ILI2009: Why scientists can't search institutional Repositories

I am trying to search University repositories for chemistry and recording my experiences. Here’s my results for Google Scholar, the main free engine for searching academic publications I’m looking for 4-aminobenzoic acid:

Results 110 of about 51,800 for 4 aminobenzoic. (0.13 seconds) 

The use of 4aminobenzoic acid as a marker to validate the completeness of 24 h urine collections in

S Bingham, J Cummings – Clinical Science, 1983 –
Send to a friend. The use of 4aminobenzoic acid as a marker to validate the
completeness of 24 h urine collections in man. Bingham S, Cummings JH.

Cited by 133Related articlesCachedWeb SearchAll 7 versions

Covalent modification of a glassy carbon surface by 4aminobenzoic acid and its application in

J Liu, L Cheng, B Liu, S Dong – Langmuir, 2000 –
Covalent Modification of a Glassy Carbon Surface by 4Aminobenzoic Acid and Its
Application in Fabrication of a Polyoxometalates-Consisting Monolayer and

Cited by 81Related articlesWeb SearchBL DirectAll 3 versions

Use of the derivatizing agent, 4aminobenzoic acid 2-(diethylamino) ethyl ester, for high-

K Yoshino, T Takao, H Murata, Y Shimonishi – Analytical Chemistry, 1995 –
Use of the derivatizing agent, 4aminobenzoic acid 2-(diethylamino)ethyl ester,
for high-sensitivity detection of oligosaccharides by electrospray ionization

Cited by 54Related articlesWeb SearchBL DirectAll 3 versions

Mechanism of inactivation of myeloperoxidase by 4aminobenzoic acid hydrazide. [PDF] 
AJ Kettle, CA Gedye, CC Winterbourn – Biochemical Journal, 1997 –
Page 1. Biochem. J. (1997) 321, 503508 (Printed in Great Britain) 503 Mechanism
of inactivation of myeloperoxidase by
4aminobenzoic acid hydrazide
Cited by 44Related articlesView as HTMLWeb SearchBL DirectAll 4 versions

and I have stopped there there were 52000.

How many of these are theses? I have no idea. But I know that university IRs contain many references to 4-aminobenzoic acid (see below). First, Here’s Google Scholar. I don’t know whether there is a better way but I have simply put: published in: thesis:


Results 12 of 2 for 4 aminobenzoic. (0.03 seconds) 

[DOC] Bacterial Cellulose

D Holmes, NZ Christchurch – A
Thesis Presented for the Degree of Master of Engineering , 2004 –
Sulfaguanidine is an analog of p-aminobenzoic acid, hence, the increased production
in aerated (by shaking) cultures the organism doubles every 4 to 6
Cited by 1Related articlesView as HTMLWeb Search

[PDF] The interviewer-administered, open-ended diet history method for assessing usual dietary intakes in

GS Martin – University of Wollongong
Collection, 2004 –
p Physical activity level (equation) PABA Para-amino benzoic acid PAL Physical activity
Page 13. 11 20:3 Homo-gamma linolenic acid 20:4 Arachidonic acid
Related articlesWeb SearchAll 4 versions

2 results.

The first is (apparently) on a personal web page. The second IS in an IR:

Research Online is an open access digital archive promoting the scholarly output of the University of Wollongong, Australia. For further information contact Michael Organ, Manager Repository Services – 02 4221 3108.

So kudos, at least, to the University of Wollongong.

But they are in there. Let’s go to the Edinburgh University Research Archive: I’ve chosen this because Scotland is more enlightened about Open Access than England and several Universities have mandates. The ERA states:

ERA is a digital repository of research produced at The University of Edinburgh. Here we present a selection of our best research including full-text digital Theses and Dissertations, book chapters, working papers, technical reports, journal pre-prints and peer-reviewed journal reprints.

If you are a member of the University of Edinburgh and would like to deposit your items, please send an email to

If you believe that any material held in ERA infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the work from the repository and investigate your claim.

Comments: Why a selection of our best material? Why not all our theses, by mandate. And there is Mordor the Copyright officer doing the great job of removing academic copyright material from public view.

So let’s have a go:

Edinburgh Research Archive  >

Search Results



Results 1-10 of 33.

[PMR: 4-aminobenzoic acid doesn’t work]

Item hits:

Date of Issue





Natural formation and degradation of chloroacetic acids and volatile organochlorines in forest soil: challenges to understanding

Laturnus, Frank; Fahimi, Isabelle; Gryndler, Milan; Hartmann, Anton; Heal, Mathew R; Matucha, Miroslav; Schoeler, Heinfried; Schroll, Reiner; Svensson, Teresia

Research Paper


Design and synthesis of benign, N- and O-containing, organic ligands for surface engineering

Renz, Robert Phillip

Thesis or Dissertation


Structural and Computational Studies of Small Organic and Biological Molecules

Lozano-Casal, Patricia

Thesis or Dissertation

I look at the first thesis. Yes! It has 4-aminobenzoic acid on page 111 (page?? well, of course it’s in PDF).

Can I download it?




Thesis or Dissertation

Appears in Collections:

Organic Synthesis PhD thesis collection

Files in This Item:





Robert Renz PhD Thesis.pdf

Open Access version


Adobe PDF



Original files are restricted access


Zip file


Xray Crystal

Original files are restricted access


Zip file


All items in ERA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved.


 Well can I? Yes, it’s Open Access; No it’s copyright with all rights reserved. ???? The thesis contains no copyright or licence so Mordor will tell me that I am not allowed to do anything with it except read and destroy after reading.

If I want to get all the material out I have to visit all 15 documents (Thesis or Dissertation).

There are probably about 1000 universities world wide that I might wish to visit. It will take me half a day to extract stuff from Edinburgh, doing it manually.

That is a year searching the academic archive for a single term

Google can give me an answer in seconds. Nick Day’s CrystalEye has a complete archive of publicly visible crystallography on publisher web sites. But none on academic sites as it simply isn’t possible.

Unless the academic world starts to provide modern search technology for its archives they will remain preservation-only. It will be impossible to get scientists to put material into places which are fundamentally unsearchable.

[Note, of course, that this is a full-text site. That’s not very useful for chemistry. Our new technology can PROPERLY index the chemistry in these sites vastly cheaper than the human methods used by conventional chemical abstracters. But we aren’t even able to start.]

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to ILI2009: Why scientists can't search institutional Repositories

  1. Jim Downing says:

    Neither Google nor CrystalEye will download all the contents of an arbitrary search. Google does not ensure that you have rights to re-use everything that it indexes.
    “Modern search technology” means being open to business to search engine crawlers, and focusing on SEO. This is already being done by some IRs; if you search for “CrystalEye Open repositories 2008” on Google, the top two hits are IRs (the conference organizer’s and ours).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *