Monday, July 31, 2006

Libraries that use Flickr

Library Stuff has a list of libraries that use Flickr. I have been keeping one eye and ear open about Flickr because I find it interesting. But really most of the information and experiences I have heard about have been mainly from the public library sector and the Library 2.0 crowd. What I would like to know is what medical libraries are using Flickr and for what purpose?

Perhaps because it is Monday and I am rockin' out to the new Tom Petty album and have yet to have my morning caffeine, but I just don't know what I would use Flickr for in a medical library setting. Before all of you Flickr advocates start jumping up down yelling at me.... I am not saying that Flickr can be of no use in a medical library setting. I am saying, I just don't know of how it can be used and that is why I am asking for some brainstorming comments.

A Masterlist of MedLib Blogs

In an effort to have a complete list of all "medical librarianship" blogs, David Rothman has started wiki masterlist of MedLib blogs.

For the purpose of this wiki, a "medical librarianship" blog can be defined in four ways.
  1. A blog specifically about (Medical, Health, Health Sciences, BioMed) Librarianship
  2. A blog written by a medical librarian
  3. A blog maintained by a medical library
  4. A blog maintained by a professional association of medical librarians and or medical library paraprofessionals

So if you know of a blog that is not listed go ahead and add it to the list (after all that is the part of idea behind wiki's). Then we will al have the benefit of having a master list of medical library blogs. For more information and the password to add things and edit pages go to http://davidrothman.net/2006/07/29/a-masterlist-of-medlib-blogs/

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Google Librarian Newsletter

Google went to the ALA conference in New Orleans. They spoke with and shared information with librarians. Google created a brief video tour of their experiences at ALA, including thoughts from some of the librarians they spoke with.
Krafty's plea to Google....
Oooh ooh Google, can you pleeeeeeease go to the Medical Library Association's conference Philadelphia next year? I think there are quite a few medical librarians who would love to hear more about Google Scholar and other such things you are doing medicine and health.

Go to the newsletter to read more.
If you are interested you can sign up to receive the newsletter.

New Version of Toxline

The National Library of Medicine recently released a new version of TOXLINE Search results from the two parts of TOXLINE (TOXLINE Core and TOXLINE and TOXLINE Special) are now merged. This will allow all results to be relevancy ranked in the same way, with results displayed in only one window.

For more information go to: TOXLINE fact sheet

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Patient Education iPodding

Medical podcasting is seeing an explosion of growth. I am deligently working on releasing my next list of medical podcasts and it has become a huge list. In the interest of space, time, and maintenance I might have to stop writing little blurbs describing the podcasts. I hate doing that because I think it gives a little more indepth information that you can't get from podcast aggregator. I am investigating methods of organziation and maintainence.

Here is another example of podcasts for patient education, Patients use iPods to get information on surgery which was brought to my attention by Chris B. IHSLA President and MedRef-L.Indianapolis-based Clarian Health Partners is providing iPods to bariatric patients as part of its ongoing efforts in education. The pilot program is called "HealthPod," and if successful Clarian plans to use iPod technology to support patients going through cancer, transplant and women’s health programs.

Patients using HealthPod can review audio and video clips about the bariatric program, the procedure, pre-operative preparation, and post operation follow-up. The first iPod was dispatched July 11. "Patients who participate in the HealthPod program get ready access to patient testimonials, surgeons answering frequently asked questions, a virtual tour of the facilities and specifics about their surgical procedure. They also get access to diet and grocery shopping tips, recipes, exercise routines, motivational messages and, after it’s all said and done, an iPod that is theirs to keep."

Clarian invested about $120,000 in a studio, video equipment, IT infrastructure development, program maintenance and distribution of the iPods ($299 ea.) The health system does get a 10 percent corporate discount on the iPods. Clarian spent about $8,000 on the iPods and set aside $30,000 more for program expansion.
There are quite a few hospital systems and organizations creating some really cool patient education podcast programs. This is the first that I have heard of where the patient gets to keep the iPod.

It is cool things like this that we as librarians need to really start keeping track. Whether you have an online list of podcasts or you have found a good way of integrating them into your ILS or catalog, we need to start getting a handle on the podcast information that is out there. It is one thing to have a podcast about the library, but is that where we need to be focused? There is already some awesome content out there that people need to be aware of, shouldn't we as librarians be finding them, organzing them, and guiding users to them?

Below are some other patient education podcasts you might be interested in looking at. Some are general information patient education podcast produced by organizations like the American Heart Association, while others are more specific towards a type of disease or surgery like Cancer Cast and CVMD.org.

If anybody has any others the would like to suggest, please feel free to email me or comment.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Consumer Reports Herbal Medicine

Consumer Reports has introduced a new natural medicine database containing information on herbs, dietary supplements and other natural medicines. The database orginally unveiled in May, contains information on the safety, effectiveness and possible harmful interactions of nearly 14,000 supplements and is the product of the Therapeutic Research Center which analyzes prescription and OTC drugs. Like the Consumer Reports magazine, the database does not accept advertising and it does not receive any funding from pharmaceutical companies.

It is worth noting that the IndyStar.com article on the natural medicines database is kind of confusing. The article mentions that the database is "officially known as the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database," and is available for a $19 annual fee (pretty darn cheap). The article further mentions that subscribing users can also access Consumer Reports' guides to prescription drugs and medical treatments. To me this implies that it is a completely distinct database and a user can go to Google type in Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database and with their $19 annual subscription fee access it along with the Consumer Reports' guides to prescription drugs and medical treatments. However, that is not the case. The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database is a seperate database from Consumer Reports and costs $92.00/year. In reality, it appears that a version (or the whole thing, I can't tell exactly) of the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database's information has been integrated into Consumer Reports MedicalGuide.org which features a section called Natural Medicine Ratings (which has a nice little "new" icon next to it on MedicalGuide.org's main page). Natural Medicine Ratings is available through the $19/year subscription to Consumer Reports MedicalGuide.org.

Despite that confusion (brought on by the IndyStar.com article, not Consumer Reports nor Therapeutic Research Center), the Natural Medicine Ratings looks to be a nice addition to the Consumer Reports MedicalGuide.org for consumers interested in taking an active interest in their medicines and herbal supplements. Consumers are able to find information on effectiveness/ineffectiveness, common names, descriptions, ingredients, pharmacodynamics (how it works), saftey, and interactions advice.

Other places consumers can find free information herbs and over the counter medications are:
The Office of Dietary Supplements http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine http://www.nccam.nih.gov
MedlinePlus http://www.medlineplus.gov

Scopus Mini Review

As some of you may already know, David Rothman previously posted on Michael Stephen’s Tame the Web that Elsevier was behind on RSS developments and Damien Sherman of Elsevier’s Scopus took exception because Scopus does offer RSS feeds on its searches. Rothman asked Sherman for temporary access to Scopus so that he could kick the tires and explore its RSS feature.

After poking around and trying things out. Rothman provides a "very brief review" of Scopus on his blog, complete with pictures.

Below is Rothman's summary, for the his full review, go to Scopus RSS: a very brief review.

Things I (Rothman) like about Scopus RSS:

  • The RSS feature is well-integrated in the search results page, and easy
    to find.
  • Naming of feeds makes them clear and unambiguous when they appear
    in the aggregator.
  • The RSS URL is created quickly and easily.

Things I’d (Rothman) like to see Scopus RSS do next:

  • The RSS items should contain, if not the full abstract, at least a few lines of it. Now, all that shows up in the aggregator is the hyperlinked title and a one-line description of the source. More detail in the item would allow the user to do some filtering without having to go to Scopus. This would save the user’s time (Ranganathan's 4th law, anyone?). RSS feed URL produced should be a live hyperlink, not just text. This lets users with many kinds of subscription tools subscribe more easily.
  • The RSS feed contains ONLY the Scopus results, not the web results. Ideally, the user should have the option of whether to do one of the two, or both.
  • More user documentation about how Scopus RSS feeds will
    work is needed. It isn’t clear, for instance, how often
    the search that generates the feed will be executed. Perhaps the user could
    select from a menu how often he/she would like the search to be executed and new
    results generated for the feed.
  • Change the RSS button to the proposed standard.

Summary: Scopus is off to a good start with their offering search results as RSS feeds and should be applauded for having them. However, from the perspective of someone working towards SDI goals, its RSS features are not yet caught up to PubMed in usefulness.

Thanks David for the brief insight into Scopus and RSS. I think it is helpful.

CINAHL Ovid to Ebsco Discussion List

(Courtesy of Librarians' Rx)

For everyone who get CINAHL through Ovid, the time will come where you will have to move to Ebsco. If you are interested in learning the differences between Ovid and Ebsco CINAHL. The UBC librarians have created a new discussion list for people to express their thoughts, concerns, exepriences, and opinions regarding the Ebsco versus Ovid versions of CINAHL.

To subscribe to the list send an email to: Majordomo@interchange.ubc.ca
Include the following command in the body of your email message:

subscribe lib-cinahl your email address
i.e. subscribe lib-cinahl donaldduck@disney.com

Monday, July 24, 2006

Up-to-the-Minute Medicine

Every morning I sit down with my ice cold coke (mmmmmm...) and browse through my feeds and a few news websites looking for anything health related or medical library related. Every morning I check out the Cleveland Plain Dealer and since I am expat St. Louisian I also browse St. Louis Today (the St. Louis Post Dispatch online).

Today I happened across the article, Up-to-the-minute medicine, by Harry Jackson, on Evidence Based Medicine in the primary care physicians office. Using lap top computers and what appears to be a special EBM computer program from Purkinje, doctors are given better information and tools to decide on the best medical treatments for patients.

While I am not familiar with Purkinje, it is just another example of how busy doctors are turning more and more to technology to try and help filter through the medical information overload. The key for libraries is to get their little toe into the door of the information filter. The trick is to figure out how your hospital and doctors are getting their information. It could be through RSS feeds, email alerts, SDIs, librarian at grand rounds, or through the electronic health record(EHR). What would be very very cool is if your hospital's EHR had a spot to query the library for more information. (Since my hospital does not have EHR, I don't know if this already in some EHRs or if it is even possible, although I don't see why not.) Already Elsevier's iConsult connects FirstConsult (an EBM product) to the hospitals EHR, delivering real-time clinical decision support at the point-of-care.

In order to stay relevant librarians not only need to know how to search for Evidence Based Medicine information but also know how their doctors are finding it and using it. Only that way can we work with them to help them provide the best medical care to their patients.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ebsco Promoting DynaMed

I received and email yesterday or today (hard to tell since my work email is on the fritz) from Ebsco promoting DynaMed.

----
Dear EBSCO Customers:
We are excited to share the following news, and hope it is of value to you. Are you currently using Up-to-Date or another point-of-care electronic resource?

Have you found these resources to be cost-prohibitive? Are you interested in evaluating other options? If so, you'll be happy to know that EBSCO Publishing now provides DynaMed, the highest quality, evidence-based, point-of-care resource that is not only cost-effective, but includes unlimited remote access for no additional fee!

A year ago, EBSCO acquired DynaMed, and since that time has successfully implemented a new user interface for enhanced access to this increasingly popular resource. With clinically-organized summaries for nearly 2,000 topics, DynaMed is the only evidence-based point-of-care reference shown to answer most clinical questions during practice (Annals of Family Medicine, November/December 2005).

EBSCO invites you to view the following brief flash overview of DynaMed, and request more information - including a free trial.
http://www.epnet.com/flashViewer.php?marketID=2&topicID=192

If you have questions, or would like an EBSCO representative to contact you, please send an email to us at: information@epnet.com.

---

If you are interested in a review of DynaMed check out:

DynaMed
Reviewed by Hope Barton, MSLS, Assistant Director for Information Resources
J Med Libr Assoc. 2005 July; 93(3): 412-414.

As UpToDate gets more and more expensive and still keeps its draconian off campus access policy, more doctors and librarians are looking at other products. This year I have had more people ask me about access to eMedicine and FirstConsult than I have had previously. Usually I mention that we have UpToDate and currently we can not afford both it and those other products they are inquiring about. Perhaps I should start to ask them why they are inquiring about them in the first place. Is it because they just recently heard about them, they came from an institution with them, or have they found UpToDate lacking in areas where the other products don't? I am curious. Maybe there are those of you out there (doctors and librarians) familiar with UpToDate and its competitors who can enlighten me. Is UpToDate still "the only product", or is it losing some of its luster while its competitors are closing the gap?

More Information on MLA Emerging Technologies Webcast

There is more information on MLA's webcast, Moving at the Speed of Byte: Emerging Technologies for Information Management. It will be November 8, 2006 1:00-3:00 central time.

Registration opens September 2006.

Individuals:
You can watch the program on a computer from home or at work. Earn 2.0 MLA CEs. Earlybird fee $75.00 (nonmember, $150.00). Registration must be received by October 13, 2006. The fee will increase $50.00 for registrations received after October 13, 2006 (member $125.00, nonmember, $200.00). The program can be viewed again for up to 30 days after the Webcast.

Sites:
Site registration requires a site coordinator and technical coordinator. Sites will be allowed to view the program on individual computers at the registered site or they can project the program. (i.e. project it on a screen in one room so you don't have librarins huddled around mulitple computers) Earlybird fee $375.00 (nonmember, $475.00). Registration must be received by October 13, 2006. The fee will increase $100.00 for registrations received after October 13, 2006 (member $475.00, nonmember, $575.00). Earn 2.0 MLA CEs for view the Webcast and an additional 1.5 CE for particpating in a wrap around group discussion.

Multiple Site Registration:
There is an option for multiple sites to receive the program. Please see MLA's Multiple Site Registration.

Goals:
To expose information professionals to new and emerging technologies and to encourage their use in information management

Objectives:
At the end of this webcast, participants will be able to:
  • identify new and emerging technologies in use in library or clinical settings
  • explore the use of new and emerging technologies for disseminating information or in promoting library services
  • find resources supporting new and emerging technologies in library settings
  • identify new technologies such as blogs and RSS to support professional growth and information sharing

Intended Audience
  • Health sciences information professionals
  • Public librarians
  • Special librarians
  • Allied health professionals

RSS Feeds vs Email Alerts

There seems to be a question regaring RSS feeds vs email alerts bouncing around on Medlib. Some librarians questioned the use of RSS feeds. One librarian offered a rather harsh criticism of RSS feeds saying, "I personally have never seen the point of RSS when we have toc's. Looks a lot like a wonderful solution for a problem which does not exist." Another librarian saw RSS feeds as being more a "pull technology" where the user must actively go to their RSS aggregator and read information. Because she thought of it as a "pull technology" she wondered whether "expecting busy HC professionals to seek out anything else (such as an RSS aggregator) will decrease current awareness usage."


I think I disagree with the "push and pull technology" theory being applied to RSS feeds and emails. If you think about it emails are also a pull technology. Once a user finds their feed reader of choice, they pretty much stick with it for a while. Yeah they might experiment and jump around to try bells and whistles, but once they settle on a reader they generally set up their feeds and let it do the work. Some users do not use the workplace's chosen email system, therefore they must go out and actively seek their chosen email program to read their emails. For example, I know many doctors who use their AOL, Yahoo, SBC, email instead of the hospital's email. Those doctors must actively go their email provider to read their information. In this case would that be a "pull technology" as well?


However, they do have their benefits and can be a useful tool for people who are interested. David Rothman who is using RSS feeds in his medical library successfully wrote an interesting response on Medlib explining his views on the strengths and uses of RSS feeds. One of the examples Rothman provides is, "RSS feeds can be set up to create email subscription forms or can be easily re-parsed into a web page for medical libraries that want to have Up-To-The-Minute medical news pages on their intranets for clinicians to make use of," that can't be done easily with emailed citations or TOCs.


Rest assured, RSS feeds are not going to displace email alerts or messages. RSS feeds are just another way to manage incomming information. There are all sorts of ways we get our information, TV, radio, newspaper, internet, email, mail, phone, face to face conversations. Depending on the message and our personalities not every technology will meet every need. I am sure there was somebody in the past who thought the telephone was a wonderful solution for a problem that did not exist. After all, they were able to communicate just fine writing a letter to their love one, why would they have a need to use a phone?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

MDs Research Library Launched to Assist Companies With Literature Research

"MDs Research Library, a literature and Internet sources research firm was launched in Mountain View, California on June 30, 2006. The start-up company is focused on developing literature resources for: for profit, NON-PROFIT (pro-bono) organizations, and on behalf of individuals with advanced health issues."

Michael Delander, Founder and CEO of MDs Research Library said "Our mission as a team of consultants is to provide excellence in the development of literature resources that enhance the scientist's 'view' through the lens of key literature."

About MDs Research Library:
"According to the press release, MDs Research Library is a literature and Internet sources research firm that provides niche services for smaller and start-up biosciences firms which include literature research training ranging from basic to in-depth. The company assists with diligence ranging from basic sciences though market research as it may be applied for the development of venture capital.
Additionally, MDs Research Library develops innovative uses for scholarly literature which may include assisting recruiters with targeting key personnel, business development teams 'due diligence' and other custom applications as arranged. MDs Research Library is headquartered in Mountain View, California."

Huh sounds exactly what medical librarians do. Wake up medical librarians here is another company that is direct competition to what you do. Market your services to your users. Get your users to think beyond the idea that the library is a quite place to read some books or get some articles. Because who knows, your marketing department might be contacting this company because they were unaware that you too could market research for them.

The only information I have about this company is from the press release. Unfortunately I could not find a web page for the company. Contact information for further information on the company can be found in the press release.

AbstractPlus Display Format

PubMed default display for single citations has officially changed from Abstract to AbstractPlus. Search results for a single citation will also display in the AbstractPlus format. Searches that retrieve multiple results still default display to the Summary format.
AbstractPlus is an enhanced Abstract view that shows the first five Related Articles for each PubMed citation.

Of course the LinkOut icons are displayed at the bottom of the whole citation. Poor planning. I have heard from many librarians who are irritated by this location choice. The LinkOut icon should be at the top similar to how the old Abstract display featured them. Why on earth NLM would change the location is besides me, but I think they should really change this ASAP.

Other than the LinkOut icons on the bottom of the citation, I rather like the look and feel of the AbstractPlus display.

For additional information see: Change the Display Format of Single Citations with My NCBI PubMed User Preferences. NLM Tech Bull. 2006 Jul-Aug;(351):e2.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

McGraw-Hill Launches AccessSurgery

McGraw-Hill the release of AccessSurgery, a resource for surgical education that combining McGraw-Hill references with surgical videos and animations. According McGraw-Hill, AccessSurgery is the "first online resource for surgeons organized by key topics to reflect the Accreditation College for Graduate Medical Education's (ACGME) mandate for a general surgery core curriculum. AccessSurgery also helps address two of the ACGME's core competencies of medical knowledge and practice-based learning and improvement."

It contains:

  • 1,400+ board review questions and answers and the ability to track and report scores
  • Schwartz's Principles of Surgery, 8th Edition
  • CURRENT Surgical Diagnosis & Treatment, 12th Edition
  • Zollinger's Atlas of Surgical Operations, 8th Edition
  • Skandalakis' Surgical Anatomy
  • Surgery Review Illustrated
  • CURRENT Consult Surgery
  • Surgical videos from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Surgical animations adapted from Zollinger's Atlas of Surgical Operations, 8th Edition
  • Video podcasts highlighting surgical techniques from the editors of Schwartz's Principles of Surgery
  • Drug database
  • Guidelines
  • Differential diagnosis tool with over 100 symptoms and diseases
  • Cancer Staging tables
  • AccessSurgery blog (available to subscribers and non-subscribers)

Individuals can subscribe for $995, institutions have to ask for a price quote.

For more information go to AccessSurgery or About AccessSurgery

NLM Online Users Meeting

Were you unable to attend MLA this year? Were you at MLA but had scheduling conflict or you rolled out of bed too late to go through the Einstein's Bagel line at the Hyatt and walk to the convention center in time to make the NLM Online Users Meeting?

Never fear, the NLM Technical Bulletin has your information from the NLM Online Users Meeting at MLA.
  • NLM Online Users' Meeting 2006: Remarks - e3a Go to article
  • NLM Online Users' Meeting 2006: PowerPoint Presentations for Meeting Remarks, MedlinePlus, DOCLINE and MeSH - e3b Go to article
  • NLM Online Users' Meeting 2006: Questions and Answers - e3c Go to article
  • NLM Online Users' Meeting 2006: NLM Theater PowerPoint Presentations - e3d Go to article
  • NLM Online Users' Meeting 2006: NLM Update PowerPoint Presentations - e3e Go to article

Showing the Money

The IHSLA blog features the article "Showing the Money: Dollar values as Evidence of the Library's value" in the October 2005 (page 22) issue of National Network, the official newsletter of the Hospital Library section of the Medical Library Association, by Julia M. Esparza and Donna M. Record Deaconess Health System. This article is a follow up to their MLA 2005 poster Showing the Money: Utilizing Dollar Values to Show a Library's Value and Increase the Budget!


In the first year Esparaza and Record were able to demonstrate that the library provided over $50,000 worth of services to the hospital and received a 13% increase in their budget. The second year they were able to show they provided over $80,000 worth of services to the hospital and received an 8% budget increase. The amount of growth from the first year to the second justified the budget increase.

The nice thing about this article is that the authors give actual dollar amounts as to the value of their services, and it includes samples of cover sheets and forms use by the library staff to educate their users as to the true cost of their "free" services. Medical librarians can read this article and duplicate the same process at their hospital, hopefully with similar results.

Don't just sit around look at ways to show how much you are worth and prove it to your administrators.

Monday, July 17, 2006

How to Generate PubMed RSS Feeds

David Rothman has a nice "how to post" on generating RSS feeds from PubMed, complete with pictures. Having an RSS feed deliver updates on saved searches or tables of contents is a great way to bring the library services to the patron. However there PubMed's RSS feeds are not without their drawbacks.
As David mentions:
Things still needed to make PubMed RSS as good as it needs to be...
  • As pointed out to me by Medworm's Frankie Dolan, PubMed doesn't make full use of the RSS tags, to note date, author, etc. All this information is instead wrapped up in the description tag. This makes any further parsing of data received from PubMed via RSS
    extremely challenging. Further parsing of these feeds will likely be very important in making efficient, customized, future SDI systems. Step up, NLM! Be a pioneer! Commit to full use of standards! Lead the world of medical publishing and show 'em how it should be done!
  • PubMed RSS feeds should contain LinkOut icons, or at least contain a link: "Click here to see if you can get full-text access to this article now through your library," and this link should take the user to the PubMed citation with LinkOut Buttons.

One of my biggest pet peeves with PubMed and RSS feeds are the lack of LinkOut icons. Grrrrrr! If somebody sets up an PubMed RSS feed the publisher's icon comes through but the LinkOut icon does not, unlike the email updates which include the LinkOut icon. So, if you set up an RSS feed for a search that contains Elsevier journals or LWW journals (LWW's only accessible institutionally through Ovid) you only get the publisher's icons which if clicked bring you to these pages Elsevier and LWW publisher pages. Your users will be absolutely confused, they are not going to know what your library's "institutional entitlements" are.

I just used Elsevier and LWW as examples, this can happen with many of the journals in PubMed especially if your library gets a journal through an alternative way such as MDConsult or Ebsco (which aren't available from the publisher icons). We have been training users to use the LinkOut icons to get their articles and it is frustrating to not see them included in the RSS feeds. If the publisher icons can be present in the RSS feed and if the email alerts can contain the LinkOut icons then the RSS feeds should include the LinkOut icons as well.

I really am very happy about RSS feeds as a great way to increase and extend the library services to patrons, unfortunately without the LinkOut icons patrons will be frustrated by the perceived lack of full tavailabilitylity. NLM get with the program and find a way to include the LinkOut icons, you are doing libraries and users a huge disservice by not including them.

MKSAP 14

MKSAP 14 will be released July 31, 2006. It will include 11 books, an interactive CD-ROM and a new non-CME online version that allows anytime, anywhere learning. A new add-on to MKSAP 14, Board Basics, gives concise, targeted information to assist residents preparing for the certification examination. The MKSAP 14 CD-ROM and MKSAP Online will be released January 2007.
For more information go to Medical News Today.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Building an Organziation and Trust

T. Scott has another good blog post about buidling an organization that is open to change. He discovered that in order to build an organization that is receptive to change you must also have and build upon a foundation of trust. It is an interesting thought, and one that is important not just within the library itself but within the organization as a whole. After all the many librarians have had to build up years of rapport/trust with the IT departments and adminstrators to be able develop a changing and evolving library.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Finding a Doctor and Hospital

Whether you are a public librarian or a medical librarian, chances are there have been times when a patron comes to you asking for help on choosing a "good" doctor or hospital. For some librarians little alarm bells start going off in their head, they go weak in the knees, and they start to wonder whether this is something that might be close crossing that similar line about recommending medical treatments. I have witnessed good reference librarians go bad when this type of question is posed.

So I was interested yesterday morning (July 12, 2006) on the Today Show when I saw a segment entitled "How to find the best doctor." I listened to Ann Curry interview John Connolly, former president of New York Medical College and co-founder of Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. (a research and information company established to help people find the best healthcare, for a fee). Some interesting things that were mentioned. The majority of patients choose a doctor based on office location and perhaps some recommendations from friends. As Connolly said in the interview, people do more research on what movie they are going to see than selecting a doctor.

Of course I was trying to listen to this segment while dressing a squirming 3 year old for preschool. So when good ol' Ann said that all of the information and links mentioned in the segment would be listed on the Today Show web site, I thought oh good, no problem. Well guess what, the links are NOT on the Today Show website (a blunder that happens often with the Today Show and other news agencies, much to my frustration). However, the website does have the interview segment still on their website. It looks like they keep video segments on their website for about a week, so before the segment is replaced you can find the link on the Today Show Video page.

For anybody who is reading this post after the segement has disappeared, or you if can't view the segment because your hospital prohibits streaming video, I have listed the advice and resources mentioned and added a few more links on my own.

If your patron wants to pay for a service to find the best doctor and hospital, it also important to know that companies like Castle Connolly, MDNationwide, and HealthGrades charge consumers $9.99-$32.95 for information found on a lot of the same free resources listed above. It is also important to read the fine print on what exactly the user should expect to receive. For example: Castle Connolly does not provide information on primary care doctors (general internists, general pediatricians, general ob/gyn and Family Practice), which are some the doctors patients see the most often and who are on the front lines to first diagnose or suspect a particular condition.

It is important that librarian's know some of these resources so that we aren't blankly staring back at the patron. We can help them use these resources so that they can make an informed decision. Please feel free to add other links that are free and helpful to consumers who are searching for good doctors and hospitals.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Future of Librarianship - Leaders, Collaboration, and Evolution

Dean Giustini has a good post mentioning health librarians need to be leaders not glorified office managers. "Before health librarians can lead the charge into the brave new, evidence-based future, we need to build (and maintain) expertise in the principles and practice of health librarianship, as well as tracking and staying current with technological trends."

Dean is absolutely right. Too often hospital librarians (especially solos) can become mired in the every day paper work and grunt work of just running the library that it can be difficult to expand professionally. You don't have to become the absolute podcast/wiki/blogging/technology guru, but you need to look at ways of learning and expanding your library so that you are not left in the dust. If you are not looking at ways to expand your library or library services then you are on the slow train to being obsolete.

For example: I know of a librarian who took a new job at a hospital library. The previous (retiring) librarian was not up on technology and was unfamiliar with many common technological issues in librarianship. The new librarian sought to acquire new electronic databases and electronic journals, he asked IT about the IP ranges of the hospital so that he could establish IP authentication. IT was surprised that he was interested in knowing the IP ranges. The new librarian was surprised to learn from IT that the hospital shared IP ranges with other hospitals in the system. After many discussions he learned that IT did not know the impact it would have on the library and previous librarian had never contacted IT regarding the issue. Now this new librarian is stuck trying to convince IT to fix this problem (which he is told will cost a lot of money) and his goals and ideas for "expanding" the library and its services are drastically reduced. The librarian told me that one of the reasons he accepted the position was that he was excited to provide new services and resources to the library, but now he is frustrated that he may not be able to do that. He half jokingly said that perhaps he should have asked what their IP situation was when he first interviewed.

The thing I hear from many solo librarians is that they don't have the time. Perhaps get a little "wild" stop checking in and claiming those journals (which takes tons of staff time) and concentrate on providing more electronic access. That is where a lot of the patron demands are. Now if the idea of not checking in journals is just too "wild and crazy" of an idea for you to do, give the task to a volunteer. Why are you, a professional, spending your time essentially doing what the stock boy at the grocery store does when a new shipment of bread comes in?

The point is you don't have time not to learn, because if you don't take the time to at least be familiar with some technological trends and issues, it will eventually come back to bite you or your library. Be your library's leader not its office manager.

Librarian a Friend of Nurses

The Concord Journal's TownOnline.com has a nice article on Nancy Serotkin, manager of library services at Emerson Hospital, who received the Friend of Nursing Award. Congratuations, Nancy!

When I read articles like this it always puts a nice little warm fuzzy in my heart. It is a nice pick me up to read when days are going bad (that and a pint of Ben and Jerry's and some pop 80's tunes).

Friday, July 07, 2006

The SirsiDynix Institute presents Meredith Farkas: Wiki: The Ultimate Tool for Online Collaboration on Thursday, July 13, 2006 9 am to 10 am PACIFIC time.

What is a wiki? And how are they being used in libraries? Are they right for your library and if so how do you implement? These questions and more will be answered in the upcoming SirsiDynix Institute, July 13, 9 a.m. Mountain Time. There is a lot of buzz around wikis and Meredith Farkas, distance learning librarian at Norwich University, will discuss what makes Wikis so revolutionary and controversial. She will explain why they are an excellent tool for certain projects and purposes, and why they may not be the best choice for every population.

For more information and to register got to the

Permanent Change

T. Scott has a great post on his blog about change and libraries. Specifically about how change is actually a constant, there was and always will be change.

"It is the nature of the world and it is a fantasy (one that humans are particularly prone to) to imagine the past as a stable environment where people knew what was going on and what their role was, completely unlike the present, which is full of uncertainty and pressures being imposed on us from every direction."

Interesting point which had me thinking whether I have sometimes subscribed to that fantasy.

MLA Hot Technologies Webcast

For all who might be interested, MLANET has just released more information on the Technologies Webcast.

"The goal of the MLA Webcast, 'Moving at the Speed of Byte: Emerging Technologies for Information Management,' is to expose information professionals to new and emerging technologies and to encourage their use in information management. The program is scheduled for Wednesday, November 8, starting at 1:00 p.m. central time."

Program objectives are currently available on MLANET; a full agenda, registration, and list of speakers are forthcoming.

Sounds interesting, can't wait to find out more.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Citation Tracking Wars

Who is the better at tracking citations? Google Scholar, Web of Science, or Scopus? Dean Giustini looks at an article in BioMedical Digital Libraries (BDL) entitled Three options for citation tracking: Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science. The paper makes some assumptions and is limited in some aspects. However, it does attempt to compare three unique citation tracking tools and according to Dean is still worth reading.

...So the winner is?
According to the article, "This study did not identify any one of these three resources as the answer to all citation tracking needs." OK sounds like a tie. But....
Dean clearly thinks Google Scholar is not the winner, "It seems obvious to librarians that Google Scholar is not a reliable citation tool." He did find WoS to be the "best indicator of citation counts for academic papers, across all disciplines." However he was unable to comment about Scopus because his library (UBC) does not subscribe to it. So does that mean we have tie, or has the tournament just eliminated one competitor and those remaining are left to slug it out in the finals? Hmm perhaps I have been watching too much World Cup.

New Medical Librarian Blog

For all those trying to keep track of blogs about medical librarianship or from medical librarians, David Rothman has launched his own blog http://davidrothman.net/. David is responsible for the day to day operations of Community General Hospital in Syracuse, NY. According to his bio and his interests he too is interested in technology and medical libraries.

"Conditional technology evangelism: Technologies should be championed when they can add value (efficiency, effectiveness) to someone's work or play. Technology for the sake of technology (technolust) is the enemy of good librarianship, and it is the job of librarians to help users make happy and effective use of technologies through good user interfaces, through good education/training programs, and by making the library a pleasant place/service to visit or utilize."
Here here David, well said.

He just started his blog and already has a great (and long) post about RSS feeds and how we can use them to help keep our users on top of things.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ebooks from Springer and Rittenhouse

Springer is launching a new eBook initiative through SpringerLink that will allow students and researchers electronic access to more than 10,000 books. The site will integrates Springer eBooks with the articles from Springer journals. Springer will allow unlimited simultaneous access to eBooks. The eBooks' PDF and HTML documents are fully searchable and can be downloaded and printed. In addition, once a library purchases Springer's eBook collection, they own the book content for their use in perpetuity.

Libraries can purchase a complete collection of all Springer titles from a copyright year or they can choose to purchase one or more of 12 distinct topic categories (e.g., engineering, medicine, computer science, mathematics, etc.). Approximately 3,000 new eBooks will be published and available every year.

The new SpringerLink is still in beta, I could not find any specific on pricing for institutions other than this phrase, "Flexible licensing options include institutional and individual access. Reduced maintenance expense, sophisticated management tools and simple, user-friendly interface make the Springer eBook Collection a cost-effective, patron-pleasing choice for academic and corporate libraries."

For those interested you can Take the eBook Demonstration at Springer's site.


I received an email from a colleague about Rittenhouse's electronic book initiative called R2 includes books in medicine, nursing & allied health from different publishers such as Lippincott, McGraw-Hill, Oxford, etc. The books are indexed using MESH terms. Like Springer once a title is purchased the library own's the content for the life of the edition. So, Degowin's Diagnostic Examination, 8th ed, is $129/user for the life of the book. You only pay once, not each year as in Ovid or Statref. When the 9th edition comes out, you have archival access to the 8th edition (1 user only) at no charge.

According to the email I received they have a $1200 annual maintenance fee which is waived the first year if you answer a questionnaire. They work with individual institutions mostly, but are willing to talk to consortia as well.

Unfortunately there is no information on Rittenhouse's website regarding R2 and if you got to the R2 website there is no FAQ or product information. I know they were at MLA this year but unfortunately I never got any information from them (I meant to but never go around to it). You would think they would want to put some information about their product on their websites, because it might be kind of helpful.

Ovid Resources of the Month

Global Health and CAB Abstracts

Global Health - an international public health database covering the core public health literature and other significant unique content, particularly in the areas of tropical medicine, infectious diseases, vector control, food safety and epidemiology.

Try it free this month from Ovid

Learn more about Global Health

CAB Abstracts - provides access international agricultural and applied life sciences database. CAB Abstracts is the largest professionally-produced database covering international issues in agriculture, forestry, and allied disciplines in the life sciences. The database contains over 4 million records from over 11,000 journals. books, conferences, reports, and other kinds of literature published internationally. Subjects covered include animal and crop husbandry, animal and plant breeding, plant protection, genetics, forestry engineering, economics, veterinary medicine, human nutrition, and rural development. Coverage is from 1973 to the present, with abstracts in English prepared from papers originally published in over 75 different languages. Available on the SilverPlatter platform under the name CABCD.

Try it free this month from Ovid

Learn more about CAB Abstracts

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The Krafty Librarian has been a medical librarian since 1998. She is currently the medical librarian for a hospital system in Ohio. You can email her at: