Skip to Main Content

Introduction to Power Searching Workshop: 4. Outsider Discovery Tools



Using Google Scholar with RefWorks:

Google Scholar Pros - Cons - & Alternaive Academic Search Engines

  • Google Scholar is a SEARCH ENGINE, not a bibliographic index.
  • It crawls across publisher's websites
  • You get some control in ADVANCED SEARCH FORMAT [see box below]
  • Free text searching / Natural Language

Pros :

  • It is free !
  • Crawls open access institutional repositories** which hold Open ACCESS articles for download
  • Connects to Refworks
  • Currency


  • No controlled vocabulary [subject headings/descriptors]
  • What is included? What is not?
  • Cannot export groups of citations
  • Even Google is not sure what they are crawling [ or it is a trade secret and they are not saying !!]

When I use Google Scholar the most :

Best for quick reference or discovering keywords.
Useful for complementing your power search.

Weakest for comprehensive scholarly searching, e.g. CRR / Literature Review


Google Books

Bonus : Google Books ngrams [frequency of a word in print over time]


Google Book Search

What is Google Books

Read more about Google Books at Google

The Google Book Project : Scan in every book in the world !

The Law Suits re. copyright and fair use, International Law

Where Google Books is today [and this is always a moving target]

  • "The Preview" version is publisher's option if "in print"
  • Public Domain / out of copyright books can be found in full text - often free download
  • Some books may be purchased through Google Play ["largest bookstore in the world"] - Download in many formats, for many readers - sometimes First Chapter Free
  • Individual authors may publish in Google Books

Library Uses :

  • Discovery:  If, after preview, you see a chapter you like, order on We Deliver
  • If you seek the whole book, check to see if held in our ebook collection
  • If not, order on We Deliver 
  • Full text phrase searching across so many books : powerful, if your phrase is unique  - overwhelming, if common
  • A good look at a Reference chapter may be helpful for discovery