2015 STS Annual Conference Poster Session

Abstracts and links to posters from the STS Poster Session at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA.

Predictable Popularity? Examining Science Dissertation Citations for Trends and Patterns

Tina Franks and Daniel Dotson – The Ohio State University

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Dissertations for four science disciplines - civil engineering, computer science, mathematics and physics were examined to determine what, if any, trends or patterns exist regarding specific types and formats of resources cited by PhD students. The citation analysis results will provide overall summary comparisons in addition to discipline-specific results, narratives and infographics for dissertations published 1998-2012.

Dissertations were searched and downloaded from Proquest’s Dissertations & Theses. Dissertations were retrieved using the following criteria: University/institution (specific university name omitted for blind review process), Year Range (1998 to 2012), Full-text and Subject heading (civil engineering, computer science, mathematics and physics). The dissertations were not necessarily attributed to analogous departments. Some dissertations were removed from examination if they were written for a non-science focus or addressed pedagogical issues (primarily at the K-16 level). The citations from the bibliographies of the remaining dissertations were copied into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for each discipline. Library catalogs, Ulrichsweb and web search engines were consulted when citations were unclear or incomplete. Each citation was analyzed and coded as one of nine citation categories: book, conference paper, peer-reviewed article, preprint, serial article, technical report, thesis/dissertation, web page/document and other/unknown.

More than 48,000 citations were analyzed. The results will be displayed on a 3-4 panel poster using charts, graphs, narratives and vivid infographics. Attendees will be encouraged to join the discussion regarding the identified trends and discover some “fun facts” about each of the four disciplines examined.

More, Less, Love @ My Library: Surveying Library Users for Service and Space Planning

Tasha Madison and Li Zhang - University of Saskatchewan

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Like many other academic libraries, the Engineering Library of the University of Saskatchewan has been striving to transform ourselves to be the central hub of student learning. In order to accommodate the changing pedagogy of engineering education, the Library and the College of Engineering started conversations on rejuvenating the Engineering Library. To be better prepared for the service and space planning, we decided to conduct a survey to identify the needs of our users.

Literature has shown that library users can provide important information for library planning. Therefore, the survey targeted to the major clientele of the Library: the engineering students.

The survey was conducted in November and December 2014. In order to increase response rate, the survey only included three simple open ended questions:

  • What do you want more of the Engineering Library?
  • What do you want less of the Engineering Library?
  • What do you love about the Engineering Library?

The preliminary results show that students want more computers, more group and individual study space, longer library hour; they want less noise and fewer print books; and they love our staff and environment. In the presentation, we will also compare the results with LibQUAL 2013 findings, and discuss how the results can be incorporated in the future library space and service planning. We will also discuss how librarians and library assistants worked collaboratively to create, promote, implement and analyze the results of this survey.

STS Research Agenda

Andrea Baruzzi – Princeton University

Jeanne Hoover – East Carolina University

Roxanne Bogucka – University of Texas, Austin

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Purpose: The task force was charged to “…provide STS members with recommended areas for exploration in science and technology library research.”

Methodology: We began by searching prominent library science journals for research articles by and for science and technology librarians. The literature review was analyzed and used to inform questions on our survey. The survey was distributed to a variety of sci/tech listservs and yielded 258 responses. The purpose of the survey was to find out what areas of research are of current and future interest so that we can include them in the agenda. We presented the results of the survey during a forum at Midwinter and then facilitated small group discussions. The discussion groups were asked to provide feedback on the results and to brainstorm ways in which we can make the agenda relevant and useful. We are in the process of creating a report and draft agenda to be submitted to the STS Council.

Application: Through the creation of the agenda, we hope to engage more STS members in research, provide ideas for exploration, and connect them with like-minded researchers and/or mentors.

Undergraduate Student Research Projects in the Library: BiblioTech Labs at Carnegie Mellon University

Matthew R. Marsteller – Carnegie Mellon University

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BiblioTech Labs (http://www.cmu.edu/library/biblio-tech/) provides research opportunities to Carnegie Mellon University undergraduate students who wish to develop technology for the University Libraries with the BiblioTech Labs Librarian functioning as a product design customer. In April of 2013, the Labs (led at the time by Steve Van Tuyl, now at Oregon State University) won a two-year Berkman Faculty Development Grant. The grant provides funding for equipment that the students need to accomplish their research. With one funded project nearing completion and a second project gearing up, the challenges of running the Labs should provide great fodder for discussion in the sci/tech library community. The project nearing completion, Library Resource Tracker, involves a seat occupancy-sensing network for the Sorrells Library’s nine recliners (a treasured campus resource). The project that is gearing up, Struggle Chair, involves a suite of chairs that sense body temperature and posture and provide feedback to the user via a mobile web application. Challenges have included student recruitment, keeping projects on track, data management concerns, IRB concerns, obtaining requested equipment, equipment failure, a strong student preference for conducting projects without a faculty advisor, and competition for student time from other student research opportunities on campus. The poster will highlight student work, the challenges for the BiblioTech Labs Librarian, outreach efforts to insert the Labs into the research community at Carnegie Mellon and the possibilities for future funding.

Active and Flipped: Introducing First Semester Biology Students to Scientific Communication

Rachel Hamelers – Muhlenberg College

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To become familiar with different types of scientific communication and identify primary article sections and the purpose of each, first semester Biology students participate in an activity based on the flipped classroom model. This exercise employs students in learning that is active, iterative, scaffolded with other information literacy efforts in Biology, and requires students to engage with the content before coming to class. In lecture, students are presented with examples of a primary literature article, a review article, and a popular press article, and asked to hypothesize a definition of each. As homework, students are asked to write a definition of each term using a reference database as well as to brainstorm the audience, author, and advantages/disadvantages of getting information from each source type. In recitation, students are assigned to groups by choosing a colored marker as they walk into class. Each group is required to write at least two advantages and two disadvantages and author/audience of each article type on whiteboards. Students race around the room and try to write down answers before the other teams. When time is called, the librarian goes over the groups’ answers, and each team has to defend their statements. Each student’s marker is also labeled with a number. The students next break into their number groups to look at different sections of primary articles. Each group is assigned two sections, and has to share with the class what they think the purpose of that section is and what it contains.

Outreach and Engagement to Campus STEM Groups Using the Library’s 3D Printer and Scanner

Jennifer Horton – Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

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3D technology is becoming a popular addition to academic libraries. This poster provides a case study of using a library’s 3D printer and scanner to engage STEM groups on campus. The Science Librarian was tasked with coordinating the library’s 3D program as it was anticipated the campus science community would be interested in 3D technology. There were many STEM related groups on campus where there was no active engagement with the library. The library’s 3D program provided a way to open up a dialogue about the library’s other resources and services. Several groups were targeted due to their potential interest and their impact on campus. As a result of these efforts, the library was able to participate in many events including Math Day, a science teacher conference, the Sustainability Carnival, the Science Café, an engineering diversity program, a technology club, science themed residence hall groups, and a Think Science dinner. At each event, the 3D program was the star, but other library resources and services were highlighted including the library liaison program. As a result, individuals from these groups scheduled reference appointments and several new STEM classes came for library instruction. The poster will show ways librarians advertised the new service to the university as well as ways the actual 3D printer was made to be as visible and accessible as possible. Having a 3D printing and scanning program at a library can provide ways to engage hard to reach STEM departments and groups.

Surveying the Field: Academic Librarians’ Responses Regarding Information Literacy Instruction for Math Undergraduate Students

Jeffra Diane Bussman – California State University, East Bay

Jeffrey D. Bond – Texas Christian University

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Research Questions:

Is mathematics information literacy being taught at colleges and universities for undergraduates by librarians?

In what ways is mathematics information literacy being taught to undergraduates?


The researchers surveyed mathematics librarians who work at academic institutions in the United States and Canada regarding their experiences with IL instruction for mathematics undergraduate students. An invitation email was be sent to specific Listservs (STS-L, PAMNET, Sci-Tech, and IL-L).

The survey asked questions about the frequency and nature of library-related classes/sessions taught by the participant in relation to mathematics and undergraduate education. The survey also included questions about the participant’s institution and personal demographics.

Major Findings:

Only 35 out of 116 respondents taught a math undergraduate IL session Fall 2010-Spring 2014.

Only 7 out of 109 respondents agree that the IL needs of math undergraduate students are being met at their institutions.

Results for instructional delivery method and IL competencies taught are depicted on the poster.

Assessing Student Needs to Redesign a Chemistry Seminar Course

Bonnie L. Fong – Rutgers University, Newark

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When a new faculty member was assigned to teach a Chemistry Seminar course that enrolls both undergraduate and graduate students at a public research university, the Physical Sciences Librarian viewed this as an opportunity to work the professor to redesign the course to maximize student learning. Course objectives remained of utmost importance. This consisted of learning chemical information literacy skills to prepare for an oral presentation as well as engagement in departmental seminar series talks. However, enhancements that went beyond course requirements were also contemplated – especially if they addressed general curricular gaps. Student knowledge and needs were assessed at the beginning of the course and the information incorporated into course design. The results of this pre-course assessment will be shared during this poster presentation. This poster will also include mention of the new class activities added in order to increase student engagement (i.e., use of a student response system, in-class exercises, and group work). Post-course assessments revealed that the redesigned course was a success, found to be highly useful and valuable to all students. It is expected that academic librarians – especially those who liaise with the Chemistry department on their campus – will find an idea or two from this poster that they may want to try on their own campus.

Open Sesamwe: Collaboration among Scholarly Communication and Science Librarians in Support of Central Open Access Funds

Donna Braquet – University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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This poster session will report on a study of universities in the U.S. And Canada that have centralized open access publishing funds available to faculty. The poster reveals the processes, criteria, and challenges of administering such funds. Responses from fund coordinators and science librarians reveal the level of coordination, promotion, and impact of publishing fund at their institutions. These results are also tied back to an early poster that studied the perception of funds by biology faculty. Do the actions of librarians correlate with the perceptions of the faculty? Attend this poster session to find out. Lessons learned, future predictions, and best practices will be provided.

Teaching Infographic Source Evaluation to Biology Majors

Patricia Hartman – Auburn University

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Infographics are an effective means of communicating information quickly and impactfully. They are often used to present complex datasets and statistics that otherwise would be difficult to digest. This makes them valuable information resources, but their very simplicity makes them capable of leading viewers to dramatically different conclusions about the same information. As such, infographic source evaluation is an important component of information literacy, particularly important in the sciences, where graphic representations of data and statistics are the norm; however, it is often overlooked. We (science librarian and Biology professor) collaborated to develop two infographic source evaluation sessions embedded into an epidemiology-themed course for freshman Biology majors. We had two goals for these sessions: 1) Students would be able to apply evaluative criteria to infographic sources in order to judge accuracy, bias, and quality of infographics; and 2) students would be able to locate appropriate scientific data sources in order to create their own infographics. In our poster presentation, we will share information on the development of the classes, the activities and materials we used, class outcomes, and the benefits to students, faculty member, and librarian.

Web Usability and Library Instruction in the Sciences: Using a Web Usability Tool to Assess the Effectiveness of Library Instruction Sessions

Eric Snajdr and Yoo Young Lee – Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis

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We investigated the use of Verify, a web usability tool, to assess the effectiveness of library instructional sessions in the sciences. First year undergraduate science students completed a pre and post usability test immediately before and after library instruction. The tool provided valuable insight into the ability of students to correctly navigate to items on the library website. Strengths and weaknesses of using the Verify Click Test as a library instructional assessment tool are discussed.

Collaborating to Improve Collaboration: Informationist Team Support for an Interdisciplinary Research Group

Margaret Henderson, John Cyrus, Karen Gau, Julie Arendt, Martha Roseberry – Virginia Commonwealth University

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Three subject librarians (health sciences, engineering, and mathematics) and a data librarian, representing three departments and two libraries at a university, were awarded a National Library of Medicine Informationist Supplement award to support an interdisciplinary Research Group with a National Institute of Health grant for the study of ventilator induced lung injury. The Informationist Team hopes to show that this model, utilizing the skills of multiple librarians, is a viable way to support the increasing number of interdisciplinary and interprofessional research groups at the university who need help from embedded librarians.

A pre-survey was administered to the Research Group to provide a baseline assessment of their use of librarian expertise and library services. The Informationist Team met to identify areas of expertise to support the objectives of the grant. Literature searching, bibliographic citation management and sharing, and data management were the first areas to be considered. Work was divided according to the expertise of the Informationist Team.

Librarians routinely attend lab meetings and share notes with each other to keep up with researcher needs. When possible, research questions are answered in the lab meetings by librarians. Interviews with Research Group members were used to develop a data management plan. Collaborative tools to facilitate team communication and support research being conducted in multiple buildings on two campuses were investigated. Future work will include publication support, assessing research impact, and appraising the usefulness of the Informationist Team to the Research Group.