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Michael Schwartz Library

Google Scholar

Purpose of Google Scholar

Google Scholar

According to Google's website, the purpose of Google Scholar is to allow you to:

  • Search all scholarly literature from one convenient place
  • Explore related works, citations, authors, and publications
  • Locate the complete document through your library or on the web
  • Keep up with recent developments in any area of research
  • Check who's citing your publications, create a public author profile

Strengths and Weaknesses of Google Scholar

Strengths of Google Scholar

  • Can help beginning researchers identify journal titles and authors connected with subjects of interest.
  • Helpful for finding "grey literature" like conference proceedings. It includes many articles that wouldn't get included in other indexing services.
  • Easier to find obscure references that are difficult to find in conventional databases.
  • Can access books and articles in a single search.

Weaknesses of Google Scholar

  • Can't sort/search by disciplinary field or browse by title
  • Ability to limit search results is not as robust as in a library database
  • Doesn't show you everything available to you through library resources
  • Not everything you find will be accessible through the library or open access
  • We don't know what Google is including in its searches or how it ranks those materials; we also don't know how often Google Scholar materials are updated