No doubt everyone in the class has tried to use Google Scholar to search for information on copyright laws and online piracy. Given Google’s reputation as the “go-to” search engine for just about anything of interest on the Internet, it just seems to make sense that Google Scholar would turn out to be the same, except for the academic approach instead of just providing the user with websites ranked according to relevance.
The one thing that I like about Google Scholar is that it lets me search for copyright laws or online piracy through legal articles (funnily enough, I didn’t expect EBSCO to have this) and at first, I thought it was a nifty feature since my research topic is quite popular when it comes to the legal arena.
However, the results that I got from Google Scholar were less than stellar. I was rather disappointed to discover that a lot of what I got back were just abstracts from other databases that the school didn’t have a subscription to or had the dreaded “pay wall.” Not only that, I had issues with some of the domain names I was seeing: if domain names could be easily bought, how do I know that the website is reliable?
So I turn to the school library for a different approach. Just when I was about to go straight to EBSCO (the general one) to search for articles on copyright laws and online piracy, Professor Leonard demonstrated a nifty way of searching through databases: selecting the databases you want to search through. I thought I heard a choir sing “hallelujah!” when I saw the demo on the Smart Board.
I’ve tried EBSCO’s general database before and I was disappointed at the limited number of articles I got in return. But now that I found out a good way to select specific databases that I could search through, I became excited at the prospect of finding information for my topic. Even if it meant having to see a huge number of results.
And I was not disappointed: I definitely found a lot more information than I did using the general EBSCO database and I was a little more comfortable knowing that at least I could rely on the results better than I could through Google Scholar, though there is still the occasional “pay wall” or the fact that the school doesn’t have a subscription to the site where the article is featured in.
Lesson learned: newer is not always better. Even if it’s by Google.