Sunday, June 22, 2008

Google Scholar Uptake in Research Libraries

Two Rutgers University librarians have written an interesting evaluation of Google Scholar, a free web-based search engine to scholarly literature, (Google Scholar and Academic Libraries: An Update. New Library World 109 (5/6), pp. 211-222).

Websites of 113 Association of Research Library (ARL) members were examined in 2007 to see if Google Scholar appeared on the library homepage, in the OPAC, and on various database lists and subject guides. Data was compared with findings for 2005. Results: the mean number of paths to Google Scholar more than doubled from 2005 to 2007.

From the discussion section:
"In 2007, the presence of Google Scholar on ARL academic libraries web pages is clearly more pervasive than seen two years ago. Partnering institutions are particularly likely to include paths to Google Scholar and the number of partnering institutions has dramatically increased. Alongside this trend, libraries have also seen the emergence of commercial federated search products as well as free competitor search engines."

"Libraries have subscribed to available commercial federated search products (...) in an attempt to provide a one-box 'place to start' for scholarly search from the library web site. (...) Interestingly, in this survey of web sites approximately half of ARL libraries did not appear to be utilizing a commercial federated search product. Is it possible that libraries have decided that Google Scholar is effective enough as a 'place to start' when users are confounded about which database to choose from the long lists on the web site? Haya, Nygren and Widmark’s study of 32 undergraduates’ use, with and without prior instruction, of both Google Scholar and Metalib at Uppsala University showed that Google Scholar 'performed better in almost all measures.' Many students found Metalib’s complexity of use a problem ... It would be valuable to see expanded usability studies comparing Google Scholar to commercial federated search products to see whether Google Scholar could suffice for institutions where subscribed content is able to provide enough full text articles to searchers. Both Google Scholar and commercial federated search products, although different types of products, have value as a more simple 'place to start' for inexperienced searchers, or for those looking for a few scholarly articles on interdisciplinary topics."
The Supreme Court of Canada Library links to Google Scholar through its federated search engine from SirsiDynix.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:35 pm


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