Bridging between scientific disciplines: Educational strategies to meet the challenge of managing information across the sciences



The need for research to address global, complex problems that require expertise from multiple disciplines across geographic distances and the impact of new computing and network technologies on the practice of science and engineering research endeavors has received attention from many stakeholder communities. Helping to supply an appropriately trained information professional and researcher who can readily step in and contribute to a cyberinfrastructure-enabled research process has lagged behind other contributions made by information and library schools. Each of the panelists has developed strategies that prepare students to thrive in this new environment where they can play an active role in an interdisciplinary research process. Given that technology and interdisciplinary involvement may differ greatly between disciplines and research projects, and that the scientific process will evolve as new technologies are adopted, it is important to examine the different aspects of training required for this complex environment. The panelists will therefore detail strategies used to expose and involve students in a range of science disciplines and problems, while providing these students room to express their own interests and come to an understanding of information needs and solutions appropriate for scientific research, whether occurring alone with a computer, via interaction with others in a virtual collaboratory, or as a result of inputs from a remote observation station or laboratory. The panelists will then invite discussion to help identify successful aspects of these solutions that can be incorporated into permanent information and library school course offerings regarding managing information across the sciences.