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Science and Technology Section (STS): Past Annual & Midwinter Conferences

ACRL Science & Technology Section programming and materials from past conferences.

2021 ALA Conference Poster Sessions

Poster Session 1

Monday, June 21 at 1pm CT

Recording link: N/A

Link to posters:

Poster Session 2

Monday, June 28 at 1pm CT

Recording link: N/A

Link to posters:

2020 ALA Annual Conference Poster Sessions

STS Research Poster Session 
June 19 at 2 p.m. EST

Recording Link: STS Poster Session 2020 Recording

Poster Link:

2019 ALA Annual Conference Poster Sessions

STS Poster Session During the STS Membership Meeting and Breakfast 8:30-10am June 23, 2019 @ Washington Hilton, Crystal Ballroom

The STS poster session features posters covering research or practitioner projects that enhance science and technology librarianship. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with the poster presenters.

– Sponsored by STS Research Committee

A bibliometric analysis of two journals: Organic Letters and Tetrahedron Letters Robert Tomaszewski, California State University, Fullerton

This study conducts a bibliometric analysis comparing two well-known letter journals with identical scope in organic chemistry – Organic Letters and Tetrahedron Letters. The objective of the study is to develop a methodology for evaluating and comparing two similar journals. The results provide a guide for organic chemists on where to publish based on different journal criteria. General parameters such as subscription rate, discipline categories, frequency of publication, language, page length, citation style, peer-review type, indexing, Altmetric score, acceptance rate, and yearly change in h-index of each journal were obtained from various online resources for comparison purposes. The advanced search feature of Web of Science (WoS) with the Science Citation Index Expanded was used to create a Boolean search for each journal (i.e. SO=source title AND PY=1999-2016) and extract all articles. Scholarly journal articles were analyzed using the “Analyze Results” option in WoS. A total of 24,889 articles from Organic Letters and 34,380 articles from Tetrahedron Letters were examined by year, country, organization, funding, and WoS subject category. The VOSviewer software was employed for an in-depth map analysis of the research topics in each journal derived from key terms in article titles. The SciFinder database was used to compare similarities and differences between the journal articles by Chemical Abstracts (CA) section titles, index terms, CA concept headings, and supplementary terms. The study reveals that the two journals show major differences in journal parameters, but minor differences in the subject contents of articles.

Comparing research outputs between the United States and China using bibliometricsMatthew R. Marsteller and Xiaoju (Julie) Chen, Carnegie Mellon University

Bibilometrics are helpful methods (if used carefully) to provide information on research outputs. This information can be used by policy-makers and research funding agencies to make decisions on future endeavors. The authors are responsible for research metrics services and must explore the capabilities of existing bibliometric tools at our disposal, honing our skills with a variety of studies. Area studies using bibliometrics are an intriguing area and the authors are carefully conducting a comparative study of the research prowess of China versus the US. How do scholarly output and scholarly quality compare at this point for a number of research areas? What might be driving any trends that we observe, such as funding and policy? We will augment SciVal (derived from Scopus data) with other bibliometric tools for the study. For the drivers of the bibliometric indicators, we will conduct reference work for underlying data such as percentage of population obtaining related advanced degrees, research funding and effective policies. Our early indications show China surpassing the US with regard to scholarly output in a significant number of science and technology areas. The only noted broad areas of the US maintaining a lead in scholarly output are in medicine and the biological sciences. In addition, early work reviewing citations per paper and field-weighted citation impact show both nations being above average and converging. Careful studies of this nature by STEM liaison librarians can provide non-politicized factual compendia for those developing policy and funding research.

Geography Matters: Impact of librarian’s physical location on engagement within a Geography/Geology DepartmentAllison Brungard, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

In a time when we are connected more than ever (chat reference, screen casting, and online meetings), this study discusses how a librarian physically embedded in an academic department experienced an increase in student and faculty engagement.

Librarians have been embedding themselves in online courses for more than a decade and the literature tends to focus on those virtual interactions. However, is a librarian’s physical location still relevant in an increasingly digital environment?

Due to major renovations, librarians’ at a mid-sized public university moved to various academic departments across the campus for one semester. The STEM librarian relocated to the geography/geology department, one of several assigned liaison areas and immediately librarian experienced an increase in instruction and reference activities.

Interactions with the department extended beyond traditional services as well. Opportunities for deeper collaborations arose, such as participation in projects, involvement in research activities, and the chance to build higher impact collections to support curriculum and research.

Quantitative data collected between 2016 and 2018 demonstrates instruction statistics before, during, and after the librarian changed her location from the library, to the geography department, then back to the library. Qualitative data consists of the STEM librarian’s accounts of new and unique interactions with students and faculty.

When the librarian left the geography/geology department, engagement declined, but remains at a higher level than before the initial move. Though the embedded experience was circumstantial, it provided a natural opportunity for collaboration and the added benefit of forming personal relationships.

Measuring and Responding to the Evolution of Science Researcher Needs at the Smithsonian Kristen Bullard, Stephen Cox, Barbara Ferry, Polly Lasker, and Sue Zwicker, Smithsonian Institution

The Natural & Physical Science (NPS) Libraries of the [institution redacted] consist of several locations serving the [redacted] Museum of [topic], the [institution redacted] Research Center, the [institution redacted] zoological park and [redacted] Institute, and the [institution redacted] Research Institute in [country]. Much has been written about the dramatic shift in recent years to the changing face of university research environments, but there are few recent studies on the use of libraries by museum and research center staff. Together with the members of the NPS Libraries Advisory Committee consisting of staff scientists and other departments, we developed surveys and other feedback mechanisms that investigated museum and research center staff’s research and scholarly publishing practices. Questions included use of library print and digital collections for research, service and training priorities, methods employed to find scholarly journal articles, Open Access publishing funding and practices, and data management.  The poster will provide the results of the research and our libraries’ strategies in response to the findings.

Popcorn and a Movie: Popular Science Collections as an Opening ActKalli Damschen and Hannah Gascho Rempel, Oregon State University

As a research-intensive institution with an emphasis on STEM fields, our collections and instruction reflect the scholarly communication of these fields. Typically, we highlight our collection’s academic resources such as journals and discipline-specific reference sources. While these sources provide a research-focused foundation for our students, they might not always spark curiosity or encourage multidisciplinary exploration. Popular science sources like books or movies are much more likely to fill that niche. Based on the STS Program “Librarians as a Force for Science” at ALA Annual 2018, we asked if featuring popular science sources from our collection could encourage students to engage in new ways with our collection. Because we do not have a separate science library, our first step was to survey what popular sources were already distributed throughout our collection. Next, we scanned reading and award lists to see what popular sources might be missing from our collection. Then we sought targeted audiences to whom we could promote popular science sources. From past projects we knew not to rely solely on self-directed student engagement. We reached out to science-themed student clubs and asked whether they would be interested in using popular science sources to develop their events. Several clubs agreed and were especially interested in using movies. We have now held successful movie screenings with these clubs. In our poster we will discuss the process of promoting our popular science collection, as well as what we have learned from this form of student outreach.

Publishing Habits of Math Faculty: A bibliometric analysisNastasha Johnson, Purdue University

As academic library collections are refined due to shifting priorities and budgets, tough collection decisions have to be made about what is important to keep and what is not. A bibliometric analysis was conducted analyzing the publishing habits of leading faculty at three top-ranked, doctoral granting, research intensive universities to gain an understanding of what journals mattered to faculty in their own publishing habits, i.e. where did they publish and whether the collection represented their own habits. The aim of this work was to inform math library liaisons on which publications rose to the top for math faculty, and how those publications may matter in math faculty review practices. A combined publication list was compiled and analyzed for: Institute of Scientific Information Journal Citation Report (ISI) impact factor, Scimago Journal Rank (SJR) indicator, H-index, Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP), and the Eigenfactor. The journals were also ordered by frequency of citations within the combined faculty publication pool and tagged for primary subject discipline (e.g. math-specific journal, interdisciplinary, or another primary subject area). Findings from this research will be presented, as well as future considerations for curating math library collections.

Science & the Media: Exploring the Complexities of Science Communication with Non-Science MajorsChapel Cowden, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Did you know drinking one glass of wine is equal to one hour at the gym?! Or that McDonald’s French fries cure baldness? Or that chocolate cures cancer, obesity, and more!

For those of us immersed in the sciences we can spot these not-quite-right (or sometimes simply bogus) claims from a mile away. While not necessarily fake news, these types of claims constitute a serious misrepresentation of scientific results, which ultimately serves to erode public confidence in science. In higher education, our science majors are educated in the methods of the scientific process and many take a full course in scientific communication to learn about the complexities of communicating science to the general public. Non-science majors, however, remain vulnerable to misleading and inaccurate scientific claims—unable to sort out what to believe and inevitably losing interest and confidence in the scientific process. What’s a science librarian to do?

To help address this learning gap, a workshop exploring the relationship between science and the media was created for non-science majors. Workshop attendees discover the basics of the scientific process, how science is communicated, and how and why the scientific message is sometimes lost in translation. Armed with methods to separate science from hype, attendees dissect several scientific claims made in the media and provide group reflection on “what went wrong”.

The proposed poster will cover workshop development, marketing, and success while addressing areas for improvement. Attendees will be furnished with digital copies of all workshop components for re-use at home institutions.

Science identity and librarianship: How do students develop and where does the library fit?Livia Olsen, Kendra Spahr, and Carol Sevin, Kansas State University

Exploring literature on how faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) develop research skills, lead us—three librarians at a large doctoral granting institution—to a body of literature that changed how we view researcher development. A widely discussed topic in science education literature, science identity—also referred to more broadly STEM identity—is an analytic lens that researchers use to examine how a student comes to see himself or herself as a “science person.” Developing a science identity is a highly social process that involves more than mastery of content, and colleges and universities invest resources in initiatives, such as learning communities and undergraduate research, that contribute to science identity development.

This poster will feature an overview of the concept of science identity and practices adopted by higher education to foster science identity development in students. Then we will explore the intersection of science identity and librarianship and reframe how librarians should approach their work with STEM students to foster science identity development in addition to research skills.

Teaching Systematic Reviews in Food Science Heather MacDonald, Carleton University

Systematic reviews are a research methodology used in many disciplines and can be used as a teaching tool for students to learn research skills. Librarians are involved in conducting systematic reviews and often teach components of the systematic review process. This project investigated whether systematic reviews can be successfully used to teach research skills to Food Science students.

An instructor and librarian worked together to incorporate systematic reviews into a class to introduce students to the format and process in a 4th year Food Science course. Through the semester students learned about different micronutrients, their biochemical mechanisms and how they affect human health from the course instructor. Every other week students critically evaluated a systematic review on a related micronutrient while being introduced to the process of conducting a systematic review by the librarian. Students submitted answers to a discussion forum evaluating each systematic review before and after an in-class discussion. The students participated in hands-on activities to learn the different steps involved in a systematic review. The course culminated in a final project that updated a systematic review. Students actively participated in screening and data abstraction and submitted a written report based on the PRISMA checklist.

The discussion forum answers demonstrated students’ ability to critically evaluate reviews. Hands-on activity worksheet demonstrated student learning of the research skills involved in a systematic review. The final reports provided evidence of student success in mastering research skills. Librarian systematic review expertise can be leveraged to help teach students research skills.

Using an ALA Carnegie-Whitney grant to support women in STEM: A Bibliography project Heidi Blackburn, University of Nebraska at Omaha

In the last decade, the spotlight on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education has resulted in hundreds of studies that range from student recruitment to academic workplace climate. Finding scholarly research that addresses the status of women in STEM is challenging: the word “STEM” can be ambiguous, the topic is intersectional, and existing scholarship consists mainly of popular work. We needed a comprehensive bibliography to guide users to relevant scholarly resources and reports. In 2019, we received an ALA Carnegie-Whitney Grant to create the Women in STEM Research Guide containing over 1,100 articles, books, dissertations, and theses. Bibliographic themes include recruitment, retention, barriers, stereotypes, inclusion and biases, campus culture, classroom experiences, and faculty workplace issues. By understanding the intersectionality of issues surrounding the status of women in STEM in higher education, librarians can help their organizations engage in local, regional, and national recruitment and retention efforts. I will share the grant process, creation of the Research Guide, the importance of library collections with women representation in STEM, and the experiences of a student research assistant. Participants will leave with an introduction to a powerful resource they could use for collection development, literature reviews in campus strategic planning, department outreach, or grant writing.

Using Existing Library Expertise to Build Research Consultation ServicesSara Russell Gonzalez, Tara Cataldo, and Sam Putnam, University of Florida

Librarians and staff at Large R1 Libraries are increasingly focusing their services to meet the research needs of university faculty, students, and staff. Addressing researchers’ needs has involved both subject librarians building new expertise beyond their traditional liaison responsibilities and hiring new faculty with specialized skills in functional areas such as informatics. The growing number of experts located in different units presented some challenges in marketing and collaboration due to lack of organizational cohesion. To address these challenges, in 2017 the Libraries organized faculty and staff with expertise across the research lifecycle to create a new support service.

This poster presents the development and immediate impact of a new research support service, Academic Research Consultants and Services (ARCS). ARCS meets the increasing demands of university researchers by leveraging existing library expertise in the major areas of Data Management, Spatial Information Services, Visualization, Statistical and Data Analysis, Digital Humanities, Research Metrics, Publishing and Archiving, Copyright and Fair Use, and Research Integrity. This initiative has already led to new collaborations and involvement within major research grants such as the [named research project] funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. A branded outreach campaign and a team communications workshop have led to a deeper understanding of how the Libraries can integrate with campus wide research initiatives and projects. ARCS positions the Libraries to become strong partners and consultants for new and existing research projects.

What STEM and International Undergraduate Students Value In Higher Education and Library Services Kelli Trei, Jamie Carlstone, and Jen-chien Yu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

In 2018, the Ithaka S+R Undergraduate Student Survey was administered at the (Institution redacted). In 2019, international undergraduate students made up 15% of total on-campus undergraduate enrollment. The (redacted) International Student and Scholar Services found that the majority enrolled in 2018 were in the Colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts & Sciences. While there is research into student perception of institutions and their libraries, less has been published about STEM and international undergraduate student perspectives. In this study we examine those perspectives and where they intersect.

Modeling this research on another that used the Ithaka S+R Graduate Student Survey, we filtered survey respondents into four groups: international STEM undergraduate students (ISUG), STEM students, international students, and none of the above. We applied the answers of these populations to modules in the Ithaka study related to higher education and the role of the library. We conducted the Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon test (MWW) using RStudio to compare the means of the ISUG group and the non-ISUG group. The MWW test was used to detect overlap between the two groups. Then we compared the means of the variables identified to determine whether the STEM or international populations could explain the variance we observed.

In this poster presentation, we will share statistically significant differences in how undergraduate student populations value their college experience and the library. By assessing the perceptions and experiences of international STEM students we may ascertain how we can change or adjust services to meet needs and contribute to undergraduate student success.

2018 ALA Annual Conference Poster Sessions

STS Poster Session @ Sheraton New Orleans, Grand Ballroom C

The STS poster session features posters covering research or practitioner projects that enhance science and technology librarianship (see abstracts at Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with the poster presenters.

– Sponsored by STS Research Committee

Links to most posters are available here

2017 ALA Annual Conference Poster Sessions

STS Poster Session @ McCormick Place, W181b

Join us to see the great research science and technology librarians are involved in. For a list of all 13 presentations and presenters, see this link: Plus, while enjoying hors d’oeuvres - try something new! We will be hosting Research Birds of a Feather tables. Come talk with other librarians engaged in research - learn new ideas or discover research partners!

Sponsored by STS Research Committee

Links to most posters are available here