Biomedical Librarianship in the Post-Genomic Era

Biomedical Librarianship in the Post-Genomic Era

Shubhada Prashant Nagarkar (Savitribai Phule Pune University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3158-6.ch057


Post genomic era is known for the explosive growth in biomedical information. Bibliographic and sequence databases are increasing continuously and have voluminous data sets. Biomedical librarians are facing challenges in retrieval of relevant information from these electronic databases and related sources of information. This chapter discusses the changing role of biomedical librarians in post genomic era. The chapter covers features of the biomedical librarianship including library collection development, users' information needs and strategies adopted to provide services. Moreover, it focuses on the competencies required by librarians to face the challenges of management of information and services needed by biomedical researchers in the post genomic era.
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The librarianship is a trinity of acquisition, organization and dissemination of information, in which acquisition relates to the proper selection of library materials, organization to their preparation for efficient/effective use, and dissemination to the processes of making the contents available to the users. To achieve this, librarians should act as a mediator and must know the intellectual contents of information resources, user information needs and the methods to bring both contents and users together (Shera, 1972). Trinity of librarianship has become challenging over the period due to remarkable changes in the containers of information, interdisciplinary approach of researchers and new communication technology for dissemination of information. Containers of information changed over the period i.e. from paper to electronic. Organization of information has become more challenging to meet the interdisciplinary information needs of users.

The present chapter discusses the trinity of librarianship in the field of Bioinformatics and the changing role of librarian in bringing information and user together. This particular subject area is selected due to two reasons. Firstly, the author has worked as a practicing librarian in the field of Bioinformatics for almost seventeen years and secondly, the librarianship in this field has changed to a great extent especially in the post-genomic era. The chapter has three main sections viz. library collection, user information needs and library services to Bioinformaticians. Each of this section discusses the challenges for librarians and efforts by librarians. The initial part of the chapter talks about the information explosion in the field of biology, interdisciplinary nature of research and features of post genomic librarianship. The chapter has the context of Bioinformatics libraries and services evolved during last 10 years which cater to the needs of Bioinformatics community including students, teachers and researchers.

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