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Scholar: The Basics of Google Scholar

written by: Meryl K Evans•edited by: Aaron R.•updated: 7/21/2009

Google Scholar gives researchers, academics, students and other learners a way to search for content in a discipline of interest. Some of Google Scholar's features resemble plain old Google Search, but it has a few unique features of its own. See what you can do with Google Scholar.

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    Whether you're a student or someone who likes learning new things, Google Scholar gives you the opportunity to search through scholarly literature. Google Scholar searches academic publications, professional organizations, universities and other scholarly resources for theses, peer-reviewed papers, abstracts, books and articles from disciplines of every kind.

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    Google Scholar Search Features

    Did you come across a paper that references an author's research? You can search by author to find his or her works. The search tool also helps you fine-tune your results. A researcher may have his or her own papers as well as have mentions in other authors' papers. If you want to review papers that mention Einstein, then use [einstein -author:einstein]. This returns all papers with Einstein mentioned, but not where he's the author. But if you want to see papers written by Einstein, then use [author:einstein].

    You can also narrow your results by an author's first name or initials. Many papers may only reference initials. In this case, try [author:"a smith"], [author:"albert smith"] or [author:"albert b smith"].

    If you want to limit search results to a specific publication, you'll need to use the Advanced Scholar Search page as the next image shows. The advanced search tool covers author, publication, date and subject areas.

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    Google Scholar Advanced Search
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    The next image shows an example search in Google Scholar for "cash flow." Every entry shows the title, number of citations (references by other publications) and related articles. Not all entries have the following features as they depend on your search and whether you're doing the search from a library.

    • Library links (online): Links to electronic version of the work if you're in a library or on campus. More on library links.
    • Library links (offline): Identifies libraries with a hard copy of the work.
    • Group of: Lists other articles such as preprints, abstracts and other adaptations of the scholarly work.
    • Web search: Use regular Google search to find more information about the scholarly work.
    • BL Direct: Purchase the paper through the British Library.
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    Google Scholar Search for
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    Note to Publishers, Librarians and Webmasters

    If you're with a university, publisher or library, you can read up on Google Scholar's policies for publishers and support for libraries. Google Scholar has two programs: a Library Links Program and a Support for Library Search. Webmasters can add Google Scholar search to their web pages. This is a great tool for those who offer content related to education and research.