Introduction to Molecular
Biology Information Resources
Modules Schedule Exercises Comments Credits

This three-day course provides an introduction to four domains of information generated by the field of molecular biology:
  • nucleotide sequences
  • protein sequences
  • three-dimensional structures
  • complete genomes and maps
An overview of flagship search systems and databases available at the National Center for Biotechnology Information emphasizes how your current search skills apply to molecular biology databases. A tour of advanced Entrez search features illustrates techniques for effective and efficient retrieval of molecular data and will help you to address some common user needs. The course also introduces more technical search systems, including BLAST, Map Viewer, and the Cn3D viewer for three-dimensional protein structures. The course format combines lecture, demonstration, and hands-on experience, and concludes with a discussion of various levels of molecular biology information services provided by librarians. Additional detail about the material covered is accessible from the modules page, and the daily schedule is also provided. This course is approved for 20 CE contact hours by the Medical Library Association (MLA).


January 9-11, 2008 University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX
April 2-4, 2008 New York University, New York, NY
April 14-16, 2008 Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Additional details about each location as well as a link to a registration form are provided on the upcoming courses page. Each course is three days long, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM each day (see schedule for details). Additional course dates/locations will be posted as they are scheduled. A list of past courses is also available.


Librarians with limited or no previous experience searching molecular sequence databases. Biology or other scientific background is very helpful but not required.
(Note that an Advanced Workshop, described under "Additional Courses," below, is available for full-time bioinformatics specialists based in libraries. Participants in the Advanced Workshop must have a science background and experience with molecular biology databases and tools.)


Please read the following web pages prior to attending the course. They provide an essential foundation for understanding the molecular databases.

Register for courses through the National Library of Medicine (NLM) National Training Center and Clearinghouse (NTCC). The upcoming courses page also provides a link to the NTCC's registration form, as well as details about each location.

There is no registration fee for the course, although you must cover your own travel, hotel, and meals.

NLM On-site: Renata Geer, M.L.S., National Center for Biotechnology Information
Donna Messersmith, Ph.D., National Center for Biotechnology Information
Regional: Kristine M. Alpi, M.L.S.. M.P.H., AHIP, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University
Ansuman Chattopadhyay, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
Jennifer Lyon, M.S., M.L.I.S., Vanderbilt University
Kevin Messner, Ph.D., M.S.L.S., University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Mark E. Minie, Ph.D., University of Washington
David Osterbur, Ph.D., M.S.L.S. , Harvard University
Diane Rein, Ph.D., M.L.I.S. , Purdue University
Michele R. Tennant, Ph.D., M.L.I.S., University of Florida

To cite this course in a journal article or on-line publication, please use the following convention:
Geer, R.C. & Messersmith, D.J. 2002. Introduction to Molecular Biology Resources. [Online] Available: [date revised Month, DD, YYYY; date cited Month DD, YYYY]

For participants who attend the course at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), visitor information and the procedure for entering the NIH campus are available from the About NIH page. Specific directions to the NLM are also available. Links to visitor information and campus maps of other course locations are provided on the upcoming courses page.

The three-day course described here is an introductory level. It replaces the original 8-hour course that was given from May 1997 - November 2001. Due to the quantity and breadth of information covered, and in response to requests from participants, the original course was expanded and revised to include additional hands-on components and coverage of additional, new key resources.

A five-day advanced course, the NCBI Advanced Workshop for Bioinformatics Information Specialists, is offered each August for full-time bioinformatics specialists based in libraries, including scientists who have been hired for these specialized positions as well as bioinformatics librarians. A science background or knowledge of molecular biology and genetics, and experience with the resources covered in the introductory course, is required for the Advanced Workshop.

For end-users with a science background, a number of educational offerings exist as well, including a one day Field Guide comprised of a three-hour lecture plus a two-hour optional hands-on computer lab, and a number of 2-hour Mini Courses on that combine lecture and hands-on experience with specialized topics such as "Identification of Disease Genes." The Field Guide, Mini Courses, and other workshops are offered at NIH as well as various locations around the country. Additional information about the those courses and others is available in the Education section of the NCBI Resource Guide.

Revised November 15, 2007           Disclaimer      Privacy statement