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Searching Google: Home

CHOOSING THE BEST TOOL FOR THE JOB

When you're conducting library research where does Google fit in?

  • Along with more traditional databases and information resources, Google is just one of many valuable research tools at your disposal.
  • Choose the right combination of tools for your particular task and please don't hesitate to consult a librarian if you need guidance about which tools are most likely to provide the information you need.
  • As with any information resource, Google has strengths and weaknesses that you should keep in mind:

 

Strengths    Weaknesses
  • Simple, intuitive interface with rapid return of results
  • May be challenging to select the most relevant information from large numbers of results
  • Perfect uses include finding a quick answer or when you're just beginning to explore your topic
  • Can be difficult to determine what you might be missing, particularly if Google is the only resource you search
  • Due to its broad, continuous automated crawling of the web, Google may enhance discovery of materials not readily available in more traditional library resources
  • Lack of peer review, formal indexing, and other practices inherent in more traditional library resources may enhance the need for users to critically appraise and evaluate materials

 

Google Scholar strives to retain all of the strengths of Google while also addressing some of the weaknesses Google can present for scholary research. As the name implies, Google Scholar focuses on scholarly literature in many disciplines and a variety of formats including journal articles, books, meeting abstracts, conference proceedings, and online repositories.