Apr 28

Listen to Punk. LibPunk.

So I listened to the first LibPunk podcast and can honestly say I’ve never so enjoyed listening to libaryfolk talk about librarianating.

You can download the mp3 or listen in the embedded player below:

Sarah and Kendra have a site here: http://libpunk.info/

Here’s the Podcast feed.

Want to join in? Do!

Feb 05

HHS/FDA/CDC Social Media Tools for Consumers and Partners

New to me- and a good idea to put all of this on one page.

http://www.cdc.gov/socialmedia/

I didn’t know the CDC was on MySpace or that the FDA had a recall Twitter feed.

I decided I should definitely follow the CDC’s Twitter feed for Health Professionals, which is for “…Health Professionals interested in staying up-to-date with CDC’s interactive media activities…”

They’ve also got a widget to help consumers search for products impacted by the Peanut-Containing Product Recall (embedded below).

FDA Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak 2009. Flash Player 9 is required.

Includes:

  • Blogs
  • eMail Subscriptions
  • Health-e-Cards
  • Mobile Information
  • Online Video
  • Phone/Email
  • Podcasts
  • RSS Feeds
  • Social Networks
  • Badges for Social Networks
  • Twitter
  • Virtual Worlds
  • Web Sites
  • Widgets

Go check it out.

Hat tip: Maura Sostack

Jan 15

More About the Book

So the book is getting some attention!

Internet Cool Tools for Physicians is in Google Book Search

Stephen Francoeur made this little video:

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the MLA mentioned it on their blog.

The MLA’s Taskforce on Social Networking Software posted about it, calling it “…an accessible, illustrated and contemporary guide to online tools in medicine.”

Laika, whose blog has quickly become one of my favorite MedLib blogs, mentioned it, as did Creaky.

I’m watching WorldCat.org with interest to see which libraries are getting it (though Duke’s copy doesn’t show up yet).

Dr. Shock (MD, PhD) gave it a very nice review.

I’m lucky to count as friends people like Meredith Farkas and Michael Stephens, both of whom thought the book worthy of mention on their very popular blogs.

Gosh- Brandi blogged about it way back in August- well before it as released!

I’m pleased to see mention of it in languages other than English.

The President and CEO of Community General Hospital blogged about it.

It has gotten some buzz on Twitter.

We’re anxious to hear any feedback you have about the book- please let us know what you think….and what you think needs to be added or changed for the second edition! :)

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!

May 26

MLA 2008: Plenary Session IV Slides

David Rothman

Amanda Etches-Johnson

Melissa Rethlefsen

Bart Ragon

Aug 01

Nature Clinical Practice: Audio Articles

Here’s a really good idea.

Nature Clinical Practice is testing out the offering of unabridged (“full-text”) articles in .mp3 audio format.

Since the embeddable audio player Nature provided doesn’t work properly for me (perhaps it doesn’t get along with WordPress?), I’ve embedded an audio article below:

Editorial
Lau CS et al. (2007) Rheumatology in the Asia Pacific region—opportunities and challenges. Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology 3: 119

This might be a nice way to catch up on clinical “reading” while driving, exercising, or cooking.

Says Nature’s Helen Jaques:

We are keen to receive feedback and comments on the audio article demos, and have created an online survey so that users can tell us what they think of the concept and whether they think we should make audio articles a regular Nature Clinical Practice service across all eight journals.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=HmrVOCwMYt83SwzyKBzu6w_3d_3d

Respondents to the survey will be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win £100 of Amazon vouchers.

Jul 31

FDA Drug Safety Podcasts

The United States Food and Drug Administration has Drug Safety Podcasts available, including text transcripts for those who want them.

Not entirely comfortable with feeds yet? Subscribe to be alerted via email when new audio files are ready for download.

Thanks to Drexel for the heads-up!

Jul 12

Presentation: Social technology in health library practice and outreach

Eugene Barsky gave a presentation on Monday at Vancouver Coastal Health on social software and health libraries. As always, Eugene has generously made his presentation slides available via PDF and via Slideshare (embedded below).

I have to admit how much I enjoyed slide three…

…not only because it appears as though Eugene may have read and liked this post, but because it is flattering to see one’s own name in such good company.

Thanks as always, Eugene. :)

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,
    or
  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.

Jun 06

American Medical News on iPods in Medicine

AMN’s Pam Dolan just keeps on writing on topics that interest me. Can’t wait until I get a paper copy of AMN next week so I can read the full text of this article. (Thank you to the kind soul who sent me the full text so I didn’t have to wait a week for the hard copy.)

Capitalizing on a craze: Medicine on an MP3

The iPod has made its way into modern medicine in creative ways. Here are a few people who took advantage of a popular device and adapted it into a tool for practicing and teaching medicine.

Also be sure to check out her article on Medical Wikis.

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.

Contents

  • 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 26

Health Information and Libraries Journal on Web 2.0

hilj.png

Alan points out an article from the Health Information and Libraries Journal (UK) worth checking out (especially for those new to these technologies) that I somehow completely missed:

Maged N. Kamel Boulos, Steve Wheeler (2007)
The emerging Web 2.0 social software: an enabling suite of sociable technologies in health and health care education1
Health Information and Libraries Journal 24 (1), 2–23.
doi:10.1111/j.1471-1842.2007.00701.x

Free full text currently available:

HTML | PDF

Thank you, Alan!

Apr 18

Presentation: How Web 2.0 is Changing Medicine

Dean Giustini‘s slides from his presentation last week at the 2007 Emerging Trends in Scholarly Publishing seminar, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

Be sure to keep an eye on the Open Medicine blog Dean is going to be writing.

Apr 02

Podcast from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

I do a bunch of database administration and data analysis for our hospital’s Quality department- so this really looks interesting to me. It might also be interesting to your organization’s Quality department.

AHRQ

From the Yale School of Nursing Library Blog:

Healthcare 411 Podcasts

The Podcast audio program features current news and information from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

AHRQ’s mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. AHRQ is the lead Federal agency in the effort to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors.

Podcast topics include:

  • catheter-related infections
  • recommendations against the use of Aspirin to prevent colorectal cancer
  • searching for health information on the Web
  • antidepressants
  • off-label use of anti psychotics
  • more

How do I listen to this program?
To listen to any individual audio title, you can simply select the “Listen” button. You will need an mp3 player, a sound card and speakers. System requirements are noted on this page.

You can also read a transcript of each program.

Podcast feed: http://www.healthcare411.org/pod/ahrq.xml

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]:
phils-book.png

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]:
lib2oh.jpg

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.)

Jan 24

Follow-up: iPods for library training

Since I posted about the idea of a medical library offering iPods pre-loaded with library training materials for use while in the library, I’ve gotten three leads on such things.

Divine Instruction
Ratcatcher left a note to let me know that a comment at Michael Stephens’ Tame the Web from February of 2005 described the same idea being applied at the Duke Divinity School Library, where they placed “an iPod on Reserve checkout with library instruction, lectures, and chapel services.”

Since the librarians only work 8-5 M-F and the library is open additional hours, we decided to record some audio instructions for using a couple of our more popular (and complex) tools. We plan to add recordings of community lectures and services from our Divinity chapel services. One iPod feature that we’re excited about is the ability to speed up or slow down playback (when saved in Audiobook format) so that time-starved students can listen to a lecture at a faster rate. Conversely, our students who work with English as a second language can slow things down.

Medical Library InfoPods
Another medical librarian emailed to tell me about “InfoPod” audio tutorials offered at the Health Sciences Library at the University of Buffalo:

As a way to assist you with your information-seeking efforts, the HSL web team has developed MP3 files to deliver brief audio clips to help guide you through the HSL web site and electronic services and resources.

This service is similar to the kind of assistance the Reference Department provides routinely over the phone. Click on an “InfoPod” icon and the audio clip will “walk” you through the process.

infopods.png

Vendor-produced
It looks like EBSCO is starting to use Podcasting for marketing and promotion for medical information products and services.

They’ve got a couple of DynaMed podcasts up which are interesting. After a brief message describing DynaMed, they go over highlights from articles added to DynaMed in the previous week. (If you’re interested in these, here’s the feed to subscribe to.)

I asked a contact at EBSCO where their use of Podcasts was going, and was told:

Here’s what we’re planning for the immediate future:

  • Weekly DynaMed “new articles of interest”
  • Short interviews with key EBSCO Publishing executives on key industry topics
  • Information about upcoming interface changes
  • Possibly walk-through training sessions

Each of these could conceivably be very useful to libraryfolk, but I’m most enthusiastic about that last one: “walk-through training sessions.”

How cool would it be for the creator of the tool to provide compressed audio or video to walk the user through training in the use of the tool? (Hint: The answer is “very cool.”)