Librarian Profile

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Ellen Olsen-Lynch
Bata Library, Rm. 208.1


Welcome to the Geography Subject Guide.  In the pages of this guide find information about and links to important resources in geography. 

Use the left menu to navigate through this guide. 

If you need help:

Start your Research in Omni

Omni logo

Omni: Rediscover Discovery

Omni is the new academic search tool that locates your research material quickly and easily. Find Omni at the top of all our library webpages, or use the links below.

Library Resources, Google and Google Scholar

Library Resources

Library resources are carefully reviewed and chosen by librarians for things like reliability, relevance, and value. 

Use the library to:

  • get help with your research: from choosing a topic, to search techniques, to putting it all together
  • search Omni to find:
    • articles in scholarly journals 
    • articles in magazines and newspapers
    • books on your topic
    • films on your topic
  • access online databases (indexes) - highly organized collections of information, often subject specific, that allow you to find information with high relevance to search terms and that provide search tools to narrow your results with a variety of filters (e.g. peer reviewed articles, publication date, subject, language). Examples of databases - Web of Science, Medline, PsycINFO. 

(Above content adapted from Washtenaw Community College)


Information found on Google does not go through a consistent review process. Anyone can publish to the web, which makes it hard to determine credibility, relevance and value.  You can also be asked to pay for information (like newspaper, magazine, and journal articles) you find using Google. Read more about publishing and Google here.

Use Google or another search engine:

  • For information on specific non-profits, corporations or other organizations
  • For current information such as news, weather, stock quotes
  • To research a well-known event or individual
  • For online job postings, shopping auctions or travel services
  • Breaking News: News Websites, News Blogs, Twitter

(Above content adapted from Washtenaw Community College)

To Google or Not to Google?

There's no right or wrong answer to this question. Google is an excellent search engine and the web is full of useful information. What's important is your ability to distinguish appropriate sources from inappropriate sources, since the library isn't doing any sorting for you when you're on the web.

It's also important that you know how and when to put Google aside and use the scholarly indexes that our library pays hundreds of thousands of dollars for each year. This is where the majority of the best research material can be found, and if you graduate from University without knowing how to use them, you've done yourself a true injustice that will probably cost you down the road.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Google created Google Scholar to locate scholarly information on the web. To do this, they receive permission from some scholarly publishers to allow their crawlers into databases, to gather information. The crawlers report back on what they've found and provide citation information. Google doesn't tell you which publishers it searches or what is left out, so you don't know where you're searching. 

As a Google Scholar user, you can search the site, read the citations and click on the links to articles.  

  • If Trent has purchased access to the article, and the provider recognizes you as a Trent person, you will be able to access the document. If the document is publicly available for free, you will be permitted to access it.
    • If not, you will be denied access to the article.
  • Don't pay for articles you find on Google Scholar.  You should be able to obtain them for free through the Trent Library, either through our existing subscriptions or Interlibrary Loan. 
  • Use the instructions below to authenticate yourself when you're working from off-campus.
Google Scholar Pros
  • Useful when searching for obscure or very new topics.
  • Useful at the beginning of your research to identify important keywords, journals and authors connected to a particular subject.
  • Useful for verifying a citation or finding a known article (i.e. an article for which you have a citation or at least some bibliographic information like the title). 
  • Results can be linked to Trent's library collecting using the Google Scholar setting Library Links.
  • Use for for finding pre-print articles, open access articles, and grey literature (e.g. conference proceedings, PhD dissertations), which may not appear in a library database.
  • It shows you how many times an article has been cited.
Google Scholar Cons
  • Doesn't tell you which publishers it searches or what is left out, so you don't know where you're searching.
  • Items retrieved are not necessarily peer-reviewed.  It is unclear what Google's definition of "scholarly" is.
    • Sometimes a Google Scholar search will find fake articles or articles from predatory journals. Predatory journals are an unintended consequence of open access publishing. For more information about predatory journals and tips on how to avoid them, please see our Open Access guide
  • Does not clearly indicate what type of material is in the results list.
  • Lacks search control and has limited search features. It does not permit sorting or filtering by:
    • Title
    • Author
    • Publication type
    • Study type
    • Disciplinary filed or subject headings
Settings in Google Scholar

We've arranged to have Trent University added as an institution on the Google Scholar site, so that you can access many articles online through their search engine, whether you are on campus or not.

To activate it:

  • Go to Google Scholar.
  • Click on the menu in the upper left corner (sometimes looks like three horizontal lines) to go to "Settings".
  • Select your preferred settings:
    • What do you want to search for: articles, patents, case law?
    • Do you want articles to open in a new window so you don't loose your search page?  Don't selec this if you want to avoid have too many windows/tabs open.
    • Under "Bibliography Manager", select the name of your citation manager to load - if you're using one.  Select "Don't show any citation import links" if you're not using one.
    • Save your changes.

Next, set your library affiliation:

  1. Click on "Library links" in the left menu. 
  2. In the search box, enter "Trent University" and search.
  3. On the list of options it finds, select "Find It @ Trent (Omni) - Find It @ TrentU". (Be careful - there's another Trent University in Nottingham, England.)
  4. Save the setting.

The screen looks like this:

Google Scholar Settings Screen shot

If you save these settings, they should be there the next time you go to the site, but if not, just do the same again.

Now, when you search, your results will include links to Trent resources.

Google Scholar Results With Omnie at Trent icon

If you're off-campus, you'll be asked to login to identify yourself as a valid Trent user. When you search Google Scholar with the Library Links enabled, you can access any article our library has subscribed to. You will not, however, get free access to articles that our library does not already receive online. Use Interlibrary Loan to request these.