Thursday, September 20, 2007

Localizing Google Scholar

I'm encountering more students and faculty who have discovered Google Scholar. Google Scholar is Google's attempt at creating a database of relevant information about scholarly books and articles. Those books and articles that have free full-text on the web can be linked to directly. The problem arises when the article is from a publisher who holds the copyright and only wants to allow subscribers ($$$ paid)to have access to these articles. If you are a faculty, staff or student at South Alabama you MAY have access to these articles IF the library subscribes to the journal. But you have to make your association clear to Google.
On the homepage of Google Scholar to the right of the search box click on the words "Scholar Preferences." In about the middle of the page that comes up enter "University of South Alabama" next to the words Library Links.

Click on the words "Find Library." A line with our schools name will show up below this box. Check the box in front of our name. Now Google Scholar will let you know which of the journals we subscribe to by indicating "USA eText" next to the citations returned. Click on "USA eText." On the next screen pick a USA Library subscription database through which you can access the article.

Google has not, or will not, let us know which publishers are included in this "database." Your best bet for a thorough search on your topic is to use the library databases. Sure, supplement with Google Scholar, but be aware that much more may be available through the library's subscriptions to databases and online journals. Limiting yourself to only one tool is never a good idea. Talk to your librarians about where you might go to find the best info on your chosen topic.

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