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How to Use the Library Databases

This library research guide provides an introduction to using the library databases.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar can be a great tool for research, because, unlike standard Google searches, Google Scholar searches just a small part of the Internet for scholarly materials.

However, Google Scholar is generally best used as a starting point or for gathering background information. It should not be the only place you search.

Also, many articles you find in Google Scholar may ask for payment to view the full text - instead of paying to view a resource, fill out an Interlibrary Loan request! There is an excellent chance that another library will have the requested resource and will allow us to borrow it at no charge.

For more information on searching Google Scholar, check out their "Search Tips".


            google scholar advantages and disadvantages chart

Searching Google

Google can be helpful for your research. Here are some ways to make sure you're getting the best you can out of it:

  • Use Google Advanced Search: next to the search box, click on Advanced Search. Use AND, OR, and NOT.
  • Use Google Scholar: go up to the top of the Google page, and click on the link "more." Choose Scholar from the list. Google Scholar will bring you back scholarly journal articles; we have access to the ones with links on the right!
  • Use Google Books: in the same place you clicked for Scholar, try Books. Some books are available online, full-text, in PDF!
  • Use your skepticism: don't forget that Google is primarily a company that exists to make money. Try going to the second and third results pages.

Other helpful tricks to use include:

  • Quotation Marks “” : Just like when searching in our databases you can use quotation marks to search of an exact set of words or name
    • “To infinity and beyond!”
  • Dashes - : Instead of the word “not” to remove a word from your search results google uses dashes before the word. Essentially you are subtracting the word from your search
    • Liberty - Justice
  • TILDE ~: You can  use the tilde to include synonyms in your search
    • Breakfast ~Pastry
  • This allows you to search only with in a specific site or type of site
    • SITE:GOV -Searches through only .gov websites
    • SITE: -Searches through only
  • Two Periods .. : This allows you to look for things within a range
    • Fashion 1940..1945: This gives you results that have the word fashion in it and any date between 1940 and 1945