Students often begin searching for information on a research topic by using Google, Wikipedia, or even YouTube.
These sites provide access to the "Visible Web," sites that are freely available to anyone with an Internet connection.
Many students are unaware of the fact that libraries subscribe to many hundreds of "Invisible Web" databases that provide access to magazine, journal and newspaper articles.
Enrolled students can get many of these articles for free either because the campus library subscribes to them, or through a free interlibrary loan form.
See Expected Learning Outcomes and Methods for help with this problem.
2. Expected Learning Outcomes:
After doing in-class exercises or going through an online tutorial, all students will list three differences between the "Visible" and "invisible" web.
After doing in-class exercises or going through an online tutorial, all students will select three databases useful for their topics.
Note: While still available, "Road to Research" has not been maintained by the UCLA Library since Summer 2011, and may be out of date. It is used here as an example.
1. "Road to Research: Find It! Articles"
2. Google Scholar (GS) compared to Licensed Article Databases
Note: All research tools have limitations, including Google Scholar and licensed article databases. This exercise helps illustrate those limitations. You may pose these questions to students during a class session, or as a written out-of-class assignment. Or, you may ask students to form groups and answer these questions in a class wiki.
Search for a topic in Google Scholar (GS) and in one of your library's licensed article databases, and answer the following questions:
a. How many results did you get in each?
b. What types of materials does your search retrieve?
c. Which topics does each cover?
d. What time period do both GS and the licensed article database cover?
e. Can you find a list of journals and other publications that GS and the licensed article database index?
f. Do a search and find the same item in both GS and the licensed article database. How many times have others cited this item, according to GS and then, according to the licensed article database? If there is a difference in these numbers, why would that be the case?
g. Keep in mind that you may be able to get free copies of articles through GS and through licensed
article databases through your library's proxy server.
All learners: Who pays so you can get articles for free through Google Scholar?
Examples of Article Index Databases (licensed)