Marine Science and Technology

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Title: Marine Science and Technology
Author: Webster, Janet G.; Butler, Barbara A.
Abstract: Our oceans surround us, and we depend upon them for food, transportation, and recreation. They affect us daily as they shape our climate and rattle our world with unexpected events. Current headlines indicate that they are in flux and perhaps in trouble. Coral reefs are dying due to rising ocean temperatures. Fisheries throughout the world are collapsing, threatening ecosystems and livelihoods. Hypoxic zones suggest that ocean conditions are either shifting from one cycle to another or perhaps into a very different status. Increasing acidification raises concerns for the future of marine life. Are the oceans actually dying or just changing? Inquiring minds want to know. Librarians serving these inquiring minds face a range of distinct questions. Research scientists examine the problems and explore solutions or answers. The general populace wonders how the shifting ocean environment affects the present and future of the earth. Students want help tackling difficult questions. The marine environment is complex, and its literature is multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and highly specialized. Much of the research focuses on the four classic oceanographic disciplines-physical, biological, chemical, and geological. However, general audiences want information that crosses all disciplines. The audience and the questions being asked should help shape the local collection. A university with a marine engineering program will need different journals than do universities focused on teaching marine biology or high school libraries attempting to cover all of the sciences. Even the core academic collection, once simple to identify, eludes us as more specialized titles emerge; the general titles expand coverage, causing users to be overwhelmed with information on multiple scales. Librarians need to take particular care in marine science to recognize the scope of their collection. Such considerations include geographic focus, discipline segmentation, teaching needs, and research requirements. Breadth and depth are possible in a marine science collection, but at costs typical to many scientific fields. There is a dearth of quality, focused marine science titles for the general public, yet the subject is covered in National Geographic, Scientific American, and other general science and environmental periodicals. The ocean environment intrigues many, so the issues and questions appear frequently throughout the print and electronic media. As with any environmental field, bias can be an issue, making balanced selection essential. Identifying marine science information is also challenging because not one index covers the field comprehensively. Web of Science provides adequate general access. For the subfields of oceanography, the academic librarian will need access to resources such as SciFinder Scholar (Chemical Abstracts) or GeoRef, depending on the research question. Biosis and Zoological Record cover the biological aspects well. Aquatic Science and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) is an essential resource for the applied science of the marine and estuarine environments. Policy and management information remains more difficult to access and requires multiple indexes including ASFA, Google Scholar, and relevant social sciences databases. For general public and basic academic collections, an index such as EBSCO's Academic Search Premier is adequate. Our relationship with the ocean will not disappear. People will continue to want timely information on ocean conditions, its inhabitants, and its problems. The scientists continue their exploration. New journals emerge to address the timely issues in new and traditional ways. The American Fisheries Society will launch its open-access journal, Marine and Coastal Fisheries, sometime in late 2008 or early 2009. A new annual review is due in late 2008 as well, Annual Review of Marine Science. The ever-changing and dynamic nature of the ocean is well reflected in the information that describes it.
Description: Posted by permission of Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA). (c) CSA 2006. All rights reserved.
Date: 2008-12

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