Selecting Non-Library Search Tools

Using Internet Tools

As a COCC student you have access to almost 90 million items through the library. And that’s not even taking into consideration the access to online articles through the library’s search tools. That’s a lot of information, but it’s not everything that exists.

There will be times when your topic doesn’t fit within the library’s collection. Or there will be times when you want to do your presearch or topic selection on Wikipedia. Or there will be a time when you just want to start searching and not go through all the library resources before you begin. Basically, there’ll be a time when you don’t use library resources, and that’s OK.

Regardless of why, you’ll probably continue incorporating online research into your research process, which means you’ll probably continue using Google! You want to be particularly careful when searching Google about the source types you find since Google results do not separate source types or provide source type filters like library search tools do.

In the next module, we’ll discuss evaluation strategies that are particularly helpful online, though, I would argue you want to evaluate your information regardless of if you are using Google or library search tools to find it!

Another thing to consider when looking for online sources, is to use the subject guides for suggestions on which websites and government sites are credible and relevant to your topic. These suggestions are a good place to get started if you’re not finding what you need through the library search tools.

Google Tips

When you’re searching Google you might as well do so as efficiently as you search in library tools! Click on the arrows below for some quick tips to help you become a Google expert!

Google Scholar Tips

Another Google search tip is to leave Google and go to Google Scholar instead. Google Scholar looks and acts exactly like Google but instead of finding all types of sources and putting them in one result list, Google Scholar does some filtering and only brings you results from online academic journals and books, conference papers, theses and dissertations, preprints, abstracts, technical reports, and other scholarly literature, including court opinions and patents. While this is still a lot of source types and not all of them are peer-reviewed, it’s a good way of narrowing your Google searches.

The same Google search tips above apply to Google Scholar, but there’s a few more tricks I want to show you that only applies to your Scholar search. Click all the plus signs on the picture below to learn about the different features of Google Scholar.


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Introduction to Finding Information by Kirsten Hostetler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.