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- Bioinformatics opportunities for health sciences librarians and information professionals

Traditional librarian activities such as communication, collection development, education and training, writing, and intranet services are equally necessary to support research in bioinformatics, as in any other field, but the diverse set of resources and requirements for extensive domain knowledge in multiple fields places new demands on health information professionals supporting the success of this field. Training and continuing education will enable health information professionals to reach beyond traditional roles and become integral participants in biomedical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and vaccine research projects.

Considerable technical knowledge must be gained by the health sciences librarian to contribute to bioinformatics research as a bioinformaticist. The learning curve is shortened for information professionals who can learn enough about the field to participate in knowledge management activities, such as organizing and maintaining access to accumulated research materials on an intranet platform. Knowledge management will continue to be a challenging area in biotechnology research, and environmental scanning and maintenance of up-to-date intranet knowledgebases will continue to be key elements to the success of research projects. This reason is one of the strongest for bringing information professionals into the field and encouraging multidisciplinary training in the informationist-to-bioinformaticist direction as well as from the scientist-to-bioinformaticist direction. Bioinformatics may not be an appropriate fit for every health sciences librarian, but it can, and should, be developed as a viable career path for those who wish to pursue it.

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