BIOME is a free service from the Resource Discovery Network that offers free access to an easy-to-use and searchable catalogue of high-quality Internet resources covering the health and life sciences.
The Internet holds a plethora of information and is a key source of material to support health and life science teaching and learning in Further Education. It can be, however, difficult to find high-quality and relevant materials.
A range of commercial and other search engines can help simplify the process of finding information on the Web, but many have no mechanisms to filter out unreliable information.
Unlike generic search engines, BIOME only guides you to Internet resources that have been hand selected and quality evaluated by subject and information specialists.
BIOME is for students, researchers, lecturers, teachers, and practitioners who need relevant and reliable health and life science information from the Internet.
There are six dedicated subject Gateways within BIOME each of which covers a specific area within the health and life sciences. These gateways are:
- AgriFor - covering agriculture, food, and forestry
- VetGate - covering animal health
- OMNI - covering health and medicine
- NMAP - covering nursing, midwifery, and allied health
- BioResearch - covering biological and biomedical sciences
- Natural Selection - covering the natural world
Each BIOME Gateway offers the ability to search or browse the collection by subject, which obtains more focused results than more general search engines.
Students and staff in Further Education can find a huge amount of useful information through the BIOME Gateways. At present BIOME contains over 23,000 carefully evaluated resources. New resources are added weekly and existing resources are regularly reviewed.
BIOME can be used to find online journals and magazines, software, news services, teaching and learning materials, documents and reports, organisational home pages, mailing lists, and jobs.
The BIOME Virtual Training Suite
The Virtual Training Suite is a collection of free interactive online tutorials created to help our users effectively search the Internet in their subject fields. Aimed at lecturers, students, teachers, and researchers, the Virtual Training Suites maintained by the BIOME team include:
- Internet Medic
- Internet for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting
- Internet for Allied Health
- Internet Vet
- Internet BioResearcher
- Internet for Nature
- Internet for Agriculture, Food and Forestry
- Internet for Health and Social Care
BIOME also provides ideas for using resources in learning and teaching in Further Education. RDN case studies have been prepared by experienced practitioners from the FE sector, in collaboration with BIOME, in the following areas:
- Composition and structures of DNA and RNA
- Structure and function of Dicotyledonous root tissues
- Cell Cycle and Mitosis
Health and Social Care
Agriculture and Horticulture
- Investigation into the Foot & Mouth Outbreak in 2001
- An investigation into some of the issues relating to conversion from conventional agricultural production into organic production
- Using images in assignments
- Alternative land uses case study
Each case study gives some practical ideas and suggestions for incorporating BIOME and other Internet resources into teaching and learning activities for Further Education. They also give ideas and inspiration on how further to use Internet resources in FE.
BIOME offers a range of free training materials for those involved in FE. A number of different fliers and training materials describing the service are available and BIOME also produces free Internet resource booklets that give examples of some of the many key Web sites that BIOME describes.
Any of these materials can be ordered in hardcopy from the BIOME Service or can also be downloaded from http://biome.ac.uk/about/publications.html
If you would like to tell your colleagues, students or classmates about BIOME, you can find the majority of the information in this article in our new flier, 'What BIOME can do for you: Further Education'. This will soon be available in print format and downloadable PDF.
BIOME has ongoing plans to enhance its services for Further Education and over the next year we will be developing a range of services specifically for FE. We are keen to involve students and teachers in this process. If you would like to participate then please contact the author.