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Research 101


About Google Search

Google Web Search

How does Google search?

Google sends out "spiders" (also called bots or web crawlers) that jump from webpage to webpage following hyperlinks on each page. These spiders index the words on each page in a database. The basic idea is that when you do a Google search, you are searching their database to find web pages that seem relevant based on their words.

However, Google also ranks pages based on other factors. Google will use what it knows about you and/or the computer you are using to tailor your results. Try doing a search on the library's computers, and then do the same search on your smartphone. Are the results different? 

What does Google not search?

From some estimates, Google has access to less than 10% of online material. Other estimates say that the figure is even smaller than 10%.

Some web pages that the spiders cannot find and index include:

  • Subscription databases
  • Any pages that require a password or login
  • Websites that have been made private/not crawlable by Google spiders, such as networks available within a particular company
  • Web pages that are not linked to other web pages
  • Web-based mail servers

This is why many online library materials are not going to turn up in Google searches. This includes resources available from Hostos Library like our subscription database. On the other hand, some things might be available both through a Google search and through a OneSearch search, but many documents cannot be found by Google alone. 

I found an article on the internet and it says I need to pay!

Do Not Pay For Articles Found Online

If you’re asked online to pay for an article, don't! Hostos Library can get you the article for free, either through our own access or through Interlibrary Loan.

To check whether Hostos Library has access to the article, or whether you will need to request that article through Interlibrary Loan, search for the article using OneSearch. Can't find it? Check out the Google Scholar page on how to find the article using Google Scholar. You can also look for the journal the article is in using OneSearch Journal Search.

Remember, do not pay for individual articles. You are already paying for access with your Hostos tuition. 

Need help? Talk to a librarian!