Friday Fun: The Unofficial MLA Drinking SIG

Many who go to MLA often find themselves in the evening after the meeting going out to dinner and the bars to discuss library and non-library stuff.  I remember somebody mentioning that we met for drinks so often that we could have our buisness meetings at the bar.  After a good laugh and a few more drinks later the unofficial Drinking SIG was born. 

I want to stress it is all in good fun and completely unofficial from MLA.  There are no dues but you will probably have a bar bill.  Last year was the first year the unofficial Drinking SIG came off of the barstool and started selling t-shirts and other fun items promoting the group.  This year for 2013 a new design and new set of items is available for you to purchase. 

Even though the SIG is not official, it wouldn’t exist without the people of who attend MLA.  So all of the profits from the SIG’s cafepress site sold will go to the MLA scholarship fund. 

Next Friday Fun post will be a guest post from Heather Holmes about the unofficial Drinking SIG.

Moderate a #Medlibs Discussion

The last month we have had some really good #medlibs discussions on Twitter.  Many have been moderated by guest #medlibs who host the discussion on a specific topic. 

Previous Topics:

I hosted the Apps and Tablets discussion (as well as several previous ones) it is not only fun but pretty darn easy to do.  You welcome everybody to the group discussion and then you get the ball rolling with a question, thought or talking point that you post.  From there the discussion almost takes on a life of its own.  If there are specific points or topics you want to make sure you hit, then you monitor the discussion and throw them in either when the discussion moves that way or after a certain amount of time. 

One important thing you need to know is you don’t have to be an expert in the topic to moderate.  You just have to have an inquisitive mind and the ability to ask questions.  The rest of the group will take the discussion and move with it.  Often there are several people with many different perspectives that can help educate you and the rest of the group.

So if there is a topic you are dying to discuss, please become a #medlibs moderator.  (Remember I said it is very easy.) Go to the #medlibs Calendar and click on a date that works for you.  Then enter your topic and information in the details link.  Once you have done that, you are on the schedule and we will look forward to tweeting with you.

Askey Not Out of the EMP Legal Woods

I posted yesterday that EMP released a statement they were dropping the lawsuit against McMaster and Askey.  As I mentioned the CBC article indicates that they dropped 1 of the 2 lawsuits. I asked yesterday if anybody knew about EMP dropping the second lawsuit against Askey.  I have gotten a few replies indicating that EMP has not dropped the lawsuit against Askey, just the one against McMaster and Askey. 

So it appears that Askey is not free of the EMP lawsuit yet. 

According to an updated article from The Chronicle , “Mr. Askey declined to comment on the case that’s being dropped, but he did say that the separate lawsuit filed against him by Mr. Richardson appeared to be continuing for now.”

The Canadian Association of University Teachers announced that McMaster had decided to pay Askey’s legal expenses (Askey was covering them previously.).  However, it is unclear to me from this article whether Askey’s legal bills would be covered with the suit that included McMaster or whether they also were covering the legal bills for the suit that is just against Askey (which has yet to be dropped). 

If you have any updates to this post please comment below.

Mellen Drops Lawsuit against McMaster and Askey

According to this article from CBC News Edwin Mellen Press says it is dropping at least one of its lawsuits against Dale Askey.  The article does mention that EMP filed two lawsuits against Askey and McMaster for a total of $4.5 million in damages. 

EMP told the CBC that it “discontinued the court case against McMaster University and Dale Askey,” citing in a statement “financial pressure of the social media campaign and press on authors is severe. EMP is a small company. Therefore [it] mus choose to focus its resources on its business and serving its authors.”

So it appears according to this article that at lest 1 of the 2 lawsuits was dropped.  I couldn’t find any information on whether they planned to also drop the second.

If anybody knows please leave a comment with a link to the information.

Emerging Technology and Hospital Libraries

Thursday #medlibs will discuss the 2013 Horizon Report- Higher Education edition, “a decade-long research project designed to identify and describe   emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in higher education.”

When we are talking higher education it is barely just a hop, skip, and a jump to think of how all of it will impact libraries in higher education.  While academic libraries will see the impact quicker, hospital libraries aren’t immune to the changes.  Because what is considered trending technology by medical students will be common place when they enter their residency programs in the hospitals and will be outdated when they are staff physicians.

So what kind of technology does the Horizon Report list and what will be talking about on #medlibs?

Happening in one year or less according Horizon:
(I say it is happening now)

  • Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
  • Tablet Computing

Happening 2-3 years:

  • Big Data and Learning Analytics
  • Game Based Learning

Happening 4-5 years:

  • 3D Printing
  • Wearable Technology

As a hospital librarian I have to say that tablet’s have exploded and it is in our world now.  Big Data is the next “big money” thing that hospital librarians need to be aware of.  There are already academic librarian positions for data management dealing with research.  Hospital librarians might think that they don’t need to worry about data management because their institution doesn’t really do research. WRONG?!?!

If your hospital has an EMR, it has tons of data that it needs to manage and most likely that data is either just sitting there in the EMR or communicating poorly with a few of the hodge podge of other computer systems within your hospital.

Hospitals eligible for Medicare EHR Incentive Programs must demonstrate meaningful use of the EHR technology. “Eligible hospitals and CAHs that do not successfully demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology will be subject to Medicare payment adjustments beginning in FY 2015.” Read that as penalized.

Personally I see data management as a natural extension for libraries that have already been involved with IT and the EMR.

Here are two examples of many where hospitals are mining the data within the EMR to improve care.

  1. The Value of Data: It’s How You Use It.
  2. Health Fidelity Receives Grant from National Science Foundation to Support Use of EHR Data to Improve Quality of Care.

Perhaps I am old and my memory is failing but weren’t librarians talking about data mining in 2000? IT was mining for data withing bibliographic databases, but aren’t the principles the same?  Data mining and the EHR are one avenue that hospital librarians who are interested in the future of librarianship need to consider.

The Horizon Report lists other technologies, how do you see them impacting hospital librarians and when?  Feel free to comment below or better yet, join us Thursday at 9pm est. for the #medlibs discussion on Twitter.  (The easiest way to follow a discussion on Twitter is go to TweetChat, login using your Twitter login, then follow the #medlibs hastag.)


Libraries are Horrible at Marketing

The Results Are In and They Aren’t Good: Library Marketing” caught my eye a few weeks ago and it has been bouncing around in my head ever since.  The article reports on a marketing survey about how public libraries market themselves, effectiveness of marketing initiatives, and engagement within their communities. 

The results aren’t pretty.

The results clearly indicate there’s a disconnect; a canyon between what should be happening and what is happening within the marketing schemas of public libraries. In an era when the value of libraries are under scrutiny and library budgets are under siege it is essential that libraries communicate their value to users as well as non-users. A failed marketing practice is failed communication.”

While this article is specifically about public libraries, I can’t help but read it with medical librarian eyes.  I found myself nodding and talking back to the computer screen like a crazy librarian hopped up on caffeine.  I just kept thinking that medical libraries are probably just as bad or worse. 

How many institutions make it difficult to send out targeted emails to user groups?  How many institutions have decent front pages or information pages on their Intranet or Internet sites that employees actually read to stay informed?  How many of these same institutions only fill that information up with the institution’s marketing information and don’t allow departments (such as the library) post information? 

How many medical libraries rely on the website to post news?  The article clearly states that libraries don’t feel this is the most effective way to reach people.

Not only do we do a crummy job of marketing to our own users, we surely aren’t reaching non users.  I found an interesting article the other day, “Exploring factors in non-use of hospital library resources by healthcare personnel.” (Library Management. Vol 34. No. 1/2, 2013. pp.105-127.)  The study found out that the hospital libraries did a poor job of getting their message out.  Many people didn’t know there was a library, thought it was only for doctors or didn’t think it had information to help them. Those that knew about the library were misinformed at what exactly was in the library. 

After reading those articles my mind kept thinking, we have a serious uphill trek to make and we are wearing roller skates for it. 

I don’t have the answers but I know there are others who have ideas that have worked (and didn’t work) and might be willing to share them in the comments section.  Perhaps somebody can share how they can email large groups of people without falling afoul of the institution’s rules on mass emails.  Additionally, somebody might be able to share ways of getting their message out to people who may not think the library is for them like secretaries, nutritionists, social workers, etc.  How do you get your online message read? Where besides the library website do you post them?  Finally, one small plea… if you are using Facebook or Twitter to reach users please have engagement numbers beyond “Likes” in addition to your strategies.  I am tired of hearing about librarians who say they have a million “likes” on their Facebook page but nobody besides librarians are posting on their wall.  One way communication isn’t communication and isn’t engaging users.  That is no different than posting a flyer about library classes in the library staff break room.

Askey Lawsuit: Blogger Sued by Publisher

Dale Askey, an associate librarian at McMaster University is being sued by Edwin Mellen Press Ltd. for post on his personal blog that he made three years ago. 

Articles on the Askey lawsuit:

This has become quite a hot topic among librarians, including medical librarians.  Tomorrow’s #medlibs chat topic will be the Askey lawsuit and discussing the line between opinion and libel.

You don’t have to be a medical librarian to participate in the #medlibs chat.  The chat is open to all who are interested.  It is held every Thursday at 9pm est.  If you don’t chat a lot on Twitter or use a program like TweetDeck or Hootsuite, an easy way to participate is use the website TweetChat. On TweetChat you sign in to your Twitter account and choose to follow the #medlibs hashtag.  You will see the conversation in real time and all of your tweets will automatically contain the #medlibs hashtag so others can follow along too. 

I look forward to seeing you there and please feel free to invite non medical librarians to the chat.  It would be interesting to hear how this impacts academic librarians and here from anybody else with an interest on the topic. The more people with diverse backgrounds the better the discussion.

MLA Statement Supporting Blogger & McMaster Being Sued by Publisher

I wanted to forward along a press release issued jointly by MLA and AAHSL.

(reprinted from MLA press release)

The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AASHL) and the Medical Library Association (MLA) share a commitment to intellectual freedom and access to information.  We strongly oppose the suppression of opinion and censorship of ideas. 

We believe that librarians must be able to openly assess publisher products or practices without intimidation.

We strongly support Dale Askey and McMaster University as they face the lawsuit brought against them by Edwin Mellen Press.

“The free exchange of ideas and opinions is essential to academic work,” said Jane Blumenthal, President, Medical Library Association. “This exchange is often critical and sometime intemperate, but regardless, the assessment of information is an essential part of the work of librarians, faculty, libraries, and universities. Academic publishers, as partners in the process of scholarly communication, should not only expect but also welcome critical appraisal. The filing of a lawsuit in response to an expression of professional opinion will work to suppress free and open discussion and hinder the growth of knowledge.” 

“Though we may work in different library environments, one common foundational and critical element of our work is the appraisal of information resources in support of our academic communities,” said M.J. Tooey, President, Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries.  “These resources support the creation of new methods, of new theories, of new cures, and new pathways to knowledge.  Any attempt to stifle professional opinion is an impediment to the scholarly process and a violation of freedom of speech in support of the advancement of scholarship.”

We urge Edwin Mellen Press to drop this suit.

MIS Members Vote NOW!!

MLA MIS members don’t forget to vote for your future Chair Elect and Secretary/Treasurer. 

Here are the people: Vote before today Thursday 11:59pm


Chair Elect:

Michael Garner
Medical Informatics Librarian
University of Central Florida College of Medicine
Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Science Library

 Why are you interested in running for MIS Chair-Elect?

I am interested in running for MIS Chair-Elect because of the importance of medical informatics in the medical community. Medical informatics promotes the systematic use of data to support the goals of the medical community and I believe that the MIS chair works as a bullhorn letting people know about medical informatics and why they should care about it and I would like to continue the work of past officicers of the section.

 What kinds of things would you like to see happen in the Medical Informatics Section?

First and foremost I would like to ensure that the members of the MIS would have access through the MIS website to information that would be useful to them in their day-to-day jobs as well as current items of interest. Due to the importance of outreach I would also like to broadcast to potential members the resources that the MIS offers. This should further burgeon our ranks and hopefully increase both interchange, community, and collaboration.


Emily Hurst
Technology Coordinator
National Network of Libraries of Medicine South Central Region

 Why are you interested in running for MIS Chair-Elect?

 My interest in running for MIS Chair-Elect comes from growing and learning more about the section through participation. Working with MIS, first as a regular member, I was able to learn more about the goals and focus of the section. Serving as the section  by-laws committee chair and working with leadership on programming topics has broaden my interested in the section and its mission. Support and connection with colleagues across the country has helped to see that MIS members are leaders in various in health science and medical librarianship.  I am interested in running for MIS chair-elect to continue the mission of MIS and promote goals which will keep the section active as well as attract new membership.

 What kinds of things would you like to see happen in the Medical Informatics Section?

I would like to see MIS continue to be one of the most cutting edge, relevant, and collaborative sections in MLA while also growing membership and embracing new ways of involving others in the section. Through continued sponsorship of MLA annual meeting programming including the popular Top Tech Trends panel MIS demonstrates it is a section of leaders as well as tech-savvy librarians who are willing and able to provide new insights on upcoming technology trends. I would also like to see MIS work in collaboration with groups outside of MLA such as LITA and ACRL’s Health Sciences Interest Group to put forth new ideas, programming, or educational support for one-another. By growing and learning together in this era of big data and quickly changing technologies I believe the MIS can provide an educational and supportive environment for librarians facing today’s challenges.


Secretary Treasurer

Kristi Holmes
Becker Medical Library
Washington University School of Medicine

Why are you interested in running for Secretary-Treasurer?

I am honored to have the opportunity to run for Secretary-Treasurer for the Medical Informatics Section (MIS). We see an increasing influence of informatics in the work of the researcher, clinician, and in the way that the general public is able to consume information about health and wellness. I think that the MIS is a great resource for librarians – through their education and programming offerings and also by supporting collaborative communications with their members.  I am excited to have an opportunity to possibly support the work of this section in a more formal way and I certainly look forward to the work of the section as it fosters efforts around informatics and libraries in the clinical and research environment. I work as a bioinformaticist at Washington University’s Becker Medical Library. I am involved in developing and implementing the library’s Bioinformatics@Becker program and my professional interests include  a number of topics that may align with MIS, including education and training efforts across biomedicine; collaboration tools and support; open science; the Semantic Web, and understanding the impact of research efforts.


Brandi Tuttle
Research & Education Librarian
Duke Medical Center Library & Archives 

Why are you interested in running for Secretary-Treasurer?

 Though a newer member to MIS, she is interested in running for the position of Secretary/Treasurer as she is sometimes a “jump in with both feet” kind of gal.  But don’t worry; she’s familiar with taking notes as well as planning and moving monies.  She has four years of experience as a Secretary/Treasurer for (EMTS 2009-2013) as well as two years of experience as Treasurer for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of MLA (2010-present).  She has worked for the past several years to help select and disperse funds for the EMTS Annual Meeting Attendance Grant award as well as recently helped see the introduction of EMTS support for board member MLA attendance.  MIS is one of those sections that has caught her eye enough times.  She looks forward to working with another exciting group of people for the next few years to conjure up some awesome programming, create new initiatives and connect with other MLA members! Thanks for reading this far!

Host a #Medlibs Discussion

Due to Valentine’s Day there will be no #medlibs Twitter discussion this Thursday.  But the discussion will continue in the Thursdays to follow.  What started out as an experiment in discussing medical library issues with others via Twitter, has grown considerably.

Previous discussions have been on:

  • Disaster Planning (with participation from NLM Disaster Info
  • Embedded Librarianship
  • Data Management
  • Single Service Desk
  • Library Education

People are online every Thursday at 9pm Eastern time and it is always a lively informative and entertaining discussion. 

Now that the discussion has grown, it is difficult for one person to play host every week.  Nikki Dettmar (@eagledawg) has done a great job but she needs help.  She needs people willing to host the discussion on a Thursday.

Speaking as somebody who has hosted a few times, it is VERY EASY!!!!!  Nikki has done the heavy lifting.  She has created a hosting calendar and she has a service that already records the #medlibs tweets posted during the hour long discussion.  So all you have to do is sign up for a day to discuss a topic.   You don’t even have to do it alone!  February 28th will be on the Horizon Report and it will be hosted by @pfanderson, @kr_barker and a few others. 

Thursday Feb. 21st is still open as well as a whole bunch of other dates.  So if you are a #medlibs participant go to the calendar and pick a date.  If the date is somewhat far out then don’t worry so much about the topic, you can always add that as it gets closer.  *Please note the calendar is set on West coast time…so make sure you adjust your private calendar for your own time zone.

On the day and time of your hosted #medlibs chat, you just welcome people, state the topic and have 1-3 questions available to pose should our loquatious group fails to talk.  That is it!  See easy peasy.  Hope to see you hosting.