Yesterday I sat in on a couple of tutorials for a protein chemistry unit. I’d had a couple of postgraduate students from this unit ask me for some help with their assignment last year, so I wanted to see firsthand what they are taught in the class. I was there as an observer – the lecturer was the one up the front doing the talking.
I’m glad I went along, because I learnt a few things while I was there, not so much about protein chemistry, but about the information sources that the students are shown. A couple of the tools I’d never heard of or used (and probably won’t ever use them), as they were quite specific to the protein chemistry field (UniProt and ExPaSy). However, the database they were referred to in order to find journal articles was PubMed, which I was familiar with. The students were shown how to do a keyword and author search, and how to refine the search results to review articles.
When it came to accessing the fulltext of the articles, most of the students were aware of how to search the library catalogue to find a journal if there was no fulltext link from PubMed – I was pleased to see that. This has given me something to work on though, as I’d like to include our link resolver (we use Article Linker) on PubMed pages, so that students don’t need to go to the library page to look for the fulltext. It looks like other libraries have done this successfully, so hopefully we can too.
I think my presence in the class was appreciated by the students and the lecturer, as I was able to answer any library-related questions that the students had. These were mostly around trying to find the fulltext of an article, and how to use our interlibrary loan service for articles that we didn’t have access to. Hopefully this is the start of a productive relationship between the library and the staff involved with this unit, and I’m keen to stay involved.