Syllabus for LS 556:  Bibliography of the Sciences

Spring 1999
Weekends:   Feb. 19/20; April 9/10; May 7/8, 1999 on Friday evenings and all day Saturday.
Instructor:  G. Lynn Tinsley

Description of LS 556:  Survey of the literature and practice of librarianship in major areas ofthe sciences, including biology, chemistry, engineering, geology,mathematics, medicine, and physics. Prerequisite: LS 500.  This course has been designed to enable the student to understand and have working knowledge of science library collections; to build, maintain, budget and manage a science library collection; to learn how to communicate with their clientele and funding agencies; and how to negoitate the purchase of both print and electronic resources necessary to the collection.

Contact Info:
Head, Engineering & Science Library,
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Phone: (412) 268-2428 Fax: (412) 681-1998

Email is the preferred way to reach me but feel free to call if you wish. I have a CMU email account. I have voice mail at CMU. I will return calls as soon as possible.

OFFICE HOURS: 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. on Friday, April 9 and Friday, May 7; every Monday, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. at (412) 268-2428 or email me at
Email will be answered within 24 hours of receipt and is acceptable at any point outside of formal office hours.

Texts: On reserve 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

Reserve:  As the semester unfolds additional readings will be provided on Reserve at the library. I will keep this web site updated with detailed information on all of the course readings and projects.

Course Web Site:

Grading: Grades will be based on regular class attendance, participation in class, and the completion of course projects.

Main course project                                45%    DUE:  May 7, 1999
Class Partipation                                     20%
Sci/Tech in the News class presentation   20%    To be presented April 9/10
Practice Searches/Reference questions     15%    Due as assigned

Calendar (subject to change)

-  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

Readings:  Mounts/Kovacs: pp.3-11; 12-14
 ** Check for articles placed on reserve in the Carlson Library**

Primary Formats
- Conferences
- Dissertations and thesis
- Journals
- Technical Reports
-  Handbooks, encyclopedia’s, indexes, directories, etc.
-  Lab notebooks

Readings:  Mounts/Kovacs: pp.17-20; 21-25; 26-33; 48-53; 34-35.
                    Walker & Hurt:  pp.  79-102; 1-77, 103-127
 ** Check for articles placed on reserve in the Carlson Library**

Internet Resources and workstation technology
- general overview
- online catalogs / specialized databases
- Vendors and publishers
- How to get familiar with your collection subject field

 ** Check for articles placed on reserve in the Carlson Library**

APRIL 9/10

Friday, April 9:
Introduction to Specialized Resources

-  Mathematics
-  Physics
-  Computer Science

-  Intro to primary and secondary resources
-  Online resources

 Sci-Tech in the News assignment To be presented during class time

 ** Check for articles placed on reserve in the Carlson Library**

Saturday, April 10:   Field Trip to Pittsburgh, Engineering & Science Library, CMU

Engineering Resources  (engineering fields and geology)

-  Intro to primary and secondary resources
-  Online resources
-  Standards
-  Patents

Readings:  Mounts/Kovacs: pp.130-135; 39-44
       Walker & Hurt:  pp. 129-180

 ** Check for articles placed on reserve in the Carlson Library**

MAY 7/8

- Medical Resources
-  Biology
-  Chemistry
-  Intro to primary and secondary resources
- Online resources

** Check for articles placed on reserve in the Carlson Library**

Services in Libraries
-  Document delivery
-  Search services
-  Collection building
-  Instruction
-  The patrons

** Check for articles placed on reserve in the Carlson Library**


Main Course Project:
You have 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 homepages, bookstore websites, society websites 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 45% 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 8, 1999

 Sci-Tech in the News Project - To be presented April 9/10

Locate, read, and summarize a current article featuring some aspect of science or technology in the news.  Your choice.  Be prepared to present your summary to the class.


Practice Searches / Reference questions

I will have these occassional assignments as needed.   I will provide these to you in class.   I will also add them to this website and to the reserve desk at the Carlson Library.


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 consititues 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.

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Updated February 25, 1999