I read lots of academic papers in my field - though certainly not as many as I "should" - but how do I go about finding them? It sometimes strikes me that I don't really have a good strategy for keeping up to date, or for finding good references when I get a new idea.
I go to conferences, like others do. But obviously I don't go to every conference, and I don't see every presentation on a conference, and I'm not mentally present during every presentation I see. Anything else would be impossible. Worse, conference proceedings are usually only available as hard-to-search CDs or books, instead of for free on the conference website, which would be the sensible option.
There are a few repositories meant to contain papers, or links to papers, in particular research fields, and also to provide good means of finding the papers you want. Sadly, many of them are half-baked.
CoRR (arXiv) have never reached anywhere near the same popularity in Computer Science as it has in physics, probably partly due to weird requirements of submitting the latex source of every paper, something that rarely works in practice. Cogprints have likewise failed to take off, even though the technical platform seems decent enough. Citeseer used to be good around 2002-2003, but seems to have been neglected by its administrators lately (I've had serious problems correcting missing or faulty metadata for my own papers). Bill Langdon's GP Bibliography is excellent, though for a limited domain.
In the best of all world, every paper should be easy to find through Google Scholar. A main obstacle to this is that so many researchers fail to make their papers available on their personal websites. Even in computer science! This is puzzling, and shameful.
I think it is every serious researcher's obligation to make his complete scientific output publicly available on his own home page, unless he/she has a very good excuse. Otherwise one would suspect that he/she has something to hide.
So if you are reading this, and still haven't made all your publications freely downloadable from your website, go and do it. Now. For the sake of science, and your own reputation as an honest scientist. Unless you have a very, very good reason why you shouldn't. And you probably haven't.
(Yes, I do feel quite strongly about this...)