1. Introduction
  2. Printed abstracting service in mathematics education: ZDM
  3. Online Database MATHDI in mathematical education
  5. Concluding remarks



1. Introduction

There has been a substantial increase in publications dealing with research in mathematical education in general and on experiments in various countries, new pedagogical concepts and insights, topics, and teaching concepts in particular. One of the features of this growth is the increasing number of conference proceedings, collections of papers, reports, etc. being published. Another aspect is the expansion of journals in this field in both number and page count. Journals are of great importance for everyone interested in national developments as well as for an international exchange of ideas. About 400 journals on mathematics education and /or computer science education serve worldwide as channels for scientific communication (for an overview, see http:/www.zblmath.fiz-karlsruhe.de/zdm/zdmzs.html). Educational professionals like other scientists are thus faced with the problem of how to extract from a vast pool of potential information those items which they need for their own work.

The purpose of this paper is to provide an insight into how to cope with this flood of information. The reader is given some information of the international services, located in Germany, which may help him keep up to date with the current progress in elementary mathematics and mathematical education: abstracting journals and online databases; especially we will focus on Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik, produced by the German non-profit organization Fachinformationszentrum Karlsruhe (FIZ Karlsruhe), and start by considering this unique journal for maths educators.

2. Printed abstracting service in mathematics education: ZDM

Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik (ZDM), English subtitle: International Reviews on Mathematical Education, is an information and abstracts journal in the field of mathematical and computer education, from elementary level to teacher training and adult education. This well-established journal started in 1968 within the field of mathematical education and expanded its scope twenty years ago to computer science education. The journal appears every two months, each issue containing a documentation section and an articles section with state of the art articles or articles of particular current interest to educational professionals.

The main part of ZDM is dedicated to documentation. The documentation section is an abstracts service and reference tool providing ready access to worldwide publications on topics of interest to mathematics educators and mathematics teachers. The information presented is extracted from all relevant documents. This includes journal articles (of more than 400 journals worldwide in about 10 languages), textbooks, teaching aids, reports, dissertations, conference papers, and curricula. The publications are announced in the documentation section by bibliographic data and abstracts mostly in English and sometimes in French or German.

Subject coverage :

This abstracting service enables specialists in mathematics education to keep up with the literature in their subject by providing them with a manageable source of information on current developments, controversies and advances, selected from virtually the whole of the international literature. In addition ZDM assists in maximizing the use of the time scholars have available for reading. They spend their available reading time scanning core journals and can then use abstracting services covering their field to identify other papers, published in less familiar journals or in journals published abroad, which will be of relevance to their research.

3. Online Database MATHDI in mathematical education

MATHDI (MATHematical DIdactics) is the ZDM electronic database. It is produced, designed and offered by FIZ Karlsruhe and is available worldwide via STN International. It provides the quickest and most convenient access to literature in mathematics education and computer science education. It contains all literature reviewed in ZDM since 1976 totaling 78.000 references (30.09.1998). Some 4.500 items are added each year.

If one needs an overview on relevant scholarly publications for writing an article, delivering a conference speech or approaching a new working field a search in MATHDI will help to be up to date. Especially with the computer on-line search the searcher has almost unlimited flexibility to tailor the results to precise specifications, to be as broad or as narrow as desired, to include or exclude certain factors, or to combine concepts.

MATHDI online is easily and quickly accessible from all over the world via all telecommunication networks (e.g. DATEX-P, WIN/IXI, DATAPAC; Radio Austria, TELNET; TYMNET etc.), as well as via Internet. MATHDI database on STN International is available in:

Europe/World via FIZ Karlsruhe (E-mail: GK@fiz-karlsuhe.de)

in North America via Chemical Abstracts Service in Columbus/Ohio (E-mail: help@cas.org)

Figure included in the paper version only

On the Internet MATHDI is offered through the World Wide Web via the EMIS service of the European Mathematical Society (EMS). There is free access to the sneak preview of MATHDI if you are content with only three items of information for any query. All a user needs to do is to open the

URL: http:/www.emis.de/MATH/DI.html.

ZDM subscribers can have full service for a small additional annual fee (DM 350.- in 1999).

Example: Find publications on TIMSS. Result: there are 48 publications on TIMSS in MATHDI. In the following the first two records.

AN  98(4):MD3205 MATHDI
TI  Mathematics and science achievement in the final year of secondary
    school. IAE's third international mathematics and science study
    (***TIMSSS*** ).
CS  Center for The study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy
    (CSTEEP), Chestnut Hill, MA (United States). Third international
    Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) Center
SO  Feb 1998. 351 p. Available from TIMSS International Study Center, Boston
    College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02167 (USA).
DT  Miscellaneous
CY  United States
LA  English
AB  This report of the TIMSS study presents mathematics and science literacy
    achievement results for 21 countries. The main purpose of TIMSS was to
    focus on educational policies, practices and outcomes in order to
    enhance mathematics and science learning within and across systems of
    education. The present report focusses on the literacy of all students
    in their final year of upper secondary school, and on the advanced
    mathematics and physics achievement of final-year students who have
    taken advanced courses in those subjects. There are two types of tests
    described: The mathematics and science literacy test was designed to
    measure the learning of all final year students who are at the point of
    leaving school and entering the workforce or postsecondary
    education. The advanced mathematics test was designed to measure
    learning of advanced mathematics concepts among final-year students who
    have studied advanced mathematics.

L1 ANSWER 2 OF 48 MATHDI COPYRIGHT 1998 FIZ KARLSRUHE AN 98 (4): MD3204 MATHDI T1 ***TIMSS*** released item set for the final year of secondary school: mathematics and science literacy, advanced mathematics, physics. IEA's third international mathematics and science study. CS Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy (CSTEEP), Chestnut Hill, MA (United States), Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) Center SO $[1998]$. 195 P. Available from TIMSS International Study Center, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02167 (USA). DT Miscellaneous CY United States LA English AB TIMSS is a collaborative research project. In 1994-95 achievement test of mathematics and science were administered to samples of students in classrooms around the world. This book deals with students in their final year of secondary education, including students taking advanced courses. The items are presented, the solutions are discussed and commentaries are given. There are many statistical tables interpretating the data. CC *D14 COMPREHENSIVE WORKS ON MATHEMATICS EDUCATION (11TH TO 13TH YEAR OF SCHOOL, UPPER SECONDARY) ST COMPARATIVE STUDIES, ACHIEVEMENT; MATHEMATICAL LITERACY; UPPER SECONDARY; VOCATIONAL EDUCATION; ACHIEVEMENT MEASUREMENT



MATHDI is also available through a CD-ROM which offers the following attractive features:

  1. reviews and bibliographic data from ZDM, from 1976 to 1997 (73,000 data in mathematical education),
  2. time-independent searching, freeing the user from the uncertainties of the Web
  3. no additional costs e.g. telecommunications costs.

CD-ROM allows to search with a command language (retrieval language used on the STN International host) or with an independent menu system.

Now, for the first time, one can have instant access, every hour of the day, to literature about mathematics education throughout the world. The CD-ROM MATHDI is the most appropriate medium of output, when you need information on your desk, your working place or directly on your computer. It is also convenient in libraries for students use.


5. Concluding remarks

You have learned in this article how to get information on published articles or books, either to locate studies or to get inspired by a classroom experiment, or to be better informed about the accomplishments of one of your colleagues. To access the information in our field of didactics of mathematics you use ZDM or its bibliographical database MATHDI.

For more information on the products described here please contact:


Gerhard König
Fachinformationszentrum Karlsruhe
D 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen
e-mail: gk@fiz-karlsruhe.de