Google Scholar

Doesn't the name, Google Scholar, sound perfect for you, the college researcher? Of course it does--you are entering the field of academic scholarship, so anything to do with being a scholar is the right choice, right? Well, this is a double-edged sword in that it is a great tool, but...

A search in Scholar will reveal a large number of results, just like with any other internet search. You are getting a more focused portion of the internet which should improve your search results for relevancy and quality.  Problem is, Google, like all technologies, has its limitations and there are limits set on accessing the full text. You need to be aware of limitations and their workarounds before assuming everything is at your fingertips in this one source.

Google does:

  • attempt to index every publication in the scholarly universe--it's not there yet, although they are trying!
  • include citations to books and articles as well as full text of materials that are out of copyright or have provided permission for access.
  • help you discover what has been published in books and articles as well as some non-published materials.
  • provide links to access (there is a catch here, read on...)

Google does NOT:

  • provide full text access to all documents found through a search using Scholar. There is a mix of fully-available, text snippets, and citation only.
  • provide information on how results are ranked.
  • automatically allow access to materials behind firewalls such as research databases (caveat here--if you are working through the campus link to Google Scholar, GET IT@CSUSM will work. This gives you access to the databases for which CSUSM has purchased access. This is automatic when on campus and can be set up for home use by following the instructions below.)
  • sort results by topic area. A search on literary criticism of Hemingway returned works in the field of medicine, psychology and others that were not relevant. This happens because an author's name is Hemingway or other non-relevant connection.
  • help you if you get stuck (such as a link-through not working).
  • tell you if the material is available through other means via CSUSM if you are not using the GET-IT link.


  • Who else but your librarian? We are experts at solving the difficult and commited to providing access to the information you need. 
  • Scholar at home--follow the steps below to set up your Google Scholar to provide access to full text through CSUSM.

Here is a sample of some results on the search literary criticism Hemingway and what they mean:


Google Scholar at Home for the CSUSM User

Follow these steps to set up your Google Scholar to provide access to full text purchased by CSUSM. (Note, this is not going to work for materials held in licensed databases CSUSM hasn't paid for. Materials in that case will need to be ordered through Interlibrary Loan which is explained in the last bullet.)

  • At the machine you intend to use, go to
  • Click on Scholar Preferences, just to the right of the search box.
  • Look for Library Links. Type in the phrase California State University San Marcos and click on one or both boxes (one name has a comma in it) to select.  
  • Click on SAVE Preferences at bottom of screen.

Make sure your pop-up blocker is set to allow pop-ups from

Conduct your search, using appropriate terminology or authors' names. 

When you find something you want, click on the GET-IT @CSUSM link. (Note in the screen shot above that the link can be next to the title, or on a line underneath...wherever you find it, click on it.)

A new screen opens with the options available for accessing full text.

  • If it is a book, the link will take you to our library catalog and you will need to come in to retrieve and check out.
  • If it is an article, a screen will open (this is a pop-up) and you will be asked to log in  with your campus log in and password. Retrieve the document and you can close the document window and use the back button on the GET-IT.
  • If CSUSM does not own the material and/or it is not available through Circuit, you have the option of ordering the material through Interlibrary Loan. This is an simple process as the information downloads from the system, but you will be asked to register during your first use to verify your contact and delivery information.