Last week, I presented a poster at the annual Special Libraries Association conference. The theme of the conference was Beyond Borders so the poster was titled “Beyond Information Literacy: Supporting Science & Scholarly Communications.” Click here to get the PDF or email me if you’d like the source file (SVG).
Abstract: ACRL defines information literacy as the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information . While librarians have embraced their roles as educators, many have not gone beyond teaching these skills in courses, workshops, and individual consultations. In the sciences especially, information is easily available through well established digital infrastructures (e.g. repositories) and new publishing models (e.g. open access). Because science students learn how to analyze and use that information through coursework and departmental advising, librarians must find other ways to support them. The librarians at Dartmouth College have begun focusing on helping students develop communication skills and greater awareness of how scientists disseminate their work. This poster will highlight some innovative ways to support scholarly communications and to teach science students how to effectively communicate the knowledge they have acquired. Areas of focus include organizing references, learning and using LaTeX, designing and presenting a research poster, crafting a science elevator pitch, exploring publishing options, and measuring the impact of different work.
 Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Association of College & Research Libraries, 2000; http://www.acrl.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/standards/standards.pdf.
I analyzed the types of private consultations we received at Kresge and the types of outreach programs we hosted or participated in. The data shows that consultations about scientific communication have generally increased, both as a percentage of total consultations and in absolute number. An increased number of outreach programs in the previous semester appear to result in an increased number of consultations and interest in scholarly communication. In other words, there’s value in supporting science and scholarly communications and the library can and should support these needs.
There were a lot of follow-up questions and general interest in the LaTeX-related programs. I had presented specifically on teaching and supporting LaTeX at the Mathematics Roundtable session the day before. People seemed excited to try supporting it at their own institutions.
For further thoughts, read my other blog entry and come by Kresge to see the poster!