The suggestion of going trout fishing in a landfill sounds both absurd and repulsive, but it provides a graphic analogy for discussion about Google and academic research. Google is popular and probably ranks as the favorite search engine for most people. It quickly and reliably delivers plenty of results, often millions, from a simple keyword search. However, instead of catching the trout you were hoping for, you reel in a million beer cans and an old rubber boot.
The Google landfill offers lots of information to pick through, but the authority or credibility of the information may be questionable. Anyone can publish their opinions and ideas on the Internet, and because there are no regulations, the information may be inaccurate, biased, or outdated. And some sites impose a fee to access full-text information. Sifting through the good, bad, and ugly content requires an inordinate amount of time which could be spent more productively.
Library databases filter out the junk, saving you time and enabling you to find the high-quality, scholarly material in sufficient quantities suitable for academic research. Content in library databases originates from books, magazines, and journals, and it is more stable than information on the Web. Much of it is scholarly and peer-reviewed (evaluated by experts in the field to ensure high standards). Advanced features in databases allow researchers to limit by publication type, date, language, and full-text availability, thus targeting the search results to more specific needs and reducing them to a manageable number. Through the library’s paid subscriptions, this information is accessible to the user free of charge.
The UMHB library currently subscribes to 128 databases supporting all disciplines in the curriculum. Whatever your major — whether business or history or nursing or sports management — you have access to subject-specific databases. This means the information is more relevant, and you spend less time sifting through garbage. When an intimidating research assignment presents itself, you will be able to meet the challenge with confidence. In library databases you will find the trustworthy, authoritative resources you need and avoid the piles of rubbish.With the Fall semester starting soon, Townsend Memorial Library will be a helpful first stop for research papers! We invite you to view our (newly redesigned!) website to browse our research databases and to find out more about how the Library can assist you with your research.