CINF Members Confer

Members of ACS CINF are very active, not only in local and national ACS activities, but also in other professional societies.  Dr. Wendy Warr and Susan Cardinal responded to an open call to report the happenings at recent meetings that they attended.

International Council for Scientific and Technical Information

by Wendy A. Warr

ICSTI’s winter meeting consists of ICSTI committee meetings, for members only, plus a one-day workshop open to the public; the summer meeting involves the General Assembly and committee meetings for ICSTI members, plus a more major conference than the winter one. The ICSTI 2011 Winter Meeting was held on February 6-7, 2011, and was followed on February 8 by a workshop, the theme for which was "Multimedia and Visualization Innovations for Science." Both events were hosted by Microsoft, an ICSTI member, on their Redmond campus, Washington. The program is at http://www.icsti.org/spip.php?article213, and PowerPoint presentations can be accessed from that page. The videos are password-protected on the ICSTI members’ pages. The official meeting overview states:

Multimedia and visualization tools and technology offer tremendous opportunity for accelerating scientific discovery. Where science was once limited to text and two-dimensional graphs and charts for communications purposes, multiple factors have contributed to a rise in the use and availability of multimedia and visualization as tools to augment and enhance more rapid uptake of science. This workshop featured leading-edge innovations in science-oriented web multimedia, large-scale data exploration and visualization, speech and object recognition, image indexing and analysis, human/computer interaction and virtual environments, among other topics. Presentations were made by technology, science, and information professionals across the broad spectrum of academia, government, business, and industry.
(http://www.icsu.org/events/scientific-associate-events/multimedia-and-visualisation-innovations-for-science, accessed August, 2011)

ICSTI’s 2011 Annual Conference was held June 7-8 in Beijing. It was hosted by ISTIC, the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, and the theme of the Conference was "Upgrading Information to Knowledge." About 400 people attended. The conference program and the presentations are at http://www.icsti2011.org/eng/download_information.html. The full text of "submitted papers" (not presented orally, but published in a prestigious Chinese journal) can be accessed from http://www.icsti.org/. The Conference was followed by ICSTI’s General Assembly and committee meetings from June 8-9.

Wendy A. Warr
Wendy Warr & Associates
Cheshire, England
wendy@warr.com

 

 

Teaching, Networking, and Learning at SLA 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

by Susan K. Cardinal

As I drove into Philadelphia on a sunny June day, I was very optimistic about the value of the SLA meeting to me.  I was a little nervous also, because, for the first time, I would be co-teaching "Chemistry for the Non-Chemist Librarian" with Judith Currano. 

Early Saturday morning, we met eight science librarians and information professionals, both from corporations and from academia, who wanted a crash course in chemistry to help them communicate better with their patrons.  Judith and I delivered a full day of history, stories, hands-on activities, and lectures that defined the vocabulary and nomenclature of chemistry.  We were all pleased when the fear left our participants’ eyes and some of the terminology that earlier had confused them became clear. 

Our reward was a tasty meal at the No-Host dinner at the "Palace at the Ben."  I enjoyed meeting several Royal Society of Chemistry staff members. 

On Sunday, I was a participant in Judith’s and Denise Callihan’s Extreme Structure Searching.  Although I was familiar with substructure searching, I picked up more nuances, especially setting points of attachment on R/G Groups.  For the first time I realized that patents in a family can have more differences than just language. 

In the evening, Thomas Friedman, columnist for the New York Times, told us about globalization and that being average is no longer safe since everyone in the world could potentially be a candidate for our jobs.  Visit http://www.theconferencecircuit.com/2011/06/12/1708/ for a summary of his talk.

The next morning, at the Academic Round Table, each table picked one or two topics to discuss.  At my table, we discussed “What roles do discovery platforms play in chemistry research?”  After defining a discovery platform as the next generation metasearch engine for articles and more, the conclusion was that these interfaces are mostly geared towards the general undergraduate as Google competition.  Other topics discussed were:

  • How can you facilitate partnerships with chemistry faculty to successfully promote library resources?
  • What role will InChI play in a chemical semantic Web?
  • Now that so much information is online, how might we embed ourselves physically, virtually or both into chemistry departments?
  • What are the budget predictions for next year, and how will we cope?
  • How do we react to the illegal distribution of scientific e-books when we can’t (or don’t) pay for the e-book packages?  What are the ethical implications?   
  • How can we use mobile technology to its fullest advantage when working with our patrons?
  • What role does data curation play in your liaison activities? Do you envision this role changing in the future?

Later in the morning, I listened, as Lutishoor Salisbury from the University of Arkansas described a 1- credit seminar class that helped undergraduates get involved in research earlier in their studies.  In one assignment, a small group of students picked three faculty members to study and then selected one to interview about his or her research.  The class included a library instructional session, during which the students learned about the library, the databases, and Boolean searching, applying their knowledge to the task of finding and understand their professor’s publications.

That afternoon, at "So They Say You Have to Publish," I received lots of advice on how to find ideas and write.  The core message was to read and write regularly and to start small.  It is okay to contact editors when you think you have a concrete idea for a paper to see if it will fit the journal.  Editors may even be willing to be consulted by potential authors, regarding research and analysis methodology. 

The next day, during the Chemistry Division Business Meeting and Breakfast, I was very pleased to witness Grace Baysinger receiving the first Wiggins-Roth Award for Outstanding Service, sponsored by Elsevier/Reaxys.  We elected Susan Makar from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to be the Chair-Elect for 2012 and Lee Pedersen from Brown University to be the Secretary for 2012-2013.  During lunch, Judith Currano showed me two cool widgets on the University of Pennsylvania Chemistry Library’s home page, one for book renewals and one for signing up for training sessions. 

Louise Deis from Princeton told me that, at the "International Year of Chemistry:  Perils and Promises of Modern Communication" session, Dr. Lawrence Souder and Dr. Jean-Claude Bradley from Drexel spoke about how scientific "knowledge rests on the trust in ethics and morals of those practicing" (Souder, 2011).  The truth is twisted to serve purposes; sometimes, reported information is not accurate, and the peer review system fails us.  Blogs are taking a more prominent role in evaluating research and presenting science.  Dr Bradley’s students compared melting points for 24 compounds from trusted sources, and their faith in these sources was shaken due to errors found.  He suggested that science will make faster progress if research results are posted openly and are easily found.  

In the evening, I attended the poster session and was overwhelmed with interesting posters.  I’m checking with the Chair, Bill Armstrong, to see if there will be an online poster session later in the year as I’d like to study them at a slower pace.  

During the course of the meeting, I also met with several publishers and vendors.  What a valuable and fabulous 2011 Philadelphia SLA meeting!  As usual, there wasn’t enough time in the week to take it all in. 

If you’d like to learn more, please visit the SLA Chemistry Division website at http://units.sla.org/division/dche/index.htm.

Susan K. Cardinal
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY
scardinal@library.rochester.edu