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Science Boot Camp for Librarians – Blog Post 5

Posted by on August 7th, 2018 Posted in: Blog
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This is the fifth blog post in a series authored by twelve individuals who received scholarships to attend the 2018 Science Boot Camp held at Brandeis University on June 13-15, 2018. In this installment, a view on how librarians juggle many rolls and useful websites highlighted by the presenters.  Please watch for more posts about this event and from scholarship recipients in the upcoming weeks.

Hello fellow participants…past, present and future,
This was my first year attending the New England Science Boot Camp. In fact, it was my first time ever experiencing a conference like this and now all other conferences will be slightly disappointing! What set this conference apart from others I’ve attended was the sense of community that blossomed over the course of just a few days. The shared experience of living in the dorms, dining together at the Faculty Club, attending all the same sessions together, and chatting in the evenings in the dorm living room created a truly remarkable experience.

I read a few of the blog posts from last year and remember someone saying that they knew they wanted to be a librarian from the time they were a small child. I’m almost the opposite. I was an avid library user, from the time I was old enough to leave the house on my own to today. However, it wasn’t until about 5 years after I earned my undergraduate degree that I learned about Library Science. I’d started working for YBP, which has since been bought by Baker and Taylor. It was a bit boring reviewing books in a cubicle all day long, but it did make me aware that there was such a thing as a Masters degree in Library and Information Science. It seemed to me then, and still seems true today, that librarians are actually Masters of all things, jacks (or jills) of all trades, caretakers and caregivers, mentors and friends. We teach research skills, we practice research skills and we advocate tirelessly for information integrity. The Boot Camp reinforced for me that the struggle is real and also necessary. It reminded me that I’m not alone in this and it motivated me to continue working hard. Also, I was reminded that beer with colleagues helps!

Some conference highlights for me:
Soldering and Special Collections: I ADORED soldering and immediately acquired my own soldering kit when I got home. This was a perfect way to start the conference. I also attended Special Collections tour just to have something to do and was so glad that I went. I’m a bit of an Einstein groupie, so getting to see a letter signed by him was really special. I’ve been a fan of his since reading the The Einstein-Russell Manifesto (1955) which calls for the end of nuclear weapons and is an inspiring read.
Ecology Session: I’ve added iNaturalist.org to my Forestry libguide and emailed my faculty, in case they weren’t already aware of it. I hold a Master’s Degree in Forestry so this session did not expand much on my current level of knowledge.

Retraction Session: Ivan Oransky taught me about the wide world of retractions. I’ve sent an FYI email to all ~180 of my faculty members and am keenly interested in holding a workshop at my campus on this topic. This was probably my favorite talk, partly because I wasn’t aware of this organization ahead of time and partly because this is a powerfully important topic.
Genetic Counseling Session: Several noteworthy publically available websites that provide genetic sequencing information and data were highlighted. These include: OMIM (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man), GTEx Portal (Genotype-Tissue Expression), ExAC (Exome Aggregation Consortium) and gnomAD (Genome Aggregation Database). I also found the conversation about crowd-sourcing of genetic data and the discussion about privacy and genetic ownership thought-provoking.

Materials Science: The lectures were highly technical and did a great job and balancing the science and the business sides of materials science. One of the speakers was from MIT and I found the following free resources he mentioned particularly useful: MIT Publications Online (http://web.mit.edu/fnl/MITPublications/index.html) and MIT curriculum’s and courses (https://www.edx.org/school/mitx).

A sincere thank you to the organizers, attendees and particularly my mentor, Kara Kugelmeyer, who all made this a totally unforgettable experience. I can’t wait for next year!

– Rachel Knapp, Science and Engineering Reference Librarian, University of Maine, Orono.

I hope you enjoy the latest installment of the Science Boot Camp for librarians. To read the first post please click here. For information about last weeks reflection please click here. For more about this year’s Science Boot Camp resources or other upcoming events, please visit the NNLM NER website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

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