James King, Branch Chief and Information Architect at the NIH Library described the NIH and its library, which has 48 employees working in three branches. Teams are focused on strategic and operational issues. The NIH library serves as a virtual organization for other organizations.
A key component of the NIH library is the “Informationist Program” that started in 2001 which has 15 employees. An Informationist is a technical specialist working as part of the library that can be embedded with a research team. They spend 75% of their time with the research groups and the rest in the library. Thus, they can deliver more targeted solutions than a generalized IT department, and bring information architecture and specialized solutions to their teams, although they do work with the IT department. They deliver services in these five areas:
Sample projects include development of APIs for the Pandemic Influenza Digital Archive (PIDA), creation of the International Alzheimer’s Disease Research Portfolio (IADRP), digitization for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Library, and community building.
Libraries are well positioned to be advocates for their services:
- The NIH library is hosting the Drupal government conference, Drupal Gov Days and Capital Camp, on July 22-24, 2015 at NIH in Bethesda, MD.
- A “Technology Sandbox” was developed in a space formerly occupied by books where people can collaborate.
- Technology is being offered as a service.
- A 3D printer pilot was carried out. It was so successful that two more printers were acquired.136 successful models were printed.
- Partnerships and networking are critical.