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Undergraduate Science Students and Electronic Scholarly Journals

Carol Tenopir,Richard Pollard,Peiling Wang,Dan Greene, Elizabeth Kline, Julia Krummen, and Rachel Kirk

Presented at ASIST 2003 Annual Meeting -- Humanizing Information Technology: From Ideas to Bits and Back (ASIST AM 03 2003), Westin Long Beach, Long Beach, California, October 20 - 23, 2003


Phase I of a 2-phase project funded by the NSF-National Science Digital Library Project used focus groups to determine how undergraduate science students perceive journal literature and how they use digital library resources. Their perceptions and use are contrasted with faculty and graduate teaching assistants in engineering, chemistry, and physics. Undergraduates have difficulties understanding journal articles. Although they consider themselves experts on the web, they rarely use online indexes or e-journals unless required to for class. E-Journals should be incrementally introduced to students starting at the time they declare a major. E-Modules developed by the library and faculty could introduce the structure and content of articles, including links to glossaries and encyclopedias, tutorials about the publishing process, and study of the structure of articles.

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