Spurred by my recent musings on Future Studies, software bots, and ‘predictive intelligence‘, I’ve done a quick survey test by running JURN against other search tools. For the test I picked this search for E. H. Carr’s famous What is History?

what is history carr

… intending to evaluate the ability to deliver semantic-deductive quasi-predictive search results based only on a very fuzzy ‘possible print title’ + ‘a hint at a possible surname’. A hat-tip to Musings About Librarianship (Aaron Tay) for this search idea.

JURN group test: what is history carr
April 2014, using unmodified Internet Explorer 11, not signed in to Google.
Searching for free full-text scholarly articles, theses or book chapters related to historian E. H. Carr. Clicked through on results, and evaluated.
Google Scholar 0 Examined first 50 results. Google Books links were not counted.
DOAJ 0 Used ‘Article’ search. The single result was a false positive for “Carr, L. G.”
JournalTOCS 0 Only 13 results
Ingenta Connect 0 Only 13 results
NDLtd 0 Only 7 results. Appears more generally to have a great many “404 Not Found” links.
Journal Seek 0 “No results” message was surrounded by Google ads.
Mendeley 0 Search ‘Articles’ only, then filtered for Open Access articles only. Mendeley ignored ‘Carr’ totally, and appeared to search only on ‘What’ + ‘History’. Examined first 20 results, 19 of which were science.
OATD 0 Looked at first 30 results. The No.1 result Politics at Its Demise: E. H. Carr, 1931-1939 looked promising, but this thesis proved to have been deleted or moved. All other results were way off mark.
Microsoft Academic 0 Examined first 50 results. Lots of paywall articles, on or from just about every Carr except A. H. Carr!
Digital Commons Network 0 Searched Arts and Humanities portal, then filtered results by ‘History’ facet. Appears to use the same system as OALib, giving many false positives for caricature, carrying and career etc.
CORE 1 Search not filtered. Examined first 50 results. Only the first topmost result was good.
OAlib 1 Examined first twenty results. Many false positives for caricature, carrying and carry. Switching to ‘Author’ search failed to surface A. H. Carr in first 10 results.
BASE 1 Searched ‘Verbatim’ on ‘Entire Document’. Examined first 50 results. Several promising early results proved to be repository records with no link to full-text. From the second page onward there were false positives for history + what and perhaps for carried.
OPENDoar 8 Examined first 50 results. Several valid results arose from approaches to understanding Carr in relation to Trotsky, in old leftist journals.
Google Search 9 Forced verbatim. Examined first 50 results. Didn’t count erudite blog posts (of which there were about a dozen, inc. a couple with footnote references) or Google Books links. Five of the nine counted results were sorry-looking unofficial scans of the famous work itself.
JURN 11   Checked first 50 results. First page of results has seven relevant results. Later false positives were nearly all for other academics named Carr.

CONCLUSION: So JURN is certainly not a magic wand for this tricky search, but it is performing much better than other search tools and vastly better than Google Scholar or the DOAJ. The results do especially well in terms of the accuracy of the first seven results, but thereafter they struggle (yet do at least focus mostly on people named Carr). Across all the search tools it was surprising to see so little cross-talk in the results from academic articles and chapters on Star Carr, a very famous archeological site in the UK. I noticed no cross-talk at all from the history of cars (vehicles) despite my lack of capitalisation on carr.

DATA: The relevant results list from JURN is…

1. Alun Munslow, Book review of E.H. Carr: A Critical Appraisal, History in Focus, Autumn 2001 (Institute of Historical Research at the University of London)

2. Alun Munslow, Review of What is History?, Reviews in History, November 1997.

3. Unofficial scan from What is History?.

4. Richard J. Evans, The Two Faces of E.H. Carr, History in Focus, Autumn 2001 (Institute of Historical Research at the University of London) (Based on his introduction to a new Palgrave edition of What is History?)

5. Table of Contents for the special What is History? edition of History in Focus, Autumn 2001 (Institute of Historical Research at the University of London)

6. Micheal Cox, Will the real E. H. Carr please stand up?, International Affairs, 75, 3 (1999). (Review of The Vices of Integrity, E. H. Carr, 1892-1982).

7. David Freeland Duke, Edward Hallett Carr: Historical Realism and the Liberal Tradition, Past Imperfect, Vol.2, 1993.


14. De Lamar Jensen, What is History? Edward Hallett Carr, Brigham Young University Studies, Vol.5, No.2 (1964).


26. Philosophy of History article in Internet Encyclopedia of Philisophy. (Mentions Carr in passing)

27. Ann Talbot, Chance and necessity in history : E.H. Carr and Leon Trotsky compared, Historical Social Research, 34 (2009).

28. Political Realism in International Relations article in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Carr has his own section in this, “E. H. Carr’s Challenge of Utopian Idealism”)

Why no Open J-Gate in this group test? It died years ago. Scirus also died more recently, at the start of 2014. Google News was tested, but for this search it proved to be useless at this moment in time — although it can sometimes be surprisingly useful.