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 him.
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
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 star.
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
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 electronically.
"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."
Michaeleen Trimarchi (left), reference
and electronic services librarian, and Paula King, library
director, have been building the Kresge Library's electronic
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.
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