Library Assignment References

Mike Weber mweber at
Wed Oct 18 15:56:17 EST 1995

To all Biolabbers:

	Thanks to all who responded to my request for references. Although i did
not receive lists of references, as i had hoped, i did get many helpful
hints regarding how to go about the exercise and experiences others have
	John Sowell commented that the students really did not get much out
of an exercise such as this in an introductory course.  I would not
disagree with this statement, they probably went through the motions in
order not to lose marks, without really understanding what they were doing. 
However, although they are unlikely to use the literature this year
(references are almost entirely the text or even, in some cases,
encyclopaedias) they should remember something about how to find a paper -
even if it is only that they should go and ask the librarian how to start.

	Overall, about 95% of the students managed to find the correct
article and complete the worksheet (general questions about journal
articles).  In this type of exercise it is important to check first that
all the articles are in the library or the students will be really
frustrated.  Also, choose articles that are comprehensible for the
students.  This may require a little reading.

	A good source of articles is to canvass your department.  Send out
a memo requesting citations for the type of article you want for the
assignment.  Most people will even send a photocopy. As a last resort
(which i did) find a journal that publishes in the proper format and
browse.  Lots of interesting stuff can be found this way and you know
right away if the article is suitable and in the library.  Anyone who
would like a copy of the articles used for this assignment is welcome,
although if your library has cut back journal purchases recently, as ours
has, it may not have the journals so the citations would not be very useful.

Thanks again,

Mike Weber
Dept. of Biology
Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario
mweber at

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