Do you use Google for research?

On ATLANTIS, a librarian asked for advice on instructing faculty on using Google Books and Google Scholar for research and other things academic.

So, here’s the question for the bibliobloggers. How do you use Google Scholar / Google Books? Have you come across any serendipitous discoveries in your field while using either service? What about using Amazon’s A9 or Microsoft’s Windows Live Search? How would you convince your colleagues to start using these resources?

See also David Instone-Brewer’s TyndaleTech January 2007 and March 2005, as well as Roy Ciampa’s list of books on Amazon & Google at

UPDATE (2 August 2007): I had forgotten about Danny Zacharias’ SBL Forum article, “The Wired Scholar.” There he highlights Google Books, Google Scholar, Google Notebook, Google Docs and LibraryThing. He also mentions in his comments to this post his Online Biblical Studies Journals Search.

2 thoughts on “Do you use Google for research?”

  1. You should have a look at my SBL forum article called “The Wired Scholar” ( Google Books and Google Scholar are two that I discuss. You’ll also find two other lists like Roy Ciampa’s linked there.

    In a nutshell, Google Books is incredibly awesome 🙂 Lots of free and valuable books for immediate download. Research wise – often times for thoroughness you need to look at what an author said about an item in question, but they only discuss it for two pages. Instead of going to the library and thumbing through the book to one page, you can read it quickly online.
    Another big help for research is the potential to see what other authors think about an article or book in question. For eg., Dale Allison has a great article called “The Pauline Epistles and the Synoptic Gospels: The Pattern of the
    Parallels,” NTS 28 (1982). So I put in quotations “the pattern of the parallels” and find dozens of books that cite this article. This can be very helpful for getting a sense of how authors received other books or articles.

    As to Google Scholar, The first thing to do is filter. There are preference settings for users so that you can limit your search to narrower fields (sciences, humanities, etc.) One of the biggest benefits of GS is that it searches the metadata of JSTOR – there is no other search that does this beyond the search in JSTOR itself. There are drawbacks as well. Sometimes the GS net is a little too wide and search hits end up just being text in a syllabus on a university website.

    Finally as a shameful plug, I created a biblical studies journal search to supplement research in biblical studies. There are a number of journals that GS does not yet index, so I tried to fill the gap. It was available on the website, but as we are in the upgrading process right now, it is only available at its dedicated page. The url is


  2. Thanks Danny, I knew I was forgetting something! I did not know about your tailor made Google search. That’s great!

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