SLA Biomedical and Life Sciences Division

2002 Contributed Papers

Innovative Applications for Digital User Services in Biomedical and Life Sciences Libraries

Library and database users' expectations have been dramatically altered due to the advent of the Worldwide Web. Some users have been lulled into thinking that they are expert literature database searchers, simply because they can "type stuff" into databases at their desk tops, and retrieve "something" on their topic. Other users believe that all information found over the Web is worthwhile, and that all worthwhile information is freely available over the Web. And many library users expect answers to their questions to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These expectations have put extra responsibility on librarians and other information professionals to provide new information services, but also to educate their clients on how to evaluate Web-based information, how to search these Web resources, and when to throw in the towel and use the search services of a professional.

The papers selected for this year's contributed papers session cover a broad range of information services:

  • a Web-based tool that brings together a variety of information resources of use to undergraduate biology students, and that helps them learn to search for and evaluate retrieved information;
  • a new literature search service that would take advantage of modern features, such as links to bibliographic management software as well as the use of multidisciplinary and non-literature resources; and
  • the integration of a librarian into a nursing informatics course.
In each of the above cases, the "innovation" of our session title refers not only to the new product or service created by our speakers. "Innovation" is also necessary in terms of user education and marketing of the product or service, such that they are seen as valuable and will be utilized by their intended clients. The innovations described in the following papers may serve as models for successful digital user services in biomedical and life sciences libraries.

Optimal Information Foraging and Key Resources for Undergraduate Biology Students
Heather Cunningham and Rea Devakos, Gerstein Science Information Centre
University of Toronto Libraries

SearchAssist: Revisiting the Mediated Search - A New Model for Assisted Searching
Carol E. Vreeland, Karen Stanley Grigg, and Eleanor M. Smith, Research and Information Services Department North Carolina State University Libraries

Integration of a Librarian into the Curriculum via WebCT
Locke J. Morrisey, Reference & Research Services, Gleeson Library/Geschke Center, University of San Francisco


PDF Version of Proceedings

Comments should be directed to Michele Tennant.

Rev. July 2007