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Bio1B Help Pages

Bio 1B Library Guide
Frequently Asked Questions

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edX Edge

I didn't receive an assignment e-mail.

Double-check your bCourses Inbox. The message was sent on the day a librarian came to your section to talk about the assignment, and the subject line is "Bio 1B Library Assignment" followed by the set number.

If a thorough search of your bCourses messages does not turn up the assignment e-mail, please contact Elliott Smith at esmith@library.berkeley.edu

I created a user name in the wrong format. What should I do?

You will need to create a second account with a properly formatted username:

Fa14_yoursectionnumber_yourname

  1. Be sure you have logged out of edX Edge
  2. Clear your browser cache, history and cookies
  3. Close the browser
  4. Reopen the browser and access the bCourses message you received with your link to the assignment
  5. Click on the link in the e-mail
  6. Click on the "Register for this course" button
  7. Using a different e-mail address than for your first account, create a second account with a properly formatted username
  8. Open the e-mail account you used to create your second edX Edge account
  9. You should see a message from "registration" with the subject line "Your account for edX"
  10. Click on the link in the e-mail to activate your account
  11. Be sure to log in using the second e-mail address when you want to answer the questions for the Library Assignment

When I try to register or access my course I receive a "500 edX Internal Server Error" message.

  1. Wait for a few hours and then try again. Before attempting to access the assignment after seeing the error message, be sure you have cleared your browser cache, cookies and history.
  2. Try using a different browser.
  3. If you can't access the assignment after a few hours, please contact Elliott Smith at esmith@library.berkeley.edu.

When I try to register with a username in the format required by the assignment, I get an error message that underscores are not allowed in usernames.

You need to access the registration link by clicking on the link in the e-mail you received from us about the assignment, not simply by going to edX.org or edge.edX.org.

When I click into the assignment, the questions are formatted oddly and/or I can't check my answers.

Try using a different browser; Firefox or Chrome work best with edX Edge.

I was able to log in once, but I am unable to log in again.

You probably did not activate your account. To activate your account:

  1. Open the e-mail account you used to register for the online course
  2. You should see a message from registration with the subject line Your account for edX
  3. Click on the link in the e-mail to activate your account

Once you have done so, you should be able to log back in.


BIOSIS Previews

When I click on the BIOSIS Previews link in the Library Assignment I get a "System Error" message

This happens when you have an expired cookie. Clear your browser cache, cookies and history until before the last time you accessed BIOSIS Previews from the assignment link. Close the browser, reopen it, log back in to the assignment, and see if the link now works.

If the link still doesn't work, access BIOSIS using a different browser (Safari or Firefox if you've been using Chrome, for example). Firefox and Chrome are free downloads.

You can also click the BIOSIS Previews link located on the Bioscience Library home page under Electronic Resources > Databases > BIOSIS Previews.

When I click on "start a new session" I'm taken to All Databases, not BIOSIS Previews.

Go to the "Select a Database" tab above the search boxes and click on BIOSIS Previews. Be sure you're searching in BIOSIS Previews and not All Databases.


Question 1

What is the difference between peer review and a literature review?

Please see the Bio 1B Library Help Guide:


Question 2

Question 2a

Why shouldn't common words such as effect, role, impact, etc., be included as search terms?

These common words occur in almost every scientific article. Including them won't narrow down your search to the articles that are most relevant to your topic.

Question 2b

Why are my truncated search terms being marked as incorrect?

Be sure that you've included the wildcard symbol—in BIOSIS Previews, an asterisk: *—after the last common letter in all the different forms of each search term. See the example in the Bio 1B Library Help Guide: Truncation.

Question 3

Question 3a

Why must my citation elements follow a specific format?

Citation styles differ from one another in many small details of formatting. Be sure that the format and punctuation of each element of the citation follows the example in the Bio 1B Library Help Guide: Citing Articles.

  • Author name(s): Should be formatted Last name First Initial[no space]Middle Initial(s). There should be no comma between the author's last name and their initial(s), and there should be no space between the initials. Each author name is separated from the next by a comma, and the list of authors ends with a period.

    For articles with three authors or fewer, the names are listed in the order given, and followed by a period:

    Example: Smith RF, Alexander LC, Lamp WO.

    For articles with more than three authors, only the first three author names are listed followed by a comma and the phrase et al.

    Example: Mueller GM, Wu Q, Huang Y, et al.

    Be careful not to change the order of the names. In the life sciences, the order of the author names is often important.

  • Publication year: Does not include the month or day, and should be followed by a period.

    Example: 2001.

  • Article title: The first word, proper nouns, and the first word after a colon should be capitalized, and the title should end with a period unless it ends with another form of punctuation such as a question mark or exclamation point.

    Example: Dispersal by terrestrial stages of stream insects in urban watersheds: A synthesis of current knowledge.

  • Journal name: Not all journal names begin with the phrase "Journal of." Transcribe the journal name exactly as it appears in the BIOSIS Previews record, but omit the city of publication if it is given in parentheses after the name. No period follows the journal name.

    Example: Nature

  • Volume and issue number: The issue number (if available) is recorded in parentheses immediately after the volume number (no space) and is immediately followed by a colon. If no issue is listed, just give the volume number followed by a colon:

    Example: 9(3):

  • Page numbers or Article number (e-only): Both the starting and (if available) ending page numbers should be given in full, separated by a hyphen. Article numbers should be transcribed exactly as they appear in BIOSIS Previews. The citation element ends in a period:

    Example (page numbers): 1022-1037.
    Example (article number): e1003428. (Note: Not all article numbers begin with "e".)

  • DOI: Transcribe the DOI exactly as it is given in BIOSIS Previews. Precede it with doi:, do not follow it with a period:

    Example: doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2012.05.00

If you have carefully checked the formatting of your citation elements against the examples and you still can't spot a problem:

  • ask for help at the Reference Desk (see the schedule at the bottom of the page)
  • come to a drop-in session (see your white sheet for the schedule)
  • send an email containing your citation to bios-library@berkeley.edu. Please let us know what Assignment Set you are working on.

Question 3b

Why is my citation being marked as incorrect?

Make sure that you've kept the formatting and punctuation of the elements from Question 3a intact when you created the citation in Question 3b. Then check to make sure that you have the proper spacing between the elements.

If you have carefully checked the formatting of your citation against the example and you still can't spot a problem:

  • ask for help at the Reference Desk (see the schedule at the bottom of the page)
  • come to a drop-in session (see your white sheet for the schedule)
  • send an email containing your citation to bios-library@berkeley.edu. Please let us know what Assignment Set you are working on.

Question 4

Question 4a

Why is my DOI being marked as incorrect?

This may indicate that you have the wrong article:

  • Be sure you are using the Author Index (see the Bio 1B Library Help Guide: Searching for Authors In BIOSIS).
  • Be sure that you are searching in BIOSIS Previews and not in All Databases (you should see the words BIOSIS Previews on the top left-hand side of the search screen). If you see All Databases instead, open the drop-down menu by clicking on the arrow next to All Databases and click on BIOSIS Previews.
  • Be sure that you have limited your search to articles. Once you do that, the very first article in the list should be the one you want. If you don't see the author you searched on in the shortened citation in the results list, click on the title of the article to see the complete list of authors.

If you have carefully checked that you have properly searched the author index, that you are in BIOSIS Previews, and that you have limited your search results to articles, it may be that a new article for your author has been added to BIOSIS Previews within the past day or two. If the publication date for the most recent article is within the past month, try the second most recent article.


Question 4b

Why is the publication year of the first reference being marked as incorrect?

If the DOI in Question 4a is correct, you have the right article. Double-check to make sure that you are using the very first entry in the reference list, and not the first citation as it occurs in the text of the article (they are often different).

Can a DOI be used to access the full text of articles?

Often, yes:

  1. Go to doi.org
  2. Enter the DOI for the article of interest in the search box under Resolve a DOI Name, and click Submit
  3. If you are on the campus network or have the proxy server installed, the DOI has been properly associated with the article, and UC Berkeley subscribes to the journal, you should be taken directly to the article.

If you have difficulty accessing an article via UC-eLinks or a DOI, or have other questions about Question 4:

  • Ask for help at the Reference Desk (see the schedule at the bottom of the page)
  • Come to a drop-in session (see your white sheet for the schedule)
  • E-mail us at bios-library@berkeley.edu

Question 5

Why are we searching on fewer keywords in the library catalog OskiCat than in an article database like BIOSIS Previews, even though we're searching on the same topic?

BIOSIS Previews records for articles generally include not only citation information, but an abstract (summary) of the article, plus additional indexing terms such as species and chemical names, major concepts, and miscellaneous descriptors. Our topic keywords can be matched in any of these areas.

Library catalog records do not include most of this additional information. Sometimes, but not always, catalog records include an item's table of contents, but otherwise our search terms are only matched in the citation information and broad subject headings. If we search on too many topic keywords, or topic keywords that are too specific, we risk excluding results that could be relevant.

If you have other questions about Question 5:

  • Ask for help at the Reference Desk (see the schedule at the bottom of the page)
  • Come to a drop-in session (see your white sheet for the schedule)
  • E-mail us at bios-library@berkeley.edu

Checking your score

How can I check my score for the online course?

To check your score for the online course,

  1. Access the bCourses message you received with your link to the assignment
  2. Click on the link to the online course in the e-mail
  3. On the edX Edge webpage for the course, click on the "Login" button
  4. Enter the e-mail address and password you used to register for the course.
  5. Once you have accessed the course, select the "Progress" tab: this will show you the individual scores on the questions. To see your graded answers,
  6. Click on the "Courseware" tab, and then navigate through your questions.
  7. If you answered a question correctly there should be a green check mark next to your answer. If you answered a question incorrectly, there should be a red "x" next to the answer.

How can I check my score for the tutorial modules?

If you entered your own name, selected your lab instructor's name and section correctly, and saw the "Thank you for completing this module. Your information has successfully been sent to your GSI" message for each module, you will receive full credit.

If you suspect that you entered your own name or your lab instructor's name or section incorrectly for any module, or if you did not see the "thank you" message, you should contact Elliott Smith immediately at esmith@library.berkeley.edu.

Not finding what you need? Contact a librarian!
Please visit us at the Reference Desk between 1 - 5 pm Monday-Friday, or call us at (510) 642-0456. Or, send us an email. We're here to help!

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