Bioinformatics and Biology Essentials for Librarians: Databases, Tools, and Clinical Applications

The 14-week, 30 credit-hour self-paced online class reviews basic biology concepts and takes a deep dive into NCBI Molecular Biology Databases. This class is designed both for librarians who offer, or intend to offer, bioinformatics services; and also for librarians who use gene and protein information on a periodic or irregular basis to serve their patrons.  Successful participants are invited to join an Alumni Forum which includes discussion and bi-monthly learning opportunities. Expect to spend at least 30 hours working through this class. 


Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to: 

Pre-Work: Genetics Basics 

  • Gain a functional understanding of molecular biology concepts sufficient to use the NCBI bioinformatics databases 

Part 1: Intro to Bioinformatics and the NCBI Nucleotide Database 

  • Define bioinformatics, describing some research questions that scientists are exploring now using bioinformatics tools and techniques 
  • Explore the roles and activities of other librarians working in bioinformatics 
  • Describe what kinds of information are contained in the Nucleotide database 
  • Develop a search strategy for common patron questions in the Nucleotide database 

Part 2: Gene, Structure, and Protein Databases 

  • Identify where genetic and protein data comes from 
  • Describe what kinds of information are contained in the Gene, Structure and Protein databases 
  • Answer common patron questions in the Gene, Structure and Protein databases 
  • Find genetic information that is translated to clinical application 

Part 3: Challenges, Goals, and the Future of Bioinformatics 

  • Discuss public policy and ethical implications of bioinformatics data storage, access and use 
  • Explain one or two major challenges bioinformatics creates, and identify those challenges within your professional life 
  • List some of the goals of current genomic research and explain some of the latest newsworthy developments
  • Direct others to experts and sources of assistance
Class Length

14 weeks

Region: Region 5

The goal of the NNLM is to advance the progress of medicine and improve public health by providing U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information and improving individuals' access to information to enable them to make informed decisions about their health.

The University of Washington Health Sciences Library serves as the Regional Medical Library (RML) for Region 5, which provides programs, services, and dedicated support for NNLM Members in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States in the Pacific.

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Classes & Training
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Class Owner(s)

Katherine Majewski, Librarian, OET


Molly Knapp, Training Development Manager, NTO
Nancy Shin, Outreach and Data Coordinator, Region 5

Continuing Education

Upon successful completion, each participant will receive 30 continuing education credit awarded by the Medical Library Association, and an invitation to join the Bioinformatics Forum, an online community providing continuing support and training for participants as they implement bioinformatics services at their home institutions.


Event Title Event Start Date Summary Continuing Education Credits CE Categories Is Online Registration

No classes.

Event Title Event Start Date Summary Continuing Education Credits CE Categories Is Online Registration

No classes.