of information (even the so-called bento box approach) to orient to before getting to the search box.

Unfortunately, there is not much to suggest this is a resource most lawyers need to add to their toolkit.  A quick perusal of their legal information shows that it is weaker even than the typical law journal content available in Westlaw or LexisNexis.  Google Scholar results that  surface links to Heinonline, or better, a search on HeinOnline itself, is likely to bring far more comprehensive coverage of legal information than Udini.

Some of the content retrieved by Udini shows that it can be purchased but it is already available for free on the Web.  Compare these two, for example.  You can purchase a full version from Proquest of Moving in the Cloud from the ABA Journal, June 2011, for $3.99.*  Or you could download it for free from the ABA Journal itself.  Where Proquest will add value is in the older content that is not available on the Web.

Yes, Udini provides a comprehensive search option and yes, it offers some additional research management tools within its site.  This might be an incentive if you are not already using a service like Evernote or Microsoft’s Onenote.  Like those programs, Udini allows for capturing content outside of the Proquest content online.  This will make it useful outside of the legal profession but is unlikely, without more compelling content, to make it a service that many lawyers or law librarians would use on a regular basis.

* Something’s funky about this one.  If you see the bottom of this preview, the metadata suggests the publisher is the Water Alternatives Association.  I’m pretty sure this isn’t right.

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