2005 STS Conference Poster Session


ACRL Science and Technology Section

The New Crossroads:
Science Librarians in the 21st Century

Monday, June 27, 2005

Reception and Poster Session:
11:30 - 12:30
McCormick Place, N229 (next door to STS Program)

Following the STS Program, the Program and Research Committees invite you to attend the STS Reception and Poster Session. The Research Committee has invited seven groups of authors to present posters on topics of interest to Science and Technology Librarians.

Science Librarians as Consultants: Partnerships for Knowledge
Scott Warren, North Carolina State University Libraries

Under supervision of two of the North Carolina State University Libraries’ science librarians, Scott Warren and Karen Ciccone, and in conjunction with the NCSU Physics Department’s Professor Robert Beichner (a Fellow of the American Physical Society), a research assistant has been developing an extremely comprehensive annotated EndNote bibliography of the extant literature in the field of physics education research.

The core of the bibliography was created by the large-scale harvesting of citations from both ERIC and INSPEC into EndNote. The research assistant has since been adding additional citations, editing the present citations, and learning how to track down erroneous and ambiguous citations. The librarians will supervise the creation of a functioning thesaurus for the database to be constructed from the keywords attached to each record in the bibliography.

This bibliography is part of an NSF funded project to create a ‘clearinghouse’ for physics education literature. Essentially this will be a fully searchable, indexed database (though this part of the project will not be done at NCSU) that will ultimately be available to the academic community.

For the duration of this project, the NCSU Libraries’ physical science librarians are acting as consultants. Rather than performing searches ourselves, we are supervising the intellectual work taking place while selecting thesaurus software, teaching the assistant how to search databases, how to use citation software like EndNote, and how to construct a thesaurus. These roles reflect a partnership on this project rather than a more traditional client role for the librarians.

The bibliography and the database that ultimately will grow out of it are important since rarely do librarians have a chance to fully capture the extant literature of a nascent field. Physics Education Research (PER) is a dynamic and growing field. What was once being done in just one or two physics departments is now a vital part of scores of high schools, colleges, and universities worldwide. PER-based development tries to design instructional environments and curricular materials that take advantage of advances being made in our knowledge of physics students and how they grapple with the concepts of physics. As such it will no doubt impact science librarians and libraries in the years to come.

Librarians as Teachers: An Information Literacy Collaboration in the Life Sciences
Betsy Spackman, Brigham Young University

In the 21st century, science librarians will face new challenges and develop new roles as we strive to meet the needs of our clientele. One essential new role is librarians as teachers. In this poster, I will describe my collaboration with the professors of Biology 100, a large general education course at Brigham Young University, to improve information literacy instruction in their course. I will include feedback from focus group participants who evaluated the results of our collaboration. The term assignment in this freshman-level course requires students to create research posters, citing at least one primary source. To complete their posters, students need to understand the structure of information in biology, as well as what types of resources are available and how to locate relevant material.

The large enrollment of Biology 100 (1,500-2,000 students every semester) presents challenges for information literacy instruction. I collaborated with the professors to select topics for the poster assignment, train the teaching assistants, and offer information literacy/library instruction sessions. Also, I created an online research guide specifically for the poster assignment. Our information literacy collaboration resulted in a significant increase in number of Biology 100 students who came to the library for help, as well as an increase in the quality of the posters. Focus group participants identified the successful aspects of the program, suggested improvements, and noted other areas of concern. We will improve information literacy instruction as we continue our librarian-professor collaboration in Biology 100.



What Are Our Customers Reading? Analyzing Circulation Data to Identify Popular Subjects in a Book Collection
Harriet Hassler, National Institute of Standards and Technology

The Research Library of the National Institute for Standards and Technology, an agency within the Department of Commerce, analyzed book circulation records for a 28-month period to create a list of “Top 100 Call Numbers.” The purpose was to help tighten our book approval plan profile, identify subjects that give the greatest return on investment, and improve book acquisitions processes in general. The analysis took a list of 12,500 circulated titles and broke them down into successively more specific subject groups using their Library of Congress Classification (LCC) call numbers. Call numbers, corresponding to subjects, were ranked using a formula that accounted for both the total number of circulation charges and the total number of titles circulated. The Library concluded that NIST scientists use the book collection to learn about topics that support their research, such as programming, research methodology, and statistical analysis, as much if not more than to learn about their specific areas of expertise. While journals are used for current awareness, books are more likely to be used to investigate fields in which the scientist is less familiar, but in which a situational need for more knowledge has occurred. The resulting report will be distributed to NIST management to make the case for maintaining adequate levels of Library funding to continue growing the book collection. The poster will focus on the methodology of this analysis: how the raw data report was processed, how call numbers were grouped and scored, and will include samples of the results.

Poster -  Full Report


The Chymistry of Isaac Newton: New Technologies and Old Science
John A. Walsh, Indiana University

The poster will outline the research project "The Chymistry of Isaac Newton," a project, funded by the National Science Founation, to digitize and edit the alchemical manuscripts of Isaac Newton.

Isaac Newton wrote at least one hundred thirty-one manuscripts, totaling approximately one million words, on the subject of alchemy, work that would today fall under the general rubric of "chemistry." The "Chymistry of Isaac Newton" project aims to produce a scholarly online edition that integrates new research on Newton's chymistry with an online collection of his manuscripts. This edition will include all of Newton's alchemical writings in searchable form with annotations indicating their sources and the degree of Newtonian input into them. The HTML versions of the text, derived from underlying XML sources, will be linked to digtal page images of the original manuscripts.

The project is lead by a faculty member from Indiana University's History and Philosophy of Science Department (http://www.indiana.edu/~hpscdept/) and a librarian from Indiana University Digital Library Program (http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/). The "Chymistry of Isaac Newton" is an example of a partnership among faculty, librarians, technologists, and students working together with new technologies to create digital resources for the scholarly community.

The poster will provide an overview of the project and highlight collaborative aspects of the project and the contributions of librarians and library staff.


Building the Virtual Collaboratory
Karen Wenk and Martin Kesselman, Rutgers University Libraries

A "Virtual Collaboratory" (from the words collaboration and laboratory) is being developed at Rutgers University serve as an online meeting and work environment for an interdisciplinary team of students, faculty, library and industry partners. This team includes faculty and staff from the departments of food science, nutritional sciences and agricultural and resource economics, the Center for Advanced Food technology, Rutgers University Libraries and the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies. Students will work with under the guidance of teaching and library faculty in searching for relevant research information and data, to develop a plan for the industry partner, which can later be carried out in a real field experience. The virtual collaboratory includes online conferencing, a virtual coursepack, tools for team-developed reports and papers and an online conference.

This project is funded through a USDA CREES Higher Education Challenge Grant. The Virtual Collaboratory takes a creative and non-traditional approach to collaborative learning by involving members of the business community directly in the classroom-learning environment. This non-traditional learning experience requires a non-traditional learning space; hence the creation of the virtual collaboratory. In keeping with this non-traditional concept we are using non-traditional tools for creating the learning-environment. This project uses open source software, including a professional publishing package, which has been re purposed for experiential learning. The use of open source software allows the virtual collaboratory to be customized for other subject domains and applications.

The poster presentation will include a graphical representation of the virtual collaboratory, the course website and a case study of it's use.


Enhanced Data Driven Model in Collection Development by Information Technology during Spending Reduction at the University of Arizona Library
Elizabeth Kline and Nathalie Zhou, University of Arizona

Because of flat information access budget allocations and rising prices for serials, databases, and monographs over the past several years, in 2004 the University of Arizona Library was forced to reduce spending on information resources by approximately $1.4 million over the next two fiscal years. The target reduction in agriculture, life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering was just over $550,000.

This poster will show how the use of information technology, e.g., creation of a database dealt with the labor and time consuming activities such as information resources management, coordination among individual librarians, and communication between the library and its customers.

All items in the collection in any format were analyzed for usefulness by Science-Engineering Team (SET) subject librarians.

One strategy was to project amounts needed to maintain monographic purchases and calculate the amount by which spending on monographs could be reduced.

SET also agreed on criteria including cost, inflation, use, and duplication of content that would help us determine which serials to keep and which to cancel. In addition, we gathered circulation history for monographic use; however, we employed additional criteria for monographic continuations such as language and cost. We collected data into an Access database management system and exported subject and title lists of journals to be cancelled and to be retained and presented them to our customers in a website.

We continually contacted all concerned customers and addressed their feedback in various team meetings.

By using IT to reduce the time and work load to collect and manipulate data, we were able to spend more time communicating with customers and deliberating customer feedback. This data driven model of decision making helped us arrive at a proven list of information resources to cancel that would have minimal impact on our customers. Since citation and circulation history are not a perfect measurement of use, faculty feedback proved really invaluable because it helped librarians identify discrepancies in the criteria established, e.g., some journals with low LJUR usage data were in fact heavily used in teaching. In addition, this heightened communication helped SET librarians forge stronger relationships with customers.

Creating a BUZZ: Attracting SCI/TECH Students To The Library!
Crystal Renfro et al, Georgia Institute of Technology

In the land of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, we are “swarming” the campus with a multi-targeted publicity campaign. The Library's newly-formed Information Services Marketing Group has launched several dynamic initiatives in 2005 - all in an effort to raise the profile of the Library, to increase gate count and resource usage, and to expand campus-wide partnership opportunities in a fast-paced urban environment.

Shattering the image of the library as a book mausoleum, our new programs include Tuesday Talks, an afternoon speaker series spotlighting exciting campus research, and T-Paper, a hip, student-oriented restroom newsletter. Emerging projects include a stereotype-bursting library entry in the University's Homecoming Parade and posters of “STAR” student-athletes promoting library resources.

The Marketing Group is meeting some key challenges facing today's academic science libraries, by fostering campus connections, creating new collaborative opportunities with faculty, and helping to rebrand our Library as a progressive 21st century “apiary.”


Cited Reference Searching: New Avenues for Librarian Faculty Collaboration
Marcia Henry, California State University, Northridge

Searching for cited references has had important implication for bibliographic research. It has offered a way to retrieve related research without reliance on keyword selection, but it has also been an important indicator of research value. Highly cited research enhances the research and its parent organization as well as the journal or publisher where it first appeared. . This poster explores the retrievals and mechanisms involved in searching not only the ISI Science Citation Index, but indexes such as CINAHL, full text subscription databases such as Science Direct, as well as search engines such as the recently released Google Scholar. The purpose of the poster is to identify and promote new ways to find cited references. It addresses:

  • High costs of the traditional ISI Citation Indexes
  • Explores if other methods can pick up additional cited references.
  • Are open source scholarly journals indexed? Are the cited references in open sources publications identified in the available cited reference databases ? In Search engines? Are the references being monitored?
  • Opportunities for Librarians to assist faculty in tracking their cited references in a dynamic publication environment

Since many of the new ways of cited reference searching many not match the traditional ISI methods, a sample web page designed to lead and instruct patrons on how to extend their search for cited references in non traditional ways is given. A list of credits with URLs for other Libraries who are providing tutorials and suggestions on cited reference searching will be included.



The following corporate friends provided generous financial funding in support of the poster session and reception. We are most appreciative of this support.

John Wiley & Sons
Swets Information Service
YBP Library Services
Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA)

2005 STS Conference Program

Last updated July 27, 2005