Inside the Library
A Newsletter of the NCI at Frederick Scientific Library
Volume 15 | Issue 3
Fall 2020

Who's Using the NCI at Frederick Scientific Library?

Reminiscences of Forty-Six Years in the Life of a Librarian

Written by Sue Wilson, Recently Retired Principal Manager for the Scientific Library

Sue at PodiumI was a newlywed when I landed my first paying job as a Library Clerk at the then-named Frederick Cancer Research Center Scientific Library, earning a grand $4.00 per hour in 1974. Back then, the Library was located in the rear of Building 426 where the Security badging offices are now located, with a staff of five. In those early days, we used a card catalog to help patrons find the books they needed, and it was my job to do the filing, "above the rod". The Cataloger would come along behind me and pull the metal rod out after checking my work to allow the cards to drop into their appointed slots. Attention to detail was imperative. I remember that when it came time to admonish me for making a mistake, there was always a scientist nearby who was treated to the librarian's tirade; how embarrassing! One of the first lessons I learned the hard way was to never correct someone in front of a library user.

There was no such thing as a computer back then. All of the reference work, such as building bibliographies or checking citations, was done manually using such heavy tomes as Chemical Abstracts and Science Citation Index. Pretty soon, eyeglasses became a necessity, as the print grew smaller and smaller as the bulk of information expanded. The demand for print was high. The Library soon outgrew itself, and a new building (549) was erected. The collection had to be packed up, in exact shelf order, and transferred to its new home by a professional library mover. My undergraduate degree in interior design came in handy, as I was lucky enough to be involved in the design of the new structure, as well as an addition that was later constructed. The downside, though, was having to show two of the most respected leaders at the time, Ron Defelice and Cedric Long, the graffiti left on the walls by some of the workmen before the grand unveiling.  Along the way, we had our share of challenges, including occasional fisticuffs between library patrons waiting in line for the photocopier - yes, these things really happened. We were lucky to eventually have a staff of twenty-six to handle all of these challenges, not to mention the technological developments.

A few highlights:

  • 1976 - dealing with the ramifications of a landmark copyright lawsuit (Williams and Wilkins vs. the U.S. [NIH Library]) that dramatically changed document delivery options for libraries nationwide.
  • 1978 - learning to use MEDLINE, inaugurated in 1971 but not trickling down to us until then through the National Library of Medicine network, accessed via a basic telephone/modem coupler, searching the database using subject-based queries based on complicated indexing, with the results generated on heat-sensitive paper by a small dot-matrix Texas Instruments impact printer - this was revolutionary!
  • 1978 - achieving my master’s degree in Library Science, thanks to Litton Bionetics' tuition plan.
  • 1986 - we converted the classification system from the Dewey Decimal System to Library of Congress/National Library of Medicine in preparation for automating the Library and implementing our first integrated library system, Innovative Interfaces.
  • 1995 -  Journal of Biological Chemistry was one of the first titles to appear online, sending us all once again into a panic about copyright.
  • 1997 - developing a Careers in Science panel discussion for the first Spring Research Festival.
  • 1999 - hosting Dr. Anne Simon, author of The Science Behind the X-Files with a standing room only crowd.
  • 2000 - preparing for and surviving Y2K.
  • 2001 - signing WISCO's first contract with NCI at 11:00 a.m. on September 11, amidst a background of alarming radio broadcasts announcing the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, etc.
  • 2001 - our first book swap, still going strong.
  • 2001 - ours was the first website to be approved by NCI management and released to the public representing NCI at Frederick, designed solely by our librarians.
  • 2007 - the first Student Science Jeopardy Tournament.
  • 2008 - hosting Ethan Zahn, of the Survivor tv series, who later became a cancer survivor himself.
  • 2012 - implementation of Summon, featuring the OneSearch collection discovery tool.

 I could go on and on…what stands out most for me is how lucky I was to work at NCI at Frederick for so many years, which allowed me to make friends with a wonderful array of brilliant scientists, and interact with so many talented and creative library staff members, all of whom made coming to work each day a real joy.

Library Instruction


Library Orientation sessions are held monthly via WebEx on Thursdays from 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.  The dates of upcoming sessions are October 9, November 12, and December 10.  We invite all employees to attend these sessions to learn about the many services and resources offered by the Library.  Registration is not required.

If you are not able to make it to our scheduled webinars, our librarians can work with your schedule to provide one-on-one training at your convenience via WebEx or  Skype.  For questions, or if you have a suggestion for a class offering, please contact us with your thoughts.


The Library’s instruction team is pleased to announce that the Fall 2020 Resource Training Schedule is available on the Library’s Orientations and Classes website.  Class dates and descriptions are also listed on the Events Calendar.  Registration announcements & WebEx meeting links will be sent on the NCIF community listservs.  We are pleased to announce a new webinar on TOOLS FOR LOCATING LITERATURE REVIEWS on Monday, December 14 at 1:00 p.m. and an additional webinar on CLINICALTRIALS.GOV: SEARCHING FOR CLINICAL STUDIES on Friday, December 11 at 11:00 a.m.  We are also pleased to announce a pair of webinars in celebration of Open Access Week in October, as well as a weekly Resources for Research Data Webinar Series during November.     


Tuesday, October 20, 1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


Thursday, October 22, 1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


Monday, November 2, 1:00 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.


Monday, November 9, 1:00 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.


Monday, November 16, 1:00 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.


Monday, November 23, 1:00 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.


Monday, November 30, 1:00 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.


Friday, December 11, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Monday, December 14, 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.



Each month the Library will feature a different resource and offer a 30-minute webinar to provide more information.  Watch for announcements about the resources highlighted in 2020 or contact the Library for more information:


OneSearch can help quickly discover relevant information on any topic from across many of the Scientific Library’s resources with a single search.  Locate resources within and beyond the Library’s print and electronic collections and search available full text.

Tuesday, October 27, 10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.


The industry standard for more than 40 years, Micromedex provides hospitals and healthcare providers with a single source of clinical information—from need-to-know drug, pediatric, disease, lab, and toxicology information to comprehensive resources for patient and consumer education.

Thursday, November 19, 11:00 a.m.  – 11:30 a.m.


CancerMine identifies cancer drivers, oncogenes, and tumor supressors from the biomedical literature and displays the findings in graphical and tabular formats for ease of discovery.

Thursday, December 17, 3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.




Library Virtual Fall Events

Virtual Author’s Day Roundtable

Virtual Author's Day

If you have a recent publication that you’d like to share with other authors, then sign up to participate in the upcoming Virtual Author’s Day Roundtable hosted by the Scientific Library.  The roundtable will be hosted as a webinar on Monday, October 19 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., and up to ten authors will share five-minute descriptions of their publications.  A ten-minute period for additional questions and discussion will be held at the end of the webinar. Anyone can join in to view the Virtual Author’s Day Roundtable. 

To participate as an author during the Virtual Author’s Day, contact Joelle Mornini ( with a link to your publication and a brief description or abstract for the publication.

Open Access Week

Open Access Week

October 19-25 is International Open Access Week, and to celebrate, the Library will be hosting two webinars and a contest where researchers can share their favorite open access resources. 

Attend two 30-minute webinars to learn about open access journals, images, educational resources, and more.  The webinar INTRO TO OPEN ACCESS POLICIES AND RESOURCES on Tuesday, October 20, 1:30-2:00 p.m. (join the meeting over WebEx) will provide information about important open access policies (including NIH Public Access Policy) and resources for finding open access journals, publishers, and repositories. The webinar FIND OPEN ACCESS SCIENTIFIC IMAGES AND EDUCATION RESOURCES on Thursday, October 22, 1:30-2:00 p.m. (join the meeting over WebEx) will help participants locate public domain and Creative Commons-license images and online educational resources.

Also participate in the contest What is Your Favorite Open Access Resource? by emailing with a link to your favorite open access resource (journal, repository, publisher, etc.).  Selected open access resources will be featured in Library emails to the Events list.

Check the General Open Access Resources page on the Scientific Library website to learn more about open access policies, publishers, journals, and author resources.

Scientific Library E-Book Club - Cancer Virus : The Story of Epstein-Barr Virus

Cancer Virus


Join the Scientific Library in reading the E-Book Cancer Virus : The Story of Epstein-Barr Virus by Dorothy H. Crawford, Ingólfur Johannessen, and Alan B. Rickinson for the fall session of the Scientific Library E-Book Club.  Participate in a WebEx discussion in December (date to be determined), and join in the discussion at any time by posting your comments on the Scientific Library E-Book Club Microsoft Team. 

Email to be added to the mailing list and Microsoft Team for the E-Book Club, and receive discussion questions and other E-Book Club announcements. 

Book Description (from E-Book Central): The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was discovered in 1964. At the time, the very idea of a virus underlying a cancer was revolutionary. Cancer is, after all, not catching. Even now, the idea of a virus causing cancer surprises many people. But Epstein-Barr, named after its discoverers, Sir Anthony Epstein and Dr Yvonne Barr, is fascinating for other reasons too. Almost everyone carries it, yet it is only under certain circumstances that it produces disease. It has been associated with different, apparently unrelated, diseases in different populations: Burkitt's Lymphoma, producing tumours in the jaw, in African children; a nasal tumour in China; glandular fever in Europe and the USA; and the majority of cases of Hodgkin's Disease everywhere. This book tells the story of the discovery of the virus, and the recognition of its connection with these various diseases - an account that spans the world and involves some remarkable characters and individual stories.

Summer Adaptations and Important Changes

The summer was a busy time for the Scientific Library this year.  Although the physical Library is still closed, staff members continued to provide training, interlibrary loan, and search services, as they worked remotely.  Because the annual Student Jeopardy Tournament could not be held, new virtual events took its place.  Digital Resource Fair Webinars highlighted tools created at NCI at Frederick and Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, and a Book Club met weekly via WebEx and shared ideas via Microsoft Teams. 

Other information needs were met in different ways.  The Laptop Librarian service continued in a virtual format over the summer months.  In addition to the Library’s usual RESOURCE OF THE MONTH webinars and other resource training, a new class was added on TOOLS FOR LOCATING PREPRINTS.  Tailored training sessions were also offered to groups and individuals who had specific interests.

Important changes developed for the Library this summer.  The implementation of a new library system was completed to bring the print and electronic collections together behind the scenes in the staff interface, Alma, and in the Library’s public facing single search tool, OneSearch.  And the Library staff bid a sad farewell to Sue Wilson, the Library’s Principal Manager, who retired after spending 44 years of her outstanding career in the Scientific Library.  The Library will not be the same without her, but she has built a lasting legacy of customer service and innovation that the Library staff will endeavor to continue.

Podcast : This Week in Virology

Due to the increased interest by the public in the most up-to-date information about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the audience for the podcast This Week in Virology has grown exponentially. The podcast which is hosted by CUNY Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Dr. Vincent Racaniello, includes expert co-hosts that discuss the changing state of research in the field.  The podcast originated in 2008 and is freely available on iTunes, Google Podcasts, RSS and email.  For those who prefer a video component, it is available on which also hosts This Week podcasts for Microbiology, Evolution, Parasitism, and Neuroscience.  So, whether you are running, commuting, traveling or doing chores at home, tune in to these very informative podcasts.  They will keep you informed, enhance your awareness, educate or simply entertain you.  

  • NCI at Frederick Scientific Library ~ Building 549
  • On the web at:
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Main Phone Number: 301-846-1093 ~ Circulation: 301-846-5848 ~ Reference: 301-846-1682
  • ATRF Library ~ E2003, 2nd Floor ~ Main Phone: 301-228-4942