How Google Scholar is transforming the library

Google Scholar can act as a reliable supplement to university library systems

google-scholar-libraryYou’ve probably heard of a little company called Google, right? With the most visited website on the entire internet, millions of people use Google day in and day out, and for good reason.

That being said, the internet is a big place. And, although Google is an excellent search service, the fact that it sifts through results from the entirety of the internet can also be its downfall, thanks to plenty of unreliable sources. However, the research and analysis that is conducted at the higher education level calls for sources of only the highest quality. So, where can students and teachers go to find that upper echelon of scholarly sources?

Luckily, Google provides an answer to this specified need, which is their Google Scholar service. As stated by the company, “Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.”

Google Scholar includes only the best of the best sources, and articles that appear on the service are peer-reviewed. The way that search results are generally ranked is similar to the way that most researches evaluate source strength, taking into account the reputation of the author, where a source was originally published, and “how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature.” In fact, users can specifically see for themselves where else a text has been cited.

Google Scholar even allows students and professors to conduct advanced searches that enable them to more easily find scholarly sources, giving users options such as sorting results by requested dates, the ability to explore related works, and even suggestions to improve search clarity if necessary.

Users also have the ability to set up and customize their own personal Google Scholar library, which can be accessed digitally at any time or place. This allows students to save articles that they might find useful later down the line as they are working on research, while professors can create a backlog of quality materials that they can later distribute to students.

Best of all, though, is the fact that with Google Scholar comes familiarity. Given its identical layout to the standard Google search engine and its acceptance of common language for searches, professors and students who use Google Scholar will never be lost.

(Next page: Why it works well with university libraries)