The Krafty MLA Blog 2006

Thursday, May 25, 2006

MLANET - Focus Group

On Tuesday afternoon, I particpated in a Focus Group discussing the major changes in store for the MLANET website. This small group, consisting of about 8 people, had many suggesions/comments/criticisms so as to make the website more user-friendly and informative.

I think there were some powerful suggestions about making Annual Conference proceedings and powerpoint slides available via the MLANET website. Other topics of discussion - create an MLA Wiki and host blogs through MLANET so that the community can contribute to ideas, information, and knowledge - without having to go through LISTSERVS. Improved search features were also highly recommended.

All in all, I think the discussion was contructive and useful, and the new and improved MLANET will be a great opportunity to push our profession forward.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"Transformation Begins with a Single Step..."

This session from the Relevant Issues Section and LGBT Health Sciences Librarians SIG provided inspirational content from librarians involved in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Refugee Health Information Network, and research into web filters that may block relevant LGBT health information even in the medical center setting. The women who presented have done amazing work, which can't be done justice in a brief blog post. I would strongly encourage you to check out the abstracts and presentations for examples of librarians reaching out into underserved communities and providing important services.

A set of relevant links/resources:
  • Refugee Health Information Network
  • Hmong Health Website
  • Medical Library Recovery
  • Rainbow Caduceus campaign - from the American Medical Student Association
  • Sexual Orientation Health Issues - from the Richard M. Johnston Health Sciences Library at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital
  • Fletcher AM. No point of reference: a hurrican of information needs. Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 2006. 6(2):1-14.
  • McKnight M. Health sciences librarians' reference services during a disaster: more than collection protection. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 2006. 25(3):1-12.

  • Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    Eduserv Athens

    I have seen the light at the end of tunnel and it is not a train comming towards me. I just sat in on a technology showcase by Eduserv Athens regarding access management. Are you an institution that shares IP ranges (*gasp*), are you a hospital or institution that does not have a proxy server, are your electronic resources trapped on your intranet page only accessible to on campus users? Then Eduserv Athens might be the answer to your problems.

    Eduserv Athens has been around for over 10 years in the UK and is now available to United States institutions through Teton Data Systems (the people who bring you STATRef!). You do NOT need to have STATRef! to have Eduserve Athens.

    Athens allows institutional users to have ONE username and ONE password for all of your institutional resources. You provide a link for your users to self register (creating their username and password) and from there they can access your list of resources from anywhere in the world. They no longer have remember the username and password for Ovid and then a separate one from MDConsult, and another one for STATRef! or any of your other resources. They log in with their username and password and voila they can access all of those resources, because Athens has validated them as your authorized user. Think of all the electronic journals they will be able to access.

    I know when I get back from MLA I will be investigating this further for my hospital.

    For more information go to
    For an solicited testimonial check out the Medlib post from Patti Reynolds, Director of Bishopric Medical Library, Sarasota Memorial Hospital.


    During my rounds of the free pen circuit (otherwise known as the vendors' exhibit hall), I learned about a company called Netsymposium. The company provides conference materials in the form of multimedia CD-ROMs containing the actual presentations (such as PowerPoints) delivered at the sessions rather than text-only abstracts. There is also apparently MP3 lecture content available. I would be interested in whether your libraries are subscribing to this material, and whether it is frequently used by your students or clinicians. Do you see it as an appropriate substitute for text-only abstracts? How/are researchers citing this material? Would you add this content to your library as a CME tool? I can see how this product might be useful, but question the choice of CD-ROM for delivery and single purchases of specific conferences. Would you be more likely to subscribe if the product were site-licensed and online, no CDs required, and you could subscribe to a package of materials (such as all medical or nursing conferences) rather than one-off events?

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    Electronic Only, Please!

    Tracie Frederick and Vani Murthy the presenters at this session transformed the Dahlgren Memorial Library into a e-resources library. Through faculty opposition, patron complains and lack of staff they moved forward to stay in par with technology. Their presentation, Electronic Only, Please: Dealing with Increased User Demand for Electronic-only Resources outlines the changes in staff, library functions, licencing terms, staff training, kind of questions asked at the front lines, limited budget and adaptation of services. Throughout this process this team of librarians "found innovative ways of dealing with increase user demand for electronic resources". The other authors for this presentation were Jane Blumenthal, AHIP and Janette Shaffer, AHIP.

    As the Information Desk supervisor at the time of this changes, I was trained to answer all questions regarding our new online resources and sometimes received praise on our new acquisitions. At the present time the Dahlgren Library has about 98% of their journal collection online.

    Please note: This is imc73 point of view and not of her employer, GU or Dahlgren Memorial Library.

    Implementing Evidence-based Practice in the Real World

    In this session, Ellen Fineout-Overholt discussed the AZCAEP consortium, which started in Arizona to promote the adoption of evidence-based practice across healthcare fields. AZCAEP started as an open invitation to the medical community where people could come together and discover the common language of evidence-based care. So far, AZCAEP has involved over 50 agencies across Arizona. This initiative is an excellent example of breaking down barriers and bringing healthcare communities together to promote evidence-based practice.

    Leadership and Professional Development Program

    This section programming featured interesting perspectives on the job market, hiring, what employers and recruiters look for in a job candidate, and tips and tools for becoming an independent information professional.

    Deborah Schwarz of Library Associates first delivered the bad news for job seekers: a slowly growing job market, downsizing in libraries, and salaries for traditional librarians that are not expected to increase significantly. Deborah went on, however, to outline areas outside the library where librarians may utilize their skills in new and exciting ways. For example, she recently helped place 20 catalogers with an educational client who needed metatags assigned to streaming video content.

    Holly Buchanan delivered the employer's perspective, emphasizing the need for candidates to scope out a potential workplace, understand library trends, be prepared for interviews, submit individualized resumes and cover letters, and make sure you understand what interests you about a specific job rather than any job. She indicated that non-technical skills such as teamwork, motivation, communication, and flexibility are increasingly important in the library marketplace.

    Finally, Ros Lett of Knowledge Cartel delivered an energetic and informative piece on becoming an independent information professional, with tips on marketing your services, defining your niche, identifying clients, and building entrepreneurial savvy.

    This was a very practical and worthwhile session, with the main takeaway messages being: 1) build your skills; 2) take chances and look for opportunities outside the traditional library.


    During the Sunrise Seminar this morning entitled "Full-text Journal Databases and Upgraded Versions of CINAHL", there was a good suggestion from the audience concerning the Evidence-based Care Sheets available through EBSCO - provide direct links to the resources used for each care sheet. Also, EBSCO would like suggestions for more medical topics in the Evidence-based care sheet database. The Vice-president of customer relations from EBSCO stated that improving the search functionality and interface is a top priority for the company over the next 4 - 5 months.

    Electronic Resources Licensing and Savings from the RML

    There has been a bit of a buzz among the hospital librarians regarding the MCR Regional Buying Consortium (scroll to where you see Barbara Jones). The MCR RML presented a poster about it entitled, Increasing the Availability of Electronic Resources to Health Sciences Libraries. The RML developed a regional buying consortium for licensing of electronic resources in the MidContinental Region.

    Many of the hospital librarians wondered if this was going to happen at all of the RMLs, and so far it is only the MidContinental Region who has created this program. This might be something to ask the RMLs about whether they would be willing to follow MCRs lead.

    We all could use some licensing and group purchasing power.

    Blogging Roundtable

    Yesterday I had the fortunate opportunity to faciliate one of the Blogging Roundtables. It was a varried group of people at the table. Some had some prior blogging experience and some did not. We discussed should you blog, is a blog always the answer, different types of blogs (blog themes), blogging policies in hospitals (or lack there of), and blogging software.

    It was a great disccussion and many interesting view points were presented. Since I was the facilitator not the secretary I do not have the official notes but I will link to them and the notes of the other blogging table when they are available.

    Swimming with the Sharks

    Julie McGowan delivered an inspiring Janet Doe lecture this morning. The topic of her presentation was "Swimming with the Sharks," or risk taking and leadership. Besides being a compelling storyteller and very good presenter, Julie outlined very important points about risk-taking for librarians in uncertain times. She began with historical and current examples of risk-taking leaders, including Julius Caesar, Colin Powell, and Mario Andretti, who was the source of the quote, "If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough." She moved on to provide examples of risk-taking by entrepreneurs as well as library/informatics professionals. The concrete examples of challenging situations, outcomes, lessons learned, and overall risk-taking philosophies were very grounding for the professional who wonders, "How can I do this?" Likewise, the overall tone of her presentation and advice for leaders was very inspiring for the individual who wonders, "Can I do this?" According to Julie, you can, if you follow these simple rules (paraphrased and translated for the purposes of this blog): Be bold as you jump in the pool, librarians - be smart, be prepared, be on the lookout for sharks, and know how to detect and survive the sharks. Be willing to accept casualties, accept change, take on new roles, stand up, and be counted. You can do it. Just ask Julie.

    Sunday, May 21, 2006

    Return on Investment: Is Virtual Reference Worth the Cost?

    I just got a chance to go through the first day of poster sessions and I saw a lot of interesting and thought provoking posters. One poster in particular Return on Investment: Is Virtual Reference Worth the Cost? really captured my attention.

    It seems in academic libraraies and some academic medical libraries there are a lot of librarians interested and promoting virtual reference and IM reference. People have debated about whether IM reference was worth the time and effort (and money) of the library staff to provide to students. According to this abstract this library ( ) decided to discontinue their virtual reference service because of the high cost/low benefit of the service.

    Interesting. I wonder what other libraries who are doing virtual reference are finding? Is this unique to health sciences libraries or do public, academic, and other libraries have these questions?

    Innovative Interfaces NOT at MLA

    When I picked up my registration packet I was surprised to note that Innovative Interfaces Inc. withdrew from the MLA exhibit. Apparently, the Innovative User's Group Annual Meeting in Denver Colorado overlapped or was too close to MLA this year for them to participate in MLA.

    Personally, I think that is poor planning on the part of Innovative. They have many academic medical library users and to plan their IUG group at time that interferes with their participation at MLA really doesn't say very good things about how they value those academic medical library users.

    2007 Online NEJM Prices

    The 2007 online NEJM prices were released here at MLA. For those of who are interested, prices are arranged in tiers and hospital staff size (FTEs) is not the determining factor for price. Determining factors seems to be type of hospital combined with number of beds.

    Briefly here is a break down of the prices.

    H1D Single hospitals with 120 or less staffed beds. $1,040
    H1C Single hospitals with 121-250 staffed beds. $2,100
    H1B Single hospitals with 251-500 staffed beds. $2,600
    H2E Hospital systems with 2-3 hosptials. $3,500
    H2D Hospital systems with 4-7 hospitals. $ 5,800
    H2C Hospital systems with 8-11 hospitals. $8,800
    H2B Hosptial systems with 12-15 hospitals. $10,500
    H2A Hospital systems with 15-20 hospitals. $12,000
    H3A Hospital systems with more than 20 hospitals. $12,000 plus $600 for each additional hospitals over 20.

    The option to have a print only subscription is available for $499.
    A print subscription plus with 5 workstations (for 5 static IP addresses) is available for $599

    For more information email:

    CyberTools For Libraries at MLA

    CyberTools unveiled the Virtually Yours at MLA. For all you CyberTools users, Virtually Yours provides bib recordes to 500 electronic resources in medical and health sciences. Some of the resources included in Virtually Yours are from the NLM Bookshelf, PMC, and the MLA Internet Resources.
    Cybery Tools also demonstrated the new features that are comming or soon to come with their new OPAC (which will launch after MLA). If you are a CyberTools user, check out their new OPAC site and play with it.

    Hello and First-timers breakfast

    Well, I've made it to Phoenix, and yes it's warm........very warm. But, the reception from my MLA colleagues has been exceptional. Just in case anyone is interested in signing-up for the MLA mentorship program, I highly recommend it. I signed up before the conference, and I meet my Mentor yesterday afternoon before the Welcome Reception. We had great conversation and good food and drink, and this was an excellent way to break the ice.

    This morning we attended the New Members/First-Time Attendees breakfast, which provides a great opportunity to meet newbies, as well as seasoned professionals, in the Medical Library Association. Announcements and introductions were made from some MLA Board members, with a special welcome from President M.J. Tooey. Also learned some interesting history: MLA started in 1898 in Philadelphia by a physician, a librarian, an ophthalmologist, and a few others :) Lucretia McClure also gave an excellent talk about how to value our membership, increase our friendship, and make sure the everyone counts!

    And on that good note.....I'm off to some more sessions this afternoon.

    Friday, May 12, 2006

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    Thursday, May 11, 2006

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