Friday, June 29, 2007

Posts To Resume Thusday

Due to the upcoming holiday and a possessed computer I will most likely not be posting anything until Thursday. Have a good weekend and a happy and safe holiday.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Top 100 Web Apps

You have a ton of stuff going on, how do you find time to stay up to date on every little program people keep mentioning on blogs and in conversations. Well the BHIC blog has linked to Webware's top 100 Web apps as a great place to learn about new online tools.

Webware created 10 categories:

Productivity and Commerce

Each category has ten winners. Within each of those categories are some programs I have either used or heard of before, but there are also a lot of programs I never knew existed. Really, who has heard of Dogster/Catster, the social networking site for pets? Maybe that is what my dog, Baxter, is doing all day when he is home alone. Here I thought he was just sleeping on my bed, who knew he could type?

For more information about the Webware 100 awards and on the results, check out Rafe's analysis of the results.

Of course this got me thinking. What are your top applications that you use in your library? What are your users top applications? Are they the same? Why or why not?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Make Your Own Mashup

Yahoo Pipes is "interactive data aggregator and manipulator that lets you mashup your favorite online data sources." If that sounds interesting but a little confusing, check out The IBM developerWorks website which posted a feature article on Pipes with an in-depth description of the project and tutorial.

I have just registered and I am going to check it out. I will also let you know if it will help the average person be able to create their own mashups.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

MDConsult Forgetting the Librarians?

I have heard from people how Elsevier is reaching out to librarians trying to improve their reputation with us. But it seems not everyone is on the same page.

This morning I was surprised to receive an email from my MDConsult rep detailing a trial to a product that I had not set up nor had the other librarians in the entire hospital system. I emailed my MDConsult reps and the other librarians to try and clear up my confusion. I also emailed a person (who I didn't know) whose address clearly indicated they were within the hospital system and was also listed on the trial email. I quickly heard back from one of the librarians and she was just as confused as I was. I then heard back from the other person who was indeed knowledgeable about the trial.

This is what I learned. It turns out that some people within the hospital system administration had been given a demo of Mosby's Nursing Skills and Mosby's Nursing Consult. Subsequently they decided to set up a trial of the two products. I find it very odd that my reps did not contact me about this demo. I didn't even know they had been in town. I have had other vendors stop by the library just to say hi while they are on business in the area. You would think in a situation such as this they would have gotten in touch with the usual primary contacts for MDConsult. Those who had viewed the demo were also unaware that the libraries had already looked at Mosby's Nursing Consult.

Perhaps I am overly sensitive, and our reps just forgot to invite one of the 14 medical librarians within the system to the demonstration. Regardless, oversights like this do not help and only add to the frustration librarians feel toward Elsevier.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

MySpace, Second Life, and Twitter Are Doomed

Well if you aren't into the whole Social Networking craze then take heart because according to Lance Ulanoff of, "My Space, Second Life, and Twitter Are Doomed." He believes the hype and the fate of these programs is similar to the same fate of the millions of personal web pages created in the 1990's.

His theory is that My Space, Second Life, Twitter are "huge, ugly, unmonitored, unrestrained, and pointless." I am sure there are other's out there in the library community and elsewhere who are thinking the same thing. I am not sure if they feel exactly the same or they are just suffering from what I call Burnout 2.0.

If it is true, and all of these and other programs are doomed for failure, I have to ask the question, "Is that necessarily a bad thing?" The Discovery Channel is the most popular television channel in my house. My four year old son and I love watching Dinosaur Planet. His eyes are riveted to the screen as he watches dinosaurs, eat, hunt, migrate, hatch and die. He has learned that birds and dinosaurs are closely related and on some level he has learned about evolution.

So, I have to say that Lance is probably right. These programs are doomed, they will die off. When, who knows. He believes sooner rather than later. Me? I don't know. What I find more interesting is what will take their take their place. What will evolve from these social networking tools? What will these "dinosaurs" of the Internet become?

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Librarian Shape Shifters

No that is not the name of a new SciFi movie. "Shape Shifters: Librarians Evolve Yet Again in the Age of Google," is a special issue of the journal Library Philosophy and Practice. It is free and available at and at the journal's mirror site,

"Librarians have a long history of responding professionally and creatively to changes in information dissemination technology. It is no surprise, therefore, that they are adapting themselves and their work to Google, its many modules, and its many competitors. Articles in 'Shape Shifters' explore how library services, resources, and job activities are changing in response to these tools and the paradigm shift they herald."

Here is just a few of the interesting articles in the issue:

There are many more articles in the issue. Go to the issue to find one you might be interested in.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Technology Trends

Looking for the latest greatest new technology to use in the library? Are you just trying to read up a little bit on a few things so when somebody mentions something like twitter you don't think of a bird? Well, LITA has a couple of posts on their blog about the top technology trends this summer.

Check out:

“Sum” Top Tech Trends for the Summer of 2007

Meredith Farkas’ Top Technology Trends

Other LITA technology trends posts

Friday, June 15, 2007

Medical Librarian Blog Listed as a Top 100 Healthcare Blog

Congratulations to David Rothman, his blog is number 7 of the Top 100 Healthcare Blogs. It is nice to see that a medical librarian made the list.

Facebook Work With RefWorks?

Gerry McKiernan the Science and Technology Librarian at Iowa State University Library asked RefWorks concerning a Facebook App. "I am writing to request that you give serious consideration to incorporating a Share function in RefWorks. As I mentioned during your presentation, there are many e-publications that offer a 'Share' functionality. For example, the New York Times offers a 'Share' to 'Facebook' (among other sites)."

Christine Capen, Director, Technical Services at RefWorks responded and is interested in it but would like to know more information. A Facebook Group for RefWorks has been created so that Facebook members can post their suggestions on The Group Wall or Discussion Board (long suggestions). The Facebook Group name is _RefWorksFacebookAppFunctions_ and is available at

Those of you who are not Facebook members (or are blocked at work) might want to email suggestions to Gerry directly at gerrymck[at]iastate[dot]edu.

I think it is an interesting idea that takes the whole social networking and research sharing idea to another level.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Finally Rolling Out Athens

I have been diligently working on making my library resources accessible from outside the hospital. It has taken me awhile but Monday I will be speaking with a bunch of physicians to show them how cool it will be to have access to almost all of our databases (no UpToDate) and journals from anywhere in the world. We will then begin to actively recruit our users to sign up for remote access.

I am interested to see how this new method for access will impact our usage statistics. I am pretty sure the stats will go up but it will be interesting to see how much.

One thing I keep thinking about is a federated search tool to use in conjunction with my Athens resources. Doctors don't care where the information comes from they just want it to show up. I'll will have to think about it, look at usage, and listen to my users to see if this is something I want to pursue. Who knows.

I am just glad that I am finally able to tell my users, "Yes you can get that from home, and here is how."

Bacteria and Keyboards

Don't do it, don't look at your keyboard too closely. Ignorance is bliss in this instance, trust me. I looked and I am horrified to say my keyboard looks worse than the dirt catching crevices of my car. You know, those little areas in your car where your vacuum tool can't quite reach but you can still see the mummified french fry wrapped in dog hair, dirt, and an old sucker stick. Well my keyboard had everything but the fry and sucker stick but it had many other UGOs (unidentified gross objects) to take their places.

So what is a person to do? First inclination is to run screaming for the hand sanitizer and call hazmat to dispose of the thing. But the folks at NPR had an idea. Put the keyboard in the dishwasher. Yes, you read it right, in the dishwasher. Of course they also say that while it got the keyboard clean it is probably not the best way to do it. Most computer companies suggest using compressed air and a damp cloth to clean the keyboard. They obviously have not seen my keyboard, if it could it would maniacally laugh at the idea of compressed air and a wet cloth.

If you are a germ-a-phobe or if you work in a hospital or somewhere else where you need easy to clean keyboards, NPR mentioned the Seal Shield keyboard which can work submersed in 9 ft. of water. Seal Shield introduced a medical grade washable keyboard and mouse, displayed at the 2007 HIMSS in New Orleans and Los Angeles, in response to the demand from healthcare organizations wanting to combat the spread of cross-contamination infections, including MRSA. While presenting at OLC a few months ago, I saw a flexible rubber keyboard, which might be the answer to your problems. Since it is completely sealed, the spilled coke and other nasties can't hide and live underneath the keys. One thing to note is that it is completely flat so you might need some trays or boards to prop it up to avoid any wrist issues.

Of course if you want to walk on the wild side with your own home computer keyboard, both Nell Boyce of NPR and Scott Moschella of Plastic Bugs dishwashed keyboards work. However I wouldn't recommend using it as a way to "get to know" your IT guy. Best to recommend something similar to the Seal Shield or rubber keyboard to your Infection Control people and IT.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

JCAHO Changes and Libraries

I received an email from HLS-list yesterday about JCAHO and the Standard Improvement Initiative (SII). The SII includes the deletion of IM.4.10 (Information-Based Decision Making) and IM.5.10 (Knowledge-Based Information).

Eliminating both of these standards is "detrimental to medical libraries, which in turn is detrimental to our patrons providing quality patient care services." Carla Funk and Katherine Stemmer Frumento will be sending a letter expressing concerns with the changes and will also attend the annual Liaison Symposium next month, to try and persuade “the powers that be” to rethink this decision.

Meanwhile, you can also express your concern and disapproval of the changes through an online survey. The survey includes comment boxes for you to express your opinion. In her email to the HLS-list Kathy reminds us to word the comments in a positive way, because as her mother always said, “You can catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar.”

The survey can be found at

Take a little bit of time out of your day to express your concerns. As Kathy says, "If every HLS member completes the survey, it will send a message that we are a united association, which has strong feelings on the topic."


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

PubMed on the Fritz

Previously I didn't post much about PubMed not working because in the past problems seemed to be few and far between and were resolved fairly quickly. But now, I don't know what is going on. All I can think is "Good Grief Charlie Brown." I don't think I a week has gone by these past couple of months that I haven't read some email about PubMed not working.

I have been slow to add my new library icons to PubMed because it just seems to be one big mess after another. I am all for the idea of perpetual beta but this is a little much. What is worse is that I think we librarians are left a little in the dark, wondering if it is our fault (icons, urls, etc.) or if it is PubMed's fault. There appears to be a big communication problem. Perhaps PubMed might have a updated blog or information page detailing the known issues and resolutions.


HLS Wiki

I have been playing around and browsing on the HLS Wiki and I like it. I also think it is one of those hidden gems that we hospital librarians need to do more to utilize and support. I can't tell you how many emails that get posted on the MEDLIB-L asking for help, ideas, best practices or resources on statistics, benchmarking, collection development, etc.

This wiki could be a really great resource for those kind of questions, but it needs your help. The wiki depends upon you to provide the information. The more quality information, the more of a help it can be to other hospital librarians.

I know, you are busy and don't have a lot of time at free time or work time to play around with a wiki. I hear ya. However, you don't have to sit there and edit every page or contribute mass amounts of information. Nobody has time for that. But it hardly takes any time to add a brief paragraph and link to something you did that worked. For example, I created an account and logged in and made some minor additions to beef up the front page of the Web 2.0 section. It took me a total of 5-10 minutes.

So here is my proposal. Don't stop the MEDLIB-L questions, I think we can all agree they are helpful and great. But perhaps in addition to sharing on MEDLIB you could also add the resource or example to the HLS wiki. Not only will you be sharing the information with that one person, but you will be providing information to others later on.

Just a thought.

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Hospital Library Toolkit

I saw this toolkit during the poster sessions at MLA and I think it is pretty neat. This toolkit is from the Hospital Library Subcommittee of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine/New England Region and it has sample mission statements, goals and objectives, annual reports, a value use library calculator, means of capturing and presenting statistics to hospital administrators, library scope of service checklist and a bibliography on promoting hospital librarianship.

Basically it has a bunch of goodies that hospital librarians should definitely take advantage of and use. I particularly like the value calculator. The example they link to is a public library value calculator, but there are instructions and information for changing it and adapting for your specific library. We have to communicate our value to people who don't understand librarian speak and the best way to do that is to break it down to dollars and cents. It is all about money.

The Sample Goals and Objectives section is helpful. But the one thing I would love to see in this toolkit (or anywhere) is more information on dealing with creating those darn Performance Improvement Plans which I think go hand and hand with a library's goals and objectives. I am forever trying to come up with a performance improvement plan that means something to me and the powers that be. My PIs must be something that can be measured by numbers and support the goal and mission of the library and hospital.

You can find the toolkit at or from the Hospital Library Section Wiki at

By the way, the HLS Wiki has a lot of other cool stuff for librarians, so don't forget to use it as a resource and add your helpful information for others to learn from and use.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Once a Librarian Always a Librarian

Summer finally decided to show up in Cleveland and, I decided to do the usual seasonal rotation of clothes between the attic and the dresser. I trooped up to the attic to drag down the plastic tubs of summer clothes and I soon realized it would not be a quick task. A jungle of precariously stacked boxes loomed in front of me and unfortunately I didn't have NASA's sattelite imagery to help me find my lost city of summer clothes. Each step led me deeper into the forest of cardboard, Rubbermaid and household items. Danger lurked under every item I moved as I nervously prayed for protection against any leaping spiders. Eventually I found my summer clothes all snug in their little plastic boxes. As I put the neatly labled bins (now containing my winter clothes) back in the attic, I had the feeling that the attic jungle would soon absorb them and I would be doomed to repeat my quest in the fall. But I left because I had to referee a disagreement over a ball between the four year old and the dog. As the days went on I tried to ignore that niggling feeling I had in the back of my head, but it didn't work. Everytime I had to look for something, a sense of dread would sweep over me as I prayed the lost item wasn't in the attic.

Armed with packing tape, extra boxes, a marker, and a giant shoe (for spiders) I went up to do battle. The first box I opened only just hinted at the enormity of task I was about to undertake. The contents of the first (unlabled) box: sewing machine, sweatshirt, thermos, and old pictures. The second (also unlabled) box: old computer parts, football, ice cream maker, and cassette tapes. I will spare you the rest of the gory disorganized details, but suffice it to say these were not the only two boxes with random contents.

Unbeknownst to me, my inner librarian emerged and took control. Every box was opened, and like things began to to be grouped with like things. Boxes were repacked and labled in detail. My husband briefly popped his head up to inquire about the strange thumping and swearing only to quickly return with a beer. By the end of the weekend I felt I had conquered the attic and established some sense of organization to the household melange. I brought my husband up to see it, partly out of pride, but mostly because I wanted to educate and indoctrinate him to the organizational system. I proceeded to explain to him that every box had a detailed lable facing out and each box belonged in a certain section of the attic based upon its contents. The attic was divided into subject categories; kitchen/dining, sports/entertainment, office, baby paraphenalia, holiday items, clothes, keepsakes, and house parts (when you have a century home you have a lot of spare odd house parts like doors, storm windows, etc.). I explained that boxes would no longer be randomly placed in the attic. Each thing had a place and that would make it easier to find things.

After I was done with my instructional class on attic storage and retrieval, my husband let out a burst of giggles and asked me if I had barcoded and cataloged every item. I guess you take the girl out of the library but you can't take the librarian out of the girl.

Google Books Adds 12 More Universities

(courtesy of GMRList)

The Committee on Institutional Cooperation, announced an agreement with Google todigitize distinctive collections across all its libraries as part of the Google Book Search project.

The Universities added to the project are:
University of Chicago
Indiana University
University of Iowa
University of Michigan
Michigan State University
University of Minnesota
Northwestern University
Ohio State University
Pennsylvania State University
Purdue University
University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Google will scan and make searchable up to 10 million volumes from CIC libraries. Public domain materials can be viewed, searched and downloaded in their entirety. Books under copyright protection will provide basic information and a snippet of textsurrounding the search term. Users seeking further information will be directed to avenues for purchase or library access.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

MySpace For Doctors

I have heard of MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But until I read John Sharp's presentation at HIMSS in Cleveland, I had never heard of Sermo. Sermo is "the fastest-growing community created by physicians, for physicians. Here physicians aggregate observations form their daily practice and then -rapidly in large numbers -challenge or corroborate each others opinions, accelerating the emergence of trends and new insights on medications, devices, and treatments."

Sermo is only for MDs and DOs licensed to practice in the United States and is free (more on the free later). It boasts of a membership of over 10,000 physicians and a "patent pending technology to authenticate and credential physicians in real-time." They authenticate each physician at registration and then re-validate upon every sign in.

Sermo users can discuss any topics, pose questions, note other physician observations, comment, search for information, post images, and send posting to colleagues who are not members of Sermo. In short it is MySpace or Facebook for doctors and appears to be very similar to LinkedIn which is an online network for business professionals.

I mentioned earlier that Sermo is free. Sermo is a little vague as to how it supports itself and is able to make money. "Sermo's business model is one of information arbitrage, the opportunity that arises when breaking medical insights intersect with the demand for actionable, market-changing events in healthcare." To me that is vague.

Why do I care how Sermo makes money and I don't care how MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn make money? Because we are talking about medicine and money, and even though big money drug reps can't join, there are plenty of documented cases where doctors with conflicts of interest have promoted one drug or product over another. If you don't believe me or think those are isolated incidents then you didn't hear Arthur Caplan's lecture at MLA this year.

Which brings me to another topic of concern...

There are some paying Sermo clients. Remember when I said that Sermo is free and only doctors can join? Well, I lied. Actually, Sermo kind of did. If you read their FAQ's you will see the question, "How will Sermo paying clients use information from the Sermo community?" Huh!? I thought it was free and only doctors could join. Oh contraire.

"Sermo's clients will use data collected from the Sermo system to help
forecast potential problems or new uses for commercially significant medical
products and therapies, gain early insight into outbreaks and other changes in
disease states and conditions that can affect the public health, perform
epidemiologic research investigations, survey the opinion of practicing
physicians on topics related to medical care, assess the success and adoption of
best practice recommendations, look for opportunities to improve medical
practice, and protect and promote patient safety and the public health."

"Sermo doesn't presume the relative value of any piece of information.
We leave it up to our clients to perceive that value and assign a dollar value
on any piece of information that reflects their interest in a particular topic.
Clients use it to further their goals and get information, the same way
physicians use it to get their questions answered. By maintaining system
availability to all different parties it creates a more diverse community. So
all kinds of different ideas are afforded potential value as opposed to being
given a pre-assigned market value. It is truly grassroots."

There is no indication as to what type of people the paying clients are. Maybe I just watched the X-Files too much and it made me paranoid, but I would like to know more about who can get access by paying money. Because "At the present time, Sermo is open to physicians licensed to practice in the United States." In the future, they will have ways for non-physicians to access Sermo. Are the paying clients the future non-physicians?

I think Sermo is an interesting idea and great way for physicians to network and communicate. It especially offers physicians working in rural or remote locations in the U.S. another means to collaborate and communicate with their peers. I am concerned about the whole money thing. Perhaps I am being too picky but since it has to do with medicine, I think a little more transparency is needed. Perhaps they are vague because it is a hot technology and a hot idea and they are nervous about competition. After all, they are venture backed startup that the folks at The Motley Fool said to add to the IPO watch list.

What is an interesting side note for all of you hospital librarians with IT blocking issues. My hospital blocks MySpace and Facebook but does not block LinkedIn and Sermo. Hmmm, is that an issue of content or could it be that the IT department hasn't learned to block these two social networking sites? It will be interesting if Sermo ends up getting blocked. I bet that is one thing Sermo hasn't considered, hospital IT departments blocking their site just like they block MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, chatting, videos, etc.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Healthcare and Web 2.0

John Sharp, eHealth mentions his presentation on Web 2.0 and Healthcare to the Northern Ohio Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) in Cleveland.

The main themes to John's presentation are:

  • What you need to know about Web 2.0
  • Why you should worry about Web 2.0
  • Why you should use Web 2.0

Because the hospital's network and security is IT's job they are going to come down on the conservative side of things. After all you aren't the one who will be getting paged at 2:30 in the morning if something bad happens. Our job as librarians is to connect people to information freely, and the some of the ways we connect or want to connect people to that information can be understandably scary for the IT people. They aren't the only ones who get freaky with the ideas of access to everything, information control by the masses, and perpetual beta....Just ask a cataloger about social bookmarking and tagging within "their" catalog.

Even though IT people are worried about some Web 2.0 applications, there are reasons to use them as John mentions. The trick is to do so without comprimising the hospital system's network or security. The trick is to come out somewhere in between. Where that is? I am not sure. I am not an IT person I don't know about all of their issues and concerns. However, the IT people are not librarians either, and they don't know or understand all of our issues and concerns.

This presentation is from perspective of the hospital IT people, the very people some of us librarians are trying to reach out to and collaborate with. (Or at the very least get on their email/call list when IP ranges change.) The IT people know about Web 2.0, some are proactive and some aren't. By looking through this presentation and others like it you begin to get some insights into their perspectives. You may not agree with everything, but you at least know a little bit more about what they are thinking. That way when you approach your IT person about chat ref, blogs, wikis, etc. you might be able to address some of their concerns and hopefully get their approval.

That is of course if you can actually get a hold of a friendly face within IT to build a work relationship with. It always seems that once we find "that person" they end up getting transfered to a different area in the hospital system or they leave for another IT company's greener pastures and we are left seeking out another victim...uh I mean friend to educate about the library's IT needs.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Ovid's June Resources of the Month

The full MEDLINE for the Ovid platform, this product is updated daily and includes: Access to Ovid MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Ovid's collection of non-indexed NLM records, both the in-process and PubMed-not-MEDLINE records. OLDMEDLINE: the National Library of Medicine's online database of approximately 1,700,000 citations to articles from international biomedical journals covering the fields of medicine, preclinical sciences and allied health sciences from 1950 through 1965. Subject limits based on PubMed's subject subsets (applies to the online only). The addition of these subsets allows users to easily restrict a broad search to their specific area of interest: AIDS, Bioethics, Cancer, Complementary Medicine, History of Medicine, Space Life Sciences, Systematic Reviews, Toxicology.
Try it now at Ovid
Learn more about MEDLINE from Ovid

Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI) on SilverPlatter
Health and Psychosocial Instruments features material on unpublished information-gathering tools for clinicians that are discussed in journal articles, such as questionnaires, interview schedules, tests, checklists, rating and other scales, coding schemes, and projective techniques. Over 2/3 of the tools are in medical and nursing areas such pain measurement, quality of life assessment, and drug efficacy evaluation.
Try it now from Ovid
Learn more about Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI) from Ovid

Back and Blogging Once Again

I am back from visiting my family in St. Louis. My mom hadn't seen the boys since January and the little one has grown a lot since then. We packed a lot into that week with trips to the St. Louis Zoo, Grant's Farm, the Magic House, the Science Center, and many obligatory and fattening trips to Ted Drewes. I almost feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. But I am back trying to get into the swing of things here at work and home.

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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: