Searching Google and Library Databases – UVic Libraries Research Help video

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There are a lot of tools out there for doing research for school, and they all have their pros and cons. Google searches can really open up a lot of ideas and information. It can often return too much information. I’ve spent a lot of time sifting through the masses looking for material that’s actually useful. Especially when my instructors ask for scholarly sources. Google just doesn’t cut it. Google returns whichever sites are most popular, and are visited or linked to the most. This usually won’t be a scholarly site. Google Scholar is a much better use of Google’s assets and strengths. I can use Google Scholar from anywhere, but if I want the full text, my best bet is to go through the UVic Libraries website, since that way I’ll have access to their subscriptions. A downside with Google Scholar is not being able to limit or refine my search results very much. It can leave the results pretty overwhelming. Google Scholar looks for keywords in either the source title or everywhere else. Often, great sources won’t have my keywords in the title. Not everything is in Google Scholar either. Although one article from a specific publication may be posted on the web, others might not be. The pros of Google Scholar are that it shows all the works that article has cited, how many times the article has been cited elsewhere, as well as related articles. Related articles are ones that cite the same sources as the article I select. Summon is like Google, but specific to sources within the UVic Libraries. Just like Google, it can sometimes return an overwhelming amount of sources. However, unlike Google Scholar, it also allows me to refine my search with limitations like: full text, peer review, content type, subject, language, and publication date. This is really important because there are constant advancements to research, and we want the most up-to-date information. Summon returns books, journal articles, DVDs, CDs, images, and everything else the catalogue has to offer. If you’d like to focus your research on a particular discipline, try a subject specific database. These can be found here, under the databases tab, or in the Subject Guides under the Research Help tab. Subject Guides will help you choose the right tool for the job, so you can find more, faster. To refine your searches even more, check out our tutorials on Subject Guides and Keyword Searches.

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