Quality websites exist to obtain relevant scholarly science and technology information.
Many use Google Scholar. Google Scholar, however, pulls results from a very large index of materials, not all specific to the discipline. Two search engines designed to query just scientific resources are Scitopia.org and Scirus.com.
Scitopia is a federated search tool. It looks to the electronic libraries of 21 science/technology societies for documents. Some of the groups involved in this project include the American Society of Civil Engineers, Institute of Physics Publishing, Professional Engineering Publishing, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the American Geophysical Union. Per the website, content searched includes “each partner’s electronic library,” patents from the U.S., European, and Japan Patent offices, and “US Government documents on the Department of Energy Information Bridge site.”
Article information includes an abstract and citation. Full text is available for a fee. (Consider a visit your library or Badgerlink as an alternative). See their FAQ’s for additional information.
A search of “chronic wasting disease” produced the top 23 relevant hits with an option to view all 89 results. (The site provides the option to view only the top hits or all available).
To navigate easier, the site clustered the results by topic, publishers, dates, etc. Following the link, the source society offers additional information including the cost to obtain the full text. The “advanced search” option allows the researcher to choose the source, and limit the search by date, author, affiliation, etc.
Why would you use this type of engine? The sources are limited to professional organizations, thus reducing the amount of false or non-authoritative hits. This is very important when looking for scholarly discussion on a topic. In addition, when researching expert witnesses, it is helpful to identify articles authored by an expert or to find an expert based on articles written. Sometimes, background information is needed on a scientific issue.
Another excellent site for scientific articles is Scirus. It defines itself as “the most comprehensive scientific research tool on the web. With over 450 million scientific items indexed at last count, it allows researchers to search for not only journal content but also scientists' homepages, courseware, pre-print server material, patents and institutional repository and website information.” Their FAQ page is also very helpful. Organizations collaborating with this website include PubMed, NASA, Lexis/Nexis, MD Consult, Nature Publishing Group, and ScienceDirect.
A search of “chronic wasting disease” produced numerous hits with the top results being from the WDNR. Scirus breaks down the results into categories including source (journal or Web based), file type (e.g. full text .pdf), and other search terms to help refine the results. The advanced search page allows the researcher to define the dates, information type, format, source, and subject area. Just as with Scitopia, some results may be just summary and citation information. In that case, full text will need to be obtained via the publisher, Badgerlink, or the library.
This tool is obviously different from Scitopia in that it searches a broader range of documents. Each, however, is an excellent search tool providing quality results. I recommend using both when doing this type of research.