May 15, 2008

Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship, Winter-Spring 2008

Lots of very interesting articles in the Winter-Spring ISTL.

  • Library Research Skills: A Needs Assessment for Graduate Student Workshops by Kristin Hoffmann, Fred Antwi-Nsiah, Vivian Feng, and Meagan Stanley, The University of Western Ontario
    ...As a first step, we conducted a needs assessment study via focus groups and an online survey. The study looked at graduate student perceptions of their library research needs, their preferences for learning about library research, and the appropriateness of a common instruction program for students in these disciplines. We found that graduate students wanted to learn about strategies for finding information, bibliographic management tools such as RefWorks, and tools for keeping current with scholarly literature. Students preferred online instruction, although in-person workshops were also found to be valuable. Students in all four faculties identified common information literacy needs, while expressing a desire for subject-specific instruction.

  • Providing Information Literacy Instruction to Graduate Students through Literature Review Workshops by Hannah Gascho Rempel, Oregon State University and Jeanne Davidson, Arizona State University
    As future professionals, graduate students must be information literate; however, information literacy instruction of graduate students is often neglected. To address this need, we created literature review workshops to serve graduate students from a wide range of subject disciplines at a point of shared need. Not only did this strategy prove to be successful in reaching a large number of students from a wide range of subject disciplines, the data gathered from the students identified some of the gaps graduate students have in their knowledge about library services.

  • Evolution of Reference: A New Service Model for Science and Engineering Libraries by Marianne Stowell Bracke, Purdue University, Sainath Chinnaswamy, University of Arizona, and Elizabeth Kline, University of Arizona
    ...In a time of shrinking budgets and changing user behavior the library was forced to rethink it reference services to be cost effective and provide quality service at the same time. The new model required consolidating different service points, i.e., circulation desk, photocopy desk, and reference desk into one central location to be staffed by library associates. First we performed a financial analysis and determined the cost per hour of the existing staffing model. This was followed by logging questions at different service points to understand the type of questions asked at different locations. This data-drive approach also uses a robust referral system where complex reference questions are referred to individual subject librarians. We performed Action Gap Surveys to measure customer satisfaction levels before and after we employed the model...

  • Does Chemistry Content in a State Electronic Library Meet the Needs of Smaller Academic Institutions and Companies?
    by Meghan Lafferty, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
    Smaller academic institutions and companies are not always able to afford access to Chemical Abstracts, the major source for the chemical literature, via SciFinder, SciFinder Scholar, or STN. In Minnesota, as in many other states, citizens do have access to a suite of interdisciplinary databases that offer some coverage of the chemical literature. I examined the coverage dates, document types, full-text availability, impact factor, publishers, and searchability and indexing of the chemistry-related content of Academic Search Premier and Business Source Premier which index academic and trade publications. A number of key journals in the field are indexed in the databases, but coverage does not go back very far. For this reason, I would not recommend it for undergraduates. The length of coverage may not be as important in industry as their needs are different.

Also highly appreciated are Ibironke Lawal's review of Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet and Bob Michaelson laying the smackdown on the The American Chemical Society and Open Access:
If the ACS is to be a party to discussions of OA, they must stop getting their policy advice from PR flacks and start making rational contributions to the discourse. Otherwise they will continue to poison the waters, and deservedly will be accorded no credence.

To which there is really nothing to add.

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