New Krafty Writer

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.

New Writers For the Krafty Blog

In the next few days and weeks there will be several posts by people who have agreed to write for this blog.  I have asked them to write a short paragraph about themselves for two reasons.

  1. So I know I set everything up correctly.
  2. So you can get to know the new authors.

For years the Krafty Librarian has been about me and what I find interesting in medical librarianship and technology.  Through the years of going to conferences, workshops, and meeting with other medical librarians I have learned that all medical librarians are a little “krafty.” We try and do whatever we can to get the information to our users and we think outside of the box.  So the next phase of this blog will be not just about me (I will still be posting) it will include other krafty librarians and their thoughts.

I look forward to reading about each author and I look forward to the new direction that we are taking this blog.  I hope you all do too. There may be some bumps along the way but we will get it all figured out.  :)

Why Do You Visit the MLA Exhibit Hall?

A while back ago MLA sent out its meeting survey asking attendees their opinions about the meeting.  Lots of questions are asked so that MLA staff and future NPC (National Programming Committees) can learn from the responses.

I noticed one question needed a little bit of updating.  The question is regarding the exhibit hall and what types of information or products you (the librarian) is looking for.

(Question from the survey)
Check the types of information or products you were looking for: (Check all that apply)

  • Publications
  • Integrated information systems
  • Subscription services
  • Computer hardware & software
  • Online services
  • Binding services
  • Photocopying equipment
  • Security systems
  • Films & videotapes
  • AV equipment
  • Data-retrieval systems
  • Library furniture
  • Other health organizations
  • Other (has a text box to specify)

So my first thought is this question, specifically its answers, is dated.  Who is looking for films and videotapes in 2015. Online image bank collections yes, but films and videotapes?

My second thought is, how many people are clicking publications and subscription services and can/should those answers be more specific? For example aren’t a lot of our services subscription services?  Do we need something like journal subscription services, ebook subscription services, database subscription services? Or, does journal and ebook subscription services handled with the publications answer?

There are probably two reasons for the existence of this question.

  1. MLA wants to find more vendors that are relevant to librarian needs.
  2. MLA wants vendors to share what librarians are looking for/need.

So dropping the question is not a good idea, MLA staff and NPC’s still need that type of information.  However, we it needs to be revised.  This is where I am asking for your help.  Please either comment here on the blog, Twitter (@Krafty) or on my Facebook page with a few things of what you are looking for when you visit the exhibit hall.




Medlibs Chat: Presidential Priorities, I Have No Priorities

Join us tomorrow (6:00pm Pacific / 9:00pm Eastern) on the #medlibs chat as I try to successfully balance watching the Cavs in the NBA playoffs and moderating the discussion on the changes happening within MLA, specifically the MLA strategic plan.

(reposted from #medlibs chat blog)

In the past each MLA President has presented their list of priorities for the upcoming year for MLA.  This year is a little different. I have no priorities.  OK, that sounds a lot different. But it really isn’t.  Instead of coming up with priorities each year the incoming president will look at MLA’s strategic plan and evaluate the goals within the plan.  If we are near accomplishing a goal, then the incoming president looks at other potential goals that we should add to the strategic plan. The idea is that these goals live long enough for accomplishment and are not specifically tied to the president’s term. They are part of the entire MLA strategic plan which is tied to MLA, the board, staff, etc. As in the case of MLA’s technology goal, a goal could be accomplished in less than a year.  In the case of the Education goal, it may take more than a year.  However, steps toward accomplishing that goal will be continually happening.

Speaking of continually happening… In years prior the time line for getting things done always seemed to be centered around the meeting in May.  Why? There are probably a lot of reasons, but I think (total guess on my part) is that it is a legacy of when we (librarians) did less business electronically.  We live in a time of email and other forms of online communication. Now days things can happen faster because we can communicate more easily and more often. We agree to take on projects at MLA then scurry around next March/April to make sure something was accomplished before the meeting again in May. We don’t even read and approve the prior meetings minutes until a year later at the next meeting. This has given us the nimbleness of an AT-AT in regards to change.

We need to look at ways to speed up processes and work towards the evolution of our organization as well as the groups (Sections, SIGs, Committees, etc.) within our organization.  So this Twitter chat will focus on ways that we as a group can work toward improving the speed at which we accomplish things.  Because waiting a year to approve something makes any organization sluggish and less adaptable to responsive change.

What are your ideas for making us more nimble?

Come share your thoughts and perspectives! Never participated in a #medlibs or other Twitter chat before? Check out this overview and come on in, we’re a supportive community and are especially keeping an eye out to welcome and support your participation if you’ve just heard about this community for the first time during the meeting.



Looking for Writers for Krafty Blog

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 hope to have things going before August 1st.  I am looking forward to this new evolution.

Join the #medlibs Discussion on 2016 Meeting Changes

Join us tonight May 7, 2015 at 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern for a chat on Twitter regarding changes to the 2016 Annual Meeting and brainstorming what changes we could do for future meetings.
(reposted from #medlibs chat blog)
The 2016 meeting will be in Toronto and will be a joint conference with CHLA-ABSC and the International Clinical Librarian Conference (ICLC).  This gives us the perfect opportunity to work with the conference structure and see where we can make some changes that better fit the needs of members.  The Futures Task Force listed several suggestions for changing the annual meeting.  So tune in to the chat this Thursday May 7, 2015 at 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern to learn about some of the changes that will be happening.  Also help us brainstorm any changes that we can work on for future meetings.  Just like Rome was not built in a day, planning a conference takes years. So some great ideas may take a while to get in the system but we are listening.

Section Programming Changes at MLA Meetings

The MLA Futures Task Force investigated things members within MLA should/would/want to change going forward.  One of the big things that members wanted to see change was the annual meeting, specifically section programming.  Members expressed frustration that section program themes were too narrow or the program themes were too closely married to the overall annual meeting theme (which was sometimes very narrow). Members wanted an abstract submission process that was responsive to the current topics and trends of librarianship, not dependent on any theme.

In an effort to address members concerns the NPC for the 2016 has changed the submission practice for section programming.  Starting in 2016, the NPC will send a call out for papers and posters and they will not be asked to submit to any specific section driven theme.  Once submission deadline has passed members of section programming will select the best overall abstracts then base the themes and categories off of the approved abstracts.

This is a big change for section programming.  As result, the section planners for 2016 will be meeting in 2015 to discuss the changes going forward with programming planning because it will be a completely different process.  2016 section planners should be aware these changes will be happening, Amy Chatfield sent an email to all sections describing things.

Basically instead of forcing a square abstract peg into a round section programming hole, the section programming hole will be shaped around the shape of the abstract peg. This type of responsive programming is often found at biomedical conferences.  The intention is for this type of responsive programming to continue in 2017 and beyond.  Will it be perfect in 2016, no but we can learn from our mistakes and make tweaks to the process so that we can have the type of programming that our members and the Futures Task Force said we need.

There will be a #medlibs tweet chat discussing the upcoming section programming for 2016 on May 7, 2015. Check for more information as time gets closer.

Nominate Your MLA Leaders for MLA Offices

(reposted from MEDLIB-l)
The MLA Nominating Committee is identifying potential candidates for the fall 2015 election. If you would like to recommend someone to be nominated for president or the board, or would like to be considered yourself, please send current curriculum vitae and a paragraph outlining why the recommended person would be a good candidate to one of the members of the Nominating Committee listed below by May 6th.


The 2015 Nominating Committee members are reviewing the job descriptions for president-elect/president/past president and Board of Directors members and are discussing desired attributes for candidates, as well as the importance of multiple types of diversity in the slate.


You can find the job description for president-elect/president/past president at .

You can find the job description for Board of Directors members at .

Reviewing what is required of people in these positions might help you determine who would be potential candidates.


The process for selecting candidates and electing the MLA president-elect and members of the MLA Board is described on pages 2-4 of the MLA Bylaws, (log in to MLANET to access). The slate will contain at least two candidates for president-elect (president during 2017/18) and at least four candidates for two Board of Directors positions (2016/17-2018/19 term). The Nominating Committee will meet at MLA ’15 in Austin to finalize the list of candidates.


MLA 2015/2016 Nominating Committee:


  • Marie Ascher
  • Donna Berryman
  • Michael Fitts
  • Stephanie Fulton, AHIP
  • Emily Hurst, AHIP
  • Dixie Jones, AHIP, chair
  • Latrina Keith
  • Julie Kwan, AHIP
  • Terri Ottosen, AHIP
  • Brandi Tuttle, AHIP


Get to Know the New Executive Director of MLA

Kevin Baliozian, the new Executive Director of MLA, has graciously agreed to be the special guest for the weekly #medlibs Twitter chat the evening of Thursday, April 16. The chat starts at 9:00 PM Eastern / 8:00 PM Central / 7:00 PM Mountain / 6:00 PM Pacific. Teresa Knott and I are regular participants; we agreed to facilitate the chat. Information about the chat is outlined in a blog post at If you want to get a feel for how conversations flow, please take a look at the transcripts from the previous chats.

If you are interested, please join us. You’ll need a Twitter account. Typically, I use when chatting in Twitter since it groups all the tweets with the same hashtag (#medlibs) into the same room. In addition, if you tweet into the room, the chat box automatically adds the #medlibs Twitter hashtag so your tweets are seen by chat participants.

If you have any questions, please let me know. Hope you can join us!  Lurkers are welcome too!

Microsoft Killing Internet Explorer: What Will Hospital IT Do?

I just read today that Microsoft has thrown in the towel on Internet Explorer. According to USA Today article, “Microsoft sends Internet Explorer to tech’s scrapheap,”

The much maligned browser that battled Netscape to guide people around the World Wide Web was consigned to history this week by Microsoft, joining Palm Pilots, flip phones and Myspace as relics of a distant digital age.

According to the article, the new Microsoft browser will run on phones, tablets and personal computers and will be specifically made for the “new era of mobile devices.”  The new browser will be launched with Windows 10.

What will hospital IT departments around the US do? I admit I am saying that with a bit of a smile.  Hospital IT departments are notorious for clinging on to old versions of IE and reluctant to install other browsers.  My guess is that in the short term Hospital IT departments will do little if nothing.  I am just speculating, but since the new browser will come with Windows 10, I don’t it will be compatible with older Windows OS.  So, the key item to look for is when Microsoft will stop supporting IE. That will be when the IE/hospital doomsday clock will really start ticking.  As with Windows XP, there will be some hospital IT departments that will wait until the last minute to either upgrade to the new Microsoft browser or load Chrome or Firefox.

Perhaps librarians will be able to use this bit of information to hasten their IT departments departure from IE 6,7,8, etc. and just bite the bullet and go with Chrome or Firefox.


Spartan (the new browser but that won’t be it’s name, they don’t have one yet) and IE 11 will coexist on Windows 10.  Microsoft is leaving IE 11 in specifically for legacy applications.

A little birdie who is directly impacted by the IE change for the products that his company works on gave me this update.