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Researcher Tools, Services and Support

The purpose of this guide is to provide resources and information to the UMass Medical School community about the Library's research and scholarly communication services.

NCBI Databases

The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. 

Popular NCBI Databases:

    • BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) compares nucleotide or protein sequences to sequence databases and calculates the statistical significance of matches. BLAST can be used to infer functional and evolutionary relationships between sequences as well as help identify members of gene families.


    • Entrez Gene is a searchable database of genes, from RefSeq genomes, and defined by sequence and/or located in the NCBI Map Viewer.


    • Nucleotide is a collection of sequences from several sources, including GenBank, RefSeq, TPA and PDB. Genome, gene and transcript sequence data provide the foundation for biomedical research and discovery.


    • Protein database is a collection of sequences from several sources, including translations from annotated coding regions in GenBank, RefSeq and TPA, as well as records from SwissProt, PIR, PRF, and PDB. Protein sequences are the fundamental determinants of biological structure and function.


    • PubMed is a bibliographic database of more than 19 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.

The power of NCBI's resources is found in their relationship to one another, as most are linked together, providing a comprehensive toolkit for researchers in biomedicine. Online tutorials and help are available at each site, and a nice collection of tutorials can be found on NCBI's YouTube channel.

Need a brief refresher on the sciences behind biotechnology? Check out NCBI's Science Primer site covering topics from bioinformatics to microarray technology to pharmacogenomics.

Other help and tutorials can be found on the NCBI Tutorials website.

NLM Technical Bulletin

The weekly update of technical news from the National Library of Medicine. You'll find previews of coming changes to databases, tips on tools, and more.

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NCBI Tutorials

NCBI has launched a YouTube Channel for video tutorials about their resources. It's just starting out, but will grow over time. Here's a sample:

NCBI Primer

Looking for a recent primer on the different databases available from NCBI? Here's an article that you might find useful:

Hands-On Exercises

Hand-outs from the NCBI Workshop Discovery classes, giving step-by-step, guided exercises to better understand how to use the resources available.