Introduction to Science and Its Information Sources

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Introduction to Science and Its Information Sources

(Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Science)Kristy Padron, MLISFlorida Atlantic University Librarieskpadron@fau.eduMay 2016


Apollo 13 (1995)Houston, we have a problem.


WORKSHOP LEARNING OBJECTIVESDescribe the main goals of science.Explain the importance of the communication of science information.Generalize components of the scientific and engineering methods.Identify science information sources.Utilize database features for effective searches.

MAIN GOALS OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGEDiscoveries and findings that explain, predict, and control:Nicolaus Copernicus and his heliocentric explanation of the solar system.Marie Curie (left) and her research on radium and radioactivity.Innovations and the betterment of humankind:Louis Pasteur and microorganisms role in infection and disease.Jonas Salk and the polio vaccine.Efficiencies with impact:Dr. Esther Guzman (FAU HBOI) and the study of marine natural products for cancer treatment.Fuel economy in transportation.

Necessity is the mother of all invention.Copernicus: we no longer believe the earth is the center of the universe.Curie: discoveries and expansion of knowledge; she died from leukemia.UN stats state that 640,000 lives are saved every year and of all ages thanks to the polio vaccine.Guzmans work has resulted in cancer treatments that were shortened and less severe.Fuel economy actually was a reaction to the 1973 oil embargo.4

THE IMPORTANCE OF SCIENCE INFORMATIONDocuments and preserves what has been studied, discussed, disputed, verified, discovered, and retired.The communication of knowledge begets more knowledge and discoveries.Identifies experts and organizations.

"If I have seen it further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." --Isaac Newton (Physicist) (Left)

Theories, Methods, Instrumentation


THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD: Origins & InfluencesAncient civilizations possessed many understandings of nature, but a lot of it was lost or not documented.Ancient Greece (~300 B.C.E.): AristotleImportance of empirical measurement.Knowledge could only be gained upon what is already known.Middle East (10th Century): Ibn al-Haytham (left)Scholars in Islamic cultures preserved and expanded on the knowledge of the ancient Greeks.Islamic scholars promoted controlled and systematic experimentation and measurement to discover new knowledge, along with peer review.

Muslims also initiated peer review.6

THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD: Origins & InfluencesEurope Renaissance Period (~13th 16th Centuries)Scientists and political/historical events challenged many previously-held explanations of natural phenomenon.Discovery of the New World (1492) and Magellans circumnavigation of the world (1522).Copernicus and later astronomical explanations by Brahe, Kepler and Galileo.Protestant Reformation (~1600 AD).Europe Enlightenment (17th & 18th Centuries)Philosophical works discussed explanations of truth and ways of knowing.Rationalism (Descartes, Liebnitz)Empiricism (Locke, Hume)

Spheres of Ptolemaic System

While theology was seen as the queen of sciences, other types were actually seen as ways of understanding God, so they werent necessarily separate from religion as commonly thought.7

Europe Enlightenment (17th & 18th Centuries)First scientific journals published:Journaldes savans, France, 1665.Philosophical Transactions (left), England, 1665.Europe Industrial Revolution (18th & 19th Centuries)Efficiencies and mechanizations of cottage-industry activities had been evolving.Sciences theories and principles informed technological developments, and technology provided venues direct applications for experimentation.

THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD: Origins & Influences

Modern / Postmodern Era (20th Century)Popper (Mid-20th Century): falsifiability and verisimilitude.Kuhn (1960s): paradigm shifts

Broader Ethical Issues and Science (Underpinnings):Continuum of beneficial to harmful uses of discoveries: nuclear weapons (1942) and emerging technologies.Informed consent and rights of subjects: Tuskegee Syphilis Study (1932); Puerto Rico Birth Control Clinical Trials (1956).Environmental concerns: product life cycle, pollution and waste management, degradation of natural resources.

Nuclear testing at Bikini AtollTHE SCIENTIFIC METHOD: Origins & Influences


THE SCIENTIFIC METHODSource: Science Buddies (2016). Steps of the scientific method. Accessed at

(and Engineering Method, too!)Source:

Take the One Minute Response Challenge!Go to

Think about one (or more) of these questions and share them in real-time on Padlet!!

What did you learn?What did you like?What bothered you?What questions do you have (abstract, concrete, or otherwise)?What new ideas did this inspire?ACTIVITY BREAK

SCIENCE INFORMATION SOURCES: The Literature (Or, Where We Come In)

Become a expert on your topic. Read what you can You need to spend time in the library!My faculty mentor in a summer research program:Refugio Rochin, Ph.DProfessor Emeritus, University of California at Davis.

SCIENCE INFORMATION SOURCES: The Literature (Or, Where We Come In)The literature: a body of work on a given topic or concept.Multiple formats: original articles, gray literature, standards, patents.Various intents: inform, persuade, support, dispute.Diverse audiences: general public, professionals, academics.Some form of literature review is standard in all areas of STEM.


SCIENCE INFORMATION SOURCES: The LiteratureReference Works:Handbooks: summaries of major topics or processes. Also includes tables, equations, functions, and other established measurements or methods.Standards: recommendations for methods, processes, and products within an industry. Established by a professional organization to provide a baseline of acceptable quality.Encyclopedia: collection of summaries on selected key concepts within a field. Used as an initial resource to learn about an unfamiliar topic.

SCIENCE INFORMATION SOURCES: The LiteratureCommon Publications:Original article: original research usually in scholarly journals.DissertationsCase report: a description of a single case or situation with unique features.Review: a detailed study or overview of developments within a specific topic.BooksGovernment documentsConference proceedings Trade journal articlesGray literature: publications not distributed through scholarly or commercial means.

SCIENCE INFORMATION SOURCES: The LiteratureSpecialized Types of Publications:Technical note: a description of new technology & recent innovations.Technical report: an account of work done on a project, often used for internal documentation.Patent: a public notice of an invention filed with a patent agency.Not scholarly, but still worth consideration:Commentary: opinion piece based on personal or professional experience.Editorial: feedback or critique of articles.Letters to the Editor: also known as correspondence.


Examples that are not original articles (used in Interview with the Literature activity):Government Document: The Shark Conservation Act of 2009Patent: Plastic modeling composition of a soft, pliable working consistency, 1965 (patent for Play Doh)Grey Literature: Preventing falls in older adults New York City Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene (or could it also be a government document?)Case report: Pneumocystis Pneumonia Los Angeles (1981)Conference paper (or case study?): A case study of wellness IT: Therapeutic horseback ridingStandard: Standard practice for estimating concrete strength by the Maturity Method (access to ASTM Standards required)

ACTIVITY BREAK: Interview with the literature


Directions:1. Work in pairs or small groups.2. Review and skim an example of the literature.3. Interview the literature in front of the group. We want to get to know them, too!One person is the interviewer, another is the literature (or, switch roles).ACTIVITY BREAK: Interview with the literatureQuestions for the Interview:What type of literature is this? If it can be more than one type, what other(s) can it be?Who (person, institution, etc.) is its author(s)?What is this literature about?Who is the targeted audience?Describe any attributes about this literature (length, tone, language, What might be some challenges of using this literature?What else might be interesting or special about this literature?


SCIENCE INFORMATION SOURCES: Indexes & DatabasesEngineeringCompendexIEEE XploreMechanical & Transportation Engineering (PQ)Engineering Collection (PQ)INSPEC

GeosciencesEarth Science Collection (PQ)GEOBASEGeoRef

Physical Sciences (Astronomy, Chemistry, Physics)CompendexINSPECMathSciNetSciFinder

Ocean Sciences & Biological SciencesAnimal Behavior Abstracts (PQ)Aquatic Science Collection (PQ)Biological Sciences (PQ)Oceanic Abstracts

Aquatic Science & Fisheries abstracts (5 databases with a particular emphasis)Calcium & Calcified Tissue Abstracts21

Journal Collections:Elsevier Science DirectJSTORSpringerWiley

Theses & Dissertations:Dissertations & Theses @ FAUPQ Dissertations & Theses GlobalWorldCat Dissertations & Theses FAU Faculty Theses & Dissertations

Journal / Article Information:Google ScholarIndividual journal home pagesUlrichsWebWeb of Science

General Science:Applied Science & TechnologyGeneral Science Full TextPQ Science & TechnologySearchWiSE


Utilize various database features as needed:Types of searches: basic, advanced, and controlled/ expert.Search FieldsLimiters: language, date, type of document, etc.Controlled vocabulary or thesauriMetadata within full recordsMy Account / My Settings: allows for personalization, email alerts, saving search history, and more.Help / Support features: tutorials and tips for effective uses.SCIENCE INFORMATION SOURCES: Indexes & Databases

Index & Database Example: GEOBASE Features and Tools


Example of Metadata Web of Science

To find similar articles, utilize metadata in a full record such as:AuthorInstitutionControlled vocabulary and other means of information categorizationReferences citedand more!

Example of My Account PubMed (My NCBI)

Features available in My Account (available in other indexes & databases):Saved searches.Recent activity.Folders / organize saved documents.Filters (for PubMed, it communicates with FAU Libraries sources and makes them directly available).Features depend index/ database.


GUIDES TO SCIENCE LITERATURE & INFORMATIONBoorkman, J. A., Huber, J. T. & Roper, F. W. (2004). Introduction to references sources in the health sciences. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman. Z6658.I54 2004 (Reference).Hunt, C. D. (1998). Information sources in science and technology. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited. Available as an ebook.Maizell, R. E. (1998). How to find chemical information: A guide for practicing chemists, educators and students. New York, NY: Wiley. Available as an ebook. Pritchard, E. (1996). Literature searching in science, technology and agriculture. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Z699.5.S3P74 1996 (General Collection).Stern, D. (2000). Guide to information sources in the physical sciences. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited. Z7141.S74 2000 (Reference).Sudden Selectors Guides (ALCTS/AMS Sudden Selectors Series). See Library Catalog.Tucker, M. A. & Anderson, N. D. (2004). Guide to information sources in mathematics and statistics. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. Available as an ebook.


SCIENCE INFORMATION WEB SITESUnderstanding science (UC Berkeley).FAU LibGuides in the sciences.Science web sites & organizations LibGuide page.Impact factors LibGuide page.Guide to science information resources LibGuide.Library of Congress Science Tracer Bullet (various subjects and topics).Science.Gov: access to authoritative federal government information, including research and development.Reilly Top 10 Ethical Dilemmas & Policy Issues in Science & Technology.

SCIENCE IS INTERESTING AND I WANT TO LEARN MORE!Talk to scientists and ask questions.Identify and follow a professional organization of interest (see the science web sites & organizations LibGuide).Local to international in scope.Webinars, conferences, meetings.Examples: American Heart Association, Florida Conservation Organization.Attend science events and locations. Examples: South Florida Science Center & Aquarium, Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Reserve.Find governmental agencies and programs related to a scientific area of interest.Read scientific news like Science, Nature, Cell, and other titles.


Bobick, J. E. & Berard, G. L. (2011). Science and technology resources: A guide for information professionals and researchers. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2016). Located at Musson, A. E. & Robinson, E. (1969). Science and technology in the Industrial Revolution. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2016). Located at University of California at Berkeley (2010). Understanding science: How science really works. Retrieved from & Sources


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