As Michelle takes on the responsibility of the MLA Presidency, I am delighted to join the team of volunteers contributing to the Krafty Librarian. Since I am now at a Community College with 10 Health Professions programs, I look forward to sharing my experiences about how I help the students prepare presentations and do homework. Also, lately, I have been teaching and thinking in a comparative effectiveness research way and am eager to share my knowledge. I look forward to starting many meaningful conversations. Helen-Ann Brown Epstein
I am really excited to have the opportunity to write for this blog! My name is Irene Lubker and I work as a medical librarian at the Tompkins McCaw Library which is the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Health Sciences library.
At Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), we have schools of Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. I have liaison duties to the School of Dentistry and Public Health programs in the School of Medicine. I also work with dietetic interns who come to the VCU hospitals for their year long internship because in my previous life I used to be a dietitian. So working with students and faculty in the School of Dentistry, Public Health programs and dietetic interns makes for a very interesting life. To add to the fun, I am also a doctoral student in the School of Education.
Well, this is exciting….thanks Michelle, for giving me the opportunity to write on your blog. To paraphrase Delaware’s own beloved Joe Biden, this is a big deal.
My name is Richard James, and I am currently the electronic resources librarian at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine- I manage databases and online subscriptions, even a few print journals, for our 100-and-change year old medical college. And like most of our professional brethren and sistren, I do a lot of “other responsibilities include” which will probably be more interesting to blog about.
Prior to my position here, I was an instructional librarian at another Philadelphia college, mostly working with student nurses, and before then, the ILS administrator for the Delaware Division of Libraries. Professionally I’m interested in Open Access, wikipedia and medicine, LGBTQ and diversity issues.
I have mentioned in previous posts that this year while I am president of MLA my blog poses several challenges for me.
The first challenge is time. Several people have asked me over the years about how I find the time to do things. I am creative with my time. Sometimes I write instead of watching TV. If I find myself at a child’s sports practice where there is free wifi, I may write. When my children go to bed they often want me to sit in the hallway as they fall asleep, they don’t care what I am doing as long as I am nearby to chase away monsters. I get a lot of typing done while in the hallway. However, as I am traveling more, doing more MLA and work things outside of “normal business hours” I just don’t have as much time to be able to write posts.
My second challenge is my role as president and the role of the blog. This blog exists to share information and opinions on issues within medical librarianship. Sometimes the information and opinions are controversial and sometimes they aren’t. For example, I try to be as objective as possible regarding product reviews, but I realize as president of MLA my product review on this blog may imply an endorsement (or rejection) far beyond the scope of my humble opinion.
Finally, I am looking at ways to make this blog evolve. The idea of a blog in its traditional format is dead. As the article by Kevin Drum mentions, the conversation that once was on blogs has moved to Facebook and Twitter. I have seen this with my own blog. While Facebook and Twitter offer their own opportunities for communicating and connecting with others, it comes with limits. Twitter has a 140 character limitation. Facebook offers more than 140 characters but doesn’t lend itself to longer posts that professional blog posts often generate (especially a product review). So I am trying to figure out the next evolution of my blog. I want to move it from where I am the only writer to where I might have several writers and make it more of a destination for more voices on medical librarianship. (I am not sure how it will all look or happen, quite frankly I’m wingin’ it.)
So with these three challenges all facing me and my blog, I have decided to ask for people to apply to be a writer for the Krafty Librarian blog.
There are some ground rules…..
1. You don’t have to be a medical librarian BUT this site is about issues within medical librarianship. So you must stick to the overall theme of the site. I can be very flexible. For example a post about the Apple watch isn’t directly medical library related but we use technology in everything we do, so it could work. I do NOT want things about the ACA and its impact on society UNLESS you mention how librarians can be a part of it. -Get my drift?
2. Humor and a conversational tone are the primary writing style of this blog, however it will remain professional.
3. I will be creating a Google Calendar for all writers to see. Depending on the number of people who are accepted, you will be asked to post no more than once a month. You will be expected to maintain the writing schedule. If you commit to posting a piece for a certain day you need to honor it.
Additionally, you do not have to be constrained by the calendar. If there is something late breaking or immediate that you want to write about, feel free to do it. If you want to write more than once a month, then go for it. The calendar is meant to help ensure that we have something relevant posted on regular basis.
4. You will have the freedom to write about any topic or have any opinion, with a few caveats. First, it must be related to medical librarianship. Second, your opinions must be stated as such. Please for your sake and mine, you must be very careful about what is considered fact and what is considered your opinion. Third, it should be professional. Fourth, you cannot post confidential information (personal or vendor related). Finally, I reserve the right to not publish or remove a post.
5. You won’t be getting paid. For various reasons this blog is not a business endeavor. I take no money in advertising and everything comes out of the pocket of a medical librarian with three kids. I cannot offer AHIP points either. If you do this, you write because you just want to write.
6. You will retain full authorship and ownership of your post and may promote it and link to it on other mediums and sites. You may repost your own post as long as it is not for profit. I retain the right to promote it and link to it. I will not repost it on any other site other than the Krafty Librarian site. While I will do my best to keep the site up and running and retain posts for as long as possible, I cannot guarantee any posts’ permanence. Technology failure, storage issues, and other unforeseen events may lead to a post being lost.
So if you are interested, please apply here http://goo.gl/forms/OWM1G7S0A9/I hope to have things going before August 1st. I am looking forward to this new evolution.
NIH Director, Dr Francis Collins, announce the appointment of an Advisory Committee charged to “evaluate the mission and functions of NLM to ensure this critical component of NIH continues to leverage technological advances in information sciences to facilitate scientific breakthroughs and a better understanding of health issues and disease.”
The charge focuses on reviewing “current mission, organization, and programmatic priorities of the NLM and to articulate a strategic vision for the NLM to ensure that it remains an international leader in biomedical and health information.”
To support the work of the Advisory Committee, NIH has issued a Request for Information (RFI) from stakeholder organizations and individuals. (Librarians you would be a stakeholder)
Comments are due March 13, 2015.
Specifically, the group is seeking input from stakeholders how the NLM should:
- Continue to meet the biomedical community’s rapidly evolving scientific and technological needs;
- Lead the development and adoption of information technologies;
- Facilitate the collection, storage, and use of biomedical data by the biomedical and health research communities;
- Continue to lead in promoting open access models for biomedical data and scientific literature;
- Balance computational methods and human-based approaches for indexing;
- Maximize the utilization and cost-efficiency of the NLM’s National Network of Libraries of Medicine;
- Maximize the usefulness of the NLM’s other outreach and exhibits programs in the context of future opportunities;
- Interface effectively with the broader and expanding NIH efforts in data science; and
- Directly contribute to addressing the major data science challenges facing the biomedical research enterprise.
The group also seeks information on the current value of and future need for NLM programs, resources, research and training efforts and services (e.g. databases, software, collections).
- Current NLM elements that are of the most, or least, value to health professionals (e.g., those working in health care, emergency response, toxicology, environmental health, and public health) and future capabilities that will be needed to enable health professionals to integrate data and knowledge from biomedical research into effective practice.
- Current NLM elements that are of most, or least, value to patients and the public (including students, teachers, and the media) and future capabilities that will be needed to ensure a trusted source for rapid dissemination of health knowledge into the public domain.
- Current NLM elements that are of most, or least, value to other libraries, publishers, organizations, companies, and individuals who use NLM data, software tools, and systems in developing and providing value-added or complementary services and products and future capabilities that would facilitate the development of products and services that make use of NLM resources.
- How NLM could be better positioned to help address the broader and growing challenges associated with:
- Biomedical informatics, “big data”, and data science;
- Electronic health records;
- Digital publications; or
- Other emerging challenges/elements warranting special consideration.
So how can the average medical librarian (i.e. stakeholder) make a comment and show their support?
First ALL responses must be sent online via: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/rfi/rfi.cfm?ID=41
Second look at the RFI and answer the following questions:
- Current NLM resources/services that are most/least valuable to research community and future capabilities need to support.
- Current resources/services that are most/least valuable to health professionals and future capabilities need to enable them to integrate data and knowledge from biomedical research into effective practice.
- Current resources/services that are most/least valuable to patients and public and future capabilities needed to ensure a trusted source for rapid dissemination of health knowledge into the public domain.
- Current resources/services that are most/least valuable to libraries, publishers, organizations who use NLM data, software tools and systems in developing and providing value added or complementary services and products future capabilities to facilitate that.
- How NLM could be better positioned to help address the broader and growing challenges associated with:
- Biomedical informatics, “big data”, and data science;
- Electronic health records;
- Digital publications; or
- Other emerging challenges/elements warranting special consideration
Ok I know that seems like a lot, but it is NLM and it is the center piece of our jobs. How many medical librarians use PubMed? How many of librarians use PubMed Central to get articles? That is just the tip of the iceberg of how ingrained NLM services are in our medical librarianship lives.
I know the due date of March 13, 2015 is short, but please sit down and carve some time out to respond even if it is just briefly.
If you are somebody whose mind forgets everything as soon as they see a blank page (text box) in front of them then here are some ideas to get you started.
- Value of NLM’s education for librarians and information specialists (NLM Associate Fellowship, Biomedical Informatics course..aka Woods Hole)
- Collaboration among NLM, NN/LM, and MLA regarding consumer health, disaster information, scholarships, etc.
- NLM collections, services, data, PubMed, Loansome Doc, ClinicalTrials.gov, MedlinePlus, PubMed Central, etc.
I know this is a very long post asking you to do something. But really it is something very important to medical librarianship and should be done by all medical librarians. Even if you don’t have time to create the worlds best RFI, please put something down. Don’t be silent as the government looks to shape your National Library of Medicine.
Once MLA members have applied to be on a committee, MLA sends the President elect the giant committee wish list. It is a grid like sheet listing every committee and the members’ first, second and third choice. It also has the committee chairs’ first, second and third choice for members on their committee. So the President elect looks at this entire thing and assigns people to committees based on their requests AND that of the committee chairs. As Mark Funk said, it is kind of like “NFL draft done by one person trying to make teams, coaches, and players all happy.”
I just got done assigning everyone who applied for an MLA committee to a committee. I hope the assignments worked out and they like their teams er committees. While everyone got onto a committee, not everyone got their choices. Sometimes some committees only had two spots available and 10 people asked to be put on it. I sent the information to MLA and they will be sending out letters shortly.
In the past I mentioned that the MLA Board gets together a few times a year to discuss MLA and make sure things are moving forward. Our recent meeting in Chicago was our first meeting with our new Executive Director Kevin Baliozian and we discussed the strategic plan for MLA. It was a very good meeting and there will be a lot of things going forward with MLA. I wish I could be more transparent in my description and I think things will be in the next few weeks or so.
That is all for my brief MLA Behind the Scenes update. Questions or comments feel free to let me know.
Thank you for sticking with me while my blog had some major hiccups. It got a nasty virus and it made doing things a bit problematic. I want to send a huge thank you to Blake and LISHost for doing all of the heavy virus cleaning. Without him I wouldn’t have been able to get this blog back in working order.
In the next few weeks I am going to be messing with the design so I ask for your patience once again as I muck around here.
Starting in mid April I will be taking emails and names of people who would like to write guest posts on this blog. In May I will be the MLA President and while I will still post on this blog from time to time I feel it would be best if I try and draw a line on what I do as MLA President and my Krafty Librarian musings.
In the past I have posted product reviews, opinion pieces, and other items that are not intended to be the views of MLA. I still want my blog to be a source of information and publish those type of pieces, but I also realize that something like an online product review written by me while sitting as MLA President might cause a conflict. That is why I will be needing some people to be guest bloggers for the year.
My intention is to have a group of people so that the writing will not fall on any one person’s shoulders. My goal is to have 1-2 posts a week. Authors will mostly have the freedom write what they want about publishing, computers, apps, librarianship, libraries, medicine, medical libraries, etc.
I will reserve the right to not post or delete an author’s piece. Authors shouldn’t shy away from writing a good hard critical review of a product but at the same time they will have to have the facts to back up their words and I won’t tolerate flaming. Same goes with opinion pieces, except the author will need to clearly state somewhere in their post that it is their opinion (and I still won’t tolerate flaming).
If you think this is for you or you know somebody who would be good, keep an eye out because I will be sending something more formal out in the beginning of April. Somebody asked me if I will continue to have guest bloggers post after I my Presidential year. I have no clue. IF it works out then maybe so. This is an an experiment for me.
Submit Virtual Projects for JMLA Column by March 15
The Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) seeks innovative and notable projects for the October 2015 JMLA Virtual Projects column. This annual column focuses on library virtual spaces that extend the library “presence” outward to support users in their digital spaces, wherever and whenever needed.
To be considered for this column, please submit a 200-word abstract of your recent virtual project or a link to a web page that describes the project and why it is innovative or notable. Send your submissions to Susan Lessick, AHIP, FMLA, by March 15.
Submissions of virtual projects can demonstrate the integration of services and content into user workflows, new technology initiatives and collaborative opportunities, new ways of using devices and software to enrich services and collections, or facilitation of information discovery and delivery. Focus areas or technologies of special interest include, but are not limited to:
- electronic medical record/electronic health record integration
- data management
- games and gamification
- unique mobile options for content and delivery
- wearable technology
Please consider sharing your knowledge and experiences with implementing virtual projects in your library to inspire and encourage your peers, partners, and communities!
Roughly two years ago I wrote the post “How to Join a Committee” describing the importance of joining a committee and the basic process. I figured since one of my major jobs as President-elect of MLA is to now assign people to the various MLA committees now would be a good time to revisit the process.
Committees are the driving force of MLA and without members’ participation on committees many things within MLA wouldn’t happen. Each year MLA members must apply to join a committee or committees. An online committee application is available in the members-only area (active June through October 31). The form also appears in the August and September issues of MLA News and is available through headquarters. As I mentioned, the deadline for committee applications is October 31.
MLA members can apply to the various committees below.
- Awards Committee and Juries
- Books Panel
- Bylaws Committee
- Continuing Education Committee
- Credentialing Committee
- Governmental Relations Committee
- Grants and Scholarships Committee and Juries
- JMLA Editorial Board
- Joseph Leiter NLM/MLA Lectureship Committee
- Librarians Without Borders® Advisory Committee
- Membership Committee
- MLA News Editorial Board
- National Program Committees
- Oral History Committee
- Rising Stars Committee
- Scholarly Communications Committee
- Technology Advisory Committee
Members can also choose to apply to “any committee” as needed.
Once members have completed their application and the deadline has passed then MLA sorts through all of the information and organizes it based on the applying members’ committee selections. The information is compiled in a spreadsheet and given to each committee co-chair. The co-chairs then select from their “wish list” of members to join their committee.
The co-chairs “wish list” is then given to the President-elect (me this year) and the President-elect then officially selects the members for each committee. Usually the President-elect respects the selections of the co-chairs, but there are times when multiple committees select the same person for their committee. In these cases the President-elect does his/her best job to to make as many members (and co-chairs) happy as well as provide as many opportunities possible to applicants.
Mark Funk describes the process as similar to the “NFL draft done by one person trying to make teams, coaches, and players all happy.” I tend to think of it as the residency match process. A member may list one committee as their first choice but the co-chairs may choose another person who also listed that same committee as their first choice.
For example some committees may have a need for members with certain skills or knowledge. The best example I can give on this is the Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) . Depending on the upcoming projects the TAC may need to select members with certain technological knowledge and skills over another very tech savvy member who has other skills.
This is why it is VERY important to fill out everything about your knowledge and experience when applying for committees. According to MLA’s website: “In making appointments, the association considers the background and skills of the applicants, as well as the responsibilities and needs of the committees. A history of active participation in committee work on the local, regional, or national level is an important qualification. Recommendations are sought from current committee chairs, members of the board of directors, and program staff. Some MLA committees require combinations of skills and knowledge found among few health sciences librarians. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to recruit certain members with unique experience and expertise to serve on specific committees.”
Basically the above paragraph is a really long way to say the following:
- Current committee members look at those apply for committee spots
- Therefore list your whatever credentials, activities, experience you have even if it isn’t national experience. The committee members just want to make sure you are somebody who is willing to be an active participant.
- If you want to join a committee where your experience might helpful towards committee work. For example: people wanting to join the Technology Advisory Committee will want to list their technology experience.
IF you are new to MLA or the profession it is even more important to list your experience and information in the application. It doesn’t have to be MLA related.
Usually the committee selection process happens in January with letters going out to newly selected committee members sometime in February. Unfortunately there are times where there are more applicants than committees. While that may disappointing at first, there are often committee opportunities that spring up afterwards for new ad hoc committees and task forces. So there is a good chance that somebody not selected for a standing committee could be selected for an ad hoc committee or task force that has not yet been created or envisioned.
One final note about committees. There are three committees that are not a part of the October application process. They are the Administrative and Board Committees, Executive Committee, and the Nominating Committee. These three committees are different and don’t follow the same application and appointment process. (See my post on the Nominating Committee.)
I hope this provides some insight into the whole committee process. In the next few weeks I will do my best to match the member and the committee while respecting the co-chairs’ “wish list.” I want to thank everyone who applied to join a committee, your active participation makes MLA what it is.
So the “new” skin was causing difficulties. I reverted to the very old skin but it hasn’t been updated in years so that was also causing problems. Right now I am using this skin as it has some of the layout and features I like but I haven’t totally settled on it.
As I get busier and busier with life and MLA I am wondering if I need more advanced help with getting skin that behaves (no malware and other issues) and has a more modern design and function. Now that my kids are older and I am playing cab driver to various events and my professional duties have increased I just don’t have the time to fuss with some of the stuff. I just want to write, have it look good, and have it connected socially. So if anybody has ideas I am open to them, let me know.