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


  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


  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  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:

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




8 Library Facts

If you are new to campus, it’s quite possible you haven’t had the chance to visit the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center.  Here are 8 library facts you should know to help you make the most of the collections and services we offer at the Library.

1. We have all the things

Looking for books?  Sure, we’ve got books.  But did you also know we check out graphing calculators?  DVDs?  Audiobooks?  Headphones?  CDs?  Scanners?  Yes, we have all of those, too.  Search our catalog to find all of this and more.  If you just need a quiet place to study, print your paper, or book a study room, we offer that, too.All the things

2. Get started with Libguides

There are so many resource at the Library, it can be overwhelming to find the right resource for your topic.  Where do you start?  LibGuides can give you direction for finding books, articles, and search strategies for whatever assignment is thrown at you.  Compiled by librarians, each guide is tailored for a specific subject, and in some cases, a specific course.


 3. Learn anything with online tutorials

Whether you want to brush up on your Spanish or learn Microsoft Excel, the Library can help you further your education from the comfort of your own dorm room.

  • Mango Languages feature online tutorials for learning 63 languages, including Japanese, English as a second language, and Pirate.
  • If you are more interested in learning software, create an account with the Virtual Training Center (VTC).  As a student (or faculty/staff), you have free access to over 98,000 video tutorials on programming, databases, web design, or basic computer courses through the VTC.
  • For help using library resources, check out our own Library Tutorials page, featuring videos on using Dewey Decimal, online library resources, interlibrary loan, and other services.
Keanu Reeve's face

(Kung Fu tutorials not yet available)

4. Credo Reference is your new best friend

Think of Wikipedia.  Now imagine if it was a reputable, scholarly resource which could connect you to articles, books, and other academic resources about your specific topic.  That’s Credo Reference.  Comprised of hundreds of encyclopedias and dictionaries, it can mean one-stop shopping for many research assignments.  We love it so much, we put it on our homepage.


5. We give away fabulous prizes on social media

Last year, we gave away books, buttons, and even a Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.   We also gave away free information about our hours, events, and new additions to the library.  Like us & follow us.  We might even be giving away something right now…

6. We’re constantly acquiring new stuff

The Library continues to add new books, DVDs, and other materials as the semester progresses.  You can keep up new items by clicking the Open Your Mind logo on the top right corner of our homepage.  That will take you to a list of recently purchased books, movies, and music.

If you are in the library and would like to browse just the new books, we also have a new books section in the lobby, near the south entrance.


7. Can’t find it?  Library A-Z it

We have a new way to navigate every library resource we offer—the Library A-Z page.    The Library A-Z list provides direct links to library maps, electronic tools, policies, collections, contact information, and anything else that we can provide through our website.


8. Home of the ultimate know-it-alls

Despite their godlike powers, the librarians at RPL are highly approachable, friendly, and helpful.  No question is too mundane or too complex for them to lend their expertise and attention.  Give them a call (toll-free) at 855-761-0006 or email them at  Drop by the Reference Desk for on the spot questions.  Remember, you cannot yet contact them through intense mental concentration, but keep checking our website for additional services we may provide in the future.



Signing Day

Ross Pendergraft Library is now recruiting students, faculty, and staff to stand up for libraries by signing the Declaration for the Rights of Libraries.  Stop by the Reference Desk to add your name to the growing list of library supporters from around the world, affirming the right to free, democratic access to information.

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The initiative, created by the American Library Association, aims to capture the importance of libraries of all types into one document which can be distributed and signed by individuals all over the country. It’s a small way to send a big message, that:

  • Libraries Empower the Individual
  • Libraries Support Literacy and Lifelong Learning
  • Libraries Strengthen Families
  • Libraries Build Communities
  • Libraries Protect our Right to Know
  • Libraries are the Great Equalizer
  • Libraries Strengthen our Nation
  • Libraries Advance Research and Scholarship
  • Libraries Help Us to Better Understand Each Other
  • Libraries Preserve Our Nation’s Cultural Heritage

Why is this important?  When times are tight, libraries make an easy target for school districts, cities, and governments to save a little money.  And it is often easier to cut libraries and library funding when ordinary people do not speak up for their immeasurable worth to this country’s literacy, education, and democracy.

Swing by the Reference Desk to add your John Hancock to the roster of names promoting the value of libraries, or sign virtually here.  Help us increase public and media awareness about the critical role of libraries in our community and country one signature at a time.  Feel free to use your fancy glitter pen–we won’t mind.


Top Ten of 2013

Tis’ the season for top ten lists!  Bookstores have best seller lists; libraries have best circulating lists.  Here’s a look at what Arkansas Tech has been reading, watching, and listening to during the year 2013.

Top ten most checked-out books from the Popular Reading collection:

  1. World War Z : an oral history of the zombie war / by Max Brooks.
  2. Cinder / written by Marissa Meyer.
  3. Crown of embers / by Rae Carson
  4. Game of thrones / George R.R. Martin.
  5. Giver / Lois Lowry.
  6. Incarceron / Catherine Fisher.
  7. Scorpio Races / Maggie Stiefvater.
  8. Girl of fire and thorns / Rae Carson.
  9. History of the world according to Facebook / Wylie Overstreet.
  10. Why we broke up / novel by Daniel Handler

Top ten most checked-out audiobooks:

  1. Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone / J.K. Rowling.
  2. Hobbit / by J.R.R. Tolkien.
  3. Game of thrones  / George R.R. Martin.
  4. Feast for crows / George R.R. Martin.
  5. Storm front / Jim Butcher.
  6. Telegraph Avenue : a novel / Michael Chabon.
  7. Bayou trilogy / by Daniel Woodrell.
  8. James Herriot collection / by James Herriot.
  9. Singularity is near : when humans transcend biology / Ray Kurzweil.
  10. Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets / J.K. Rowling.

Top ten most checked-out movies:

  1. Curious case of Benjamin Button
  2. Silver linings playbook
  3. Avatar
  4. Life of Pi
  5. Insidious
  6. Thor
  7. Game of thrones. The complete second season
  8. Skyfall
  9. Walking dead. The complete first season
  10. Spirited away

And the number one most checked-out item in the whole library is….circulation headphones!

Want something from these lists that is checked out?  You can always place a hold request on the item so that when it returns, you will be the first to know.  Just find the item in the online catalog, and pick “Place a Hold or Recall” action from the top left of your screen.

Place a hold

For questions about placing holds, checking out items, or searching the online catalog, contact your ever popular librarians:  Happy new year!

List of Databases?

Databases: they come in different shapes and sizes. Some provide full-text, and some have only abstracts.  Some are interdisciplinary and cover a little bit of everything; some are focused on one particular subject.

If you’ve ever used our main “Article” search box on the homepage, you have sampled one of our most interdisciplinary databases–Academic Search Complete.

Article search page

It covers a little bit of everything, includes peer-reviewed articles, and makes a great launching point for undergraduate research.  Maybe you’ve tried it, and found a few resources you could use.

But what if you need more?  What if you couldn’t find…anything?


If at first you don’t succeed, try another database.  We subscribe to over 150, in fact, and they can all be accessed from our homepage, under Research, in Tech Databases.

The list is organized in alphabetical order and includes a description of each database beside the name.  Under the Access column, you’ll find that most of the databases are Tech-only, meaning you must be a student, faculty, or staff to access the content.  If you live off-campus, you’ll be prompted to login using your Tech ID and password before using the database.  On-campus, however, you will have seamless access, though some databases can only be used on-campus.

How do you know what databases are right for you?  If your research is focused on a particular subject, like music or psychology, click the subject terms to the left of the list.  You will then see a much shorter list of databases you might want to use for a more subject-focused set of results.

Problems?  More questions?  Contact your friendly neighborhood librarian: 

You can also contact us via phone or in person, anytime the library is open.

Happy searching!

Survey says…

Last month, over 500 Tech Library users participated in the annual spring Library survey and provided important feedback to help improve library services and collections.  Several of you provided comments or asked specific questions about some of the library’s services.  Since you took the time to share your thoughts, we would like to take the time to answer some of the questions and share our plans to improve in the areas which are in our control, and identify areas not in our control.  Below were some of the most commonly asked questions.


Q. I have a difficult time finding library resources and using the databases is very confusing. Do you have any ‘how to’ guides for finding resources or ways to make searching for information easier?

A. The Library has access to several databases, journals, books, and other materials –so many, in fact, that it can be very difficult to know where to begin searching. Here are some of the resources we have to assist students and faculty on how to use the Library:

1. Video Tutorials: The Library website actually has an entire page devoted to tutorials for most of our commonly used databases.  Here is how to get there: > Help > Database Tutorials.  Many of these tutorials are YouTube videos with step-by-step instructions.  We also have library tutorials on how to use the Dewey Decimal system, the Library Catalog, and Interlibrary Loan Services.  These are all located at > Help > Library Tutorials.  We plan to add two new videos: “Intro to the Tech Library Online Resources” and “Search Efficiently the Online Catalog with Subjects” for the fall 2013 semester.

2. Instruction: The Library also provides personal and group instruction throughout the year, at the library or in a classroom elsewhere on campus.  Students can schedule one-on-one instruction with Sherry Tinerella, 479-964-0571 or a Library Tour with Beverly Cooper at, 479-498-6041.  Faculty can also contact Sherry Tinerella for classroom instruction or library tours.  For more information, view our Information for Faculty page ( > Services > Information for Faculty). We are also implementing a new faculty-oriented instructional session before the fall 2013 semester begins, in addition to new subject guides for students.

Website Navigation

Q. It takes a lot of clicks to get around on your website, and I have a very hard time finding anything!  Can you make navigation better?

A. There is a horizontal menu on every Library page, but many links lead outside of the Library site, and thus the navigation becomes different. To ease finding, we are creating a Tech Library sitemap with an alphabetized list of all library services and tools.  Coming soon this fall!

Journals (print and online)

Q. How come the Library does not have more full-text journals and articles?

A. Academic journal prices are very expensive.  We evaluate our journal subscriptions yearly and base our selection on factors like field specialization, feedback from faculty, cost, budget constraints, electronic availability, and usage. A balance of cost of subscription per number of uses is a strong indicator as to whether we keep or cancel journal subscriptions.  In other words—use it or lose it.

If you cannot find a particular article or journal title, Interlibrary Loan services can, in most cases, assist you in acquiring the article.  Copyright and other agreements may restrict usage, so we may not be able to satisfy all article requests.

Students are also encouraged to suggest journals titles by emailing us at or by using our online suggestion form located on our “Contact Us” page ( > Services >Contact Us).  Faculty members should send their requests directly to their departmental library liaison or department head.


Q. The Library is too loud, and there are not enough quiet places for me to study.  Can you make the Library a quieter place?

A. While we cannot be everywhere at once, our staff will be more vigilant in enforcing our existing noise policy.  We also have a new service desk on the second floor, next to the Music Lab, to help monitor noise levels during the day.  In addition, we are creating new signage to help remind students of designated quiet zones.  Designated quiet zones are located in the southeast corner of the first floor and the eastern half of the second floor.  If you hear someone being excessively loud, please feel free to notify staff.


Q. Will you extend the Library hours to 24/7?

A. Over a quarter of all 328 comments suggested extending hours or have 24/7 hours as the most important way to improve one’s Library experience.  However, in order to extend our hours, we need additional funding for the extra Library staff, computer services, and campus security—even for just a short time period like finals.


Q. It is too cold in the winter time and too hot in the summer time. Can you make the temperatures more comfortable?

A. Temperature controls are set by campus administration in an effort to save energy.


Q. Why can’t we have food and drinks in the Library?  What about vending machines or a coffee shop?

A. This is also something set by campus administration policy.  Food and drink can bring additional problems to the Library from insects, stains, and equipment damage.

Study Rooms

Q. Where did our study rooms go?

A. This was another common response, and it is also out of our control.  As Arkansas Tech grows and buildings undergo renovation, available space for displaced offices has become a serious problem throughout the campus.  The study rooms in the Library help alleviate these temporary shortages, and eventually, these study spaces will return as the other buildings are completed.  In the meantime, reserve the remaining study spaces early, and we will do our best to accommodate your group.

Thanks to everyone who took the survey and provided feedback.  For additional comments or collection suggestions, contact us at  Students also have the opportunity to voice their concerns and questions through their Student Government Association:


Extended Hours

Beginning next Sunday, April 21st, Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center will be operating under extended hours to help students prepare for final exams.  Below is the complete schedule from April 21st to May 7th:

Sunday, April 21 2:00 pm – 1:00 am
Mon., April 22 – Thu., April 25 7:00 am – 1:00 am
Friday, April 26 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday, April 27 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday, April 28 2:00 pm – 1:00 am
Mon., April 29 – Tue., April 30 7:00 am – 1:00 am
Wed., May 1 – Thu., May 2 7:00 am – 12:00 am
Friday, May 3 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday, May 4 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday, May 5 2:00 pm – 12:00 am
Monday, May 6 7:00 am – 12:00 am
Tuesday, May 7 7:00 am – 11:00 pm

Our full schedule, including current hours, can be viewed on the library’s homepage.

Lost Flash Drives

The Circulation desk at Ross OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPendergraft Library reports that over 100 flash drives have been left behind in the computer labs.  Because of the location of the USB ports behind the monitor, it’s easy to walk off and leave your papers, music, photos, or other documents stuck in a computer.  When a lost flash drive is recovered, the Circulation staff first checks the device for any identifying information in the contents, like a paper or resume or other document with a name. Once a name has been identified as a current student, an email is sent to their official Arkansas Tech email account.   But many students never come claim their flash drives, and many more are lost every semester.

If you think you have left your flash drive in a library computer, swing by the Circulation desk to see if they still have it.  Owners must have an ID and some information about the size and contents of the device to claim it. You can give them a call at 479-964-0569.

Additionally, the 3rd floor Technology Center will also keep lost flash drives, and other materials left in the computer lab, for a certain period of time.  Contact Debbie Ennis at 479-498-6060 in room 306.

In the meantime, it is a good idea to always check that you have a file or document on it containing your contact information just in case you leave it behind.


Federal TRiO logo program Student Support Services is now located on the 2nd floor of the Ross Pendergraft Library & Technology Center as of Friday, February 1, 2013. Director Lori Wineland and SSS Advisors, Lindsey Riedmueller and Nichole Christensen, along with a staff of peer tutors assist the 140 TRiO logo program participants. The goal of the program is to increase the retention and graduation rates among first generation, low income, and/or disabled students by providing comprehensive, individualized academic support. TRiO logo program SSS offers tutoring, informative workshops, study skills, financial aid information, economic financial literacy, career advising, academic advising, mentoring, cultural enrichment, graduate school planning, and much more!
For more information on TRiO logo SSS, go to

Good Reads!

Popular Reading Collection

Popular Reading Collection

Popular Reading books are here!  Last semester, we asked for your suggestions for good reading, and they have arrived!  You can find Fight Club, Hunger Games, The Watchmen, and more titles on the first floor of the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center, near the south entrance by the stairwell. You can also browse the new collection online through our online catalog or search as a subject “Popular Reading Collection.”
Have more suggestions?  Help us grow this collection by sharing your favorite books with the Arkansas Tech community.  Email us or use the comment fields below to suggest what you would like to read when all your assigned reading is over.  In the meantime, keep checking the shelf for new titles throughout the spring semester.