Bibliography of the Sciences

                       Spring Semester 2003

Instructor:  G. Lynn Berard

Description of LS 556:  Survey of the literature and practice of librarianship in major areas of the sciences, including biology, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics, computer science and general engineering.   Prerequisite: LS 500.

This course has been designed to enable the student to:

  • understand and have a working knowledge of science and technology library collections;
  • to build, maintain, budget, and manage a science or engineering library collection;
  • to learn how to communicate with their clientele
  • and how to negotiate the purchase of both print and electronic resources necessary to the collection.

Contact Info:

Head, Science Libraries
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Phone: (412) 268-2428   Fax: (412) 681-1998
Email: (preferred) -OR-

Email is the preferred way to reach me but feel free to call if you wish. I will return calls as soon as possible.

Office Hours:

I will hold office hours each week on Monday's at 2pm - 3pm and on Thursday's at 10am in the virtual classroom on Blackboard. 

Class Sessions: 
The class will meet on Tuesdays and Wednesday on alternate weeks for a 1 hour time period for live class sessions. 


Scientists at Work:  Profiles of Today's Groundbreaking Scientists From Science Times/ Edited by Laura Chang, McGraw-Hill, 2000.  (On reserve at Carlson).

Supplemental Texts: On reserve or in the reference collection in the Carlson Library

  • Using science and technology information sources/ Ellis Mount and Beatrice Kovacs.   Q223 .M68 1991
  • Reference sources in science, engineering, medicine, and agriculture / H. Robert Malinowsky. Z7401 .M278 1994
  • Scientific and technical literature: an introduction to forms of communication / Richard D. Walker and C.D. Hurt.  Q223 .W34 1990
  • Manual of Online Search Stategies, Volume 1:  Sciences.  Edited by C.J. Armstrong and Andrew Large.   Z699.3 .M36 1988
  • Guide to information sources in the physical sciences by David Stern.  rZ7141.S74 2000  (ref collection)

 I will keep this syllabus updated with detailed information on all of the course readings and projects. They will also be listed on Blackboard at each session.

Syllabus Web Site:

Student Web Site:

The above address will get you to information regarding web courses and how to login to Blackboard, where our class resides.   You will need to enroll in this course.  If you need technical assistance, please try calling the Computing Services Help line at Clarion, 814/393-2640.  There is also a help button available within Blackboard.  I've learned about a few bugs in Blackboard and would like to assist you if I can.  There are some housekeeping rules that we should address at this point:
  • I am always available via email and will endeavor to answer your questions right away.  There will be set office hours and I will be using the Chat room on Blackboard for interactive sessions.
  • When you drop assignments into the digital box on blackboard you need to remember to give your file and extention.  Extentions on files look like this:  SallyFieldAssignment1.doc.    A .doc file is a file created in Word.  A power point file has the extention .ppt and so on.  It all depends on what software package you created your work in.  PC users will recognize this convention; this in not a normal convention with Mac's, so please always remember to add the extention whether you are on a PC or a MAC.  This is critical.  Also, please add your name to make your work your own.  (NO SPACES IN-BETWEEN LETTERS, please.)   If I get 12 Assignment1.doc's without names, I will have a hard time grading them :-}.
  • I will be creating groups within the class.  You will be receiving more info on how to choose your topic group.
  • There will be 11 sessions for this course;  1 a week.   For many of the sessions, I will be pointing you to articles to read that we will discuss by utilizing the bulletin board section of blackboard. See blackboard for assignments and readings at each session.
  • I have provided lots of additional texts for those who would like to learn more about individual topics and resources from this course.  These readings are not required but are meant to provide guidance and an in-depth view of what we will be covering. 


Grades will be based on regular class attendance, participation in class, and the completion of course projects.
Main course group project  25%
Class/Discussion List Participation  25%
Session assignments  50% 
TOTAL  100%


Session 1      (Week of Jan. 26)

-  Overview of the nature of scientific and technical literature
-  Information seeking behavior of scientists and engineers
-  The research and teaching environment in science as it operates in academic, corporate and public libraries
-  The research information cycle

Session 2     (Week of Feb. 2)

-  Professional societies and their publications

Session 3      (Week of Feb. 9)

- Print and Electronic Journals

Session 4      (Week of Feb. 16)

- Manufacture's literature, newsletters, current awareness tools, dissertations, bibliographies and conferences.

Session 5       (Week of Feb. 23)

- Internet resources, specialized subject databases, and online catalogs.

                                       WINTER HOLIDAY = Feb. 28 to March 12

Session 6       (Week of March 16)

- Reference and information services.

Session 7       (Week of March 23 )

- Handbooks, manuals, almanacs, encyclopedia's, directories,  and lab notebooks.

Session 8       (Week of March 30)

- Patents and Trademarks.

Session 9       (Week of April 6 )

- Technical reports and standards.

                                         SPRING VACATION = April 17 to April 22

Session 10       (Week of April 27)

- Vendors and Publishers
- How to get familiar with your collection area
- Document delivery methods and suppliers

Session 11   (Week of May 4)
- Group project coordination and work to be done during this time period.  Group forums will be set up in Blackboard to facilitate remote group work.  Final projects will be shared with the class and critiqued on the discussion bulletin board.
Project is due May 9 to facilitate discussion of projects at a scheduled time during finals week, May 12th.


Main Course Group Project:
Your group has just been hired by WeBuiltIt, Inc., an international scientific research firm.  The company has 75 worldwide sites, with a main corporate library in Paris, France.  The firm's interests are varied and each location is specialized in one of the following areas:

Environmental Engineering
BioMedical Engineering
Ceramics and Plastics Research
Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems

At your site, no library collection currently exists. You were hired to build it.  Keep in mind that you will need a ready reference collection to answer inquires; a small book collection for in-depth study; a current journal section; and you will need to select appropriate online services (i.e. CDROMs, search services, databases, etc.).   You can call upon the services of the main corporate library remotely, but document delivery and assistance are slow.

Your assignment is to create a working list of your collection.  Choose one of the areas listed above and purchase away!  For each category, you will need to purchase:

Reference Collection = 8 items
General book collection = 10 items
Journal collection = 8 titles
Databases = at least 3

State each item selected and annotate it.  Describe how it can be utilized in your setting.  Feel free to use the Internet ­ go look at engineering and science university library home pages, bookstore web sites, society web sites and so on.

Length should not exceed 10 pages.  Introduce your collection and tell me about your services.  Extra points will be given for creative approaches.  This assignment is the major course assignment and will count 25% toward the final grade (out of a possible 100%).

1. Remember that your clients will ask non technical, general reference queries.
2. You can take advantage of document delivery services to purchase requested documents.
3. This is only a skeleton collection; a first pass at a beginning working collection.

Please feel free to ask questions about this assignment. DUE: May 9, 2003

Session Assignments:
For each session there will be an assignment in the form of either a quiz, question set, search, etc.   Cumulatively these assignments count for 50% of your grade.  They are designed to assist you in becoming familiar working with science and technology resource materials and may operate as review material for future reference.  There will be no final for this course.


Special Needs: Students with learning disabilities and/or special physical requirements should make their needs known to me. I will make every effort to assist you.

Note: Clarion University of Pennsylvania regards student participation in class as essential to the learning process. Therefore regular classroom attendance is required. It is understood that absence does not excuse the student from course work and the responsibility to complete assignments on time. The instructor should be notified in advance of planned absences and arrangements will be made to complete missed work. The instructor is not required to give make up examinations or accept class work missed as a result of an unexcused absence.

Statement of Scholarly Responsibility:Students are expected to follow normal practice in acknowledging the source of facts, ideas, summaries, quotations, and paraphrases used in their written work. Direct quotations must be enclosed in quotation marks and the exact source acknowledged. The use of another's words without attribution and without enclosing the words in quotation marks is plagiarism. Using facts, ideas and summaries derived from another source without indicating the source is also plagiarism. A close paraphrase may also be considered plagiarism - even if the source is named. Submitting another student's work as though it were your own is always plagiarism - even if the original paper has been paraphrased or otherwise modified. If you are in doubt as to what constitutes plagiarism, you are encouraged to consult with the instructor. Any student suspected of plagiarism will have the suspect passage pointed out to him/her and will be given an opportunity to explain why it should not be regarded as plagiarism. Depending on the severity of the infraction, penalties for plagiarism include 1) receiving a reduced grade for the assignment 2) redoing the assignment on a different topic 3) receiving a failing grade for the assignment, or 4) receiving a failing grade for the course. Students who are dissatisfied with the instructor's decision in such a case may - without prejudice - refer the matter to the attention of the department chair, the college dean, the provost and academic vice president, and/or the university Conduct Board, as described in the Student Rights and Regulations Handbook.

Updated December 12, 2002
G. Lynn Berard