Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date



This study assesses and compares the quality of sources found by undergraduate students when doing research using both Google and a library (federated) search tool. Thirty undergraduates were asked to find four sources (one book, two articles, and one additional source of their choosing) related to a selected research topic. Students used both Google and a federated search (resource discovery) tool to find material they believed to be relevant. Each source was evaluated for topic relevance, authority, appropriateness, and date, and assigned a total quality score. Results showed that the books found via Google were slightly higher quality than those uncovered via the federated search tool. The articles and additional sources students found via the federated search tool were slightly to moderately higher quality, respectively, than those discovered via Google.


This work was originally published in portal: Libraries and the Academy



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.