Teaching Undergrads To Search Online Scientific Databases
to Prepare Them to Use Remote Access
Project Number 16 – 1993
Science Reference Librarian
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Fax: 805) firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Individuals And Organizations Associated With The Project
Paul Adalian, Lynne Gamble
- To prepare undergraduate students and faculty to search in a remote environment on the major databases in biology and chemistry for class, research, and future needs.
- To replace the paper issues of Biological Abstracts and Chemical Abstracts with free end user online searching for studnets and faculty.
Training sessions are offered in a computer laboratory situation which includes handouts, an online demonstration, exercises, and online practice for two hours or less. Alias passwords are assigned for follow-up practice using the Internet. Databases used are Biosis Previews, CA-SEARCH, and Beilstein on Dialog and Medline on LEXIS/NEXIS. Gopher resources applicable to the sciences are included.
Current Status of Project
Training for Biosis Previews began this winter quarter in two Library classes for biology students and training was offered again in one Library class in the spring quarter. Students in a Biological Sciences class were trained in the spring. The total number of students receiving the training were approximately 110. So far 10 students have been trained on CA- SEARCH and Beilstein. The instructors from Biological Sciences and Chemistry immediately saw the advantages and were enthusiastic about the results. The Chemistry professor will utilize this training extensively.Training for Medline was done more widely in classes and on an individual basis. Approximately 25 students and faculty were given a handout and a five minute explanation with additional help only if needed. In all cases they successfully searched their topics.
Our project is proceeding better than we had anticipated, and we expect to succeed in both the training and being able to offer free end user online access.
- The project utilizes Internet to access the databases in doing online searching.
- This project is a method of teaching students and faculty in a short time to use online bibliographic databases involving some of the more sophisticated databases and thus fulfills the catecory of exploring how these information sources may be made available in the networked and learning process.
- This project will increase efficiency and save money fulfilliing the “more with less,” and fulfilling the “elegant” in its simplicity and usefulness.
- With increasing expertise of students and faculty in the use of computers certainly a program with the success ours has had to date, it should have very high replicability and and long-term viability. There is little that could be more useful to a researcher in these disciplines.
The most basic requirement would be a slide projector, but videos could be utilized if the equipment were available. An online search projected on a screen, but for an audience as sophisticated as the one expected this is probably not necessary.