Applying for Library Jobs

I ran across an fun and interesting blog post from In The Library with the Lead Pipe, titled “What Not To Do When Applying for Library Jobs“.  The post is interesting not only in content but how it was created.  They decided to do a “collective wisdom” post about library job hunting mistakes.  Essentially it is a group post pooling information on the “do’s and don’t’s” of looking and interviewing for a library job.

There is practical information on planning, applying for a position, application process and materials, phone interviews, interview prep, interviews, references, the offer, and “after you land the job.”  There is something for everyone and it doesn’t hurt to read through these things before you decide to apply for a job.

Once you have read the post and you find you have some suggestions, they welcome any of your thoughts, advice and questions.

Of course looking for a job is serious, but if you find you need a little stress relief, you might want to check out the the recent article, “43 Things Actually Said in Job Interviews” from Career Builder.

Happy July 4th

I thought I would get in the spirit of the holiday and share a picture from fireworks night at the ballfield.

Fireworks night at Progressive field after the Indians and Cardinals game
Fireworks night at Progressive field after the Indians and Cardinals game


Wishing everybody in the United States a Happy 4th of July.  If you don’t live in the United States, happy weekend. :)

Attend Midwest MLA in Columbus, OH

It doesn’t seem like October is right around the corner, but it is if you are planning to present at the Midwest Chapter Medical Library Association’s Annual Meeting in Columbus, OH. 

The conference theme is “Seek, Discover, Explore.” Presenters can show how they “endeavor to seek out new and improved ways to provide cutting-edge library services, to discover innovative techniques for using technology and the Internet, or to explore how libraries connect people to information in creative ways. Papers and posters may highlight practical problem-solving approaches, report on research in librarianship, document collaborative efforts or outreach activities, or describe innovative programs, resources or services. Contributed paper and poster topics are as unlimited as your imagination, talents and creativity can devise.”

Presenters must submit a 250 word abstract describing you poster.  Include your name, position title, address, phone number and email address. The abstract should be sent to: Linda DeMuro, Director of Library Services, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Library, 700 Children’s Dr., Columbus OH 43205 or emailed to Linda.DeMuro[at sign]NationwideChildrens[dot]org.

Deadline for abstract submission is July 31, 2009. Notifications of acceptance/rejection will be made August 15, 2009.

Are you a library student or recent library school graduate? Budget got you down?  You might be happy to know that the Midwest MLA Chapter has Annual Meeting Scholarship to support the attendance of library science students.
If you are live, work, or study in Ohio, the Ohio Health Sciences Library Association has a scholarship available for whenever the Midwest Chapter MLA meeting is held in Ohio.  Criteria for eligibility and the application can be found at OHSLA’s website

Last but not least, the Midwest Chapter of MLA seeks to recognize the accomplishments of its outstanding members at every annual meeting.  The Jean Williams Sayre Innovation Award and the Distinguished Librarian of the Year Award are perfect opportunities for members to nominate outstanding colleagues for recognition.  You can find information on these awards at the Midwest Chapter’s website.

I hope to see you in Columbus.

EBSCO Enables New Searching Technology

(courtesy EBSCO press release)

EBSCO has launched new searching technology to support natural language searching for scientific formulas.  The new database architecture means article names, abstracts and key phrase headings within citations will contain scientific formulas.

That means it will be easier to find articles such as this:

Theoretical study on N2+, P2+, As2+, NP+, NAs+, and PAs+: Hyperfine coupling constants for 12Σ(g)+, and electron-sping-factors for 12Σg+/1,22Σu+(X2+) and 1,22Σ+(XY+) states. Bruna, P.J.; Grein, F. In: Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy, Aug. 2005, vol.232, no.2, pp. 137-50, Journal Paper. (AN: 8727739).

This type of natural language search will make it easier for researchers to find relevant information within their searches.

So far Inspec is the first of EBSCO’s databases to utilize this new feature.

NLM Presentations from MLA 2009

I recently wrote a post (June 19, 2009) about NLM’s Online User’s Meeting at MLA, at the time of the post they had published the remarks and the presentation slides made by David Gilliken. 

Wait no longer, the NLM Technical Bulletin now has the rest of the content available online.

Don’t forget to look at the PowerPoint slides which show the changes that will be happening with PubMed.

Unbound Medicine and the iPhone

Earlier this month Unbound Medicine announced an application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that allows users in institutions that subscribe to uCentral to access it on those Apple devices. 

uCentral is a customizable product that allows institutions to select and provide a list of medical reference resources.  Institutions can either purchase titles for their users or provide discounts for individual purchases. 

Until recently uCentral was not available on the iPhone or iPod Touch.  After the announcement of their uCentral app, I decided to try it for myself. 

You must download the app either through iTunes or the App Store on the device.  The app is free but you must be affiliated with an institution that has uCentral for it to work.  Unfortunately there are several people who don’t realize this because the app has a 2 1/2 star rating in the App Store.  Of the six people who reviewed it, almost every poor review came from somebody who didn’t realize or criticized the fact that you need an institutional subscription to uCentral.  (Welcome to the way hospital and academic medical reference resources are paid for people.  What do you think librarians have been saying for years now, “It isn’t all free or cheap on the Internet.)

It took a while for me to install the app using the App Store on the 3G network.  I don’t know whether this was due to the application’s size or my 3G getting finicky.  Since iTunes and the App Store are blocked on by my institution, I could not use the wifi to download it quickly. 

uCentral is an institutional gateway product where institutionally affiliated users can select and access their institution subscription’s Unbound Medicine titles.  So if the institution does not subscribe to Davis’s Drug Guide through Unbound then the individual using uCentral will not be able to get it and use it through uCentral.  

Over 30 titles are available through uCentral.  The titles are the same quality titles like Davis’s Drug Guide, 5 Minute Clinical Consult, and Emergency Medicine Manual that have been available through Unbound Medicine for some time on different access platforms (Internet, PocketPC, Palm, etc.).  A Medline and PubMed alerting service is available where individual users can set up auto alerts and table of contents deliveries that link back to the institution’s journal collection. 

Once the app installed on my device, I was asked for a username and password.  (So far, it appears to have remembered that information because I have not had to re-enter it again.)  The device the syncs to the institution’s uCentral account and begins to upload the available titles to the iPhone.  This can take a bit of time if you have quite a few resources. 

The titles are loaded on the device and updates are downloaded periodically or if I hit the little update arrows in top right corner.  The titles are downloaded directly to the device so you theoretically don’t need to have a WiFi or cell signal to use them.  I decided to use the airplane mode on my iPhone (airplane mode turns off the device’s ability to send or receive signals) to test how well the products work on device without WiFi or 3G.  They worked perfectly.  The only thing that did not work were links to the links to the full text articles to journals or Medline records, and that I expected.  But the actual reference texts worked quite well. 

Having the titles directly loaded on the device is especially helpful this means that a doctor or nurse can use the texts independent of the device’s connection of WiFi or 3G network.  Every hospital has WiFi and cellular “dead zones,”  such as the basement, radiology department, some obscure hallway, older buildings with a lot of metal, etc.  Making these texts available and usable regardless of connection signal means that a doctor or nurse can access the title wherever they are in the institution. 

Accoridng to Unbound’s information, individuals can also conduct Medline searches and retrieve the table of contents to institutional journals.  I was able to login to my uCentral account online from a computer and create a Medline search.  The search interface is very basic and I couldn’t figure out how to do that on the phone or how to retrieve the Medline results on the phone.  If I were doing a Medline search on my iPhone I would probably opt for PubMed’s handheld interface.  I never could find out how you send the table of contents of certain journals to my phone either.  I don’t know if this is because I missed some instructions or if things are limited because I am on a trial account.  

I did find one thing distracting about uCentral’s News and Medline Journals applications.  The titles and the brief abstracts loaded on to the phone but when you want to look at the full text, you have to go out onto the Internet using Safari this process ends up closing uCentral.  So you have to click on the uCentral app and then click on News to read the about the next title.  You cannot toggle back and forth between the full text in Safari and the uCentral News.  I think this problem has more to do with the iPhone and iPod Touch’s inability to multi-task, however there are other iPhone apps such as TweetDeck that are able to display web pages within the app seamlessly. 

While there were a few distracting issues, I found uCentral to be a very helpful product that allows institutionally associated users access to medical and nursing reference texts in the palm of their hand.  The fact that these texts are available and usable when the phone is outside of WiFi and cellular range is an important detail that many medical apps on the iPhone fail to realize is necessary.  A doctor or nurse can’t rely on an application that only works when there is a good signal, they need something they can use to treat a patient regardless of where they are located in the hospital and whether there is network access.

I would be interested to hear what other medical professionals have to say about uCentral on the iPhone or iPod Touch.  I would also be interested to hear what other librarians have to say about their patrons use of uCentral.  Please leave a comment if you would like to share your experiences.

For those of you interested in what uCentral looks like on the iPhone and iPod Touch devices, Unbound has an demo that you can view.

Stipends, Grants, Awards, Is There One Central List?

Yesterday, I posted about the Grace and Harold Sewell Memorial Fund, Inc. to help librarians and other information professionals to attend the American Public Health Association Meeting.  After I posted the information, I began thinking of several events recently that made me wonder whether there was a master list of grants and awards available to librarians.  One site where librarians can look or click through a list of available grants for education, meeting travel, etc.  As people looked to find alternative funding to attend MLA, many SIGs and Sections had listed their meeting and travel awards on their own websites and blogs.  But from what I can tell there isn’t one master list, somebody has to look at multiple sites for possible funding opportunities. 

One List to rule them all, One List to find them, One List to bring them all in the library and bind them.  One List might be very helpful.  I realize there many different flavors of librarians out there (medical, law, public, special, etc.) so perhaps One List might be an awful lofty goal.  Perhaps one list, (think a silver ring with normal engraving not a gold ring with flame engraving) with all of the funding opportunities for medical librarians might be more possible. 

There is already a Library Grants blog, (seems to have more public library related issues) but I think something like a search-able list would be more helpful in this instance.  Compiling a list is only part of the job, maintaining the list would be a larger and more important task.  It would only be as good as the information listed on it and if that information is lacking or out of date then the list quickly ceases to be helpful.  Something like a wiki would make it possible for anybody, SIG reps, Section reps, other organizations to add their information and link to the most recent application.  If a wiki is the way to go, I don’t think there needs to be one created specifically for funding opportunities, there are plenty of library and medical library wikis out there that would be appropriate. 

Would this be helpful and is this something that you think librarians want? Is a wiki the appropriate tool?  A wiki is only as strong as those who are adding and editing, would the appropriate people be interested in adding and editing their portions as needed?  Does anybody have any other thoughts?

Stipend for Public Health Librarians

Are you a public health librarian, have an interest in public health, or work with public health professionals?  Are you interested in attending the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA November 7-11, 2009?

If you answered yes, then you will probably interested to know that the Grace and Harold Sewell Memorial Fund, Inc. is offering stipends to librarians and other information professionals to help cover the costs of their attending and/or participating in the American Public Health Association Meeting. 

Successfull applicants from the greater Philadelphia area will receive a stipend of at least $650 and sucessfull applicants outside of the greater Philadelphia area will receive a stipend of at least $1,000.  This amount covers most of the APHA Membership at $195 and the Early Bird Member Registration (register before Augus 28, 2009) at $395.  While the stipend is significant, it will not be able to cover all costs, so stipend recipients will need to find additional monies to cover any remaing costs. 

Completed applications are due July 24, 2009, the application (Word) can be found at PHHA blog. The application and all required materials are to be send as a single email attachment to Joey Nicholson at jnicholson[atsign]nyam[dot]org.

Handheld Librarian Online Conference

Yesterday I got an email about the Handheld Librarian 2009, an online conference about mobile library services.  Mobile services are growing at an explosive rate.  Everybody from libraries to professional sports organizations are getting into the mobile application and mobile web optimization.  For librarians who are interested in the mobile web and applications you might be interested in the Handheld Librarian Online Conference.

The first ever Handheld Librarian Online Conference will be held July 30, 2009 and is $49 for individuals and $89 for sites.  The program will include a variety of ways to collaborate, network and learn from experts in the field.  In addition to live interactive webcasts, participants will have access to a collection of available resources includingdiscussions boards and the recordings of all live events for one year after the conference.

Medical librarians who are interested in mobile technology take note, Peg Burnette, Library of Health Sciences – Peoria, will be presenting Mobile Medical Information: View from the Medical Library.

It should be an interesting online conference and the price is right for those people whose institutions may require them to foot their own continuing education bill.