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Making the Most of Google for Healthcare
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Making the Most of Google for Healthcare


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Understand some of the services Google provides, such as Google Scholar and Google Co-op and know how to use some of the advanced search tools. Be aware of some of the limitations of Google.

Understand some of the services Google provides, such as Google Scholar and Google Co-op and know how to use some of the advanced search tools. Be aware of some of the limitations of Google.

Published in: Business, Technology

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  • Transcript

    • 1. Making the Most of Google Jason Curtis Electronic Resources Librarian Shrewsbury and Telford Health Libraries
    • 2. Learning Outcomes
      • By the end of this presentation you should:
      • Know about some of the services Google offers
      • Know about some of the advanced search tools
      • Know about some of the limitations of Google
    • 3. What is Google?
      • One of a number of search engines that aim to index the whole internet
      • It has indexed over 25 billion web pages, including file types such as Word and PDF documents and Excel spreadsheets
      • Google attempts to rank results based on presence of keywords searched for and links to page from other sites (PageRank)
    • 4. Google’s Limitations
      • It is not able to index much information contained within databases, catalogues etc. The so-called ‘deep web’
      • It’s results only as good as the information available – the quality of information found needs to be appraised
    • 5. What does it offer?
      • Some of the most useful services for health are:
      • Google Search (the first page you normally see)
      • Google Images
      • Google Scholar
      • Google Co-op (includes health pages)
    • 6. Google Advanced Search
      • Google Advanced Search allows you to:
      • Limit to English language only
      • Limit by type of file (such as Word or PDF)
      • Search for phrases (such as “allergic reaction”)
      • Exclude word (ulcers not diabetic)
      • Search by domain or site (such as
    • 7. Other Google search tips
      • Google search also offers:
      • Synonym searching (~angina)
      • Definitions (define:rosacea)
      • Limit to UK pages only using the checkbox on the main page
    • 8. Google Images
      • Searches over 1 million images of variable quality and size
      • See for more resources for healthcare
    • 9. Google Scholar
      • Aims to index material from academic journals, theses, books and other scholarly material covering all disciplines
      • Has some very limited options for field searching, date limits and publication searching
    • 10. Limitation of Google Scholar
      • Not all academic journals indexed
      • Frequency of updates is unknown
      • No links to NHS e-journals
      • No information about locally held print journals
      • Lacks features such as combining searches, limiting to age group or publication type, saving searches or creating alerts
    • 11. Advantages of Google Scholar
      • Extremely quick and easy to use
      • Can sometimes throw up articles not retrieved in a database search (e.g. Medline, CINAHL)
      • You can see who has cited a paper
      • Useful for searches outside the field of healthcare, where the NHS has no access to appropriate databases
    • 12. Alternatives to Google Scholar
      • The National Library for Health provides access to databases including Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED, PsycINFO, HMIC, British Nursing Index and Health Business Elite
      • These offer advanced search features and provide links to NHS e-journals
    • 13. Google Co-op (including Health)
      • Pages can be tagged by bodies working in the field (such as the US National Library for Health)
      • A search for a basic medical condition will bring up a list of categories to choose from
      • Works well, but not perfect as not all useful pages tagged
    • 14. Google Co-op
      • Google Co-op also allows the creation of personalised search engines, for example:
      • UK Patient Information
      • Medical and Surgical Wikis
    • 15. Other Features
      • Currency conversions (such as ‘12$ in £’ or ‘£5 in €’)
      • Converting units of measurement (such as ‘12oz in grams’ or ‘150ml in cups’)
      • Calculations (such as ‘15% of 240’ or ’34.5/4’)
      • Translation tools that allow you to convert passages of text or web pages in selected languages
    • 16. Other features cont.
      • Personalised iGoogle home page that can contain search boxes, RSS feeds, news, maps and more
    • 17. Finally…
      • Google is not a replacement for resources such as healthcare databases, library catalogues or systematic reviews of evidence
      • Can be useful for ‘quick and dirty’ searches but should not be relied upon
      • Consider it one of a range of tools, and come along for training on the others available