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This year, I chaired the ACRL-Science & Technology Section(STS) Research Forum at the ALA Annual Conference. Our guest commentator, Patricia Kreitz from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and who currently serves on the Editorial Board of Science & Technology Libraries, provided insightful commentary on the two selected papers:

“Library-based Bioinformatics Support: Who and How? An Exploration of Librarian and Scientist Perspectives,” by Michele R. Tennant, Health Science Center Libraries and UF Genetics Institute, University of Florida. As the use of bioinformatics databases becomes prevalent in biological research, libraries are stepping into the role of bioinformatics support providers.

Where are Bioinformatics Support Specialists employed?

  • 45% in university or college health sciences library
  • 25% in university or college sciences library
  • 5% in university or college “main” library
  • 5% corporate library

Summary:

  • A number of bioinformatics support specialists reside in libraries; models of employment and activities vary
  • Researchers, Bioinformatics Support Specialists, and directors believe that a degree in science and laboratory experience are important for Bioinformatics Support Specialists
  • All groups surveyed indicated that bioinformatics support can appropriately be provided through the library

“Subject and Bibliographic Access to Sci-tech Electronic Theses and Dissertations via Digital Institutional Repositories (IRs) and Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs): Perspectives from US and UK Science Librarians,” by Sophie Bogdanski, West Virginia University Libraries; Susan Copeland, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland; Anne Christie, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Over 90% of US institutions provide electronic access to some portion of their theses and dissertations collection. In the survey, one US librarian expressed frustration at not being able to do a topical search for ETDs across institutions and also about not being able to search the IR and OPAC together. The survey results indicate the on-going development of ETD programs in the US And UK.

I also attended the Scholarship Committee meeting of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA). The Scholarship Committee awards $1,000 scholarship to a student who is currently enrolled in a graduate program in Library Science. I also attended the ACRL-SPARC Forum on Open Access (already reported upon by Lynn). Overall, this program was great, and I thought that Kevin Smith’s presentation on “Campus Open Access Policies: Legal Considerations” was very informative.

On Monday morning, I attended Susan’s award ceremony, which was one of the highlights of ALA Annual. In the afternoon, I went to the Exhibits and volunteered at the Welcome Desk for the ALA Ambassadors Program, which provides orientation for first-time conference attendees. Although I was busy with STS Council meetings and committee meetings, I was able to attend the ExLibris reception and saw Disney’s fireworks with Susan, Carolyn, Lauren P., and Elizabeth N. Overall, ALA Annual was productive, informative, and enjoyable this year, and the weather was great (always a plus!).