Friday, December 21, 2007

See You in 2008

This will be my last post for 2007. I will be visiting my family in St. Louis for the week of Christmas. This time tomorrow I will be well into our 10 hour drive with my husband, two kids, and our ever faithful dog.

After 9 years, Cleveland of course has become my home. But there is still something to be said about going Home for the holidays (home with a capital H). There will be plenty of teasing and joking among my brother, sister, and I. It will almost feel like we're in high school again except now we have spouses and instead of me wrestling my brother for the last holiday cookie my oldest son will take up the challenge. The dogs will lounge around keeping at least one eye open for a stray crumb to fall and the other eye watching out for the wobbly one year old.

At the end of the day when the kids are in bed and we discover there is nothing on TV, we will play a rather spirited game of Trivia Pursuit or Monopoly. Late at night when we should all go to bed, a call will be made to Imo's Pizza and we will sit around drink beer and eat pizza reminiscing over family stories.

Going Home for the holidays is like wearing an old favorite sweatshirt fresh from the dryer. It isn't perfect. It has some stains and some fraying, but it is warm, comfortable, and cozy and it is yours.

I hope wherever you are you have wonderful and safe holiday with your family. See you next year.

MLA Membership Survey

Don't forget to take the MLA Membership Survey. The MLA Membership Committee and headquarters staff want your opinions on MLA programs, services, and future directions. Your responses to will help improve MLA's service to you and determine future priorities for programs.
The survey should take about 15-20 minutes to complete and will remain live through January 31, 2008.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kicking Myself

I am a huge fan of Athens, that is no secret. I firmly believe they provide a wonderful opportunity for hospital libraries to get on the equal access playground with other libraries. Academic medical libraries can afford or are allowed proxy servers and public libraries usually allow their patrons to login to resources from their web page. Until recently hospitals could not provide patrons with decent off campus access to their resources. Hospitals IT departments would not allow proxy access to the intranet. Athens frees hospital libraries from all that. Athens manages all of the access from their site, all you have to do is input the patrons into the database and activate the library resources. Patrons then have single sign on access (using their own unique username and password) to the library materials.

I know that Athens increased the usage of our library's online resources. By simply providing another method of access (off campus access) our journals and databases our statistics increased significantly. Increased usages statistics meant our resources were getting used more. We were getting more bang for our buck. In other words we were getting a better return on our investment on our electronic journals and databases? While I only had a few months worth of statistics at budget time to show our usage with Athens service, I was able to compare it with the previous year's same months usage statistics to my administration. Guess what my budget actually increased!

So why am I kicking myself? I am kicking myself because I don't have all of the data to prove it. As you might know, I left my job at that library for another. At the time I left we were only about 6 months into Athens. Not enough data to show any official results. I am also no longer at the library so my access to all of the statistics, electronic journal costs, etc. are unavailable to me. So what do I have? A whole lot anecdotal evidence, but no hard data. :(

If there are any librarians out there using Athens, take a look at your usage statistics and see whether or not your usage increased (I am betting it did) and how it effected your ROI on your journals. It is the perfect paper or poster topic to present or publish.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Problems With ISI's Impact Factor Data!?

I received an email today regarding questions about ISI's impact factors. There is an editorial by Mike Rossner, Heather Van Epps, and Emma Hill published in the Journal of Cell Biology and is available at

The editors from the Journal of Cell Biology and the Journal of Experimental Medicine and the Executive Director of the Rockefeller University Press reported their inability to verify published impact factors using data provided provided by ISI itself. They are questioning the validity of ISI's dataset and ISI's published impact factors.

The journal editors and Rockefeller University press bought ISI's data for The Journal of Experimental Medicine, The Journal of Cell Biology, and The Journal of General Physiology and some of their direct competitor journals. According to the editorial their intention was not to question the integrity of ISI's data, it was to to determine which topics were being highly cited and which were not.

Upon examination, they discovered two immediate problems with the data. First, there were numerous incorrect article-type designations. Second, the numbers did not add up. The total number of citations for each journal was substantially fewer than the number published on the Thomson Scientific, Journal Citation Reports website. The editorial states that the difference in citation numbers was as high as 19% for a given journal. The editors found that impact factor rankings of several journals were different and were affected when they used the data purchased from ISI.

When questioned about the discrepancy, Thomson Scientific replied that there were two separate databases (one for their Research Group and one for the published impact factors) and the authors were using the wrong set. After purchasing the right set, the authors discovered data still did not match ISI's published impact factor data.

ISI's impact factor has become the standard by which people determined "quality and "impact." Love it or hate it, it was the standard. However this is first time I think people have discovered that the very data that ISI is using is completely suspect. IF that is true then there is some definite reason for concern. Hidden and incorrect data is a serious offense. As the editors said, "Just as scientists would not accept the findings in a scientific paper without seeing the primary data, so should they not rely on Thomson Scientific's impact factor, which is based on hidden data."

It should be interesting to see if Thomson Scientific has a response and what it might be.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Funding to Support the Study of the Contribution of Library Sevices

Everyone is talking about and trying to show their library's value and impact on the hospital and patients. I thought this funding opportunity was important so I reprinted the entire post from Dragonfly.

(reprinted from Dragonfly)

Show your administrators how your library and your librarian skills benefit the hospital! How do you contribute to quality care, patient safety, and the all-important "bottom line"? The NNLM PNR is now accepting applications for a new award, specially designed to assist medical librarians in demonstrating their value and impact.

Rather than "outreach," these Medical Library Impact Awards might be considered "inreach" since they address health information problems and priorities within member institutions. Award funds (maximum of $5,000) might be used to support a study of the contribution of library services to the IRS-mandated community benefit standard, to showcase the librarian as leader of an interdepartmental team working on electronic medical records and linking knowledge-based resources, to develop and evaluate an institution-wide marketing campaign, or other projects unique to your institution and community. The librarian must be the project leader and support from administration must be documented.

Applications are due February 15, 2008. Read the full announcement and link to the application form at

Bloggers Among Us

Meredith Farkas wrote an interesting article in Library Journal that gives us peak at what the typical librarian blogger is like. While many bloggers are under the age of 40, almost a third are over 40. Most bloggers are not in technical positions but are usually in public service positions like reference.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Top Ten Social Networks

There is an interesting short article on the Top Ten Social Networks. It is no surprise that MySpace and Facebook are the top two. LinkedIn is listed sixth. Personally, I feel LinkedIn is really light in customization and social opportunities compared to Facebook. However, it appears to be more accepted among the business world. My 32 year old venture capitalist brother once mentioned to me that LinkedIn is more for those searching for a job in the business world. For me LinkedIn isn't very social. The most I do with it is link to other people I know or they link to me. However, LinkedIn has been growing rapidly (245%) and they have announced plans for their own platform which will hopefully make it more robust. They are staying clear of the Facebook type of platform which has lots of fun but unproductive applications. So it will be itneresting if there is room for a social networking software developed primarily for business networking instead for fun like MySpace and Facebook.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Free Anatomy Images

In our monthly librarian meeting, one of the librarians mentioned that she was looking to buy some cross sectional anatomy books because the medical students are increasingly studying cross section anatomy. During that meeting another librarian mentioned the Interactive Atlas of Anatomy ( as good FREE image repository of cross sectional anatomy.

It has 1500+ slices from normal CT and MR exams covering the entire section anatomy of the human body. The site is free but requires registration.

Personally I always find it hard to find good images of "normal" anatomy. Everybody wants to publish and show pictures of the abnormalities. So if you are looking for another good medical image site, add this one to your list.

What Is In A Name?

Juliet: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
-Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2) William Shakespeare.

What's in a name? That which librarians call a user by any other name would....

Joan Frye Williams and George Needham Thinking Out Loud podcast discusses how librarians refer to their...customers? patrons? users?. As Joan and George mention, all of those words have meaning and all of them different connotations.

Interestingly enough when Joan asked library users what they called themselves they said, Member. People, say they "joined the library," or "I signed up for the library." She mentions that these people sign up for Costco membership cards and museum and zoo memberships and they naturally think of as a membership so to speak.

It is not unusual to talk of library jargon when we mention the words OPAC, ILL, Database, etc, but I would never have lumped the word patron, user, or customer as library jargon. After listening to this discussion perhaps I need to re-think some of these things. As Joan says, "Language can effect behavior."

In addition to the interesting discussion about our use of language in the library, George reveals a little bit about OCLC's 4th Report (to be issued late Spring / early Summer 2008) which deals with library support and why people do or don't support libraries. He says the report reveals that there is no correlation between the use of the library and whether or not a person will vote in favor of library in a levy.

Hmmm can't wait for that report to come out, it should be very enlightening.

Joan and George's chat is great and not too long 15 minutes. If you have a chance during lunch or sipping on your morning coffee, it is worth listening to.

Monday, December 10, 2007

CE Proposals for MLA Hawaii Deadline Soon

Are you interesting in teaching an MLA CE class? Why not do it in 2009 in Hawaii? Among the many wonderful reasons for teaching an MLA CE class, you will have the opportunity after the class to relax on the beach.

Deadline for submitting CE proposals for MLA Hawaii 2009 is this Friday December 14, 2007.
Information is available at:

30 Web 2.0 Applications

Peter Scott's Library Blog clued me into a presentation by Phil Bradley, 30 Web 2.0 applications posted on authorSTREAM. Unlike a lot of other presentations found on the web, this one is more than just the slides, you can hear his presentation along with the slides.

With 30 different applications, it is no surprise that there are quite a few that are new to me.
Such as:
  • - Acts similar to the "clipboard" feature on your computer, but it is on the Internet and allows you to access the clipboard between two computers. If you do a lot of work from home or bounce around to different computers, you might be interested in this. However, it is blocked at my work so looks like I won't be using it that much.
  • Plugoo - Similar to Meebo. Unlike Meebo, Plugoo isn't blocked by far.
  • Gabbly - Really kind of cool. It is a chat feature but if you enter a URL it opens another window while preserving the chat screen. Therefore, you can show somebody a website and chat simultaneously. I think it might be a nice alternative to the expensive chat ref programs that some libraries are using. It too has yet to be black listed by my IT folks.
  • Meet-O-Matic - I am seriously thinking of using this for scheduling meetings among memebers of the committees that I am in. Take a tour so you can see how easy it is to propose a meeting time and receive attendees' availablity responses.
  • 30 Boxes- More of a personal calendar/organizer. Not as easy as Meet-O-Matic for scheduling meetings. Links in with Facebook, MySpace, Flikr, Blogger, WordPress, Vox, LiveJournal, Webshots. Allows sharing. This might be the answer to my scheduling the family's life. We have a traditional calendar hanging up at home, but we are constantly emailing each other back and forth at trying to remember what we put on it for various days. For example: "What day are the kid's doctor appointments this month? I have an all day meeting and if they are on the same day, you need to take them."
It is an interesting presentation. I am sure if you watch it, you will find something that might help you out either at work or at home.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Ebsco, RSS and EZProxy

As many of you know I am investigating how to give patrons a very simple way to get the table of contents (full text links to our journals or our ILL form) emailed or to their feed reader. It has to be SIMPLE, so that my 5 year old could understand how to do it. While I have been looking into that problem, I ran across a blog entry about RSS feeds, Ebsco databases, and EZProxy.

If you are having problems with setting up your RSS feeds of Ebsco databases for off campus use, you might want to check out EZProxy configuration. According to the RSS4Lib blog, "if you don't edit your EZProxy configuration just so, RSS alerts for saved searches in Ebsco database get rewritten to pass through library's proxy server. And if that happens, off campus users (including Bloglines or Google Reader) can't get to the RSS feed."

Don't despair, RSS4Lib directs you to the Distant Librarian for instructions on how to resolve this problem.

Free Educational Opportunities

I have stumbled across two FREE educational opportunities and I thought I would share them.

If you are interested in improving your day to day contact with your customers you might be interested in Roving Reference. SyrsiDinx Insitute has a free seminar on December 11, 2007 at 11:00 am Easter time entitled, Guide to Roving: Essential Service for Library 2.o. It is FREE but you must register. For more information or to register go to

About the class:
Across North America, and around the world, Libraries are working to implement Roving Reference as a practical way to both improve service to their existing customers, and to attract and convert new ones into loyal patrons. Both Public and Academic Libraries are encouraging their staff to step out from behind their desks and reach out to their "hidden customers" - the 50 % or more - those thousands of customers - who are reluctant to approach staff at the Reference desk and so remain un-served. One of the driving forces behind the need for Roving at Libraries has been, and continues to be technological change. And following in the wake of the implementation of technology in any organization is the challenge posed by transition. Technological Change is comprised of external forces (Library 2.0, RSS, Wikki's, IM, Installing free downloadable digital content, policy changes, structure change, etc.). Transition is internally focused: (the reflection, re-grouping, reorientation and training people have to go through before the change can work) .because, unprepared people can be nervous, or even resistant.

What is Zotero? Zotero is a free citation manager that works with Firefox. If you are interesting in learning more about Zotero you are in luck. On January 23rd at 2:00pm Eastern time there will be a free online program about Zotero, called The Mark of Zotero: Two-Clicks to Citation Management. The class is FREE, there is no need to register. For more information go to scroll down until you see the class listing.

About the class:
Zotero, designed by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, is a free citation manager that works as part of the Firefox web browser. It allows researchers to keep track of bibliographies, notes, even copies of articles and pictures-- all within the browser window. It integrates with several word processors to make creating a reference or a bibliography a two-click process. Chris Strauber, Reference and Web Services Librarian at Wofford College, will demonstrate the program and discuss it as a possible replacement for products like Procite and Refworks.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ovid's Resource of the Month

It is December and EMBASE Classic is Ovid's resouce of the month.

EMBASE Classic
Provides access to seminal scientific literature from the past is an important asset for today's researchers. Foundational literature is still relevant today and provides valuable insight into the origins of many scientific discoveries and how they've shaped modern practices.
Try it now from Ovid
Learn more about EMBASE Classic from Ovid

More Meebo and the Catalog

The other day I mentioned that David King added the Meebo widget to the catalog. It displays when a patron searches and gets no results. The Shifted Librarian, Jenny Levine, tell us that other libraries such as the University of Calgary, McMaster and Baylor are using Meebo as well.

If you are interested in adding Meebo into your catalog or other areas it is as easy as copying and pasting the code. According to Jenny, you "just go to MeeboMe, create a widget, copy the code they give you, and paste it where you want the chat box to appear on the page."

So if you are a medical library and you have experimented with Meebo, feel free to comment and share how you implemented it and your experiences.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Hospital Library Health Literacy Pilot Sites Needed

MLA and the National Institutes of Health/National Library of Medicine (NLM) are looking for eight hospital-based libraries to pilot a new Health Information Literacy (HIL) Curriculum. This curriculum is designed to increase health care provider knowledge of health information literacy issues, increase patient and provider use of NLM and other consumer resources, and promote the role of librarians as key providers of health information literacy resources and support.

If you are interested in making your hospital library a pilot site, you must submit an application form and letter of commitment from the hospital administration documenting organizational commitment to long-term delivery of consumer health information services. Hospital-based libraries of any size and type, and serve any geographic area are eligible. See the Pilot Training Selection Criteria document for a description of the selection criteria, training site expectations, and the support that training sites will receive from the project.

All applicants will be notified of their selection status by January 30, 2008.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Seeking Nominations for Exceptional Service Award

(forwarded from hls-list)
The ASCLA Division of the American Library Association offers an Exceptional Service Award for successful programs of service to medical staff and/or patients. This Award is described below:

Exceptional Service Award is a citation presented to recognize exceptional service to patients; the homebound; medical, nursing and other professional staff in hospitals; and inmates. It also recognizes professional leadership, effective interpretation of programs, pioneering activity and significant research of experimental projects.

The Nomination Formcan be found at On the Awards page, click on Nominations Forms in the left column and then on "on the website" in the first paragraph. The submission date has been extended from December 15 to December 31.

Library Catalogs and Library Chat

David Lee King added Meebo to his library's online catalog. The Meebo widget allows people to access instant messaging from anywhere. David added it to the catalog so patrons who do an keyword search within the catalog and doesn't find anything they can contact the library via IM and ask for help.

It is interesting twist on the catalog to make it even more interactive. I would like to know more from David as to what ILS system he is using and whether this could be done easily with other systems. I would like to know how much programming is needed for this, is it something that smaller libraries without IT departments (or with difficult IT departments) could easily do. Finally I would like to know how much use it is getting? Just curious.

I can see this application working with electronic databases as well. Instead of the Ask a Librarian email link, it could go directly to a chat session.

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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: