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Google Scholar: Flagship Database for Literature Searching or Helpful Auxiliary?

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Google Scholar, a free Web-based academic database product introduced by Google in 2004, has kept librarians keenly interested in its developing research potential. Rapidly evolving in content, usability, searching mechanics, and citation metrics, Google Scholar—with its adjunct Google Books—is continuing to elicit repeat consideration from librarians as they evaluate the role it plays and its potential utility in scholarly literature searching as the database rapidly improves. This piece will be to examine Google Scholar as it stands today as a research tool for the academic library. This brief survey will begin with consideration of Google Scholar’s de facto role as a primary database chosen de novo by students and researchers alike and then take a look at some recent evaluations by librarians in the literature which examine the strengths and weaksnesses of Google Scholar to vet the potential Google Scholar may have as a primary source of academic literature searching and the role it might play in bibliographic instruction.

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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