Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Science Information Literacy Tutorial

I have been interested in creating a science information tutorial for a while now, but it looks like I am too slow. The fabulous librarians at University of California-Irvine have created an interesting, fast-paced, informative tutorial on the topic. In addition, an article on its creation has been published in the open-access journal Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship:

An Undergraduate Science Information Literacy Tutorial in a Web 2.0 World by Jeanine Marie Scaramozzino, Fall 2008.

The tutorial, which includes interactive reviews, pretests, and videos, went through extensive user testing with science and nonscience undergraduates. The tutorial has 3 sections covering the scientific method, peer review, information formats, information evaluation, and plagiarism--a great deal of information in a relatively short format. The introduction to each section offers a completion time, although I found it took slightly longer than the suggested time (maybe I just read slowly!). Nevertheless, the information is packaged in an engaging manner and did not feel overly long.

At Eckerd, our library classes revolve around particular assignments, although I work to include some of the more "critical thinking" aspects of information literacy. In addition, the Marine Science program is working to include more assignments that address particular aspects of science information literacy, such as this semester's IMS assignment dealing with the information cycle, and recognizing the differences between certain information formats (namely popular and scholarly science articles).

However, I understand that it is difficult to fit even more instruction into an already packed curriculum, and this is why I love the idea of a tutorial. I applaud UCI librarians for their hard work. Guests can access the tutorial although they cannot print completion certificates. Except for the specific references to the UCI libraries, the information is universal so it's something students could work on during lab or in the evenings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

CAS podcasts

CAS, the division of the American Chemical Society that produces Scifinder Scholar, has created a new "podcast" series. I would actually call them videocasts because they are little movies rather than simple audio files. They are more helpful if you view them rather than just listen to them. These videos show effective ways of using Scifinder Scholar for research in the past and the present. For example, From Fairy Gloves to Nanocrystals: How a Folk Remedy became One of the Greatest Drug Discoveries, demonstrates the connection between research conducted in the early 1900s to today through a substance search on digitalis. Note that the interface shown in these videos is the Web version of Scifinder Scholar, which has not yet been implemented on our campus. In our last discussions with the CAS team, the web version of Scifinder should be in place before the end of the year. Keep your fingers crossed! Until then, check out some of the videos to get more insight into searching Scifinder. At this time, other titles include the following:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Friday Fun: Optics of Jack

Happy Halloween!

For your Halloween physics pleasure, I bring you an article from Lorne A. Whitehead and Michele A. Mossman, two professors from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia.

Jack O'Lanterns and integrating spheres: Halloween physics
American Journal of Physics -- June 2006 -- Volume 74, Issue 6, pp. 537-541

Of course, it would break copyright for me to post the article itself, but Eckerd Library does subscribe to the American Journal of Physics online.

Don't know how to get to it? Follow these steps:

  1. Go to www.eckerd.edu/library
  3. Search for: American Journal of Physics
  4. Click on the online link: Scitation Publications
  5. Click on the link: Volume 74
  6. Scroll down to June 2006, and click on the button to VIEW HTML TOC.
  7. Scroll down to the article.

If you are on campus, you should be able to click here.

Image from YesWeCarve.com

And don't forget to vote! The only bus from Eckerd is leaving today at 1:15 pm.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Open house at USGS library

The U.S. Geological Survey library in St. Petersburg will hold an open house for the public Wednesday Nov. 5 from 3-6 pm. There will be more than 40 interactive exhibits, as well as special displays for educators. A ceremony honoring 10 years of science in the community will take place at 4 pm. For more information and directions, visit http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/openhouse/

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Karst Information Portal

Last week, I was helping a student doing some karst research. The student needed an article from NSS (National Speleological Society) News, which we do not own. In exploring nearby options, I found that USF had it listed online. Through this serendipitous search, I discovered the Karst Information Portal (KIP). KIP began as an initiative to unite a fragmented body of work, with significant assistance from the USF Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions. Partners include the National Cave & Karst Research Institute, USF Libraries, University Libraries at University of New Mexico, and the Union Internationale de Spéléologie (UIS). The portal offers resources, including some access to online journals, GIS data, dissertations and theses, and more. Furthermore, a community has started with members discussing karst topics.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Online tutorial for finding full text

Finally the long-awaited tutorial for finding full text is complete. I decided to try my hand at this online tutorial because finding the full text is one of the challenges that plagues nearly every student with whom I speak. Although, it was a multi-step process in the old days (when I was an undergrad), students seem baffled that it remains a multi-step process. Everything should be instantaneous. I think it comes from confusion and surprise that students have when they learn information is not free, and information that is free may not be the kind you can use. And I get it. I think it should all be free also. Unfortunately until then, we have to deal with different vendors and services to provide information. And that means several steps to find what you need. I hope this tutorial will prove useful for finding full text at Eckerd. I admit, it's not the shortest tutorial ever, but I think it is thorough. I really want you to understand that we have access to many more articles than what you can find in the full text databases. It has been tested by a few people, however if you find a problem, please let me know.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Fun: Changing colors of Fall

Picture linked from Chemical of the Week: Autumn Colors from scifun.org

So many of the Eckerd students come from out of state. I thought some students may miss Fall colors. The Fall Foliage Celebration site from University of Buffalo provides information on the science of Autumn, including information on photosynthesis and chemistry of color change. In addition, links are given for photographic and pressing Fall leaves in addition to Fall Foliage maps for those of you lucky enough to get away in the coming weeks (Fall break anyone?).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

National Chemistry Week

October 19-October 25 is National Chemistry Week. The theme for the 21st annual event promoted by the American Chemical Society is HAVING A BALL WITH CHEMISTRY. The only Florida event listed on the events page is taking place in Jacksonville. To find more information, visit the National Chemistry week site.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Open Courses from around the world

When I was in library school, I learned of the Open Courseware Consortium. I thought the Eckerd community might be interested. Listed on the site are colleges and universities that offer open courseware, which is defined as

free and open digital publication of high quality educational materials, organized as courses.

Institutions from around the world offer free coursework, which include presentations, readings, video, and more. Some of the participating schools from the United States with science content are the following:
  • MIT
  • Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
  • UC Berkeley
  • College of Eastern Utah
and more.

Probably the last thing you want to do in your free time is more coursework, but this could be an opportunity to learn something not offered here, to gauge interest before taking a graded course at Eckerd, or to brush up on skills before going into a more advanced course.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Fun: Video Elements

It seems like I am always writing about the periodic table. People seem to be doing so many fun things with the elements. This week, check out The Periodic Table of Videos. Lecturers at the University of Nottingham have created 3-minute videos on each element. The videos feature a wild-haired (a la Einstein) professor as well as explosive experiments that make me think of the TV show Mythbusters with posh, British accents.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Consider a career as a science librarian

During the interview process at Eckerd a year ago, I discussed with one of the interviewers the prospects of science librarianship as a career for students who graduate with a science degree. This is still an avenue I wish to explore with students at Eckerd, and as I look into ways to bring this career path into focus, I thought to start with a blog post. The following resources may be of interest if you are a science student who is considering a different, exciting, flexible career with many opportunites.

Leaving Science for LIS
This article describes a study done with librarians who came from the sciences. It includes advice to scientists considering a career in librarianship

From Engineer to Librarian
Personal story of a fourth year engineering student whose heart wasn't in it, and how becoming an engineering librarian was the perfect solution

Science Majors Needed
A brochure from the Association of College and Research Libraries-Science & Technology Section

Medical Library Association Career Development
Brochures, videos, job lists, and more for medical librarianship

Resources on Careers in Chemical Information
Blog, books, web articles and other resources from the American Chemical Society

So there's just a taste, and hopefully more information will be forthcoming in your classes, in a workshop, or ...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Social networking growing for scientists?

I have to admit that I personally have doubts about the effectiveness of social networking. I have declined several invitations to join LinkedIn in the past few months. However, I suspect that it is a facet of my personality rather than lack of value within the products themselves. For me, cultivating an online network requires time and effort that I personally tend to expend elsewhere. However, I was very interested to find that quite a few scientific social networks have been developed since I last looked into that sort of thing.

  • Lasilio has a literature search component.
  • Bamboo has liberal arts institutions as part of its focus.
  • Ologeez has a great name and is tied to Pubmed
  • Scilink has more than 40,000 members.
  • and there are so many more
These networks are discussed by Gerry McKiernan, librarian at Iowa State University, in his blog, SciTechNet.

Do check out these networks if you're so inclined, and let the Eckerd community know which you have joined by leaving a comment here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

200 open access journals from Bentham

Prof. Meylan brought a new open access resource to my attention: Bentham Open. Bentham aims to provide more than 200 open access journals in Science, technology and medicine. At least one, but often several, journals are featured in each of the following subjects:

Most are being indexed by Google Scholar, and Chemical Abstracts has also picked up a number of journals. This means that the journal articles will appear when searching Scifinder Scholar.