Top Tips, Resources, and Services from the Scientific Library

Photos by Chris Worthington, staff writer
Three members of the Scientific Library staff stand outside of the building.

Editor’s note: The Scientific Library at NCI at Frederick provides resources and services to support cutting-edge cancer, AIDS, and infectious disease research, and the librarians and informationists are ready to guide researchers to any information they need.

Within the past year, two new staff members began working at the Scientific Library: Biosciences Informationist Matt Stirling and Public Services Librarian Joelle Mornini. Librarian Tracie Frederick, who has been with the Scientific Library for 12 years, also stepped into the role of Library Director in 2018.

Joelle, Matt, and Tracie sat down to introduce themselves and discuss important resources and services available to NCI at Frederick and Frederick National Laboratory researchers.

How long have you been with the Scientific Library?

Matt: I joined about a year ago. In my short time here, I’ve already designed and taught a class on Clinicaltrials.gov, a pair of Resource of the Month webinars, and three library orientations. Before coming to the Scientific Library, I spent over two decades in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina working as an information specialist for a pharmaceutical outsourcing company that handles services related to clinical trials conducted on drugs, biologics, or medical devices.

Joelle: I’ve been here for about six months, and so far, I’ve gotten to plan fun activities like the Student Jeopardy Tournament and teach classes like the recent “Upcoming Changes to PubMed” webinar (which Matt will be teaching again in December). Before working at the Scientific Library, I worked with patent and intellectual property information; as a contractor with the National Library of Medicine providing health information to older adults and family caregivers; and, most recently, at a military biomedical research library specializing in infectious disease research, military psychiatry, and neuroscience.

Tracie: I have been here since January 2007, but I moved into the role of Library Director when our Director of 25 years, Debby McCalpin, retired in May 2018.

What resources at the Scientific Library do you think everyone should know about?

Matt: Embase and Scopus are two companion scientific literature databases that are essential for researchers. For anyone focused on investigational products at various stages in the development life cycle, I recommend Pharmaprojects, on which I will be teaching a class in November. Finally, I recommend that attendees of the Frederick Faculty, Molecular Discovery, or Distinguished Scientist Speaker Series check the individual bibliographies that the library staff compiles on each speaker.   

Joelle: I had the opportunity to teach a training course about the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), a video journal that includes standard text articles as well as an informative video describing the experimental process and results for each article. I also recommend the Websites list on the Scientific Library website, which houses a curated collection of resources on topics ranging from cancer research and chemistry to resources for authors. If you’re searching for publications by NCI at Frederick researchers, the best resource is the NCI at Frederick Scientific Publications Database, which includes information and links to full-text publications from 1997 to the present.

Tracie: There are many, but Web of Science is a great companion to PubMed. Web of Science overlaps with some of the journals covered by PubMed, but it covers more journals in other scientific fields and offers different search options. The Library also offers OneSearch, which allows you to explore many different databases and full-text resources with a single search. You can access OneSearch from the search box on the Library’s homepage.

What Scientific Library services can help users improve their research and more efficiently find the information they need?

Matt: We can set up personalized current awareness alerts on any topic or publication upon request, and we also maintain a distribution list for Daily Science News, an email service that keeps recipients informed on various scientific topics. The Scientific Library provides in-house public computers that are directly connected to both the internet and the Library’s electronic resources, and we also have a publicly available copier, fax machine, and printer. 

Joelle: Even if the Scientific Library doesn’t have certain books or articles in its collection, researchers can still get anything they need at no charge using our interlibrary loan service—just fill out a simple online request form. Researchers can also save time and get high-quality information on any topic by requesting literature searches.

Tracie: If you aren’t finding articles on a topic of interest or if EndNote isn’t doing what you need, don’t get frustrated. Call (or email) the Library! We have staff who are specially trained to locate information and documents for you and to assist with troubleshooting EndNote and other resources.

Do you have any key tips for people who want to use Scientific Library resources and services?

Matt: The Scientific Library facilitates off-site access to licensed resources and services so they can be used anywhere, anytime. Our librarians and informationists appear at functions outside the Library to answer questions and describe our services, such as our weekly Laptop Librarian service and our presence at the Farmers’ Market on the first and third Tuesdays of each month this fall. Finally, I recommend monitoring the Library’s PubMed Changes page to learn about the new version of this database (scheduled to be released in early 2020) and looking for future webinars.

Joelle: You can request books, articles, and searches directly from the Scientific Library website using online request forms, including the Article/Book Request Form and Database Search Request Form. If you have any questions for Library staff, just choose the Contact Us button in the upper-right corner of the Scientific Library homepage to find phone, email, and physical address information.

Tracie: Our informationists and librarians can provide assistance or training via WebEx if you are not able to come to the Library, or we can come to your office or lab. There are also four Quiet Study Rooms in the Library in Building 549 and one at the ATRF Library that will let you focus on your task.

Matt, Joelle, Tracie, and the other Library staff members are always ready to support NCI at Frederick employees in their research and information needs, so be sure to visit, call, or email the Scientific Library if you ever need a book, an article, database access, a literature search, EndNote support, or just a quiet space to study and work.

A display just inside the library shows off newly available books.Four quiet study rooms, complete with whiteboards and computers, are available for anyone who needs a silent space to work.New tabletop charging stations are available so you can charge your phone while you browse or work.

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