Facebook Friends Lists

A few months ago Facebook added some privacy setting that allow you to have multiple friend groups.  For me this is helpful and it might be helpful to others who different types of “friends” following you on Facebook. 

Mashable has a great “how to” guide  on creating friends lists and sending updates to a select group of friends. 

It is a great way to keep everybody updated with information you want them to see or they want to see.  For example my family and non-librarians friends have no interest in proxy servers and license agreements.  Just as my librarian friends probably don’t want to hear me waxing poetically about my kids (mis)adventures or my house renovations. 

In the past I have talked about linking your Twitter and blog accounts to your Facebook pages.  If you are running a library site or your Facebook page is purely professional I still recommend doing that.  But if you have a diverse group of friends and have created different lists then you might want to test how your Twitter and blog updates are shared.  I am not sure how customizable all of these outside tools are with Facebook are, I am in the process of testing them to see if anything is possible.

Friday Fun: Gloves That Work With the iPhone

Those of you with iPhones or other touch screen phones all know by now that gloves and touch screen technology are a problem.  In snowy Cleveland my outdoor phone conversations are always very quick and I do a lot of call screening to determine if I really want to take my glove off, take the call and let my hand freeze.

No more frigid fingers! Dots Gloves have come to the rescue.

Dots Gloves
Heavy duty Dots Gloves featuring conductive yarn dots on fingure tips.

 The gloves range from $15-$25 and allow you to perform basic iPhone functions such as answering a call, dialing, activating the iPod, etc.  The first gloves had little metal conductive dots on three fingers, but the new design features dots on the figures made from conductive yarn. 

Older version of Dots Gloves with metal dots on finger tips.
Older version of Dots Gloves with metal dots on finger tips.
In an interview with the Daily News, Jeremy Horwitz, editor of iLounge, says a bare hand is still better than a Dots glove.  (Krafty thought: “Well Duh!”)  He says  “These tips are able to activate the key icon-sized features of the iPhone and iPod touch -turning on music, changing tracks, and adjusting volume – but offer too little precision for typing.” 

Who freaking cares!? I will update my Facebook and text when I am inside and warm, I just want to answer the phone without taking my glove off and freezing a hand.  Too bad they are pretty much sold out of every style and size.  I will just have add them to my mailing list or follow them on Twitter or Facebook because they say the new line is coming out February 2010 (hopefully that means it will be out any day now).

Paying for Online Content

Stephen Abramhighlighted the recent Nielsen Wire post, “Changing Models: A Global Perspective on Paying for Content Online”  and wondered what these results mean for libraries and our business models. 

I would add another component on to Stephen’s question, what does this mean for library vendors as well?  How does the public’s unwillingness to buy something online effect us and does that drive what we buy from vendors?

The bar graph while pretty doesn’t give a lot of detail.  Missing from the blog post and the report is consumers’ willingness to buy books online which is large emerging area.  At first glance most of the resources measured (theatrical movies, music, games, magazines, newspapers, etc.) are not exactly high on the list of medical library online collections. 

However if you dig deeper into the report  you come across a few interesting charts and bits of information (around pg 5).  Most consumers believe if they already subscribe to a newspaper, magazine, or other service then they should be able to use the content for free…AND do with it however they want. Sixty two percent of the consumers polled believed that once they purchased something, it should be theirs to copy or share with whomever they want.  (This makes me think that consumer’s minds on copyright and fair use may not be in line with the law due to their belief that they paid for it they can do whatever they want with it.)

Also interesting for online journal companies and book publishers, about half of those surveyed preferred micropayments for specific content.  In other words they don’t want to pay for the whole book they when they just need the chapter. 

Finally, while publishers and producers try to make a correlation between the quality of paid vs free online content, most consumers were pretty evenly split as to whether that is the case.  They question whether online content would really suffer if companies could not charge for it. 

As I mentioned, a lot of this information is directed at general news, information, and entertainment resources, so there aren’t any direct correlations to specifically medical resources and information.  But this is a look into the consumer’s mind, and while there might be some adjustments here and there due to the unique resources and content in medical libraries, I would be willing to bet this willingness or willingness to pay for access follows through to some degree.  So as the future shows us new ways to retrieve information, it shows us a new way society views entitlement.

Different Things at MLA 2010 Annual Meeting

Things will be a little different for MLA’s 2010 Annual Meeting and it all centers around keeping members connected.

MLA President Connie Schardt’s email to Medlib-l and her post on MLA Connections, discusses our Keynote Speaker, Daniel Pink author of “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.” She describes the book as a “ground breaking guide to surviving, thriving, and finding meaning in an outsourced, automated, upside down world.”

As Connie mentions, Pink is a little outside of the box for MLA Keynote speakers, because “for the first time, the National Program Committee has selected a common book.”  Additionally, Pink wants to try to connect with us (the target audience for his keynote speech) before, during and after the meeting. Specifically he wants to hear from us BEFORE his talk so he can “frame his presentation within our context.” So take a few minutes and go to Dan Pink’s invitation to MLA ’10  and share what you would like to discussed at the conference.  Several librarians have already shared ideas, and you can browse through them and share your own. 

Another change to MLA is connectivity.  This meeting will be more online allowing for more people to attend virtually and view things remotely.  This is the first time the annual meeting will have an online conference community portal.  According to Eric Schnell who will be helping out with coordinating the portal, “conference community is an online experience being built around MLA 2010 that allows attendees (both in person or virtual) to interact and share through various online social tools. Some of the content on the site will even be made available for association members that are not attending the conference.”

In the past we have used many of these online social tools but now MLA is pulling them together, adding new owns, and making them part of a cohesive conference community portal.  One of the things that will be in the portal will be  Daniel Pink’s presentation.  It will be videotaped and available within 24 hours.

Several weeks AFTER the conference Pink will participate in a live Webcast to continue the discussion and reflect on how we might apply things in our libraries.  (I am not sure if this will be in the portal or if we will link to it through the portal.)

What else is going to be in the portal?  Well I am sure the MLA portal people (like Eric) and the NPC have ideas, but they are looking to hear from you  to learn about what you think should be in the portal or what other neat online conference-ish things have been done elsewhere that might work in the MLA ’10 portal. 

Some neat new firsts for MLA for the annual meeting.  This is one giant leap toward connecting with members.  Hopefully members will take the opportunity to connect with each other and with MLA because this the only way we can make the organization more relevant and work best for members.  So reach out and connect.

Krafty Librarian to Host Medlib Blog Carnival March 9, 2010

Even though it is still snowing and 49 of the 50 States are in a fluffy white deep freeze, March is just around the corner.  March is not only the month of Spring and flowers but it is also when I will be hosting the Medlib Blog Carnival.

The Medlib Blog Carnival is a collection of blog posts on things pertaining to medical libraries.  Each month a new collection of posts are hosted at a different blog site for others to read.  March is my turn to host. 

So all of you medical, health, and library bloggers out there, please consider submitting one of you posts to the carnival.  Submissions must be made by March 6, 2010 to the Carnival Submission form.  You don’t have to specifically be a medical librarian or a librarian to submit a post.  The post just has to be related to medicine and libraries in some way.  Some topic examples are: library technology, librarianship, Evidence Based Medicine (EBM), PubMed, bibliographic databases, information literacy, open access, print vs. online, medical apps, library apps, mobile technology, user education, etc. 

I look forward to all of the submissions and will have them up for everybody to read March 9, 2010.

Friday Fun: foursquare

Foursquareis the latest geo-location app to hit the mobile market.  Currently it is available for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and the Palm.  People who have other types of mobile phones that can get on the Internet can us the mobile website version.  People load it on to their phone and “check-in” to places that they visit. A CNN article has says, “Next Year’s Twitter? It’s Foursquare.”

Some people have the app on their phone sync on their Facebook account so you might have seen something similar to Caroline McCarthy of cnet’s foursquare check-in within the Newsfeed of Facebook.

Example of foursquare within Facebook
Example of foursquare within Facebook

 Why would somebody want to tell people where they are and where they have been?  I am not quite sure of all the reasons but one reason is the social sharing mania that you see with things like Facebook, Twitter, etc. and the other reason might be the perks.  Yes, perks.  People who check in to all sorts of places like Starbucks, restaurants, parks, offices, libraries, bars, stores, etc.  Additionally people are adding information (Tips) about these places as they visit. 

For example foursquare people who visited the Cleveland Clinic left these tips:

@Table 45 (*Krafty note: Table 45 is nice restaurant at the Cleveland Clinic)
Be Sure to check out happy hour between 4-6 pm. Free appetizers.

@The Cleveland Clinic
The Clinic may be a hospital, but it also has a new shopping area: bookstore, clothes, au bon pain, and a sushi bare are all new.  If you need to find something ask one of the “red coats.”

The tips are most often used at restaurants (like: Harvest Salad is great but get dressing on the side because they drench it on.) and stores with coupons or specials (like: Sign up for their newsletter and get $5 off). 

Foursquare has already struck several deals with large companies such as Pepsi and Zagat.  Small local businesses are getting into the foursquare fever, marketing deals to mayors (the person who has checked-in the most out of anyone at a specific location) and regular foursquare users.  TechCrunch noted, “Not only does the mayor of the venue Marsh (local bar performance space) get free drinks, but everyone who checks into the venue on Foursquare and shows proof (on your iPhone or other mobile device) gets $2 off a ticket to any performance that night.”

Some librarians are even talking about how they can get into the foursquare fury. If you look at the Technology Trends Webinar hashtag #TTWebinar and scroll down a bit, you will see where people are discussing the use of foursquare in libraries. 

From @libkitty
“Looking at foursquare. It seems like libraries could create promos, special offers, without using a smart phone, or even a cell.” 

Foursquare is fun. I have it loaded on my iPhone and I can definitely see where people would want to use it to get tips and discounts, because I love that feature.  I am not quite sure of its practical use in libraries, although a lot of people on #TTWebinar had some interesting ideas.  But one of my biggest problems with fourquare is privacy.  Yes you heard it, me with a blog, a Facebook account, a Twitter account, and active member in MLA is worried about privacy.  You can Google my name and everything about me is out there for all to see.  But I kind of find foursquare a little too Big Brotherish.  Granted it is self induced Big Brother.  I’m just not sure if I really want people to know where I have been and where I am at.  Caroline McCarthy described how your foursquare check-ins aren’t private on Facebook despite your security settings. 

Another problem I have with foursquare is that I keep forgetting to check-in.  I am no longer the mayor of the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Library (which is probably good because you would probably want your users to be mayors) and when I go to restaurants I am either 1. watching over children to ensure appropriate behavior or 2. too excited to have a dinner alone with my husband to remember to pull out my phone and check-in. 

So while I am not sure of its use in libraries it is definitely a Friday Fun type of application that you might want to look at and play around with.  I wouldn’t recommend syncing it with Twitter friends or Facebook friends unless you are ready for your check-ins to be visible to everyone on those applications.

How Much Is It Worth vs. How Much Will They Pay

That also most sounds like a looping question. In the real estate market a house is worth as much as somebody is willing to pay.  But in media world a song may be worth millions but people are only willing to pay .99 cents for it.  In the case of the house, you only have one buyer, but the song you have millions of buyers.   Still with both products there is only so much a buyer is willing to pay for a product.  Price something too low and you will get a lot of buyers but you lose out on potential profits, price something too high and you have less buyers, possibly losing more money than if you had just priced it a little cheaper.  It is a tight rope walk. 

Last year music companies were able to set their prices on their songs with iTunes variable pricing.  The variable pricing gave music lables the ability to set prices as low as .69 cents to as high as $1.29 for individual songs.  So how did that pan out a year later? 

Not so good, music sales are slower. Warner Music Group (WMG) announced  that its unit sales growth (individual song sales, not album) on iTunes has slowed since the price increase.  Sales at the $1.29 level were down and if it weren’t for the revenue generated by the .69 cent songs, they would never have made a net gain.  The CEO of WMG acknowledged  he was unsure as to whether it was the economy or the 30% price increase (or both) that was the cause.  “It’s difficult to know, even today, if it is just consumer resistance to a higher price points or if taking a pricepoint of 30 percent more at such a fragile time (is to blame). I don’t think there’s been another company to have taken such a price increase in the 2009 period.”

So why is this a big deal for medical libraries and companies who provide content to them?  The last 3 or 4 technology webinars and discussions I have sat in on have all talked about pay for access book and journal article content.  Instead of libraries paying big bucks for ejournals and ebooks they can make them available to users by making them pay access at the user level.  Right now I only hear academic libraries seriously discussing this but I can see it making its way into the cash strapped hospital world. 

Pay for access is nothing new.  Almost every journal publisher I can think of has their own pay for access public site where they charge unaffiliated (or sometimes unaware affiliated) users anywhere from $25-$40 for a copy of an article.  Publishers have also experimented and used institutional pay access models, most of the models I have seen have been where the institution pays for the accessed material not the user.  During the webinars more people spoke about models where the user pays for access.  In some libraries this is a foreign concept, but in others such as academics where students have copy and printer accounts associated with their library accounts, this is not so radical an idea.

If more and more libraries begin to look at userd to pay for access, price will be a key factor in overall usage.  The music iTunes model is an established model.  The ebook purchasing model where people download a title to a handheld device is still fairly new.  Yet they are already experimenting with price for buying electronic title access for handhelds.  Amazon.com looks to return to providing Macmillan books at a higher price  (Amazon.com’s usual top price was $9.99), and there is speculation that many other publishers will follow Macmillan’s lead.  The industry is already predicting a short term slump in ebook revenues as customers resist price increases, but they are banking (literally) on the system to adjust and be to their benefit in the long run. 

Really? Will that work?  Granted there is only one year’s worth of data from the iTunes price change but I am willing to bet publishers are going to have a difficult path in more than just the short term and we haven’t even begun to discuss ejournals and paying per article to download to a handheld device.   The world of popular literature is different than academic or medical literature, but these publishers also have be aware of the thin line where price is a burden to convenience.  I just wonder with consumers balking at music content costing $1.29 whether they are willing to buy print materials (ejournal or ebook) at a considerably higher price.  Or have we as a society been conditioned by iTunes to expect a .99 cent item?  I am not saying that a whole book goes for .99 cents, after all a whole album goes for much more than that.  But in the world of academia and medicine where people are using reference books and journals for that “one needed chapter” or that “one important article” are people going to want to pay full price for the entire ebook or $40 for the online article?  Or are they going to start demanding ala cart pricing within the item level?

I have no idea, it is just something that has been bouncing around in my head the last few days.  But one thing is for certain, as people become more and more used to getting things on their handheld devices, delivery, demand and pricing are going to change considerably.

Subject Subset Strategies Updated for 2010

There has been so much discussion about the changes happening with the new PubMed interface I think new about the subject subset strategies being updated kind of got lost in the noise. 

Each year the subject subset search strategies are reviewed to determine if modifications are needed.  These modifications can be something like changing MeSH, adding or deleting terms, or changing parts of the strategy to optimize retrieval.  According to the NLM Technical Bulletin February 5, 2010 post, the Bioethics, Cancer, and Toxicology were revised.  Complementary Medicine and Space Life Sciences are next on the list to be revised in the future.  The PubMed Subset Strategies page has already been updated reflecting the changes to the three terms. 

It is probably a good idea to check this page out anyway to make sure your search strategies for Aids, Complementary Medicine, Systematic Reviews, etc. are up to date and you are getting the most out of your search.  Obviously these strategies aren’t for every search on Aids or Cancer but if you need to do a massive comprehensive search or if you are looking for ways to expand your search this is a great resource.

Tablet Specifically for Healthcare

There’s been some discussion on this blog and other places about the iPad and it possible use in healthcare.  I ran across this article, “Apple Isn’t the Only Vendor With New Tablet,”  yesterday and thought I would discuss it today. 

Motion computing will most likely be unveiling a new tablet (presumably called the C5) for healthcare at the HIMSS conference March 1-4, 2010 in Atlanta.  According the Information Week article, the C5 is more in line with what clinicians need for a mobile computing device. 

The C5 is:

  • Rugged for falls
  • Can handle regular swipes of disinfectant
  • Has a barcode scanner and RFID reader for drug safety and supply/inventory
  • Has a camera for telemedicine

However the C5 is still too big if you want it to fit in the white coat pocket.  The article quotes Michael Stinson (Motion Computing VP of Marketing) saying, “It’s not uncommon to see [the C5] used with a cart.” 

People have been trying to make the perfect tablet for physicians for a while now.   Tablet makers will be watching and copying each other and Apple to try and get into the Healthcare market.  It will be interesting to see how this pans out and how/if medical libraries can fit in there.

The iPad and Thoughts On Usage in Libraries and Hospitals

By now it seems like everybody has weighed in on the iPad, so of course I feel compelled to add my .02 cents. 

I like the concept of an iPad, I just am not sure I like the iPad.  Personally, I think Steve Jobs needs to get over his anti Adobe Flash issues (Dude Steve, Flash works on my PC just fine, maybe it is Apple’s fault *gasp* that it is buggy on Mac platforms…just a thought.) According Adobe,  70%-75% of games and video content is Flash, I have no way to verify that data since it comes from Adobe and not a third party.  But it seems like whenever I am on my iPhone and I want to look at SlideShare, an Internet movie, or animation, I get the broken Lego that tells me Flash isn’t loaded.  Hopefully HTML5 will be the answer to our animation and video prayers for iPhone users, because I don’t see Jobs backing down.  Until there is an answer to the Flash (or lack of Flash) problem, it will be difficult to use the iPad for animation or Internet video purposes.  Why is this a problem?  there are lots of great medical animations and videos on surgeries, exercises, procedures, etc. that are very beneficial to professionals as well as consumers.

Flash is just one of the video problems the iPad suffers from.  Apparently the iPad’s 1024×768 pixels and 4:3 ratio presents some problems for videos.  If all of those numbers sounded like gobbelty gook then let me say that the iPad plays videos at the same scale as an old CRT television set.  Forget watching an HD movie, wide screen films, and movies in other formats. For examples of what happens, check out this post on TUAW. It seems most of the people upset by this are videophiles.  But combine the scaling problems with no Flash, and the iPad is limited for medical professionals and patients to view educational medical videos.

Another big problem is iPad’s 3G network, AT&T.  I swear the groan that came forth from millions of people could be heard ’round the world.  I would bet the American iPhone users already stuck on a glacial 3G network were doing more than groaning.  Luke Wilson may be able to surf and talk at the same time, I just hope his friend has no more game show questions for him to answer quickly.  Supposedly AT&T is ready for the iPad and says they can handle it.  Yet according to The New York Times, AT&T “largely expects the iPad to be used in coffee shops and at home, where users can rely on Wi-Fi, as opposed to dragging down the company’s 3G network.” Oh boy, this just has disaster written all over it.  Please AT&T prove me wrong.

Digital formats.  If you are planning on using the iPad to read books, you need to know that Apple is using the digital book formatcalled EPUB, which is different from Amazon.  I have no idea what specific medical books are available in EPUB’s format, but the TUAW reports, 0ther ebook readers use this format: Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, iRex Digital Reader, and the iRiver Story. Some of the publishers that will be on the iPad are Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Hachette.  Whether you believe Jobs was angry at Harold McGraw for leaking iPad information or not, McGraw-Hill has plans for its books on the iPad. In an interview on CNBC (the day before the iPad debuted) Harold McGraw stated (video link) “We have a consortium of e-books. And we have 95% of all our materials that are in e-book format on that one. So now with the tablet you’re going to open up the higher education market, the professional market. The tablet is going to be just really terrific.”

If they are opening up the higher education and professional market, there are still a lot of hurdles that need to be accomplished.  John Halamka, Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Chief Information Officer at Harvard, AND Joseph Leiter Lecturer at MLA 2010 wrote a post on the iPad and the ideal clinical device.  His ideal clinical device is:

  • Less than a pound and fits in a white coat pocket
  • Battery life for an 8-12 hour work shift
  • Sturdy
  • Built in full keyboard, voice recognition and very robust touch screen input
  • Provides a platform for a variety of healthcare applications hosted on the device or cloud.

According Halamka, no device is completely there yet, but the iPad may be closer than other devices like the netbooks, laptops, iPhones, and Kindles. 

Personally I believe the platform and applications for healthcare is going to be the biggest hurdle.  I said it once before, finding a Mac in a hospital is about as rare as finding a vegetarian in Outback Steakhouse.  They are there, but not always, and don’t count on them to work within the system.  The vast majority of regular hospital departments do not work with Macs and have no intention of working with Macs.  Despite some growth and development in the iPhone EMR app side of things (EPIC has an iPhone app), very few hospitals support iPhones because they are still viewed as a personal device within hospital IT departments.  The hospital IT world is still very much PC and Blackberry. 

Scandinavian librarian, Thomas Brevik, has an interesting short post on what the iPad might mean to libraries.  He predicts that it will “fuel reader demand for e-books.”  He also sees two main challenges for the iPad in libraries, delivery of content and reader habits.

Brevik’s perspective seems to be primarily from the public library side of things.  Even so, the content issue is big.   Thomas specifically writes about content and e-books and libraries.  I think the content issue is bigger than that.   From what I could tell from the iPad release, the only things that will run on an iPad are apps (similar to the iPhone).  So in order for you content to be displayed or used on the iPad, you are either going to have write an app (or subscribe to a library program that has an app) or have all of your programs/services/resources available through Safari web browser….and also not have Flash. 

I don’t know if the iPad will make an immediate big splash in healthcare and or medical libraries.   However, in typical Apple form they have turned up the heat on the portable market.  They have created a really cool portable device for under $500.  I anticipate us seeing more changes due to the ripples the iPad has caused by jumping into the ultraportable pool that has been dominated by inexpensive netbooks.  It makes for interesting times.  Who would have thought in 2000 that ten years later would have one of the most popular music players that is also a phone?

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