Student Distance Learning Library Services

Library Databases or Google Scholar?

What are library databases?

Simply, they are the collections of electronic resources available through the library.  These resources are generally subscription-based, meaning access to them is paid for by the library and usually restricted to students and faculty.  The library's main search tool, OneSearch, is like a mega database because it contains over 90% of our research databases, including the print materials catalog, so that you can search a large pool and find relevant results from many different sources.  Some useful databases specific to psychology include PsycINFO, JSTOR, PubMed, and Taylor & Francis among others.

What can I find in a library database?

All sorts of things, from images and video or sound recordings, to ebooks, research articles from journals, reports, as well as news and popular magazine articles.  Some databases are indexes - primarily citations and abstracts with no full text articles.  These are still useful since we have Full Text Finder which will take you to an article if we have full text access in a different database.  

What is Google Scholar?

It's a valuable tool for doing research on the internet.  Google Scholar is not a database but rather a specialized search engine that looks for scholarly materials that may be available online.  Access to the full text of anything found with Google Scholar is not guaranteed but there are options.  Some materials are open source or otherwise freely available online (yay!).  You can also link Google Scholar to the UNF Library so that you can get access to items the library has in databases.  And if no free, full-text access is available online, you still have the information you need to check against the library databases, the print journal holdings in the library. or to request the item through interlibrary loan (get articles in 2 days usually).

Which one should I use?

There's not a right or wrong answer here - unless your professor has prescribed one.  Since you can use either library databases or Google Scholar, or both in conjunction to easily locate suitable scholarly articles, your search terms/strategy, and evaluating what you find become more important in your research process.  Understanding what is possible with each tool and your own preference may guide you to the right tool for any given situation.

Still have questions or need advice on how to or where to search?

Consider booking an appointment to meet with a librarian.  Research consultations are a great way to orient yourself or to get assistance with working through a difficult research problem.  Librarians are available to meet in person or online upon request. 

Online Learning Librarian

Dan Feinberg's picture
Dan Feinberg
Dan E. Feinberg
Online Learning Librarian
UNF Thomas G. Carpenter Library
Office: 2513
Tags: carpenter library, distance learning, interlibrary loan, library how-to, online learning