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Google Books

Sometimes WorldCat records don't have good preview information. This is a good time to use Amazon reviews/descriptions (but not to search--Amazon has poor limiters) or GoogleBooks.

GoogleBooks functions by either publishing in full text materials that are no longer under copyright, or publishing the legal limit of pages in copyrighted books.

In a nutshell: old books are often full text; newer books will be missing pages.

Even so, the newer books may show enough pages to help you decide if the book will be useful enough to order.

It also has a neat word search feature where you can see how many times your keywords appear.


You already know you should be evaluating the credibility of any source you use. For an evaluation refresher, click here.

Once you get in the habit of checking credibility, then start being creative about searching for web sources.

Don't settle for just googling your keywords. Try these ideas:

  1. Look at some common authors in your field of study. Google their names to find anything else they may have put out there on the web.
  2. Look at statistics online--depends on your topic; some ideas linked below.
  3. Search for French-language websites.
  4. Think of types of websites that will give you information on your topic. For example, museums and libraries now put many resources on their websites. Organizations working for causes related to your topics may have good data for you. Be creative and be in control of your search--don't just take whatever the top ten results are.

Google Scholar

I have found our specific databases to be much more expeditious than Google Scholar, but here are some tips if you still want to use it:

Look for articles when you've got a certain issue within your topic you want to know more about. Otherwise, the information will be too detailed to help.

The advantage here is it searches across databases and if you search on campus, there will be a link to the full text.

Disadvantage: limited search controls and no link to ILL articles we don't have full-text.

Subject Guide

Jill Westen's picture
Jill Westen
100 Wartburg Blvd
Waverly, IA 50677