Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Article Note: On Google Scholar and Libraries

Citation for the article:

Kesselman, Martin and Sarah Barbara Watstein. "Google Scholar and Libraries: Point/Counterpoint." Reference Services Review 33.4 (2005): 380-387.

Read via Emerald.

This is probably one of the better summaries of why Google Scholar is important and how it works. It gives a pretty balanced approach in a point/counterpoint format. I find that I am gradually talking more about Google in my classes. The students will use it one way or another. Also, they have occasional questions about using Google, so this gives me a good reason to keep up with it and this new tool. The article poses various questions for readers to consider as they decide how to embrace Google or not. I found useful the article's topic arrangement as well in terms of reference, instruction, and the library's website. For me, the instruction segment provided much food for thought.

Some points to consider:
  • "Those that support ignoring Google Scholar believe that students will not find and use Google Scholar on their own" (383).
The optimists believe the students will find it anyhow. As a library instructor and someone who works extensively with students, I can tell readers that the students for the most part are not finding Google Scholar. They find the Google search engine, but they do not go past that. A student finding Scholar is the rare exception. The only students who I know find it are usually graduate students or advanced upper classmen. Freshmen pretty much settle for the basic search engine. I can say this based on conversations I have with students where I often ask them what resources are they using in their research. I know this is strictly anecdotal, but I have a hunch that it might be validated if we asked other librarians and educators as well as more students. Maybe there is a research idea here?
  • "Should we not be focusing on what makes an article scholarly (e.g. builds on previous research and cites it appropriately, includes sound methodology appropriate for that discipline, and compares results with other studies)?" (385)
I have one word to the above: yes. That is definitely something we should be working on.

There are some other good points, but I think people really should give this one a look.

No comments: