Google Scholar in Place of Discovery

Graham, Stephen s.graham4 at HERTS.AC.UK
Thu Nov 7 05:40:36 EST 2013

Well, this is a timely topic!! Here, at the University of Hertfordshire, we have been using Google Scholar as our main discovery tool for some time now (not sure how long, I only started here in July). However, we are in the process of putting together a paper to convince the powers that be that we need a commercial discovery system. Breaking it down into simple positives/negatives for GS:


-          Free

-          Simple Search Interface

-          Uses our link resolve to provide FT access to content


-          No control over Google, GS could change, disappear etc at any time.

-          Lack of Transparency and control over indexing coverage

-          Inability to highlight and/or increase relevancy of UH Resources

-          Google Scholar cannot be tailored to local circumstances

-          Print books and many ebook resources remain excluded (i.e. we cannot include our local holdings in GS, so users still need to search the traditional Library catalogue)

Looking at the resource discovery systems out there, the good things are (possibly):

-          Potential access to everything that you find. In GS you can find a lot of stuff that we just do not have access to, which confuses our users.

-          Single search box for all our resources including print

-          High quality transparent metadata/indexing

-          Full text searching of UH eBooks

-          Increased use of all resources. Looking at studies that other academic institutions have published, it appears that there were a marked increase in usage of paid for resource once a resource discovery tool  was introduced.

-          Increased level of refinement and improved functionality. All commercial resource discovery tools offer faceted browsing, which can be used to assist with discovery.

-          Easier integration with our intranet/VLE VIA APIs.

-          It would replace the opac component of our LMS.

The only real negative is the money, especially when GS is free!


Stephen Graham
Online Information Manager
University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield.  AL10 9AB
Tel. 01707 286111
Email s.graham4 at

Information Hertfordshire
Services and Solutions for the University

From: Web technologies in libraries [mailto:WEB4LIB at LISTSERV.ND.EDU] On Behalf Of Ferdman, Glenn
Sent: 07 November 2013 03:23
Subject: [WEB4LIB] Google Scholar in Place of Discovery

Hi, Has anyone implemented Google Scholar in place of a commercial discovery service? If so, what have been the pros / cons?

If you've considered doing so, but decided against it, why?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Glenn Ferdman, MLS
Director of Library Services
Park University
8700 NW River Park Dr., Box 61
Parkville, MO 64152
P: (816) 584-6707
F: (816) 741-4911
gferdman at<mailto:gferdman at>
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