Kresge Library Stacks Up Electronically:
TSRI Scientists Access World of Information from Desktops
By Mika Ono
Logged onto the Kresge Library site, The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI)
Assistant Professor Ram Krishnamurthy reviews the latest scientific journals
in his field of chemistry, downloads a PDF file of some work that intrigues
It is easy to take electronic journals for granted, says
Krishnamurthy. "But I recently went to a conference where I heard colleagues
complain about the limited access provided by their university libraries.
Apparently, free campus-wide access for employees to online subscriptions
like we have here at TSRI is the exception not the rule. I may be inspired
or frustrated by what I read in the scientific pressbut I am grateful
I can review it with a click of a mouse. This stimulates my work and facilitates
the exchange of information."
In addition to roughly 600 journals and its catalog, the Kresge Library
provides TSRI researchers online access to several popular scientific
databases, including Medline, Science Citation Index Expanded (via Web
of Science), Biological Abstracts, SciFinder Scholar, and Beilstein. The
library also posts several fact sheets for scientists.
Help is always available for those who are learning their way around
the electronic stacks. "When I first started using OVID [a search interface
that provides access to a number of databases], I didnt have a clue
what I was doing," admits David Goodsell, assistant professor in the Department
of Molecular Biology. "The librarianswho are the friendliest Ive
encountered at any library anywhereset up a training session for
me instantly. It opened up a whole new world to me."
Growing Collection, Growing Use
The Kresge Librarys online collection has come a long way in the
last decade. "When I first arrived at TSRI in 1991 the library had one
computer, which had been purchased in 1984," laughs Paula King, library
director. "Now we have three computers available to scientists and nine
for our staff. Seventy-five percent of our journal titles are available
online. Some journals are still not available electronicallybut
now almost all of those that are can be accessed through the Kresge Library."
As more electronic information has become available, TSRI scientists
have been opting to access the librarys resources from their desktops
more frequently. Michaeleen Trimarchi, reference and electronic services
librarian, keeps up-to-date on what topics interest TRSI scientists through
the statistics the online journals send her.
One publisher, which produces the journal "Science" and the online weekly
"Science's Next Wave," makes this job easier by providing a "top ten articles"
list with the statistics. One of the most popular "Science" articles on
campus in January was "Role of ER Export Signals in Controlling Surface
Potassium Channel Numbers," by D. Ma et al. But TSRI scientists are not
without a sense of humor. One chart-topper was a "Next Wave" comic caricaturing
nine types of prinicipal investigators, from the slave-driver to the rising
With the electronic collection almost complete ("Its never really
done," remarks King), King has been visiting with lab heads to exchange
information and solicit feedback. "We listen carefully to what our scientists
have to say," says King. "In fact, the electronic collection itself is
a response to the requests of our scientists. At this point, I want to
make sure our researchers know what is available and find out what else
the library can do to support their work."
The Physical Space: Great Views and Librarians, Too
Now that so much information is available from the computer desktop,
is there still a need for a physical library?
A few faculty and staff make the trip through the north end of the Beckman
building to the fourth floor of the Stein Research Building into the Kresge
Librarys space, which features a mosaic of small skylights and a
stunning view of the ocean. Some come to write, away from the noise and
distractions of their labs. Others come to read "The New York Times,"
"Wall Street Journal," or "Los Angeles Times." Still others come to peruse
the new journals arriving daily or to look up older publications not available
"And dont forget the librarians!" reminds King. "No matter how
much information is provided online, there will always be a need for librariansespecially
exceptional librarians like ours who know how to help scientists and staff
find the information they need."
Go back to News & Views Index
Michaeleen Trimarchi (left), reference and electronic services librarian,
and Paula King, library director, have been building the Kresge Library's
Even though much information is now available from
the computer desktop, some individuals still come to the library's physical
space to read, write, or research topics of interest.