How to Use Google Scholar (Or Not)

Google Scholar searches the contents of many (but not all) academic journals. However, it does not provide access to the fulltext material. If you are off-campus, you will be prompted to log in or buy the article.

If you follow the Alkek Library link to Google Scholar here, you will have to sign in ONCE with your NET ID and then it’s all clear sailing.

In any case, please don’t buy the article – you can get it through us.  If you hit a dead end, use interlibrary loan.

Google Scholar does not search ALL the scholarly literature because some publishers restrict access.

The Internet Wayback Machine Archives The Web

The Internet changes constantly. Ever wonder what happens to content that’s taken down?

A handful (but growing) number of organizations archive web content. A “picture” is taken every few days and stored.

The main Internet archive is called the Wayback Machine.

From The Economist:

The Wayback Machine’s inventor, Brewster Kahle, is an internet entrepreneur, philanthropist and computer whizz who helped design Mr Hillis’s ground-breaking Connection Machine in the 1980s. In 1996 he founded a non-profit organisation, the Internet Archive, to create a free internet library capable of storing a copy of every web page of every website ever to go online. The Wayback Machine allows users to view the library’s archived web pages as they appeared when published. Today the Internet Archive also includes texts, audio, moving images and software. At the last count, its collection contained more than 150 billion items.

Search The Wayback Machine Here

Even though we have the Wayback Machine, it is not a perfect solution and does not capture all of the web. Here’s a critique of our current storage methods of the web. 

Annual Reviews Database Presents Bibliographic Essays of Key Works

Annual Reviews is a wonderful database that presents bibliographic essays on your academic topic. These essays will explain our current state of understanding the topic as well as listing the important articles and books that you need to read.

These essays provide an effective means of context and deeper understanding of the problem you are researching. You didn’t have to read a sketchy Wikipedia article either!

How to Search Using Parentheses – As In: (Emily or Charlotte) Bronte

What if there are two are more common or related words and you want to include both of them in your search?  You’ll use parentheses – it works like an algebraic equation.

You enter your search into the database like so:

Example (blue or harvest) moon. You’ll get results that include blue and moon and harvest and moon.

(Soviet or Russia) “Cold War”

You’ll get results that include Soviet and “Cold War” AND Russia and “Cold War.”

If you have been doing searches like blue or harvest moon, you’ll get results back that feature only the word blue together with results that mix harvest and moon. No blue moon exactly, just blue….skies, bells, tooth, etc…

The parentheses make sure (those words go together.)

Search Palgrave’s Reference Sources for High-Level Research Help

This is one of my go-to sources for in-depth introductions and entries on complex topics. This is much better than Wikipedia or general encyclopedias. When people start doing research they very often need summaries of their pretty intricate topic. How else are you going to understand those complex journal articles?

All Palgrave’s books here – including online!

 

Getting Book Reviews And Why They’re Important

Don’t forget book reviews! Most databases will allow you to select book reviews as a source type. Reason: find out a book’s reputation, any hidden context, its significance among experts, and any problems with the book. Most authors are pretty persuasive and you need a second opinion.

Be sure to limit results to “review” or “book review,” depending on the interface.

Complete list of book review databases here

Favorites:

New York Times archives is a good option for nonacademic books published before 2006.

JSTOR is another good one for many subjects.

Wilson OmniFile FullText. A good grabbag. You can limit it to search “book reviews” by a particular discipline.

These are not your only options but are some of the best. You can always check your favorite database to see if it has book reviews.