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last updated: 11/11/2010

Google Scholar

What is Google Scholar?

Google Scholar finds academic materials such as peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts, and technical reports from broad areas of research. It searches a variety of undisclosed academic publishers, professional societies, and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web.

Advantages of Google Book Search

  • Many articles are available full-text.

  • Google Scholar can connect you to library resources.

  • The sources are more academic than those you would find through a standard search engine query, though you should still always evaluate the content you find. See Evaluating Information for more details.

  • It covers a wide range of academic content areas and is continually being updated.

  • It ranks and lists results according to how relevant they are to the search query. The most relevant references should theoretically appear at the top of the page.

  • You can access articles the library has on campus or off campus through the use of a VPN. For more information, see the UITS Knowledge Base.

Disadvantages of Google Scholar

  • Some articles are available only as abstracts; others are pay-per-view.

  • Your results may not be current or as comprehensive as you need.

  • Coverage tends to be stronger in science and technology and weaker in the humanities.

  • Google Scholar does not say where it finds its sources, so you cannot have the same confidence in its reliability as you can when searching library sources. Your searches will also be more general than if you search within subject specific sources, as are available on the IU Libraries' webpage.

  • At this time, Google Scholar is not compatible with EndNote citation software.

Cited By

Clicking the Cited by link on Google Scholar will display a list of articles and documents that have cited the document originally retrieved in the search. This makes it possible to find other documents related by topic to the original document. However, Google Scholar only includes articles that are indexed within its database, and this is a much smaller subset of scholarly articles than those found in other IUB databases. For more comprehensive results, try Web of Science.

Interpreting Your Findings

Search results have a variety of formats. PDF and PostScript documents will have clickable title links that point to abstracts or full-text, but citations and books will not. Citations are items that have been extracted from the references, footnotes, or bibliographies of documents indexed by Google Scholar. They typically do not have clickable links, but the citation usually gives you enough information to track down the item. Clicking on Web Search will start a search for the citation using the standard Google search engine. This can help you determine the title of the book or journal the article was published in if it is abbreviated in the citation.

Following Through With Your Findings

From the IU Libraries' webpage, you can use IUCAT (for books) or Online Journals (for magazines and journals) to see if IU has access to the item.

Advanced Search Tips

Use Google Scholar's Advanced Search to search by author, publication, and date. Increase the accuracy and effectiveness of Google Scholar searches by checking out Document Delivery Service (DDS).

Library Links

Library Links connects you to resources available at the IU Libraries. When you set the preferences to Indiana University, an IU Link icon will appear next to the title of an article when IU has online subscription access. You will also have the ability to check IU Libraries' print holdings for some items using the Check IU holdings link. Selecting Open WorldCat-Library Search will allow you to see material you can request through Advanced Scholar Search Tips.

Setting Library Links

From the Google Scholar Preferences page, search for Indiana University and check the Indiana University, Bloomington Libraries (Get Text from IUB) box. You will only need to do this the first time you search Google Scholar.

Off Campus? Not a Problem

You can still access all of the databases from the IUB Libraries and set Google Scholar preferences through a VPN. For more information, see the UITS Knowledge Base.

Pay-Per-View Articles

Do not pay for articles: let the IUB libraries help you get them for free. Copy as much information as you can (article title, author's name, publication name, publication year, page numbers, etc.), then go here. Enter the copied information and select "search." If the article is not available here at IUB, you can request it through Document Delivery Service (DDS).

Other Sources for Full-Text Articles

Use the Resource Gateway to find a list of general databases, or search for subject specific databases on the Subjects tab of the IUB Libraries' page.

Ask a Librarian

Need additional help? For further assistance with any topic you can always Ask a Librarian.

last updated: 11/11/2010