Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Library Rock and Roll For the Holidays

This will probably be my last post until the new year. I want to wish everybody a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays.

I thought I would end this year with a fun post on libraries. Recently I heard about the site Rock Music For Education. Justin Pugh, a 4th grade teacher at Pine Grove Elementary, has recorded The Read Day CDs. The Read Day CDs are parodies of Green Day songs featuring reading and libraries.

Here are some samples of his songs:
American Literate
Boulevard of Where I Read
Go and Read

It is really obvious I am a librarian geek because I thought these were hillarious and great, I was tapping my foot while listening to them and writing this blog entry.

It is too late to order them and have them shipped in time for this year's holidays, but hey there is always next year, birthdays, national library month, etc. The Read Day CD's are free with a $5 donation to the Pine Grove PTA.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

PubMed Year End Processing

NLM finished the Year End Processing December 15th. The NLM Catalog, MeSH database, and translation tables were updated to reflect 2009 MeSH and the information is now current. Important to note, the Index to the NLM Classification will not reflect 2009 MeSH changes until Spring 2009.

Here are some other changes you might be interested in:

  • NLM Bibliographic records will now include three new Publication Types; Cookbooks, Formularies, and Poetry.
  • NLM implemented the new PCC (Program for Cooperative Cataloging) Guidelines for field 440 (i.e., use 490/830 in lieu of 440) beginning November 24, 2008.
  • NLM will now copy tables of contents (TOC) and summary notes available from the Library of Congress 856 links into the bibliographic records.

Go to the NLM Technical Bulletin for more information on these changes and links to many others.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trying to Find Money In This Economy

I have been planning on attending the MLA Conference in Hawaii. It won't all be fun in the sun, I am on a few committees and I plan on presenting. My library had originally told me they would support my trip, just like they did when I attended the conference in Chicago. Unfortunately yesterday an email was sent out to all hospital employees detailing some ways that the hospital will be tightening its financial belt in these tough economic times. One of those ways is to halt travel. "Travel should be limited to trips that are critical to our organization's mission." Uh oh.

So I immediately did what any librarian would do, I jumped on to the computer and started looking for travel grants. Fortunately I found quite a few grants that might work. Unfortunately it is too late apply for most of them. It is either past the deadline (MLA grants) or it will take too long to get funding, as is the case for the NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings grant, the process takes approximately 6 – 9 months from the application receipt date.

For me this has nothing to do with the fact that the conference is in Hawaii. Aside from airfare, the cost to go to the conference in Chicago and Hawaii are fairly close. Basically, I wouldn't be able to attend an MLA conference in any city (except Cleveland) without institutional support. I value that institutional support, without it I would not be able to be as active in the profession as I am. Note, there are no MLA grants for mid career librarians who have attended the conference before, even if it was 20 years ago.

Now I am looking for money in other places. CNN recently published an article, "Unusual and Legal Ways to Make Money" where a woman was paid $1,200 for 27 inches of her hair that she sold on That won't work, I just cut my long hair last month.

I have made commitments that require my attendance at the annual meeting. I agreed to them before the change in my organization's travel policies. I will stand by my commitments. Short of finding any money in the walls of my 90 year old house (note to all contractors I will split it with you 50/50 to avoid the legal craziness), I will just have to go with the tried and true method of trying to sock away a little each month to go. Easier said than done when there are life commitments, as anonymous points out.

For those of you going, how are you paying for it? Please share, because I am sure that the information will benefit more than just me.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Libraries and IT: Why Can't We Just Get Along?

This is a common reoccurring topic among libraries, especially among hospital libraries. There is a very interesting podcast from the Chronicle, "Tech Therapy: Why Can't Librarians and IT Departments Just Get Along?". It is a little more focused on academic library relationships with IT departments, but there are a lot of interesting points and questions raised that hit across the board to all types of libraries. The co-hosts Scott Carlson and Warren Arbogast discuss some of the differences and similarities among the two departments. Some of the differences are social (male and female, older generation and younger generation) while other difference are primarily department focus (libraries tend to be mission driven while IT departments are task driven). Surprisingly to some people, there are some striking similarities between the two groups. These similarities can be how the interact with their clientele, rapidly changing work environment, job/profession security and value to the overall organization. I think what is most interesting are the anonymous comments the co-hosts solicited from librarians and IT regarding each other.

Max Anderson at the Cornflower blog posts about Social Software as a Malicious Tool. He describes the difficulties many medical libraries have accessing social software tools like blogs, wikis because their IT departments.

Perhaps by knowing the a little more about the differences and similarities between the two departments we can have a better understanding as to how we can get things done together. I am often asked by various people how they can get IT to listen to them or to approve of something. There is no magic formula and it might take a long time for success to happen. But you will increase your chances for better communication and getting the services you need by educating yourself about the product, going to IT early (before you decide to actually adopt the product), polite persistence, and presenting the big picture.

This doesn't work every time. There have been plenty of times I have sent emails repeatedly to my IT guy and they go unanswered. I wonder if he left the company, then out of the blue I get an email from him about something totally different. Frustrating, unfortunately the library isn't always their top priority. That is when I resort to calling them or sending the email to another IT person while CCing the non-responder. Sometimes this helps.

In the end I have found patient persistence to be the best way to get things done with IT.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Why Do They Keep Changing PubMed?

I feel like this month is flying by and that I am constantly treading water to stay a float. It is a busy time for me personally and professionally so unfortunately this blog hasn't been updated as much as I would like it to be. If you like reading it, don't worry, I am not getting bored with blogging. I just don't have the time right now, which frustrates me because I think blogging allows me to get some of my ideas out into the open. I will do my best to keep posting regularly and hopefully after the holidays I will be able to get on a consistant posting schedule again.

Thankfully, the Eagle Dawg blog has taken up the slack and she has posted a very interesting post titled, PubMed and the Discovery Initiative discussing some of the changes happening with PubMed.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

EBSCO Nursing Reference Center

The last two weeks following Thanksgiving have been very hectic for me. First week back we all got the stomach bug that made the rounds this season. This week pink eye has struck. Unlike previous times the little bug that is causing all the itchy redness is viral, so antibiotics are useless and we must let it run its course. Cross my fingers the little one will be able to go back to daycare soon and the older one doesn't get it.

Even though I have been in and out of the library recently, I did run across a very interesting article/review of EBSCO's Nursing Reference Center in the Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries.

Nursing Reference Center: A Point-of-Care Resource from EBSCO by Christee King DOI: 10.1080/15424060802453779

Nursing Reference Center (NRC) is a new database offering from EBSCO Industries, Inc. The intended audience is nurses at all levels of the profession: students, hospital nurses, nurse educators, administrators, and faculty. Content is derived from a number of resources ranging from legal cases to research instruments. It is a big product with lots of ways to approach the information. Most end users will probably not use all of the product's capabilities. Librarians who will support and/or teach NRC should plan to spend time making sure they understand how all the pieces fit together.

I know we have been interested in NRC, so I am going to have to get this article and read more about it.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Going to MLA 2009?

(reprinted from MEDLIB-L)
Is MLA '09 in Your Future?
Let us know! Planning for MLA '09 is well underway, but 2009 National Program and Local Assistance committees still need your help. Please take five minutes to help the committees finish planning programs and events with our quick survey. We greatly appreciate your time and feedback. The survey deadline is December 15, 2008.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Mobile Phones in Medicine

I am back from my Thanksgiving trip to Dallas. Recently I have noticed two more things about my phone. With the cold weather up here in Cleveland, gloves make answering the phone or doing anything on the iPhone a pain. The touch screen does not work, so if you have to answer the phone, one hand will have to freeze. The maps with GPS feature is very helpful if you are in an unfamiliar city. It uses the cell towers and GPS to determine your current location and allows you to plug in destination information to create your route. It saved my mom and I from driving around in too many circles as the Dallas streets changed names repeatedly. This probably goes without saying, but DO NOT use this feature while currently behind the wheel and actually driving, let your passenger navigate or pull off into a parking lot. It is not a Garmin, but it is very helpful.

Now on to more uses for mobile phones in medicine.

According the Tuesday's O'Reilly Radar, as of November there were about 9,800 unique apps in the iPhone App Store, 22% were free, and the average price of a "Top 100" paid app fell to about $2.60. While gaming is still the largest category, the medical category is the newest and is growing. There are over 80 medical apps and the 10 most popular are free. While the medical applications category will always be smaller than the gaming category, there is some growth and it looks like more medical software producers are dipping their toes into the mobile phone area.

Here are some examples of what people are doing with mobile phones.

Medical Imaging - There have been several articles on radiology using iPods as a portable storage and viewing device. Well IBM and Merge Healthcare have decided to join together to provide a method to deliver medical images to an iPhone or iPod Touch.

Medical Student Education - Over the next two years, each Ohio State College of Medicine student will receive a standard iPod Touch, equipped with specific medical software programs planned by the OSU College of Medicine. Ok, the iPod Touch is a cell phone, so I am cheating a little bit, but I assume medical students who have iPhone would be able to get the same resources as their classmates who only have the Touch.

Drug Information - Lexi-Comp is available on BlackBerry, Window Mobile and iPhone. Epocrates and many other drug information resources are available on various smartphone platforms.

Telemedicine and Remote Monitoring -RS TechMedic BV just announced the release of their iPhone Telemedicine Application which allows physicians to monitor vital signs of ambulant and home care patients at any time from their phone. Patients are given a small device which transmits their vitals to a secure server. Physicians can connect to the server with their iPhone to monitor the vital signs. In Great Britain, mobile phones with special software can send patient health information to a hospital database to be analyzed by a nurse who will decide whether further action is needed. On the extreme end of telemedicine, one surgeon used his mobile phone and text messaging to learn how to perform a rare type of amputation on a teenager's arm in Congo, Africa, saving the boys life.

I am still keeping my eyes open to see how mobile phones effect medical libraries and I will post more that when I find more information.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Meeting Travel Award From the Educational Media and Technologies Section

Something to think about for all you EMTS members who are looking to go to MLA in 2009.

(reprinted from MEDLIB-L)

Educational Media and Technologies Section Announces Creation of EMTS MLA Annual Meeting Grant

One of the goals of the Educational Media and Technologies section (EMTS) of MLA for 2008-2009 was to create a sustainable award that would encourage attendance of EMTS members at the annual meetings. While we are not the wealthiest section in MLA, we thought it important to use our money in this way not only to help the members of our section, but also to enhance the experience of MLA at large by our awardees' attendance.

The section will award up to two individuals $250 each to support attendance at the MLA annual meeting. Applicants must be a current member of EMTS. Priority is given to applicants presenting a paper, poster, presentation or other professional commitment in the area of educational media and technology. Newer members of the EMTS section and/or of MLA are encouraged to apply.

Applications are due to Judy Spak via email by January 2nd and will be reviewed by a jury of EMTS members including both new and long-standing members to the section.

The application is available on the EMTS website

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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: