Navigating your way through Google Scholar
What is Google Scholar?
Google Scholar is a free, online tool that searches "across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.” Although not all of Google Scholar's citations are peer-reviewed, searchers may find that the resource helps them discover citations they would not find in traditional databases.
Accessing Google Scholar
Access Google Scholar using ER to link directly to the LRC's full-text holdings and Worldcat.
Click on the hyperlink in the upper right hand corner titled “scholar preferences.”
Here you may make the following changes:
- Under “interface language,” you can change the language from English or change the language results are returned in with “search language.”
- Under Library preferences, USUHS and Open World Cat should already be selected.
- You may change the number of results displayed on each page.
- You may choose if you want to have your results open in a new screen by checking “open results in new browser window.”
- To ease the process of importing citations, in the section called "Bibliography manager," select the radio button “show links to import citations into...” Then select “EndNote” from the drop down box.
When you are finished, click "Save Preferences" to apply the changes.
Search tips for Google Scholar
Google Scholar allows users to employ "keyword" searching to locate citations. Because of this, users may need to supply synonyms and variant spellings for search terms. For instance, a search of HIV will retrieve HIV, but not AIDS or human immunodeficiency virus. You may have to perform several searches or use multiple terms to find all relevant articles with Google Scholar.
To search, users may either use the search box on the main page or “Advanced Scholar Search,” linked from the main page. Entering a term in the keyword box will recall many links, but for better precision try using some of the following operators.
- + the plus sign will search for all the terms you request, i.e. airborne + pathogens
- - the minus sign will ignore terms you request, i.e. “flowers-author: flowers”
- phrase search-if you are looking for a certain phrase. Put your phrase in “quotation marks” and Google will search for that phrase, ie "Toxic Shock Syndrome."
- OR-putting an “OR” between search terms will either one or the other word. For instance,
“HIV OR AIDS” will return either links with “HIV or Aids” in title or full text. Make sure to capitalize the “OR.”
- intitle:- use this operator if you only want the term in the title, i.e. "intitle:blood."
Use the “Advanced Scholar Search”
- Find articles-put your search term(s) in the correct box and use the drop box narrow your search for the title only or anywhere in the article.
- Author-use this box if you know the author you want. Put their name first name, then last name. Google may return different authors with the same name and you will have to tell the difference.
- Publication-Enter the publication (e.g. journal) title you want. You may have to enter the different titles used because Google Scholar only searches for the term you entered. For instance, you may need to enter “JAMA OR Journal of the American Medical Association.”
- Subject areas-you can limit the search to only certain subject areas.
Search Results explained
- Check USU Availability-links to database or catalog to locate item. Sometimes this will say “FIND IT @USUHS.”
- Cited by- performs a search where this article is in the citations.
- Related articles-performs a new search on articles with similar topics.
- Library search-performs a search through World Cat to identify other libraries that have the item.
- Import into EndNote-Click on this link to import citation information into an EndNote Library. If presented with an option to "Open" or "Save" the file, select "Open." You may need to select Endnote as the application with which to open this type of file. Endnote will then ask you to select an Endnote library to import the citation into.
- BL Direct-you can purchase item from British Library.
Google Scholar is not perfect
Google Scholar is a good tool if you need articles or citations from academic areas that the USUHS Databases do not cover, i.e. Social Sciences or Business. Also, Google Scholar accesses Open Source articles that some databases may not have. On the downside, Google Scholar can not distinguish between authors who may have the same name, ie Walter Reed, Walter E. Reed, or W. Reed. Because there are no human indexers involved, Google's computer algorithms will sometimes make mistakes, such as misreading an author's university affiliation as an additional author. Google scholar allows users to limit their search to broad categories, such as Social Science, but not smaller categories such Middle East Politics or the Civil War. Since a subject index does not exist, one can not browse the subject catalog for articles.
For further information, contact the Reference Librarian. Last Updated:02/17/2011