Information for the Sciences
What information do scientists need, and how do they find it? The
last decade has seen vast changes in the possibilities and, indeed, in the
requirements of faculty and students in science disciplines. The culprit
is of course the computer, and even more the Internet: what was once a
primarily intramural activity of finding and reading print on paper
(and thus centered on local resources) now generally begins
with electronic searches and may never lead the searcher to paper at all.
This is not to say that paper is any less valuable or important
that there's more to look at, to evaluate, to know about: more
formats, more sources, more tools. Librarians worry that the
necessary paper skills aren't being learned, that information seekers
content themselves with the first things they find via web searches, and
don't read and evaluate as they should.
We'll look at a few examples of tools, searches, and information formats,
to get a sense of what the present offers and the future threatens:
We'll also check out approaches to making the paper archives of
the past accessible (JSTOR
will be the example --and here the point is
what's happening with the legacy of the past), and look at a couple
of examples of electronic publishing (Academic Press
journals, and Science
augmentation of weekly content) as examples of the current frontiers.
(free access to the literatures of biomedicine)
(what's interesting here is the "find more like..." function,
which rests on an algorithm that performs some sort of matching.
Such agents will become more essential as the online world grows... now a
trillion web pages...)
- Online Mendelian
(exemplifies continuous updating of a rapidly-growing
resource, and cross-linkage via hypertext links)
See a quotation from the May-June 1999 issue of Harvard
Magazine on the usefulness of librarians
I seem to be the Keeper of the web
site for the Event.