As our library instruction season swings into gear, inevitably the topic of Google Scholar turns up. Students, and often faculty, ask, “Should I use it?” and I always tell them it’s another tool to add to their research tool belt. If it does the job that you need it to do, great! If not, the subscription databases we offer through the library are there for you, too.
There are good points and bad points about using it, but one of the best things about Google Scholar is that it unlocks our collection for a whole range of students who may not be aware that we have a host of other tools available for them. It does this rather seamlessly while students are on campus. If they do a search in Google Scholar, and then try to access a journal article, they won’t encounter a pay wall (that screen that stops and asks them to pull out a credit card and turn over $25-$50 before they can actually view the article.) Our campus I.P. range is recognized and therefore our electronic journal content is simply available.
But what happens when those students go home to their off-campus apartments? Are they out of luck? No, not if they make one quick change to the Google Scholar settings. By clicking on the ‘gear’ icon, and then selecting ‘Library Links’ from the left-hand column, they can connect Google Scholar to CSU Libraries. Once that setting is in place, students will see a ‘FindIt@CSU’ link for articles that are available through our collection. No credit card required, only a quick login with their CSU eID and they are on their way to “free” full-text.
More information about setting this up is available here: libguides.colostate.edu/googlescholar.