GEOL 1122 Scientific Literature Exercise

This exercise is due on 27 August 2019 at 5:00:00 pm. The times at which student submissions are received by email will be their respective times of submission. Grades of late exercises will be reduced 20% per calendar day late or part thereof. Because this exercise is assigned on the first day of class and will not be due until at least ten calendar days later, neither short-term illness nor last-minute problems are grounds for an excuse for lateness. A wise student will have submitted the assignment at least two days before the time that the assignment is due. Grading will focus on execution of the directions below.


The purposes of this exercise are to

a. Illustrate to students how the knowledge taught in classrooms and presented in textbooks is generated and disseminated in scholarly literature, and why it changes through time.

b. Demonstrate to students the role of the University of Georgia as a research university at which knowledge is generated.

c. Provide students with an opportunity to earn GEOL 1122 course credit that is not part of an examination.


How to execute this exercise:

Stage 1. In Stage 1, you get started and get a numerical assessment of the output of the University of Georgia that is recorded in Web of Science.

Access the University of Georgia Libraries' alphabetical list of available databases at .

Using "search for databases", access Web of Science.

In the Basic Search mode, select "address" as the category at right and enter "Univ* Georgia" at left (the order in which you do this may matter).

Add another row of fields, select "address" as the category at right, and enter "Athens" at left.

Click "search".

Record the number of scholarly publications returned, which should be shown at upper left of the Web of Science page.

Stage 2. In this stage, you select a specific scientific article on which to report. For the purposes of this exercise, a scientific article is an article in the natural sciences (from physics or chemistry to ecology, geology, oceanography, or climatology). This article need not have been generated by an author at the University of Georgia.

There are multiple strategies to use in making your selection. You can scroll through the list of UGA-generated publications returned by your search in Stage 1, selecting some article on a scientific topic. Alternately, you can return to the Basic Search page and add another field or fields so that you can narrow the range. Additional fields might be a scientific topic in which you have interest or at least for which you know a name (e.g., "quartz" or "granite" or "brachiopod", with "topic" as the corresponding category), it might be the name of a science professor you know at UGA, with "author" as the corresponding category, or you might enter your own last name and "author" to see what scientific scholarship like-named people (perhaps your cousins) have produced. You can remove the fields specifying UGA-authored articles. A look ahead at Stage 3, Part 7, may also provide some guidance.

When you have selected an article (the document type is "article" and/or the document consists of multiple pages), download the article as a pdf file by using either "Find it at UGA" or "Free fulltext from publisher". Neither should cost you any money. The number of clicks required may be surprisingly large. Save the article, which should be a pdf file.

Railsback will be in Room 200A GG from 8:30 am to 9:00 am on Thursday 22 August 2019 to help students who have problems with the above.

Stage 3. In this stage, you generate a one-page pdf document listing the following information:

1. The title "GEOL 1122 Exercise 1: Scientific Literature".

2. Your name as it appears on UGA course rosters.

3. The time of your GEOL 1122 class meeting.

4. The semester and year.

5. The number of publications generated by researchers at the University of Georgia that were reported by your search in Stage 1.

6. For the article selected in Stage 2, create a string of text consisting of the name of the first author, "et al." if there is more than one author, the year of publication, the title of the article, the name of the journal in which it was published, the volume number, and the page numbers. ("et al." is the standard abbreviation of "et alii", the Latin words for "and others".)

You are creating a citation like the ones that are probably shown on the last page(s) of the article that you have selected, although the order of individual components may be different (different journals have different formats). The document that you have chosen may not fit the categories listed above conveniently; if so, you are learning about the frustrations of creating a scholarly bibliography.

7. A summary of the article. This summary should consist of no more than fifty words. This summary will be examined only for its effort to summarize the article, not for its scientific correctness. The professor will provide help understanding only articles of which he was an author.

Stage 4. Send your one-page pdf document created in Stage 3 and the pdf file of the article that you downloaded in Stage 2 as attachments to an email message to your GEOL 1122 teaching assistant. For students in the 9:30-10:45 section (CRN 35645), that teaching assistant is Garrett Brown, and his email address is For students in the 11:00-12:15 section (CRN 13799), that teaching assistant is William Crumpacker, and his email address is Make the subject of your email message "GEOL 1122 Exercise 1: " followed by your last name and the CRN of your lecture section.

Email to Railsback (
The GEOL 1122 main web page