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Choosing & Using Library Databases

Learn how to find which library databases are the best for searching on your topic and how to use the databases to your advantage--saving you time and energy!

Getting the Full Text

When using Google Scholar, REMEMBER:  You should never pay for an article.


If Rider University Libraries has access to an article you will see a "Get It @ Rider University!" link.

  • If you are on campus, this will take you directly to the article.
  • If you are off campus, and you have set up Google Scholar to find Rider University, the link will first take you to a page where you will authenticate yourself using your EZPass information.

Alternatively, check the Locate Journals page to see if the Libraries subscribe or have access to the journal. 

If not, we can get it for you through Interlibrary Loan (Delivery from Other Libraries); this may take up to two weeks, so give yourself enough lead time.

Get it @ Rider University!

Google and Rider University are now linked!  If Rider University has access to an article, you will see a "Get It@Rider University Libraries" link. Click the link to access the article.

Library Databases vs. Google Scholar

Google Scholar describes itself as providing "a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research."

Google Scholar is a great tool, especially for open-access (freely available) scholarly journals and digital collections.  Keep in mind some caveats, however.

Articles are not necessarily:

  • Scholarly. In library databases, however, you can limit or filter your search results by "academic journals" or "peer-reviewed," so there is no guess work.
  • Full text. 
    • In many cases, the links in Google Scholar take you to the publisher's website, where you will be asked to pay.  You should never have to pay for an article. 
    • Rider University Libraries may already have paid for and have access to this content. If we have access to an article you will see a "Get It @ Rider University!" link. If you are on campus, this will take you directly to the article. If you are off campus, and you have set up Google Scholar to find Rider University, the link will first take you to a page where you will authenticate yourself using your EZPass information. If an article is not available, we can get it for you FOR FREE through Interlibrary Loan.
    • Links may be to a citation only.
  • Linked to the correct full text or the latest published version.
    • An article citation might be linked to an earlier version on the author's website, or a different published version of the article.

Also, searching is by keyword relevance only (and by a secret algorithm).

  • You cannot search or filter by subject terms or controlled vocabulary.
    • Results may not be completely relevant or returned in the order you expect or desire; nor can you click on a subject term to find more of the same kind of article.
      • If you are doing research in a specific field, specialized library databases, such as business databases, offer discipline-specific vocabulary for limiting and refining your search, saving you time and giving you options. For example, you can "limit by human subjects in PsycINFO,... chemical properties in SciFinder, or by treatment in Medline. These comprehensive, highly developed subject databases are a much better choice when you need both reliable access and sophisticated search techniques" (from http://www.oberlin.edu/library/science/google_tips.html).
  • You cannot limit to scholarly or peer-reviewed articles.
  • Searching by date is problematic.
  • No one knows exactly what or how much is included in Google Scholar. 
    • In library databases, the scope of what is indexed is a known quantity. Library databases are maintained and indexed by information experts.
  • Use the Advanced search for more precision results, but library databases offer more filtering.

Specialized or interdiscplinary library databases may yield different and more relevant or more appropriate resources than Google Scholar for your topic, so just don't stop at Google Scholar. Remember, it is good research practice to search across databases, varying your search terms and strategies, and not just rely on one source.

Advanced Search

Increase your searching power by using the Advanced Search page in Google Scholar. Here Google allows you to perform more sophisticated, Boolean searching with keywords.

Access this page by hovering over the arrow in the right corner of the Google Search box and clicking on "Advanced Scholar Search."



Fill out appropriate terms in the pop-up window!