What is the difference between Google, Google Scholar, and library databases?


Recommendation: Use Google Scholar in addition to the Library search box and databases.

If you would like help developing a research strategy, please Contact a Subject Librarian

Google: Google indexes the entire web and is different from Google Scholar.

Google Scholar: Google Scholar indexes a wide range of scholarly literature. Use of the Google Scholar search box will provide many search results, most of which are scholarly in nature. Google Scholar includes content that is not in library databases, such as grey literature and content from university repositories. It also includes content that is in library databases, but not all of that content (though there is some overlap). The options for narrowing your search in Google Scholar are limited.

How to use Google Scholar: In your Google Scholar search results, look for text that says "FindIt@Brown." Clicking this will take you to a page with links to the document or to the document itself. Brown community members who log into Shibboleth have full access to this content. If you are having trouble accessing articles, go to the "hamburger" icon (three horizontal bars), click on Settings, then Library Links, and add the Brown Library.

Library Databases: Each Library database has a specific content focus and offers the ability to fine-tune search results. These specialized, scholarly resources are often licensed by the University for your use. In order to access these resources you must be logged into Shibboleth with your Brown log in.

For more information, please see our tutorial on Google vs. Research Databases.

  • Last Updated Jul 10, 2020
  • Views 3333
  • Answered By Karen Bouchard

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