As a school librarian, it’s my job to ensure that student research is both comprehensive – (consulting a variety of sources in different formats) and well-documented (clear delineation of quotes, paraphrases and summaries and a properly formatted list of Works Cited with parenthetical citations throughout). Over the years, I’ve tried various note-taking and research organization strategies to simplify the process of capturing all of the necessary information. Templated note sheets. One-pagers with screenshots and eye-catching layouts for various types of sources. EasyBib. You name it, I’ve employed it. Finally, I’m resting easy. With the help of Gale’s Google integration, database and eReference research has transformed from a task to be managed and monitored to an easy, breezy, time-saving wonder.
Let me stop right here and make it clear that I haven’t paid or perked in exchange for writing this post. I’m just a librarian who has found a product that helps my students to be more organized and efficient researchers and it’s made me so happy that I want to share it with you.
So what is Gale’s Google integration and how does it work? Allow me to show you!
When users open up a Gale database or eReference product in their browser, they now see “Sign in with Google” on the top left of their screen.
By clicking the link and signing into/selecting the preferred Google account, they’ve just connected the two and can seamlessly download articles (including any color-coded highlights and notes taken on the article) right onto their Google Drive.
Users read the article, taking notes and highlighting as they go. When finished, all they need to do is go to the menu on the right and click “Download” and then select “Save to Google Drive.”
In a few seconds (and yes, there is just a little bit of a delay), if they click over to Google Drive, there will be a new orange folder marked with the name of database.
Inside it is the downloaded article. Full text. Including highlights…
And the MLA citation. (You can also access the easily APA citation.) And all of the notes.
No more lost note cards or note sheets! No more missing citation information! No more “I can’t remember which article these notes go to! Can you help me figure it out?” Students can even share the files in Google Drive with their teachers or other students for group projects.
My students absolutely love this new feature. Teachers have told me that students are including more direct quotes and citing more of their work. They’ve also noticed an uptick in the number of articles from Gale databases and eReference titles from the Gale Virtual Reference Library included on their Works Cited page. Now that using the Gale products makes note-taking so much easier, it’s the first place they go to find information on their topics. Instead of pounding away at poorly designed Google searches that bring back less-than-authoritative results* (random school projects, commercial sites and biased websites galore!), students are heading straight to scholarly journals and published reference works to get their information. Student researchers – and the teachers who read and grade their projects and papers – rejoice!
*Getting students to navigate the web more successfully for academic purposes is the subject of another post for the future…