Biological Information Practice from Molecules to Ecosystems

Biological Information Management from Molecules to
P. Bryan Heidorn, Carole L. Palmer, Dan Wright, Melissa
Cragin and Linda Smith
In this session we will discuss the information gathering methods
used to identify the skill sets required by students in two new degree
programs closely related to biocuration. The two complementary
educational programs at the GSLIS/UIUC are a Biological Information
Specialist master’s degree and a concentration in Data Curation within
our MSLIS. Respectively NSF and IMLS are funding this curriculum
development. In both cases we have established an advisory panel
composed of scientists and data managers from major research
institutions. Each of these boards meets once a year to answer
questions and identify the skills needed by biological information
specialists in their institutions. This board also provides case studies
and internships to be used in the classroom. We have also begun
gathering qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with
molecular scientists, systematists, ecosystem scientists, and others
around the country. In the fall we will begin an online survey of 400
members of Faculty of the Environment at the Univ. of Illinois. Larger
interviews and surveys will follow. These methods combined with our
prior research in this field and participation in standards development
are helping us to understand the data management practices and
needs of the broader biology community. Common themes emerge
across the disciplines including science knowledge, information
technology, understanding standards and communication skills.