Oct 10

A Call for Change (Jill Hurst-Wahl)

Hey libraryfolk.

It’s been more than 3 years since I worked in a library.

I don’t live in my feed aggregator any more and I don’t often read liblogs/biblioblogs.

I was lucky to have run into Jill Hurst-Wahl yesterday, though (we both live in Syracuse, but rarely cross paths)- and she mentioned this post to me. It’s good and I think the profession would benefit from thinking on it. Please read it. If you see why I think it is important, please share it and link to it.


Nov 06

UNYOC (CE slides) and NYLA Tomorrow

My apologies to the awfully nice folks who attended the CE course I taught at UNYOC a couple of weeks ago! I’ve taken far too long to get these slides posted:

Also: I’ll be on a panel at NYLA tomorrow (Friday, 11/6/2008) afternoon at 4:00 PM- please say hello if you’re going to be there! As usual at these sorts of things, I’ll know almost nobody. But hey- I might get to meet Polly Farrington!

Jun 03

Three Suggestions for the MLA: Inexpensive Web Projects

At the AMA’s Medical Communications Conference, I insisted to a communications professional from a state professional association that professional associations needed to take advantage of social Web technologies and utilize them to the benefit of their members.

When pressed to explain WHY professional associations should do this, I said that those professional associations who don’t adopt these technologies will find that their members (and potential members) will use these technologies (without assistance from their professional associations) to organize without organizationsI haven’t read this book yet, but I love the title and urge you to please send me a copy.. Where will the professional associations be left when that happens?

With that in mind, here are some projects I’d love to see the MLA pursue.

1. Stop publishing books on dead trees

As I understand it, books published by the MLA are generally written by uncompensated MLA members, edited by uncompensated MLA members, and selected for publication by a committee of uncompensated MLA members. The selling of these books does not raise much (if any) money for the MLA.

Since this book publishing makes no money and the MLA members are okay with donating their time, why not post the book content online in the members-only section of MLAnet and make access to them a benefit of membership? The cost of providing this content would be reduced for the MLA and the content itself would become available to (and searchable by) all members of the MLA, regardless of their institutions’ book budgets. If any members just HAVE to have an MLA book on paper, MLA can make them available for order via Lulu, shifting the cost of print copies exclusively to the reader.

2. Make an “open source” resource to compete with Doody’s Core Titles

Alan Fricker was the first person who put this idea in my head.

Know who writes reviews for Doody’s without compensation? Largely MLA members.

Know who makes the decision to include access to DCT in their budgets? MLA members.

Why couldn’t the MLA offer a platform that accomplishes the same thing as DCT and invite all of the Doody reviewers to instead review for the MLA? The argument for both librarians and other clinical professionals would be that, if the resource is made available to all MLA members as a benefit of membership, everyone’s libraries can be better-informed and reallocate the money that used to be spent on DCT towards other needs.

Perhaps a (free) Pligg installation in the members-only section of MLAnet would do the trick?

3. Create a hedges and filters wiki

A handful of people I know have spent a good bit of time trying to convince me that librarians sometimes actually prefer to hoard their expertise and would be unwilling to share the hedges and filters they’ve spent time developing and perfecting. I prefer to hope that hoarding is on its way out and that the better model of unrestrained sharing will completely supplant it. With copy-and-paste ease, it’d be a pretty easy kind of wiki for librarians to contribute to- and the usefulness to working librarians (and to those who train new librarians) would be enormous.

Your turn!

These are just three ideas. Are they bad ideas? What else would be a good Web project for the MLA to take on? Let me know in the comments?

Mar 13

“Practicality vs. Theory: Are we Preparing Health Sciences Librarians?”

This looks like an interesting project. If you’re a New(ish) health sciences librarian, consider taking this survey? Results will be presented at MLA 2008 in May.

Practicality vs. Theory: Are we Preparing Health Sciences Librarians?

Click here to take the ‘Practicality vs. Theory’ Survey!

As new librarians in the Health Sciences field, Ivonne Martinez and Michele Malloy (Dahlgren Library, Georgetown University Medical Center) discussed the correlation between courses offered within MLS programs and the job duties included in everyday Health Sciences library work. At the MLA 2008 annual meeting we will present a paper entitled ‘Practicality vs. Theory: Are we Preparing Health Sciences Librarians?’, and are asking for your participation. We are seeking newly graduated librarians (within the past 5 years) from ALA accredited programs who are now holding professional positions in Health Sciences within the United States.

The application of information technology has changed the nature of library services and continues to change the tasks of library personnel. It is our objective to explore, from the perspective of recent graduates, the job market practicality of their education. To measure the efficacy of library schools’ current curriculum, we will conduct a survey to measure the impact of our education system on our ability to perform library functions. Survey questions will directly address coursework and job tasks to discover possible correlations and suggest improvements to future library school programs.

Michele and Ivonne thank you in advance for your participation. The survey should take 5-8 minutes to complete. If you have any questions or comments please direct them to PracticalityvsTheory@gmail.com.

Click here to take the ‘Practicality vs. Theory’ Survey!

Mar 05

Webcast Rehearsal, 3/4/2008

Photos from rehearsal for the Webcast:

Dale Prince really likes his iPhone. So do I, actually.

What may not be immediately obvious to those who have not met him is that Bart actually has a halo that is visible in person.

Michelle agrees with me that Dale rocks.
Aug 17

Mark Wentz: The Ballad of Mayo Libraries 2.0

I’ve mentioned previously that Mayo Libraries are doing a Learning 2.0 program. One of the participants, Mark Wentz, recently wrote The Ballad of Mayo Libraries 2.0 and has kindly allowed me to post it here. Love it!

(To the melody of Paul Henning’s “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.”)

Come learn about Libraries 2.0
Chock full of things a person oughta’ know
Learn about things you thought could never be
Then use ’em as you advance technologically
(Web, that is. Google. Internet.)

Next thing you know well you’re building up a blog
RSS so your time doesn’t get a clog
Sharing information for ev’ryone to see
Adding a link to a rockin’ new wiki
(Easy, it is. Collaborate. Info share!)

We’ve just started and the fun has just begun
We’ll learn much more before this project’s done
When we’re finished our tracking log we’ll send
And hope to win the techie prize they promised at the end
( Y’all IM back now, ya hear?)

Thanks, Mark!

Jul 10

On Medical Librarianship Blogs

So I get to give a talk next week at the Mayo Clinic in (Rochester, MN) as a part of Mayo Libraries 2.0.

I’ve been working on my notes and I think I’ve got everything covered that I need to, but I’m wondering if perhaps you have any thoughts to share?


  • What do you think are the must-read blogs for a medical librarian? What do you get from reading them?
  • What are the most popular misconceptions about blogs?
  • What makes a good blog…good?
  • What’s the stuff that other presentations about biblioblogs sometimes miss?

Please leave comments or email me? Thanks!

Jul 04

The Future of the Hospital Librarian

I saw some interesting comments on MEDLIB-L not too long ago:

“I do not think MLA, HLS, its officers, certainly not academic medical center librarians, understand that hospital libraries have ten years of life left,” writes the anonymous commenter. The commenter appears to hear the Joint Commission and others saying, “Let technology provide us with the information we need,” instead of relying on librarians.

The commenter continues:

How many IT people you know who use libraries? I know one PhD student who is excited that some paper she has written has been asked to be published in some obscure “journal” in the IT field. Frightening! Down right scary. I am old enough to be leaving the work where the techie future picture is not a pretty one for me. Where idiots with ear plugs and i-pods think they know what life is about. God save us, everyone.

This post is a reply to the anonymous commenter (who I’ll call “Nonnie”) and those who share his/her views. I can’t promise that my views will be the same in six months, but this is how I’m thinking lately.

Nonnie, I think you’re absolutely right about one thing: Hospital libraries as we know them may not exist in a decade or two. However, I don’t see this in the same dark way that you appear to. I think they’ll still exist, but will be significantly different.

As I see it, the job of the hospital librarian has been primarily to utilize expertise in the application of information tools to either:

  1. Find and/or evaluate health information for clinicians,
  2. assist clinicians in the use of tools for finding and/or evaluating health information,
  3. teach clinicians how to use the tools effectively so that they can find and/or evaluate health information for themselves.

What’s changing now at an incredibly quick pace is only the tools themselves as they become increasingly digital. The mission and the role are exactly the same.

The question becomes: How do hospital librarians set about to manage this change and continue to be invaluable to a hospital?

First: The hospital librarian must recognize that this challenge is NOT unique to hospital libraries (or libraries generally)

This very same kind of change is having its way with a LOT of other professions.

Putting aside the way information technologies are transforming other kinds of industries, lets look at a few changes just in healthcare:

  • Physicians are faced with CPOE in hospitals and increasing pressure to implement EMRs in their own practices.
  • Hospital nurses are transitioning to EMRs that manage nursing workflow and make patient charts completely digital. Drugs are frequently dispensed from stations that are really networked computers. Computer literacy is quickly becoming a requirement of the nursing profession.
  • Hospital Environmental Services Departments now have to manage their own databases of Material Safety Data Sheets.
  • Hospital HR departments have to care about the export formats of their HR software and whether their chosen carriers can parse their export files. Time clocks are almost entirely computerized and someone in HR has to be a systems admin.
  • Hospital Staff Development departments have to manage and record in-service activities digitally.
  • Hospital foundations and development offices absolutely must utilize one of several donor/donation database management software options.
  • Account management and patient financial management have been transformed by computers and communications with insurance carriers are largely on-line now.
  • Many hospitals are utilizing sophisticated software to help manage their purchasing and inventory with more efficiency and at lower costs.
  • How about the variety of kinds of systems issues faced by Health Information Management departments? Imagine what changes they’re facing as hospitals convert to EMRs.
  • How about the challenges faced by Radiology departments as they must become masters of PACS systems?

Where computers used to support healthcare, they’re now essential, elemental parts of it.

Hospital librarians need to let go of the idea that the challenge they face is unique (or even unusual) and get on with learning the new skills. This profession is not a special sort of victim and dealing with technological change shouldn’t be new to librarians. When my mentor first had to learn to put the telephone handset into a special cradle to dial up a distant computer and execute queries with a highly specialized syntax, I don’t think she complained about having to learn these new skills. I think she was excited about what this new technology could do for her library. It is now our turn to get excited about what new technologies can do for our libraries. Hospital libraries should be the first department facing and mastering these challenges so that they can help departments that aren’t so fortunate as to be staffed with information professionals.

Second: The hospital librarian must become a technologist

Wait! Come back! It isn’t as scary or difficult as it sounds!

“Nonnie” seems to say that a lot of IS staffers aren’t any good at using information tools. I see some truth in this generalization. Some IS professionals I’ve met in the last seven years or so are a little like auto mechanics who don’t know how to drive. (That’s okay, by the way. Their jobs don’t require them to be experts at using or teaching particular applications.) But here’s the thing: I think that as the tools of health information management (HIM) and health librarianship become increasingly digital, the hospital departments of IS, HIM and Library Services will be strongly tied to each other, overseen by a common person in senior management (probably the CIO)Tangent: I also think that in 15 or 20 years a person with an MSLIS degree would make an excellent hospital CIO.. But since so many IS people are like mechanics who don’t know how to drive, it’ll be the role of librarians to be expert drivers and driving instructors. In my experience, librarians are frequently the best possible advocates for the needs of a hospital’s technology users. In our hospital, the library teaches computer orientation classes, teaches classes on using various computer applications (including our EMR), writes user documentation and makes house calls throughout the hospital to help users solve their computer problems. Not only do I think this will be a growing trend, I think it is a trend hospital libraries should embrace. We’re already expert at teaching people how to use information tools- who could be better equipped to perform this essential function?

At this point, some readers are wondering what about this makes the librarian a technologist. Short answer: You don’t have to be a programmer to be a technologist. Someone who is expert in using these computer tools and can teach others to use them is a technologist. There’s been a growing trend for years now in which programmers develop tools to let people who don’t know how to code (but who can understand a little bit about programming conceptually) make new applications without ever writing a lick of code. I’ve seen people who know very little about (X)HTML make useful Web pages with a WYSIWYG editor like Dreamweaver or Google Page Creator. Tools like Pipes, Popfly and Dapper (among many others) are letting users who understand the ideas make new and useful tools.

This is the reason why the famous librarian advocates of “social software”Check out everything Meredith Farkas writes, especially her new book. and “Web 2.0”Phil Bradley’s new book is an excellent, painless introduction to “Web 2.0”- it is a shame that the outrageous price they’re charging for it ($125.00!) will prevent many from purchasing a copy. or “Library 2.0”I haven’t had a chance to read Casey and Savastinuk’s new book yet- but I will. are constantly on about these technologies! They can be used to enhance your library’s services at little cost- and if you were able to earn an MLS, they are easily within your ability to learn.

Third: Hospital librarians need to change the way they talk about technology and the way they talk with technologists

Communicating with IS professionals
The best thing about being a power user (expert driver) of technologies is that you are better able to communicate effectively with IS professionals. I’ve known a lot of geeks and am even related to a couple. In my experience, the vast majority of IS professionals are incredibly generous with their knowledge and expertise when you’re willing to make the effort to meet them halfway.

When I was working as a Business Systems Analyst for a benefits data management company, I was expected to use the graphical user interface (GUI) that most other BSA’s did to get information from our databases. It didn’t take long for me to grow frustrated with the GUI’s limitations and envy the programmers for their ability to write queries which fetched exactly the information they wanted at incredible speeds. I asked a couple of the programmers what it would take for me to learn to do that. They look surprised, but were incredibly helpful in finding me some good tutorials and loaning me a good book on the topic. When I came back to them after that with questions about our company’s data model or how to accomplish a particular task, they were incredibly generous and patient, taking huge amounts of time to make sure I walked away knowing how to fish, not just with a fish in hand. They patiently explained how they structured the logic of their programs, and when I did or said something stupid, they were kind and gentle in explaining my mistake to me. Not once did they become exasperated with my questions. Not a single time.

Why were they so helpful? Partially because they were good at what they did and enjoyed sharing their expertise with someone who was genuinely interested. More importantly, they were investing in me. My understanding these things better made me easier to work with. Once they had taught me to speak a few words of “Geek,” I could explain problems I was seeing in a vocabulary that made sense to them and helped us communicate efficiently. With the knowledge they had invested in me, I was better able to help other non-programmers I worked with appreciate the challenges the programmers faced. In my experience, this sort of IS professional isn’t the exception- they’re the norm. They’ll help you- you just have to make the sincere effort to meet them halfway.

Writing about technology
Libraryfolk who write about technology need to stay caught up on how technologists write about technology and use a common vocabulary. This is essential for two reasons. First, so that libraryfolk who read LIS literature about technology can use it as a springboard to explore the larger body of technology literature outside of LIS circles. Second, so that IS professionals can be effectively shown that libraryfolk can keep up with the conversation and can make valuable contributions about the way technologies should work. If we don’t speak a common language (or at least share some vocabulary), we’ll just keep talking past each other.

Engaging with technologists outside of libraries
While we’re talking about technology, we have to be careful about how we present ourselves to technology powers. I don’t think it is advisable to tell Google they’ve lost the respect of medical librarians.Rachel, will this post suffice? Frankly, Google doesn’t have to give a rat’s whisker what medical librarians think of it. Instead of giving the impression that we’re emotionally hurt by being left out of the rush to create quality online health information search services, we should be demonstrating what medical librarians can contribute to that efforts as the only professionals on the planet whose job it is to find and evaluate health information.

I know for a fact that there are a lot of medical librarians who are truly expert in seeking health information online, but so few of them are making their voices heard! One of the reasons my respect for Dean Giustini continues to grow (despite the fact that we frequently disagree) is that he makes his voice heard to technology powerhouses. Medical librarians who are expert in online searching need to demonstrate this expertise outside of the LIS community and directly in front of search professionals. Submit articles to technology journals and magazines! Submit them to medical journals (as Dean has to BMJ)!

If the value of the profession is under-rated, I think it may be partially because medical libraryfolk spend too much time talking only to each other.

Fourth: Hospital librarians must accept the reality that their work requires constant learning and development of new skills

“Nonnie” wrote:

I am old enough to be leaving the work where the techie future picture is not a pretty one for me. Where idiots with ear plugs and i-pods think they know what life is about. God save us, everyone.

The problem “Nonnie” illustrates here isn’t the changing workplace- it is the unchanging librarian.

We’re in an age where virtually no professional career path can accommodate someone who finds stagnation of skills acceptable. The UPS driver who balks at the the new tablet computer he’s required to use is silly enough, but this is so much sillier to see in an information professional. Insulting the “idiots with ear plugs and i-pods” is as ridiculous as bemoaning the demise of the card catalog, the horse-drawn carriage and the telegraph. The digitization of information tools is as inevitable as microfilm and microfiche once were, and for similar economic reasons. Librarians are already being faced with the decision to either grow their technology skills or take early retirement.See American Libraries item: Digital Transition Brings Changes to LC’s Workforce This isn’t temporary and the rate of change isn’t likely to slow down any time soon. Instead of mocking iPod users, why not explore the many ways this technology might be used to enhance or expand your library’s services?How can iPods and podcasting be leveraged in medical libraries? Here are a few examples: 1, 2, 3, 4

I think this is both the longest and most opinionated thing I’ve posted here. I’d be really grateful to hear your thoughts (good, bad or ugly) in the comments.

May 31

Disagreeing with a PubMed Instructor about MeSH

Rachel (at Women’s Health News) wrote yesterday about her week-long course in biomedical informatics in a post wonderfully titiled “Dispatches from Nerd Camp.” She writes:

…our PubMed instructor declared, “I’m over the whole MeSH thing,” in the context of explaining that she thinks it’s completely unnecessary to know about and too hard to use.


The instructor suggested that keyword searching is always just fine because it will map to MeSH anyway. This is often true. However, I did a keyword search on “HRT” (a popular topic that most adult humans would understand) and discovered that this does not map to the “Hormone Replacement Therapy” MeSH, and returns a pretty poor set of search results. Discuss.

[My emphases]

Rachel’s instructor is right that using MeSH effectively can be difficult, but many good and useful things are not immediately easy, so I’d categorically dismiss this as a legitimate reason to be “over MeSH.”

The other reasoning that Rachel reports was presented by the instructor is that “keyword searching is always just fine because it will map to MeSH anyway.”

But as Rachel points out, it isn’t always just fine. Sometimes, it is downright inadequate.

Where PubMed fails to map
Check out the search that Rachel describes, searching for HRT in PubMed. Because PubMed doesn’t map HRT to the appropriate MeSH term, it defaults to a keyword search, producing a number of hits in the first 20 results that really aren’t about hormone replacement therapy. So it seems clear that Rachel’s instructor overestimates how effective PubMed’s automatic mapping to MeSH terms is. (I’m not faulting PubMed for this- this mapping must be incredible work to maintain and update.)

“Unnecessary to know about?”
For a moment, we’ll embrace as true the premise that PubMed usually maps as we’d like and reveals the results we’re looking for. If we don’t know how to utilize MeSH, how will we get what we need on the occasions where PubMed doesn’t do this?

Improving Keyword Searching in PubMed
That isn’t to say that keyword searching couldn’t be made much more effective in PubMed. Try searching for “HRT” (without the quotes) at ReleMed and page through the first 25 hits (I stopped at 25), you’ll find they’re all about hormone replacement therapy, despite the fact that the NLM hasn’t mapped “HRT” to the relevant MeSH term(s). ReleMed does two things that are awesome. First, it uses UMLS to translate “HRT” into (hormone replacement therapy) OR (hormone replacement therapies) OR hrt OR (hormone replacement rx)I’d rather it left the “OR hrt” out of the search, but I’m just impressed with ReleMed’s translation compared with PubMed’s mapping (or failure to map).

Secondly, it intelligently sorts the results by relevance (details here).

I hope that the NLM will either buy the technology from ReleMed or develop a similar capability to do the same thing in PubMed, something like this:

(Previously suggested here).

MeSH + PubMed = Best possible results
Even so, the ReleMed search for HRT still isn’t as effective as executing a search in PubMed like “hormone replacement therapy”[majr]

Over MeSH?
No. Not by a long shot- and I wouldn’t want a medical librarian who found MeSH “too hard to use” doing literature searches for our library’s patrons. Our clinical patrons need and deserve the best possible results we can deliver and that takes an understanding of MeSH. MeSH is necessary, it is not too hard to use, and keyword-to-MeSH mapping doesn’t always work as we’d hope.

Unless I’m wrong
This seems pretty clear to me, but I’ve only been working in a medical library for less than two years. I’d love to hear more experienced medical libraryfolk weigh in on the topic. Please consider leaving a comment or blogging about it yourself.

May 04

Bibliotherapy: Reading and Health


Reading, The Healthy Option

Wednesday 18th April 2007 , Birmingham

A one day conference for anyone interested in the links between reading activites and health. Presentations will include Get into Reading, RAYs (Reading and You), Books on Prescription, reading groups and other bibliotherapy projects and activities.

Check out some of the really interesting presentation materials.

May 03

Medical Librarian 2.0

Now available for order from Haworth Press:

Medical Librarian 2.0: Use of Web 2.0 Technologies in Reference Services
Edited by M. Sandra Wood, MLS, MBA, AHIP, FMLA

Interesting, I think, that the experts sought out to write about Web technologies are disproportionately bloggers and/or people you’ve read about online.

Alexia Estabrook and I co-authored the chapter on RSS. The chapter on mashups is written by Michelle Kraft. The chapter on Wikis is by Mary Chimato (formerly of Medlibrarian.net, now making waves at Circ and Serve). The chapter on social networking is written by Five Weeks to a Social Library instructor Melissa Rethlefsen.


  • Introduction (M. Sandra Wood)
  • Library 2.0: An Overview (Elizabeth Connor)
  • Virtual Reference Services for the Academic Health Sciences Librarian 2.0 (Ana D. Cleveland and Jodi L. Philbrick)
  • Applications of RSS in Health Sciences Libraries (Alexia D. Estabrook and David L. Rothman)
  • P.O.D. Principles: Producing, Organizing, and Distributing Podcasts in Health Sciences Libraries and Education (Nadine Ellero, Ryan Looney, and Bart Ragon)
  • Streams of Consciousness: Streaming Video in Health Sciences Libraries (Nancy T. Lombardo, Sharon E. Dennis, and Derek Cowan)
  • Social Networking (Melissa L. Rethlefsen)
  • Content Management and Web 2.0 with Drupal (Chad M. Fennell)
  • It’s a Wiki Wiki World (Mary Carmen Chimato)
  • Mashing Up the Internet (Michelle A. Kraft)
  • Index
  • Reference Notes Included
Apr 18

Visit to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medical Libraries

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was visiting NYC and asked for suggestions of libraries to visit. Kaura Gale, an awfully nice medical librarian at the Seymour J. Phillips Health Sciences Library of Beth Israel Medical Center, said Memorial Sloan-Kettering libraries were really worth seeing and that their director was very friendly.

I emailed Director of Library Services JoAnne Sparks, and heard back from her very quickly that she’d be out of town, but that she’d ask Vlad Makarov to expect me. She mentioned that Vlad was MSK’s programmer and an S.U. Alum.

Due to an unexpectedly smooth trip (NO problems with the flight or airports- it was really weird), I had lots of time to kill and wandered over to MSK much earlier than expected and chatted with Karenann Jurecki for a while. Vlad came by and we went out to lunch, and I was a very happy person to be chatting about library school, medical libraries and Web geekery with two medical librarians.

To say that Vlad is very smart would be an understatement of terrible proportions. Check out his CV: THREE masters degrees and an MD. When I grow up, I sort of want to be Vlad (though I’ll never earn an MD).

Vlad Makarov

Vlad and Karenann showed me MSK’s CyberLibrary Cafe. With a coffee shop, cafe tables, desktops (PCs and Macs!)

Coffee shop with cafe tables

Wider view with carrels and Librarian’s desk

Librarian Julie Fernandes at the CyberLibrary Desk

Carrels have Macs!
Carrels have Macs!

Laptop cabinet Mac notebook
Cabinet full of Laptops…including Macs! Cabinets keep notebook charged and run Deep Freeze overnight. Users check out laptop by trading their Employee ID for it.

The library serves a pretty wide variety of patrons and the staff (12 degreed librarians, no paraprofessionals) manages what looked to me like a great number of ILL requests in an incredibly efficient manner using custom tools Vlad built. For detail on some of these tools, see this PDF of Vlad’s presentation slides on the topic.

The best thing about my visit to MSK, though, was how incredibly warm, helpful, accommodating and generous everyone there was.

Many, many thanks to JoAnne, Karenann, Vlad and Julie for the above-and-beyond kindness. It was a real treat for me- and I’m very grateful.

Next planned visit to a medical library:
Melissa Rethlefsen (Education Technology Librarian at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine) says she’ll show me around the Mayo Clinic’s libraries when I visit Minnesota in July! How cool is it that these medical librarians all seem to be so welcoming and generous with their time? Very, very cool.

Feb 27

Books I Must Have

I’m not the first to blog about these and I certainly won’t be the last, but I wanted to say a few brief “me too’s”:

I’m going to order Social Software in Libraries

…and not just because Meredith mentions LibWorm in Chapter Three, either! I’m going to order it because Meredith’s writings on technology (at both her own blog and at TechEssence) are smart, clear and practical- and they don’t leave out the human element. I expect her book will have similar qualities.

I won’t go so far as to recommend that others purchase a book that I haven’t myself yet read, but I will say that I am definitely ordering my copy the instant I can.[1]. [Other biblioblog chatter about this book]

I will also need to buy a copy of Phil Bradley’s new book, How to Use Web 2.0 in Your Library[2]:

Like Meredith’s book, Phil’s has a companion Web site, and also mentions LibWorm (curiously, also in Chapter Three). I subscribe to Phil’s blog and routinely learn new things from him, so I can’t be without this book. I just hope it gets published in the States, too- the exchange rates from Pound to Dollar and shipping from the U.K. are probably going to be painful.

Lastly, I’m going to order a copy of this book [3]:

While I don’t yet have any indication that it mentions LibWorm ( 😉 ) and I’m still not yet wholly comfortable with the term “Library 2.0”, everything I’ve read that Casey and/or Savastinuk have written on the topic has been thought-provoking, required reading. I wouldn’t miss getting my own copy for any reason. [Other biblioblog chatter about this book]

If I read German, I’d also want a copy of this book by Oliver Obst.

[1] – It goes without saying that if Meredith wants to send me a copy, I will of course devour it and write a detailed review.

[2] – Naturally, the same offer is extended to Phil.

[3] – Ditto for Michael and Laura.

I’d also be willing to write a review for a publication if it means I get to keep a copy of any of these.

(I’m subtle, huh? My subtlety is inversely proportionate to my budget for discretionary spending.)

Feb 06

Amanda Etches-Johnson on “Health Library 2.0”

Amanda Etches-Johnson recently posted about the presentation that she gave on “Heath Library 2.0” at the OLA Superconference at the invitation of the OHLA, and included a link to a PDF of her presentation slides.

She made great choices about what tools and technologies to highlight and how.

Amanda also says very nice things about me that I don’t deserve, but enjoy reading anyway. 🙂

Jan 26

New JMLA Case Study posted

If you’re a medical librarian in training (or if you teach medical librarians in training), you can’t miss this.

Walden RR, Jerome RN, Miller RS. Utilizing case reports to build awareness of rare complications in critical care. J Med Libr Assoc 2007 Jan;95(1):3-8.

“As the second installment in the JMLA’s new case study column, this issue’s case considers the role of the librarian in addressing a complex clinical question that requires extracting relevant evidence when the literature is almost exclusively limited to case reports. This case study also tackles the challenge of identifying an effective strategy for organizing and presenting case report details to answer a clinical question.”

There’ll be additional notes and discussion at the column’s blog.

Jan 22

Online Behavior and Real Life Effects

The Hedgehog Librarian (who subscribes to more listservs than I do) has an interesting post on managing one’s online identity, and rightly points out that what one does online does (and should) matter to one’s reputation and career.

Particularly in the small profession of library science, where we do all know each other, people network and remember. An insult or slur goes much further online than it can in person because now there’s an archive of it.

…I understand the frustration…but not the tone. Do you think I won’t remember when you insult a librarian younger or older than you? Do you think I won’t remember when you verbally attacked another person? Do you think your name won’t trigger a warning bell if I ever see your resume? I think of it less as personal bias than professional preservation.

It is a good reminder that what one writes in blogs, leaves as comments, or writes to listservs is a permanent part of one’s professional reputation.

[Read the whole post here]

Nov 27

LibWorm Updates

I should first share my thanks and Frankie’s for the lovely response we’ve had to LibWorm so far. Just a few notes on recent developments:

  • I recently discovered that Kevin at Yezbick.com made a LibWorm search add-on for Firefox or IE7 that’ll let you search LibWorm from your browser’s search bar!

    To install it, you can visit Kevin’s page or click here.

  • If you use Digg.com and dig LibWorm, remember to Digg LibWorm!
  • Want to keep up with news about LibWorm without having to read posts at davidrothman.net about other things? Subscribe to this feed, which will contain just items about LibWorm
  • We’ve already received a great number of new feeds suggested to be added to LibWorm. Except where the URL provided was bad or not a feed, we’re adding ’em all in. At this point, we can’t promise a turn-around time (how much time elapses between the submission of the )feed and its inclusion in LibWorm), but it should be pretty quick.
  • We’ve gotten some really great suggestions of Subjects to add (like “Reader’s advisory”- I could kick myself for not thinking of it) that we’re going to be implementing shortly. Thanks for these ideas- please keep ’em coming!
  • We’ve received several other really good ideas that we’re still working out how to apply, but I’ll announce when they are up and running.

I need to especially thank Marjolein Hoekstra for providing really thoughtful and detailed feedback that will doubtless help shape LibWorm’s future development. Thanks, Marjolein! (Marjolein writes about RSS and other fun stuff at her blog, CleverClogs. She writes from the perspective of a user, but with the comprehension of a geek. I highly recommend subscribing to her feed.)

Thanks again, and please keep the ideas coming!

Nov 25

LibWorm: Search and Current Awareness for Libraryfolk

I am very bad at keeping secret anything that I’m excited about, so I am especially pleased that in the last three months, I’ve been able to keep the secret of LibWorm.com, created by MedWorm‘s Frankie Dolan and by me.

  • With LibWorm, you can search over 1100 feeds, including more than 800 biblioblogs, many LIS journal TOCs, and many other information sources of interest to libraryfolk.
  • Any search in LibWorm can be outputted as an RSS feed, so LibWorm should be a very useful way to track mentions of your favorite subjects in the biblioblogosphere and beyond.
  • You can choose to use LibWorm’s built-in aggregator by registering for an account, and this will also facilitate the social aspects of the site that will be implemented in the future.

You can go check it out now, and you may wish to read the FAQ.

Questions? Suggestions? Critiques? Compliments? Please use the contact form at LibWorm (beneath the FAQ) or email me at david[AT]libworm[dot]com. I’ll probably be answering questions about it here in posts at davidrothman.net. We’ve been working on this since mid-September, and we’re very excited to roll it out for you to play with.

If you like it, please feel free to spread the word. If you don’t like it, be sure to tell us what we can do to make it better.