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Michele R. Tennant*, Mary Edwards, Rolando Garcia Milian, Hannah F. Norton Health Science Center Libraries and UF Genetics Institute* University of Florida
Bioinformatics"Bioinformatics is the field of science in which biology, computer science, and information technology merge into a single discipline There are three important sub disciplines within bioinformatics: the development of new algorithms and statistics with which to assess relationships among members of large data sets; the analysis and interpretation of various types of data including nucleotide and amino acid sequences, protein domains, and protein structures ; and the development and implementation of tools that enable efficient access and management of different types of information."
Prior research Broad issues to consider for library involvement in bioinformatics, R.C. Geer, J. Med. Libr. Assoc 94(3):286 298, July 2006Existing staff or new hires?What knowledge and skills are necessary?Solely dedicated to bioinformatics tasks, or also traditional library roles?What skills are required for success?How well do scientists adapt to library culture?What kind of reporting structure allows library based bioinformatics support to thrive?
The Current StudyOnline surveys in 2008 and 2012 of:Bioinformatics support specialists (BSS)Librarians who serve molecular, genetics, bioinformatics related researchersLibrarians who do not serve such researchersLibrary directors who employ BSSsLibrary directors who do NOT employ BSSs The surveys were sent to numerous email lists MLAs MolBio SIG, InformationistSIG, Cancer Librarians, SLA DBIO, SLA DST, SLA DPHT, ACRL STS
Who Are Bioinformatics Support Specialists in 2012? (n=23)Education:34.8% advanced science degree only21.7% MLISonly no advanced science degree43.5% both MLISand advanced science degree (mostly MS)Employment73.9% in university or college health sciences library13.0% in university or college sciences library8.7% in university or college main library
Bioinformatics related duties; respondents average 7.2/13 activities 201295.5% E mail consultations 90.9% In person consultations86.4% Phone consultations86.4% Website or compilation of resources81.8% In person workshops and training sessions59.1% Course integrated instruction graduate level40.9% Course integrated instruction professional students36.4% Host NCBI Discovery Workshops31.8% Seminar series coordinator22.7% Course integrated instruction undergrads13.6% Joint appointment in science department4.5% Host NCBI Webinars
Top 10 Skills/Knowledge Areas for BSSKnowledge of specialized databases and information seeking (4.67)Knowledge of research principles and practice (4.67)Ability to translate complex knowledge (4.52)Communication skills (4.51)Service orientation (4.50)Professionalism (4.49)Problem solving/analytical skills (4.38)Comprehensive subject knowledge and in depth understanding of literature in the domain (4.37)Education/teaching skills (4.31)Confidence (4.26)
Education and the Library World Differences Across Groups Bioinformatics Support Specialists Directors With BSS LibrariansIt is important for library based bioinformatics support specialists to understand library culture and values.3.56a4.004.19aBioinformatics support specialists must have a library/information science related degree in order to provide successful library based bioinformatics support services.2.17b2.362.84b
2008 ProjectInterviews with BSS and directors who hired themFocus groups with researchersMost important someone who wants to help others, not be primary researcherIn other words, service orientation
Service Orientation for BSSTop 3 ways to identify at interview:Ask for specific examples of service whether on the job, on faculty or association committees, volunteer workAsk about teaching experience and perceptions of teachingProvide scenarios in which candidate must demonstrate service orientationTop 3 ways to teach service orientation:Shadow librarians/rotate through library departmentsHave BSS perform library duties chat reference, sit at reference desk, go through basic training for desk staffAssign a librarian mentor with service orientation
BSS Most Useful TrainingNAWBIS(5 day advanced course)5.00Science Degree4.78NCBIDiscovery Workshops4.67NCBI Intro to Mol Bio Resources4.60CE courses4.57NCBI mini courses4.38NCBI Field Guide4.13NCBIwebinars3.80
Useful Training AttributesLengthy enough time to become immersed in the topicHands on, problem based, include contextBroad topics, multiple resources (if training is lengthy)Focused resources (one shot CE, webinar) BSS concerns:No avenue for keeping up with new resourcesMost effective training/community building (NAWBIS) discontinued
Top 10 Skills/Knowledge Areas for LibrariansKnowledge of specialized databases and information seeking (4.62)Communication skills (4.46)Service orientation (4.41)Professionalism (4.36)Knowledge of research principles and practice (4.23)Problem solving/analytical skills (4.18)Ability to translate complex knowledge (4.17)Confidence (4.01)Comprehensive subject knowledge and in depth understanding of literature in the domain (4.01)Understanding of information technologies (4.01)
Librarians Most Useful TrainingNCBIDiscovery Workshops*4.67NCBI mini courses4.63Science Degree4.58NCBIwebinars4.57NCBI Field Guide4.56NAWBIS(5 day advanced course)*4.50NCBI Intro to Mol Bio Resources4.50CE courses4.47
Why Training was Useful or NotNo information as to why the class developed for librarians was considered less usefulA number of responses discussed how overwhelmed participants felt by the plethora and complexity of informationScience degree contributed to an understanding of:The scientific methodHow science worksThe culture of scienceInformation needs of scientistsVocabularyThe science degree was also considered useful in getting a foot in the door
Biology Training for LibrariansScenario 1 Workshop for Librarians73.1% of library directors were likely (34.6%)or very likely (38.5%) to send their librarians to such training (n=26)80.0% of librarians were willing (40.0%) or very willing (40.0%) to attend such training (n=30)What would make them more likely to send someone/attend?Directors: 1 week workshop, tuition paid, all expenses paidLibrarians: Employer encouragement, various aspects paid
Biology Training for LibrariansScenario 2 Lab Internship for Librarians66.1% of library directors were likely (40.1%) or very likely (26.0%) to send their librarians to such an internship (n=27)85.2% of directors were more likely to hire a librarian who had been through such an internship (n=27)53.3% of librarians were willing (30.0%) or very willing (23.2%) to attend such an internship (n=30)What would make them more likely to send someone/attend?Directors: shorter internship lab funding, librarians to provide only information servicesLibrarians: employer encouragement, lab funding, 2 week internship
Pertinent AssociationsLibrarians serving molecular researchers (n=29) Membership: ALA/ACRL 58.6% MLA 37.9% SLA 31.0% Most important membership: SLA 27.6% MLA 24.1% ACRL STS 17.2%Subject specific SIGs, divisions and sections; networkingBioinformatics Support Specialists Membership: (n=14) MLA 50.0% AMIA Summits 28.6% SLA 18.6%Most important membership: (n=10) MLA 50% AMIA Summits 30.0%MLA community, networking with BSS, CEs, Mol Bio SIGAMIA Summits leaders in science and policy of bioinformatics
Pertinent ConferencesLibrarians serving molecular researchers (n=23)Conferences attended: ALA 39.1% MLA 26.1% SLA 21.7% ACRL 21.7%Most important conferences: MLA 26.1% SLA 21.7% ACRL 13.0% ALA 8.7%Why important no real pattern but CEs and Mol Bio SIG commonBioinformatics Support Specialists Conferences attended: (n=14) MLA 85.7% AMIA Summits 50.0% Science of Team Science 28.6%Most important conferences: (n=11) MLA 54.5% AMIA Summits 27.3% MLA networking with other BSS, see BSS services, CEs, Mol Bio SIGAMIA Summits advances in bioinformatics, science of bioinformatics
SummaryIn depth subject knowledge and service orientation are both important for bioinformatics support specialists and librarians serving molecular researchers.BSS value training that is immersive, and both BSS and librarians with science degrees appreciate the knowledge of science culture and research principles the degree affords them.Specialized training for librarians via workshop or internship in a lab setting are considered useful, but costs may be prohibitive.Pertinent association memberships and conferences (MLA, SLA, AMIA) are valued for their networking and CE opportunities.