BIOME: Incorporating the OMNI Service

Lisa Gray reports on recent developments with the BIOME hub.

The Hub for Internet Resources in the Health and Life Sciences, as part of the Resource Discovery Network (

Looking for quality Internet resources in the health and life sciences?

BIOME will provide access to quality resources in agriculture, food, forestry, pharmaceutical sciences, medicine, nursing, dentistry, biological research, veterinary sciences, the natural world, botany, zoology, and much, much more...

Due to be launched in Spring 2000, BIOME will build on the experiences, skills and content of the established OMNI service, and expand to cover all areas within the health and life sciences. The BIOME hub will consist of five subject gateways, which will be cross-searchable and cross-browsable at the BIOME level, as well as retaining their own individual identities. Each gateway serves a particular community of people.

These five gateways are:

  • BioResearch - covering biological and biomedical research, including genetics, microbiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. Aimed at researchers, academics and scientists involved in biological research.
  • OMNI - covering medicine, biomedicine, allied health, health management and related topics. Aimed at clinicians, nurses and allied health professionals; the general public and patients; the drug and pharmaceutical industry; students, researchers and academics.
  • Natural Selection - covering the natural world, including plant and animal life, fossils, ecology and the environment. Aimed at anyone with a purposeful interest in the natural world: amateur enthusiasts; students and academics; researchers in botany, zoology, palaeontology, systematics and taxonomy.
  • VetGate - covering all subjects related to animal health. Aimed at veterinary surgeons, nurses and other veterinary professionals; animal health researchers, lecturers and students; producers and suppliers of veterinary goods, services and information.
  • AgriFor - covering agriculture, forestry and the food sciences. Aimed at farmers and others who grow crops or raise animals for food; the forestry community and industry; people involved in food production or the use of animals for food; academics, researchers and students; producers and suppliers of agricultural goods, services and information.

The service will be coordinated by the University of Nottingham, where OMNI is based, and will be a Hub within the Resource Discovery Network (RDN). The service will be consortium based, and OMNI is joined by a range of high profile partners and content providers from the UK health and life science sectors. These are:

  • The Natural History Museum, who will also host the Natural Selection component of the service
  • CTI Biology, at the University of Liverpool
  • The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
  • Oxford University
  • Reading University
  • BRIL - the BBSRC Research Institutes Librarians organisation
  • The Royal Free Hospital

These partners will bring invaluable subject-based skills, expertise and profile, and are already participating in the development of BIOME.

Content of the five gateways will be added by specialist staff at the partner institutions who will provide descriptions of Internet resources across all the subject areas covered by BIOME. In addition, a number of paid and volunteer staff will also provide content to the gateways. BIOME will ensure the quality of the resources made available and employ rigorous evaluation criteria and quality control mechanisms across the hub. If you are interested in submitting resources to BIOME or making suggestions for resources to be included please contact the general enquiries email address listed below.

BIOME will offer several different types of services:

  1. Catalogues of Internet resource descriptions that can be searched or browsed individually or across the five subject gateways.
  2. Hosting of databases, collections of data and mirrors of appropriate resources (for example OMNI already hosts the CME database and the DERWEB image description catalogue).
  3. Outreach and training activities to support the use of BIOME and the Resource Discovery Network.

If you have any questions or queries about BIOME, or would be interested in working with us, you can contact us at:

Greenfield Medical Library
Queens Medical Centre

Phone: (+44) 115 9249924 x 42788
Fax: (+44) 115 9709449
General enquiries:

A discussion list has also been set up at the Mailbase service, for announcements and discussion about BIOME. Please see for details.

Editor Details

  Lisa Gray
OMNI/BIOME Team Manager
Greenfield Medical Library
Queens Medical Centre

Web site:


Date published: 
Tuesday, 21 December 1999
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