When we search, we often first reach for Google–and rightfully so.

But by using Google students and teachers are unwittingly bending to the will of webmasters who are experts at SEO (search engine optimization), which can mean that you find what they want you to find rather than what you really need. So what to do?

Thankfully, there are options for 21st century learners:

The Undergrad's Guide to Online Research

http:/www.bestcolleges.com/ has published an extensive guide online research that includes how to choose credible sources, tools for organizing research content and citations, as well as detailed descriptions of academic databases and search engines. While the guide is primarily geared toward college level research, the site can be beneficial to anyone looking to take their research to a higher level. 

100 Search Engines For Academic Research

If you have a need for specific, niche academic material, here are 100 databases and search indexes. If, however, you want an academic search engine analogous to Google itself, several appear below.


“As the open access movement grows and prospers, more and more repository servers come into being which use the “Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting” (OAI-PMH) for providing their contents. BASE collects, normalises, and indexes these data. BASE provides more than 40 million documents from more than 2,400 sources.”

Google Scholar  

Okay, this one is from Google, but it’s their Scholar search rather than a general overview their signature product offers.

Gooru Learning

Part search engine, part learning management system, Gooru Learning is a neat tool to help teachers get started with blended learning.


“A curated academic search-engine, indexing 4,507 free ejournals in the arts & humanities.”

Microsoft Academic Search  

“Microsoft Academic Search covers more than 48 million publications and over 20 million authors across a variety of domains with updates added each week. This large collection of data has also allowed users to create several innovative ways to visualize and explore academic papers, authors, conferences, and journal”


“RefSeek’s unique approach offers students comprehensive subject coverage without the information overload of a general search engine—increasing the visibility of academic information and compelling ideas that are often lost in a muddle of sponsored links and commercial results.”

Virtual LRC

A Google-powered and Virtual LRC “refined” academic search engine.