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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Summer 2002

Conference Reports

STS/BRASS General Discussion Group
ALA Annual Conference, June 16, 2002

Bryna Coonin
Coastal Resources Management Librarian
East Carolina University

The Science and Technology Section (STS) General Discussion Group co-sponsored a combined discussion group with the ALA Business & Reference Services Section (BRASS) on Sunday June 16, 2002 at 9:30 a.m. at the Westin Peachtree, Atlanta.

The joint session was entitled "Two Heads Are Better than One: Business and Science Sources for Inventors," and featured three panelists to help focus the discussion, including STS's Julie Hurd, head of the Science Library at the University of Illinois-Chicago, BRASS's Patricia Kenly, business Librarian at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Joanne Tobin, technical resources librarian at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

More than 50 attended the discussion, which centered on the different ways information is used by science and business researchers, and how both business and science librarians use patent information as part of the process of assisting researchers.

Hurd emphasized that in the science environment the librarian usually encounters the researcher very early in the research process. For Kenly and Tobin, contact with the researcher may come later, as a product is developed out of the research and information about competition and market research becomes significant.

A number of questions followed the discussion, reflecting that information concerning patents is always welcome among both business and science library users and the librarians who assist them. The joint session provided a unique opportunity for two types of librarians who often do not communicate directly in the course of a workday to think further about the ways they can share expertise to the ultimate benefit of their users.

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