Last Day to Sign Up for MLA Committee

Today is Halloween, but it is also the last day for MLA members to sign up to join a committee. So Jack is here, politely knocking on your door to remind you to sign up.

If you want to be included in the appointment process for 2015 appointments, please log on to MLANET and complete your application by today, October 31, 2014.

Visit, https://www.mlanet.org/ and log on; then visit
https://www.mlanet.org/form/committee-appointment-application

MLA 2016 Toronto: Problems Traveling Internationally

The 2016 annual meeting will be in Toronto and the NPC is looking to see if there are any barriers to going to an international meeting in Toronto that normally wouldn’t be a barrier if the meeting was withing the continental U.S.

Obviously people traveling to the meeting in Toronto will need an updated passport.  Plan early to get your passport if you don’t already have one.  Also check its expiration date, sometimes you may not be able to travel on a passport that is set to expire within three months.

The one nice thing is that the US dollar is stronger than the Canadian dollar so that gives us little bit of a “discount” when buying things over there.  However that usually isn’t realized on air travel and the cost of flights really depends on the airports.  For example, Cleveland is one of the more expensive airports to fly out of, so airfares for me are often painful. We all have budget issues to consider, I don’t think Toronto being an international conference is on the same cost level as an international conference overseas.  Based on a very brief look at the expenses, it doesn’t appear the cost to be any more or less of a barrier then one would typically encounter going to MLA.

I am not saying cost isn’t important, but my blog post today is more focused on the barriers unique to an international meeting.  One such barrier that may be related to this meeting is the permission or the ability to attend an international meeting.  Some hospitals, government entities, and other places will not fund travel to an international meeting (even if international is within North America and is closer than flying to San Francisco).  In this case the barrier is the fact that it is an international meeting and the institution will not fund international meetings.  So it isn’t the amount of the trip that is the barrier, but the fact that the institution will not pay for the trip at all.

Do you typically attend MLA?  If you typically attend, will you have some problems attending a conference in Toronto because it is international or will it be just fine?  Please make a comment and let us know.  I know the NPC would like to try and address any issues ahead of time.

 

MLA Executive Director Search: Update

I mentioned in my earlier Behind the Scenes MLA Executive Director Search that I would provide updates as they were available.

I wanted to let you know that Tuft & Associates interviews with MLA Board members, MLA Staff memebers, and a diverse group MLA members to try and determine the opportunities and challenges for MLA have been completed.  Tufts has created a profile as well as traits desired for the position.  The position currently being advertised on Tufts website as well as at various other websites and groups in libraries and association management. The position will also go out to various listservs such as MEDLIB-L, AAHSL, Chapter lists, etc.
View the position profile and job opening at Tufts. http://www.tuftassoc.com/searches/executive-director-3/

Still in the near future….MLA members have an opportunity to participate in the process by suggesting questions for candidates. The search committee and Tufts anticipate interviews of top candidates will begin in late fall 2014.

Congrats MLA Nominees

The special edition MLA Focus has just released the Slate for 2015 (to be voted on Nov 3 through Dec 5, 2014).

Congratulations and good luck to the people on the slate for the MLA 2015 Election.  Now it is up to the voting members to look at the people on the slate and determine who they feel would best represent the MLA membership.
President-Elect

  • Teresa L. Knott, AHIP, Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University–Richmond
  • Chris Shaffer, AHIP, Library, Oregon Health & Science University–Portland

Board of Directors

  • Lisa K. Traditi, AHIP, Health Sciences Library, University of Colorado–Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO
  • Melissa Rethlefsen, AHIP, Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah–Salt Lake City
  • James Dale Prince, AHIP, National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), Southeastern Atlantic Region, University of Maryland–Baltimore
  • Janna Lawrence, AHIP, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, University of Iowa–Iowa City

Nominating Committee

  • Latrina Keith
  • David A. Nolfi, AHIP
  • Julie K. Kwan, AHIP
  • Stephanie Fulton, AHIP
  • Michael S. Fitts
  • Brandi D. Tuttle, AHIP
  • Brenda Marisol Linares, AHIP
  • Gary Kaplan, AHIP
  • Marie T. Ascher
  • Darlene Parker-Kelly
  • Len Levin, AHIP
  • John C. Bramble
  • Donna R. Berryman
  • Sandra De Groote, AHIP
  • Rebecca Birr, AHIP
  • Patricia Baldwin Regenberg, AHIP
  • Terri Ottosen, AHIP
  • Emily J. Hurst, AHIP

In the next few weeks, MLA News will send out bios and information about the candidates.  Make sure you read them and then vote for the people based on the information within MLA News and who you think will be best for MLA membership.

Designing Resources for Optimal Usage

Last week Clinical Key changed their interface and there was a big discussion about Clinical Key and how it works (or doesn’t) with Internet Explorer 8 & 9 on the Medlib-l listserv.  Basically the conversation fell into three categories.

  1. There was a general feeling that Elsevier did little to no testing of their website with hospital and other users.
    • Lack of functionality with IE 8 & 9 seem to indicate they didn’t test it very well using those browsers.
    • No A-Z alphabet listed for e-books and e-journals, so users have to wait for the entire list of e-books or e-journals to load and then scroll down to their title. Annoying, but not a big deal if your title begins with a C. But if you are J or another middle of the alphabet letter, it is worse than annoying.
    • Changing the way e-journals display a title.  In the past they displayed the title, current issue and then listed past issues on the page.  This is no longer the case and it makes finding the past issues very difficult. (update 10/2/14: ejournals now display current and past issues.)
  2. Most hospitals are stuck using Internet Explorer and often old versions of the software.
    • Many hospitals have legacy systems and are stuck on older operating systems which often dictate their browser software.  I know of one major hospital that has a goal of finally migrating to Windows 7 by Fall 2015.
    • If hospitals are a part of your clientele then it is a business imperative to know what the majority operating systems, browsers, and platforms your product will be used on.  Failure to do so means your product fails or is not used effectively. This leads to poor usage and will lead to non-renewal.
    • In general most hospital librarians CANNOT get their IT department to upgrade the hospital’s browsers.  At best they can get the computers in their library to have an upgraded or different browser, but they have no influence to have browsers upgraded elsewhere in the hospital.  It is naive to think otherwise.
  3. Academics have more flexibility and options regarding software and their IT departments are more open to other resources.
    • As a result they are often good places to try new things and experiment. However if the product will be offered to hospitals, vendors must be aware that what works at an academic institution may not work at a hospital.
    • While academic institution are concerned about privacy, in general they do not have to deal with HIPPA regulations.  This adds a layer of complexity to security that must be married to multiple hospital systems.

While the medlib-l discussion on Clinical Key could be boiled down into one of these three themes, it does impact more than just Clinical Key.  They are just the most recent example, but others have failed to understand the market they sell to.

Before a vendor decides to upgrade, they would do well to have beta testers from both hospitals and academic institutions (large and small) and make sure the company or programmers they are using to upgrade their product know design to the lowest common browser.  That won’t make things perfect, but it will help.

 

MLA Behind the Scenes: Search for New MLA Executive Director

As you all know, Carla Funk, the Executive Director of MLA is retiring.  So we must search for a new person for the position.  I thought I would provide an update on the search for those of you who didn’t see the update published in the September 25 MLA Focus. (Click here for update as of 10/6/14)

(Completed)
The search committee first worked on selecting an executive search firm to help us with the process for filling the position. The search committee sent out several request for proposals (RFPs) to reputable search firms who specialize in the area of finding executive directors for associations.  We reviewed the completed and returned proposals and selected Tuft & Associates as our search firm.  Tuft & Associates has experience working with other medical and library associations finding executive directors.

(On going)
Tufts & Associates has been interviewing MLA Board memebers, MLA staff members, and diverse group of MLA members to try and determine the opportunities and challenges for MLA so that they can compile a profile as well as traits desired for the position.  Once the profile is complete, the position will be advertised.

(Near future)
MLA members have an opportunity to participate in the process by suggesting questions for candidates. Stay tuned for how to suggestion questions. MLA is looking at away to do compile the suggestions online.  The search committee and Tufts anticipate interviews of top candidates will begin in late fall.

(Other details)
The search committee includes Dixie A. Jones, AHIP, chair; Linda Walton; Michelle Kraft, AHIP; Chris Shaffer, AHIP; Sandra G. Franklin, AHIP; and staff member Kate Corcoran.
The diverse group of MLA members were made up of librarians in academic, hospital libraries, living in different areas of the U.S, representing different ages and ethnic backgrounds.

I will write another update when the profile has been completed and the position has been posted. I will also provide more information on how to suggestion questions for the executive director search as soon as the technical details have been worked out.

Privacy is Dying Fast, Are We Slow to Respond

Privacy is dying or already dead. People (myself included) freely tell the world about our activities through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.  But we have given up our privacy in even more subtle ways than social media.  I currently have 3 loyalty cards on my key chain, my grocer, pharmacy, and pet store.  That doesn’t include the several loyalty cards I have in my wallet, hardware store, shoe store, sports store, and sandwich chain.  Additionally I have 2-3 apps that are loyalty cards like Shopkick and Cartwheel.  All of these cards and apps give me discounts (some very substantial).  In exchange these stores know exactly what I buy, how often, whether I use coupons, and probably a bunch of other things.

I know there are a lot privacy advocates in the library world.  Along with finding information and connecting people to resources, privacy is important to our profession, especially in the medical world.  Of my friend and colleagues make statements that they would never give out information to people or companies yet the post on social media and they shop at Costco.  We as society have been gradually giving up our privacy in return for convenience or money (discounts and cost savings).

This type of behavior is not going to change any time soon, in fact the next generation is even more willing to give up their privacy.  What is interesting (disturbing?) is that they don’t even think of it as privacy.  A few months ago I saw the Frontline report, “Generation Like.”  The report primarily looked teenagers and the complicated relationship between themselves and the big-name brands they like and actively promote on social media. Not only are the brands are constantly working to target them but the teenagers are actively trying to target their own peer group in the form of likes and comments to gain popularity and fame.  The teens told FRONTLINE that social media makes them feel empowered. The most successful or most popular social media teens are rewarded with all sorts of free products to the point a few have been able to make a living off of their social media posts just from the brands they mention.

I am by no means new to social media, and this was a huge eye opener to me. While I realized the brands mined the data and rewarded those who mentioned them on social media, I had no idea how extensive and deep the rewards went.  But the biggest eye opening moment wasn’t specifically a moment but the repeated sight of these teenagers who so completely bought into it all and didn’t think twice.  In fact after the Frontlined aired the show, most of the teenagers reportedly were excited about getting even more popularity online because of their presence on the show. None of the teenagers blinked twice about the fact that they were giving so much of their privacy away. One interviewer asked the kids about whether they felt like “sell outs” by promoting everything, and the kids didn’t even understand the question.  One even mentioned they didn’t know what a sell out was.

As disturbing and fascinating as this Frontline report was, it made me realize that the concept of privacy is either dead or it will be by the time the teenagers of today are in the workforce tomorrow.  So why is this important? Aren’t we librarians the champions of privacy?  Yes but should we?

I am not talking about disclosing financial data, medical information, or blabbing to the next patron about another’s circulation record.  I am talking about our own information systems working with data to provide a more customized and convenient experience.  Our ILS immediately clears the record of a book from a patron’s record once it has been returned.  That protects our patrons privacy.  But how many of our patrons want a record of what they borrowed for their own purposes?  I have been asked many times in my library career if I could “just look up the last book they checked out because they forgot the title” or a variant of that question.  Personally I love how Amazon knows what I was buying, looking at, and can link my purchases to what others have bought.

My question for librarians is whether our own information system’s restrictions on privacy will ultimately hurt us as the next generation comes to expect more connectivity and convenience.  Like the current teenagers now, will they be fine with giving up a certain amount of privacy so that their experience is better?  If so what kind of systems do we design (or should we) that can balance the privacy line of information that people are willing to give up (or no longer consider private) vs what we still consider private.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating libraries drop their privacy stance, but I am wondering as society’s views on privacy change, how are we going to change.  Obviously education is key.  People don’t always know what they information they are giving up and how it is being used.  However, there things are changing where people don’t care about certain once private things.  So how are we to respond in the future and will that response help us or hurt us?

I’m just thinking out loud, what are your thoughts? (BTW if you leave a comment think about how you are relinquishing some of your privacy and how you are ok doing that now and whether there was a time when you weren’t….you don’t have to put that in your comment, just something to ponder.)  As I tell my kids anything you put online is there forever. Sometimes that is good, sometimes not.

Call for applications for the Louise Darling Medal

Please consider nominating a colleague for the Louise Darling Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Collection Development in the Health Sciences!

The Louise Darling Medal is presented annually to recognize distinguished achievement in collection development in the health sciences. The award was established in 1987 and first awarded in 1988, with a contribution by Ballen Booksellers International, Inc. The recipient receives an engraved medal, a certificate, and a $1,000 cash award.

If you want to nominate a deserving colleague, please go to www.mlanet.org/awards/honors/ for more information and online nomination forms. The deadline for applications is November 1. Please contact jury chair Virginia Carden at virginia.carden[atsign]duke[dot]edu with any questions.

Don’t forget there are a whole bunch of other awards https://www.mlanet.org/about/awards-and-honors recognizing MLA members hard work.  So if you are drawing a blank on somebody for the Darling Medal, perhaps there is somebody you know who totally deserves another award like the Beatty Volunteer award, the Colaianni award, Murray Gottlieb prize (no winner in 2014), or any other from the list.

These awards are not automatic.  They rely on you to nominate people for them.  IF nobody qualified is nominated then the award/prize goes unawarded that year.  I hate seeing awards go unawarded because I know there is somebody deserving of it, they just weren’t nominated and missed out.  So if you know somebody or you think you deserve an award, go for it.

I Think I Can

Over the past couple of weeks helpful people have been telling my that my site was running slow, the search box took forever, and various other wonky things.  Last week everything just went kaput.  My site went offline and it definitely was server issue.

Thankfully, Blake at LISHost was quick to figure out the problem and got me up and running.  I think everything is back to normal so I think I can resume posting and my site will not go off the deep end again.  If you start to notice some weirdness let me know and I will try and get on it. (BTW weirdness with the site, not me.)

Wanted: Librarians With Good IT Relationships and Knowledge

The Southeastern/Atlantic (SE/A) Technology Program Advisory Committee (PAC) has been outlining their goals for the coming year to try and best to meet the needs of their members. One of the Tech PAC’s multi-year goals (based on the results of the survey given in 2012), is to address technology issues some librarians face daily professional lives.  They are planning a series of webinars on the topic and they need your help.

The first webinar will address relationship-building between libraries and the technology departments which support them.They would like to feature the partnerships of one or more librarians and their tech people on the webinar.  So if you are BFF’s with your tech people or just merely have a good working relationship then they would like to use you to serve as models for the medical library community.  **Krafty Note** HOSPITAL LIBRARIANS….You are especially important in this area. Many hospital IT department have vastly different and considerably more strict policies than academic institutions which sometime make being a librarian’s job more difficult. So if you are a hospital librarian with a good working relationship with your IT people, then please, please, please consider contacting the Tech PAC.

The second webinar in the series is tentatively titled, “How to speak IT,” and will focus on defining and contextualizing basic IT terms. We know librarians have our own geek speak; ILL, PDA (not kissing), MeSH, etc. Well, IT has their own geek speak as well and if you two aren’t speaking the same geek it can make communicating a bit difficult at times. For example (not library related): A woman today told me my face look BEAT!  I was bummed. I was well rested (unusual when you have 3 kids) and I actually looked in the mirror and put on make up before I went to work. I thought I looked good.  The woman seeing my confusion said, “That’s a compliment. You look really good.”  She said that makeup artists and others use it to mean on how stunning somebody looks, especially their makeup.  I felt very happy…that is until I realized I am now so old that I don’t know what “kids” are saying these days.

The Tech PAC is looking for a good IT geek speak “explainer” who would be willing to participate as a speaker to help librarians out there speak a little IT geek speak. If your IT guy says to you, “A VLAN configuration issue has surfaced between our new Web app and the SQL back end,” and your brain translates it to, “The network configuration needs adjusting before we go live,” then Tech PAC wants you.

Finally, Tech Pac is also asking for ideas for future webinars and other programs based on librarian technology needs. So contact them via Twitter (@KR_Barker) or email (Grumpy_Cat [atsign] virginia.edu) if you have ideas or can help them with one of their two webinars.