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Research Help DIY

Why not just Google?

The Library owns or subscribes to literally millions of resources, specifically chosen with scholarship in mind.

  • Scholarly, peer-reviewed journals
  • Books published by university presses
  • Databases that give you an efficient way to research topics in your field

The Library's resources provide access to quality information that, for the most part, is not available on the open Web.

Google, on the other hand, is a commercial venture. You can find some good material there, but the results list is based on popularity rather than on scholarly content and quality. You must evaluate all web resources very carefully to determine if they're acceptable for a research paper. For information on how to evaluate web resources, see Evaluating Sources.

Lay of the land

Research is a messy process! There is no one-size-fits-all-research tools, and instead you need to blend a few resources together to get the right mix and discover appropriate resources for your need. There are a number of types of tools that have different types of resources. Below are your best bets for specific types of research, though the thoroughness of your results will vary.

Research Tools
Type of Resource


Databases Google
(open web)


Worldcat Subject


      √      √                   √       √           √
Scholarly Journal Articles      √          √      √      √        √

Special Collections

       √      √      √        √
Images          √         √      √      √        √
Audio        √          √         √      √        √      √        √
Data      √          √      √      √        √
Non-scholarly/ popular articles          √         √      √      √        √
Newspapers        √          √         √      √      √        √
Movies        √          √      √         √      √        √
Government Resources        √      √          √          √      √         √      √        √

Test Yourself

Using the grid on the left as a guide, make a list of the types of resources you think are most suitable to find research on your topic, then note the research tools you'll use to find each of those resources.