Why can’t I just use Google or Google Scholars, you ask. You probably use this search engine every day, therefore you are really familiar with it. But there are many good reasons to use the library when doing research at the university. Here’s what you should know:
1 - Paywalls
When searching for sources on Google, you might find a scholarly article that is exactly what you need. But when clicking on the article, you cannot have access to the full text without paying or subscribing to the journal (also requiring fees).
As students, you should never have to pay to have access to scholarly material. The library is already subscribing to databases and journals so you can have access to them. If we do not have direct access to a specific article, you can always request it through our interlibrary loan service. We got your back!
2 - Diversity
Did you know that the library does not only holds books? Compare to Google where you will find mostly digital material, such as blog posts, articles, and websites, the library can provide you access to archives material, data, maps, government information, rare books and manuscripts, historical and current newspapers, audio and visual media, dictionaries and encyclopedias. This diversity of sources can expand your views on your topic!
3 - Credibility
Anyone has the capacity to publish online. This can make it difficult to know if a webpage or information that you've found on the internet is trustworthy and credible. Therefore, there's a lot of things that you should be looking for when evaluating a source (see Evaluating your results). But when you are using the library, you know that you are consulting a carefully curated set of resources. Librarians are working hard to select the best sources and scholarly publications for the University of Ottawa students.
The library gives you access to a robust search engine, Omni, and hundred of specialized databases. Those tools offer you filtering options to limit your search results and help you find the most relevant sources for you. We also provide specialized research guides to help you navigate the resources available for your discipline. Even more, if you are still struggling, you have access to librarians who are experts in their fields! Better than Google, I would say.