A quick follow-up to Danny’s blog post from about 10 days ago over Google placing small ads in college papers that lead users to the Google University page. Schoogle, a blog the focuses on Google Scholar, reports on a new ad reminding students that they can find “authoritative resources” “before sunrise” with Google Scholar. According to a SEW Blog reader, like the other ads this one also points to the Google University page which only includes a small icon for Google Scholar.
It’s not that Google Scholar is a unworthy tool, are you kidding? It’s far from it.
But university libraries, big and small, have also been doing a good job providing remotely accessible databases (dorm access, home) available 24x7x365, for years, long before Google was even around. Ah, yes, it comes down to marketing and branding once again, and Google is just so very good at it. Why couldn’t Google also help the university libraries market other services and specialty databases?
If I was a university student studying psychology, I could also use Psychology Abstracts, and have many authoritative results in my hands (sometimes with full text) in seconds even at 3am. If I needed to, I could use the database to really focus my search query on precisely what I need. Like we talked about yesterday, using a specialized database can give your search more context and allows you to use tools that are specific to the material contained in the resources, perhaps even creating a more “perfect” search. Again, this type of stuff is not for everybody but I would like to think a university student and faculty member should know about the specific resources that are available and useful to their area of study and have some, not a lot, of an idea how to use them. As a former academic librarian, I fully realize that this is MUCH easier said than done.
With Google Scholar, at least at this point, we have little idea of what is and is not covered in the database, especially when the professor asks that the source MUST (a frequent request) be peer reviewed. What about a list of sources included in Google Scholar with start and stop dates? Another example, I want information about injuries to soccer players. What type of query suggestions or modifications will ask if I’m talking about soccer or football (what soccer is called outside of the U.S.)? Running an OR search is going to get me lots of unwanted material on American Football injuries.
While I’m honored, ResourceShelf*, would not qualify.
* Worth pointing out that the last issue of ResourceShelf Google Scholar has cached was in March 2004. Also, the title was parsed incorrectly.
The title of the site is ResourceShelf. “Resources and News for Information Professionals” is the subtitle. Btw, it’s a blog hosted by Google’s own blogger service. (-: