A Short Manual on Searching Academic Literature in the Internet (in Russian)

Finally finished my short HOWTO on searching academic literature in the Internet.  The text is based mostly on my own experience: my main work at the Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences is to analyse the new publications on Soviet history, including foreign ones, and it would be really difficult to do this work without Internet as only a small part of Western research papers and monographs is available at Russian libraries.

Download the full text (PDF, 9.5 Mb, in Russian).

The Hunting of the Books: How to Search the Foreign Academic Literature in the Internet: a report (in Russian)

My report at Veskon-2015 convent on Tolkien studies and role playing games in Moscow, with an overview of three instruments for searching the academic literature in the Internet (LibGen, Sci-Hub, Academia.edu).  It can be useful not only for specialists on Tolkien, but for any other students as well, whatever problems they are interested in. Continue reading

Sci-Hub: How to Download Articles from Academic Journals Free of Charge

Piracy in the Internet is ineradicable.  Just a few days ago my colleagues showed me a new Sci-Hub online service for downloading articles from academic journals.  The site is available at http://sci-hub.org/ (two other URLs that can also be found in the Web, http://sci-hub.info/ and http://sci-hub.site50.net/, don’t function now).  The interface is in Russian only, but you can try it nevertheless, it’s in fact very simple.  Just type your search request (for example, the title of an article, or the DOI) and press Enter.  You will receive a list of available links.  The service uses its own network of proxy servers to gain access to protected commercial databases.

While working with Sci-Hub, one should remember about its limits.  The downloading of the articles, especially in PDF format, can last rather long—from fifteen seconds to two minutes.  Not all the articles are available in PDF, sometimes only HTML version can be found.  Not all the articles are really available; be ready to get an error message instead of the text you are looking for.  If a button Поменять прокси (‘Change the Proxy’) appears at the right side of the page, try to use it; sometimes it can help.  If you need the whole book or a journal issue, you must download the articles or chapters randomly, changing the proxy server after each article and making a break for at least 45 minutes after each three or four articles.  Otherwise Sci-Hub may be banned and it’ll take time for its developers to regain access to the server you are interested in.

UPDATE: The new address of Sci-Hub is http://sci-hub.cc/. The old addresses are not available.

Library Genesis electronic library: Gigapedia 2.0?

A new electronic library, Library Genesis, has appeared in the Internet.  Its main address is http://gen.lib.rus.ec/, there’s also an additional address http://libgen.in/.  The interface is in Russian and in English.  The library is intended mainly for academic and technical literature, reference books and educational materials, but some fiction can be found there as well.  By now, some 840 thousand books are available at the library, collections of several other e-libraries have been imported into it, including the Gigapedia.org (Library.nu) that was closed several months ago.

The interface of Library Genesis is quite simple and rather convenient.  On the home page there’s a search form where you can type the title of a book, an article, a journal or a book series, the author’s or publisher’s name, the date of publishing, the language, ISBN or even the MD5 hash of the file you are looking for.  There’s also a subject catalogue (the Topics link); if you find there a separate section for the field of knowledge you are interested in, it can make the search much more simple.  The search results are displayed in a convenient table form: the author, title, publisher, year, language, the size and format of the file, links for downloading and a link for editing the catalogue card.  To see the card, click on the document title; there one can usually find an annotation and a scan of the cover.  Books can be downloaded without any registration, it’s necessary only to edit the catalogue.  Pages may be displayed with a lag.

Theoretically all the books available at the library can be downloaded from four different mirrors; each document in the search results has four links for downloading.  In practice, some of the links usually don’t work, and downloading is often rather slow.  Errors while downloading are also possible.

One more interesting feature is that you can bookmark the page with the search results.  Then, if you visit it again later, you will be able to see the new books that correspond to your request.

For the Russian scholars, the appearance of Library Genesis will be an especially pleasant news, taking into account the current shortcoming of foreign literature at the libraries and bookshops.  One can long talk about an intellectual property and condemn the piracy, but the Internet, by its nature, is intended for a free exchange of information; to oppose it is the same as to try to sell the air.