Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by Geneseo alum and former Milne Library intern Margaret Craft, when she was a senior here last year. It’s always good to revisit this information!
I’m sure when you think of Google, you think of fuzzy dogs, craigs list, and the strange questions Google helpfully fills in for you, including
and the deepest most applicable question lingering at our core:
When can you eat squirrel?
…which a truly desperate college student on Geneseo’s campus might start to wonder, as the meal plan dwindles and you keep losing staring contests. (Vegans: it’s okay. Keep reading, it gets better, maybe.)
Day after day, eventually you start to wonder what you couldn’t eat those little buggers on. Pizza? Other squirrels?
This might require some research. For all you know, studies at Geneseo may have found a significant portion of squirrels have secret identities and should therefore be protected, not baked.
What you, the savvy Geneseo student, would thus benefit from using is the mind-bogglingly awesome part of Google devoted to this need, sneakily hidden under products. Yes, indeed this grail of searching is none other than GOOGLE SCHOLAR, a versatile research tool that looks for your search terms in articles, patents, and book citations.
On the homepage it tries to be modest and say it only looks for articles, but it will search for books as well. Such results will appear with a [BOOK] designation at the beginning of the citation.
Once you’ve typed a search term in, such as “squirrel,” you’ll be shown a master list of all results.
You may note that the third result on the list concerns movement representations in squirrel monkeys, which, while adorable are not a viable food source on Geneseo’s campus and thus not your concern.
To get rid of squirrel monkey results, you can exclude the word “monkey” in the advanced search. Clicking on the arrow next to the search box pulls up the advanced search functions.
To get rid of squirrel monkey results, you can exclude the word “monkey”:
You can further narrow results down by using the exact phrase option:
and now the top result (no superhero squirrel research in sight, sadly) based on my choice to sort by relevancy is:
Bummer. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a not so fun thing where your brain degenerates through infection by proteins called prions. Apparently it is possible to contract the disease through eating the brains of squirrels that are infected with these prions. However, when I look at more recent results by asking Google to only look for results in the last 14 years, I get this article, which is directly available for free through the link for Springer at the right:
It concludes that it is unlikely that infectious prions will appear in red squirrels. Whew. But maybe we have gray squirrels…
Underneath the citation and excerpt, you can see how many times it has been cited, none in this case, and how many websites have the full text available (All 11 versions). The link for “Related articles” at the far left will show related materials that includes others more recent than this article, these may include other types of squirrels. There is also the option to cite the article directly or save it to “my library,” which is a personalized memory bank that will keep track of citations you’re interested in.
Now the varied danger of eating squirrel brains is corroborated by another article that talks about more than just red squirrels:
It has been cited by 11 other more recent articles, which could be useful for further research into the topic. Additionally, there is no link to a free version to the right of the citation, meaning none of the 8 versions showed are available for free download. Boo.
You could cry, but wait! There should be, if you are on Geneseo’s wifi network or using an on-campus computer, a “Get It” link to the right of all articles. It may also be listed under “More” under the citation as well. This will take you to the glorious IDS request page, which should get you the article within 48 hours! REJOICE PEOPLE.
And if you are not on-campus, there is an alternative. Click “Settings” on this menu:
What will appear is this:
Type, as I have, SUNY Geneseo and hit search. Check the box next to “Milne Library, SUNY Geneseo – Get it”.
Now hit “Save” and you will return to your search. Now when you look to the right of a citation, you should see the Get It next to it, or More below the citation itself.
*Just remember to research before you eat. You never know.
*Vegans: it’s okay. Keep reading, it gets better.