Google Scholar library preferences get even harder to find?

Google Scholar supports a feature where many (but not neccesarily all) hits can include a link out to delivery/access services from your particular institution, using an OpenURL link resolver.

This feature keeps getting harder and harder to find though. For links that Google doesn’t believe your institution has fulltext for (sometimes correctly, sometimes not), the link some time ago was relegated behind a “more” popup menu.

If you are using Google Scholar from off-campus (according to IP addresses registered with Google Scholar), you need to set your preferences to select your institution. This keeps getting harder to find too. Recently it changed again — now you only get the “Settings” link on the Google Scholar home page (not on any query results page).

If you are creating web pages for your users and linking to Google Scholar, you may want to use this entirely undocumented and unsupported — but currently still working — trick to automatically set their preference to your institution as part of the URL.

And in general, while I think Google Scholar is a useful tool and I’m glad it’s useful to some users — this reminds us why, having no control over it whatsoever, we can not rely on it as a sustainable solution.

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One Response to Google Scholar library preferences get even harder to find?

  1. Alan Cockerill says:

    Oopsy – I replied to the older blogpost so apologies for the recomment

    My approach was to provide students a link to google scholar through ezproxy so google treated them as on campus. Also built a search widget to submit a query via ezproxy and distribute it as a js include via libguides so any updates are automatically fed to all users

    http://libserver.jcu.edu.au/gadgets/googlescholar.html

    I also agree that Scholar is neat but not a sustainable solution in a university context. I actually costed it as a possible solution in a review of federated search options back in 08/09 – obviously it’s the cheapest and gets good usability marks but the lack of guarantees about future service, and the lack of openness about what was included steered us to a more ‘traditional’ library solution.

    I always felt that decision might have been a little cowardly (sorry ‘risk averse’) but since the announcement of Google Reader’s demise I don’t think you can count on Google sustaining anything just because a large number of people want it – that’s not what is driving their business plans.

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