Thursday, May 29, 2008

Design Envy

I am working on a project to help 8 hospitals have an Internet presence for their users. We wanted something with a cohesive look and feel so that doctors going from one hospital to another would be familiar with finding things. We wanted something that could be easily edited and changed by all of the librarians, because they don't want to be calling me to make the changes to the web page. We needed a hosted site because we don't have a server.

After going through our criteria list and bouncing things around, it appeared that a wiki might satisfy our needs. The WikiMatix allowed me to compare different wiki platforms to see which one would best suit us. WetPaint had most of the critical features we needed. So I started creating the 8 hospital library wiki site and started to encounter design envy. I want to do so much more than WetPaint can do. I want to design a wiki site that will include the online catalog's search box and delete some of the permanent tabs (Members, ToDos, Invite) within WetPaint that might be confusing to our users. I want to make a nice header graphic listing each hospital with hotspots within the graphic linking to each library's wiki page. That way when you are buried within Hospital A's page you can easily click on the header and jump to Hospital B instead of scrolling through the left hand list of 8 hospitals. And while I was at it why not create a whole new skin which better incorporates my branding.

Hmm, some great ideas but from what I can tell it isn't going to happen because WetPaint doesn't allow HTML editing. WetPaint only supports widgets (which the catalog box would be) that are embedded Flash content or published in internal frames. And WetPaint is not real keen on messing with their overall style (skin) and deleting some of their WetPaint features (Members, ToDos, Invite tabs).

So scrap WetPaint? Well not necessarily. As I mentioned, given our unique criteria WetPaint emerged as the wiki leader for us. It just means that I must scale back my design aspirations. Instead of the search box for the catalog on the wiki page, I can easily link out to the Web OPAC. Instead of a nice graphic hotspot embedded header, I can create a normal nice graphic header without hotspots. I have to remember that for some of these hospitals this is the first time they will ever have any sort of Internet web page, so they may not need all of the bells and whistles yet.

I just have to remember to keep things in perspective to try and curb my design envy.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mark Funk's Parting Presidential Message

Past MLA President Mark Funk posted a parting presidential message of sorts. It was about this year's meeting and how at this year's meeting there seemed to be more young and active members than ever before. These young people aren't just sitting around, they are really really busy. They are presenting papers and posters, they are speakers, they are sitting on committees, they are networking (virtually and face to face), and they have ideas. In short they are engaged participating members. As one these members would say, "Woot!"

Mark mentions the demographic change that is just beginning to occur within MLA. Many older members are getting ready to retire in the next few years and the old method of having younger members learn the "MLA ropes by watching on the sidelines for years, until they've 'paid their dues," isn't going to work. Good news is that the new and younger members (some of us younger members have 10 MLA years on us so we aren't totally new) are ready and willing to learn and participate now. In order to do this, MLA's current governing tradition needs to adapt and change to let this happen. Mark believes that some of the answers can be found in using the Web 2.0 tools to help open up the MLA governance, make things more transparent. As he put it, "Open the windows and doors, and allow our members to see both how and why decisions are made. Allow them to question and comment during the process. Allow them to gain in a few years the kind of MLA experience that took people of my generation 20 or more years to gain."

Seven years ago was my first MLA conference. Perhaps it was because I was so new to the profession and I was a little overwhelmed by my first MLA meeting, but seven years ago I think I could have counted the number of younger librarians on two hands. That is probably a little bit of an exaggeration, but this year a couple of us "seasoned" young librarians reminisced about Orlando (where many of us met for the first time) and we commented about how neat it was to see so many of our peers attending this meeting in Chicago. I attended the New Member Breakfast this year and Mark's speech about his first MLA meeting really hit home with me. While I was not spending my entire time in the career center like Mark, I can remember being completely overwhelmed by everything and everybody. It seemed like everybody already knew everybody and they were all working on this and that project. I thought about joining a Section or a SIG but I didn't.

I am sure the Orlando meeting had the New Member Breakfast and opportunities for new members to get involved. I just didn't see it, or it didn't make an impression on me. That is why this year's meeting made such an impression on me, because I feel Mark as well as many other MLA members really pulled out all of the stops to try and get us to "connect" and get new members involved in the process. I really appreciate it. As a younger member who is just starting to dip her toes into the MLA pool, I have found that sitting on a couple of those committees have really been an eye opening and helpful experience. I may not have the years of knowledge behind me, but I can learn from others to see how things work and then every once and a while interject a thought or comment. Sometimes it is a fresh perspective and sometimes it was something that had been tried before. I have learned a lot and enjoyed it and best of all, the positive experiences has made me wanting to do more. That is good, because as Mark said, there will be a time when the older members have retired and the new members will be the seasoned ones who will hopefully be fostering other new members.

MLA 2008: Evaluation

If you attended the 2008 annual meeting in Chicago, you should be getting an email with a link to a survey looking for feedback about the meeting. Please remember to fill your survey out, it takes about 10 minutes to complete and it is very important to help make future meetings more responsive to member's needs.

I filled mine out, it was quick and easy. No secret, I voted for St. Louis, MO to be one of the host cities. Cross my fingers. :)


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

MLA 2008: Poster Sessions Online

I noticed the green effect the most during the poster session. In previous years, presenters would have their business card along with a handout (usually a PDF of their poster) for people to pick up. Every year I would usually create my hit list of posters that I really wanted to see and then I would make it a point to see those posters and try to talk with the presenter. Sometimes the presenter would be so busy talking to others (a good thing) that I would just take the handout and scoot off to the next poster on my list. I would then usually end up emailing the busy presenter a week or two later with my questions. However, this year I was off my game. There was no handout to pick up. Ack! Thankfully I improvised. I picked up the person's card (if it was on the table) quickly jotted the poster number down and a key word. I also happened to have my old digital camera on me and took pictures of some of the posters as well.

What is nice about the poster session being more green, is that more people seemed to have put their posters online. This makes it possible for people who did not attend MLA to virtually attend the poster sessions, read the information, and then contact the presenter via email. It also allows those of us who had to scurry to the next poster or who couldn't attend the poster session to view it at our convenience and at a more leisurely pace.

So, here are the links to Poster Session 1 and Poster Session 2. Melissa and David both reminded me that the links to the poster should be below the abstract if the presenter submitted it. Also don't forget to check out David's videos of Poster Session 1 and Poster Session 2.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

MLA 2008: Social Networking Still Needs A Network

I have to applaud the LAC and all the people behind finding MLA Bloggers to help cover the conference. You all did a great job. Unfortunately, we as an organization still have a long way to go. Despite having Official MLA Bloggers, the first webcast of a plenary session, MLA twitter feed, and what appears (to my eyes) more laptop toting and iPhone clicking people milling about, there was very little social networking (blogging, twittering, or texting) going on. The reason, there was no freaking network on which to be social.

Me and my fellow laptop toters were using laptops almost as divining rods to search for that elusive Internet access. There was no Internet access available in the conference rooms. The MLA wifi router gave out a very weak signal that allowed us to access wifi within a few hundred feet of the MLA LAC booth. Somebody had mentioned to me that I didn't need wifi access I just needed an aircard. Of course that means I would have needed a cell phone signal for the aircard to work. The conference rooms were underground therefore there were no cell phone signals. On the first day of the conference it was actually quite humorous to watch almost everyone stare at their cell phones and do the cell phone dance/contortion to try and find a signal. Although I didn't see anybody go to the lengths this gentleman did, there were many a librarian running up the escalators popping their heads above ground like gophers with cell phones checking voice mail and messages. Two positive things came out of it, I didn't go over my texting plan this meeting and I found out folks with Verizon were able to get some reception as one person lent me a Verizon aircard.

I am not alone in my frustrations. While I think MLA had one of its most "connected" meetings, it really could have been so much more with just a little planning and some wireless access.
It still felt as if MLA treated wifi access as an after thought. Have you ever gone to an ALA? For the past two years (2006 and 2007) free wifi was included. I realize MLA has made deals with the hotel room rates and conference room usage rates years in advance, but let's start thinking of ways to make wifi available. Why have we not investigated having a vendor sponsor free wifi for the meeting? I would gladly give up my meeting bag for free wifi. Why can't we have a few more routers (or stronger ones) strategically placed through out the conference hall so that we can get wifi within the actual meeting rooms? Why is it that while the presenters and speakers are talking about social networking tools, the participants within that same meeting room can't use the very tools the they are talking about?

We have come a long way since my first conference blogging experience in 2006, and with a little planning and creativity we can go even further.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MLA 2008: A Calculator for Measuring the Impact of Health Sciences Libraries and Librarians

Today I was drawn to the papers and presentations on library value and return on investment (ROI). This is the way administration and your bosses think. I personally think librarians have too long relied on the "touchy, feely" intrinsic value of libraries rather than the cold hard cash value of libraries. In other words I think we as a profession are still stuck trying to prove that we are needed to our administrators with anecdotal stories of our worth and that it is important to have a library because, "we have always had a library." I don't think it is a medical librarian thing, I think ALL librarians typically have fallen prey to this thinking and justification process. Perhaps it is because we are not taught business principles in librarianship, or many of our library students typically come from arts and science degree backgrounds not business degrees. Perhaps it goes a little deeper than that, maybe we have been so used to providing "free" services to all who seek it, that we have gotten accustomed to doing so and the very idea of attaching value and dollar figures to our products and services seems counter to our culture. (I tend to think this theory is particularly true within public libraries.)

Regardless of how we got this way, the fact is we did. We just can't seem (or want) to put a dollar amount on the services and resources we provide our users. In the case of medical libraries this is a great disservice because our hospital administrator do put a dollar amount on us and unfortunately it is usually how much are we costing the library. How much money are they "throwing out the window" to buy some books when everything is free or at least cheaper on the Internet.

So that is why I was drawn to the Bridging the Gap paper presentation as well as the paper "A Calculator for Measuring the Impact of Health Sciences Libraries and Librarians."
Full Abstract:

Librarian have usually have relied on circulation statistics, gate counts, reference questions and anecdotal evidence as support for budget requests or to fight budget cutbacks. The librarian created three calculators; one that can calculate the value of the library (collections, resources, services), a second that calculates the cost/benefit ratio (CBA, a number familiar with finance professionals), and a third that calculates the return on investment (ROI).

These are very helpful calculators. Personally, I think every hospital librarian should be making use of these resources to help justify budget increases and try to prevent budget cutbacks.

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MLA 2008: Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap: Using Dollar Values to Demonstrate the Value of Library Services.

Full abstract:

*Please note I scribbling madly during this session and may have missed some details. I apologize, if you have questions about the presented paper please contact the author. If you find out I got something wrong, please let me know so I can correct it on my post.

The librarian assigned dollar amounts to services and resources to demonstrate the value of the things the library provides to the patron. She determined the value of reference services, copy services, table of content services, and ILL.

She determined reference costs to be $25/15 minutes of search time. She decided upon this figure based off an article in the Wall Street Journal which looked at how much it would cost for the hospital to out source it and go with an outsourced information professional.

In house copies were valued at $5/article. She arrived at this amount after she established a two week audit looking at and tracking photocopying, faxing, and printing which allowed her to establish that the average length of an article was 16 pages. It cost 10 cents per page to actually copy the article. Then she analyzed the value of the collection. She determined the total value of articles within the journal subscription by taking the total cost of the journal subscription divided by number of articles within each issue to find out the cost per article for that title. She determined that the total cost of the library's collection at $3.23. Therefore the cost of copying an average article plus the cost of the library collection ($1.60+3.20=$4.80 rounded to $5) was $5.

To determine the cost of an ILL article she used the NLM figures for average ILL fees. It was suggested that she instead use the cost of getting the paper directly from the publisher as if she wasn't a library using Docline and ILL to get articles. However, to completely accurate she was told that she would have to find out the exact cost of each article she requested from each of the publisher's websites. She decided this would be too time consuming and that is why she decided to use NLM's ILL average costs. Personally I don't understand why she couldn't do a two week audit of costs (similar to what she did to determine the average number of pages within the article). For two weeks she could find out how much each ordered article would have cost had she gone straight to the publisher. She could then take those numbers and determine an average cost.

She treated in house table of content services to be the same cost as inhouse copying costs.

Finally she took all of this information, started tallying it up and attaching a sheet to every one of her searches or article requests. It said something similar to, "Without the library services this information would have cost you X to obtain."

By attaching dollar amounts to her services she not only was able to better inform her patrons and her administration of her true value but she was also able to better track her library's growth on a monthly basis. She showed growth each year, an average of 85% each year
The average increase in what they produced was 85%. Provided a quick picture to admin.

Her budget went up 120% and her productivity cost only went up by .01 cent. Unfortunately the hospital was having difficult financial times in which departments had to cut staff and she was forced to cut her staffing costs. So her resource budget increased but her staffing budget decreased due to what she felt was the hospital's difficult financial situation. Despite library cut backs to staff she felt that her efforts at least saved her job and allowed for her position to be kept and filled when she left the hospital.

Monday, May 19, 2008

MLA 2008: Poster Session 2

There were a lot of great posters and there is no way I could write about all of them, but two stuck out in my mind.

Weed it and They Will Come: The Nitty Gritty of Assessing, Weeding, and Rebuilding a Physical Book Collection. See the full abstract:

As we started talking, I found it interesting that they discovered that the process of weeding was handled differently by different generations of librarians. The librarian speaking with me told me that she sometimes found it hard to weed the books, but the younger staff appeared eager get rid of the old to make room for the new. The library began to increase their electronic book collection and in order to preserve serendipitous shelf browsing discovery, the librarians decided to add dummy books on the shelves for each electronic title.

Developing an RSS Current Awareness Service.
See the full abstract:

I loved how these librarians created their own service that captured over 1900 journal feeds which are available now on the library's web site and are bundled so that users can locate feeds alphabetically or by subject and can preview the table of contents. I completely applaud these librarians initiative, but I still think this is a needed service that can be easily done by a company like Serials Solutions or Ebsco and I don't know why they haven't added it to their A-Z service.


MLA 2008: Presidential Address and the McGovern Lecture

I have to admit I wondered how on earth Mark Funk could surpass his Inaugural Address from last year. He didn't surpass his speech in 2008, he gave the perfect continuation of what his Inaugural Address started. To put it another way, it was almost like his Inaugural Address was the season ending cliff hanger to your favorite television program, and his Presidential Address this year was the much anticipated season premier.

He briefly refreshed our memories with a flash back of his speech from last year and then delivered another truly inspiring address about his presidential year. Mark's "Connections: Bridging the Gaps," spoke about using and integrating technology within MLA and medical librarianship to bridge the gaps and make connections to members in the organization. He also pressed upon the idea that we should not just do things because, "That is the way we've always done it before."

Mark's speech reminded me to try and think outside of the box and look at things from a different perspective. Stop automatically accepting dogmatic approaches to things, and begin to reevaluate other methods. Who knows maybe the new way of doing things is better, it could also be worse. But if it is worse at least I tried something new learned from that experience and I can go back to the previously established method.

The McGovern Lecture just naturally seemed to build on the enthusiasm I felt from Mark's address. Andrew Zolli, a foresight and global trends consultant analyzes critical trends of culture, technology and global society. He gave a very humorous and dynamic speech regarding the changing demographics and how that affects the changing world and society. By knowing and learning about your group's (country, state, city, or institution) demographics you will be better prepared to plan and prepare for the changes due to the demographic shift.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

MLA 2008: Notes from the Hall of Exhibits, Unbound Medicine

Earlier today I met with the nice folks at Unbound Medicine. I have discovered that I must have been living in a cave these last few years, because I was totally unaware of that Unbound Medicine more than just providing textbooks to wireless devices. Unbound's

uCentral is Unbound Medicine’s custom point of need solution for institutions. It provides institutions with a powerful and flexible platform for delivering knowledge to the point of need and communicating with mobile users. uCentral delivers knowledge where it’s needed—online over the Web, downloaded to a personal digital assistant (PDA), or wirelessly via a smartphone, BlackBerry, iPhone or other wireless device. Did you catch the part where it also delivers information over the Web. It is much more than just a product for wireless products. Admittedly if you have a wireless product, it that much cooler of a resource.

uCentral allows institutions to provide enterprise wide web access to clinical titles with OpenURL, LinkOut support, and RSS feeds which enhance your journal collection access and usage. Their LinkOut support is also a nice method for librarians to provide an easy full text table of contents services. The LinkOut links are preserved within their TOC list so users do not have remember or worry about how the institution subscribes to the journal.

They are able to provide the TOC service by using PubMed. So the journals that are listed are ones that are only indexed within PubMed and results are as if you are doing your own PubMed TOC search. However, they have packaged it in a little friendlier and easier way that also preserves the institution's full text LinkOut link. But it is important to remember if the journal is not indexed within PubMed or it has limited indexing, the TOC won't be available. I still have yet to find a true TOC service that will provide the table of contents to all STM journals (regardless of its PubMed indexing) and also preserves the institution's full text links.

All in all I would have to say that I was pretty impressed with their product and it might be something to consider for providing electronic access to clinical books.


MLA 2008: Hawaii

MLA 2009 Hawaii
Originally uploaded by mak1173
I know we are in Chicago, but it is not too early to be thinking about Hawaii. The 2009 MLA Hawaii boot is in the Hall of Exhibits and every time I have walked by, they seem to be quite busy talking to fellow MLA members.

The meeting will be May 15-20, 2009. The meetings and the exhibits will be at the Hawaii Convention Center and the Conference Hotel Accomodation will be the Hilton Hawaiin Village.

You might be interested to know that the conference hotel MLA room rate will be LESS than the cost of rooms here in Chicago. The rates for are: Garden View $199 plus tax, Partial Ocean View $216 plus tax, Ocean View $250.

Conference registration will be $430 for Super Inclusive, $405 for Inclusing, and $285 Conference only. (Early Registration)

For more information and to stay informed go to the MLA Hawaii Wiki

MLA 2008: New Member Breakfast

New Member Breakfast
Originally uploaded by mak1173
Ok I paid dearly for my fun at the MDConsult, I got in late last night and had to up bright and early for the New Member Breakfast. I signed up to be a mentor to a first time attendee and the New Member Breakfast is a great opportunity to connect and learn from each other while enjoying a free breakfast. I just wish they had some soda. Not being a coffee drinker, I need my Coke for my caffeine boost.

If you are going to MLA for the first time, I highly encourage you to sign up for a mentor and to attend the New Member Breakfast. The breakfast not only gives you an opportunity to learn about the conference and what you might be interested in attending and what things like a Plenary Session, Section Meeting, or a SIG are. As you know librarians like their abbreviations and acronyms and it is helpful to get a lay of the land so to speak.

MLA 2008: Dinner and Games with MDConsult

Originally uploaded by mak1173
Last night a couple of colleagues and I went to MDConsult's dinner at Dave and Busters. In addition to the good food and drink, it was great fun to play all sorts of video games and carnival games like Skeeball. You could see all types of librarians wandering in and out of the crowds to try their skills. I finally got the courage to try my skills at Dance Dance Revolution. It was great fun but let's just say you will not see me on Dancing with Stars any time soon. My skills with the giant claw machine were much better, after only three tries I won a giant aligator. Now I just have to figure out which kid to give that too.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

MLA 2008: Gaining Leadership Skills CE

I flew into Chicago yesterday. I got checked in and despite some confusion between the hotel staff and I about Internet access, I am up and blogging. Whoo hoo.

This morning I had the opportunity to take an interesting MLA Continuing Education class, Gaining Leadership Skills Without Formally Supervising People taught by Natalie Kay Reed.

This class focused on learning various leadership skills without formally supervising people. In other works you don't have to be a manager or a supervisor and we learned that leadership is not mutually exclusive to management. Just because you are a manager doesn't necessary mean that you are a leader. Just because you are a leader within a group doesn't mean that you are the supervisor or manager either.

Leadership focuses on achieving goals to make a change. Management focuses on control, organization, and order.

Within the class we learned that various organizations MLA, SLA, Management, etc. all have their core leadership skills. They are all very similar, but have their own slant tailored to the organization.

In the class we learned about the various leadership skills and discussed our experiences with leaders who used these skills. After the discussion we looked at the skills and wrote down which skills were important to us. Then we discussed our spheres of influence, in other words our personal and professional encounters in our daily lives. For example: my personal spheres of influence include my family, my swim team, school PTA, friends, etc. My professional spheres could be my job at the library, my state association, committee work, hospital work groups, etc. Then we looked at the leadership skills that we thought were important to us and began to look at we would use them within our spheres. We then created action plans as to how we could better develop our skills and continue learning and developing our leadership skills.

It was a very interesting class and I think the best part of it was listening to other participants thoughts and discussing the qualities and skills of leaders. It has inspired me to develop a few of these skills and grow a little bit more professionally and personally.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

MLA 2008: Free WiFi Spots?

You have decided to not pay for wifi in the hotel but you would like to know where a few free wifi hot spots might be when the conference Internet Cafe is full or not available.

Well here is a list that might be helpful. Please note: I am not from Chicago, I don't know all of the ins and outs of the free wifi locations so please feel free to supplement it with more locations or let me know if I have anything wrong.

Near the Hyatt:
  • Cafe Descarts as well, 327 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Cosi (sandwich place) in the Illinois Center Food Ct. 233 N. Michigan Needs SSID
  • Park Millenium 222 N. Stetson
  • Dunkin Donuts 303 E. Wacker
  • Cosi Rush & Grand 55 E. Grand Ave. *Confirmed by eagledawg on MLA2008 Twitter
  • Argo Tea 16 W. Randolph
  • Caribou Coffee 20 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Panera Bread 300 E. Ontario

This is what I found doing a little searching on the Internet, so if your real life experiences differ please comment so others can benefit from your wisdom/travails.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

MLA 2008: Plenary Session Web 2.0 Tools for Librarians Available as Webcast

So you weren't able to go to MLA in Chicago this year. Well you are in luck MLA is brining a plenary session to you. On Wednesday, May 21, 2008, from 9 to 12 noon (Central Time), the plenary session on "Web 2.0 Tools for Librarians: Description, Demonstration, Discussion, and Debate" will take place at the MLA annual meeting in Chicago. This will be the first plenary session ever to be made available via a live Video Webcast. MLA members not at the meeting will be able to watch the Webcast and participate in it by submitting questions to a panel of Web 2.0 experts.

For more information go to

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Monday, May 12, 2008

MLA 2008: University Investment in Libraries

It is getting hectic these last few days before we leave for MLA and it won't slow down once we are in Chicago. For those of you who might be interested, Elsevier will be presenting (Sunday 3:55 and Monday 4:15) the results of a study on library return on investment at the MLA in Chicago. Entitled "University Investment in Libraries: What's the Payback? A Case Study at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign ," it offers a model on ROI based on data from the UIUC.

The White Paper for this study can be found at this URL:

It is available for you to read ahead of the presentation. Anybody who is unable to attend the presentation due to scheduling conflicts or not at MLA, might also want to read the paper as well.

Mentors Needed for First Time MLA Attendees

Are you going to MLA? Have you been before and are willing to share some of your knowledge and tips to first time attendees? If so consider being a mentor.

There are 10-12 new MLA members or first time meeting attendees that do not have mentors. Please consider volunteering as a mentor. It is not a huge time commitment. In fact, the average Colleague Connection pair met 2.4 times at the previous two annual meetings.

Colleague Connection matches up returning, more experienced conference attendees, with new members or first time attendees. Its purpose is to welcome new attendees and help them feel comfortable at the meeting. It introduces them to someone who can help make this large meeting seem more personal and less overwhelming and who will be a familiar face amid a sea of strangers. For instance, the experienced member can help the first time attendee negotiate through the maze of choices offered in the program by suggesting sessions they might find useful.

Please sign up at: or contact Stefanie Warlick directly at warlicse (atsign) jmu (dott) edu.

Once assigned, each pair of colleagues exchanges local contact information and works out its own meeting schedule. Initial contacts made through Colleague Connection can lead to lifelong friendships with your peers and grow your professional network.
For more information, see the article in the April 2008 issue of MLA

Friday, May 09, 2008

Don't Have the Money to Go to MLA's Annual Meeting?

This morning I was speaking on the phone with a fellow librarian who mentioned that she wasn't able to get her hospital to pay for the annual Meeting despite the fact that they will pay for her MLA and AHIP dues. I mentioned to her that she should look at and apply for some of the MLA scholarships that are available to attend meetings and continuing education. I realize it is too late to look for scholarships for this year's annual meeting, but there is time for the future meetings. MLA is going to a lot of neat cities.

There is the "Continuing Education Awards"MLA members may submit applications for these awards of $100 to $500 to develop their knowledge of the theoretical, administrative, or technical aspects of librarianship. More than one continuing education (CE) award may be offered in a year and may be used either for MLA courses or for other CE activities.
Note in 1999 it wasn't awarded. I guess that year everybody had money to attend a CE course.

There is the "EBSCO/MLA Annual Meeting Grant"This scholarship is sponsored by EBSCO Information Services and enables MLA members to attend the association's annual meeting. Each year awards of up to $1,000 for travel and conference-related expenses will be given to four librarians who would otherwise be unable to attend the meeting. Applicants must be currently employed as health sciences librarians and have between two and five years' experience in a health sciences library.

There are the "Hospital Libraries Section/MLA Professional Development Grants"This award, sponsored by the Hospital Libraries Section, provides librarians working in hospital and similar clinical settings with the support needed for educational or research activities. This award was established in 1996, and is given twice each year. Application deadlines are August 1 and February 1.
Note in 2002 it wasn't awarded. I guess hospital librarians must have had an abundance of professional development money that year.

Just doing a brief cursory search through the Chapter websites I found at least 8 chapters that have professional development, continuing education, or meeting attendance awards.

There are a lot of outside funding opportunities available to new medical librarians or first time conference attendees. Not as much for mid career librarians who have been to a conference before. This might be one area to develop. I know that I was very lucky at my previous job because my hospital paid for my attendance at the annual meetings. If they didn't, I would have been out of luck for any award where the criteria stated that I would have had to be a first time meeting attendee. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think there are some 15-20 year career hospital librarians out there who would like to go to an annual meeting more than once in their entire career.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

MLA 2008: Scheduling My Events and Time

I decided to sit down and figure out my schedule of what I plan on doing and seeing while at MLA. I futzed around for an hour with the Online Event Planner and I just couldn't get it to remember the right events (despite clicking on the add them to my itinerary button). So I am going old school. I printed out (sorry I know we are supposed to go green) the PDF of the schedule from the Preliminary Program and wrote in the sessions I wanted to attend.

As I looked at the various sessions, I noticed there were several things that I am interested in attending. Unfortunately I can't attend everything due to prior commitments and/or two programs of interest scheduled at the same time. Thankfully there will be other MLA Bloggers attending and writing about their programs, so hopefully I will be able keep informed.

One event I plan to attend is the Bearded Pigs. They will be playing Sunday night, May 18, from 8:00 to 11:00 in Crystal C of the Hyatt and thankfully I have no other conflicting plans. If you are new to MLA or just haven't heard of the Bearded Pigs, they are musically talented medical librarians who put on a great gig at the annual meeting.

If you are up for a little rock and roll and meeting some people, you should check them out. Here is the information.

Sunday night, May 18, from 8:00 to 11:00 in Crystal C of the Hyatt
Cash bar.
You can show your support and buy a Bearded Pig button $2 each prior to the event and $3 each after. If you see one of the pigs prior to the event ask for one.
All are welcome to the "Informal professional networking event with rock band and cash bar." Any proceeds remaining are donated to the MLA Scholarship Fund

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Blogging at MLA 2008

I just found out that I will be one of the Official MLA Bloggers for 2008. Conference blogging offers people an online method for staying informed about events at the MLA Conference. I think it is helpful to attendees and non-attendees.
Over the years it has been kind of neat to see how conference blogging has evolved for me. In 2005, unable to attend the conference, I sought out volunteers willing to write and submit posts about the conference. Genevieve Gore answered the call and submitted a nice brief report about her MLA experience. I decided, along with the help of some great volunteers, to continue the conference blogging experiment in 2006 and 2007 with my unofficial MLA conference blog posts. 2007 also marked the first year that MLA decided to get into conference blogging as well.
This year MLA will have 15 Official Conference Bloggers whose posts will be fed to and displayed on the Official MLA Conference Wiki. Conference goers and non-conference attendees will be able to read multiple blog reports from multiple people through one subscription feed. It is one stop shopping to staying informed online.
Conference blogging has come a long way in a fairly short time. There have been a few bumps along the way, but each year I and other bloggers make adjustments to smooth out those bumps. I am looking forward to being an Official MLA Blogger this year and I hope many readers will find the posts to be enjoyable and informative. Stay tuned.


Monday, May 05, 2008

HealthInfo Island Project in Second Life

If you were ever curious as to how medical librarianship might work virtually in Second Life, you might want to check out the final project report from the Alliance Library System. The project, "Providing Consumer Health Outreach and Library Programs to Virtual World Residents in Second Life," provided outreach to virtual medical communities, health training and information for residents of Second Life, links to consumer health resources, one-on-one support to residents, and part-time staffing for HealthInfo Island.

You might also be interested in an April 2008 article "Real World 101 in Second Life: A Discussion with Carol Perryman/Carolina Keats" UNYOC/MLA Newsletter p8-12.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Ovid's Resource of the Month

It is May Ovid is making Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology available as their resource of the month.

Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology is designed to meet the growing demand for tightly focused information in areas at the cutting edge of cardiology. It will include outstanding investigations of a more focused nature that have been selected through the same rigorous review process, subject to the same high standards, as articles in Circulation.

You can Try it now at Ovid

On a personal note...
Is it just me or has Ovid started sticking more of its journals as free resources of the month rather than its databases? I would like to see a database or perhaps a journal collection listed as Ovid's resource of the month rather than one little journal. I usually try and follow and post each month on Ovid's free resource, but I think if they are going to get into the habit of listing only one journal as a resource then I am not going to post about it. What used to be a nice opportunity to freely use and learn about a database, has kind of lost its usefulness for me.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ovid Basic Search

A few months have gone by and we have been able to look at and use Ovid's new interface for some time. In previous posts, I created a list of people who posted their own online documentation or training videos. For the most part these were people who focused on Ovid Advanced. Now there are some people and libraries out their who have chosen to use Ovid Basic and I thought it might be a good idea to list a few of them.

Some guides and information on Ovid Basic:
Librarians' RX - How to Use OvidSP’s Basic Search
St. John's Libraries - How Does Basic Search Work?
University of Ulster Library -OvidSP a Basic User Guide - Simple Searching CABI Abstracts Using OvidSP
University of Salford - OvidSP
Himmelfarb Library Blog -Natural Language Searching in MEDLINE (and more) on OvidSP

Hopefully this might be helpful for people in libraries that have decided to go with OvidSP Basic.

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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: