OK OK- yes this video is a bit silly (we chuckled), but you get the point. This is an ad for a university library, an although it might seem simple, surprisingly many students don't take advantage of its resources! We've already written about making sure you use good study habits to improve your grades, but what about the materials to do it? Yes, of course, the library! Many of you are now shaking your heads, because we have the world of Google at our hands, but we're sorry to say that Google is not going to have everything.
So why does the library differ from searching for educational materials on Google? Check out this information from Baker College (courtesy AskUS, by Lori Mills).
Databases differ from Google because:
· First, there is the difference in what is being searched. Google is searching the text of entire web pages (of which there are billions), so will often find more matches to what you've typed in. Library databases are usually searching the text of articles, a much smaller and more reliable set of text. In addition, some databases may only look in the title, abstract (summary), and subject headings for your keywords.
· Important: Each database is searching for articles in a different set of newspapers, magazines, and academic journals. If you are not getting results, you may need to try a different database. If you would like help in deciding which database to try, contact your Campus Librarians.
· Next, Google often ignores many of the words you type in (or weighs them differently); whereas, most library databases search for every word you type in. Choose just a few words that best describe your topic. Avoid articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (in, of, to, from...), and do not type in a question.
· Finally, Google assumes the word AND between each word you type in. This tells the search engine that it doesn't have to find your words right next to each other--it can find each word anywhere on the page. Most databases expect the user to use the word AND to separate words and phrases, so, for example, the search "teen drinking and driving" makes much more sense to a database than "teen drinking driving", since these words are not likely to be found together like this. Your Campus Library/ARC staff can help you figure out the right keywords for database success.
So how does this information relate to being a scholar of ANYTHING like we promised? To be a scholar essentially means that you are pursuing being a master of a subject. While Google may get you the quick reference you need for that paper you have to turn in tomorrow by noon, it won't get you scholarly journals that have published by the experts who proceeded you (well, maybe a few but certainly not all). In order to be a true scholar of a subject, countless hours must be spent gathering all of the information possible on that subject, to obtain a comprehensive understanding. That includes, trips to the library, visiting a location, reading books, watching videos, attending conferences, etc. So, if you are truly passionate about a subject, then start by spending a few hours in your library gathering information on what you are studying, and you are on the path to becoming a true scholar!