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EDUCATE is a CEC Libraries Programme Project which involves six universities: Limerick University, Ireland, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, France, Imperial College and Plymouth University, United Kingdom and the University of Barcelona, Spain. The aim of the EDUCATE project is to produce a new type of model self-paced user education course in the selection and use of information tools. The courses will be distributed by means of the academic communication networks. This text is meant to function as an introduction to communication in science and engineering and to methods of information retrieval for scientists and engineers.

A particularly interesting study on the Scientific, Technical and Medical Information System (STM) in the United Kingdom has recently been carried out by the Royal Society, the British Library and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP).[1] The individual scientist and engineer often has a need to obtain information rapidly and cheaply. What emerged very clearly from the Royal Society report was that a surprisingly large number of users of the STM system were unaware of many of the new tools and methods for information retrieval. It was found that users prefer using familiar and well-established information resources and that the newer technologies tended to be avoided. In principle, users were willing to explore the use of novel services, but, in practice, they continued to use the familiar material and methods. The Report made a number of recommendations, including:

R 1.Scientific researchers should become more aware of the nature and problems of the STM system, and take greater responsibility for its health and effectiveness.

R 2. In view of the widespread ignorance of the availability of the new library research tools, libraries in academic and research institutions should routinely provide training for user and information providers in information access.

It is hoped that the EDUCATE courses will help to meet this need.

Nancy Fjällbrant
Gothenburg, April 1994