Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Ovid Making Some Changes

I just got an email from Ovid stating..

"Ovid is working on significant enhancements to our AutoAlerts feature. In early December we will introduce a new graphic look for the AutoAlerts and Saved Searches screens. At that time, users will notice changes such as streamlined presentation and new icons for current functions such as editing Saved Searches and AutoAlerts. No new functionality will be introduced at this time; however, these screen design changes will lay the groundwork for new features and functionality that will be introduced in 2005."

I am interested in knowing more about this new look and what their new features will be in 2005. At least I theoretically don't have long to wait for results.

What I would really like to see is HTML email. As far as I can tell (and I could be wrong) Ovid does not offer HTML emailing of results. Why is this important to me? PubMed already offers HTML (or text only) emailing of results. The nice thing about this is when you email the citations to patrons they are able to see the citation, the abstract, and they are able to click on the full text link on the record and be immediately connected to the full text of the article. (Assuming you own that article full text, but that is another issue.) Our users can get results at the click of a mouse.

unfortunately with Ovid's text only email, you do only get the citation and abstract information. The web links to the full text are not sent through. It is more difficult and time consuming to access the full text of the article from a list of citations that don't contain the full text link. Your users would have to look at the email then open up a separate window to search for the online article. Getting the full text of an article from a Ovid citation is a multi step process when it should no longer have to be.

I hope this is a change that Ovid is making and I look forward to seeing what changes they have made and how it will help us and our users.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Google Scholar...some articles

Here are some articles on Google Scholar.

Payne, Doug. Google Scholar welcomed: New academic search service is
applauded but librarians, academics have some reservations.

Quint, Barbara. Google Scholar Focuses on Research-Quality Content.

A blog from a student on Google Scholar

Read, enjoy, and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Patients Finding Health Information

I am in the working on a presentation regarding health information resources for non-medical libraries and I have been doing a little research and came across an interesting statistic.

"Only 36% of adults, according to a National Council study (1998, p.2), now cite doctors as their primary health and medical information source. In one year alone, 1998, some 60 million adults were estimated by a Harris Poll (1999) to have searched the Internet for healthcare information. In 1999, at least 20,000 Web sites dedicated to health topics were available (Baxell, 1999, p.2)." -Reference Services Review v28 (1) 2000, 81-94.

Wow that is a lot of web sites and that is a huge number of searchers of health information, and those numbers are about 5 years old. I can only speculate that given the use of the internet has increased and that health information searches have increased. Add to that the rapidly changing health care situation in the United States and you have got a lot of people searching for medical information. What is startling is that a small percentage seem to use their doctor as their primary health source. I am wondering what percentage even consult their doctor or a healthcare professional with internet revelations.

So you would think this increase in Internet usage for health information has led to an increase health information questions posed at public libraries. One would think so, but the anecdotes I have encountered have pointed to no. There is not an increase in health information questions at public libraries. (Now I am still doing my research so I have yet to confirm or refute the anecdotes)

My husband who is not in the library world (except by marriage and as a heavy user) is stunned that public libraries are not actively trying to help encourage patrons to come to the library to find health information. He can't understand why they do not have a health information reference librarian who can help people. He feels that if given the right publicity and with the right trained professionals you could reach of lot of people.

I have a feeling that this is not done for two major reasons. 1. Budget, a lot of public libraries are feeling the pinch right now. 2. Fear. According to project profiled in the Bull Med Libr Assoc 88 (4) 2000 314-322, "Most of the participating public libraries did not have a health information center and had not previously focused on health information. As a consequence many librarians were not yet comfortable with providing health reference assistance to patrons, in part because of concerns about providing misinformation and possibly intruding on patron privacy. "

I find all of this information very interesting. I would like to hear from public libraries who have health information centers or reference services. I would also like to hear from any medical librarians who gave up medical library life and now are public librarians. Are they doing anything medical within their public library?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Google Scholar

Ok I am going to talk a little bit about what has been flying through every email list I am subscribed to. Heck my husband (who isn't in library or scholarly circles) has gotten a ton of email about this too.

There are tons of new articles about Google Scholar, one can go do a Yahoo news search or a Google news search to find any number of articles on this to learn more and form your own opinion.

Thursday, while I was out of the office (because I got the day off for the lovely pleasure to work Saturday) Google officially launched a new search service aimed at scientists and academic researchers. Google Scholar is a free beta service that allows users to search for scholarly literature like peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports.

Google Scholar accesses information from resources such as academic publishers, universities, professional societies and preprint repositories. Supposedly users can find references to older works that may only exist offline in books or other publications because the company says it automatically analyzes and extracts citations and presents them as separate results.
There are currently no online advertisements accompanying the search results.
Topics covered include medicine, physics, economics and computer science. Documents in the Google Scholar search index are written in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

Ok every librarian's head is popping off and spontaneously combusting. I am quite worried about this. Despite our best efforts and multiple classes, our medical students use Google to search for medical literature more than they use Medline. I had a conversation with a friend in biomedical research this weekend and she mentioned that she too knew other researchers who just didn't "bother" with Medline and used Google. Google Scholar mentions nothing about indexing terms and how it deals with smilies, plurals, and different approved spellings. I am guessing that it really doesn't deal with them, but that is just a guess. So your very complicated Medline searches are going to be even more difficult and yield potentially too much junky information or just too much somewhat decent information for you to sift through and find the really good meaty stuff. I absolutely cringe at the whole thing it makes me want to throw up at the possible life and death problems that this could cause in medical research.

While I think Google Scholar is a very ugly alternative to online subject databases such Medline, Biosis, etc. However, I think Google Scholar could be helpful if used correctly in the right way. How many times has a patron given you a citation (if you call cryptic scribbles a citation) to some vague meeting in Oslo, Norway from 3 years ago about latest treatments in whatever disease? Not often? Often? My point is that used correctly Google Scholar might be a good starting point to find those odd cryptic citations, papers, presentation, thesis, etc. that are lurking out there. Once found will it be full text....uh well probably not, and most definitely not for free...but that is a topic for another time. But at least it gives you confirmation to that odd bit of chicken scratch and gives you a starting point to actually obtain the ubiquitous document.

I am scared of Google Scholar and its implications for subject searching on the scholarly world. The very people it is intended to help deserve and require more sophisticated databases than Google Scholar and those databases already exist. Scholars should not be plowing the web (be it on Google general or Google Scholar) to try and sift out the wheat from the chaff. They already have problems doing that on traditional scientific databases and Google Scholar will not help them it will only make it worse. It will make it worse in the sense that will lull them into a false sense of completeness. But Google Scholar could be a great tool for document delivery librarians.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Add Serials Solutions Search by PMID to Your Library Home Page

Ok I swear I do not have stock nor any vested interest in Serials Solutions. I just have been doing a lot of journal and web page work lately.

On Serials Solutions web page (once you have logged in as customer) under Title Searching there is a web page entitled Adding the Title Search Functionality. It allows you to integrate the journal search feature into your website. You just cut and paste a few lines of HTML into your library's website.

Instead of re-inventing the wheel I went back to their site to see if they had the code to add Search by PMID to your web page. Just recently Serials Solutions made it possible to search for the full text of an article by PMID number. As you might guess this is a huge time saver for us and our patrons who want the full text.

Unfortunately their website as of today did not have information on how to do that. So I decided to look at the code and give it a shot. Actually it was very very simple.

For all those who have Serials Solutions and Article Linker and want to have Search by PMID on their website (similar to Search by Journal Title) here is the necessary code that you must paste into your web site. You must replace the orange code with your own Serials Solutions code which is seen at the beginning of your url to your Serials Solutions Portal.

For example: http://jd8zk9qy8j.search.serialssolutions.com/
The bolded letter number sequence is the code.
Note: this is not a active code, it has been changed but your code will be similar.

Additionally, I changed all of the HTML brackets <> to [] because that is the only way I could get stupid Blogger to post my HTML. (Yes I did try commenting out and other tricks but Blogger tried to out smart me.) So when you cut and paste the HTML in your site be sure and do a search for the square brackets and replace with the carrot brackets. Sorry.

[div align="left" class="SSPMIDSearchForm"]
[div class="SSPMIDSearchString"]Search a full text article by PubMed ID:[/div]
[form method="GET" action="http://JD8ZK9QY8J.search.serialssolutions.com/"]
[input type="hidden" name="SS_LibHash" value="JD8ZK9QY8J" /]
[input type="hidden" value="article" name="genre" /]
[input type="hidden" value="sersol:uniqueIDQuery" name="sid" /]
[input type="text" name="pmid" /]
[input name="submit" type="submit" class="SSPMIDSearchButton" value="Search" /]

I hope this is helpful for anybody who wants to add this to their site. If you have problems with this, please comment and I will try and see what I did wrong in my copy and pasting.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

PubMed Enhances Mapping

PubMed has enhanced their automatic mapping. Here is a nice little sheet produced by NLM to tell you what is new.

Have fun trying it out.

Monday, November 15, 2004

How We Saved Money by Talking

Well it is renewal time and I wanted to share a big money saver. We talked with other medical librarians in our area. Ok that sounds like a real no brainer, but it amazes me that there are so many things that we take for granted that other libraries have no clue about and vice versa.

In the past we have had horrible problems getting copies of Spine's epages. These little gems are only available online and require an institutional account. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins do not offer a way for institutional print subscribers to get epages with a simple user name and password. Nope, you must have institutional access through Ovid, who happens to be within the same parent company as LWW (very incestuous I know.) Anyway, we were having problems getting the epages because we could not afford an institutional account to Spine through Ovid. We would try and get the epage article via Interlibrary Loan but many times we would get rejected. Many libraries are wary of ILL-ing epage articles because ejournal providers have not settled on a standard by which epages can be ILL-ed. Some ejournal proveders say they can while other say they can't leaving an nice ambiguous quagmire for libraries to deal with in their ILL lives.

Anyway there was one wonderful library who would ILL the epages to Spine and our ILL librarian finally asked them how they were able to get the article. The librarian told us that their Ovid rep had told them about a consortia that gave them access to 140 LWW titles. She said there was another consortia that offers access to their LWW Total Access collection. Now here comes the kicker, their Ovid rep is our Ovid rep. As it turns out our Ovid rep (also their Ovid rep) never mentioned these lovely consortias, even after we asked him about getting online access to Spine.

Now you might say, "Well you already said you couldn't afford online access to Spine, what makes you think you can afford consortia access to 140 LWW titles or to their Total Access collection." I would say that answer holds water for normal people but not for vendor reps, they (our Ovid rep included) always try to sell you something bigger and better that costs more money. Well once we found out that our rep "forgot" to tell us about the consortias we looked more closesly at our Ovid electronic collections. It turns out that already had electronic access to almost every journal in their Core collections with a few exceptions. We were paying approximately the cost of a 2005 Toyota Land Rover plus a good chunck extra for access to the Core collections. The Total Access consortia price came in for less than a Honda CRV! Obviously a huge savings. We were able to take the Land Rover savings and fill in journal titles that we lost (and had no alternative access) from our elimination of the Core Collection.

To make a long story short.... We were able to take a 2005 Toyota Land Cruiser + change budget that bought full text access to approximately 80 journals on Ovid and turn it around to buy 200+ electronic journals and have some money left over. What did we actually do with that left over money!? We added to our collection!!! This is all because we talked to another librarian. Yippie!

So talk, email, send smoke signals, whatever works, just communicate with each other. There are a lot of other things librarians can do. Create a wish pool among your consortia. Get you consortia together and create a database of all the products you are currently buying as an individual library. List the price and and any specialties. That way your consortia can operate from a position of knowledge and power to acquire needed resources. There are consortias already doing, so you go do it too.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Computer Security and WebJunction

I got an email the other day from WebJunction and in it was their feature on Security for Public Access Computers. So I am reposting their email in the interest of all those who might want more information.


Security can mean anything from warm fuzzy blankets to big bad missiles. For your library, though, it's a serious practical necessity. This month we'd like to help you keep the computers your patrons use clean and running smoothly. Not the most fun (we would certainly rather browse through the latest fiction offerings in Library Journal!), but it's a lot more fun than spending a weekend (or more) cleaning up the effects of an unpleasant Internet attack.

Our security expert is Marr Madden of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has spent the last five years visiting sites to install computers, answering tech support calls, writing documentation, and otherwise making computers in hundreds of libraries work. He's also a Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

You've got a lot to do, so any public access security plan you implement will need to be simple and effective. That's why we've put together Marr's Six Step Security Reference Card.Go to: http://webjunction.org/do/DisplayContent?id=8030

And here are the six steps:

But the fun doesn't end there: stop by our Security & Networking discussions any time, and join security expert Marr Madden for a free live interactive online event, "Six Steps to Security," on December 1 at 3 PM ET. Space is limited, so register soon!Discussions: http://webjunction.org/forums/category.jspa?categoryID=38Live Event registration: https://www3.oclc.org/app/request/bin/request.asp?specialCode=wj120104

Thursday, November 11, 2004

More Info for Serials Solutions

Since I feel I didn't do a very good job explaining the details with Serials Solutions and PubMed so I wanted to let you all know that Serials Solutions will be at ALAO (Academic Library Association of Ohio) in Dayton, OH.

They will have a booth and by stopping by you can learn more about all the features that they provide libraries. You can learn about the latest enhancements and things they are currently developing. In addition, you can receive some tips and pointers on their most popular features E-Journal Portal, Overlap Analysis and Library Data Customization. Not to mention all the information that you'll want to hear about our upcoming service and feature announcements.

So there you have it if you are planning to go to ALAO, check them out and see if their product works for your library. Additionally please forward any handouts or information to me since I will be stuck here in cloudy cold Cleveland.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Serials Solutions Work With PubMed!

Oh happy day, happy day, happy day!
I received and email from my rep at Serials Solutions asking me to call her about linking within PubMed. So I called her and I am so glad I did.

Starting December 15th of this year. Libraries who have
Serials Solutions Article Linker will be able to have Article Linker work on PubMed! This is HUGE!!!! Currently, if you want to link to the full text of an article within PubMed you must get select each an every journal that your institution has online access. While this has been a nice step towards offering one stop shopping to the full text of an article while doing medical research, it is not truly all encompassing.

For example, there are many journals that are available online that are indexed in
PubMed but are not yet in their list of LinkOut journals. Therefore when you search PubMed you can not one stop full text access to those journals through PubMed.

So a librarian had to maintain their complete online journal list through
Serials Solutions and then periodically update and maintain a separate list for PubMed. It was cumbersome but if you had PubMed searchers it was essential.

However, starting December 15th (as I was told) those people who have Article Linker with
Serials Solutions will now be able to tell PubMed that they are using Serials Solutions link resolver. So when your user clicks on the icon to access the full text of a journal, PubMed sends them to your Article Linker list and directly connects you with the full text of that article.

Now there are some strict rules that
PubMed has instituted and not every library will be able to participate. Any library who wishes to use Article Linker with PubMed must have their online catalog and their online ILL form available and accessible through their Serials Solutions Article Linker portal. Apparently PubMed will not budge on this issue and will not set up Article Linker if you do not have those two things on your portal.

All of this information was just told to me over the phone by my
Serials Solutions rep. I will let you know when I get actual documentation on this. I realize that this might not be the most thorough description of this product/service, part of that is because I don't have any written information and I can't test it.

For me this means that I no longer have to maintain multiple lists of what is online through what. I only have to maintain one electronic journal list which will be my
Serials Solutions list. This allows me to have some sort of control as to how my users are accessing the full text of articles and it provides one less place to go "fix" a problem. For me this is wonderful. I almost broke down and told my rep that I loved her, but thought better of it.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Electronic Journal Customer Numbers Continued....

I originally posted about how frustrating it is that our journal vendor (Swets) doesn't have a list of the customer numbers for electronic journals. Well I have an update from my reps.

I would like to say that it is a positive update, but it isn't.

Our sales rep. and our account manager contacted me regarding the issue. As I mentioned in my earlier blog our sales rep had told me that the Swets number was the customer number for journals. Well, he called me to let me know that he was actually wrong and that was not the case. He then directed my attention to their Internet Availability Report where the Pub Ref# is supposed to be the journal's customer number. He said that is the number that the journals provide Swets.

So of course I decided to check it out, because a list of the customer numbers would be great. I would never have to have piles of journal wrappers laying about my desk. I would just have a nice easy spreadsheet list that I could call up at my will.

I logged in as administrator for a couple of our journals and surprise, surprise, the numbers don't match for most of the journals. Even better, some journals don't even have numbers on the report, despite the fact that we have online access and I have the customer number in my personal list.

Our account manager called (and here is where it gets frustrating), she told me that those numbers (Pub Ref#) are the ones that the journal publishers provide. If they aren't correct then I can contact her and they can get the correct customer numbers by contacting the journal publisher.

If I want to use the Pub Ref# list to activate journal access, I really can't do that because some of the numbers are missing or incorrect. My account rep's answer to this was, "Well some of the numbers are correct." What good is that!?!?!?!? It is a total waste of time to try and use this list if you don't even know if the numbers you are dealing with are valid. The list is incorrect just enough to make it a completely useless document.

Unfortunately, my account rep just didn't quite understand my point. She just repeated that some of the numbers are correct and that I could contact her on the ones that aren't correct. Given this rather poor solution, I would rather collect journal wrappers and have my homemade customer number list. Swets' cure is worse than the illness.

So I am still back to my ultimate question. Why is it so hard to have a correct and complete list of journal customer numbers?! Why can't my journal vendor produce something like this? This is something that should be so simple and make so much sense. It is amazing that they can't even do this and their solution is for me to contact them with every incorrect freaking journal number. What a waste.

Friday, November 05, 2004

To Patch or Not To Patch?

Microsoft recently released their Windows XP Service Pack 2 which promises to protect you from the most worms, block pop-ups, and tighten security Internet Explorer. Hoever, after users' previous experiences with XP's first service pack, some people have been waiting to find out whether this update is going to cause more problems than it solves.

Since we are library within a hospital, I have no authority to touch the library's computers vital security systems. But I know there are a lot of you out there in library land who either do the updates or who just need to know more about the issues surrounding them. So here is an article from PCWorld.com entitled Is XP's Fix Safe?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

More Surfers Ditch Internet Explorer

This is an interesting article about browsers that appears in PCWorld.com. Apparently the giant Internet Explorer is losing a little bit of ground in the world of browsers.

Now when I say a little bit of ground it would be more accurate to say miniscule. According to the article Internet Explorer went from a 95% share (which it held for several years) to 92.9% on October 29th. Like I said it was a teeny tiny drop in numbers, nothing to get the all knowing all seeing Microsoft to be too concerned.

According the article the drop in Explorer and the rise in other browsers (Mozilla Suite, Netscape, and Firefox) may be due to high-profile security vulnerabilities in the Microsoft browser and expert recommendations to switch browsers (read: Is it Time to Ditch IE?) .

Microsoft has issued a service pack to update some Explorer vulnerabilities. But some people are waiting around to to see if there are major probelms with it because of the problems encountered with XP's service pack.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Email Communication

More and more websites are foregoing the idea of posting phone numbers, fax numbers, and other contact info. in lieu of plastering the ubiquitous email address. HEY! Sometimes we might actually need to call you on the phone!

Let me say that I think it is completely tacky and shows a complete disregard for your customers/users if you do not provide your phone number or address somewhere LOGICAL and ON your website. I can't tell you the number of journal providers, database providers, and other vendors that simply do not provide easy to find phone numbers.

JOURNAL PUBLISHERS AND VENDORS you are the worst and the most at fault. When a journal goes down and I have angry doctors stalking me for access to a site that is now "broken," email is a very poor contact solution. I often need to know now if it is the journal site having problems or if it is one of those lovely electronic subscription snafus that seem to always occur. I need to call you (often the doctor won't leave until I have you on the phone), but you people just seem to conveniently leave all logical contact information off of your site. It as if you don't want anybody to call you and for you to have answer the phone and do your job.

For example take a look and tell me who I can easily call for the journal Physical Therapy if online access isn't working, or The Journal of Heart Valve Disease. I guess you could contact the society but they often have no idea what you are talking about and have to transfer you endlessly to somebody who might know something.

But this is not just limited to those who provide to libraries, I have experienced the email hell with libraries and library associations as well. A perfect example is the Medical Library Association. I am currently in the process of getting all my ducks in a row to get my AHIP credentials. I have been a medical librarian about six years and this is my first year applying for membership. I had questions that weren't quite answered in their FAQs and information and I wanted to ask to the powers that be. They provided an email and I naively thought I would ask my questions by email and I would get a quick response. Well nope, I have yet to get a response from them and it has been well over a couple of months since I emailed them. SHAME on you MLA! Their is constant talk about the value of MLA membership and AHIP certification but you can not even answer an email from a medical librarian regarding it. What does that say about you?! Now they do have a phone number posted on their site, but what is the point of offering an email if you don't intend to reply!?!?

This is my appeal to all web designers, please include other relevant contact information other than an email. For libraries, organizations, and companies who have email contacts, please answer them! I realize for some large entities this could get problematic and time consuming, but come up a solution to handle it. There is no excuse to allow an email from a member, a potential customer, or a library user to go into the email abyss.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Go Vote

This is completely non-library related but it is important.

Regardless of your political views go out an exercise your right as an American and go vote.

And if you are completely tired of all of the political hoopla, especially if you are in a swing state like myself and have both parties calling your house, tune into Comedy Central tonight to watch the Daily Show with Jon Steward at 10pm CST for some well deserved laughs.

Monday, November 01, 2004

American Heart Association Online Journals Plea for Back Issues

I just received this email from one of my library email lists and thought I would forward it along to all those in library land who might read my blog.

Hello everyone!
The publishing group here at the American Heart Association would like toput every issue of all the AHA journals online from the inception of eachjournal to present. We will pay for the cost of shipment. When the projectis completed, these issues will be available for free online. If anyone outthere needs to clear out your older print back issues, please keep us inmind. Even if you don't have a full run, we'll take what we can get!

Here are the journals we need:
Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
Circulation Research

Molly Montgomery
Assistant Librarian
American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Ave
Dallas, TX 75231
214.706.1216 (phone)
214.706.5240 (fax)
[email protected]

I suggested to Molly that she post the AHA's request on their journals web site, because there are probably many doctors who would like to clean out their shelves and would be willing to donate them.
So, if you are a librarian looking to clear some shelf space or if you know any libraries or doctors that have a collection of old AHA journals, it might be worth contacting them to see if they need yours.

RSS Button Subscribe to this feed.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.
The Krafty Librarian has been a medical librarian since 1998. She is currently the medical librarian for a hospital system in Ohio. You can email her at: