Getting the Most Out of Google Scholar

Tim Miller · twm2 · 707.826.4959 · Library 02 (Lower Level)

All text, html, css & js Creative Commons License Tim Miller
All photos © Humboldt State University


What do YOU want to learn?


  • explore how Google Scholar works
  • connect your results to HSU
  • talk about search strategies
  • use some advanced search features

How it works


  • scans the web for information using programs called 'web crawlers.'
  • stores this information so that it can be searched.
Global internet map’09 by Régis Gaidot, on Flickr
Global internet map’09 - CC BY-NC 2.0 - by Régis Gaidot


  • 'data about data'
  • describes information
  • web crawlers look for metadata
Screenshots of Flickr metadata for a photo

Article Metadata

  • title, author, publication date, journal
  • abstract
  • text
  • cited by
Screenshot of article information from Google Scholar

Think Like Google

Use the metadata in your search

Screenshot of article information from Google Scholar
  • racist
  • gun control
  • laws
  • 1994
  • Cramer

World Wide Web

  • written in HTML & CSS
  • additional format types: pdf, docx, jpeg
  • inaccessible areas: 'Hidden Web'
    • ~500 times larger than searchable web
    • made up of databases, documents, other formats
Artist's drawing of world wide web
Tim Berners-Lee: The World Wide Web - Opportunity, Challenge, Responsibility - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 - by Anna Lena Schiller

Article Databases

  • subscription (pay) services
  • store & index full text copies of articles
  • Google Scholar is NOT a database
  • GS only links to full text copies of articles
Screenshots of database search boxes

Google Scholar

Finding full text

  • searches for and provides links to articles
  • some links are paid
  • others are old or bad
Screenshots of Google 404 error and paywall for database

Google Scholar

Link your results to HSU

  • link to HSU free full text
  • Chrome extension
Screenshots of Google links and plugin

GS Search Strategies


  • Advanced search
  • Operators
  • filter to date
Screenshot of Google Scholar advanced search options

GS Search Strategies

Deeper Searching

  • related articles
  • cited by
  • author
Screenshot of Google Scholar search results details

GS Search Strategies


  • full text
  • grab citation
  • my library
Screenshot of Google Scholar 'My Library'
Full screen