About Google Scholar


Google Scholar is a search engine which provides access to resources across a range of subjects. Resources include abstracts, conference proceedings, technical reports, peer-reviewed papers, articles, theses, preprints and books.

Is it appropriate to use Google Scholar to find information for my academic research?

Google Scholar can be an appropriate research tool especially when your topic is not subject specific. However, view the information you retrieve critically and consider using additional research tools, especially for more in-depth projects and papers. Search results from Google Scholar are not always scholarly or peer-reviewed. For instance, articles in The New York Times are found in Google Scholar, yet this is not a refereed journal but rather a newspaper publication. Always evaluate your sources.

Though Google Scholar can be an excellent research tool for freely available materials or materials subscribed to by our Library, it is not a comprehensive search. Google Scholar only searches the materials it has indexed. Consider using other Library resources, such as the databases, to find additional information. If you need additional direction in determining what databases to search, contact a librarian.

For more information on determining whether or not an article is scholarly, visit the Scholarly vs. Popular materials chart.

How can I find full text articles using Google Scholar?

Option 1: Click on the title of the document. Sometimes you will be taken directly to the article, or you may find another link that directs you to the full text. E.g. Download PDF. If this option does not work, try Option 2.

Option 2: Click on UC-eLinks button. This button appears after the title or below the summary information. You will be taken to a UC-eLinks page. From here, you may see a link Full text available from … Click on this hyperlink to find the full text. If there is not a full text prompt, consider ordering the item by clicking the Request hyperlink.

If the full text of a resource is not available in Google Scholar, can I still find it elsewhere?

Even if you have not been able to access the full text of a resource by clicking the title link or the UCeLink, conduct a search in Melvyl to determine if the journal title or book title is available. If the resource is not available, you can still order the item through the Request system. Visit the Interlibrary Loan page for specifics on requesting materials.

Can I construct a detailed search in Google Scholar?

Google Scholar does have an Advanced Scholar Search. You can limit to a specific author, publication, date, or subject area. Visit "Advanced Scholar Search Tips" for more details.

What is Cited By?

Cited by is a link that leads to a listing of other resources that have cited the entry. Remember that this only includes resources indexed by Google Scholar. Yet, this link can be used to find additional resources that may relate to your topic. If you are interested in more cited reference searches, visit ISI’s Web of Knowledge.

Can I export citations from Google Scholar into a Bibliography Manager?

Yes, Google Scholar has a Bibliography Manager so citations can be imported to BibTeX, Endnote, RefMan and RefWorks. Select and save the manager of choice on Google Scholar’s Preferences page. Once making this selection, you will see an Import into … link under each entry. Visit the RefWorks page for detailed instructions on exporting references from Google Scholar into RefWorks.

Do I need to use the VPN (Virtual Private Network) when I am using Google Scholar off campus?

To take full advantage of Google Scholar, you need to connect via the VPN while off campus. Much of the full text material available through Google Scholar is visible to you because the Library subscribes to these resources. These resources are only viewable in full text off campus if you are using the VPN. Visit our Off Campus Access page for VPN details.

How are resources ranked in Google Scholar?

Google Scholar ranks resources according to relevance using an undisclosed algorithm. A new feature (launched April 20, 2006) allows users to view All articles (the default) OR Recent articles. The Recent articles option is not merely a date sort. This ranking involves incorporating the date of publication, the number of citations to date, the author’s prominence, and the journal’s prominence.

What is Web Search?

If you select Web search, all pages indexed by Google (not just Google Scholar) are searched using key words from the entry.

What is Library Search?

Library Search is a search of WorldCat for libraries that may own the resource. You will often see this option when the item is a book.

What is BL Direct?

BL Direct stands for British Library Direct, a document delivery service. This link is useful for those who wish to buy an article. Please check our library holdings at Interlibrary Loan services rather than purchasing materials.


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