Friday, January 30, 2009

Social Bookmariking Project: Call for Participants

(courtesy MidContinental Regional News)

For those of you in the MidContinental Region (Utah, Colorad, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri), Sharon Dennis, Technology Coordinator, and Rebecca Brown, Technology Liaison, are asking for volunteers to participate in a regional social bookmarking project. Social bookmarking is a Web 2.0 tool. Delicious is a social bookmarking site that allows you to bookmark a web page and add tags to categorize your bookmarks. Delicious can be used to tag any site that you feel is pertinent to your professional work and also of interest to medical librarians throughout the region.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, please e-mail Sharon at
sdennis[atsign]lib[dot]med[dot]utah[dot]edu or Rebecca at rbrown3[atsign]kumc[dot]edu.

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Call for Topics: Speed UpDating Open Forum

The 2009 National Program Committee (NPC) hopes to bring attendees at MLA '09 in Hawaii a fresh and timely update on what's hot and/or cool in our libraries. A special session, the "Speed UpDating Open Forum," will be held to get quick flashes of new ideas or useful tips and tricks on emerging topics of interest to MLA members.

The agenda for this event is a little different than others. Meeting participants will set the agenda and there will be no editorial evaluation in the selection process. Therefor the NPC will select the FIRST 12 submissions received.

This open forum will be Tuesday May 18 at 7:30am


Interested? Participants only have 5 minutes to speak and should be willing to share their stories without visuals. The only technology that will be used will be a stopwatch to keep everyone on time.



To ensure that these ideas are fresh, the NPC will have an open submission period beginning January 25, 2009. Send your topic or idea submissions to the NPC. The NPC will accept ideas until the first 12 have been received. Reminders will be sent via FOCUS. The participants will be named in the April MLA News.



What a great idea! I kind of think it is similar an oral "swap and shop" where each person quickly explains what they have done that is neat or that has worked for them. The best thing that participation is really easy (no Power Point slides, long speeches, etc.) and it looks to be interesting as well as fun.



So if you are going to MLA '09 and you or your library has done something neat, definitely submit your idea to the NPC and talk about it at the forum. Chances are you will be talking about it with your friends during the meeting, so why not spend 5 minutes talking about it so more people can hear about it too.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recent and Upcoming Changes in PubMed

Your PubMed will be changing and getting a new look. Nicole Dittmar over at the eagle dawg blog links to Kay Deeney's (National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Southwest Region) question & answer session about recent and upcoming changes in PubMed. Many of the questions revolve around the Single Citation Matcher and MeSH.

According to Kay, "We don’t know when the PubMed home page will change; Single Citation Matcher and the Features Bar will disappear. We will plan on presenting more sessions reviewing the changes at that time." Thankfully Nicole has posted the dates for these sessions on her blog.


"Most of the NN/LM regions have already or are soon scheduled to give PubMed updates via free web conferencing."


Whether you are big PubMed or an Ovid Medline user it would probably be a good idea to attend one of these web conferences.


As Nikki mentions in another post, the official method of communication for feedback to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) about PubMed is to 'Write to the Help Desk' at the bottom of each PubMed page or via email to [email protected]. While this method is helpful for NLM to track data, it isn't too helpful to users or librarians because this "format doesn't allow for others to see what insights and challenges their colleagues are having."

One way for users and librarians to share PubMed thoughts and problems is to Twitter about them. People who already have a Twitter account merely add #pubmed to their tweet so that people can follow the PubMed discussion on http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23pubmed.


I really enjoy the eagle dawg blog, she often has good stuff on PubMed as well as what is new at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. It will be interesting to see how the #pubmed endeavor works out.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nominate a Hospital Library Section Colleague!

(courtesy of HLS-list)

Did you know that there's no limit to the number of awards that can be presented at the MLA conference? Over the years, the number of awards given out has dwindled, even though it's a known fact that our members are out there making a difference! It can't be done without you! Nominate your colleagues! Nominate yourself! Let's give our members the kudos they deserve! This year they will even be honored by MLA at the awards luncheon!

It's a new year! Don't worry about resolutions right now….it's time to reflect on what you and your colleagues have been doing over the year since the MLA conference in Chicago in May 2008! Many of our Hospital Library Section members are out there making a difference in the hospital librarianship field. HLS strives to recognize these members whose accomplishments and successes serve to advance the profession.

Have you taken notice of an HLS member’s endeavors such as:
  • Activity in publication, research, technological innovation or leadership?
  • Management of a special project or event on the job or in their community?
  • Making a difference by contributing to the profession of hospital librarianship in their institution, local organization, chapter or national association, even though they've only been in the profession for five years or less?

Look for deeds such as:

  • Publications in newsletters or journals
  • Research projects
  • Grant proposals
  • Development of user's aids or poster sessions
  • Development of new uses for software programs or networking breakthroughs
  • Leading campaigns
  • Holding office in any division of an organization
  • Performing services that contribute to the betterment of those around them
  • Taking charge to solve a problem
  • Offering easier access to quality information
  • Other unique or innovative activities

Nomination forms have been updated, as well as criteria for awards clarified, so see the awards page at http://hls.mlanet.org/Awards/index.html to print out forms and find more information.

The deadline of February 15th is fast approaching, but extensions may be agreed to by contacting Karin Havens, Chair of the Professional Recognition Awards Committee at
karin[dot]havens[atsign]emory[dot]edu prior to the deadline.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Nursing@Ovid Database

About a month ago I had the opportunity to try out a new Ovid product called Nursing@Ovid (N@O). N@O's primary users are the nurses on the floor, who need answers to everyday (and maybe not so everyday) clinical questions. N@O is designed so that it can search three or more portals (additional databases) and Ovid's Nursing Collection (books and journals) at one time, similar to a universal search engine. These portals (databases) do not have to be Ovid owned databases. Therefore, libraries can add CINAHL, PubMed, Proquest’s Nursing & Allied Health Source, etc. as portals to N@O. The ability to search three portals at one time is standard, the option to add additional portals beyond the three costs extra. You can even add Amazon.com as a portal but since it is a nursing resource it would probably behoove you to stick with nursing and medically related databases.

N@O is on the OvidSP platform, meaning users have the ability to search using OvidSP's Basic or Advanced Search. The Basic search uses OvidSP's natural language processing. As a librarian I find Basic Search a little too basic, but doing a simple keyword search on wound care brought up several very relevant articles which would be helpful to a nurse who needs one or two quick articles for the moment while on the floor.

The Advanced Search is the same advanced search that many librarians prefer. Librarians normally would find Advanced Search more to their liking, but they need to be aware if they are searching multiple databases in the Advanced Search the indexing and field searching can vary according to what portals (databases) are being searched. Searchers should be aware of the other portal's indexing, tree structures (if it has one) and searchable fields because N@O will try and search using that information. But if the portal doesn't have the relevant searchable field then N@O will do a keyword search.
For example: Amazon.com doesn't have medical subject headings as a searchable field in their database. If you are doing MeSH field search and Amazon.com is one of your portals, it will do something similar to a keyword search. Ovid's N@O does deal with external indexes (the portal database's indexes), however if a portal database has a very dissimilar thesaurus, it may difficult do a good subject search. The closer the portal database's thesaurus structure is to N@O's thesaurus the better the subject searching results. Another reason to try and stay with nursing and medical databases as portals.

The results are displayed similar to the way many other OvidSP databases display results. The left hand side offers other methods for nurses to narrow results down to needed information. Nurses can narrow search results down to patient education, care plans, guidelines, etc. Ovid's N@O has some actual care plans as well as material about care plans, and users clicking on the term "care plan" will get both types of information. Currently, there is more material about care plans rather than the actual care plans, however Ovid is aware of this issue and is working to address it for their next release. Because the actual care plans and patient education information are listed in the results together with articles/chapters about care plans and patient education, I think it would be helpful for there to be a distinction between the actual care plans, patient education information, etc and articles/chapters about those things. Such a distinction whether it is an icon or wording, would allow busy nurses on the floor to easily select the appropriate results with less confusion.

If an institution subscribes to Clini-eguide, the N@O display also features a tab at the top of search area enabling the user to search Clini-eguide. However, when the user clicks on the tab the transition between N@O and Clini-eguide is a little awkward. The ability to search a product like Clini-guide, could be quite helpful and a powerful addition to N@O. Recently Wolters Kluwer just acquired UpToDate, it is unclear as to how this will impact or work with Clini-eguide. I remember sitting in on a presentation by the UpToDate reps who noted that almost 50% of the database usage was coming from nurses. Wolters Kluwer's acquisition of UpToDate, its impact on Clini-eguide and subsequent impact on N@O makes for an interesting evolution should Ovid still keep this feature available in N@O. If this feature is kept, my only suggestion would be to make the transition between Clini-eguide (or whatever it might morph into) and N@O more seamless. In an ideal world it would be nice for the results to displayed within the N@O platform.

It is helpful to know that Ovid is planning on a second update to N@O. It is my sincere hope they begin to add more unique content such as actual guidelines, care plans, and patient education information. I also would like to see them provide a quick and easy way for busy nurses to distinguish between these important aids and the articles/chapters about care plans or patient education. These two key improvements will make N@O even more of a needed resource on the floor rather than a universal search engine with nursing resources.

I look forward to the second update and if I am able to try it out I will write an update to Nursing@Ovid.

I am curious to those who have N@O, what do you like about it or don't like about it. How are your nurses using it? What kind of portals are you searching? Feel free to comment so that others can benefit from your insights.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

More Medical Applications for the iPhone

Recently Unbound Medicine just released its popular Nursing Central for the iPhone and iPod Touch. This program is downloaded onto the device, it does not need wireless connection to be used. Nurses and nursing students with iPhones interested in the product can view or download a demonstration of Nursing Central on the iPhone/iPod touch, at www.unboundmedicine.com/nc_iphone_demo.htm.

Unbound Medicine states, "Nursing Central is the complete mobile solution for nursing. Look up detailed information written by and for nurses on diseases, tests, and procedures. Consult the comprehensive database of 4,600 drugs or refer to more than 56,000 dictionary terms whenever you have a question. Search Medline or keep up with your favorite nursing journals by having tables of contents delivered directly to your handheld."

Price: $159.95 for one year subscription with updates and web access. After one year the program is yours to keep on your device, however if you want to continue to receive updates and new editions you must renew at a discounted rate.

New Users must got to Unbound Medicine's online store to purchase the application. Then they will be directed to install the free Nursing Central app from Apple's iTunes Store. Once the app is installed, users enter their new Nursing Central username and password for the content to be downloaded to the phone.

Current Nursing Central Users can transfer their subscription to their iPhone or Touch. Go to iTunes and install the free app, then enter their Nursing Central username and password and tap "login." Content will then download to the device.

For those of you who are Blackberry users, Nursing Consult is also available on the Blackberry. Important to note: personal subscriptions allow the application to be only on one device and users are required to delete Nursing Central from their old device.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rethinking Universal Searching

I was never a fan of universal search engines, after all I am a librarian and according to my husband anyway, I think differently. I find using MeSH and other controlled vocabulary systems to be extremely powerful when searching medical databases. I get frustrated and annoyed by various medical database vendors' universal searching, natural language searching, or basic keyword searching. After all, the medical databases I search were built upon controlled vocabulary and hierarchical subject headings and trees. I am fluent in MeSH, CINAHL, and EMTREE. Indeed searching these databases using the controlled vocabulary is almost like using another language. And there in lies the problem.


Regular searchers don't speak MeSH. For example: Until recently (2008) "cerebrovascular accident" was MeSH speak for "stroke." The term "pediatrics" refers to the medical specialty concerned with maintaining health and providing medical care to children from birth to adolescence, NOT the age group. These are just a few of the many examples of how the MeSH controlled vocabulary is not something regular library users would know.

Many medical databases vendors have built their systems to adjust for this. Many use some form of automatic term mapping to either force the searcher to choose a MeSH term or in the case of PubMed it automatically chooses terms and searches keywords unbeknownst to the user. Sometimes this process works very well for the user, other times the user scratches their head trying to figure out why "the stupid thing keeps spitting out more terms on a new screen."

Gone are the days when the librarian was the medical database and information gatekeeper. Doctors, nurses, and patients are hopping on the Internet searching for answers. Usually they come to the library when they want something beyond what they find on the Internet. They may want results that are beyond normal Internet results, yet they want the search process to be similar to Internet search or Google searching. Many of our medical databases aren't naturally set up for that kind of searching, that is why many of the vendors started adding universal searching, natural language searching, or basic keyword searching. Not surprisingly this created two different types of searchers that database providers must try to please, the expert searcher (medical librarian), and the basic searcher (normal people).

As a medical librarian I would tell you that I never use universal searching, natural language searching or basic keyword searching. Of course that would be a big, fat, red lie. I love Google almost as much as I love MEDLINE (remember my husband did say I think differently than normal people) and I use both almost equally. I use Google to search for things that are particular stumpers in MEDLINE. Often it starts my brain thinking in a different direction and I apply that to a new MEDLINE search which might yield different or better results.

I also use Google to search for non medical resources, and it is during these times that I am most like the average searcher. I am searching something very similar to a universal search engine to find information on subjects which I am not an expert searcher. Sometimes I am looking for an odd news article and while another journalism, public, or academic librarian may know the exact news database that indexes that specific paper, I don't and I don't necessarily have access to it. So I use Google. Other typical Google searches could be on home repair, business information, investments, minor questions about the law, etc. It is at these times that I can understand the easy searching appeal universal searching has for normal library users searching for medical information.

As I mentioned, more and more database producers are creating "simpler" search features for the average person. Libraries are also adding universal searching on their web pages or on their catalogs. For example: OhioLINK's front page features a universal search to find "a few good articles and books." Library users can search the "Next Generation Melvyl" at UCLA Library, a universal search engine that finds articles, books and many more resources. The University of Iowa Libraries' "Smart Search" will not only find books and article but it will also find images in their digital collections including the Hardin MD Gallery Collections.

Christopher Cox said, "boundaries are being blurred between the academic and commercial Web, between library resources, between the citation and the item itself. Students have no patience with these arbitrary boundaries; they want information, and they want it now, wherever it may be located." (An Analysis of the Impact of Federated Search Products on Library Instruction Using the ACRL Standards, portal: Libraries and the Academy. 6(3), July 2006, pp. 253-267.) Libraries users want and use universal searching, librarians need to adapt to provide other methods to help users to search for information rather than freaking out that their beloved database product now has a universal search, natural language search, or basic keyword search feature. Perhaps our education efforts should slowly be changing from always teaching the proper MeSH search strategies to how to find good information fast and to know when you to ask for help when you need more.

I tease my husband that he took the dead language Latin in high school, however what will MeSH and other controlled vocabularies be years from now? Only learned expert searchers seem to be the ones still fluent in MeSH speak, the average person is not. Latin didn't really die, it just evolved into other languages. Our language for searching is evolving too.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Educational Media and Technologies Section (EMTS) MLA Annual Meeting Grant

(courtesy of Medlib-l)
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 available on the EMTS website http://emts.mlanet.org/.
Please direct any questions to Judy Spak at judy[dot]spak[atsign]yale[dot]edu .

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Twitter in Health Care

Friday Eric Schnell posted Microblogging the US Airways Miracle about an article in the Guardian by Caitlin Fitzsimmons describing how our society has moved from rapid to almost instantaneous information dissemination. The article points out that much of the early information, pictures and reports of the Hudson River plane crash provided came from the average person with a cell phone. Reports were flying in through the web on sites like Twitter. Janis Krum posted on twitpic (a site to share pictures on Twitter) and uploaded this now rather famous picture of the plane floating on the Hudson while tweeting, "There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy." His tweet was posted only 6 minutes after the plane landed in the river (official timeline: 3:30:30: The plane touches down in the water). According to the Guardian article, within 10 minutes other twitterers were posting about the plane and linking ot Krum's tweet. Fitzsimmons writes, "Twitter proved itself as an excellent news aggregator, pointing me to links to the best media coverage. I particularly appreciated the live video streaming on CNN.com and MSNBC.com among others."

Eric mentions that this news media phenomenon is "referred to as mobcasting or citizen media reporting like that which occurred during the Virginia Tech tragedy, the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, or even a power outage that occurred yesterday in Toronto. A person even twittered while still on a plane as it burned on the runway in Denver in December 2008. Heck, even Santa Twittered. "

I have been twittering for a little while. I have yet to really figure out what voice I want within it. Do I want to have a professional twitter feed keeping people updated with library news, activities, and things similar to this blog? Or do I post about non library events like I did during the inauguration today? I enjoy hearing from other people and keeping up with events, but I am still trying to find my twitter legs.

What is hard to think of is how Twitter might be used within medical libraries or health care. John Sharp directed my attention to an interesting article, 140 Health Care Uses for Twitter by Phil Baumann. The article acknowledges that health care twittering does have some challenges (confidentiality, legal, etc.) but Baumann believes the advantages and possibilities of health care twittering far outweigh constraints brought on by these challenges unique to the health care world. Only by exploring twittering ideas and methods can these issues be addressed and handled appropriately. The list is more of a brainstorm of the 140 possible uses Twitter can play in health care.

I am not going to list all 140 ideas (if you want the full list go to the article), some on the list are similar to each other and really could be lumped together, which is what I did. Here are some I found to especially helpful and could be implemented fairly easily and other uses that I had previously never considered.

  • Disaster alerting and response - You already see this to a certain extent with college campuses and text messaging services. Not hard to think how this can move to the Twitter medium.
  • Alarming silent codes (psychiatric emergencies, security incidents) - Another very good method for informing people that is already texted to people.
  • Augmenting telemedicine - Twittering doesn't have to be by itself, I can imagine it serving as closed caption or commentary for online videos or as a discussion area separate from the actual lecture script/text being shown.
  • Biomedical device data capture and reporting - Interesting. I had a friend who was pregnant and on bed rest, she had to call a phone number so that her medical device could download specific information to some computer.
  • “Quick and dirty” diagnostic brainstorming between physicians (e.g. ’symptom clustering’), Clinical case education for (residents following attendings), Physician opinion-sharing - As long as patient confidentiality is maintained it could be another way to communicate and brainstorm.
  • Remote wound care assistance, Rural area health care communication - Didn't we just have a doctor who performed an amputation following text messages? Is this much different?
  • Transmitting patient data to patients who are traveling abroad, Patient-information retrieval, Micro-sharing documentation for advanced medical directives, Micro-sharing of pertinent patient information, Micro-sharing of diagnostic results (blood tests, echocardiography, radiological images) - Not for Twitter per se but it might work within a closed microblogging application unique to the institution.
  • Updating patient family members during procedures, Live-tweeting surgical procedures for education - Holy crow, this has already been done. First Live-Tweeted Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital @HenryFordNews.
  • Real-time satisfaction surveys with immediate follow-up for problem resolution - Huh never thought of that.
  • Live-tweeting medical conferences, Following ad-hoc conferences on eHealth like HealthCampPhila - There are conference twitterers already. A few people at MLA Chicago experimented last year and MLA Hawaii already has created an account.
  • Posting quick nursing assessments that feed into electronic medical records (EMRs) - Defintiely can't be Twitter, but can definitely be a closed system that works within the EMR. Might be useful area within the chart with certain guidelines and such.
  • Discussing HIPAA reform in the age of micro-sharing - Of course!

Just some interesting ways that people are thinking about using Twitter in the health care world. Do you have any ideas that Phil missed? What about libraries, how can libraries might use Twitter?

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Monday, January 19, 2009

MLA Priorities for 2009-2010

Please check out MLA Connections to view the entire post regarding MLA Priorities for 2009-2010. The MLA president elect, Connie Schardt, has prepared her presidential priorities for approval at the February Board meeting and here is a peek of what she intends to present.

1. Cultivating New Leaders
2. Educating New Members
3. Connecting at the Annual Meeting
4. Connecting for Committee and Task Force Meetings
5 Connecting for Professional Development

Connie writes, "These priorities are grounded in previous initiatives and continue to build our community. Are these good ideas or bad ideas? Will they strengthen the association? Will they help you in your career development? Will they help you in your job? Please comment."

For more details and to add your thoughts go to MLA Connections and login to comment. If you haven't created a login account you can register and create one.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

HLS Offering Four Travel Grants for Hawaii

The Hospital Library Section (HLS) is offering four travel grants of $500 each for MLA Hawaii.

Deadline is Feb 16th, 2009. Winners announced mid-March.

Criteria: Grant is to support HLS members traveling to the MLA annual meeting in Hawaii.

The grants will be awarded according to the most benefit to the section as well as need of the recipient.

A committee appointed by the chair, including the past-chair and two others will administer the grant program. The Travel Grant Committee members are not eligible to receive the grants. The travel grants will be announced as early as possible to allow time for making arrangements for traveling to the conference.

Judging Criteria:

Financial Need:
Already recieive total funding = 0 points
Receives partial funding up to $1000 = 1 point
Receives partial funding up to $750 = 2 points
Receives partial funding up to $500 = 3 points
Receives no funding from other sources = 4 points

Benefits of Conference Attendance to Section:
Poster presenter = 1 point
HLS officer or committee chair (except Chair and Chair-elect) = 2 points
Speaker at HLS sponsored session = 3 points
HLS Chair, Chair elect, other elected (voting ) members of the board = 4 points.

Those who apply will be awarded points based on both sets of criteria. An individual can accrue multiple points for the benefit to the section criteria. For example: a committee chair who is also a speaker at an HLS sponsored session would be awarded 5 points.

If/when objective points do not result in a conclusive winner, the the committee will use their best judgment.

HLS members applying for the grant should send an email to cboss[atsign]meridianhealth[dot]com identifying the applicable criteria and explanation. Requests can be submitted for financial need only, according to the above process, or a combination of points for financial and HLS contribution criteria.

For more information go to: http://www.hls.mlanet.org/HLStravelgrant09.doc

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spring Cleaning in the Winter

The beginning of a new year makes it a perfect time to look back and reflect on the library and possibly do a little Spring cleaning in the Winter. I don't necessarily mean weed the collection, although that may be on your list. I simply mean it is nice time to reflect on policies, procedures, and services. Look at how or whether you should do things differently. All too often we go through each year with the same policies and procedures without ever re-examining them. Often we are so focused on our day to day routine that sometimes the bigger picture is not apparent.
It doesn't have to be anything earth shattering. It could be as simple as logging into the administration area of your link resolver tool to see if there are any new open access or free packages you should be including in your collection. Or you you could look at your Docline tables to see if you need to makes some adjustments. The really ambitious may want to look at their online subject guides and pathfinders to evaluate current resources and update them with new sources.

With the distractions of the holidays out of the way, the New Year also provides the opportunity to reach out and get in touch with potential and current users. Newsletters, elevator speeches, field trips to offices or the floors are all excellent methods for reconnecting.

Not only is this a perfect time to look at the library but it is also a good time to do a little professional winter cleaning. It could be as simple (but necessary) as cleaning off your desk, moving the piles of papers to actual file folders to be stored in the fairly empty file cabinet. Or perhaps cleaning out your file cabinet. Do you have instructions and an admin user guide for an old DOS program taking up space in an already overstuffed drawer? I switched jobs one time and my inherited file cabinet had 5 ¼ inch floppy disks in manila file folders squooshed next to ditto copies of long gone consortium's journal holding list. Don't forget about your virtual desk either, your email account. Our institution puts a file size limit on the amount of stuff that can be in your inbox. Even so, it is not surprising to me to be cleaning out my email to discover old airplane reservations from 6 months ago, emails from my mom about some news article that was relevant to some topic of discussion 4 months ago, or a 2 month old email from a coworker asking to switch reference desk blocks one day. Not only should you do some winter cleaning but look at your personal professional procedures and think about whether you might tweak them a little to help yourself and the library. This could be something as simple as deciding to eat lunch in the cafeteria (not at your desk) so that you can get out and meet more potential users. If you lunch with a group of people, shake it up try inviting different people or perhaps lunching with potential users.

So don't wait for Spring, kick off the new year with a little Winter cleaning and freshening up.

Friday, January 09, 2009

MLA 2009 Attendance to Beat Expectations

According to MLA-Focus the 2009 conference is expected to beat attendance expectations. The NPC recently surveyed the membership regarding their plans to attend the annual meeting in Honolulu. Despite the tough economic times that many are facing, 68% of responders are planning to attend the meeting. It appears that the number of attendees will exceed initial forecasts and be close to 1,600. Once you add exhibitors, international visitors, and others, the total conference attendance may exceed 2,300.

The survey also revealed that while many of those planning to attend (72%) have already booked their hotel rooms, only 18% of have booked their flights. I am one of those who hasn't booked my flight, and I can tell you that it is not procrastination that keeps from clicking the mouse. I am waiting for a good airfare, which I guess is what the rest of the other currently flightless attendees are doing. I have been checking the web sites religiously and I have a few alert services that report the current price for flights from Cleveland to Honolulu. I have been keeping an eye on things for a while so I have a pretty good idea of what a good price is and when it pops up I will pounce on it.

I encourage all of you who can afford to go, to go. For some you who are on the fence, here are some ways to make it slightly cheaper and possible to go. Try booking your flight and hotel together on sites like Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity. Now this won't get you a room in the official conference hotel. I support staying at the official conference hotel, but if your goal is to attend MLA and money is holding you back, this might be a viable option for you.

Orbitz example: Flight plus Hotel from Cleveland to Honolulu 5/15-5/21 (1 ticket, 6 nights)

Castle Maile Sky Court $946: It is a few blocks from the conference hotel and it is the same distance (.5 mile) as the conference hotel is to the convention center.
Aqua Waikiki Marina Hotel $999: It is a few blocks from the conference hotel and it is .6 mile from the convention center.

All of your taxes and fees are included in Orbitz (with the exception of the stupid airlines baggage fees). So that is total price, not too bad considering most of the flights from Cleveland are around $775-$800. Just to illustrate that prices change quickly, when I started writing this blog the price at the Aqua Waikiki Marina (flight and 6 nights) was $1224. It dropped over $200 in 30 minutes.

Your prices will vary based on your flight needs. Here are just some random examples.
Chicago (same hotels, 1 ticket, 6 nights) $834, $887
Orlando (same hotels, 1 ticket, 6 nights) $919, $917
Boston (same hotels, 1 ticket, 6 nights) $897, $950
Dallas (same hotels, 1 ticket, 6 nights) $824, 877

Special note: If you are military, retired military, reserves, national guard or your spouse is one of those and will be coming with you, you might be able to get a very good deal on a hotel room at the Hale Koa. It is right next door to the conference hotel and it is on the beach. Prices are based your rank and room type. Check into that if it applies to you.

For all you who are attending the conference I will be sending out a special plea for bloggers soon. I would love for us to have as many people possible blogging about the conference and covering as many areas as possible. While the initial attendance figures are promising, there are still those people who are unable to attend for whatever reason and I would like for the blog to help keep them as informed as possible. I will send out more details when I have them, but I want to let all attendees know in advance that we will have a blog and we will need you.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Using Delicious For Subject Guides

I primarily use delicious a way to manage online resources and documents that I am personally interested in. I tag library related information that might help out in my job or might be a good topic to blog about. I general interest news stories that I sent to my mom or other family members. I also tag websites that I need but use infrequently and can't easily remember off of the top of my head. Some of these websites are work/library related like admin pages to various databases, while others are personal such as the secure website to my son's grade school. The nice thing is that delicious allows you to share bookmarks or keep the private.

While I personally use delicious, there are some librarians who use delicious to create subject guides for users. Edward Corrado recently published the article, "Delicious Subject Guides: Maintaining Subject Guides Using a Social Bookmarking Site" in Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Librarian and Information Practice and Research. (Thanks aldricham for the tweet.) His method uses a JavaScript code from delicious so that the tags and resource information display correctly in the library's subject guide on the library Web page. This is method of creating subject guides is especially handing for any library that can create their own web pages, edit HTML and add JavaScript. Unfortunately there are many hospital libraries that cannot do this. Often the librarian is forced to use the hospital's web development software which often uses templates and prohibits editing the HTML. If this situation sounds familiar, never fear, you can still create subject guides using delicious. Take a look at the Health Sciences Library, Stony Brook's delicious account. The Tag Bundles on the right hand side refer broad subjects and lead to narrow topics within. At the top of the page the URL goes back to the library's site. The library's site has a link to its delicious links. So that the majority of your users know that this is a subject guide, I wouldn't label delicious links. I would go with something like "resources by subject."

Whether you personally use delicious or you decide use it in your library, delicious can be a very helpful resource.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Elsevier Grand Challenge Finalists Announced

The Elsevier Grand Challenge: Knowledge Enhancement in the Life Sciences is a contest created to improve the way scientific information is communicated and used. Participants were to submit a description and prototype a toll that would improve the interpretation and identification of meaning in online journals and databases.

Examples of what they were interested in:
  • Ways improve the process, methods, or results of creating, review and editing scientific content
  • Methods to interpret, visualize, or connect knowledge more effectively
  • Tools or ideas for measuring the impact of these improvements
Four finalists have been chosen:
  • Seán I. O' Donoghue, Lars Jensen Heiki Horn, Evangelos Pafilis, Michael Kuhn, Nigel P. Brown, and Reinhard Schneider, Germany, for “Reflect: Automated Annotation of Scientific Terms”
  • Vıt Novacek, Tudor Groza, Ioana Hulpus, and Siegfried Handschuh, Ireland, “CORAAL – Dive into Publications, Bathe in the Knowledge ”
  • Amr Ahmed, Andrew Arnold, Luis Pedro Coelho, Joshua Kangas, Abdul-Saboor Sheik, Eric Xing, William Cohen and Robert F. Murphy, USA, “Structured Literature Image Finder”
  • Stephen Wan, Cecile Paris, Robert Dale, Michael Muthukrishna, Ilya Anisimoff and Julien Blondeau, Australia, “Citation Sensitive In-Browser Summarisation of Cited Documents”

Keep an eye on these tools, some of these could have some applications in research libraries.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Haworth Press Now at Informaworld

(from liblicense)

All journal titles formerly published by Haworth Press are now available at informaworld. This marks the first stage in migrating the ejournals from www.haworthpress.com to informaworld. Informaworld site that hosts journals, eBooks, abstract databases and reference works published by Taylor & Francis, Routledge, Psychology Press and Informa Healthcare.

Things You Need To Know in General:
  • Taylor & Francis will be publishing these titles on a calendar year basis.
  • All Haworth journal titles are available from informaworld.
  • From this point, no new content with a 2009 volume year will be added to www.haworthpress.com, nor will any new accounts be created on the site
  • The Haworth Press site will run in tandem with informaworld until 30th March 2009, after which date the Haworth Press site will be closed.

Things You Need To Know For Online Access:

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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: