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Background: Over the last couple decades, the field of bioinformatics has helped spur medical discoveries that offer a better understanding of the genetic basis of disease, which in turn improve public health and save lives. Concomitantly, support requirements for molecular biology researchers have grown in scope and complexity, incorporating specialized resources, technologies, and techniques.

Case Presentation: To address this specific need among National Institutes of Health (NIH) intramural researchers, the NIH Library hired an expert bioinformatics trainer and consultant with a PhD in biochemistry to implement a bioinformatics support program. This study traces the program from its inception in 2009 to its present form. Discussion involves the particular skills of program staff, development of content, collection of resources, associated technology, assessment, and the impact of the program on the NIH community.

Conclusion: Based on quantitative and qualitative data, the bioinformatics support program has been heavily used and appreciated by researchers. Continued success will depend on filling key staff positions, building on the existing program infrastructure, and keeping abreast of developments within the field to remain relevant and in touch with the medical research community utilizing bioinformatics services.


bioinformatics, bioinformatics support program, biomedical library


The author would like to thank Dr. Medha Bhagwat for supplying much of the information regarding the details of the bioinformatics program, Dr. Lynn Young for leading the initiative to evaluate the NIH Library Bioinformatics Program, and Lisa Federer for proposing that such a case study be written.

Corresponding Author

Nathan Hosburgh, MLIS, MSCIS, Library Systems Administrator, Technical Information Specialist, National Institutes of Health Library, Office of Research Services, Division of Library Services, Building 10, Room 1L07, Bethesda, MD 20892-1150; Nathan.Hosburgh@nih.gov

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Copyright Hosburgh © 2018

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.