Google Scholar Institutional Access

May 10, 2005

In the next step of our quest to make it easier for researchers to find scholarly literature online or offline, Google today is announcing support in Google Scholar for institutional access.

Libraries are traditionally known for their vast print collections. In recent years, most of them subscribe to electronic versions of journals that authorized patrons can read both in the library as well as on their own computers.

Google Scholar institutional access enables library patrons, both on-campus and off-campus, to find and use the resources of that library as they are searching for relevant material.

If, for example, a student at the University of Michigan is researching the prion protein, changes in the structure of which can cause mad cow disease. With the new feature, additional links will appear in many Google Scholar search results that will lead to her own academic library’s resources. Links corresponding to online journals that the library has licensed are highlighted, so she may be only one click away from the full text of the articles. For journals that are available only in print, she may be able to find their location more easily in the library.

Participation in the institutional access program is free and open to all libraries that use a link resolver (a library server that knows about the library’s subscriptions and holdings and can direct authorized patrons to licensed versions). The list of libraries already participating in this program is here:

Additionally, Google Scholar continues to provide the features that have made it attractive to researchers everywhere.

  • A world of scholarly research: Students, professors and others can find a wide range of scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from broad areas of research.
  • Relevant results: Like Google Web Search, Google Scholar orders search results by their relevance to ensure the most useful references appear at the top of the page. This ranking takes into account the full text of each article as well as the article’s author, the publication in which the article appeared, and how often it has been cited in scholarly literature.
  • Full text search: Whenever possible, Google searches across the full text of a paper, not just the abstract, giving users the most thorough search of the scholarly material while at the same time enhancing the relevancy of search results.
  • Connection to offline literature: Google Scholar offers relevant results for a wide range of scholarly materials including research that isn’t yet online. For instance, much of Albert Einstein’s work isn’t online, but it is heavily cited by researchers. Google Scholar leverages these citations to make users aware of important papers that are not online and books that may be available in their local library.

We have worked closely with many libraries and library software vendors in defining this feature and bringing it to life. Thirty organizations participated in the pilot project that led to this launch, and many more have offered their help. We believe that this sort of collaboration helps scholars and students make the best use of their library’s resources.

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