Smarter Web Searching

Depending on your subject, web resources like Google, Google Scholar and Wikipedia can be a good place to START your research, just don't finish there. The following tips can help make your web use more efficient:

  1. The web can be especially useful for finding information from governments, associations, think tanks and NGOs, since governments often have a mandate to publish electronically and resources from organizations that don't publish scholarly journal articles may not be indexed in databases.
  2. Look at the references you get and if you are asked for payment, then use Passkey or the Library website to access full-text of scholarly resources. If you use Google Scholar, make sure to set your Scholar Preferences so that Cornell is listed as your library links and you get the Get it! Cornell links that will let you access articles off campus. 
  3. Google Scholar in particular is also good for verifying scholarly citations and for doing interdisciplinary searches.
  4. Look for portals dedicated to particular subjects, directories, and for bibliographies and other lists of resources to add to your research.
  5. Use Wikipedia and other web sites to find keywords that can be used to search for books in the Library Catalog or for articles!

Smarter Google Scholar

NOTE: Search results in Google Scholar often feature older articles that have been cited frequently by authors and in other publications. Options are available to limit results by more current years.

Also, although Google Scholar recognizes you as a Cornell person when you are on campus, it does not do the same when you are accessing off-campus. You can set your Google Scholar Preferences so that Google recognizes and knows what you have access to. 

  • In Google Scholar, go to Settings
  • Under Library Links settings, set to Cornell and under Bibliography Manager, choose whether to show citation import links
  • Now, Get it! Cornell links should appear in your search results when available, as well as links to export to a citation manager

It is also advisable to install Passkey for easier off campus access to Cornell materials.

Grey Literature Resources for International Agriculture & Development

Not all websites are created equal! Major nongovernmental organizations and various scholarly associations can be rich and authoritative websites, especially for the kind of grey literature not published in mainstream scholarly journals (including white papers, evaluation reports, training materials, and the like).