What is Google Scholar?
Google Scholar is a web resource that allows users to search for journal articles, citations, theses, preprints and book availability on the web. Materials located using Google Scholar come from a wide variety of sources, including:
- Selected academic publishers
- Selected Professional society publishers
- Preprint repositories
- Scholarly articles available across the open web
For books, Google Scholar uses OCLC'S Open WorldCat to determine if libraries in the area (including the University of Minnesota Libraries) own a particular title.
Google Scholar is useful as a jumping off point for your research, but to do in-depth research, you need to use a subject specific database provided by the University of Minnesota Libraries. If you are not sure which resource to use, try QuickStart, a library guide to resources in specific subjects.
It is a good rule of thumb to search several different databases when doing academic research.
A COUPLE OF THINGS TO BE AWARE OF WHEN USING GOOGLE SCHOLAR:
- Google Scholar does not provide a complete list of publishers, professional societies or other organizations that they are partnering with.
- Google is not releasing the parameters it considers when determining if a source is scholarly or not.
- You will need to look at the source and decide if it is scholarly or not. It is always a good idea to evaluate your sources.
- For more information, check out our tutorial on Evaluating Sources at: http://tutorial.lib.umn.edu/infomachine.asp?moduleID=9.
- Google Scholar currently lacks the ability to easily focus your search with features that are specifically designed for a given discipline.
- Comprehensive, highly developed subject databases are a much better choice when you need both reliable access and sophisticated search techniques.
- The following is a list of sample search limits that can be made in a few of the subject databases subscribed to by the University Libraries:
- Human subjects in PSYCHINFO
- Class of organism in BIOLOGICAL ABSTRACTS
- Chemical properties in SCIFINDER SCHOLAR
- Treatment in MEDLINE
To access the subject databases, go to the Libraries ARTICLE INDEXES page at: https://www.lib.umn.edu/indexes.