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Newsletter of the Medical Library Group of Southern California and Arizona

Fundamentals of Bioinformatics and A Librarian’s Guide to NCBI

Posted on May 16, 2013 by Frances Chu | No Comments

In January 2013, the National Library of Medicine issued a call for applicants for a new Bioinformatics training course for librarians. NLM selected 23 librarians to participate in a 4-week fundamentals course online to introduce the basic concepts of biology, molecular biology, bioinformatics and an overview of NCBI’s website. After the 4-week course, the participants spent a week at NLM training on NCBI resources. The 4-week online section consisted of videos and exercises developed by Diane Rein, PhD, MLS, Associate Librarian and Bioinformatics Liaison at the Health Sciences Library, SUNY University at Buffalo. With her training in molecular biology and experience as a researcher in addition to her knowledge and skills as a molecular biology and bioinformatics librarian, she was the perfect instructor for the online course introducing the fundamentals for librarians, many of whom have little knowledge, ability and skills on the topic. The 5-day intensive course at NLM focused on several NCBI search databases like Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST), Nucleotide, Genome, Gene, Protein, SNP and PubChem with further training on concepts in the field of biology. Instructors were highly experienced researchers who now work at the NCBI division of NLM. As one of the attendees, I found the course was very intensive. Even with my background in biology and nursing, it took a lot of effort to wrap my head around the concepts. However, it was a rewarding and enriching experience that I enjoyed immensely and would willingly do again.

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