Springer’s LaTeX search service (example results) allow searching for LaTeX strings or finding the LaTeX equations in an article. Since LaTeX is used to markup equations in many scientific publications this could be an interesting way to find related work or view an equation-centric summary of a paper.

You can provide a LaTeX string, and Springer says that besides exact matches they can return similar LaTeX strings:

Or, you can search by DOI or title to get all the equations in a given publication:

Under each equation in the search results you can click “show LaTeX code”:

Right now it just searches Springer’s publications; Springer would like to add open access databases and preprint servers. Coverage even in Springer journals seems spotty: I couldn’t find two particular discrete math articles papers, so I’ve written Springer for clarification. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to get from SpringerLink to this LaTeX search yet: it’s a shame, because “show all equations in this article” would be useful, even with the proviso that only LaTeX equations were shown.

A nice touch is their sandbox where you can test LaTeX code, with a LaTeX dictionary conveniently below.

]]>I don’t usually go in for roundups. But the chatter about Wolfram|Alpha is so fun and so contradictory, I just had to collect it.

First, what is Wolfram|Alpha?

- Almanac of the Web (David Weinberger)
- “Mechanical turk of the semantic web” (Ton Zijlstra)
- A “computational knowledge engine” (Stephen Wolfram, March)
- Child of Wolfram’s
*A New Kind of Science*(“the first killer app of NKS”, Stephen Wolfram, May)

Let’s start with the tweets:

Working with WolframAlpha reminds me of playing Adventure, Zork and such- “I Wonder if phrasing it this way will work…”. Fun with NLP. – Geoffrey Bilder

wolframalpha thinks star trek is a movie, House (character) is unicode x2302, but is knows that the Boss is Bruce Springsteen – Eric Hellman

Onward to reviews. I’ll give you four types:

- “What can it do?”
- “Incredible potential”
- “Let’s improve it”
- “All that hype for
**this**“?

Mashable’s 10 Easter Eggs and 10 More

…a useful tool for some fields, and mainly a play toy beyond that — at least for now.

But the potential is incredible. I really feel like it ushers in a new generation of Web applications and opens the door for getting people to realize that search is only the very beginning of what the Web is about.

Jon Udell is hoping “to be able to compute with facts in a more frictionless way.”

Deepak Singh wants to enhance Wolfram|Alpha with structured data from other sources like Freebase and the Protein Data Bank.

Google, Wikipedia, Wolfram|Alpha, two well established, and one nascent, but together, the three make quite a triumvirate of information, complementing each other well. Add to that sources like Freebase and we continue to move towards a world where information and knowledge at different levels gets increasingly accessible and available. The hope is that as that happens, we can solve new problems, and add to that knowledge at a broader scale than we ever have.”

Snark (what else?) from Ted Dziuba at The Register: Wolfram Alpha – a new kind of Fail

In a more serious vein, David Weinberger sees Wolfram|Alpha’s Achilles’ heel:

Curation is a source of its strength. It increases the reliability of the information, it enables the computations, and it lets the results pages present interesting and relevant information far beyond the simple factual answer to the question. The richness of those pages will be big factor in the site’s success.

Curation is also WA’s limitation.

…

WA’s big benefit is that it answers questions authoritatively. WA nails facts down. …It thus ends conversation. Google and Wikipedia aim at continuing and even provoking conversation.

Buzz started in March, with raves from Nova Spivack and Doug Lenat. Rudy Rucker soon followed.

I also really go in for the favicon.ico. Equals sign, check. Homage to Mathematica, check. Ahem.

See also: Google Squared lauching soon according to TechCrunch’s demo and Search Engine Land’s post.

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