Patently Obvious: The place for patents in information literacy in the sciences
Patents are an underutilized source of scientific information, particularly in the life and health sciences. Patents and patent applications usually contain the first disclosure of new technologies and processes and serve to link theory with practice, providing ‘real world’ examples of the application of scientific research. Increasingly, scientific discoveries are reported first in the patent literature, rather than in academic journals. To ensure that science students have the skills that match the information resources they will use as professionals, patent searching must become part of their information literacy instruction. This article will discuss how valuable the patent literature can be to students, and how to incorporate patent searching into library instruction. By way of illustration, a case study will document how students in one class, Biochemistry 561, were introduced to patents.
Research Strategies 20 (2006) 149–161 doi:10.1016/j.resstr.2006.06.004