How useful is HighBeam search engine?
February 5, 2006 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Anyone experienced using HighBeam Research? I use the conventional free search engines and do lots of cruising for materials for my blogs, and I know this subscription engine is basically for research people, but will it be a worthwhile addition (for the price) to enhance my searching?
posted by Postroad to Technology (7 answers total)
I had it for a year and hardly used it.
posted by malhaley at 8:55 AM on February 5, 2006

it's not bad
posted by matteo at 9:09 AM on February 5, 2006

Depends on what you're doing and what other resources are available to you. Last year, I did some research for the author of a pop-history book; I used HB and Questia very rarely, mostly for articles in periodicals. They saved me a few trips to the library but certainly weren't essential. However, I mostly needed books and primary materials going back to the 19th century, which takes you out of google range altogether.

HB and Questia will give you a broad pool of mass-market writing about general interest topics published within the last couple of decades. If that's the kind of info you want, give it a try.
posted by vetiver at 10:06 AM on February 5, 2006

This is helpful but now: which is better (same pricez for both), Questia or HB--that is, best coverage, articles, journals, etc??
posted by Postroad at 10:47 AM on February 5, 2006

I get lots of spam from them.
posted by flabdablet at 2:48 PM on February 5, 2006

No idea. When I used them, neither one posted any kind of bibliography or source list. That may have changed; poke around and see what you find. You didn't ask but as far as usability, I absolutely hated the design and interface on both sites.

Each one offers (or did offer) a free trial for a week or so. Sign up for both and do some research on what would be a typical project for you. That's the only way to decide.

Departing slightly from strict AskMe standards into possibly unuseful speculation: I have no idea how you define "cruising for materials" but if it's the aimless trawling I assume it is, don't waste your time or money on HB or Questia. That's not what they're set up for and until you've narrowed your focus re time and/or subject, they're both useless. Once you have refined your search, consider fee-for-text sources such as PubMed and ProQuest. Their free abstracts might offer enough info to serve your purposes. Your profile doesn't give your location but the libraries in any mid-size or larger city should offer access to PubMed, ProQuest, and countless other info-troves, no fee involved.
posted by vetiver at 7:21 PM on February 5, 2006

My friend Chris Locke has been their (tongue-in-cheek) Chief Blogging Officer for a while. He likes them, and I trust him, even given the potential shilliness of his gig. For what it's worth.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:42 AM on February 6, 2006

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