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Teaching Student Engineers the Structure of Scientific and Technical Literature Using an Electronics Case Study

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The novel use of a case study based on some genuine electronics research, the "Talking Brooch" communication aid for the dumb, is described, which introduces the various types of literature and their guides in a natural way. Set within the context of library user education courses at the University of Southampton, England, the assessed literature-searching exercises associated with third-year undergraduate engineering projects, where marks awarded jointly by the library and departments contribute directly towards degrees, are dealt with briefly. Attention then turns to the recently developed Talking Brooch case study which opens these courses by demonstrating the structure of the literature. Significant (literary) events in the history of the original investigation are enumerated, and their structural implications are pointed out. The treatment of a key journal article by several abstracting and indexing journals is summarized, introducing the terminology problem faced by users of subject indexes, and it is shown how the approach also covers information sources other than the literature. Finally, some practical aspects of using the case study for teaching purposes are discussed, including the simultaneous employment of both 35 mm slide and overhead projectors in live presentations, the construction of a unique overhead projector slide which enables the different kinds of literature to be added individually to a structure chart in any order, and the modifications rendered necessary by converting lecture material into a tape-slide program for the benefit of students elsewhere.

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:26 ,  Issue: 1 )