Monday, May 2, 2016

Library vs. Google: What’s the Difference?

Layers of the web [digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Search engines, like Google, find information posted openly on the internet. 

This “free” web is a great place to start when doing research - but did you know only 10% of information on the internet is accessible through search engines?

The “deep” web contains password-protected content such as library databases
Read below to understand the difference between searching in the library and searching the internet:

Library Search
  • Gives free access to scholarly research that costs money to get in full-text, such as academic journals, market research reports, and ebooks
  • Has helpful tools like folders to save results, citation generators, and mind maps
  • Finds content in subject or format-specific databases, for example Nursing Reference Center for nursing sources or Credo Reference for dictionaries and encyclopedias
  • Many options to narrow and improve relevancy of results through filtering by subject, year, format, author, and more
Internet Search
  • Finds freely available information throughout the internet
  • Can be helpful for locating news and current events, general information, and official government sources like statistics
  • Retrieves content that is mainly commercial (for-profit) and/or opinion-based
  • Hits to scholarly research require payment (aka paywalls) to access in full-text
  • Results contain a lot of advertising and sponsored content, aka “clickbait”
  • Few options to narrow and improve relevancy of results
Gives access to scholarly resources suitable for college assignments
Lacks reliability and authority needed for college assignments

Access your library’s search on the Bow Valley College website and browse our A-Z list of databases for subject and format-specific content! For login help, view these illustrated instructions or contact us for help

Google vs. Google Scholar vs. library databases [digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Layers of the web [digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Van Halsema, L. (2014, September 29). Google vs. library databases: Which is better for research? Retrieved from