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: