it All In
- While there are many things
which every chemist should know, you may not have the opportunity to
present all of them in your lecture or class
- Even in a full semester
chemical information course, you will have to pick and choose what you
How can you cope?
- Focus on tools and concepts
which fit your students' current needs.
users remember best what they can apply immediately
- Concentrate on readily available
be aware of what's available in the library and in the lab
- Start with the easiest way to
solve a problem...then build to the tougher ones.
students appreciate tips and shortcuts.
Two Philosophies of Teaching:
"Puritanical" vs. "Renegade"
instruction -- "It's important for the students to know how to use
Beilstein in print...even though we have CrossFire."
instruction -- "They're never going to be librarians/information
specialists...and don't want to be. Cover the bare minimum they need and
turn them loose."
In reality...it depends on the situation
Lower division undergraduates and many industrial users
will just want the basics of the most readily available tools in their
(score one for the renegades!).
- But some tools require
background training for optimum use
e.g. many of the features of
Chemical Abstracts online reflect the characteristics of Chemical Abstracts in
(score one for the puritans!)
- While some tools are designed
to minimize the need for background information
CrossFire requires little or no
knowledge of Beilstein in print.
(score one for the renegades!)
Graduate students, and upper-division undergraduates
may move on to other locations with different resources than they currently use
and will value training in depth
(score another one for the puritans!).
In either case, be sure to teach how to choose the right tool for the job,
and the appropriate strategies and tactics of searching.
Return to Contents:Teaching Chemical Information