Top tips

Try not to rely on one search tool

Think about how you use search engines - advanced search tools can save you time

Not all information is free

There's nothing wrong with Google – it's a really good resource. However, it may not be the best search tool for the job, particularly if you are looking for research papers, doing a literature review or looking for specialised commercial/business information.

The Library subscribes to many bibliographic databases (databases giving details of published documents); these are really good at finding research papers. Most of these databases offer several advantages over Google or Google Scholar:

  • Use flexible search interfaces for more options than Google’s basic search interface
  • Revisit and adapt previous searches from your current session (no more back button!)
  • Store search strategies or item records at the end of a session
  • Set up alerts for newly published items
  • Bulk-export item reference details into reference management software for use when writing up

If you want to know more about the databases we have for your subject area, visit Subject support and select your department. You can also ask your Subject Librarian for advice.

Commercial/Business information

Much commercial/Business information is so specialised or expensive to produce that it is stored in databases. Most of this content is invisible to search engines so Google will not find it. The good news is that the Library subscribes to over 50 of these specialist databases. For more information see Business.