9º World Congress on Health Information and Libraries

Salvador, Bahia - Brazil, September, 20 to 23 - 2005


4th Regional Coordination Meeting of the VHL

September, 19 to 20 - 2005

P132 - The medical library`s role in graduate bioinformatics education

Bioinformatics is a relatively new area of science, which melds computer and information science with biology to solve biological problems. These problems are typically at the level of DNA or protein sequences or structures. Although most academic health science centers have a large number of researchers who either develop or use bioinformatics tools and concepts in their research, the library has not been traditionally involved in such areas. In recent years, through the efforts of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and the Medical Library Association this has started to change, and many medical libraries are becoming quite involved in bioinformatics services and resource instruction. This presentation will discuss the collaboration among the medical library, the College of Medicine, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida to develop and teach a graduate-level bioinformatics course. Four faculty members (one librarian and three teaching faculty) offer & quot;GMS6014: Applications of Bioinformatics to Genetics & quot; each fall semester. This hands-on course covers all aspects of basic bioinformatics, and gives students the opportunity to experience many of the common computer-based tools of this science, such as PubMed, GenBank, Structures, and BLAST. The class meets for 15 50-minute sessions, the majority of which are taught by the two College of Medicine faculty members, however the librarian teaches three sessions on database searching (NCBI's Entrez databases) and the Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty member provides two lectures on Phylogenetics. The library has been involved in the course from its inception. The librarian was invited to meet with the faculty at the earliest of the planning stages, and helped determine which lectures would be presented. The course is held in the library's 15-seat computer classroom, and all special software is loaded and tested by the library staff. The librarian not only develops and teaches three of the class lectures homework and holds office hours. The librarian's involveme nt in the class makes sense, as librarians are expert in database searching and database instruction. This involvement also provides visibility to the library, and showcases it as a major participant in bioinformatics and in graduate-level education. This strong collaboration between library and teaching faculty can serve as a model for other graduate-level educational programs.