What's the difference between Google Scholar and an academic database like Engineering Village or Business Source Ultimate?
Academic databases are searchable collections of published sources that let you know exactly what books, journals, conferences, etc...they are pulling their content from. In many databases, you can easily find a list of publications they are pulling citations from. That means you can tell if you'll be able to find articles from Nature in the database or not. Additionally, academic databases frequently have a subject specific focus and have many options for limiting search results.
Google scholar is also a searchable collection of published sources, but because Google keeps their proprietary information private, they do not share where they are pulling their content from. We don't know exactly where the citations are coming from, what will be included, or what might be missing. Additionally, Google Scholar covers all disciplines and only has a few advanced search options.
Google Scholar is good for...
Google Scholar cannot...
Keep in Mind:
Google Scholar searches specifically for scholarly materials such as journal articles, research reports, dissertations and theses, preprints, technical reports, patents, manuscripts in preparation, working papers and many other document types.
When you do a search in Google Scholar, you get a list of citations. You'll get links to the full text in the following cases:
We don't know exactly how Google Scholar indexes items, but this is how Google Scholar defines its metrics.