Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Recruitment, Careers, Leadership

Yesterday I received an email to participate in a Library Leadership Survey. Recent graduates of a library leadership institute are researching librarians' opinions on leadership institutes and their impact on attendees' careers.

According to the email invite, the purpose of the research is to learn more about:

  • The nature and impact of the leadership institute experience.
  • The impact of such institutes on librarians' willingness to move into administrative positions (department head, director, etc.) or leadership roles (project leader, committee chair).
  • The role of mentors on librarians' careers.

The this morning while I was going through my blog email I read a comment that said, "What personally concerns me about librarian recruitment efforts in any kind of library is the availability of jobs. Yes, I can recommend my profession based on my own personal experience. But if someone wants a job without moving across the country, what then do I say?"

Both the survey and the comment got me thinking about librarianship careers, specifically recruitment, growth, advancement, and leadership.

I am still a skeptic regarding the "great impending librarian shortage." I personally believe that it should not be one of the major carrots dangled out there by some people and organizations/institutions to recruit future librarians.

I think one of the bigger frustrations among some librarians who have been in the profession about 5 years is career advancement and growth. These librarians came out of library school, got a job and now have lost many of ideals and shiny glowing initiative they had newly entering the profession. By now they have realized that if they want to advance in their career they may have to move to another city/state for a salary that is not much greater than their previous position. There are many who are married, with children, or in committed relationships where moving means uprooting not only themselves but their partner and families. So they stay even though they have outgrown their current position. Some may be just staying long enough to find another job in the same city, while others in smaller locales may not even have that option.

This can be very frustrating. That was the way it was for me. While I loved where I worked, I felt I had outgrown my previous position. However, I was stuck. I had a child and a husband, so relocating to a new job meant moving three people, a dog, selling a house, and saying good bye to friends and my husband's family. There was also the issue of money. I never became a librarian to get rich. But how do I justify moving my entire family to another city for an extra $5,000-$10,000 a year in annual salary when my husband would have to find a new job in and he currently makes two and half times more money than I do? Would he even be able to find a new job in the new city, if so would he make his current salary, more, or less? That is a huge financial risk that I and others like me can not take. So, I had had begun to look at jobs that were not "library" jobs in my area.

Enter Library Leadership Ohio, a residential, week long leadership training program that develops the talents of emerging library leaders. It was an honor that my director thought I was right for the program and encouraged me to apply. I did and I was accepted. It was probably the best thing I ever did for my library career. I met librarians from all areas of librarianship and learned from them and from the library mentors. Attending that program I had an epiphany. I learned that you can be a leader without being a manager. Equally true is that you can be a manager but you may not be a leader. I discovered that while I was not a manager I could become a leader within my library and perhaps the library community (ok kind of lofty goal).

So, when I read the leadership email survey yesterday and noted that they are looking to study the "impact of such institutes on librarians' willingness to move into administrative positions (department head, director, etc.) or leadership roles (project leader, committee chair)," I kind of sighed a little bit. Leadership institutes may foster the willingness to move into administrative positions and leadership roles within one's library career, but those library positions may not immediately be available. Therefore, the survey may not accurately reflect whether the leadership institutes made an direct impact or whether outside factors played a role in career advancement to management positions. Leadership institutes and those who attend them should remember to foster the leadership qualities within you to serve the library profession and community as a whole. Measure how the leadership insitute has made its participants feel they were leaders within their profession, independent of their current job position. Just because a part time reference librarian has not "advanced" to a full time bigger position does not mean they are not a leader.

After all if it weren't for Library Leadership Ohio, I would not have gotten my AHIP, there would be no Krafty Librarian Blog, I would not have written some book reviews which in turn gave me the courage to write my first published paper. I also know I probably wouldn't have had the courage to leave my nice position at a big academic hospital library to be the hospital librarian for a community hospital (for the same yucky salary) where I am learning and growning professionally in ways completely different than I had before.

While there may not be a whole lot of library jobs out there, you can grow and be more than just your library position and become a leader within your area, whether that area is in your library, regionally, nationally, or just within your community independent of libraries.

Internet Reference Services Quarterly Looking for Authors

So I said that I sometimes feel the medical librarians are a playing a bit of catch up on the technology scene. It is just my opinion, I have heard from some very techie medical librarians who disagree. Good! I am glad there are those of you out there to speak up. Here is a chance for you to speak up once more, write a paper!

Internet Reference Services Quarterly, a refereed journal published by The Haworth Press Inc., invites proposals for a special issue focusing on social software and libraries. The issue (12/3) will tentatively be published in Winter 2007, edited by Michael Stephens, Instructor, Dominican University and blogger at

They hope the issue will cover a wide range of topics pertaining to implementations and uses of various Web 2.0 tools in library settings of all types. For the purposes of this issue, social software or Web 2.0 will be defined as the next incarnation of the World Wide Web, where digital tools allow users to create, change, and publish dynamic content of all kinds. Other Web 2.0 tools syndicate and aggregate this content. Some of these Web applications include RSS, Weblogs, wikis, tagging, bookmarking, IM, social networking sites, etc.

Implementations of the various tools in libraries
Issues related to implementation or use of the tools
Information literacy issues related to Web 2.0
Instruction of these tools to various groups
Utilization of Web 2.0 at the Reference Desk
Usability studies
Assessment of the technologies
Studies of how widespread the phenomenon is, etc.

Theory-based manuscripts and case studies are acceptable. While the editors expect the issue to center around social software in academic libraries, manuscripts are also welcomed from other libraries (public, state, special) or consortia which have implemented such technologies.

Additional manuscripts may be independently solicited.

Proposals of no more than two (2) pages should be submitted to Michael Stephens at [email protected] no later than August 1, 2006. Other dates:

First drafts by November 1, 2006
Final drafts by Feb 1, 2007

For more information about Internet Reference Services Quarterly, please visit . For any questions related to this announcement please contact the editor of this issue, Michael Stephens, via e-mail or at:

Michael Stephens
Dominican University GSLIS
7900 W. Division Street
River Forest, IL 60305

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

PubMed's Clinical EBM Filters

Dean Giustini has a nice concise post, Beyond Basic - Using PubMed's Clinical EBM Filters. As Dean states, "for most clinical questions, physicians do not always have time to do a proper lit review." PubMed's clinical queries are great for physicians need information and a lit review is too time consuming and Google Scholar is finding the answers.

What I like about Dean's post is that it is quick and short and can easily be tweaked for you to present to your doctor's to educate them on doing better searches. It can be presented in a 5 minutes to a doctor who comes in to the library learn everything about searching on their 15 minute break, or it can be presented quickly at a meeting to a group of physicians. It can also be sent out in a newsletter.

Just another resource to provide you with the opportunity to reach out to your people in ways that are relevant to them.

Techies and Non-Techies and the IT Department

I am a little slow coming off of this holiday weekend. My brain is still waiting and begging for that little jolt of caffeine from my morning coke. A bad, unhealthy habit, and one that I am constantly breaking then restarting. I don't like coffee, but I positively drool over a nice frosty cold coke in the morning.

This morning as I sorted through my email and snail mail, I was reading through my blog feeds and found the LibrarianInBlack mentioned that David Lee King has some great articles regarding communication between the techies and the non-techies. Most of the articles are about the techies talking to non-techies. Which are good articles if you are faced with the non-techie librarian or patron. Believe it or not but you may not think of yourself as techie, but to somebody out there, you are.

Sometimes the problem can lie not only within the department (one techie librarian communicating with a non-techie librarian) but it also occurs between separate departments. The most common is the ongoing battle between librarians and their hospital IT departments. Each librarian has their own horror story depicting their institutional version of Gettysburg with the IT department. In a way it is a technology Civil War. Both departments under one institution battling for control.

Check out the Information Technology Barriers faced by Hospital Librarians, compiled by the Hospital Internet Access Task Force. Not every hospital librarian faces each one of these problems, but a great many (including myself) have had to tackle and still are dealing with one or many of these problems.

So how does a hospital librarian who may be a solo librarian deal with this. First of all don't throw up your arms in defeat, that will get you and the library on the first speed boat to being obsolete. LEARN, LEARN, LEARN! Most librarians do not have an undergraduate or graduate degree in computers, MIS, and anything technical. But we are great learners!

Learn about what IP ranges are and if you share them how it will make your life a living hell. Learn the language of the techies. That way you can communicate with them. Because once you can start to communicate with them you can start to explain why opening a hole the Firewall (terrifying thought to the IT department) to install and run Ariel (or another electronic document delivery) software is necessary to help doctors get their needed information quickly.

Be patient, get to know a lot of the IT people, find the ones that can be your allies, and be nicely tenacious. Be willing to table some things (control over your intranet page) to solve bigger issues (shared IP ranges). Try and approach it in terms of them helping you to increase your department and hospital's return on investment on their research resources.

Finally, don't quit. Be nice, but be tenacious. Sometimes I think my picture is on a dart board in the break room at the IT department's building, but through my persistence I have gotten to know some people who are now willing to work with me and listen to my needs. Hey that is a step. Rome was not build in a day. I had one IT guy tell me that he never knew that librarians were this much into technology and that the rest of the system's IT department is starting to see me at the forefront of my hospital system's libraries. That made my day....hell that made my week.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Happy Memorial Day

No post Monday, it will be a holiday here in the U.S.

Journal Usage Statistics

Highwire Press was at MLA and I had a really nice conversation with their representative. Personally, I believe Highwire does one of the best jobs of providing online access to electronic journals. Their individual journal sites are relatively easy for the average consumer to navigate and their services for institutions are great and help make the task of managing the administrative duties of multiple journals a little easier.

The administrative duties for managing electronic journals can be a real pain in the neck depending on the journal and the online platform. Some journals are notorious for late or missing issues (yes even online) and some platforms are quirky and difficult to use from the patron end or to manage from the institutional end.

One thing that drives up a wall with online journals (besides the ever mysterious and hard to find subscription number) is the lack of journal usage statistics on some journals. I had always thought that it was a problem with the platform (such as Highwire) that not all journals listed had usage statistics online. I have since learned that is actually the journal's decision not to include usage statistics not the platform's decision.

Justifying our existence and our subscription dollars demands that we collect usage statistics by all means possible. Less and less people are coming into libraries and more are using the library resources from their home, office, classroom, etc. That is fine, that is great, that is what we want to happen. We want people to use our services in the most convenient way for them. We want to the library to come to them on their time and one way to do that through electronic resources. However, we CANNOT count their usage of our resources if the very resources we have refuse to provide usage statistics. Yes, I realize there are ways around it by getting some sort of click count on titles by using a little web programming, but that shouldn't be necessary.

It was said that these journals (who don't provide usage statistics) are afraid that if they do, we will cut them when their usage is low. I have news for them, one way to quickly get on the chopping block is to continue not providing usage statistics. Without the hard numbers I can not justify purchasing the product. Perhaps the online journal is free with the purchase of the print, therefore I should be happy with just having free online access and not worry about whether people are using it. Not so! When they are getting it online, how can I justify purchasing the print journal when I see it getting used less and less frequently in the library. That is where the online usage statistics would be helpful. I would notice that while actual library use of the printed copy is down, online usage has increased. However, if there are no online usage statistics, the most likely result is that journal eventually gets cut.

I wonder why many journals haven't discovered the potential pitfalls of not providing online usage statistics. I also wonder if any librarians have asked these journals why they don't provide usage statistics and if they could begin to do so. I for one, will be contacting these journals I subscribe to and asking them to include usage statistics. It can't hurt to ask, and if they activate it, then it can only help both my library and their journal.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Final Thoughts on MLA 2006

MLA 2006 was great for me. I met a lot of new people and reconnected with old friends. I would like to thank my three volunteer bloggers, Rachel, Jennifer O. and I. Martinez for contributing to this blog. MLA is a big event and this blog covered so many more things with the four of us writing then it could have if it was just me. Check out Jennifer's post "Transformation Begins with a Single Step..." on the Krafty MLA 2006 Blog.

I learned a lot this year. Starting with, I NEED a laptop. It was pure torture getting to Phoenix on Thursday (to take a Friday CE class) and then waiting until Saturday 5:30 to use the Internet in the "Internet Cafe" when the exhibit center opened. You don't even want to know the amount of spam I had to delete.

Most of the presentations and classes I attended were on demonstrating the value of the library, benchmarking, and return on investment. There were quite a few "AH HA" moments for me and I hope to use what I learned to make my hospital library better and stronger.

I do wish MLA conferences had more techie speakers and programs.
Take a look at the Internet Librarian 2005 Program:
Social Computing & the Info Pro, Google-brary: The Status Quo of Tomorrow’s MEGALIBRARY
Google: Catalyst for Digitization?
Competing with Google: Library Strategies.

Some of the workshops at Internet Librarian 2005:
Creating Online Tutorials in Less Than 30 Minutes
Organizational Weblogs: Opportunities, Strategies, Tools
Implementing Federated Searching and OpenURL-based Linking Services
Searchers Academy, and Technology Planning for Libraries: Avoiding Technolust & Technobust

While I think all of the programs, lectures, and workshops at MLA were helpful and interesting, I feel that MLA (the conference and the organization) is constantly playing catch up with the rest of the library profession regarding new technology. Do I think MLA should program similar to the Internet Librarian Confernce? No, but we need more of a technology infusion in our profession, organization, and our conferences.

MLA has the Medical Informatics Section, however it seems I hear less from them (and they are a part of MLA) than I do from LITA (which is a part from ALA).

What are your thoughts on the conference? Was there anything you thought that was spectacular or was there anything you felt lacking?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Eduserv Athens at MLA

I just saw a technology showcase from Eduserv Athens on access management of electronic resources. I am so interested in the product that I am going to be seriously looking at it when I return from MLA. To read more about Eduserv Athens at MLA check out my post on the Krafty MLA 2006 Blog. My only complaint was they didn't present this sooner at MLA, this is the last day and the slowest day inside the vendor's exhibit hall and I think a lot more people would have benefitted from seeing it. Additionally, I wish they would have listed Eduserv Athens as a vendor in the vendor listings and perhaps had a see also reference to STATRef, because Teton Data Systems (the people behind STATRef) are the ones who are bringing Eduserv Athens from the UK to the US. I think a lot of people missed seeing them in the vendor exhibit hall because all they "saw" was the STATRef booth.

MLA Monday May 22

Hi and welcome to another edition of "Live from MLA." I will try and attempt to summarize and provide links to the great postings that the bloggers have been writing on the Krafty MLA Blog.

CINAHL and EBSCO : Jennifer provides us with a report from her sunrise seminar with CINAHL entitled "Full-text Journal Databases and Upgraded Versions of CINAHL".

Leadership and Professional Development Program: Rachel provides us with information on this section program which featured interesting perspectives on the job market, hiring, what employers and recruiters look for in a job candidate, and tips and tools for becoming an independent information professional.

Implementing Evidence Based Medicine: Jennifer provides us with information from Ellen Fineout-Overholt's session which discussed the AZCAEP consortium, that started in Arizona to promote the adoption of evidence-based practice across healthcare fields.

Electronic Only Please: I. Martinez provides us with information from Tracie Frederick and Vani Murthywho transformed the Dahlgren Memorial Library into a e-resources library.

Netsymposium: On her rounds exploring goodies and signing up for a chance to win a free iPod from vendors in the exhibit hall, Rachel discovers a company called Netsymposium. The company provides conference materials in the form of multimedia CD-ROMs and she wonders libraries are subscribing to this material.

That is it for now. There is a growing line behind me waiting for the computer at the Internet cafe of the conference, so I will post more about the sessions and experiences I have had so far.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

MLA Blogging Sunday May 21st

Today was the official first whole day of MLA. Thanks to some volunteer bloggers, the Krafty Librarian brings you "Live from MLA" posts.

Jennifer's Hello and First Timer's Breakfast is a nice look at MLA for anybody who as never been and is interested in attending future MLA programs for the first time.

CyberTools is here at MLA and reminded us of their new OPAC and demonstrated their Virtually Yours collection.

NEJM is among the vendors at the convention and at their booth they had a nice little hand-out with the 2007 online journal prices.

Are you an Innovative Interfaces Inc. library? Were you hoping that the librarian attending MLA from your library would get some information on the latest news, technology, etc.? Well unfortunately your are out of luck. Innovative Interfaces was withdrew from this year's MLA.

Virtual Reference seems to be one of those services that many librarians are looking to provide or are bragging that they already provide. However, is that service a good value or is your library just providing a service that gets little use. The NIH Library (National Institutes of Health) determined whether the Return on Investment: Is Virtual Reference Worth the Cost?

Stay tuned for more MLA information tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Phoenix Bound

Tomorrow I will be on a plane to Phoenix. I am looking forward to the warm/hot weather. After having two weeks of rain and 50 degree Cleveland weather. It feels a little odd to be packing summer clothes but I think I can manage.

See you all in Phoenix.

(Courtesy of medinfo blog)

The AGMB (Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Medizinisches Bibliothekswesen = German Medical Library Association) has released English translations to some German medical library articles that you might find helpful.

Standards for hospital libraries in Germany (open access)
The hospital library - its value for the hospital (open access)
Strategies to secure and enhance the position of the library in the hospital (access only for members) perhaps you could get this from ILL from a member.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cultural and Linguistic Health Care Services Website

(courtesy of nn/lm scr blog)
The Virginia Department of Health, CLAS Act (, created a website to help health care workers respond to the needs of new refugees and immigrants in a culturally appropriate manner.

The General Resources provides links to resources and PDF intended to help health care providers understand cultural differences that may affect delivery of health care to immigrants. Some of the information and service programs are targeted to Virginia health care providers. However, there is a lot of informaiton that can be helpful to providers in other states.

Such as:
Links to Resources
A Manager’s Guide to Cultural Competence Education for Health Care Professionals -guide includes information on how to structure a cultural competence training program
CultureMed -“CulturedMed” at the Peter J.Cayan Library at SUNYIT is a web site and a resource center of print materials promoting culturally-competent health care for refugees and immigrants.

Model Programs and Best Practices
Bridging the Cultural Divide in Health Care Settings: The Essential Role of Cultural Broker Programs -This guide is designed to assist health care organizations in planning, implementing, and sustaining cultural broker programs.
Compendium of Cultural Competence Initiatives in Health Care - This compendium describes both public and private sector initiatives undertaken since 1990 such as interpreter services, training, coordinating with traditional healers, use of community health workers, culturally competent health promotion, including family and/or other community members in care giving, immersion into another culture, and administrative or organizational accommodations.

Target Populations
African American Health
Asian American / Pacific Islander Health
Hispanic / Latino Health
Migrant / Farmworker Health
Native American Health
Women's Health / Maternal and Child Health

Language Resources provides resources and information on linguistically appropriate health care. Including: Commonly used clinical phrases, Translated Health/Patient Education Information, and Policies, Regulations, and Laws.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Countdown to MLA

I am getting ready for MLA and I look forward to seeing everyone attending.

I will presenting my poster Integrating and Promoting Medical Podcasts into the Library Collection. Please stop by if you are interested in medical podcasts and want to see the sort of things are going on in that area. I will have a video iPod for demonstration and playing purposes, so if you are unfamiliar iPods you can "test drive" one for a bit and see what the hype is all about.

I will also be one of the facilitators for the Blogging Chapter Council Roundtable May 21, 12:00-2:00. I am especially looking forward to this, I can't wait to hear from others interested in blogging and getting their opinions and ideas.

Finally, I will be hosting the Krafty MLA Blog 2006 where I and three other volunteer MLA bloggers will provide you with our thoughts and insights on this year's MLA program. Those of you who unfortunately cannot be at MLA will be able to get first hand information about the program. For those of you going to MLA hopefully it will provide you with information that you might have accidently missed, after all you can't be at every meeting and event all the time.

Grey Literature

Dean Giustini and Diane Helmer presented a workshop Finding the hard to finds: searching for grey literature at the 2006 CHLA/ABSC Conference in Vancouver, Canada. (Powerpoints and manual are available)

At the UBC Academic Search Google Scholar blog Giustini lists five top skills needed to find grey literature in health:
1. Expertise in conducting exhaustive literature reviews in health.
2. Knowledge of publish trends (traditional publishing vs. everything else)
3. Knowledge of sources of information beyond MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, etc.
4. Knowledge of major U.S. and Canadian agencies that produce grey literature.
5. Expertise in project management and librarian advocacy.

Oxford Journals Backfiles Available Online...for a price

Oxford Journals is scanning their older back issues to be available electronically. The backfiles will be from Volume 1, Issue 1 of the each journal until 1995. You can purchase the subject based backfiles outright or as a yearly subscription.

Pricing and ordering information is available.
Buying the collection outright is going to be pricey, Medicine Archive - $66,263 and Science Archive - $66,263. Those who buy the archive outright will either have to host it locally on the library/institution's computers or pay $950/year for Oxford to host it.
The yearly subscription to the collection is $3,040 for the Medicine Archive and $3,040 for the Science Archive.

If you buy both the Medicine and Science Archives together (either outright or yearly) you get a 10% discount.

Consortia and multi-site pricing must contact Oxford's sales team.

For more information and FAQ on the collection go to

Medical Journals Backfiles Digitisation Project

200 years of historically significant biomedical journal articles are now freely available online thanks to an initiative developed through a partnership between the Wellcome Trust, JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) and medical journal publishers. Upon completion, the Medical Journals Backfiles Digitisation Project will deliver over three million pages of medical journals to PubMed Central, and will be searchable through PubMed and Google.

Friday, May 12, 2006

NIH explores adding a wiki

John Sharp of eHealth directed me to this article, NIH explores adding a wiki, by Aliya Sternstein. According to the Chief IT Architect posted a request for information (RFI) that would enable "users to collaborate in forming the content of a Web site. This domain includes hosting and/or application products that support wiki technologies." While NIH is interested in applications that enable both highly structured and ad hoc types of collaboration it does want a system with a few more controls than most wikis have like authentication and authorization controls to accommodate the security and privacy requirements of the agency and its partners.

Other government agencies are using wikis to collaborate on projects. Currently, NASA employees rely on a wiki to modify open-source code in their satellite imagery viewing software, World Wind. Millions of people have downloaded the World Winds prorgram and use the wiki to suggest code modifications.

Google Dilution?

Yesterday while at swimming up and down the pool at swim practice, I began to think more and more about Google Health Co-op.

First let me say that I am not anti-Google. I like using Google, I find it helpful. I also like tagging and think it is an interesting method of organization. But I just can not wrap my brain around the idea of how Google Health Co-op can be a good idea. I don't understand how using a free text uncontrolled vocabulary can be used effectively to categorize or "recommend" good medical/health sites. I think Dean Giustini expressed my thoughts best when he said, "It's one thing to use social tagging for automobiles, and stereos - but for health? Even consumers are advised to use more targeted search techniques and best content websites."

Thinking about Google Co-op and the fact that I had finished warm up and was working on a long 1500 yd. set led me to think about Google and all its Googlettes. We have Google Print (now Google Book Search), Google Scholar, Google Co-op, and Google Images. I use all of these baby googles (except for Co-op since it just came out this week) at work to find information for my doctors, and there still is the true Google Health which SearchEngineWatch says has yet to be released. I almost need a meta search engine to search all of the Googlettes....Oh wait would that be Google?

The big thing many of our users want right now are meta search engines that will search the library catalog, MEDLINE, other databases, online journals, open access respositories, and their high school locker from 1973, all in one fell swoop. They want one stop shopping at its finest. However, Google is busy creating specialty search engines to which even I (an information professional) sometimes find hard to see the relationship links. For example, I have already searched Medline and all of the other wonderful online medical databases, but I haven't found the right bit of information I need on a specific rare condition. Do I jump right into Google Scholar to see if a paper/abstract/cuniform scroll has been written on it? Or do jump into plain Google? I usually end up doing both. Why? Because I want to make sure I cover all the bases and Google hasn't given us a clear idea of any possibly overlaps or links of information between it and the Googlettes.

So my question: Is Google diluting itself too much by offering all of their subspecialty search engines?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Google Health Or Is It Google Co-op

Yesterday it was expected that Google would announce the launch of Google Health, but it announced the launch of Google Co-op (beta) instead. Google Co-op is a community of users who contribute their knowledge and expertise to improve Google search for everyone. So where did Google Health go? According to SearchEngineWatch Google says a "more full-fledged Google Health is comming," and that Google doesn't consider the Health topic in Google Co-op to be the Google Health. "This is Google making a giant and somewhat perplexing leap into mass tagging."

Both SearchEngineWatch and Google Blogoscoped have good articles on Google Co-op.

Google Health Co-op looks to be interesting. The Health Co-op has enlisted the help of medical professionals to tag the urls or web sites they feel are helpful and reputable. It appears to be similar to the tagging people are doing with, only it is for Google. According to Enoch Choi, an individual contributor to Google Health Co-op, "The work I'm doing with Google Co-op involves helping make a list of the URL (universal resource locator, the web address) of websites to improve health-related searches. These labels will appear at the top of Google search results for search queries regarding any health related term..."

For those unfamiliar with folksonomy (social tagging)....
According to Wikipedia:
"A 'folksonomy' is a collaboratively generated, open-ended labeling system that enables Internet users to categorize content such as Web pages, online photographs, and Web links. The freely chosen labels (called tags) help to improve search engine's effectiveness because content is categorized using a familiar, accessible, and shared vocabulary. The labeling process is called tagging. Two widely cited examples of websites using folksonomic tagging are Flickr and"

Basically it is similar to cataloging web pages for the masses, but instead of a librarian cataloging the pages, the users catalog (tag) the pages using their own terms. Users are no longer tied to the strict controlled vocabularies which most didn't know about or fully understand, they use terms that have meaning to them. However, unlike a controlled vocabulary, these social tags are prone to problems with polysemes, synonyms, and meta noise.

Social tagging is very popular but I haven't seen it being used on as large of scale in medicine as Google Health Co-op plans to do to. Will it work for medicine? Will it muddy the waters? What are your thoughts on folksonomy (tagging) and medical sites? And will Google Health Co-op be popular and helpful?

I have to mull this over some, more thoughts tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Podcasting Legal Guide

For all who are interested in podcasting there is a comprehensive legal guide available that you might want to check out. IT is free. Podcasting Legal Guide: Rules for the Revolution by Colette Vogele, Esq. of Vogele & Associates, Stanford Center for Internet and Society, Mia Garlick of Creative Commons, Stanford Center for Internet and Society, and The Berkman Center Clinical Program in Cyberlaw, Harvard Law School.

Some of the issues it covers:
  • Copyright
  • Publicity Rights
  • Trademark
  • Special Rules for Librarians or Teachers
  • Using Music, Video, Images
  • Interviewing
  • Fair Use and Misconceptions about Fair Use
  • Distributing
  • Licensing

Physician Bloggers Talk to a Medical Librarian

Dean Giustini has a GREAT four part series on physician bloggers that should be read by any medical librarian.

Giustini asks all four bloggers the same questions:

  1. How do you search for information?
  2. If Google went belly-up tomorrow - what would find the second most helpful tool that you have access to?
  3. How do you keep up in your specific area of medicine?
  4. Do you have access to a good medical librarian?
  5. What are your favorite medical blogs?

All four bloggers provide interesting and unique answers to these questions. The answers to these questions are especially interesting to medical librarians. They provide us a unique insight into the searching minds of our users. It also shows that while many of these medical bloggers say they have access to great medical librarians they do NOT use them as much as they think they should because they are too busy. Alarm bells should be going off inside your medical librarian heads right now....that is an opportunity for outreach!

Awesome four part series Dean! :)

Ovid Partners with Primal Pictures

Ovid has announced its partnership with Primal Pictures to provide access to 3-D interactive human anatomy pictures, animation, and video. Primal Pictures is known for their DVD and CD ROM like the Interactive Head and Neck, Interactive Spine, and many other high quality 3-D human anatomy image products. Primal Pictures on Ovid will include 21 interactive learning modules focusing on antomical, surgical, sports medicine and other areas of the human body. Each moducle consistes of three dimensional computers models and animations that show structural relationships, functions, and biomechanics. Users can rotate the models and expose different layers of the anatomy. German and French language modules are also available.

I am very familiar with Primal Pictures CD ROMs they were heavily used at my previous library. My current hospital has a procedural skills lab where residents, interns, and medical students can learn hands-on techniques. Plastic surgery and orthopedic residents often have education day in there to learn various procedures on cadavers. The skills lab coordinator and I both thought these Primal Pictures CDs would be great for both the library and the skills lab to help in their before, during , and after their lab.

For more information contact Ovid.
To view some of the pictures and the types of modules that will be available go to Primal Pictures

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

NCME Only Offers Online Video...Say Goodbye to VHS and DVD

This summer the Network for Continuing Medical Education (NCME) will no longer offer its programs in DVD or VHS form to institutions. Programs will only be available online via streaming video. This information is not on their website. Some librarians have received letters notifying them of the change, while other subscribing librarians had yet to receive the letter and first learned of the change on MEDLIB-L. Many librarians rightfully expressed concern about this format change. Some hospital librarians indicated that their institution blocks all incoming streaming video making it impossible for physicians to view the video on campus. Other librarians indicated that the majority of the people using their NCME videos are looking for videos of specific procedures for teaching purposes, not CME, and online videos are not as conducive to a classroom or lecture hall environment. Finally some librarians indicated that much of the NCME usage is from physicians browsing the stacks or checking the library's online catalog on various medical procedures and online only access would limit the serendipitous discovery.

I called and spoke with our heavy NCME video users and all of them indicated they would not use the product nor be interested in it if it was only available online. So, my library will be canceling our subscription to NCME when it goes online only. Based on my users' reactions and the stories on MEDLIB-L, I wonder if NCME even took a survey to determine if this was a move their users wanted and accepted.

All of this has me thinking.... Even though we are in a digital age with video/audio podcasts available, streaming video, online full text journals, RSS feeds, etc. people are not quite yet ready to give up some things. Soon after the Internet burst on to the scene pundits claimed that the book (as we know it) would be extinct, everything would be online and everybody would be reading things online. Well books are not extinct and depending on the genre, many are seeing explosive sales. Could it be that video is another one of those things that we are not willing to let go of yet? This applies not only to medical videos but popular videos as well. You can now download and watch episodes of Lost and other TV shows to your computer or iPod. Is there a specific intangible difference between popping a DVD in and watching it on the TV vs. watching it online from the computer? Is there something that makes us prefer the one to the other? Are DVDs like books in which the Internet is not going to replace them entirely? If this is the case, then why would a company like NCME appear to shoot themselves in the foot and only offer videos online? Do they know something we don't, or did they make a bold but flawed decision. Time will tell.

Monday, May 08, 2006

New Version of the NLM Gateway

NLM released a new version of the Gateway that includes access to two additional NLM resources, Household Products Database and the Bookshelf.

For more information go to: NLM Technical Bulletin

Bloggers for MLA....Last Call

This is the last call.....If you are attending MLA and you are interested in submitting your thoughts, views, ideas, etc. about MLA on this blog please contact me at [email protected].

For those of you have already emailed me, I will be contacting you later this week with more information.


Thursday April 27, 2006 my Dad suddenly lost his battle with his congenital heart condition (pseudo-truncus arteriosus). He fought a long hard battle. When he was born in 1941 doctors told his parents they had no way to treat it and he would be lucky to live to be 3 years old. By the time doctors had developed surgical procedures to treat the condition, his body and heart vessels had adapted too well and cardiologists determined surgery would have been too risky. So for 65 years my Dad lived his life as full as possible. He had three children, and along side my mom, he was our biggest fan. He coached our soccer teams, cheered for us at swim meets, and nervously (but patiently) taught us all how to drive a stick shift car. He traveled around the world with my mom and enjoyed time with his grandson; time spent "fixing" things in the house, kicking the soccer ball around, and enjoying frozen custard at Ted Drews. Despite his congenital heart condition he always made plans for the future and looked forward to a new day. His passing was very sudden, which was best for him and most difficult for us. He was a loving husband, dad, and papa.

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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: