Faculty and Library Collaborate in Collection Development

Posted: February 26, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Victoria Shelton

It’s well known that George Mason faculty members are making valuable contributions to research, but less well known are the contributions they are making to the library collection development. One of the most highly used collections within the Prince William Campus Library has been created with the help of a researcher, Don Seto, whose primary interest is developing whole-genome informatics tools.

In the past few years, Seto, associate professor in the School of Computational Sciences (SCS), has worked on many challenging research projects in bioinformatics, a discipline that develops and applies computational tools to the organization and study of biological data. The projects include genomic analyses of the mouse and human T-cell receptor families, bacterial genomes, and viral genomes.

Currently, Seto is leading the Molecular Diagnostics team of the Epidemic Outbreaks Surveillance (EOS) project sponsored in part by the U.S. Air Force Surgeon General’s Office. “The purpose of the EOS project,” says Seto, ” is to develop cutting-edge technology and techniques to monitor common acute respiratory diseases that interfere with basic military training.”

In 2002, in addition to his teaching and research activities, Seto took over library liaison responsibilities at Prince William Campus Library. “Being a liaison puts me closer to the resources and allows me to voice concerns from the bioinformatics point of view,” he says. It also “allows the rapid development of a reference and resource infrastructure at Prince William Campus, where much of the bioinformatics research is occurring.”

Seto has served as the library liaison on all matters relating to the collection development, from reviewing book reports and catalogs to evaluating periodical subscriptions. Because of his efforts, the library has almost doubled the size of the bioinformatics collection. Now the library’s bioinformatics collection includes most of the core titles published by Elsevier, Marcel Dekker, Humana Press, and Kluwer; current publications; reference books; the journal Bioinformatics; and two new subscriptions. These resources help support two new graduate programs offered at Prince William Campus: M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs in bioinformatics.

The cooperation between Seto and the Prince William Campus Library is not limited to collection development. Last December, Seto suggested a collaboration on a joint faculty-librarian grant proposal to design a new course in bioinformatics and to incorporate the biomedical library research competencies in this course. Seto’s idea is that a faculty partner will take the lead in teaching the course, while a librarian partner will work as a support instructor, teaching the biomedical library research portion in class and working with individual students. “Developing a course for bioinformatics will and should include contributions from library,” says Seto.

Seto’s other contributions to the Prince William Library include his oversight of a journal evaluation project, which increased savings on periodical acquisitions, and his recommendations for expanding the document delivery options.

For more information on the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Program at Prince William Campus, click here; for more information on bioinformatics library resources, click here.

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