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Library vs. Google

Guidance on when to use Library resources and when it's safe to rely on Google or another search engine.

Library Resources vs Google

Library Resources versus Google


You’re probably used to using Google to find information. However, when you are asked to do academic research, your instructor will expect you to go beyond Google and use the library. Why?

The Library Google

Library resources are carefully reviewed and chosen by librarians for things like reliability, relevance, and value.

Summon is the library’s version of a search engine; it searches most of UMSL’s databases at once. Use Summon to:

  • Find articles in scholarly journals
  • Find articles in magazines and newspapers
  • Obtain full text of a specific article when you know its title
  • Find books on your topic

Information found on Google does not go through a consistent review process. Anyone can publish to the web, which makes it hard to determine credibility, relevance, and value. 

You could also be asked to pay for information (like newspaper, magazine, and journal articles) you find using Google. 

Use Google or another non-library search engine to:

  • Find information on specific non-profits, corporations, or other organizations
  • Find current information, such as news, weather, and stock quotes
  • Research a well-known event or individual
  • Find online job postings, shopping auctions, or travel services

Research Scenarios

Different research scenarios are described below. The  indicates which tool(s) will get you to the information most efficiently. (UMSL has numerous other databases—not listed below—that could work. Click the CHAT button for assistance from a librarian.)

What are you looking for? Summon Library Databases & Other Resources Google
A scholarly article written by an expert
in your area of study

(All databases)
 
An article from the New York Times
(Advanced search)

(New York Times individual account)
(Access World News Research Collection)
 
An article from Newsweek
(Advanced search)

(Academic Search Complete)
(ABI/INFORM Collection)
 
Today’s news    
Older news
(News and Newspapers guide)
A government report
(Limit results to
Government Documents)

(UMSL Catalog)
(FDsys)
 
An annual report for a company  
(Capital IQ NetAdvantage)
(Mergent Online and Mergent Intellect)
A definition of a word  
(Oxford English Dictionary)
A movie review    
A biography
(Biography Reference Center)
 
Today’s stock quotes    
(Google Finance)
Maps and directions    
Statistical facts and data  
(Statistics databases)
 
A coding tutorial  
(O’Reilly for Higher Education)
A law review
(HeinOnline Academic)
 
A scholarly book
(Limit results to
Book/eBook)

(UMSL Catalog)
(MERLIN Catalog)
(MOBIUS Catalog)
(eBook Collection - EBSCO)