2010 STS Conference Poster Session

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ACRL Science and Technology Section (ACRL-STS)

ALA Annual Conference, Washington, DC, 2010


Posters will be displayed from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Monday, June 28, 2010, immediately following the STS Program, which starts at 8:00 a.m.

Poster Title: Public Attitude Adjustment: 27 Year Trends about Science and Technology

Authors: Stephen Woods, John Meier, and Amy Paster
Institution: Penn State
Emails: swoods@psu.edu; meier@psu.edu; alp4@psu.edu

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The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Surveys of Public Attitudes Toward and Understanding of Science and Technology has been used by government officials and researchers to help develop public policy since 1979.  The survey’s history is complicated, but its prominence was solidified when it was incorporated into the NSF’s “gold standard” General Social Survey [1].   

The NSF in cooperation with the Roper Center recently released a dataset combining core questions from surveys taken from 1979-2006 [2].  This poster session will focus on trends of US attitudes towards science and technology.   These trends will focus on three primary areas of interest to librarians: developing collections, reference and instruction. 

The poster session will address such questions as:

Where is the public finding information about science and technology? 

How has this changed over the years?

What does the public know about science and technology and is this correct [3]?

What magazines and television shows are users using to inform their ideas?

What kinds of information are users exploring?

[1] For more information see Stephen Woods (2008) “Public Policy, Social Surveys, and the National Science Foundation”, Documents to the People 36(3):8-10.

[2] More information about this dataset can be viewed and download from the Roper Center at: http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/data_access/data/datasets/nsf.html

3] Researchers associated with The International Center for the Advancement of Scientific Literacy have used data from this survey for research in this area http://www.icasl.org/

Poster Title: Science.gov – Federal Friends on a Joint Mission

Author: Gail Hodge
Institution: DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Download poster, handout 1, and handout 2.

Science.gov offers a unique and virtual “one-stop shop” for government science and technology information contributed by 14 federal science agencies. As essential sources of research and development information, science agencies collaborated in 2001 to explore ways to make their information more transparent and accessible, less stove piped. The result was the Science.gov Alliance which launched Science.gov (www.science.gov) in 2002.

With five versions of Science.gov launched in the next seven years, the technical progression of Science.gov has been significant. Science.gov searches over 40 large scientific databases and is a gateway to over 2000 scientific websites. Agencies contribute their own information using a distributed model of content management. The large databases are searched in real time, so that when the agency updates a database, the information is immediately available via Science.gov.

While offering a “Google-type” search box for ease-of-use, the results are not “Google-like” at all. In fact, Science.gov drills down into databases of full-text documents in parallel to return relevant information often not found by traditional search engines. Science.gov is a “deep web” search engine, finding scholarly information which at best is difficult to retrieve.

For those desiring more, Science.gov offers a fielded search, integrated weekly alerts and clustering of results by subtopic. The challenge, successfully met, has been to develop and offer these features freely to the public while minimizing additional requirements placed upon the federal agencies.

Poster Title: Datacite: An International Initiative to Facilitate Access to Research Data

Author: Michael C. Witt
Institution: Purdue University
Email: mwitt@purdue.edu

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Many academic and research libraries are beginning to incorporate the stewardship and sharing of research datasets into their services, adapting their practice of librarianship to support datasets alongside traditional print and digital collections. A lack of standards and best practices for persisting access to these datasets presents a challenge to their proper, scholarly recognition and use. DataCite is a non-profit agency that was created in January 2010 to support researchers by providing methods for them to locate, identify, and cite research datasets with confidence. The goal of this international cooperation is to enable organizations such as libraries to register research datasets and assign persistent identifiers to them, so that datasets can be handled as independent, citable, unique scientific objects. The founding partners of DataCite include federal agencies such as the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB), British Library, Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (France), Technical Information Center of Denmark, Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI), and Australian National Data Service as well as the Library of the ETH Zurich (Sweden), Dutch TU Delft Library, California Digital Library, and Purdue University Libraries. As a first step, DataCite has established a registration agency and will promote the use of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for datasets. Working groups will address issues such as establishing best practices, developing infrastructure, and metadata creation. This poster describes the DataCite organization and how it will build upon the work of TIB, who has registered more than 600,000 datasets with DOIs since 2005.

Poster Title: Information for All: The Federal Agency-University Partnership for Research

Authors: Will Hires and Stephanie Braunstein
Institution:  Louisiana State University
Emails:  whires1@lsu.edusbraunst@lsu.edu

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The federal government has an important interest in supporting science and technology research. Partnerships between federal agencies and universities help advance the national goal of enhanced global competitiveness through technological innovation. This poster highlights some of the federal agency-university partnerships that currently exist and reports on the status of some resources that enable public access to research and data. The poster also highlights the roles played by academic libraries and librarians in providing that access. Examples of federal agency-university partnerships include University of Utah’s NIH/NCRR Center for Integrative Biomedical Computing, University of Maryland’s Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science & Technology, University of North Carolina’s (and several other collaborating universities) NSF Science and Technology Center for Environmentally Responsible Solvents and Processes, and Florida International University’s DOE/FIU Science & Technology Workforce Development Initiative. Information about these programs will be presented to illustrate how federal agencies work with universities to develop, promote, and support national science and technology objectives.

As mentioned earlier, there is also a strong national interest in providing more wide-spread public access to results of research funded by federal science and technology agencies. This poster will reference some resources established to facilitate public access. They include Biomedcentral, PubMedCentral, the Public Library of Science (PLOS), the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Poster Title: Blazing a TRAIL: Digitizing and Preserving Legacy U.S. Government Technical Reports

Authors: Mel DeSart1 and Sinai Wood2
Institutions: 1University of Washington and 2Baylor University
Emails: desart@washington.edu; Sinai_Wood@baylor.edu

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Some of the most underutilized materials in many academic libraries are older U.S. government agency technical reports.  In most libraries, these reports suffer from some number of the following:

  • No cataloging at all which translates to little or no access - invisible reports!
  • Cataloging only at the series level (no analytics or individual item records
  • Limited/partial holdings of many series
  • Outside of NTIS, almost no indexing in commercial databases
  • Many/most reports are available only in microfiche, or even microcard
  • Most are not available in print, and many that are suffer from poor quality paper and printing.

The Technical Report Archive and Image Library (TRAIL) addresses these issues by preserving and creating greater access to these reports.  Print copies of various federal technical report series are being gathered from partners nationwide for digitization.  Efforts are being made to acquire complete runs of each series for digitization, and to secure archival print copies.   Metadata/Cataloging records are being produced for each report in each series and supplied to OCLC, which will make record collection sets available for libraries to load into local catalogs.  All digitized reports will be made openly accessible and searchable via a single interface, providing unfettered access to this material for all present and future researchers. The poster will illustrate various aspects of the TRAIL project: background, process/workflow, collections completed/in process; current partners; plus opportunities for involvement of others in extending/enhancing the project.

Poster Title: Where is the Science in Congress?  Walking the Line to Research Information from Bill to Law

Authors: Jenette Prescod, Thura Mack, and Sandra Leach
Institutition: University of Tennessee Libraries
Email: sandra-leach@utk.edu


This poster will identify pathways to information that are useful to science librarians by examining three government agencies that provide reports and analyses to Congress.

Public policy issues are complex and often contentious. How does Congress find objectivity when opposing forces seek common ground? Three independent agencies contribute vital, comprehensive analysis of the issues under congressional debate. The Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) are mandated to help Congress meet its constitutional responsibilities. Each agency has a special role in providing non-partisan, authoritative, and timely reports based on sound science that serve as keys to balancing the act in legislative debates.

CRS is the research arm of Congress. Its analytic capabilities produce objective reports for congressional committees that cover the spectrum of public policy issues. 

CBO serves the Congress as its budgetary arm. It provides cost estimates and analyses of the budgetary effects of congressional proposals. CBO’s advice reins in congressional spending.

As the investigative arm of Congress, GAO is the watchdog that keeps congressional accountability in line. Policy analyses and opinions on government effectiveness result in laws that improve operations through spending efficiencies. Using the example of an environmental event, this poster will illustrate the process of finding the science provided to Congress by its research investigative agencies.

Poster Title: NOAA’s National Data Centers: A Wealth of Atmospheric, Geophysical, Oceanographic, and Climatic Data to be Discovered

Author: Mary Lou Cumberpatch
Institution: NOAA Central Library
Email: Mary.Lou.Cumberpatch@noaa.gov

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducts and funds research in the aquatic, ocean, and atmospheric sciences. NOAA also develops and maintains observation platforms throughout the oceans, coast, and atmosphere. These platforms and research projects produce a remarkable quantity of data and associated products, hosted on well over 800 NOAA web sites. Discovery of the data and products can be problematic for targeted user groups, including librarians, faculty, and students at academic institutions.

This poster presents several of the data portals and highest quality data products developed by NOAA’s national data centers (National Oceanographic Data Center, National Geophysical Data Center, National Climatic Data Center). The purpose of the poster is to heighten awareness and use of NOAA data and products among S&T librarians. A second purpose of the poster is to solicit suggestions and feedback from the conference participants on how NOAA can reach a wider audience of S&T Librarians with its products and data.

The poster authors are investigating  several communication and outreach methods, including:  integrate NOAA data with A&I databases, publish data briefs in academic library journals, conduct presentations at academic library user instruction classes, participate in listservs and social networking sites targeted at librarians, and produce webinars and video for use by librarians. 

Making the case that federal agency librarians are important communicators and educators for their agency products and data is one way federal librarians can remain valuable employees and seen as integral to the business goals of their agencies.

Poster Title: Text Mining for Science Librarians: An Evaluation of Some Current Tools

Author: Peter Kirlew
Institution: University of Minnesota Libraries
Email: kirle001@umn.edu

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Text mining and data mining have had a significant impact on many areas of science research, and continue to do so. Rapid improvements in computational/storage capacities, research instrumentation automation, sensor networks and genomic/proteomic technological capabilities have resulted in a deluge of experimental data and research publications, and scientists have been turning to mining techniques to assist in data management/processing tasks and research hypothesis development.

With text-based information retrieval methods (databases, search engines, catalogs) the searcher knows what is being looked for (i.e. keywords, topics), whereas with text mining the searcher is also asking the system to discover new associations and connections that may not have been previously noticed.

As text mining methods become more accessible, they can gradually be incorporated into the science librarian's repertoire of service and research techniques. In addition to commercial systems, there are a growing number of free text and literature mining tools, both online and downloadable. Also, because PubMed is a free database of article abstracts, a number of tools in the latter category are based on content from this database.

This poster will outline basic text mining and natural language processing methodology, and present an evaluation of selected text mining tools (U-Compare, LitInspector, etc.). Evaluation metrics will include accessibility, speed, text input and tool output capabilities, and usability. Where feasible, tool output will also be validated with the use of a standardized document corpus (pre-marked textual data). Visually descriptive examples of output from the selected tools will be provided.

Poster TitleAgSpace: The National Agricultural Library’s Digital Repository

Author:  Scott Hanscom
Institution: National Agricultural Library
Email: scott.hanscom@ars.usda.gov

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AgSpace (http://www.agspace.nal.usda.gov) is a unified system of digital repository applications containing publicly accessible online, full-text articles and other publications produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its employees. The focus is the fields of agriculture, food and the related sciences. The repository is maintained by the National Agricultural Library (NAL) and the goal is to provide reliable, long-term access and storage for these publications.

AgSpace uses three separate repository applications. D-Space which was implemented in June 2007 primarily contains published journal articles in PDF format.  New titles are being added at the rate of 15,000 digital objects per year. As of January 2010, 36,000 titles are in DSpace.

Complete runs of USDA publications are stored in the ZyLab, a repository system.  The ZyLab application contains over 350,000 pages. In 2010, CONTENTDM will be deployed to store and display collections of photographs, illustrations, and art work.

AgSpace is not designed to support unmediated author submission. Metadata including subject access via a controlled vocabulary is stored in AGRICOLA, NAL’s online catalog.

The goal of this poster session is to familiarize attendees with AgSpace in terms of the repository’s mission, content, target audience(s), and how it has been integrated into the work of the National Agricultural Library. It will describe how AgSpace was integrated into the overall work of the Library, why a reorganization of Technical Services was required, and outline new automated and manual workflows needed to synchronize all parts of the repository.

Poster Title: Access to Defense Scientific and Technical Information (STI) on DTIC Online

Author: Carol Jacobson
Institution: Defense Technical Information Center
Email: cjacobso@dtic.mil

The mission of the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) is to acquire, store, retrieve and disseminate scientific and technical information created by or for the Department of Defense. DTIC provides access to its collection of Department of Defense-sponsored scientific and technical information to a community of customers. This community includes scientists, engineers, researchers, librarians and other information professionals.  DTIC continues to better understand the information needs of its customers by applying new and innovative techniques to assess user needs - not only the needs of information professionals, but also the needs of "end-users" - scientists and engineers. In particular, the poster will describe the variety of techniques that DTIC has used to determine what features users want. We will illustrate what features users want; evaluate which techniques are most effective in targeting user needs; and compare the needs of scientists and engineers vs. the needs of information professionals.

Last updated: September 3, 2010

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