Google Scholar and You

If you are a student at Arkansas Tech University, you may have experimented with Google Scholar.  Maybe you heard about it from your friends or tried it once at a party.  Maybe you saw results for “scholarly articles” within a regular Google result and decided to click on it, just to see what it was like.

screen shot of google scholar results

This gateway drug of academic resources can appear like harmless fun—a way to quickly find scholarly journal articles in the same way you can find chicken tikka masala recipes and advice for disobedient cats.  But you may not be aware of the pro’s and con’s of this addictive source of scholarly research.  Let the Ross Pendergraft library help you get your facts straight about Google Scholar.

skillet full of academic research journals

PRO’S

  1. Size: The exact number and sources for Google Scholar indexing is unknown, but one study concluded that it indexes over 160 million documents 1.  This makes it one of the largest academic databases around.  Another study estimated that Google Scholar covers about 87% of all scholarly documents accessible on the web in English 2.  For most academic resource searching, Google Scholar can make a quick, one-stop research trip.
  2. Ease of Use: If you are unsure where to go to find scholarly articles, then Google Scholar makes a lot of sense. It covers multiple disciplines such as science, literature, nursing, behavioral sciences, and more. Finding Google Scholar is as simple as Googling it.  Searching is free and includes no login restrictions.   One search box makes the interface simple to use.  Advanced search, if needed, is also simple.  Just click on the arrow in the search box, and another window allows you to search by author, words in the title, and date-ranges.
  3. another view of advanced google scholar advanced google scholarConnects to ATU Library: Google Scholar enables you to select a ‘home’ library to connect resources you find in Google Scholar with full-text access through the Ross Pendergraft Library. In Google Scholar, open Settings, and click on Library Links. In the search box, type in “ATU” or “Ross Pendergraft Library” or “Tech”.  Click the checkbox and save:

Screenshot showing library links in the google Scholar settings

If the articles within your search results are available in full-text at the Ross Pendergraft Library, you will see a link on the right for “Find it At Tech”.

screenshot showing how to connect google scholar to tech resources

CON’S

  1. No “Peer-Reviewed” Button: Most of the databases you find through the library (such as Find It, Academic Search Complete, PsycINFO, ERIC, etc.) include the ability to narrow results by peer-reviewed articles.  This is important to help you drill down to original research that meets the highest of academic standards.  While much of Google Scholar contains peer reviewed articles, a lot of it can be conference proceedings, unpublished scholarly articles, master’s theses, legal summaries, blog posts, and book citations.  So how do you separate the peer-reviewed articles from non-peer-reviewed articles?  There’s no really easy way, unless you are familiar with the publications.  You can also copy and paste the article title in our Find It database, then filter by the Peer-Review buttons there.  But if you have to go through all that, why not just start from Find It in the first place?
  2. screenshot of "peer-review' selection in Find ItNot Everything You Find is Free: While Google Scholar can index a lot of content, much of it is only available via the publisher for purchase. The title links (left-side) will lead you to the publisher website while the links on the right, if available, will lead you to the free PDF available at open-access sites like Research Gate or through the library’s site through “Find it at Tech”.  If you click on the title-level links, the publisher’s website will offer a PDF download for a price, probably between $30-$35.  NEVER PAY!  If you are a student at Arkansas Tech and the article is not available for immediate download in our Find It database, use the Interlibrary Loan service to quickly obtain the article from another library.  No purchase necessary.
  3. Limited Advanced Searching and Inaccuracy: Sure, you can search by words in author and words in the title, but you cannot search or limit results by more sophisticated means like subject searching.  You also can’t limit results to available full-text. The databases in the library, however, offer a variety of tools to help narrow down or make your searches more efficient and precise.  Library databases have indexing done by professional human beings who can assign controlled subject terms and provide quality control.  Google Scholar uses web crawlers to extract data from the publisher websites, and sometimes this data is either incorrect, attributed to the wrong author, or completely false.

Ultimately, Google Scholar can be useful as a source of scholarly information, but it does have its drawbacks.  The resources available at the library website like Find It can be your best bet for accessing full-text, peer-reviewed resources available to you as a tuition-paying student.

Craving more information about Google Scholar and scholarly articles?  Contact your research dealers and knowledge pushers at askalibrarian@atu.edu.  Ask your librarian if Google Scholar is right for you.

 

1Orduña-Malea, E.; Ayllón, J.M.; Martín-Martín, A.; Delgado López-Cózar, E. (2014). About the size of Google Scholar: Playing the numbers. EC3 Working Papers, 18(23). Retrieved from: https://arxiv.org/abs/1407.6239

2Khabsa, M., Giles, C.L. (2014). The number of scholarly documents on the public web. PLOS ONE, 9(5), 1-6. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093949

 

 

 

Back to School Basics

As you can imagine, the Library one of the major stops for new students and newly returning students trying to get ready for the new year.  We get asked a lot questions during this time, and–as librarians–finding answers is well…kind of our ‘thing’.  So we have assembled some of our top FAQ’s for starting the new semester:

How Do I Print My Schedule?

Believe it or not, the OneTech interface is not always the most intuitive for printing, but here’s your lifehack of the day:

  1. Login to OneTech
  2. Click on the STUDENT tab
  3. Scroll down.
  4. Find the green box labeled REGISTRATION TOOLS and click “Student Detail Schedulestudentdetail
  5. Select your term (e.g. Fall 2016)
  6. Highlight the contents on the screen or press Ctrl + A.
  7. Right-click the mouse and select Print.

How Do I . . . Print?

When you get ready to print a document, you may have more than one choice of printer.  The Universal Print Queue is the name for the printer you want.

Screenshot of printer choice.

After you submit a print job, go to any of the printers in the library and login to the print station either by typing in your Tech username and password or swiping your Tech ID.  These are special computers sitting beside the printers used only for releasing print jobs.

Photograph of our print stations, located directly across from the Reference Desk.

Once you are logged in, click on the job you want to print.  This ‘releases’ the print job, and the printer next to the computer will print your papers.

The print station will also tell the cost of the print job and your available balance on your Tech ID.  Every student begins each semester with $20 on their account for printing/copying purposes only. Once you run out, you can add more to the card using the PHIL station on the south end of the Circulation Desk.  Each printed page costs $0.10, and color copies cost $0.30.

There are black-and-white print release stations located on each floor.  To print a color copy jobs, you have to go to the special color print release stations, located on the first and third floors of the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center.

Where is [Building XYZ]?

The library is standing by with stacks of paper maps of the campus, along with helpful, knowledgeable people who can help point you in the right direction.   The Campus Map is located on the University’s homepage.

campusmaprpl

If you have a smartphone with GoogleMaps installed, you will be able to view the buildings and their names after you zoom-in far enough.

Screenshot of GoogleMaps featuring RPL on an Android phone

How Late is the Library Open?

We begin regular hours on Wednesday, August 24th, when the library will be open from 7:00 A.M. until 1:00 A.M. from Mondays through Thursdays.  On Fridays, we close at 6:00 P.M.  On Saturdays, we’re open from 10:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M., and on Sundays, we are open from 2:00 P.M. until 1:00 A.M.  For our full schedule, including holiday and interim break hours, see our website: http://library.atu.edu/about/hours/.

How Do I Search for Articles, Books, DVDs, and More?

Find It is our Google-esque library search designed to connect you to everything the library has to offer, from academic resources like peer-reviewed journal articles to the latest season of Dr. Who.  Start with any basic search, and limit results to items with a certain format, location, publication year, or full-text online.

find it Have more questions?  Email them to your friendly neighborhood librarians at askalibrarian@atu.edu.  Also, check out our growing repository of commonly asked Reference questions at our Ask A Librarian page.  Welcome back and good luck!

Find It Today

The Library is hosting a small celebration of our new discovery tool today from 11:00-2:00, with special instruction sessions occurring each half hour in RPL 300 North.  Join us for cookies, punch, and a little introduction to our new search tool, Find It, now featured on our homepage: http://library.atu.edu/

find it

Use Find It to search scholarly articles, books, ebooks, and DVDs in one place.  Narrow search results with left-hand filters by type, location, full-text, and more.  This interface replaces our library catalog, and indexes all of our Proquest database content, most of our Ebsco content, Web of Science, Jstor, and more.  Our native database interfaces are still available on our A-Z Databases page, but to get quick results in one search, give Find It a try.  We believe this will be a much simpler tool for beginners to find academic resources, but it will also be a more convenient tool for the research pros to quickly find and filter the results they need.

star wars

The Find It tool also includes access to your library account, so you can check on what materials you have currently checked-out, items on hold, or if you have any messages from the Library.  Sign-in with your Tech Username and Password to save searches or add items to an ‘eshelf’ for later browsing and viewing.  If you are off-campus, you will need to sign-in to view search results from Ebsco or Web of Science, since these databases require authentication, even for searching.  If you are on-campus, however, you will automatically see these results.

Drop by today at 11, 11:30, or every thirty minutes until the last session at 1:30 to learn a little more about the interface (or to simply grab some cookies in the library lobby).   There will also be PRIZES at the demos!  Come for the cookies, punch, and prizes–stay for the knowledge bombs.