Happy Holidays: Build Your Own Bookmas Tree

In case any of the librarians in your library want to get into the holiday spirit and are looking for something beyond holiday window clings, take a look at Texas Medical Center Library’s Bookmas Tree.

They even have a “How To” guide available should you want to try it in your own library next year.

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Enjoy the holidays with family and friends, I will resume posting after the new year.

2011/2012 MLA Election Results

Thank you to all the members who ran and made it a very strong ballot and to those members who took an active interest in the future and direction of the association and voted in the election.  Without you MLA wouldn’t be what it is today.  I want to congratulate the new President Elect, Board Members and the Nomination Committee.  

President-elect
Jane L. Blumenthal, AHIP, Director, Taubman Health Sciences Libraries, University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

Board of Directors (2011–2014)

  • Michelle Kraft, AHIP, Senior Medical Librarian, Alumni Library, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Gabe R. Rios, Deputy Director, Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, University of Alabama–Birmingham
  • Joy Summers-Ables, AHIP, Associate Director and Head of Library Computing and Information Services, Robert M. Bird Health Sciences Library, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center–Oklahoma City

Nominating Committee

  • Margaret (Peg) Allen, AHIP, FMLA
  • Janet L. Cowen, AHIP
  • Melissa De Santis, AHIP
  • Rosalind F. Dudden, AHIP, FMLA
  • Patricia C. Higginbottom, AHIP
  • Joanne Gard Marshall, AHIP, FMLA
  • Mary Fran Prottsman, AHIP
  • Melissa Rethlefsen, AHIP
  • Patricia L. Thibodeau, AHIP, FMLA

Congratulations, I look forward to working with all of you and seeing you at the next meeting or sooner.

Video of the New Bloglines

Thanks to Valerie’s Comment I have learned that the folks over at MerchantCircle blog have just posted a video featuring the “new” Bloglines. 

The video is hosted on YouTube and the direct link is:
http://blog.merchantcircle.com/2010/11/sneak-peak-into-new-bloglines.html

I tried viewing the video on my iPhone and the writing is so small that I can’t read anything about it, so it is best viewed on a regular computer screen.

As far as I can tell from the MerchantCircle blog most of the features they mention seem to pretty standard and were already a part of Bloglines (at least I think they were).  The feature that I definitely know is new is they have integrated Facebook and Twitter sharing so it looks like Valerie’s opinion that the “new design looks like the Netvibes reader with a different skin to it,” is pretty accurate.

Adding the Facebook and Twitter component was/is crucial to me, I have really grown to love that feature in Netvibes and I think that makes sharing stories between the three systems (Facebook, blogs, Twitter) that much easier and cohesive.  Now that I know the new Bloglines will have this feature, it definitely makes it worth it to me to look at moving back. We will see.

The MerchantCircle blog

Ebooks: The Library Catalog and Federated Searching Part 2

Today I am going to talk about the need for federated book searching in medical libraries.  Full disclosure we do not have a federated search product and most of the ones I have played with on other library sites have left me frustrated.

My library does not have a federated search product. Probably the biggest reason why is while our users say they want the Google experience, we have observed that this isn’t quite the case.  I think they think they want a federated search type product for article searching and a separate type of federated search product for books.  From what I can tell when they are looking for information they usually know if they want journal articles or books on a topic.  They usually don’t want both.  This is probably because we are a hospital library and the patrons tend to want the most recent research which is usually in a journal article.  They usually consult books when they are looking for more in-depth or background information on a topic.  The people who want information on a topic from both books and journals usually are doing research for school.   There is nothing wrong with that but they just aren’t the majority of our clientele.

I will leave the idea of a federated search product for searching journal articles for another time for two reasons. First, this post is primarily about ebooks not journal articles. Second, I have some big reservations about federated searching the journal literature and quite frankly I need to sort them out before I put them in print.  So, on to federated book searching.

From what I can tell EBSCO and Serials Solutions offers federated searching and they will search for ebooks.  I know Mark said on the webcast that there were no medical libraries currently using either of those two products for ebooks.  However, there were a few who tweeted that their library indeed was using one of those products.  I would love to hear their thoughts.

I know we looked at federated search products a while back and at that time they didn’t meet our needs, which is how we thought our patrons would use it.  What we wanted was a federated ebook search that would look across ebook platform silos and retrieve search results.  Basically a one stop shopping for ebooks.  Type in heart and it would retrieve results from various platforms like, Braunwald’s Heart Disease on MDConsult, Hurst’s the Heart on AccessMedicine, Short stay management of heart failure on Books at Ovid.

We didn’t want it retrieving the journal Heart from BMJ, The American Heart Journal from Mosby, or the Harvard Heart Letter.  We also didn’t want it searching our databases returning every article known to mankind containing the word heart. 

Ideally it would be nice if it could retrieve our printed books too.  Of course you probably are saying “but wait the catalog does that, why are you looking for a federated search for ebooks when you can add your ebooks to the catalog?”  Well as I mentioned most users aren’t using the catalog.  Now if ILS companies and librarians could make some major sweeping changes and patrons begin to use the catalog more, then yes that would be a good idea.  But there is another problem with that scenario, catalog systems are kind of weak when it comes to searching.  Why?  They are missing content.  There are an ton of records out there that don’t even have the TOC.  So when somebody wants to find information on aortic arch development (which is a section in Chapter 8 “Molecular Development of the Heart” from Hurst’s the Heart) they aren’t going to find anything in the catalog even if it did list the TOC.  But they will find it with a federated ebook search.

Mark did mention the Univerversity of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library System has their own home grown federated ebook search that searches the full text of over 1000 health and biomedical science ebooks.  I have to say that is pretty nifty.  Searching the term heart retrieves books that not only have the term in the title but also the chapter.  I am sure this took a lot of time for them to create, I would love to know more about what went into its development and how they maintain it.  So if anybody from there is reading, please comment to tell us about development, maintenance, and it usage among your patrons.

A ebook federated search would be extremely helpful for librarians and patrons. Ideally I would love it if you could marry the ebook’s federated search to the catalog, but then that would mean we would have to really boost up our catalogs and their records and figure out a way for our catalog systems to search the full text books in multiple silos.  I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Under the Weather

I have been battling an upper respiratory infection as well as some wicked cold cooties.  This leaves me little time to do more than my job and regular household stuff.  The moments of time that I usually use to do a quick post are now spent catching up on other things or sleeping.

I hope to resume posting a few days.

Hospital Switching from Pagers to Smartphones: One CIO’s Experience

Emory University Hospital is in the midst of three year movement to switch approximately 6,000 pagers used by medical staff at the hospital to cell phones. The article, Inside a Smartphone Rollout With Life and Death Consequences, is an interesting look at what a hospital CIO needs to consider when switching from a pager system to smartphones. 

Now that doctors are really beginning to snatch up smartphones and using them in their daily practice to answer questions there are a whole host of other issues that must be addressed and the article specifically mentions three:

  1. Reliability- of the device and of the person using the device. Interesting thing to consider, pagers are often worn outside of clothing, smartphones (probably because they are bigger than a pager) are often in pockets and purses and left on desks.  The pager is easily heard, the smartphone (depending on its location) not so much. 
  2. Can you hear me now? – Coverage, coverage, coverage.  Multi carrier coverage is a big problem as well as building challenges (we have all found that dead cell zone in our hospital and it isn’t always the basement). 
  3. Fragile – Granted a pager probably won’t work if it accidentally falls in the toilet, but drop it down a flight of stairs and it has a fair shot of still working.  Try that with a smartphone and some would shatter on the first step of the stairs.  In addition to owner created hazards, smartphones have more software and have more “parts” that can “break” with the latest software upgrade. 

These three things are definitely issues that must be addressed if a system is to move off the pager and on to the smartphone.  However, one thing to note is these issues are just dealing with the practical issues of paging doctors through their smartphone.  The whole reason doctors and other healthcare professionals want and use smartphones is that they can use them for so much more than paging.  A hospital begins to run into far bigger obstacles when they must address EMR and smartphone accessibility, patient/doctor notes on smartphones, and what happens if somebody loses the phone. 

Still it is an interesting quick read article, it would be interesting if we could hear more about Emory University Hospital’s transition and the unexpected positives negatives they encountered in their move.

E-Books Virtual Summit

Library Journal recently sponsored the online virtual conference, “ebooks: Libraries @ the Tipping Point.”  Bad news is the summit is over, it was held September 29, 2010.  Good news is they recorded the sessions and they are available. The archive of the summit is available for $19.95, all you have to do is fill and pay for registration before December 31, 2010. 

For those of you who already registered all you have to do is enter your email and password to access the archives. 

Access to the archives of the summit for $20 is a good deal, but I understand you may be unwilling to fork over your Friday night pizza money without knowing about the content of the summit. 

According to the website librarians discussed:

  • Librarians and library administrators learned about current best practices for library ebook collections and explored new and evolving models for ebook content discovery and delivery.
  • Publishers and content creators learned how to effectively identify and develop the right content offerings for each segment of the relatively untapped library ebook market.
  • Ebook platform vendors and device manufacturers learned just what libraries need and want in this rapidly changing environment.

If you are still undecided, The Librarian in Black, Sarah Houghton-Jan, wrote six blog posts on the summit discussing the keynote speakers and issues like ebooks impact on libraries, publishers and readers. 

If after reading through the description of the summit and Sarah’s blog posts, you find the information interesting, you might want to spring for the archive.  It might also serve as a nice spring board for the next MLA webcast ABCs of E-books: Strategies for the Medical Library and get your mind ready so that you have some good questions or discussion points to bring up during the webcast.

Nominate a Medical Librarian as a Mover and Shaker

Library Journal is seeking nominations for emerging leaders in the libraries.  Their 10th Annual Movers and Shakers will profile 50 or more up-and-coming people in the world of libraries.  These people are innovative, creative, and making a difference in libraries.  Anybody working in the library field (librarians, vendors, paraprofessionals, etc.) moving libraries forward are eligible. 

DEADLINE: November 1, 2010

Ok medical librarians, they are looking for fifty or more people to be LJ’s Movers and Shakers so we have got to make sure we have a good showing. I know there are a bunch of us doing some really cool things out there and we need to make sure that we aren’t the only ones who know it.  They deserve recognition from the rest of the library world too.   Put on your thinking caps and nominate somebody.

Go to http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA606274.html to nominate somebody working in medical, hospital, or health science libraries who is moving us forward and doing innovative things. 

The process is online and easy!

Safari Books Online Now Available to Mobile Devices, Just Not for Library Subscribers

Earlier this week I saw this recent announcement stating Safari Books are now available on mobile devices and mobile devices users can now share content using the “Share This” feature, take notes, tag, and save content in custom folders too. 

I was excited about this.  I know there are some people who don’t like or understand the idea of reading an article let alone a book on a 2.5×3 inch screen, but there are more and more people doing it these days.  It is a growing usage trend.  So I figured if Safari is offering it then it would be nice to offer it to people in my library who don’t mind reading on a small screen. 

What a disaster.  First I went to Safari through our library page (on my iPhone) and got the same old Safari screen that is not optimized for a mobile device.  So I decided to try the URL that is mentioned on Safari’s website http://m.safaribooksonline.com.  That didn’t work, it wanted me to login and is primarily for non-library users.  However that made me sit back and think and I realized we get our Safari books through Proquest.  So I tried adding the mobile part to the Proquest URL.  No dice.  Since I am on an iPhone and my hospital blocks access to the Intranet to iPhones, iPads, and other “non approved” wireless devices, I thought my institutional access was the culprit.  Nope.

It was only after I started looking around on the Internet to see if others had similar problems did I discover two things. First, the announcement about mobile devices is kind of old (despite BusinessWire’s September 27, 2010 date) because O’Reilly announced the beta version of Safari’s mobile site back in February 2009. Second, and more importantly, Proquest does not have a mobile version of Safari Online for institutions.  According to The Distant Librarian who contacted ProQuest Technical Support, he was told, “The Mobile version of Safari Online is not available with an institutional account. I can send this on to the Product Manager as an enhancement but would not be able to give a time frame for when or even if it would be implemented.”   He sent a request to Proquest for mobile access to the Safari books for institutions and as of June 27, 2010, Proquest has not responded.   

I have done several Google searches to try and figure out if Proquest has decided to offer mobile access to Safari books to institutional subscribers and I haven’t found anything to indicate that they are even looking into it.  I would love to hear from somebody at Proquest or from any other librarians who can either tell me that yes, Proquest is working on mobile friendly access or no, Proquest is not interested in providing mobile friendly access…and why.  Just looking at the comments on Paul’s site (The Distant Librarian) and based on the growing number of mobile users this is a feature that is wanted by users.

WiFi Access at MLA’s 2011 Annual Meeting

I just received an email from Section Council regarding Internet access at the meeting and I asked if I could share it and I can, so here is the email. 

MLA Headquarters reports that Internet access in guest rooms in MLA block at the Hilton will be wireless and without charge.

Most meetings will be at the convention center, a short walk from the hotel.   At the convention center MLA will offer the Internet Cafe with wireless WIFI, as in the past. 

To expand access, NPC and staff are looking into ways MLA can provide attendees WIFI access at plenary sessions. The technology is there to do it. Our challenge is being able to cover the cost.  Currently, we are getting bids and looking a potential fund raising sources.

Internet connectivity is becoming a must in our lives and I am happy to forward the news that MLA is working on Internet access for attendees and is making progress towards connectivity for the meeting.