#Medlibs Killing Cows

Join us tomorrow for what is sure to be a lively discussion on killing sacred library cows on #medlibs this Thursday at 9pm Eastern.

As I mentioned in my post on the #medlibs blog

The library environment has changed drastically and is continuing to do so.  The library of 5 years ago is different from the library today.  For example, the iPhone had just been released, there were no iPads and the idea of a “downloadable” ebook had just been introduced by Amazon Kindle.  There were a very limited number of Kindle and certainly not intended for medicine. Yet many of us are doing the same things we did as librarians 5, 10, 15, 20 yrs ago.  We were stretched thin back then, so there is no way we can now add things to our repertoire without giving up something in return.  We must look at what we do in our own libraries and evaluate whether it is necessary, whether it helps our patrons or helps us.  To really evaluate our services we need to look at EVERYTHING including the sacred cows of the library.  We need to ask ourselves, do we need to check in journals, catalog books, make copies, eliminate the reference desk, fuss with circulation, etc.  The right answers will depend on the library. A large academic library might need to still do cataloging but does a small solo hospital library with 4 shelves (not ranges) really need a catalog system much less spend time cataloging books?  Some of these ideas are dangerous and even somewhat heretical librarian thinking, but I feel we need to discuss them.  For more background on sacred cows and heretical librarian thoughts check out my summary of my keynote address I gave at the Midwest Chapter annual meeting.


We need to look at, evaluate and slaughter some sacred library cows.  IT makes no sense for us to spend our time doing things that are no longer relevant or used by our patrons.  That isn’t to say that we should have never done them. Everything has its time and place.  It might be hard to give up, but we can’t just do things because we always have.  We need to think like our patrons and for many of us that means completely taking off our librarian hat and looking at ourselves from a patrons view point.  That may mean we come up with answers that are uncomfortable, that borderline on librarian heresy.  But that is what is needed.

This Thursday’s #medlibs discussion at 9pm Eastern will discuss the idea of thinning the herd of library services so that we can grow healthy new opportunities.

Molly Knapp (@dial_m), Amy Blevins (@blevinsa) and I (@krafty) will be moderating the discussion.  As always we will be using the hashtag #medlibs but if you want to further the discussion before/during/or after the regular Thursday night time use the hashtag #moo.

Share on Facebook

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - December 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Categories: Educational Opportunities, MLA Events/News, Technology, Twitter   Tags:

New MLA Members Hangout!

The best way to get the most out of your MLA membership is to get involved.  For new members it can be a bit daunting.  But never fear, the MLA New Members SIG is having a Hangout this Friday December 6th at 9pm Eastern.

If you are a new member you may not know exactly what a SIG is. A SIG is a Special Interest Group.  SIGs are “ad hoc groups open to all members of the association. SIGs range from a series of informal meetings on a specific, short-term issue to an established subgroup within an MLA section.”

There are 21 SIGs in MLA (view list here).  SIGs “provide a forum for members with unique interests to identify and meet with others with similar interests without having to fulfill the governance requirements of Sections. SIGs are generally created as less formal and more flexible organizational units, with the advantages of fewer reporting and no minimum membership requirements.” IMHO think of a SIG as the light version of Section. (For more information on SIGs go to MLA or my blog post.)

A SIG for new members is a great way to get some exposure and involvement in MLA because it is less formal and more flexible.

So if you are new member please consider joining other new members at the New Members SIG online event this Friday, Dec 6 @ 9pm Eastern.

They will be talking about the New Members SIG, preparing for MLA 2014, MLA resources, strategies for networking and meeting other medical librarians, and just getting to know each other.

More information can be found here http://bit.ly/1cVg0I2

While the Hangout is geared for new members, it is open to all.

Share on Facebook

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - December 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Categories: MLA Events/News, Other Medical Library Stuff   Tags:

Vote for MLA Leaders Now

The MLA election closes on December 6, 2013, now is the time to vote for your leaders if you haven’t done it already.

So if you haven’t voted, dig out the email from MLA that contains the unique URL for you to vote. Click on that URL and vote!

MLA provides the bios of the candidates for Nominating Committee, Board Member candidates, and Presidential candidates.  In addition to the bios MLA provides a link to a statement from the Board and Presidential candidates answering a specific question posed to them.  This can be found by clicking on the hyperlink of the candidate’s name.

If you haven’t voted and you are still unsure as to who to choose for President, MLA Focus just ran a spotlight article on the two candidates (me and Elaine).  Both Elaine and I were given five questions that we had to answer to help members to get to know us better. Please read through my spotlight and Elaine’s to get better idea of our ideas for MLA.
Just make sure you vote before December 6th!!!

Share on Facebook

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - November 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Categories: MLA Events/News   Tags:

Health Science Librarians Make A Difference Contest Winners

The winners for the Health Sciences Librarians Make a Difference contest sponsored by Wolters Kluwer Health have been announced.

First Place

University of Missouri – Kansas City Health Sciences Library:
Spot of Tea” Kristy Stiegerwalt describes how her research on green tea and liver toxicity helped a patient.  The requesting doctor asked colleagues the question and they had never heard of a connection between green tea and liver toxicity, but he showed them the systematic review she had provided them and after stopping his green tea consumption the patient was less jaundice.

Second Place

Florida Mental Health Institute Research Library, South Florida:
Why Research Matters” The librarian describes the creation of 15 videos in response to a discussion with graduate program chairs demonstrating how and why to use databases and other resources for the Graduate programs in Applied Behavior Analysis and Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling.  Showing the relevance, value and importance of good and thorough research to real life problems.

Third Place

CRAI Biblioteca de Medicina/Univeritat de Barcelona:
The Library, an Evergoing Relationship” The video depicts a medical student trying to get a grasp on his studies in the begining of the year and using the library to understand how it and the librarians can help him.  The student evolves from checking out books to using the library for research support, training, remote access, and beyond graduation.

Congratulations to all winners.  You can view other great submissions on the Ovid YouTube Channel.

Two things that I think are cool.

First is the praise that one of the judges, Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD, FACS, FAAO-HNS, gave to Kristy for her video, “As a busy, practicing physician who just tries to ‘Google it’ or ‘Pubmed it’ on the fly, but who wishes she had that type of support in unusual patient cases, that video absolutely tells the value of a great medical librarian.”

Second is you don’t have to a budding Steven Spielburg to win.  I’m always intimidated by video contests because I’m afraid my lack of video editing will hurt my chances. In this contest, Kristy and her colleague have shown you just need to point the camera and shoot and if you got good material you can win.

I ran across a web page indicating Ovid will hold this contest again in 2014 (unfortunately I can’t find that web page right now) so if you are making a difference and you have a web cam, cell phone cam, etc. make a video and submit it.  Who knows you might win!

Share on Facebook

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - at 10:03 am

Categories: Other Medical Library Stuff   Tags:

Deadline for MLA Continuing Education Award Fast Approaching

The final call for Applicants of 2014 MLA Continuing Education Award grants has been sent out.  The Deadline is December 1st (right around the corner).  This grant allows you to receive funding for your continuing education!  MLA members may submit applications for these awards of $100 to $500 to develop their knowledge of the theoretical, administrative, or technical aspects of librarianship. More than 1 Continuing Education Award may be offered in a year.

Visit http://www.mlanet.org/awards/grants/  for more information on MLA grants and scholarships and for downloadable application forms, or email grants[atsign] mlahq [dot] org.

Share on Facebook

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - November 26, 2013 at 11:18 am

Categories: Educational Opportunities, MLA Events/News   Tags:

Friday Fun: ISI Cartoon on Citation Indexing

I want to thank Melissa Rethlefsen for finding this gem and sharing it on Twitter. It is perfect to share as a Friday Fun.

This is Part 1 of ISI Presents -Putting Scientific Information to Work


If you think Part 2 is a thriller, make sure you watch Part 2 and Part 3!

The campy music and high detail graphics makes me think of it as the School House Rock version of how to do database and citation searching.

Happy Friday!


Share on Facebook

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - November 22, 2013 at 10:49 am

Categories: Friday Fun   Tags:

iPad Use & Value is Related to Hospital’s Infrastructure

The iPad is the new darling of the hospital world.  Depending on who you talk to, it can do almost anything.  Perhaps that is why some groups are jumping into the iPad arena before they are ready.  The adoption of any technology depends heavily on whether an institution has the infrastructure to support it.  Here is an example of one residency program testing the use of an iPad before its hospital had the infrastructure to support it.

The article “Resident Impressions of the Clinical Utility and Educational Value of the iPad” published in the November issue of Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine tried to determine the value of the iPad during clinical rounds and for education.   The authors from Riverside Methodist Hospital gave 119 residents an iPad to use during the 2011-2012 academic year.  The residents gave their opinions on the clinical utility and educational value of the iPad.  The results were disappointing.  “The iPad received low marks for daily clinical utility (14.7%) and efficiency in documentation (7.8%).  It was most valued for sourcing articles outside the hospital (57.8%) and as a research tool (52%).”  Basically residents did not place a high value on the iPad when used in clinical rounding or as an educational tool.

Yes the residents didn’t find the iPad to be useful during clinical rounding, but that is because the hospital really wasn’t ready for the iPad, or any device, to helpful during rounding.

At the time the article was written, the hospital was still writing orders on a paper based chart.  Moving from paper to the iPad is quite a jump for people and hospital technology.  “All resident groups reported problems with utilization of the iPad for medical documentation/progress notes.” If the hospital is still writing orders on paper based charts perhaps it isn’t the iPad to blame but the fact that the hospital hasn’t adopted writing orders electronically.

In addition to writing orders on a paper based chart, the hospital’s other infrastructure items clearly were not ready for the use of iPads.  Further in the article they discuss connectivity problems and EMR access problems.

Connectivity –  “All resident groups noted problems with iPad login-in and connectivity/WiFi.  During the academic year 98 tickets specific for iPad set-up and connectivity issues were reported to Information Technology services.”  Now the authors do mention that it was 98 tickets out of 182,000 global tickets, but when you only have 119 people using iPad, 98 tickets is not good.  Anybody who has been in a deadzone can relate to the frustration of losing network access. Relying upon a network device for clinical use when you have poor connectivity (or difficult to access WiFi) is like relying on a cell phone service in the mountains after a winter storm.

EMR access – Residents were asked to recommend apps and medical tools for the iPad.  “The single most frequently cited application was Riverside’s electronic medical record.” The method by which they access their EMR makes it cumbersome for somebody with an iPad to access it.  “Our EHR is access via remote desktop, requiring a two-step login process.”  So the device that they wanted them to test its clinical use, does not have easy access to the EMR, a major clinical application.

The authors of this study suggest that residency efficiency “may be less positively impacted by the use of the iPad than previously reported.”  I believe the authors are both right and wrong to make this statement.  The authors clearly listed several hospital wide infrastructure issues creating barriers to online access.  “Though log-in and connectivity issues were noted as a significant problem, technology support was rarely utilized.  Residents often found it faster to use a computer than reporting difficulties.  Additionally, electronic order entry is not available at our hospital.”  Not only do these statements reveal the hospital wasn’t ready for adoption of the iPad or any tablet device, but it reflects their residents’ attitude toward their help desk and the speed at which they need things to work to get information.  I think the authors would have been more accurate if they had stated, residency efficiency may be less positively impacted by the use of the iPad if the hospital is not adequately prepared ahead of time for the use of mobile devices.

To study the use of the iPad in a clinical setting when the clinical setting is clearly not ready, is like testing the use of a car in an area where there are no roads.

I look forward to reading other iPad studies where the hospital is not the barrier and we can better determine whether the iPad (or any other tablet) is of clinical value or not.

Share on Facebook

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - November 19, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Categories: iPad, Technology   Tags:

What is PubModel?

Ok I tried to read the NLM Tech Bull, New PubModel for PubMed Citations, but it was so packed full of jargon that my brain started to hurt.  I read it through several times then asked our cataloger what she understood of it.

This is what I was able to piece together. It is for online only journals and they will have two dates, the eCollection and the published date.  The eCollection date refers to when the article was deposited in PMC.

I have several thoughts…none of them pleasant.

First, it is pretty bad when the technical bulletin is confusing to the very readers it aims to inform.  I am not the only one who thinks it was confusing. Check out these responses to my quick question on Twitter.


Second, isn’t the term Electronic eCollection kind of redundant?

Finally, Does this solve the epub ahead of print mess or just add to the confusion?  To me it seems to add to the confusion. Not only do we have 2 different possible “publication” dates but their example article “was published online on January 25, 2013, yet was included in the Volume 3, 2012 collection as deposited in PMC.” Does anybody find that absolutely confusing?!  What is the correct citation for authors to use?! When was it really published?  Why is PMC not listing it when it was actually published by the journal on January 25, 2013!? 

How can I explain this to doctors when I can’t understand it and why it is being done? Please somebody comment because I befuddled.


Share on Facebook

2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - November 12, 2013 at 10:03 am

Categories: NLM, PubMed   Tags:

Behind the Scenes: MLA Board

Tuesday and Wednesday I will be flying in and out of Chicago for the MLA Fall Board meeting.  So who is the Board and what happens when they all meet together?

First off, here is a list of all the current and previous Board Members.  The Nominating Committee selects people they think would be good candidates for the Board of Directors.  They list them on the ballot for the membership to vote on.  An elected Board Member serves for a period of 3 years. Each Board Member is appointed as liaison to MLA committees and task forces.  Chapters and Sections are represented by the Chapter Council liaison and the Section Council liaison on the Board.  The Board meets 3 times a year. They meet in May at the Annual Meeting (before and after the conference), in the Fall in Chicago, and in Jan/Feb online.

So what does the Board do?!

The Board does its best to represent the interests of the MLA membership through their liaison roles and through their participation in MLA.  Not only do they discuss issues and trends within organization and work to address them but they also meet discuss the general operating needs of the organization.

While each meeting is a little different, the Board always discusses the operating needs of the organization such as financial health of MLA.  In the May meeting the Board discusses a lot of what will or has happened at the Annual Meeting.  The Board also gets to meet the newly elected Board Members and the new President elect. The Board members report on the committees or task forces to which they are liaisons.  This Fall the Board will discuss the Presidential priorities and the President elect’s priority ideas.  They will also discuss the results from the previous Annual Meeting’s survey (the results of which are not available until well after the meeting).  Then they discuss action items and reports from the various MLA committees and task forces.  Other items that are also discussed, planning and updates of the future Annual Meetings, MLANet, and liaison appointments for the next year.  The Jan/Feb online meeting is relatively short (compared to in person all day meetings) where the Board discusses the preparations for the Annual Meeting and any updates to items discussed in the Fall.

You can read about what the Board discusses in each year’s annual report.  The annual report summarizes what the Board and the rest of MLA has done for the year.

My work on the Nominating Committee gave me a interesting glimpse into the way our leadership is nominated and elected.  My work on the Board as given me wonderful insight on how the organization runs and moves forward each year.  The combination of the two has shown me how important it is for us as members to be active participants in the organization and for us to vote on our leaders.  Serving as an MLA Board Member has been an awesome experience.  I hope others who have served or will serve in the future feel the same way.

As always this Behind the Scenes post was created from information on MLA’s website.  Understanding the various groups within MLA can get confusing and I hope by compiling the information into a series of posts it can help shed some light on the association.  I invite anyone with more information about the MLA Board of Directors to comment.


Share on Facebook

3 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - November 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Categories: Behind the Scenes   Tags:

Australian Healthcare Orgs Gain $9 for Every $1 Spent on Their Health Libraries

(Special thanks for Julia Esparza for her email directing me to this.)

Check out this cool infographic from the Australian Library and Information Association and Health Libraries Inc.  Basically it states that despite having budgets, staff and space cuts health science libraries provide $9 of benefit to their healthcare orgs for every $1 spent on them.

This infographic is part of a study conducted by Health Libraries Inc (HLInc) and Health Libraries Australia (ALIA HLA, a national group of the Australian Library and Information Association).

“The partners commissioned award-winning firm SGS Economics and Planning to survey health libraries across the nation and from this to assess the return on the annual investment in these services to their organisations.

The results provide a snapshot of the continued outstanding value of health libraries against a backdrop of significantly greater usage but declining investment. Patient and medical staff numbers and hospital expenditure are increasing, while health library budgets, space and staffing levels are decreasing.”

To view the full report, please click here. You can also find the SGS report here.

There are lots of very cool things in the infographic but the one that really stands out to me is at the bottom (unfortunately). It says, “The investment in these services (library) is just 0.1% of the recurrent expenditure in Australian hospitals.”

IMHO that information is HUGE.  Why are hospitals cutting such a SMALL percentage of their recurrent budget when it provides a healthy return on investment!?

One of the reasons I think this is happening is because we need to do this kind of study on a local level.  Hospital librarians need to figure out how we can show this information to our administration and also show how we are helping with their bottom line DESPITE our cuts.

While I think this is information is important, I don’t think running up to your administrator showing him this infographic (or emailing it to him/her) is going to help.  Administration has the mind set of, “What have YOU done for me lately?”  They will see this infographic and think “how nice for Australia, but what about our hospital?”  How are you helping your specific hospital with costs and patient care?  Please don’t answer them with the phrase, “I provide doctors and nurses with information.”

That is all fine and dandy but that answer doesn’t specifically detail how you are helping the hospital with costs and patient care.  Numbers matter to them.  Hospital librarians need to do these studies on a much smaller level in their own institutions. We need our own local numbers telling administration that we helped our OWN caregivers change their thinking and improve their diagnosis or treatment plan X%.

That is what matters to our administration.

Hospital librarians…we need to do our own research studies to survive. The research doesn’t have to publishable in a library journal but it has to be given to administration and make sense to them.  Heather Homes calls it the “small r research.”  It is research that doesn’t take a year or more to complete, it is specific to your department and institution, and it is what administration finds important.  All of these things run contrary to big R research. Big R research takes several years to complete, applies to libraries as whole, and is of interest to other librarians.  The little r research is about your job, the big R research is about the career of librarianship.

So lets start to deconstruct these great big R research projects like the Marshall study and this one from Australia so we can see how we can apply them for our own small r research in our institutions and in our jobs.

Who’s with me?!

Share on Facebook

3 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - November 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Categories: Other Medical Library Stuff   Tags:

« Previous PageNext Page »