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Fast Track : Google, Summon, or Database?

A student's guide to high-performance research

Consider The Flow of Information When Selecting a Search Tool

Producing new research takes time, and information is constantly being created by everyone, from your friends and family to celebrities and scholars like our professors.

Some pieces of information are available immediately when something happens, like on Twitter  and news blogs , while more researched pieces are not written or available until days, weeks, or years later, like magazines and scholarly books.

The slideshow on the right explains more about how the timeline, or flow, of information creation affects the type of and place to find research on a topic, depending when an event happened.

(Use the arrows in the bottom corner of the slideshow if you want to slow down or speed it up.)

For a different take on this, check out another humorous video from Kimbel Library: Information Cycle

Google, Database, or Summon?

Your tuition buys you access to top-notch subscription databases that contain credible information - such as scholarly articles.

By using library databases, Summon (our power search tool), and Google Scholar, you avoid wasting time sorting through advertisements and misinformation that often lurk on the web. Library resources, such as databases and Summon, search reliable library content. Google Scholar can help you discover journal articles written by scholars (which you can find a copy of or request through your library).

Searching on Google is like shopping at the Salvation Army: you need to sift through a lot of junk to find a few good treasures. Searching for articles using Summon, databases, or Google Scholar is more like shopping at the Gap: less hunting and better quality control.

Considering that it takes time to research and publish a scholarly article or book, you may need to use a different tool to find information on a topic, based on when something happened; you won't find research articles about today's stock prices, for example.

Different research scenarios are described below. The indicates which tool or tools will get you to the information most efficiently.

What are you looking for? Google Summon Databases
A scholarly article written by an expert in your area of study
(All Databases)
An article from the New York Times
(Advanced search)

(Nexis Uni)
(Newspaper Source)
An article from Newsweek
(Advanced search)

(Nexis Uni)
(Academic Search Complete)
Today's news
Older news
(Nexis Uni)
(Newspaper Source)
(Academic Search Complete)
A government report
(Limit results to Government Documents)

(BGSU Libraries Catalog)
An annual report for a company
(Nexis Uni)
A definition of a word
(Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary)
A movie review
A biography
(Biography Reference Bank)
(Other Biography databases)
Today's stock quote
(Google Finance)
Maps and directions
Statistical facts and data
(Other Statistical Databases)
A law review
(Nexis Uni)
A scholarly book
(eBooks on EBSCO)
(BGSU Libraries Catalog)
(OhioLINK Catalog)