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Director's Message―August 2017

Although the summer months may traditionally be a time to slow down, the NIH Library is making exciting progress on several initiatives. I’m happy to share brief updates with you, and I welcome your thoughts, questions, and suggestions (keith.cogdill@nih.gov, 301-496-2448).

Forecasting Science
The NIH Library and the other divisions in the ORS Scientific Resources cluster continue to collaborate on the Forecasting Science initiative. This collaboration is focused on anticipating changes in the practice of biomedical research, to inform possible adjustments to the portfolios of resources and services we provide the intramural research community. The other ORS service providers we’re working with on this initiative include Veterinary Resources, Radiation Safety, Occupational Health and Safety, Scientific Equipment and Instrumentation Services, and Medical Arts. In June we conducted interviews with eight senior scientists, and in July we held six focus group sessions with early career scientists. We’re now developing a survey that will build on findings from the interviews and focus groups, and we’re hoping to launch that survey in the next several weeks.

B1 Renovation: Making Room for Improvements
On Thursday, August 24, we begin the renovation of our B1 space. With more of our collection available online, we were able to release approximately 6,000 square feet of space on our lower (B1) level in 2016. The renovation work now underway will include enhancing the public space on the B1 level, updating the cubicles that are available for private study, and adding two technology-enhanced spaces for small-group training sessions.    

NIH Research Festival
We’re excited to be part of the NIH Research Festival scheduled for September 13-15. During the Festival, we’ll highlight our Technology Hub, with demonstrations of virtual reality (VR) applications relevant to biomedical research. We had the opportunity to showcase our 3D printing service as part of the National Week of Making back in June. The NIH Catalyst recently included an article about our collaboration with the NIH 3D Print Exchange for the Week of Making (https://irp.nih.gov/catalyst/v25i4/national-week-of-making-at-the-nih-library). Also in June, Bill Gates visited NIH and had a chance to learn about biomedical research applications of VR using equipment that library staff helped configure (https://www.gatesnotes.com/Health/How-Virtual-Reality-Can-Help-Us-Fight-Viruses). If you’d like to learn more about VR, just drop by one of our monthly virtual reality demonstration sessions (first Tuesdays, 12:30-2:00), or stop by the NIH Library during the Research Festival, September 13-14.

National Week of Making Event   


Drupal GovCon
From July 31 to August 2, we helped host Drupal GovCon (https://www.drupalgovcon.org/), the annual gathering of Web developers using Drupal for government sites. This gathering in the Natcher conference center drew over 1,000 developers from across federal agencies as well as state and local governments. 

NIH Big Read
Our inaugural NIH Big Read collaboration with FAES was a tremendous success this spring, culminating in Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s visit to NIH for a presentation on Monday, April 17. He spoke about his latest book, The Gene: An Intimate History, and had a lively conversation in Masur Auditorium on stage with Dr. Collins. It was exciting to see the auditorium filling up, with several attendees needing to use the over-flow viewing space. The video-recording of the event is available to NIH staff (https://videocast.nih.gov/Summary.asp?Live=21833&bhcp=1), and has been viewed more than 800 times since Dr. Mukherjee’s visit. Planning is now underway for the 2018 NIH Big Read, and we’ve already received a number of suggestions for our next book and author. Stay tuned for details as they take shape.

Dr. Collins discusses The Gene with Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee

NIH Office of Research Services Town Hall
Finally, looking back on the spring, I’m proud to share the news that the NIH Library was recognized with an award for each of the core values within the Office of Research Services. We, along with other outstanding divisions and programs across ORS, were recognized with “core value awards” on May 9.

ORS Customer Focus Award (For 3D Printing Program)

ORS Excellence Award (For Bibliometrics Program)

ORS Collaboration Award (For NIH Big Read)

ORS Integrity Award (For Translations Service)

At the same time that we’re forging ahead with new initiatives, the NIH Library continues to be recognized and appreciated for the excellent service we provide on a routine basis. Just this past month, we received the following feedback from a customer about our document delivery service. 

I love this service!  All of the scientists who come to work with me say they wish their library provided something similar.  Decade over decade, the NIH Library has been one of the best services for scientists and clinicians at the NIH.”

Best wishes,