AMA Journal 2010 Subcription Prices

According to a post on liblicense from Elizabeth Solaro, Manager of Marketing and Promotions for JAMA and Archives Journals, the American Medical Association has announced that 2010 subscription prices for JAMA, Archives Journals and American Medical News will remain at 2009 prices. 

This price freeze applies to those who have an AMA Site License, Institutional Limited Access, individual print and online only supscriptions, and the JAMA & Archives Backfiles collection.  If you need more information about this or have any questions you should contact JAMA & Archives. 

I find it interesting to look at the various publishers, vendors, and producers to see who is responding to the ecomonic situation and how.  Not every company is able to freeze prices, some of your smaller companies or society publications still have to raise prices since they too are suffering in the same economy.  However, it appears that even many of those smaller companies and societies are responding to economic worries with smaller prices increases than in years past.  I am not completely naive, I know a lot of the reason for this is to preserve their overall subscription base.  There is more competition than ever for subscription dollars.  The bigger institutions and libraries are becoming extremely cost conscious.  Three years ago a larger library may have been able to access journal or resource from two different companies.  There usually was some reason for paying two companies for the same product.  Perhaps patrons liked one interface better and the librarians liked the other.  Perhaps there was some duplication and overlapping of packages across vendors.  Who knows what the reasons were, but now institutions are going over their subscriptions with a fine tooth comb and cutting loose the under performers and consolidating access and eliminating overlapping and duplicated resources. 

What I find even more interesting are the companies that continue on as normal, as if we weren’t in a global recession.  You usually find out about these companies either directly from your 2010 price quote or indirectly from the librarian grapevine.  Once I am able to separate myself from the emotions of the process, I find it quite intriguing to see who these companies are and their rational(s) for the price increase.  I wonder whether their strategy will ultimately be effective or whether their product will be on the chopping block for many libraries.   

Time will tell.

Journals Going Digital Only

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an article about the American Chemical Society ending the print editions and begin producing only online journals for all but three of their journals.  It was a financial decision.  “Printing and distribution costs now exceed revenues from print journals,” according to a story in Ars Technica which The Chronicle sites. 

On the biomedical side of things BMJ was one of the first journals to use the online version as their official version instead of the printed version.  BMJ’s “continuous publication” means that all articles appear on before being included in an issue of the print journal. While this has caused some among readers and librarians, it is clearly a just the beginning of what is soon to come. 

Adverstising dollars, subscriptions, and even article submissions are all affected in some way as the switch from the printed issue to the online issue happens within the publishing industry.  In some areas there are great opportunities and promise with an online article such as the multitude of ways that data, images, sound, etc. can now be better represented.  But for every growth opportunity there will be some growing pains. 

As we move away from the printed issue librarians and readers will need to ween themselves off of page numbers and rely upon the doi for citation and reference purposes.  It is a little awkward but doable.  One big hurdle we librarians must start to deal with is archives.  If a journal goes all online such as the American Chemical Society journals, there is no printed issue subscription to hold in archives on our shelves.  The debate about keeping the print copy for just in case circumstances becomes pointless if there is no print edition to keep.  ILL issues need to be ironed out a little better.  It is common fair use policy to ILL a copy or scanned image of the printed article to another library via email or Illiad.  Things get murky when dealing with the online copy.  Some journal publishers have adopted the same fair use policies for their online editions as they have for the printed editions.  Other publishers have far more restrictive policies on fair use and ILL of the online article.  A great many publishers do not have any policies regarding ILL and their online articles. 

Finally we as librarians need to start looking at ourselves and our libraries to see how we are set up to handle the transition.  We are already beginning to see some of this in the shifting perception of the library as a repository of information to an information services provider.  As librarians we need to evaluate how we personally are ready for this kind of shift.  Do we know our IP ranges?  Are we aware of the journals that have wonky ILL policies for online editions?  Do we have access methods established (A-Z, LinkOut, etc.)?  Do we have education and elevator speeches ready to help some of our patrons?  How are we doing in “training” our administration to not be fooled into thinking that just because it is online it is cheaper or free?  There are other issues and challenges to consider, these are just a few that I can easily think of and describe. 

Thankfully this transition isn’t going to happen over night.  We have time to work on a lot of the areas that we are lacking in.  However, now is the time to work on it.  To sit by and still invest in the print with no eye toward the future changes would be very costly in money, time, and potentially personal and library usage.

Twitter Tips

I have begun to really get into Twitter.  I have said several times that I am not quite sure how Twitter can be used in medical libraries, however there are some medical libraries out there with a Twitter account using it. 

So far, many libraries seem to be using it as a news communication device, either replacing or supplementing their blog.  You can easily grab the RSS feed and hook it into your web page to display current library news and events.  For example if our library had a Twitter account we would have been able to easily display a tweeted message  on our site about an issue we were having with the lights in the library.  As it was, we were able to add a message to our web page that our lights were off but all other power (i.e. computers) was working and we were indeed open.  So if we were able to put that message on our web page already why would be interested in using Twitter?  Well, it might be a little easier than bringing up the page, changing it, and uploading it to web server. 

Like every tool each librarian needs to look at Twitter and see whether it is useful for the library or for the professional or personal life.  I find it a very useful tool for me to stay connected to other medical and library colleagues.  I use it to stay current and to ask questions and discussion issues with others.  It has been so useful that it has almost become a sort of light version MEDLIB-L to me. 

If you are thinking of using Twitter for in your library you might be interested in 5 Ways to Build a Local Following on Twitter and twitterless.

The first is an article on ways that you can easily build your group of followers.   Their examples can be adapted and applied for institutions.  They suggest using Twellow to find people in your city or state, which may not be of interest to most medical libraries.  But Twellow has a rather robust (for Twitter) search feature allowing you to find people who mention your institution’s name.  It can search for an exact phrase, people matching groups of phrases, and it can search within a specific field.  Another nice feature is that it can also exclude phrases. 

Twitterless is an easy way to keep track of your followers.  If you have an institutional Twitter account it would be helpful to know how many people follow and stop following your account.  It graphs your follower history over time. 

A lot depends on how you or your library intends to use Twitter.  How you intend to use Twitter will somewhat drive your decisions on who you follow, whether you protect your updates, your RT and @ behavior (RT= repost someone’s tweet, @=reply to someone’s tweet). 

If you are already a Twitterer or if you are just interested in trying it out for your self or your library you might be interested in learning about some of these Twitter tips.

Get a listing of Twittering librarians. Just Tweet It, is a directory where people can add there name and search for others on Twitter who share the same interests.  There is a listing of librarians as well as accountants, archaeologists, engineers, mortgage brokers, and even wedding planners. The directory relies on self submission.

Twitter is not for everyone and every institution.  It took me a while to decide whether I wanted to stick with it or not.  I had to find my Twitter legs so to speak.  Not only did I have to decide if I even wanted to Twitter, but I wasn’t sure what my purpose for Twittering would be.  Did I want a completely personal (not library related) account where I tweeted about things going on in my personal life including my quest to sell my house (finally sold thank goodness) or did I want a completely library professional account where all I tweeted about was medical and library related things?   Eventually my own personal Twitter style (a mix of professional and personal information) emerged and once it did I really found that I began to enjoy using Twitter.

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.