Friday, February 29, 2008

What To Do With MP3s That Come With Books

Forget the CDs stuck to the inside covers of books, there is a new audio book in town. We just received an mp3 access card with our USMLE Step 3 book. The card looks like a gift card where you scratch of the silver coating to reveal a code. That codes enables you login to the site and download an MP3 file.

Perhaps public or academic libraries are more familiar with this, but this was a first for us. We had to look at the issue of copyright and practical issues like access, storage, and overall feasibility. There was a general consensus that it looks like more and more publishers will be using this for audio books. Although we haven’t seen it yet, we discussed this could be another means to distribute multimedia (movies, images, lectures, etc.) supplements to books useing video mp3 files. It is probably cheaper for the publishers than sticking CDs inside the book.

USMLE Step 3 Recall is the little gem that started our discussions and further investigations. The librarian who first discovered the mp3 option contacted LWW and was told that our library was allowed to download the MP3 file and distribute it within our institution to our users. With copyright covered, (for now, and for this item) now how do we make it available to our patrons? What would be the easiest most efficient way?

We have an Innovative ILS and our Innovative librarian found that Media Manager would allow us to provide access to digital material via the catalog. However, like many Innovative products it is pricey. It is too pricey for us given that there isn’t a huge demand for this media, yet. So, I am looking at other low cost alternatives. 1. Due to various reasons we cannot save it to our current non-ILS server. 2. We need to control access so it isn’t free to every Tom, Dick, and Harry. 3. It needs to be easy for patrons and librarians.

Anybody have any thoughts?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New Look for EBSCOhost

Summer 2008, EBSCOhost will have a new look and feel. This will be the first redesign since 2002. They are calling it EBSCOhost 2.0. Just like Oldsmobile, this is not your father's EBSCOhost. It is a totally new look.

If you are curious about it, check out an overview of EBSCOhost 2.0 (Flash demo).

Here are some changes I noticed.
It has a completely new look and feel. Parts of it are similar to Ovid's new design. The Narrow Results box is on the left hand side of the screen and the Limit Box is on the right hand side of the screen. One nice feature is these boxes can be collapsed so that the results occupy the entire width of the screen.

Citations can be displayed by relevance or date. The relevancy rankings of each citation is also displayed. I am a little worried about relevancy ranking. After dealing with it in Ovid's Basic search which does natural language processing, I am curious as to what EBSCO is doing and how they determine relevancy.

Images from journal articles are displayed in Quick Review, which means it displays the thumbnails right below the citation.

The one thing I thought that was very cool was the citation hover. Hover your mouse over an icon of magnifying glass (next to the citation) and a little window bubble appears showing the citation and the abstract of the article. You don't have to leave the results list to read the abstract.

This summer will be interesting as librarians will be able to use the new version.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cleveland Clinic and Google Partner to Create the Patient Health Record

I have been asked a few times where I find things to blog about. Usually I blog about something from work at my library or something I have read from one of my many RSS feeds. This time the information came from good ol' mom who emailed me (and left me a voice mail) about an article she saw about the Cleveland Clinic and Google partnering to create an online Patient Health Record (PHR).

According to the article, it is a pilot project involving 1,500 to 10,000 patients at the Cleveland Clinic who volunteered to an electronic transfer of their personal health records to be retrieved through Google's new service. The Cleveland Clinic already keeps personal health records on over 120,000 patients, so this Google service is really just a drop in the bucket. The Cleveland Clinic decided to work with Google to make it easier patients to get their health information quickly even when they aren't being treated by the Cleveland Clinic.

My guess is this would come in handy for people who travel a lot and for whatever reason might need medical attention outside of the Cleveland area. As a mother traveling with small kids I could envision having medical consent documents attached to the record so that grandparents could take the children to see the doctor when the parents are unavailable.

Of course privacy advocates are worried about Google already having too much access to our private information. There is also the issue of trusting Google. John Sharp wonders whether consumers will trust Google to store their medical records. "My guess is the there is a 50/50 split on this - those who think it is adequately secure and those who are suspicious or fearful."

I don't think the idea of having their medical records online is the stumbling block, I think it is having it in something like Google. Many people already bank online, view their mortgage online, access their credit card statements online. Online access and availablity is very popular. However, the information is stored in the banking or financial institution's system. Personally I trust those institutions to keep that type information more secure than I would Google or Yahoo. If Google and the Cleveland Clinic are talking about the ability for patients to access their patient health records anywhere then why not make that feature available directly from the Cleveland Clinic using MyChart? Just curious.

I think the idea of online poratability of health care information is a good idea. If you are traveling or you have moved and you need to see a doctor, having all that information available can be very helpful and improve care. Of course the medical librarian in me thinks it would be really cool if MedlinePlus or other reputable online consumer health resources could be integrated into the PHR so that consumers could click on a drug term and view information and complications. It will be interesting to see how all this shakes out.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Free MLA CE Opportunity!

How often is there an opportunity to take a free MLA class and earn 8 hours of CE credit?! MLA’s Social Networking Task Force, in partnership with the NPC Geek Squad is hosting the free online CE course, "Web 2.0 101: Introduction to Second Generation Web Tools." This course is open to MLA members and will run from March 10, 2008 to May 4, 2008, leading up to MLA ’08 in Chicago.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn hands on about blogs, RSS, wikis, social networking, social bookmarking and tagging, web office tools, photo sharing, online hosted video, and mashups.

You don’t need to have any prior knowledge of these technologies. The instructional level is for beginner and intermediate uses of Web 2.0 applications. The program will run over an eight week period and will require one to two hours per week of time in reading and activities, depending on your knowledge and skill level entering the course.

Registration is free! However you must be an member of MLA and register before March 9, 2008. Course participants will automatically be signed up for an email discussion list for the course. You must have access to a computer with the Internet and unrestricted network access to full participate in the course. If you work within a restricted network, you might consider taking the course from your home computer since it only requires one two hours of your time per week.

For more information and to register, visit MLANET members only area. You will need your MLA ID/username and MLANET password to register.

Friday, February 22, 2008

How Much Are You Worth?

How much are you worth? It is such a loaded question and it is open to interpretation. Personally I think I am invaluable, irreplaceable, and overall worth more than my weight in gold. Of course that is my perspective.
As librarians we naturally tend to think our libraries and our services are invaluable. However, hospital administration most likely has their own perspective on the value of library and its services. It is up to us a librarians to prove our value to them. Simply giving gate counts and circulation statistics ain’t gonna cut it these days.

Many years ago, early in my library career, I had lunch with a close family friend at the hospital where I worked. My lunch partner was the primary man for fundraising and securing large donations and money for the hospital. You know how college campuses and hospitals have various buildings named after various wealthy families? He was the guy who usually got those families to donate. He also happened to be a very close family friend. To me he was just Bill. To everybody else in the hospital (particularly the big wigs) he was the man with the money. Throughout our lunch together there was always somebody stopping by to say hi, shake hands, and possibly mention securing donors for some sort of new project or building. Our fragmented and often interrupted casual lunch was the first time I saw often he was asked for money for good of the institution.

People are always asking for more money in every institution. Administration often funds departments that they perceive to be profitable or helping the hospital. Unfortunately the hospital library is not always thought of as profitable to the institution. Librarians need to start showing how the library is profitable by supporting the hospital. Librarians like to point to various articles showing how our services impact patient care, save hospitals money, etc. That is good, but your administrator is going to want to know specifically how your library and your services do what the articles mention. That is where we often fall short.

Don’t worry. There are plenty of resources available to you to begin and continue the process of demonstrating your value to the hospital.

mla-hls wiki Advocacy
MidContinental Valuing Library Services Calculator
Jackson County (Oregon) Library Services Calculator
Northern Suburban Library System ROI Calculator –Can use it to determine library’s ROI to the community or a library user’s savings per visit.
Hospital Library Promotion Toolkit
Explanation of Values Used in the Library Calculator – University of Hawaii at Manoa
Online Value of Public Library Services Tool
Maine State Library Library Use Calculator
Library Research Service Individual Return on Investment Calculator
Vermont Library Association Calculator
Wellseley Free Library Value Calculator
ROI Calculator –Excel Spreadsheet from the Alamo Area Library System
Economic Impact of Libraries in Indiana

Many of these calculators are similar or even the same. What is interesting is to see how each library uses them and the values they place on certain services. No calculator is perfect but this give you a starting point to begin to put an actual number value (which administration loves) on your services. Then you can combine this information with your anecdotal evidence as to why you and your library are worth their weight in gold.

Woman’s Day Call for Articles on Libraries and Health

(courtesy of MLA-Focus)
Woman's Day, a consumer magazine with a readership of four million, is calling for articles on "Has the Library Positively Impacted Your Health?" This call for submissions continues a seven-year partnership with the American Library Association's (ALA's) Campaign for America's Libraries. More information can be found on the ALA website. Entries are due on May 11, and winners will be featured in the March 2009 issue of Woman's Day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

MLA 2008: Only Connect

Are you going to Chicago for MLA 2008? If so you might be interested in "connecting" with others who could benefit from your medical library experience and knowledge.

(courtesy MLA '08 blog)
The National Program Committee is collaborating with local Chicago organizations for two exciting events:

1) Only Connect: Each One Teach One on Friday, May 16, 2008, noon – 2:00 p.m.: MLA members will visit the Wrightwood-Ashburn branch public library to meet with public librarians interested in finding out more about healthcare information. We need volunteers who have outreach and teaching experience to exchange expertise with a team of public librarians on health information and community outreach. Each volunteer will present for 15 minutes on their favorite health web site and/or share information on their latest outreach project relevant for public librarians. We see an opportunity for connecting medical librarians and public librarians! Round trip transportation provided from the Hyatt. Pick up at 11:00am in the hotel lobby.
Participants will return to the Hyatt about 3:00pm. Maximum: 15

2) Only Connect: MLA health information table at the Rush University FreeHealth Fair on Saturday, May 17, 2008, at the Chicago Christian Industrial League: MLA members will offer free literature searches to the approximately 1,000 residents who are expected to attend from the city’s underserved communities. Spanish-speaking librarians are encouraged to volunteer.

We will need volunteers for 2-hour shifts each:
Morning, 8:00a.m. pickup at Hyatt (in the lobby), return at noon, Maximum: 20
Afternoon, 10:30a.m. pickup at Hyatt (in the lobby), return at 2:30 p.m., Maximum: 20

For more information and how to sign up to volunteer go to the MLA '08 Blog.

Picking Your Brains

I have been a little behind on posting to my blog recently because I have been working on a presentation that David Rothman and I will be doing a for the MLA Webcast, Web 2.0 Principles and Best Practices: Discovering the Participatory Web (Wednesday, March 5, 2008, 1:00 p.m., central time.)

David and I would like to know if there is anything specific that you want to hear us talk about, or a question you want answered. Please leave us a comment either on this site or on David's and we will try to address it in our presentation.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

OvidSP Enhancements

Ovid is listening. They have made some changes to their new platform based on the feedback it has received from customers.

Here are some of the changes that have already happened or are scheduled to happen:
  • Ovid Syntax is now Advanced Ovid Search
  • Jumping screen will be fixed. After performing a search, your OvidSP screen will remain at the search field rather than "jump" down to the results.
  • Visual improvements to the Results Manager and display of inline abstracts
  • Improved functionality of RSS feeds in Internet Explorer 6
  • Exporting of annotations to EndNote, RefWorks, and other standard citation managers

Ovid has created a new online tutorial. Visit the OvidSP Resource Center for user guides, screenshots, marketing materials, training information, and a new short 3-minute online Search Page Overview tutorial.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Just when I had a handle on things, I heard the term micro-blogging. Huh? What is micro-blogging?

According to wikipedia:
Micro-blogging is a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates (usually less than 200 characters) and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, MP3 or the web.

If you have heard of Twitter then you have heard of micro-blogging. I have always called it Twittering. I guess it is similar to using the term xeroxing when you are using a copy machine.

I mentioned once before that I really haven't thought of a reason for why Twitter would be used in the medical library world. It doesn't mean that I am against using it, it just means that I am not creative. I need somebody who can think out of the box and provide examples or real use in the medical or medical library world.

Leave it to John Tropea at Library clips to write a very lengthly post describing various micro-blogging applications and how he uses them.

First he looks at more traditional methods of communication such as Email, IM, Blog, Lifestream, and MyBlogLog. Then he goes on to describe his use of micro-blogging applications such as Pownce, Tumblr, Jaiku, Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo Pulse, and many more. According to John not all micro-blogging services are the same. He uses "Pownce for informal private groups, Twitter for blabbing, Facebook for close friends, and Tumblr for spontaneous blogging."

Of all the applications he describes I think Pownce might have the most potential for use in medical libraries and the biomedical profession. Pownce is centered around sharing messages, files, events, and links with already established friends. I can see this working well within a research group or a library setting. According to Rafe Needleman, "If you're starting from zero, give Pownce a serious look, especially if you're thinking of using it in a work setting. With Pownce, you can easily set up a group of contacts, and use the service to keep co-workers up to date on what you're doing as well as the latest versions of documents you're working on. Also in Pownce, replies to particular nanoblog entries are easily tracked in their own threads, on their own pages. If something you write starts a discussion, it's much easier to keep track of what people are saying than it is on Twitter. Again, this is a great feature for business users."

For those of you where IM is blocked, you might look at Pownce as a method to communicate to staff.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Long Term Planning

It is cold and snowing here. Of course it is Cleveland in February, and it is what one would expect the winter weather to be. Everyday I watch the forecast to see how many layers I must dress my children in. Should they wear the usual coat, hat, and gloves, or should they be dressed for the next polar expedition? Short term planning at its finest. Of course when the winter clothes sales start, I try and buy what I can for next year. It is hard with growing boys to effectively plan long term for next winter. Growth spurts can make those fabulously priced snow pants into capris. Any longer term planning beyond a year is wishful thinking.

In libraries we tend to do a lot of short term planning and our long term planning is usually one year ahead. However, I think a one year long term plan may be a little too short at times. Perhaps we should be aiming for having short, middle and long term plans. Short term plans are for things happening within the year. Middle range plans are for things happening in the upcoming year. Long term plans are for things happening within the next five years.

Usually we become so focused on our yearly plans that sometimes it appears as if out of the blue certain things require our attention for next year. Really, many of these things shouldn't be out of the blue. Here are some examples: You all of a sudden notice that the carpet and upholstery are becoming fairly worn. The usage of the library space is changing, more people are using it as a study space or a meeting space rather than a repository. People are looking for more things online from home rather than coming into the library. These things didn't happen in a year. They happened over many years. They should have at least been on your radar, and most likely they were. But having them on your mind but not on a long term plan can hurt you or the library. These things cost money and because they might be completely new projects or items that aren't usually done on a yearly basis, your administration will need to know about them well in advance. If you don't write it down and submit it to your administration, they are not going to know about these things. They cannot read your mind and it isn't their job to forecast the library's needs.

Just like surprise growth spurts, changes in the strength of the dollar can wreak havoc on our journal budgets. But having a plan can go a long way in helping get the resources your library needs.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Library Resources and the EMR

As more and more hospitals are implementing electronic medical records, it is important for the librarians to try and be involved in this area. Ideally it would be great of the librarian can be directly involved and communicating with people within the IT department regarding the EMR. Even librarians who have a less than stellar relationship with IT need to keep their eyes and ears open regarding the EMR.

Surveyors are already taking notice of hospitals that have integrated library resources in their EMR. Recently I sat in on a meeting for Magnet Nursing and the surveyor asked whether the library's resources were in the hospital's electronic medical record program. She mentioned that she had visited other insitutions where this had been done and how helpful it was for treating patients.

So I have compiled a quick list of articles on the EMR and the library's involvement.

Jerome RN, Giuse NB, Rosenbloom ST, Arbogast PG. "Exploring clinician adoption of a novel evidence request feature in an electronic medical record system." J Med Libr Assoc. 2008 Jan;96(1):34-41. (free full text)

Albert, Karen, "Integrating Knowledge-Based Resources into the Electronic Health Record: History, Current Status, and Role of Librarians." Medical Reference Services Quarterly. Vol. 26(3), Fall, 2007. (subscription required)

Humphreys, Betsy L. "Electronic health record meets digital library: a new environment for achieving an old goal." J Am Med Inform Assoc. Sep/Oct 2000, Vol. 7 Issue 5, p444-452. (free full text)

Do clinical experts rely on the cochrane library?

There is an interesting article looking at whether clinical experts use the the Cochrane reviews that I think librarians might be interested in.

Do clinical experts rely on the cochrane library? Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Feb;111(2):420-2. Grimes DA, Hou MY, Lopez LM, Nanda K.

In part because of limited public access, Cochrane reviews are underused in the United States compared with other developed nations. To assess use of these reviews by opinion leaders, we examined citation of Cochrane reviews in the Clinical Expert Series of Obstetrics & Gynecology from inception through June of 2007. We reviewed all 54 articles for mention of Cochrane reviews, then searched for potentially relevant Cochrane reviews that the authors could have cited. Thirty-six of 54 Clinical Expert Series articles had one or more relevant Cochrane reviews published at least two calendar quarters before the Clinical Expert Series article. Of these 36 articles, 19 (53%) cited one or more Cochrane reviews. We identified 187 instances of relevant Cochrane reviews, of which 40 (21%) were cited in the Clinical Expert Series articles. No temporal trends were evident in citation of Cochrane reviews. Although about one half of Clinical Expert Series articles cited relevant Cochrane reviews, most eligible reviews were not referenced. Wider use of Cochrane reviews could strengthen the scientific basis of this popular series.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


By now everybody who has Ovid should have been switched to OvidSP. We made the switch a little earlier at our library. We made OvidSP Advance Search (previously OvidSP Syntas, thank you Ovid for the name change) our default. We also had the search history box and limits box default to be open. We allowed our users to have personal accounts which also allowed them to use the sticky notes feature.

I really like the sticky notes feature. (See Annotate your Search Results from St. John's Medical Library) You can click on the yellow "note" next to the citation and add your own personal notes about that citation. That note stays with the citation. Users must have a personal account to do this. I can see so many possible applications for the use of the sticky notes.

Because we made it so the search history box would always be displayed, it makes searching a little "jumpy" at times. After you have searched for a term in Ovid, it automatically loads the main page with the search box up top. But as soon as it loads completely on the screen, the page then automatically jumps to the top citation listed. It is kind of distracting, especially if you have multiple parts to your search and you want to type in the search box.

I wish Ovid would have added the option to email citations in HTML or text format. This is long overdue and their competitors EBSCO and PubMed already have this feature. Emailing in HTML preserves the full text links to the article and is VERY helpful to have when you are emailing a search request to somebody. If Ovid allowed HTML emails, they could even have the sticky note feature come through on the email. Two or more colleagues who do research could email their search results to each other with their notations on the sticky note.

There are more libraries who have created OvidSP help guides.

If you are still scrambling around to find online tutorials or documents on OvidSP to either link to or inspire you to create your own, check out the following sites:

Online Tutorials:
Combining and Limiting Searches in OvidSP - Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, Yale University of Medicine
OvidSP Search Result Display -Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, Yale University of Medicine
New Features of OvidSP *note some content is unique to Yale* -Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, Yale University of Medicine
OvidSP Tutorial -Medical College of Wisconsin Library
Learn about Medline OvidSP Basic Search -University of Sydney Library
OvidSP –University of Michigan Taubman Medical Library
Using PICO to search the OvidSP CINAHL Nursing Database – North Colorado Medical Center Medical Library

OVID databases starter workbook (pdf) -Leeds University Library
OVID databases advanced workbook (pdf) -Leeds University Library
Ovid SP Tips From Your Medical Librarian -St. John's Medical Library
OvidSP User Guide -St. John's Medical Library
OvidSP Basic Search -St. John's Medical Library
Ovid Syntax Search / Ovid Advanced Search -St. John's Medical Library
Annotate your Search Results -St. John's Medical Library
OvidSP RSS Feeds -St. John's Medical Library
Library Starter Guide to OvidSP -University of West England
Library Advanced Guide to OvidSP -University of West England
Multiple Search Modes in OvidSP for MEDLINE (and more): What to Expect – Himmelfarb Library
Natural Language Searching Medline (and more) on OvidSP – Himmelfarb Library
RSS Feeds on OvidSP –Himmelfarb Library
Embase OvidSP crib sheet [PDF file] -Cambridge University Library, Medical Library

I am sure there are more out there, add any that mist to the comments.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Ovid's Database of the Month: EBMR

It is February and that means two things to remember about Ovid.

1. The change to OvidSP is days away. Please contact your Ovid support to set your Ovid access to your library's desired defaults. Also remember to change your URLs to Ovid. The new URL is if you use IP validation autologin try

2. Database of the month is: Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews (EBMR)
Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews (EBMR) on OvidEBMR helps clinicians practice EBM through a combination of resources that provide: systematic reviews of topics; article reviews; and access to definitive controlled trials. And only with EBMR on Ovid can you get comprehensive integration with MEDLINE.
Try it now for free at Ovid
Learn more about Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews (EBMR) from Ovid

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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: