Academic journal article Partnership : the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

University Biology Patrons in the Library Literature 2000-2010: A Content Analysis & Literature Review

Academic journal article Partnership : the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

University Biology Patrons in the Library Literature 2000-2010: A Content Analysis & Literature Review

Article excerpt


The researcher conducted a content analysis and literature review of papers written from 2000-2010 that focused on university biology students, faculty, and their papers. Scholarly articles were divided into the library research domains. The largest number of papers was from the Education domain, followed closely by Collections. Only two papers were categorized as Reference/Enquiries, and no papers were found in Management and Professional Issues. This research will enable science librarians to better understand what has already been written about biology subjects in a university setting. Gaps in the literature can help other librarians who are interested in pursuing more research with biology subjects.


library and information studies; content analysis; literature review; biology; university; library research domains


With its roots in medicine and beginnings in health science librarianship, evidencebased library and information practice is a growing movement that is reaching all library sectors. "Evidence Based Librarianship is a means to improve the profession of librarianship by asking questions, finding, critically appraising and incorporating research evidence from library science (and other disciplines) into daily practice. It also involves encouraging librarians to conduct research" (Koufogiannakis and Crumley, qtd. in Cleyle and McKenna 91).

Crumley and Koufogiannakis developed library domains in an effort to understand the major areas of library research (Crumley and Koufogiannakis 63). Koufogiannakis, Slater and Crumley examined the research literature produced in library and information science, with one of its aims to "determine what type of research is being conducted within LIS, and the relationship of research type to publication and classification by subject" (Koufogiannakis, Slater and Crumley 230). Koufogiannakis et al. made a slight alteration to the original domains to reveal the following six library research categories:

* Reference/Enquiries - providing service and access to information that meets the needs of library users.

* Education - finding teaching methods and strategies to educate users about library resources and how to improve their research skills.

* Collections - building a high-quality collection of print and electronic materials that is useful, cost-effective and meets the users' needs.

* Management - managing people and resources within an organization. This includes marketing and promotion as well as human resources.

* Information access and retrieval - creating better systems and methods for information retrieval and access.

* Professional Issues - exploring issues that affect librarianship as a profession. (Crumley and Koufogiannakis 63; Koufogiannakis, Slater and Crumley 233)

As a science librarian at Carleton University, the author wanted to learn more about how to better meet the information needs of biology students. The author decided to contribute to the evidence by working on a citation analysis of the graduate biology students' theses at the university in order to get a better sense of their collection needs (Newton Miller, Inspired by Koufogiannakis et al.'s (227-239) content analysis of LIS literature, the author decided to go further with this research by focusing specifically on scholarly literature related to university biology students and faculty, and their papers.

The author found a paper by Sinn (103-115) to use as a springboard for her own research. Sinn performed a review of the literature related specifically to biology library instruction and found that, at the time, there was "relatively little recent literature describing library instruction to biology classes" (Sinn 104). Sinn found that most were descriptions of specific programs in the form of "one-shots" or entire credit courses aimed at graduate and undergraduate students. Articles were found in both the library literature and the biological literature. …

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