Google Scholar


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This presentation was given on November 17, 2009, as part of the Louisiana State University Libraries Tech Talks Series, facilitated by Digital Technologies Librarian Rebecca Miller.

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Google Scholar

  1. 1. Google Scholar in the Academic Library<br />
  2. 2. “Stand on the shoulders of giants”<br />Launched in 2004<br />Google Scholar (GS) “provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature”<br />Essentially, GS is a metasearch tool<br />GS claims to help “you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research”<br />GS is still in Beta<br />Compared with commercial databases in terms of content and searchability<br />
  3. 3. What?<br />According to recent research, the content in Google and GS does not “overlap greatly;” GS does crawl a specific subset of Google material:<br />Books, citations, Word documents, PDF, HTML, conference proceedings, patents, legal opinions, etc…<br />Google does not actually disclose, specifically, what is indexed within GS<br />There is no list of resources crawled, and the frequency of updates is completely unknown<br />Not a lot of full text<br />Links to library holdings using LinkSource<br />
  4. 4. How?<br />No one is really sure about the relevancy algorithm, indexing, or content. We do know that the results are<br />Relevance ranked(default) <br />Although, you can manipulate the dates to show the most recent resources<br />
  5. 5. features<br />Advanced Search (how you’re searching)<br />Scholar Preferences (what you’re searching)<br />Categories (broad areas of research)<br />Library Links<br />Cited By<br />Related Articles<br />Web Search<br />Exporting Citations to Bib Managers<br />
  6. 6. benefits<br />Great tool for verifying partial citations<br />Open access (although not all of its content is)<br />Like its parent, perfect for quick answers<br />Works with a platform with which everyone is already comfortable<br />Can be tied into individual libraries’ catalogs<br />Shows multiple versions of a resource, at a glance<br />
  7. 7. Problems & Drawbacks<br />Inaccurate citation analysis & impact of scholarly material<br />Lack of transparency in content<br />(Apparent) unbalanced subject areas<br />Not very powerful search/lack of search features (compared with commercial databases)<br />No definition of categories/subject areas<br />
  8. 8. Google Scholar is already out there. Our job is not to do battle with it, but to teach our students how to use it wisely…<br /> --Badke, 2009<br /> It is a perfectly decent search tool for those who are looking for quick answers and for questions that have little or no impact on clinical excellence…<br /> --Vine, 2006<br />
  9. 9. Most research agrees…<br />Google Scholar cannot replace or really be used independently of other, commercial databases (unless the researcher is simply looking for a “quick” answer)<br />GS, nonetheless, is a valuable tool when used as part of an overall research plan or cadre of research tools<br />
  10. 10. So, what do we take away from this?<br />Should we include GS in instruction/one-shots? Why/why not?<br />When do we turn to it on the reference desk?<br />Philosophically, what will it do to users if they see us using GS, rather than a library database?<br />How do we answer questions about comparing GS and library databases? <br />Other thoughts/questions?<br />
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