Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Primary Source on Dinosaurs

In an academic library, you don't get quite as many humorous reference questions as I'm sure public libraries get, but this one threw me for a loop. A student asked me to help her find a primary source on dinosaurs.

I had to think about that for a bit. First I thought, hmm, there wasn't anyone around during the time of the dinosaurs to document the experience. Then I thought, am I on candid camera?

I asked some questions about what type of information she was hoping to find and finally realized that she probably needed a geological study. After a few more questions, I determined she was in a First Year Science class.

Now the dilemma: how to find a "primary source" (what the professor really meant was peer-reviewed - I confirmed this later) on a geological study that a non-science major in an intro science course could understand. Thank heavens for Science and Nature - both are considered peer-reviewed but have articles that are easier to read than other journals. I think I ended up using EBSCO to search for articles on dinosaurs within Nature.