Dealing w/Student questions: a reply

Uttam Rajbhandary bhandary at
Mon Jan 31 20:04:00 EST 1994

In article <1994Jan30.164640.22070 at>, klier at writes...
>In article <1994Jan29.132210.57876 at>, scottamy at writes:
>I agree!  It's also kind, if you're going to give pointers to literature,
>to inquire about library access.  I've been in high schools with wonderful
>computer access, and lousy libraries.  The public library was no better,
>and interlibrary loan can take a very long time  (I used to be a trustee
>of a tiny public library).   A couple of times, I've answered student
>questions with literature pointers, and had return mail describing
>the lack of availability of resources I've suggested.  I figure
>that the $0.15 I threw in the office "personal copy" fund and the $0.29
>stamp and the envelope to mail a couple of sheets from a book sitting
>on my office shelf was probably a good investment in the future of 
>science... esp. attitudes to science!
>Kay Klier  Biology Dept  UNI

This is an important point.  Last year, I tried to help set up a kind of 
molecular biology journal club in the CIS biology forum. The target was NOT the 
doctorate level professional, but perhaps high school students as well as 
teachers, the doctor or dentist not near a major university or teaching 
hospital, nurses, and non-scientists (we even had a lawyer), etc.  
Of course, we were hoping that other doctorate level people
would join in if interested.  We found , however, that outside of 
Scientific American, many people had a hard time getting  even Science 
and Nature. The original post that I did, for example, ended up being almost 
a Scientific American style article in itself.  AFter two posts, it became 
very exhausting.  The kinds of questions I would get made it appear that the 
audience did not have access to primary literature; at least to publications 
that have decent review articles (I was giving a lot of TIBS and TIGS, 
Bioessays, etc. articles as references to get a background; these appeared to 
be unavailable to most).

I haven't seen what they are using in high school these days for a biology 
However, I would hope that an undergraduate would have a library at his or her 
institute, such that the would not be a problem.

Harold Drabkin
Dept. of Biology
Cambridge, MA 02139

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