Thursday, July 31, 2008

Journals and Cell Phones

My 18 month old son got a hold of my husband's cell phone. No surprise it was returned to us in three pieces. Our quest to find a new cell phone began. Shortly into the endeavor, we decided to look at various packages. Quickly we were on the slippery slope of cell phone, land line, DSL, and TV service bundling. I tried to compare apples to apples, a task easier said than done. After an hour of looking at various packages, bundles, and prices, it hit me. The communication industry and the publishing industry might be secretly run by the same people, because whole process reminded me of online journals.

Similar to Rollover Minutes, Fav 5, and Nights and Weekend plans, there is tiered pricing, institutional pricing, FTE pricing, number of beds pricing, etc. Both industries offer a dizzying variety of bundles and packages to try and get you to buy more. Trying to hook it all up to provide online access on campus as well as off campus not only requires some finesse but also requires you to read the fine print in the license agreements. According the fine print, Company A defines nights on the Nights and Weekend plan to start at 9:00pm while Company B defines nights starting 8:00pm unless you pay extra for nights to start at 7:00. Journal Publisher A defines a single location as one building, buildings next door are separate locations and more money. Journal Publish B defines a single location as any building within the same city limits as long as it does not have an independent administration. Like cell phone coverage, access to electronic journals varies with the publisher and can be unpredictable and spotty. Can it be accessible off campus? If so, via proxy, Athens, or password? Can you view all electronic content or is just some available? What about accessing epub ahead of print, back issues, videos, slides, podcasts, and meeting abstracts? God forbid if you have problems and need tech support or have a question about subscriptions. Just like the cable and phone company, journal customer support is less than stellar and their contact information is a mystery to find. If you do happen to reach a live person you better have your customer or account number ready because for some reason they don’t know what it is, can't find it, and won’t call up your information to help you. Usually problems are chalked up to user error, networking error, or failure to pay your bill (even though you did). Do they ever read the notes they type on their computers from your 60 help desk calls, or are the keyboard sounds you hear the result of them sending an email to a friend? Mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcy rear their ugly in head in both industries. AT&T bought Cingular but good luck trying to get their two systems and departments to talk and work together at all, let alone seamlessly. I have yet to figure out why on AT&T’s site I can log in and view my account under home phone and see my wireless account (originally Cingular) but I can’t log in to "view your wireless account" and view my wireless bill on the same AT&T site. LWW recently published three new Circulation specialty journals, but it is unknown whether those journals will be in Ovid’s LWW Total Access Package because they are working with the publisher on the rights to do so. Uh isn’t the publisher and Ovid within the same company? Wiley recently shook the hornet’s nest when they migrated recently acquired Blackwell Synergy to InterScience.

There is one difference between two, with journal publishers I don’t have to take off work and sit at home during a six hour window waiting for installation or repairs. Perhaps it is all a coincidence. But I choose to believe it is a conspiracy, one big secret organization hell bent on causing us to go insane and create havoc with human productivity. The same secret organization might also include those ever efficient and popular insurance companies. Ok, there maybe some of you that might say I am paranoid, but I know, "The Truth is Out There."

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Use For Google Docs

My sister, Danielle and her husband, Ryan in two days will be starting the first leg of the dream trip. They each are taking a 6 months leave absence from their jobs to travel the world. Everything they have must be able to be carried on their backs, there is not a lot of room for extras. However, when you are visiting 30 different places you have a lot of paperwork such as reservations, train tickets, airplane tickets, etc. It is always a good idea to have a photocopy back up of all this paperwork.
In the past Ryan used to just put the photocopied documents in a separate bag, but this trip is a little different. In his blog, Ryan discusses the need to keep backup paperwork for the trip, but also the need to conserve space. According to Ryan, if he were to copy every reservation, airline ticket, insurance document and carry them, it would be like carrying a huge textbook in his backpack. Not only does it add more weight but it takes up precious space. The solution, Google Docs. He was able to store all of his important documents in Word, Excel and PDF. Ryan says, "The last (PDF) is the most useful format in that on most computers these days you can print or save to PDF format. So when completing a reservation on a website, just save the receipt/booking page to PDF and you will be able to open it on pretty much any computer in the world."

So whether you travel for work or for fun this might be a nice way to keep the backups safe and available.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

What is Knol

Google has been testing a new product called Knol. Knol is intended to be a site where authoritative articles on specific topics are available. These articles are written by people "who know all about those subjects." According to the Official Google Blog, "every know will have an author (or group of authors) who put their name behind their content."
At first glance there appears to be a lot of health care information on Knol. One of the Feature Knols is Migraine: Mechanisms and Management,by Richard Kraig. Knol topics include Tuberculosis, Pancreatitis, Glaucoma, and many more. From what I can tell many are written by physicians based on the brief author information on each knol. However, I found many authors did not provide Knol with their biographical information, leaving me to question whether the friendly face in the picture really is a physician and if so what their qualifications are. Additionally, Knol has no specific guidelines as to what somebody could publish.

Introduction to Knol:

"So what subjects can I write on?
(Almost) anything you like. You pick the subject and write it the way you
see fit. We don't edit knols nor do we try to enforce any particular viewpoint –
your knol should be written as you want it to be written."



Read Write Web's article, Knol: Google Takes on Wikipedia, provides a nice overview of Knol and mentions that authors can validate their identity on Knol through either a credit card or a phone number. I am less than impressed by this method of validation. I would much rather see some in depth information as to why I should trust Dr. Smart Brain's knol on congestive heart failure vs. Dr. Also Smart on the same knol. You see not only are there no stringent author requirements for posting medical information, but there can be more than one knol on a topic. Great for restaurant and hotel reviews, but potentially confusing (at best) for medical information.


If Knol seems at all familiar then you may have heard about Medpedia, which was recently posted on David Rothman's blog who noted that he saw no criteria for the acceptance of applications for submitting to Medpedia. In a comment to David's post, Angela Simmen said,
"We are confident that a large number of passionate people — some with medical credentials and some without credentials — can collaborate to produce something of very high quality. We also believe that the result of their work will do a better job of answering the general public’s questions than the most popular medical websites of today." Fine and dandy, but what happens if you have an author writing an popular point of view or writes about a controversial topic. There are plenty of passionate people who view early child immunization shots as a direct contributor to autism. Almost equally controversial is the debate on circumcision. Those are just two examples, and we haven't even scratched the surface with drug trials. Need we forget that at one time rofecoxib (Vioxx) was used to treat osteoarthritis and was approved and thought safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration only later to be pulled by the manufacturer concerns about increased risk of heart attack and stroke associated with long-term, high-dosage use.

David has also done a very nice job of compiling a list of medical wikis. Speaking as a consumer (let's forget for a second that I am also a librarian), I would be extremely concerned that neither of these two sites (as well as other medical wikis) do not have any authorship controls. Excellent websites post their authors' credentials and an excellent wiki should also require authors to provide appropriate credentials. AskDrWiki does this, only "licensed clinical professionals who have proven their credentials to the satisfaction of editors," are allowed to contribute. I would challenge all other professional medical wikis to do the same and create some actual standards and criteria for posting.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Our Desire To Be Social and Privacy

Two interesting posts today reflect how our desire to be social often carries the a heavy burden of responsibility that many do not adhere to.


John Sharp at eHealth directed my attention to the article, Content of Weblogs Written by Health Professionals, (Journal of General Internal Medicine doi 10.1007/s11606-008-0726-6) studying 271 blogs by medical professionals. It turns out many the blogs (42%)described individual patients, some of those blogs described patient interaction in sufficient enough detail for patients to identify their doctors or themselves. Three blogs included identifiable photos of patients. The study concludes that while bloggs offers an opportunity for professional sharing, many are not being very professional about it by revealing confidential information, their unprofessional narrative tone or content. The authors of the paper feel that "health professions should assume some responsibility for helping authors and readers negotiate these challenges." John Sharp "wonders if there are similar privacy and confidentiality violations within social networking sites for medical professionals."

Well John, I would venture to guess that there are similar privacy and confidentiality issues are happening on social networking sites. Sarah Arnquist recently blogged about the article, Study: Med students sharing a bit too much info on Facebook. This brief article talks about the incredibly poor judgement and unprofessional nature of some medical students.

So where do hospitals stand regarding social networking, blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc.? How many hospitals have policies regarding these technologies and do these policies include a code of conduct or patient confidentiality? Is this whole issue largely under the radar for most hospital administration? Even it it is, where are these people's peers (the blog readers themselves) who should be holding their colleagues feet to the fire regarding the patient confidentiality issues?

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Friday, July 18, 2008

PubMed Search Clinic Video Available

The video from yesterday's PubMed Search Clinic is now available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/disted/clinics/pmupdate08.html so if you missed it you can still learn about the changes.

The presentation covers the changes made to PubMed including: automatic term mapping, citation sensor, and advanced search page.

Citation Senor:
It is a new feature designed for users seeking specific citations. Simply put the citation information into the search box and click Go. The Citation Sensor looks at that information and if it looks like it is citation information it will try and find matches. It will display the matches in a yellow box.

I see this as handy, but I have to say I really like the regular Citation Matcher that is listed on the left hand side (in the blue bar) of the front page. I like it because quite often people have the wrong spelling, wrong journal, wrong year when looking for a specific citation. I think the Citation Matcher makes it easier to account and adjust for these errors. For example, it suggests author and journal titles. There are a lot of ways to misspell Tchorzewski, however if you are close and at least type in Tch, PubMed will at least suggest the rest. You don't get that with Citation Sensor. But who knows maybe Citation Sensor will grow on me.

Automatic Term Mapping (ATM):
PubMed has had automatic term mapping for quite a while, they just have made some recent changes. The old ATM mapped search terms to subject, journal, and author tables in a certain order. If a match was found in the MeSH table it would stop mapping, it wouldn't search the author or journal tables. According to NLM this was frustrating to users. The new ATM still does check the original fields (subject, journal, author) in the same order but it also now checks all fields for phrase and individual terms.

July 2, 2008 changes to ATM:
Based on user feedback, they made some enhancements to ATM. Substance names (known as MeSH supplement or concepts) and MeSH with stand alone letters or numbers will not be broken apart and searched. They will be searched as a phrase. For example: "factor b" will not be split up.

The new ATM changes mean that users will retrieve more results. They found that searches retrieved on average 10% more citations. NLM has provided an FAQ for more information and reasoning for the new ATM.

Personally, I still don't like PubMed's searching and mapping features. I really really like the way Ovid maps and suggests terms. It almost forces keyword searchers to think about using MeSH terms. PubMed doesn't do that, people enter terms and are blindly mapped to terms and keywords. Yes, they can click the Details tab to see what it is doing, but how many users do that? Getting PubMed to search MeSH terms is better than it has been in the past but I still think it is clunky.

Advanced Search:
The beta for Advanced Search was launched on May 15, 2008. The screen has four collapsable sections allowing you to shrink or expand various sections as needed. The search box and the History are at the top, History works the same as previously. The Search by Field section is next and the default fields displayed are Author, Journal, and Publication Date which are the most commonly searched. However, you can search by other fields as well. Just right of the search fields input box there is an odd little icon/button that gives you access to the index for the selected field. The Limit section is the next section on the page and you can carry your limits to future searches using the lock icon (defaulted to carry your limits to future searches). Finally, there is the Index of Fields and Field Values box. This feature is helpful if you want to add multiple items from one specific index.

If after viewing the clinic, you still have some general PubMed suggestions you should consider sending an email to their customer service which you can find on the bottom of most NLM pages as Write to the Help Desk. The instructors feel that the PubMed improvements have helped with searching. If it hasn't they want your feedback with real searches and real examples.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

EBSCO 2.0 Tutorials

EBSCO 2.0 is live. I hope everyone has had a chance to play around with it and see how it works and how various enhancements work within the databases (Medline, CINAHL, AltHealthWatch, etc.).
Of course now that there is a new look and feel along with some new features, it is time to update those tutorials and handouts. It appears that a lot of people are still linking to EBSCO's tutorials and information for now. But, here are some libraries who already have created their own EBSCO 2.0 tutorials.
PsychINFO Flash Tutorial - Trinity Western University Norma Marion Alloway Library
Academic Search Premier - Camosun College library (created while EBSCO 2.0 was in beta)

I happened to find these tutorials on the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL) Animated Tutorial Sharing Project website, if you know of any other tutorials or handouts that have been created using the new EBSCO 2.0 information please let me know (via comment or email) so I can post it and we all can benefit.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Don't Forget PubMed Search Clinic

Nikki (Eagle Dawg Blog) has posted a guest post on David Rothman's site reminding us all about the 30 min. PubMed search clinic offered tomorrow July 17 at 2pm Eastern time.

Don't forget the class is only open to the first 300 participants to login. If you get shut out or you can't otherwise make it at that time, never fear, the session will be recorded and available for viewing at a later time.

Do you have questions for the search clinic? Unfortunately they will not be able to take questions using audio. Please use the Chat (Q&A) pod to type questions and comments to the trainers. Feel free to enter your questions throughout the presentation.

Nikki also reminds us of the technical requirements for participating in the class. "If you have not used Adobe Connect before (or since they acquired Macromedia Breeze), check that you have the most recent free Adobe Flash update (version 9.0.124) as using 9.0.115 and earlier versions may result in audio problems while accessing the archive later on. I recommend viewing the recent ‘Awakening the Searcher Within’ seminar series from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Northwest Region (NN/LM PNR) archive both as a way to test your audio and see how the chat pod is used in Adobe Connect in addition to reviewing some great search strategies."

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Hospital Library Section Providing Additional Funds to Hawaii to Members With Accepted Papers/Poster

Are you think of submitting a poster or a paper for the annual meeting in Hawaii? Go for it! If the abstract to your poster or paper is accepted and you are an HLS (Hospital Library Section) member you are eligible to apply for funding ($250.00) to attend the meeting in Hawaii.

Last year HLS gave out four awards totaling $1,000. For more information check out the July 2008, National Network at http://www.hls.mlanet.org/.


Don't forget there are other funding oportunities as well from a variety of sources.


Continuing Education Awards -MLA members may submit applications for these awards of $100 to $500 to develop their knowledge of the theoretical, administrative, or technical aspects of librarianship. More than one continuing education (CE) award may be offered in a year and may be used either for MLA courses or for other CE activities.


EBSCO/MLA Annual Meeting Grant - This scholarship is sponsored by EBSCO Information Services and enables MLA members to attend the association's annual meeting. Each year awards of up to $1,000 for travel and conference-related expenses will be given to four librarians who would otherwise be unable to attend the meeting. Applicants must be currently employed as health sciences librarians and have between two and five years' experience in a health sciences library.

Hospital Libraries Section/MLA Professional Development Grants -This award, sponsored by the Hospital Libraries Section, provides librarians working in hospital and similar clinical settings with the support needed for educational or research activities. This award was established in 1996, and is given twice each year. Application deadlines are August 1 and February 1.


Chapter Awards - Browse your chapter's website. I found at least 8 chapters that have professional development, continuing education, or meeting attendance awards.



Other things to remember:
  • The conference hotel will be CHEAPER in Hawaii than it was in Chicago.
  • Keep an eye out for good airfares, there are still deals to be had. I know somebody who recently got a round trip from Chicago to Honolulu for around $600. A good site to watch and price airfares is Kayak.com.
  • Don't have enough frequent flier miles to get to Honolulu, consider using them to get to a cheaper departure city. For example, Southwest Airlines no longer goes to Honolulu, consider using those points to get you to Los Angeles (or another city) where there is a cheaper flight to Hawaii. If you can get to LAX for free on SWA, you can get a $520 flight from LAX to HNL.
  • You don't have to rent a car the whole time, you can easily get around on The Bus a 4-day visitor’s passes are $20 for unlimited number of rides.
  • According to the LAC sales tax is only 4.712% and eating in Honolulu can be very reasonable.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thoughts from the ALA Conference in Anaheim

June 26th through July 2nd 22,000 librarians came together in Anaheim California for the American Library Association Annual Conference to participate in over 300 education programs, 2000 committee meeting and events, and visit the exhibit hall as well Disneyland.
The Library 2.0 gang and outgoing ALA President, Loriene Roy reflect on this year's conference in their podcast. Even thought the Library 2.0 Gang tends to focus on technology, this podcast really focused on the conference as a whole.

Two over all topics seemed to emerge from this discussion about the conference, vendor participation and privacy.


Vendor Participation:
Two people on the Gang are vendors for library products, Carl Grant and Oren Beit-Arie. Carl has worked many years for major library automation firms (Ex Libris, Innovative and companies that are now part of SIRSI/Dynix) and is the founder of CARE Affiliates, Inc., a company specializing in open source software for libraries providing consulting, selection, implementation, maintenance, support and development services around selected open source solutions. Oren, has been involved in the design and the development of all of Ex Libris products including recently, Primo.
The conference had the expected amount of attendees this year. While there wasn't as many people as last year's conference (record breaking attendance at Washington DC) they still met their expected number of attendees. However, Carl believed this conference was one of the worst for the exhibitors. He mentioned that he and other exhibitors noticed significantly fewer librarians within the exhibit hall. His concern is that ALA's current model of vendor/exhibitor participation is no longer viable for many library vendors. His point was vendors pay a lot of money to exhibit in the hall and when librarians don't visit the exhibit hall, he begins to question whether attending the conference was a good use of funds. To get a librarian's attention, they not only have to compete with the 300 conference programs but also with the surrounding area's attractions such as Disneyland. With more and more librarians actually opting out of visiting the exhibit hall he said that he and other vendors think it might be too costly to participate. Oren seconded Carl's thoughts. Oren believes ALA's past operation models for vendors and exhibitors may not be sustainable in the future. They both believe that companies should be able to have more opportunities to participate in the conference beyond the exhibitor hall and depending on the type of participation. There is skepticism about allowing vendors on the program. Carl (an open source vendor) mentioned that out of the three to four proposals for programs that he and other open source vendors submitted, only one was accepted by ALA was one that ALA required a fee.

I have never worked for a vendor, so I found this discussion extremely fascinating. I can understand their dilemma. Personally, I found this to be the most interesting part of the whole discussion because it offered a tiny peek behind the curtains at a vendors world that was unknown to me.

Privacy:
Is privacy dead and are librarians holding on to and trying to ride this dead horse? Many of our users are on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and are shopping on Amazon.com and by doing so completely give up their privacy. According to Carl, "Patrons are perfectly willing to give up their privacy in return for convenience and anybody who uses Amazon knows this for a fact." (Don't forget there was person who was able to take all of Amazon's FREE data and map out the address and location everybody who had a wish list on Amazon. The programmer decided to just look at and map people who had "subversive" titles on their wish lists.) "Libraries by not understanding that privacy is a dead issue are in fact crippling their ability to best meet the needs of their users." Granted there are certain things that should remain private, but libraries need to find out and grab the data that patrons are willing to give us so that we can provide better and more convenient services for them.
Char, finds that the privacy issue definitely blocks certain social library applications from being adopted or implemented in some areas. She says as soon as she presents on some of these applications, inevitably there are librarians asking her what data they are using or keeping and expunging records. She thinks there are different levels of privacy and the host, Richard Wallis, best explains this. He suggests that while certain things like your birth date and zip code are private and will so, perhaps your viewing/reading habits aren't necessarily. In other words based on your reading habits you are somebody who enjoys these type of books and here are suggestions of other books that you might like as well. Carl says that other companies (like Amazon.com) are doing this sort of thing and going right around libraries and providing services that we (librarians) should be providing.
Both Char and Marshal believe that the privacy issue isn't necessarily dead. It is an area where librarians can make a unique contribution to user education and libraries need to be responsible or more responsible with people's information but at the same time we don't need to cripple ourselves on how users use our system because of privacy.

This too is a very interesting discussion and I think as medical librarians dealing with health issues we see another side to the issue of privacy.


All in all this podcast was extremely interesting and offered insights on what some of the issues surrounding this year's ALA annual meeting.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

PubMed Search Clinic July 17th

In a previous post I mentioned a few of the recent changes that have been happening withing PubMed. I also mentioned the National Library of Medicine will be conducting a 30 minute online search clinic on July 17, 2008 at 2:00 eastern regarding the PubMed changes. The presentation will cover how PubMed handles your search with the Automatic Term Mapping (ATM), Citation Sensor, and Advance Search beta.

At the time NLM recommended we go to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/disted/clinics/pmupdate08.html for more information. Unfortunately there was no other information other than the date and time and the note that the online class will be limited to 300 people but will also be recorded for online viewing at a later date.

Please know the site has been updated and has quite a bit more information and a note that there is no advance registration. It is sort of a first come first serve thing open to the first 300 people who enter the online class on that date and time.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Top Tech Trends Panel at ALA

According to Library Journal's, "Top Tech Trends Panel Enlightens Despite Technology Troubles" the Top Tech Trends Panel at ALA discussed the new trends but also the technology speed bumps to we might encounter. I found the article to be interesting to read but of course I couldn't help thinking about how medical and hospital libraries fit into the equation.

There is a growing enthusiasm for open source within the ALA technology community. The article mentions several librarians who gave their opinions on open source in libraries including Karen Schneider who mentioned that librarians have come full circle from the earliest days of library software, and are back to writing and supporting their own code. I see open source as a great way to supplement our existing library systems, but I just don't see many medical librarians going back to writing their own systems and coding. Why? Many of your academic medical centers are a part of a larger university library system. Often the university library sets the tone for what is done with library wide systems (like the ILS). Most of your hospital librarians are in one or two person libraries where they don't have time and most likely the programming knowledge to start coding. In addition they have the double whammy of having to try and get it through hospital IT approval, which is a very different and difficult process compared to public or academic IT departments. That doesn't mean that I don't see open source affecting medical libraries. Au contraire, I see medical libraries benefiting from open source applications, I just see the majority of medical librarians as adopters and adapters of the technology rather than the creating the technology.

Of course bandwidth issues are being discussed in a lot of libraries, both public and medical. The difference however, is that medical libraries usually must rely upon the larger institution such as the hospital or university regarding bandwidth. Just because bandwidth issue is in most likely another department's problem, doesn't mean medical librarians can't be proactive in trying to work with their IT departments to address the issue. Many hospitals have a pretty tough policy on multimedia use on their computers because of bandwidth issues. However some hospital librarians have gotten some medically related multimedia sites (surgical videos, podcasts, etc.) exempt from the policy. Most can't download a surgical video from YouTube, but they can easily point to a site like AccessSurgery or NLM's Surgical Videos as necessary. As more of these legitimate educational sites become available, doctors, nurses and patients are going to want to use them and the bandwidth will need to be addressed. Simply blocking YouTube might buy IT some time but the bandwidth bug will come back. You can never have too much bandwidth.

With the release of the new iPhone and Sprint's Instinct, more people are starting to use mobile devices. I think medical librarians have been a little bit ahead of the game here. We have been looking at resources (online textbooks, databases, programs, etc) that work well on mobile devices for quite a while. It used to be residents were carrying around one of two "flavors" of mobile devices, Palm or PocketPC. Things have changed a little, not only have the devices changed but so have the users. A larger variety of users who in past most likely didn't own a PDA now are able to access and use resources from their iPhone or iClone.

As I mentioned it is always interesting to me to see what trends others in libraries are following and what it might mean for medical libraries. That is why I am always watching those in ALA and more specifically LITA. While I haven't found out how gaming fits into medical libraries, there are certainly plenty of other things out there that we could learn about and experiment with to see how or if it is applicable in our libraries.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Online Search Clinic From NLM Regarding PubMed Changes

There has been a lot of chatter recently regarding some of the changes in PubMed. While I have been kicking the tires and testing out CINAHL in EBSCO 2.0, others have been detailing some of the changes happening within PubMed. Now the National Library of Medicine will be conducting a 30 minute online search clinic on July 17, 2008 at 2:00 eastern regarding the PubMed changes. The presentation will cover how PubMed handles your search with the Automatic Term Mapping (ATM), Citation Sensor, and Advance Search beta.

For more information and access to the meeting, go to: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/disted/clinics/pmupdate08.html.
Due to technical limitations, there is a maximum capacity of 300 participants.
The clinic will be recorded and available for viewing at this address. Comments and suggestions regarding the search clinic are welcome.

Personally I think this is a must see for medical librarians, but is especially important for medical librarians who rely primarily on PubMed for MEDLINE searching.

If you are interested in reading what others are saying about the changes Laika, Keith Nockels, and Eagle Dawg all have fairly recent posts on the new PubMed features. It might be a nice way to quickly familiarize yourself with the issues before NLM's presentation. Perhaps their insights might cause you to generate some interesting and thought provoking questions, comments, and suggestions that you would like to submit to NLM prior to the clinic on July, 17th.

In Laika's MedLibLog post, PubMed: Past, Present And Future, PART II she describes some of the changes and enhancements that NLM has implemented in the PubMed interface. She has a very in depth description and analysis of PubMed's "most recent, most radical, and yet most poorly announce change," Automatic Term Mapping (ATM). She illustrates her thoughts using several search examples and how PubMed handles them using ATM. She investigates new features such as the Citation Sensor, Advanced Search Beta, and some other minor changes.

She discusses the majority of changes in Part II of the series. Part I discusses past features and tools within PubMed and the need to make them easier. Part III discusses the possible future of PubMed and what she would like to see occur.

Keith Nockels over at Browsing posted, Changes to PubMed where he lists what changes he will discuss with the departments to which he is a liaison. He briefly discusses the missing sidebar, Advanced Search, ATM, Citation Sensor, Title Sort, and a new spellchecker.

Eagle Dawg's Blog post, New ATM & PubMed: Straight to the source is an update from her brief PubMed Review shoutout (MLA 08) which has a direct link to the 25-minute PubMed Review slides & audio presentation. She lists the three "must see" sections of the video as the Advanced Search Beta, ATM, and Using Advanced Search to focus subjects due to ATM. Eagle Dawg also provides al ink to NN/LM PNR's blog entry which is a brief tutorial on the changes.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Updates for OvidSP

On July 31, 2008 Ovid users might notice a few new changes. According to Ovid "this release moves beyond traditional searching, delivering enhancements and exciting new functionality that improve search flexibility, personalization, and sharing capabilities, so that users can work the way they want to work."

These new features will be:
  • The main search screen will be streamlined with a sleeker and more intuitive design.
  • Search Tab Addition and Enhancements - A new Multi - Field Search tab will allow for a more targeted and specific search by providing multiple search boxes for assigning specific fields. (I have no idea what that means but will see how that works)
  • User Workflow Tools - The Search Aids box will be collapsible. Results Manager and Search History will be moveable. Font size will be adjustable via the Internet browser, and annotations will be enhanced. Email capabilities will be expanded (they dont' say how).
  • My Project Workspace Area - This is a new feature and is a direct result from customer feedback. The My Projects will provide a workspace for assemblind and organizing research findings for easier management and it is linkable from every page in the application.
  • Universal Search - This is a new "premium search offering" and is available as an add-on. It will deliver cross platform content searching within the OvidSP interface.

Ovid recomends the OvidSP Resource Center to find information on the upcoming release. In the next few weeks Ovid will add new training schedules, tutorials, and screen shots.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Need Technology Think About Getting a Grant

We all know of somebody who is always talking about how their library never has any money to do anything. Indeed you may have been this somebody at one time or another. Afterall, no library or institution has an unlimited budget. Therefore it is important to think about external funding from a grant. Applying for a grant can be a little intimidating and daunting but don't let that stop you.
Is there a project you want to do but you need some extra computers, staff, materials, etc.? Chances are if there are grants that can help you with it. For example the Middle Atlantic Region recently announced the recipients of the Technology Improvement Awards.

Some of examples of what the awards will fund are:
  • Aquiring necessary resource to automate and streamline library processes
  • Replacing older network equipment with wireless equipment
  • Computer and software upgrades
  • Providing Tablet PCs for support and remote reference
  • CHI computer kiosks
  • Upgrades to improve document delivery

Depending on your library's location and the various association you belong to you, there might be other sort of grants out there that might fit your needs. Every region within NN/LM has a link for funding listing available funding opportunities.

Plus don't forget there are funding opportunities available to attend meetings for professional development. Something to think about for future MLA annual meetings and chapter meetings.

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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: