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					Google Scholar & Other Scholarly Search Engines

With the sheer volume of information            on your research topic. You can
now available on the Web it makes               search for articles with all your
sense to use specialist search engines,         keywords (diabetes AND treatment),
where possible, to restrict your results        any of your keywords (UK OR United
to those which are most relevant to             Kingdom) or search for an exact
your needs. As different search                 phrase (climate change). You can also
engines use different indexing policies,        restrict your search to only article title,
some automatic and some using human             journal title, broad subject area (e.g.
input, it is advisable not to rely too          Engineering or Medicine) or date, as
heavily on only one search engine.              well as look for articles by particular
Google is a popular search engine, but          authors.
in the case of university researchers
and students Google Scholar is a more           Finding full text
appropriate starting point, although
researchers may wish to start with              There are links to full-text journal
specialist subscription databases; see          articles in Google Scholar, but many of
the section on ‘Other scholarly search          these articles need to be paid for unless
engines’ below.                                 the Library has a subscription to the
                                                journal in which they are published or
Google Scholar is Google’s academic             they are in an Open Access repository.
search engine, aimed at students and            The University of Birmingham Library
researchers in universities. It is              has created links in Google Scholar to
targeted at higher education and so is a        enable you to get the full-text of
better choice than Google itself as it          articles from the electronic journals
excludes many irrelevant or                     that we subscribe to. There are four
inappropriate WebPages (such as                 routes to finding the full text of
commercial sites and those aimed at             documents:
school children). This makes it easier
to find material relevant to university             •   If you see the
learning and research whilst using the                  FullText!@BHAM link after
familiar Google interface. The main                     the title, it means we have a
focus of Google Scholar is journal                      subscription. Clicking on this
articles, but it indexes other types of                 link will take you to a menu
publications as well, for example                       which may give you several
theses, books, preprints and technical                  choices of platforms for the full
reports.                                                text. Click on the ‘Go’ button
                                                        to get to the full text.
The advanced search on Google
Scholar allows you to refine your                   •   A FindIt!@BHAM link
search to find the most relevant articles               amongst the links at the end of


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       the record means that Google              2. Configuring the FindIt!@BHAM
       Scholar is not aware of a                 button without using eLibrary
       University of Birmingham
       Library subscription but will             It is still possible to use Google
       check to see if there is one.             Scholar off-campus without logging
                                                 into eLibrary by setting Google
   •   If the Library does not                   Scholar preferences. You can do this
       subscribe to the journal in               automatically by:
       which the article is published,
       you may still be able to see a               1) Going to
       free version of the paper if it is              http://scholar.google.co.uk/scho
       in an Open Access repository (a                 lar_setprefs?inststart=0&hl=en
       place where research material                   &lang=all&inst=17751156072
       is stored and whose contents                    147973302&num=10&newwin
       are freely available to                         dow=1&scis=no
       everyone). However this may                  2) This will take you to the
       be a pre-publication version                    Google Scholar search page but
       (known as a preprint). To                       will first set up your browser
       locate such free articles you                   with default preferences
       will need to click on the link to               including:
       other versions e.g. all 3                           a. FullText!@BHAM
       versions » which occurs after                            button
       the title if present.                               b. English language search
                                                                page
   •   If there is no subscription and                     c. Results in any language
       no free version of the article, it                  d. 10 results per page
       is possible that we have a print                    e. Open links in new
       copy of the journal. To find                             window
       out if we do you need to search              3) Save preferences
       for the title of the journal in the          4) Searching will now result in
       Library Catalogue at                            hits with BHAM links.
       http://libcat.bham.ac.uk                        Clicking on these to gain full-
                                                       text access will direct users via
NB You will only see the                               the University of Birmingham
FullText!@BHAM and                                     log-in screen.
FindIt!@BHAM links if you are
using a computer on-campus.                      Alternatively, if you have any
                                                 problems with this, you can manually
Using Google Scholar and                         configure your Google Scholar
FindIt@BHAM links off-campus                     preferences:

1. Logging into eLibrary                            1) Go to Google Scholar and click
                                                       on ‘Scholar Preferences’.
This is the main route for using                    2) Scroll down to ‘Library links’
Google Scholar off-campus.                             and type ‘Birmingham’ into the
                                                       search box. Click ‘Find
Searching Google Scholar from here                     Library’.
will result in hits with FindIt!@BHAM               3) Select ‘University of
& FullText!@BHAM links.                                Birmingham –
                                                       FullText!@BHAM.


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   4) Save preferences.
   5) Searching will now result in                •   It searches only sites which
      hits with BHAM links.                           contain scholarly works,
      Clicking on these to gain full-                 although it is not clear how it
      text access will direct users via               defines this.
      the University of Birmingham
      log-in screen.                              •   It is a large database,
                                                      containing many different
 You should be able to get a summary,                 resources, so it is easy to find
called an abstract, for articles where                something quickly.
we have no subscription to the journal;
this should give you enough                       •   You can import references
information to decide if it is worth                  from Google Scholar into
tracking down the original. To track                  reference management
down articles we do not have access to                packages like Endnote or
at Birmingham you can either visit                    Reference Manager. However,
another university library                            this does not always work as
www.library.bham.ac.uk/using/borrow                   well as it might and there are
ing/                                                  other databases, such as Web of
or have it delivered to Birmingham                    Science,
from the British Library using the                    http://wok.mimas.ac.uk where
inter-library loan service                            this process is more reliable.
www.library.bham.ac.uk/using/borrow
ing/interlibraryloans.shtml. Please note          •   It searches Open Access
that there is a small fee for the latter              repositories which means you
service (currently £7.50) unless your                 can find free versions of
department is prepared to pay.                        articles.

Where there is not FullText!@BHAM                 •   It may be better at finding ‘grey
or FindIt!@BHAM link in the Google                    literature’ such as reports,
Scholar record, this means the item is                which are not indexed in the
not a journal article but some other                  subscription databases found
form of publication, such as a                        on the eLibrary.
conference paper, book etc. You will
therefore need to check the Library
Catalogue and eLibrary to see if the           Google Scholar should not be the
Library has a copy of the publication.         only resource discovery tool you use
If not, you can get other forms of             because:
publications on inter-library loan (see
above) or from other libraries.                   •   It gives the impression of wider
                                                      coverage than is actually the
                                                      case. Some important
Google Scholar is a good starting                     publishers of academic journals
point for your research because:                      are not included.
   •   It is easy to use.                         •   Publishers are reluctant to
                                                      make their content freely
   •   It uses the Google interface                   available which restricts the
       which is familiar to most                      scope of Google Scholar.
       people.


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•   Google is a free service and                •   Google Scholar is currently
    uses software to index material                 only a beta (or testing) service
    rather than using people. This
    leads to inconsistencies in             Other scholarly search engines.
    indexing, e.g. in the way
    authors are indexed. To search          The Library pays for a large number of
    for Ian Andrew Smith you                databases, many of which are
    would therefore need to search          abstracting and indexing databases
    for ‘I Smith’, ‘Ian A. Smith’,          (also known as bibliographic
    ‘Ian Andrew Smith’ as well as           databases) which are essentially search
    ‘IA Smith’.                             engines for finding published research
                                            in the form of journal articles,
•   It is not possible to search the        conference papers, reports, theses, etc.
    indexes of the database to              Some of the databases, like Web of
    check spellings or the number           Science, are multi-disciplinary
    of hits for a particular keyword.       (including arts and humanities despite
                                            the name), whereas others like
•   It is not clear what Google             Anthropology Plus are very subject-
    Scholar’s coverage is in terms          specific. Some contain only the
    of dates, sources, and                  bibliographic details of a publication,
    frequency of updating etc.              (that is the details which enable you to
                                            locate the original item, e.g. in the case
•   It is not even in its coverage of       of a journal article the journal name,
    disciplines, for example                article title, author(s), volume, page
    science, technology and                 numbers, etc). There are often links to
    medicine are covered more               full-text where the Library pays for
    comprehensively than business           (i.e. subscribes to) the journal.
    and the humanities.                     However some databases allow full-
                                            text access to all the documents they
•   It is better at finding more            contains (known as full-text
    common material, that is                databases), such as British Standards
    heavily used, but less                  Online
    successful at finding obscure or
    unusual material that can be of         To find bibliographic databases in your
    importance to researchers. This         subject area use the eLibrary
    is due to the algorithms used in        www.elibrary.bham.ac.uk Choose the
    the relevance ranking of the            Find Resources tab, on the top blue
    results.                                menu, then the ‘Browse by Subject’
                                            tab above the search box and then
•   It is not possible to sort your         choose your subject from the left-hand
    results by date, author or              column and then any subset from the
    journal name which many other           right-hand column. Click Go to get a
    databases allow.                        list of databases; the icon gives
                                            further information.
•   Google Scholar primarily
    indexes electronically available        Because the suppliers of these
    material, so a researcher runs          databases charge libraries for access to
    the risk of missing material            them they pay great attention to the
    only published in a printed             consistency and quality of the data
    format.                                 they contain, and have developed


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sophisticated search engines to help
you extract the most useful information
for your research.

More information can be found in the
Subject Guides at
www.library.bham.ac.uk/searching/gui
des/subjectguides.shtml

If you are looking for quality
WebPages rather than journal articles
the best search engine to use is Intute
www.intute.ac.uk because although
this is a free site cataloguing websites
in many disciplines, all the websites
are evaluated by subject specialists for
use in higher education. Databases
like Intute that catalogue WebPages
are often called Subject Gateways.

We therefore recommend that you use
some of these databases to find
publications for your research, as well
as Google Scholar.

If you would like further help carrying
out your literature search please
contact the Subject Advisor for your
discipline. A list of Subject Advisors
can be found at
www.library.bham.ac.uk/searching/sub
jectsupport/




All Library Services documents are available in other formats, please contact Library
      Services on 0121 414 5828 or www.library.bham.ac.uk/help/ask.shtml/ for
                                    information

                                                        G.04 – AP/SLP – 17/10/2010




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