Mercer Library Expands Biodefense Collection

Posted: June 14, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Christopher Anzalone

In the fall of 2003, the National Center for Biodefense (NCB) at George Mason, together with the Department of Molecular and Microbiology, initiated its graduate certificate and master’s and doctoral programs, the first university-based academic programs of their kind. NCB offers programs on topics ranging from biodefense issues to specialized core areas such as microbial biodefense and biological threats and defense.

To support the programs, Victoria Shelton, the life sciences librarian at Mercer Library on the Prince William Campus, was appointed liaison librarian to NCB and was charged with overseeing the establishment and then the expansion of the biodefense-related collections within University Libraries. As part of this expansion, Mercer Library also enlarged its holdings on related topics, including bacteriology, virology, medical microbiology, and military medicine.

Because biodefense is an interdisciplinary field, books on biodefense are shelved according to their specific subject area and topic and are not in a single location in the library, Shelton explains. Currently, the library has 14 peer-reviewed journals and approximately 250 monographs, all ordered specifically for NCB programs. Among the collection is the only peer-reviewed journal that focuses solely on biodefense, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, which is currently published by the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh’s Medical Center.

NCB receives money annually—this year’s allotment is $22,000—to further expand the biodefense collection.

“We plan to expand the existing monograph and periodicals collection in the area of drug design to support a new course on modern drug discovery and development, as well as to expand the general media collection on biodefense,” says Shelton. She also notes that the library is working on compiling an annotated webliography of selected biodefense web resources, which will include sections on biological warfare, clinical responses to bioterrorism, treatment of diseases caused by biological weapons, and biodefense news and communications. Other projects include updating the library’s research guide in biodefense and creating a life science library resource web site that will serve as a guide to its holdings on biodefense-related materials.

To view Mercer Library’s current research guide on biodefense materials, click here.

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