Who's Using the NCI-Frederick Scientific Library?

Written by Dr. Criss Tarr
November 2010


Through my graduate education I became a library rat. Keeping current with the literature was straightforward, but tedious, as this was before the computer age (although there were indoor toilets and automobiles). During the subsequent 20 odd years in industrial pharmaceutical environments, ready access to sophisticated library resources was a chronic problem that was, to some degree, mitigated by Current Contents.

Getting older makes a person less tolerant of psychotic management, so on a job searching mission in 2001, I was fortunate enough to land my current position with SAIC-FREDERICK, in which I’ve been responsible for directing the development and operation of the NIAID-funded Vaccine Pilot Plant. The added bonus has been working for a decidedly sane management. But even better, I have been able to resume my library rat ways to a level which I would have never dreamed during my corporate days.

Initially housed on the campus, I became familiar with the physical manifestation of your excellent facility, harkening me back to graduate school times. But I soon realized your operation was far beyond what I was used to: electronic searches, on-line access to EVERYTHING; good heavens. Now I, and probably most library patrons, sit at my desk, stare out into space and glean all the articles I could ever want. Of particular note, since we concentrate on biopharmaceutical manufacturing, information in patents is often very useful and relevant. The Library’s rapid responsiveness to requests for these is remarkable. I have become spoiled beyond all reason and am blasé about easily getting materials from the most obscure of journals.

At this point, all I can say is that you folks make my job immeasurably easier thanks to your knowledge and professionalism. As far as improvements, it would be nice if you had a big collection of recorded fiction books, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.