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Services & Reference Assistant -Training LibGuide: When to Use Google

This is an online training guide to help new and returning student workers become more familiar with what to do when working at the Services and/or Reference Desk


While Google is not always the best resource for research, it is sometimes a great place to start.  This section will teach you when to use Google.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is also a useful resource.  You can use this to verify titles that may be incorrect.  However, odds are that if you need to use Google Scholar beyond a "quick check" scenario, it is time to call the librarian on call.


The library user asks you a fact.

In this scenario, the user is looking for specific information that has a simple answer. 

For example, a student who wants to know who the governor of Wisconsin is.  The answer can be found by Googling: Governor of Wisconsin

 Or a student who wants to know what the capital of Vermont is.  The answer can be found by Googling: Capital of Vermont.

You don't know what subject the library user is looking for.

In this scenario, the user is looking for information that you are completely unfamiliar with.  When you ask for more information, either the library user is giving you more information that is unfamiliar or he/she doesn't know what the topic is about either.

For example, a student wants to know what Townsend's Solitaire is.  Googling Townsend's Solitaire shows you that this is a bird, not a card game.

The library user may be giving you the wrong information.

In this scenario, the user is giving you a title to look up.  Either the user doesn't know the exact information, or the user is remembering the information incorrectly. 

For example, a student says their professor wanted them to read The Louisiana Catholic Leopard Dog. When you google the title. you will see that results come up for a Catahoula Leopard Dog.  Now you know the title is probably The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog.