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NIEHS Library Initiatives to Aid Researchers

By Dav Robertson
November 2006

ailse of a library
By expanding its online books and journals and introducing compact shelving for the remaining print collection, the library will conserve space and increase available resources for research at NIEHS. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Stephanie London, and Stephanie Holmgren
Senior Investigator Stephanie London, M.D., and Biomedical Librarian Stephanie Holmgren, M.S.L.S., demonstrate one of the ways the NIEHS Library is evolving to meet the needs of researchers. The Library's reference staff will be "embedding" themselves in research teams to enhance the information available to investigators for scientific discovery. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

The "digital revolution" has brought profound changes to the creation, organization and delivery of information, especially in the scientific realm. It is in this context of a changing technological world that the library is adopting new service models that not only take advantage of these technological advances, but also use staff expertise in targeted research areas.

Last year the library conducted a Needs Assessment Survey for library and information services. As a result of survey responses and discussions from focus groups, the NIEHS Library and Information Services Branch (LISB) has developed an exciting new vision and future direction.

In the upcoming months the LISB will begin implementing three new initiatives to meet the information needs of NIEHS staff. More details will be forthcoming regarding each of these programs.

Digital Library

The trend toward increased use of electronic resources is leading the library to enhance its "virtual" presence and reduce its print collection. Currently, NIEHS staff have electronic access to 4800+ journals and 150+ e-books. The Library will be increasing its partnership with the NIH Library to continue to build the online collection and streamline online reprint requests and delivery. The LISB will also provide more training opportunities on how to effectively use these resources.

The print collection will be reduced and arranged on new compact shelving. More details will be announced soon regarding the shelving installation and what it will mean for access to the library.

"Embedding" a Librarian in the Research Team

The library is creating, on a pilot basis, a Research Team Librarian. This concept of a librarian as an integrated member of the research team is similar to a journalist "embedded" with the troops or a clinical librarian on rounds. By participating in lab meetings, journal clubs and other group events, the librarian gains a better understanding of the context of the research. As a result, he or she can more effectively respond to the group's information needs and impact the process of scientific discovery. For further information, contact Larry Wright or Stephanie Holmgren (541-3426).

Research Informatics

Finally, the survey indicated the need for a Ph.D.-level scientist with information science skills to provide service and development in the area of bioinformatics, computational biology, -omics, etc. This person would work in close collaboration with the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine. While the position is still in development, some of the proposed services being considered include resource consultation and development of predictive software, among others. An advisory group is being formed to craft this informatics position. Scientists who would like to participate should contact Dav Robertson (541-3426).

First Annual NIEHS Library Open House

We're gearing up for our first Open House.

Join us for

  • Used Book Fair
  • Database Demos
  • Scopus
  • Web of Science (new version)
  • and lots more!

Date and time to be announced soon!

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