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Finding and Evaluating Web Sources: Using Google

This guide gives tips and tricks for finding web sources and evaluating their value for academic research.

Introduction

Google returns results for more than one billion search queries every day, so we can't talk about finding web resources without mentioning it. On this page, you'll find information about getting the most out of Google's most relevant products, as well as some options for alternative search tools.

Watch an explanation of how Google's search algorithm works.

Learn more about the different Google products in the boxes on the right, and learn some Google-specific search tips below. More search tips are available here.

Google

  • Google is an index of content on the Internet. You can search the full text of publicly available web pages.
  • Google has its own shortcuts and wildcard symbols for advanced searching. Boolean Operators will not work in Google! See the graphic on the left for examples of how to improve your searches.
  • If you use Google, be sure to go beyond Page 1 of the results. The sites with the most clicks rise to the top, but you might find some hidden gems on the following pages.

Google Scholar

  • Google Scholar is a search engine that allows you to search content such as articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions.
  • When Google uses the word "scholarly," it doesn't always mean the same as when librarians use it. You should evaluate any result you find using Google Scholar or any other online resource to be sure it is current and appropriate for academic research.
  • ALWAYS enter Google Scholar through the library's Research Databases page! This will give you access to the library's subscriptions and allow you to read the full text of articles without paying.

Google Books

  • Google Books allows you to search within the full text of books.
  • For some out-of-print and public domain titles, the whole book has been digitized and is available to read or download. Other books can be previewed so you can see your search results in context.
  • For books that cannot be read online, Google provides links to purchase the book or find it at a library using WorldCat.
  • Read more about what you can do with Google Books (such as embedding snippets of public domain books, like below) on its Help page.

Johnston, W. D., and Library of Congress. History of the Library of Congress: Volume I, 1800-1864. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1904. Web.

Other Google Products

Calendar

Organize your schedule and share events with friends. Calendar Help

Drive

Create, share and keep all your stuff in one place. Drive Help

Earth

Explore the world from your computer. Earth Help

Finance

Business info, news and interactive charts. Finance Help

Patent Search

Search the full text of US Patents.

Translate

Instantly translate text, web pages, and files between over 50 languages. Translate Help

YouTube

Watch, upload and share videos. YouTube Help

Alternatives to Google