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December 7, 2004
MBLWHOI Library Part of New Biosciences Consortium Partnership
Will Promote Resource Sharing in Biodiversity, Genomics, and Bioinformatics

WOODS HOLE, MA— The MBLWHOI Library at the Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, has announced its participation in a new consortium of libraries called the Biosciences Information Synthesis Collaborative (BISC).  The partnership links several leading northeastern U.S. libraries to promote and support discovery and resource sharing in the fields of biodiversity, genomics, and bioinformatics, and to provide enhanced, reciprocal services to library users.

The MBLWHOI Library is joined in the consortium by the American Museum of Natural History Library, Rockefeller University Library, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library, LuEsther T. Mertz Library of The New York Botanical Garden, Ernst Mayr Library of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, and the Biology and Chemistry Libraries at Harvard University. 

One of the goals of the BISC is to build on the traditional sharing of information resources and move to the next level by focusing on a synthesis of the members‘ respective knowledge bases and resources.  “The potential for this group is to transcend the prescribed biological spheres that have historically defined and shaped the individual institutions,” said Catherine Norton, MBLWHOI Library Director. “It will focus on a more unified whole using the fundamentals we have in common in genetic, molecular and organismic research and the means made available by electronic processing and delivery of data and information.”

The combined resources of these BISC libraries include over five million volumes, photographs, films, unique databases, rare books, and electronic access to 10,000 journals.  Items in the consortium’s special collections range from death masks to genomic databases, seed catalogs to floristic botany—together close to two miles of archival information, according to Norton.


For more than a century, the MBLWHOI Library has been the intellectual heart of the Woods Hole scientific community. Today the Library is internationally recognized as defining current trends and practices in marine information sciences and bioinformatics. The Library, operated by Marine Biological Laboratory and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, continues to build one of the most unique print and electronic literature collections in the biological, biomedical, ecological, and oceanographic sciences. In addition to serving MBL and WHOI scientists daily, the staff and resources of the MBLWHOI Library are used year-round by the distinguished resident research and education programs of the Boston University Marine Program, the MIT/WHOI Joint Program, the Sea Education Association, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, and the United States Geological Survey. The Library also supports a unique summer population of visiting researchers and students from more than 200 institutions worldwide.