Delve into the World of Genes, Genomes, & Microbes with InfoBoosters

In conjunction with the National Library of Medicine exhibit, From DNA to Beer, the HSLS Molecular Biology Information Service (MBIS) is presenting a special hands-on workshop profiling a recently developed Web-based tool that harnesses Internet technology to improve online searching and information retrieval.

As life sciences research becomes more interdisciplinary, the scientific papers we read increasingly include genes, proteins, microbes, methodologies, and biological concepts outside of our domain of expertise. It is necessary to learn more about these lesser-known terms to thoroughly comprehend such articles. Information is readily available in various molecular databases, but they are scattered throughout the Internet and can be challenging to locate. It would be immensely useful and time-saving to directly link online articles to these databases, thereby allowing readers to promptly gather information while actively reading articles.

To fulfill this unmet need, the Health Sciences Library System developed “InfoBoosters”—an easy to install Web browser widget that connects digital texts to databases and retrieves relevant information on demand. As an example, upon selecting a term for a gene/disease/drug/microbial organism and then clicking on the installed InfoBoosters button, pop-up windows appear with pertinent information retrieved from NCBI databases (Entrez Gene, PubMed, MedlinePlus, TOXNET, etc.) and Wikipedia. Application of this powerful tool will provide readers with revealing information not directly described in the text and potentially foster the creation of new hypotheses.

This workshop introduces attendees to InfoBoosters, shows how to create unique InfoBoosters, and covers various applications of this new tool.

What: “Delve into the World of Genes, Genomes, & Microbes with InfoBoosters”

Who: Ansuman Chattopadhyay, PhD, Head of MBIS

When: Monday, September 21, 1–3 p.m.

Where: Falk Library, Classroom 2

~Carrie Iwema