A library database is an
online resource that the
library subscribes to that
contains articles and
information from print
sources such as
journals, and reference
Google Scholar is a Web
search engine that
scholarly literature and
• The difference lies in the depth of coverage
and the focus. Where you should start
depends on your research question/project.
• Google Scholar is a very broad search
without many filters available.
• Library databases provide for very focused
and in-depth coverage of your discipline.
Although you access databases from the internet, the
articles you find in them are reprinted from real live
Most of the things you find in database cannot be
found by searching Google or Wikipedia.
These are subscription services that the library pays
for, they are every bit a part of library's collection as
the books on library’s shelf, and unless you want to
buy your own subscription, you must go through the
library's website to access them.
Library Databases provide citation information about the items
they index. A citation typically consists of:
•Title of Article
•Date of Publication
Some library databases also provide abstracts of the items they
index. An abstract is a brief summary of the article.
And some library databases provide the full text (the entire
article) for items they index.
Google Scholar allows users to search for digital or
physical copies of articles, whether online or in
It indexes "full-text journal articles, technical
reports, preprints, theses, books, and other
documents, including selected Web pages that are
deemed to be ‘scholarly’ ”.
Credibility of Google Scholar
Unfortunately it’s not that simple: Google Scholar’s purpose and
function are just different from other databases. Google Scholar
intends to be a place for researchers to start.
The way Google Scholar indexes or collects its information is
different from other databases, too.
Library databases usually index articles on specific disciplines
or topics, with certain journals being included on
purpose. Basically, they’re created by people.
Google Scholar, like regular Google, is created by a computer:
Google’s “robots” scan different web pages for scholarly material,
with less care going into the journals that publish these articles.
Limitation of Google Scholar
Google Scholar will not contain everything that is in
the Library's databases.
Google Scholar can be a convenient starting place, but
it is not a comprehensive "one-stop shop."
Library databases contain information
from reviewed published works.
Examples: Journals, newspaper articles,
encyclopedias and other reference books.
Library databases often contain full-text articles.
You can print or email an entire article.
Library databases get their information from professionals or
experts in the field.
Library databases contain published works where facts are
Library databases are updated frequently and include the date of
Credibility of Library Database
Google Scholar Library Database
Subset of Internet: “academic
societies, online repositories,
universities and other web
You do not know what
specific sites are being
searched; cannot determine
All types of free and fee-based
(already paid by library) popular,
sources appropriate to
Clearly defined in each
database, so you know what
sources are indexed and
searched and from when (dates
Google Scholar Library Database
Searching is free
Results contain free and
purchasable content. Most
full text of articles are NOT
Does not use publisher or
library data; Google creates it
automatically; there may be
Library pays for database access—
these are specialized tools
specifically geared toward your
Full text of articles is free TO YOU!
The Library pays.
Can limit and filter searches by
subject terms and other
parameters, Results from
limiting more consistent and
granular, increases relevancy
and/or precision Saves time
Google Scholar gives the researcher the advantage of being
able to follow a hunch and look up information on the fly. The
information can later be verified or discredited when
researched in greater depth, as the potential for encountering
incorrect statistics and other false information is high.
Library database often have valuable primary sources such as
original diaries, newspapers and maps. Comparatively few
primary sources are on the Google Scholar compared with
what is available in libraries database.
Library database also offer expert
assistance to researchers. If you
are having difficulty locating
what you need for your research,
an effective librarian can help you
Library database often offer
databases that their patrons can
use for free. If you do not want to
pay for an expensive subscription
to a database or pay per article
download, the library can save
you a significant amount of