Article Level Metrics

PLoS is doing some interesting with social networking and articles.  They provide “article level metrics” on all of the articles published within their titles.  Article level metrics refers to the data they are collecting on each article that can be used to help researchers to determine the value of the article within the scientific community.  So what kind of data are they collecting?  It includes citation information, online usage, social bookmarks, comments, notes, blog posts about the article, and ratings.  More information about how each of these data pieces are collected and used can be found at PLoS.

What I find most interesting is the online social networking tools they look at and use to help determine the impact of an article.  While much of this type of information is out there on the Internet, I think it is often overlooked.  News spreads rapidly through the social networking webverse.  There are countless reports where a breaking news story such as the plane landing  on the Hudson river was on Twitter before traditional news sources.  Twitter, blogs, and social bookmarks are naturally going to be quicker than traditional communication methods employed within research (letters to the editor, editorials, articles, etc.). 

I am not implying that an article that has a ton of Twitter chatter is on the same par as one that has been cited in many many research journals.  But I do think the Twitter chatter, the blog posts, and the bookmarks are an important indicator of what people think of an article in the present time.  This information should not be ignored.  This information along with traditional metrics data provide a more complete overall picture of the article.   People can would be able to see an article’s immediate impact on the scientific web community as well as the article’s long term impact.  

According to PLoS their metrics data is openly available for researchers to analyze.  The entire dataset for all article level metrics are available as an Excel file that is updated periodically.  What would be interesting is to take this data and see whether there is a correlation between online interest (blog posts, tweets, and bookmarks) and traditional research metrics that measure an article’s impact on the scientific community.  Do articles that get a lot of social media attention also generate a lot of attention in the long run with authors citing it or building the research upon it?

Interesting how social networking is wiggling its way into things we never thought it would.

NLM Ceases Cutters in LocatorPlus

According the December 22, 2009  NLM Technical Bulletin, “NLM will cease providing cutter numbers in LocatorPlus for most of the classification numbers assigned to print monographs that the library catalogs.”  The reason for this change is to increase efficiencies in NLM’s cataloging practices.  Apparently time spent cuttering was considered an inefficient activity.

The bulletin mentions that NLM has been shelving the print by accession number rather than call number for 15 years, but they provided full call numbers on their records as a convenience to other libraries using NLM records.  Because cutter numbers are unique to a library’s particular collection and librarians often adjust the numbers to fit in with their own library’s shelf range, NLM decided to stop adding them to the record and cataloging process.  Please note, “NLM is still committed to providing a classification number the reflects the subject of a book, in recognition that this information ca be used widely by others.”

 The changes will take effect on June 21, 2010.  So you have time to add a new cutter table to your 2010 holidays  wish list.

Ovid Tip

I primarily use Ovid to do Medline searches.  Every so often I get a really ugly search where I have to look through the results and select a few here and there to combine with other items within the Search Strategy.  In the beginning with Ovid (prior to SP) I simply clicked the boxes next to the citation and when done I  clicked the link for Main Search Page.  Selected citations were then added to my Search History.  With SP things changed.  The link for Main Search Page was absent because the Search History was on every page of the citation list.  So when I clicked the boxes next to the citations I couldn’t easily get them into the Search History box.  I ended up using rather clunky but effective method to add the citations to the Search History.  I clicked the citation boxes then I clicked Print Preview in the Results Manager.  The citations would display on the screen along with the link to the Main Search Page.  I would click the Main Search Page link and it then my selected results would be in the Search History. 

Last Friday I just found out that I no longer have to do all of this.  From now on when selecting articles I just click on the citation boxes and then scroll up to the top of the page and click View Selected (it is in blue and it is located next to Database Field Guide) and that automatically adds my selected citations to the Search Strategy.   I know this sounds like a silly tip to post about, but I thought I would pass it along because I bet there are others like me who don’t know about this. 

If you knew about this, then feel free to post another search tip about Ovid or PubMed that others can benefit from.

MLA Election Results

Thank you to everybody who served on the Nominating Committee, those who ran in the election, and most importantly the members who voted in this election.  Your participation in the organization is important.

President-elect Jerry Perry, Director Health Sciences Library Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado Denver.

Board of Directors (2010-2013) Marianne Comegys Director Department of Medical Library Science, LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport and Rikke Ogawa Emergent Technologies Coordinator and Health and Life Sciences Librarian, Louise Darling Biomedical Library, University of California Los Angeles.

Nominating Committee

  • Margaret Bandy
  • Janis Brown
  • Gary Byrd
  • Rebecca Davis
  • Jacqueline Doyle
  • Lynn Fortney
  • Thomas Hill
  • Anne Linton
  • Katherine Stemmer Frumento

This year the Nominating Committee, charged with finding suitable candidates to run for offices and with running the election, tried a few different things help give MLA members more information about the candidates.  We would like your opinion on these changes.  Please fill out this survey and comment on about the election process, what worked, what didn’t and what can be done to make it better.

MLA’s New AMS An In Depth Look

I mentioned in an earlier post that MLA’s new Association Management System (AMS) was live.  Well, Kate Corcoran has written a very detailed post on MLA Connections looking at the new AMS.   She provides an indepth look at each of the section and she includes screen shots as well as lots of information.  If you have any questions, thoughts, concerns or suggestions about the new AMS, submit a comment on MLA Connections post.

What Is Your Time Worth?

What price would you put on your time?  That is the question Brynn Beals asked as a solo librarian at Franciscan Health System Library.  She wrote the interesting article in the Journal of Hospital Librarianship, “Valuing Hospital Library Services: One Small Step for a Solo.”  After attending the “Measuring Your Impact: Using Evaluation to Demonstrate Value” class at an MLA chapter meeting she decided to create an evaluation form to measure how much time and money she was saving the hospital if she did searches instead of the doctor, nurse, etc. did the search. 

Using salary information from America’s Career InfoNet and Nursing Management’s 2007 compensation survey she was able to determine that the hospital saved $5914.  This is based off of the information from 21 of the 61 returned surveys that had quantifiable data that allowed her to attach an hourly rate to the search.  That means the hospital saved an average of $281/search question based off of her 21 questionnaires. 

At first blush $5914 is not a lot of money nor does it completely offset the cost of running a library or the true savings a library can provide a hospital if it health care personnel conducted their own research without a librarian.  However, it is just a small sampling of the savings a librarian can bring to a hospital.  Imagine the savings if all 61 of the questionnaires had quantifiable data.  Imagine if all 105 of her distributed surveys were returned with quantifiable data. The overall hospital savings would go up.   

Beals survey just focused on the amount of time/money saved and how the information was used (change diagnosis, policy development, CE, patient education, etc.).  Just think if we could add a few more layers to the study and find out the savings hospitals can realize by acquiring documents through Docline instead of outside document delivery services, or having a library journal subscription instead of multiple departmental subscriptions.  These are just some of my limited ideas of how one could expand this study.  I am sure there are more things to look at.

Jenny Garcia recently queried the MEDLIB-L  community about doing a research project studying hospitals that do not have a library.  Her question to the community was, “If you could have only one answerable question about hospitals without libraries, what would it be?”  I am sure the MEDLIB-L community will give her plenty of ideas. 

While Beals study and Garcia’s planned study are technically different they both look at the value of libraries and librarians within hospitals.  We need more of these studies.  We need studies similar to Beals that are easily reproducible for smaller hospital librarians and we need larger impact studies that survey several hospitals that Garcia is thinking of conducting so that we can illustrate the broader picture.

Technology Trends of 2009: What Does 2010 Bring?

Max Anderson wrote an interesting post on the Cornflower, Top Digital Trends for 2010 (and other tech news).  In the post he links to the Top 10 most popular searches, videos, etc. of 2009 as well as Top Digital Trends for 2010 by Digital Media Buzz. 

Max specifically discusses the difficulties he encounters when he teaches classes for the GMER at other hospitals and institutions.  Often the host institution does not have the correct/latest version of Flash or the institution simply doesn’t allow any Flash at all.

We all struggle with rapid rate at which technology changes the way we communicate and find information.  A year ago if you asked me about hospitals on Twitter and Facebook I would have laughed.  Yet go to Ed Bennett’s blog, peruse his Hospital Social Network List and you will quickly see that hospitals are jumping into this area of the Internet.  Sometimes our IT departments are progressive, but often they are struggling right along with us, trying to balance information security with technology demands. 

In spirit of all of the new year, here is my humble list.

Hot in 2009:

  • Hospitals on Twitter and Facebook – Just check out Ed Bennett blog
  • App Phones – Say goodbye to “smart phones”  and hello app phones. People are flocking to app phones because they turn your phone into a mini computer on the go which is what people seem to want now.
  • EMR integration – Slowly but surely it is coming into place, but IT infrastructures in hospitals and doctor’s offices still have a lot of work and it is still may be too early to determine the benefits of the system for some organizations.

Not in 2009:

  • Blogs – Everybody is tweeting now, as PostRank’s nifty little chart on their blog indicates, more people are engaging and commenting on sites like Twitter rather than leaving blog comments. (Yes I find it a little ironic that the blog is dead but I am still writing on it and posting about the technology trends.)
  • PHR – The market is saturated with companies trying to get in this area.  Not all PHRs are the same.  Some work with hospital EMRs, some are employer driven, some are used only by the patient.  Frankly it is a mess and the average patient isn’t using it.  It is estimated that 3%-6% of consumers nationwide use a PHR. Medicare’s $2.5 million EHR pilot garnered such little use that it may not be renewed.  I am not saying the PHR won’t happen, it just didn’t happen as much as people wished/hoped/expected so far.
  • MeSH – OK I am probably going to take some heat for this, but why else do you think PubMed changed their site and search interface?  They did it to make it easier to search for the average person, (Whether they succeeded in that is up for debate.) and the average biomedical person does not search by MeSH.  The folks at NCBI know this and they tried to design the system to address it.  Of course they addressed it by further marginalizing it.

Hot in 2010?

  • Flash – I agree with Digital Buzz, and I think we have come to a point where app phones are going to have to address the fact that they can’t use Flash. Many phones like the Android and the Blackberry will be using Adobe Flash 10.1but the iPhone will not.  Will this be the must have “app” that even Apple must eventually pursue?
  • Twitter – This is a bit of a cheat since it was hot in 2009.  But I see it usage and applications growing to medical libraries more and I see its growth in emergency notification usage.
  • Mobile optimization – Everybody is using app phones, their growth is huge.  It is imperative that libraries start to acknowledged and serve this type of usage.  Not only must they redesign their website to have a mobile friendly site, but they need to demand their vendors do the same too.

Not in 2010?

  • Google Wave – The wave has potential but that potential is overshadowed by the fact that it is so new that the normal person has yet to find a reason to be on it.  People are not ready to give up their email for real time communication just yet.
  • E-Readers for medical libraries – Everybody is jumping on the E-Reader bandwagon, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony all have some sort of e-reader.  The iPhone even has an app that allows to read Kindle books.  However, I just don’t see the medical titles out there to justify for medical libraries to invest in them.  The success of ebooks in medical libraries varies.  In some places they are successful, in others they are barely used.  Ebooks have not taken off like ejournals.  Perhaps the e-readers might be the catalyst.  But depending on titles and licensing agreements, I currently only see some colleges and specialized institutions dipping their toes into this platform. 

This is just a small list of things.  I am sure those who are more tech savvy than I have more ideas.  Feel free to comment or Tweet on your thoughts about the trends in 2009 or what you see coming in 2010.

MLA’s New Online System

If you are an MLA member you may have noticed a renewal email in your inbox.  That is because phase one of the transition to MLA’s new web based association management system (AMS) is complete.  When you renew your membership with MLA you be added to the new system. 

Once in the new system you can begin to try out some of the new features that are available and up and running in the first phase. 

  • Change your membership type (if needed)
  • Update your subscriptions and change from print to electronic of JMLA or MLA News
  • Retrieve your password and change your username and password —Yippie! :)
  • Update and expand your contact information, including multiple email addresses
  • Determin which information you wish to make visible in the membership directory
  • Search the updated membership directory
  • Opt out of MLA-FOCUS and other email communications
  • View information on your MLA membership and payment history
  • View your current leadership positions
  • Search leadership rosters
  • Sign on to your account and the MLANET members only area through a single sign on
  • Shop the new online store

You will start to see some changes over the next week.  The MLA staff will be updating links on MLANET to reflect the new system.

Don’t forget to watch MLA Connections  because there will be an MLANET Editorial Board article on the AMS providing you with the opportunity to post questions or comments on the new system.

MEDLINE Global Reload

It looks as if the MEDLINE Global Reload is either done or will be done very soon.  Ovid has announced they expect to receive their 2010 Global Reload dataset around December 14th.  Once they receive the data they expect to have it within their system and live January 4, 2010. 

Don’t forget Ovid Medline users AND PubMed users to check out the 2010 MeSH changes at NLM to see if your saved search strategies need altering or adjusting.

AMA Backfiles Collection: A Little Confusing to the End User

I can’t recall when the American Medical Association announced the release of their Backfiles Collection for JAMA and the Archives went online.  According to their site they began the process back in October 2008 with Archives of Internal Medicine.  But when I look on JAMA’s website, there is little information about that specific collection.  I searched the publication’s front page, Past Issues page and the Institutional Subscription page, and I could find nothing on their site mentioning JAMA’s collection from 1883 – 1998.  Their Institutional Subscription page does say “The JAMA & Archivessite license allows institutions to provide instant organization-wide access to the journals from 1998 forward for all faculty and patrons.”  Yet there is nothing about the backfiles collection and accessing articles older than 1998. 

I find JAMA’s Past Issues page the most confusing.  There is no mention on that page that articles from 1883-1998 are part of the backfiles collection cost extra and are not part of a standard subscription.  This is extremely confusing to library patrons and librarians.  Imagine a library patron clicks on the link to JAMA goes to the Past Issues page looking for a specific article from 1997 (or older).  They are met with the ever helpful log in page that says, “The article you have attempted to access is part of the JAMA Backfiles collection. You may purchase One Time Access to this article (see below). This collection is also available via institutional purchase. Contact your librarian to recommend this collection.”  It is only after you click on the link for institutional purchase that you are brought to a page containing information about AMA’s Backfiles Collection. 

I have found that most online journals that charge extra for their backfiles are a little more up front to end users about access to the collection.  For example, the American Journal of Physiology  not only separates the date ranges for their regular content and their Legacy Archive, but they also have a link to Purchase Information right next to the date range so end users have some help understanding that it isn’t free.  The AMA does no such thing for JAMA or the Archives.  They do separate date ranges.  For example, with JAMA 1998-Present is separate from 1960-1997, and 1883-1959, but there is nothing to indicate that the older content is not available unless you pay another fee above and beyond your regular subscription fee.

This also seems to cause some problems within A-Z and link resolving programs.  Now days there thousands of journals with limited access and we cannot keep track of them.  Librarians rely up on these A-Z and link resolver programs to manage their collections.  So it is frustrating to librarians and end users when the linking doesn’t work the way it should by trying to provide access to unavailable resources. 

AMA’s poor design and complete lack of information about the Backfiles collection on their Past Issues pages for JAMA and the Archives and their Institutional Subscription page can cause some headaches among end users and librarians trying to access older articles.