Monday, February 19, 2007

What's RNAi? (and, "What would the Pessimistic and Optimistic Librarians make it it?"

You probably know what DNA stands for, or at least heard of it. But do you know what's RNAi (yeah, with a lower-case "i")?

Thanks to this 15 min video from (via lekowala), now I know. Subsequently, diagrams like this one made more sense.

OK, I can hear my alter-ego -- the Pessimistic Librarian -- say, "Yet another point won for the Internet; one more point lost for the library". He's saying that because information was first gained from the Internet and not the library.

However, my other alter-ego -- the Optimistic Librarian (he tends to see the donut and not the hole) -- says, "Nope, it's actually points won by the Internet AND the library". This guy feels that some people will visit the library to read up more about RNAi after watching the video.

The Pessimistic Librarian would lament that its harder for the library to be the First-stop and/ or One-stop place for information. The Optimistic Librarian, on the other hand, accepts that the Internet is already the First-stop for many people (in Singapore at least). Rather than try and fight against the rising tide, the library might as well go with the flow. Being a "Last-stop" or "One-of-the-stops" was infinitely better than a "No-stop" for libraries.

The Optimistic Librarian wants to establish a greater online presence for the library. For instance, publish a webpage to talk about RNAi (so that it's Google-able), throw in a link to the video, and include a list of related books available in the library. Since we're on webpages, we might as well throw in a comment feature or an email link -- better yet, an online chat function -- in case users have further questions they'd like to ask the Optimistic Librarian.

Hmm... sounds like we just described a Blog there.

The Optimistic Librarian is also thinking of mounting a flat-screen computer monitor at one of the shelf in the library, where books on RNAi were located. The video of the video would be playing on the screen. The Optimistic Librarian hopes that watching the video would interest the casual browser to look up or borrow related books.

I asked when the Optimistic Librarian would do all that.

He says as soon as he finishes his meeting with the Procrastinating Librarian and the Rambling Librarian (the Optimistic Librarian wishes the latter would talk less and get to the point quickly, so that he can get back to real work!)


  1. Anonymous2:11 am

    thanks to one of the books in the new national library, i got a distinction for my module on agrotech :) a biotech student here :D

  2. At the library I work at, we are already using a flat touch-sensitive screen monitor, not to promote science, but to show on eof the Danish leterature pages with reviews and recommandations.

    I agree. We can't fight it, but we can add value to the Net. And use what it offers to add value to the things we already have on offer ourselves.

    /Rebekka |

  3. Hi Anonymous, congratulations! You should write in to the National Library. I'm sure they'd love to know they've contributed towards your academic achievement.

    Rebekka, I'd love to see photos of the monitor you mentioned, and how your library looks like : ) Thanks for the tip.

  4. Man bro, your post brings back memories that are more than 13 years old when I was back in Bio school. I can still remember some of these names - Ribonucleic Acid, Messenger RNAs, the enzyme transcriptase, and the base pairs of Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, Thymine and Uracil (in RNA where the U substitutes for the T) work together to create the codes for life in the chromosomes.


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