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Library augments, supports campus research

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
For more than 25 years, MUSC faculty, researchers, staff and students have relied upon the expertise of the MUSC Library staff to assist them in their academic work and research. Their commitment to customer service helps researchers achieve progress and answer questions  in their academic, scientific and medical pursuits.
This partnership between researchers and the evolved role of librarians as teachers and academic partners, contributes to the institution’s success as one of the fastest growing academic research institutions in the Southeast.
Since 1998, MUSC has  grown in extramural research funding that has resulted in the institution achieving a record-breaking $193.4 million, and more than $93 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding in fiscal year 2007. But sustaining this growth  amid shrinking federal funding  is a challenge, said Stephen M. Lanier, Ph.D., associate provost for Research.
Lanier's office is committed to shepherding and maintaining the growth of funded research by building on the campus’ research infrastructure and operations, which are so crucial to a successful research program. These systems include the library, which helps assist scientists, faculty and researchers.
MUSC’s library, like other specialized academic libraries, has been transformed by embracing the digital age. Today, the library reflects these new resources, staff skills and services.
With more than 20,000 electronic health and science journals, a Web site that has drawn more than 50 million hits, the team of 14 professional librarians and staff is busy providing customized support while collaborating in projects and community outreach.
“We’re always ready to connect faculty to our resources and readily provide assistance, 24/7, 365-days a year, and from any location,” said Thomas Basler, Ph.D., Libraries and Learning Resource Centers director and Department of Library Science & Informatics chair.
Reference librarian Teri Lynn Herbert works with basic science researchers on campus. The 23-year library veteran teaches a variety of library software and database classes for faculty and staff. She also is part of the reference library team that meets with new researchers, faculty and fellows to orient them about the library’s systems and services.
Technological advances require libraries to evolve, prompting a proactive approach to change and staff training, Herbert said. The library is refining programs to capture and archive articles and digitize collections and artifacts, such as from the Waring Historical Library, to manage and maintain MUSC’s intellectual property. In response to the NIH's new requirement that researchers use PubMed Central Identification numbers for citing articles in new grant applications, the MUSC Library had to modify their systems and databases.
Cancer control specialist Matthew Carpenter, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, has been at MUSC for six years,  first as a post-doctoral fellow and then  as a full-time researcher. He’s used a variety of the library’s resources— from accessing e-journals and attending classes to customizing an ongoing literature search program for his research.
“The library provides a tailored service, from customized support to literature searches; library classes and individual instruction that’s valuable for me and my work. MUSC researchers need to be more mindful to the library’s many resources and features. ... The staff is friendly and personable in supporting one’s needs quickly and efficiently,” Carpenter said.
The library also assists researchers with Web-page design and grant writing, proposals and applications through additional support from the library’s Center for Academic Research and Computing and the Division of Education and Student Services’ Center for Academic Excellence.
The library also is an informational resource for faculty and researchers regarding copyright, patents and trademarks through the establishment of the Copyright Issue Committee.

Friday, Aug. 1, 2008
Catalyst Online is published weekly, updated as needed and improved from time to time by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.