Researchers love Google Scholar (GS). There are good reasons for this: it is free, easy to use, and very often gives you full-text journal articles or book excerpts. Have you ever wondered where the full text comes from?
GS uses a proprietary algorithm to crawl open access repositories, thus a good proportion of full-text documents discoverable via GS are for free, including by default Google Books. GS also adds content via its various partners: publishers, scholarly societies and database vendors. Users will have access to the partners' metadata. Full text on commercial databases, however, requires paid subscriptions.
Nowadays, most, if not all, of the Library's electronic subscriptions are authenticated by IP address. A GS session performed within the campus IP range means that full text can be delivered seamlessly to your desktop; the publisher sites are clever enough to detect that you are coming from an authorized IP address. If you start a GS session off-campus, naturally you are outside the range of recognized IP address, and full-text access will be denied. To fix this, you can set up GS to route you to the Library's subscriptions. Follow these steps:
1. Go to Google Scholar, click "Settings"
2. Choose "Library Links", key in "Hong Kong University of Science and Technology"
3. Choose the "The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology – Find@HKUST"
4. Click "Save" at the bottom
After setting this preference, you will see "Find@HKUST" on your results screen. You can use this link to locate books and articles within our Library's holdings. At some point, you will be prompted to enter your ITSC username/password to access subscribed resources.
Just how comprehensive is Google Scholar? What is the depth and breadth of its coverage? GS is a humongous index of scholarly literature. It works like a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary database which can pull up citations and abstracts from a variety of platforms and publishers, with the most relevant results ranked on top. Yet GS never makes known what sources they index, what partners they work with, the years covered or their update frequency. These are secrets you have to live with.