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Research Toolkit: Google vs. Library Resources

Tools, techniques, and resources to help you find the information you need.

Google vs Library Resources

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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. 

Use the library to:

  • find articles in scholarly journals
  • find articles in magazines and newspapers
  • find books on your topic
  • get help with your research: from choosing a topic, to search techniques, to putting it all together

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

Use Google or another search engine:

  • For information on specific non-profits, corporations or other organizations
  • For current information such as news, weather, stock quotes
  • To research a well-known event or individual
  • For online job postings, shopping auctions or travel services
  • Breaking News: News Websites, News Blogs, Twitter

Adapted from UC Santa Cruz Nettrail, University of California, Santa Cruz NetTrail Development Team

Google or Library Databases?

Different research scenarios are described below. The  indicates which tool or tools will get you to the information most efficiently.

What are you looking for? Google Library Databases

A scholarly article written by an expert in your area of study



An article from the New York Times



An article from Newsweek


(Academic OneFile)

Today's news



Older News

(Infotrac Newsstand, Michigan Digital Newspaper Portal, New York Times, OmniFile)

A government report



Company or Industry Information

(Business Insights GlobalLexisNexis Academic)


Encyclopedia Articles


(Gale Virtual Reference Library)

A movie review



A biography


(Biography In Context, African American Experience, Latino American Experience)


Today's stock quote

(Google Finance)


Maps and directions


Statistical facts and data



A law review


(LexisNexis Academic)


A Scholarly Book


(Bailey Library Catalog, MeLCat)

Adapted from Fast Track: Google, Summon, or Database, Bowling Green State University Libraries