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Information Sources: Choosing and Finding the Right Source

Why not just use Google?

Why not just use Google?

  • Google presents results based on popularity, not quality or reliability.
  • Google results include sponsored links which are results paid for by advertisers.
  • Results need to be evaluated carefully for credibility.  Anyone can create a web page.
  • You can only access free information via Google.  There is much more information available behind a paywall, that is not free.  Library databases are behind a paywall.

Google does have a place in academic research.  It is used to find government documents, statistics, and all sorts of other information.  Librarians can show you lots of Google tips and tricks -- just ask!  While Google is very powerful, keep in mind that it is not the only tool to use when doing academic research.


Why use a Library Database?

What is a library database?

  • An electronic collection of information. 
  • Mostly articles, but also ebooks, streaming video, images, and more.
  • Organized to allow people to get information by searching in various ways.
  • Purchased by the library.  Most of the information is not accessible for free on the internet.



Why use a Library Database?

  • Information has been tagged with all sorts of data.  This allows you to search by author, title, publication date, topic, peer-reviewed, and more.
  • Information has been evaluated.  Evaluation ranges from basic editorial evaluation (like for a magazine) to peer-review (like for a scholarly journal).
  • Citation information is easily available. 

Google vs. Databases Video

From Purdue Database vs. Google [Video], by the Purdue University Libraries, 2011, YouTube (

Deep Web & the Library

From What's the Deep Web? And Why the Library? [Video], by the John M. Pfau Library, 2015, YouTube (