Google and the scholar: The role of Google in scientists' information-seeking behaviour

Online Information Review (Impact Factor: 1.44). 04/2010; 34(2):282-294. DOI: 10.1108/14684521011036990
Source: DBLP

ABSTRACT Purpose – This paper aims to demonstrate the role that the Google general search engine plays in the
information-seeking behaviour of scientists, particularly physicists and astronomers.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a mixed-methods study including 56
semi-structured interviews, a questionnaire survey of 114 respondents (47 per cent response rate) and
the use of information-event cards to collect critical incident data. The study was conducted at the
Department of Physics and Astronomy at University College, London.
Findings – The results show that Google is the tool most used for problem-specific information
seeking. The results also show the growing reliance of scientists on general search engines,
particularly Google, for finding scholarly articles. Initially, finding scholarly articles was a by-product
of general searching for information rather than focused searches for papers. However, a growing
number of articles read by scientists are identified through the Google general search engine and, as
scientists are becoming more aware of the quantity of scholarly papers searchable by Google, they are
increasingly relying on Google for finding scholarly literature.
Research limitations/implications – As the only fields covered in the study were physics and
astronomy, and the research participants were sourced from just one department of one institution,
caution should be taken in generalising the findings.
Originality/value – The data are based on a mixed-methods in-depth study of scientists’
information-seeking behaviour which sheds some light on a question raised in past studies relating to
the reason for the high number of articles identified through Google.

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Available from: Hamid R. Jamali, Sep 03, 2015
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    • "This has been evident in previous studies, such as Julien and Barker (2009) who have consistently demonstrated that information seekers rely heavily on the Internet to search for information. Reports by Connaway et al. (2008) and Jamali and Asadi (2010) have shown that Google in particular is the search engine of choice. Furthermore, Liu and Yang (2004) reported that graduate students have a strong preference for easy and fast information retrieval, with the highest percentage using Internet search engines as their primary information resource. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper reports on the information seeking behaviour of computer science graduate students. The following research questions are put forward to address the main research objective on how graduate students seek for information: i) what type of information resource do computer science graduate students use?; ii) how do computer science graduate students seek and obtain information?; iii) what are the problems faced by computer science graduate students while seeking information?; iv) does any relationship exist between the use of different information resources and graduates’ demographic information (i.e., age and type of graduate program)?; v) does any relationship exist between the use of different information resources and problems in finding information?and vi) does any relationship exist between the use of different information resources and success in finding information?. A survey was conducted at the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, at the University of Malaya, with a sample size of 217 graduate students. The data gathered was analysed quantitatively using SPSS statistical software. The findings show that even though the Internet Search Engine is the first information resource used by computer science graduate, they are however still in doubt with the trustworthiness of the information they retrieved. This has made the students dissatisfied with their initial findings that led them to use more reliable information resources, such as digital libraries and online databases. This study provides insights into how computer science graduate students seek information that offers improvement implications to the development of available information resources and library services.
    Malaysian Journal of Library and Information Science 08/2014; 19(2):1-15. · 0.38 Impact Factor
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    • "Scholar is a 'one stop shop' which offers access to a wider set of information sources (e-books, articles, pre-prints, reports, seminar discussions, teaching materials) than traditional academic retrieval systems. It can also be employed, on occasions, to bypass publishers and libraries making sources available to a wider public: 'democratising' content (Jamali and Asadi 2010). Scholar enables the user to check for interconnections between authors and content through a 'cited by' feature and can facilitate multidisciplinary work, compared to subject specific databases such as SciFinder Scholar or BIOSIS. "
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    ABSTRACT: The paper aims to contribute to the sociological analysis of power through the study of the structuration and retrieval of information on the internet. The main argument of the paper is that, paradoxically, in an age when the availability of information has increased exponentially, there is a risk that diversity in the use of sources for the construction of knowledge becomes more restricted than in the past and that information search moves towards greater objectification and centralisation. Knowledge management systems increasingly shape the ways in which we think about the questions we ask and how we try to answer them, which raises fundamental and largely neglected questions for education policy. The paper illustrates these trends with particular reference to the use of Google and Google Scholar
    Journal of Education Policy 07/2013; 28(4):481-500. DOI:10.1080/02680939.2013.775347 · 1.19 Impact Factor
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    • "In [9] the authors observe that users frequently arrive at repository items from outside search engines rather than by browsing through the repository's organizational structure. Additionally, scientists are increasingly relying on Google to find scholarly literature, and college students overwhelmingly use search engines as a starting point of their information searches [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The growing number of digital libraries providing open educational resources (OER) requires effective resource discovery mechanisms to optimally exploit the benefits of their openness. This paper discusses the OER repositories role and presents a study aimed at understanding how educators find OER by seeking answers to questions such as: what proportion of users seeking OER go directly to OER repositories and what proportion uses search engines or some other means and why. Understanding how and with what tools users discover and access resources can have an impact on the OER repositories strategic development.
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