July 26, 2012
An Indiana State University assistant librarian was named the winner of the Winifred Sewell Award at the Special Libraries Association's annual convention in Chicago.
The BioMedical and Life Sciences Division (DBIO) selected Shelley Arvin as the recipient of the award for "the innovative use of technology in promoting biological and medical information." The DBIO is a 77-year old division with more than 550 subject specialist librarians in more than a dozen countries with an emphasis on the major life sciences.
"I was flattered," Arvin said. "I thought it was funny because I tend to always be critical of the work I do...it was a nice reality check that they like it."
Arvin emerged as "a clear winner" from amongst the five, semi-finalists LibGuides. One of the main goals of LibGuides is to develop specialized, in-depth databases to aid students and researchers in acquiring the information they need on a subject matter in a particular field of study.
The DBIO believed that Arvin's work stood out as "it combined biologically - themed online games with solid scientific information." They added that with such a design had the potential of attracting and retaining beginning college biologists.
Arvin said some concepts in science can be very complicated to understand and it takes some time to learn and understand them while others can be tedious to students. By combining education material with a gaming environment, Arvin said it gives students the chance to learn these concepts in a fun way. In doing this Arvin added she aimed for education and fun as she researched and posted links to free online games.
In her search Arvin researched and tested different games that incorporated science and fun. These games included following the evolution from a single celled organism to a complex organism to players simulating health professionals in diagnosis and treatment of patients in a hospital wing.
"Good games kind of mirror those scientific principles but have a little bit of fun," Arvin said.
Arvin said she awaits the feedback from students to get an idea of how effective the database is, however, some professors are already giving positive feedback.
"When they take time from their workload to contact me, I know they really liked it," Arvin said.
Writer: Ernest Rollins, Indiana State University, media relations assistant, 812-237-3773
Shelley Arvin received the Winifred Sewell Award at the Special Libraries Association's annual convention.