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Google Scholar Tips: Getting Started

This is a guide on how to use Google Scholar effectively and search multiple library e-resources at once.

Setting Google Scholar Preferences

If you are fond of the Google search interface, we strongly encourage you to use Google SCHOLAR!  <>.  Besides the fact that Scholar crawls more scholarly sites than general Google does, the USC Libraries signed an agreement with them several years ago to have Scholar crawl SOME of the USC article databases!

A link for Google Scholar appears on the USC Libraries homepage. See image below.


If you are working off-campus or using wireless connectivity this link will take you to a log-in screen that allows you to access USC's licensed materials. This is by far the easiest way to access Google Scholar. However, you may occasionally encounter a captcha form after loggin in. See image below.

If you are using the Firefox browser this captcha form shows only the captcha image and does not provide a way to enter text (usually refreshing the page will get it working again).

If you encounter this error repeatedly when trying to access Google Scholar from the library homepage, we recommend that you add USC to your Google Scholar preferences instead.

Follow these steps to add USC to your Google Scholar preferences:

  1. Do not use the link on the USC Libraries homepage to access Google Scholar, rather go to directly.
  2. Click "Settings" in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. See image below.

  3. Click "Library links" on the left side of the screen.

  4. In the search box provided type "university of southern califorina" and click the search icon. A list of results will be returned. Check the box lableled "University of Southern California - FIND IT @ USC". See image below.

  5. ALSO, you may want to set Scholar preferences to link it to the RefWorks citation manager the Libraries provides (see our Guide on RefWorks).  This is a very nice functionality. Follow these instructions and remember to save your work:

    5a. Scroll down to Bibliography Manager.
    5b. Select RefWorks from the dropdown menu.

  6. If you would like Google Scholar to remember your preferences, you must enable cookies. Google provides a helpful link to do this. See image below.

  7. After saving your changes, you will be returned to the Google Scholar search box. Type your search term. A list of articles, including those available at USC libraries, will be returned. Click the "FIND IT @ USC" link that appears next to the title of the article.
  8. You will be asked for your USC log-in. Once you successfully log-in, you will be redirected to the article with full-text access.


Last updated 29 Sept 2011 KH/ST