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Information Competencies for Chemistry Undergraduates


Grace Baysinger
Swain Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library, Stanford University
Stanford, CA

The Information Competencies include skills and knowledge that students should have by the time they graduate.   Knowing how to navigate the scientific and chemical literature will help make them more successful in their undergraduate careers, help prepare them for graduate school, and help them be more competitive in the job market.    

This document is divided into four sections:

1. Big Picture: The Library and Scientific Literature

2. Chemical Literature

3. Properties, Spectra, Crystallographic, and Safety Information

4. Scientific Communication and Ethical Conduct

Each section includes specific skills that students should develop and identifies recommended resources. Recommended resources are free unless indicated by a $$.  Resources listed are provided as suggested titles as some resources may not be available at an institution.  Students do not need to know every recommended resource but should acquire enough skills to find information using available resources.  Resources can be in any format but ideally students should be proficient using both print and online resources.

 Educators and librarians who work with chemistry undergraduates are the intended audience for this document.  It can be used to:

 a)      Improve chemistry undergraduate instruction.

 b)      Facilitate acquisition and assessment of information literacy skills by chemistry undergraduates.

 c)       Provide a list of recommended resources for libraries working with chemistry undergraduates.

 d)      Serve as a bridge between the ACS Guidelines for Bachelor’s Degree Programs by the ACS Committee on Professional Training; and Information Literacy Standards for Science and Technology and Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, by the Association of College and Research Libraries, a Division of the American Library Association.

e)      Assist as a resource for developing subject-specific information literacy standards in related scientific disciplines.

 The “Information Competencies" document in combination with XCITR (eXplore Chemical Information Teaching Resources), a repository for exploring and sharing chemical information teaching resources, provides two current resources for those engaged in chemical instruction for undergraduates.

11/04/11 to 11/06/11