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Where Have All the Chemists Gone?

Magazine article Information Today

Where Have All the Chemists Gone?

Article excerpt

Where Have All the Chemists Gone? Emerging Issues in the Electronic Environment: Challenges for Librarians and Researchers in the Sciences edited by Jeannie P. Miller Binghamton, N.Y.: Haworth Information Press, 2004 Published simultaneously as Science & Technology Libraries, Volume 25, Numbers 1 and 2 ISBN: 0-7890-2578-7 258 pages $29.95 softcover, $49.95 hardback

You may not see as many chemists (or biologists, physicists, or engineers) in your library as you used to. Why aren't they eagerly grabbing the latest issues of their favorite journals to browse through? Or spending hours with a magnifying glass combing through volumes of Chemical Abstracts or Science Citation Index?

The scientists aren't stopping by as frequently because most of the current scientific resources are now available online. The scientists are probably happy to access this information directly from their labs and offices. However, you may be concerned that they are not in the library, where they can talk with you and learn the latest features about their databases and electronic journals. You may even be worried that you can't keep up with all the changes. If you work with STM information, these concerns are especially relevant. To help you get some clues about how your colleagues are handling these issues, Jeannie Miller, director of science/ engineering services at the Sterling C. Evans Library at Texas A&M University, has collected a number of articles in this new book.

Emerging Issues in the Electronic Environment contains 13 articles on various aspects of electronic resources in the sciences. The topics of the articles range from electronic journals to bibliometrics, from map and GIS data to library applications of Webinar technology.

The book starts off with Julie Kurd's article titled "Scientific Communication." She uses a model developed for the social sciences to explain the changes in scientific communication with the advent of electronic resources. Her discussion of traditional print communication provides a useful background, and her charts present helpful visual representations of the model. She emphasizes that librarians must work with consumers of electronic information to provide the services and training they need. I also enjoyed reading Elizabeth Cooksey's "Too Important to Be Left to Chance-Serendipity and the Digital Library," which takes us through the ways that researchers find information by serendipity (for example, finding a wonderful book or article next to the one you were looking for). How does this work in the electronic environment? Cooksey suggests a variety of strategies using online databases and digital resources that go beyond the Google search. …

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