Technology

Social Media and MLA

Yesterday I sat in on a conference call about various technology things and MLA. One of the things we discussed was social media.  We have to get involved, we have to create a social media strategy to effectively engage in that area of communication.  Based on a survey, it is clear that the majority of those surveyed still prefer the listserve to communicate.  But, it is also clear that other mediums are gaining in popularity and usage and they shouldn’t be ignored just because they are new.  Talking on the phone was once the preferred method of communication among people, now cell phone companies are investigating data/text only plans (no voice minutes) because people just aren’t talking anymore, they are texting and emailing.  As society adapts to new technology they change their behavior patterns. 

I am not saying using the listserve to stay informed is exactly like the evolution of cell phone use, but we do evolve with technology and we would be seriously remiss if we don’t look at addressing it and coming up with a strategy.

So here is where I ask you, the reader….  “What would you like to see MLA do with social media?”

Keep in mind it has to be pretty self sustaining, easy, and require few man hours.  Why?  There are like 10 people who are employed as MLA staff who are all working on multiple projects to keep the organization going.  Whatever plan, thoughts, ideas, that you have, they need to take into account that perhaps a volunteer(s) (similar to the Medlib-l moderator) might be the one doing the bulk of the day to day stuff.  It also should be something that is cohesive and not disjointed.  A LinkedIn account, Facebook account, and YouTube account all sitting out there separately not referencing to each other or interconnected in either way and duplicating work without a cohesive voice or style, does us no good.

Obviously we need to come up with a strategy, but I would like to see what you think we should be doing with these resources in a way to help structure the strategy so that we are serving the members in the most effective and efficient manner. 

So use this blog post as a brain storming area or a sounding board about your vision, thoughts, concerns, etc. on social medial and MLA.

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5 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - June 28, 2012 at 9:33 am

Categories: Social Media, Technology   Tags:

Are Publishers Too Old To Design/Create Effective eBooks?

Wolters Kluwer tweeted a link about a middle school class creating the top selling enhanced ebook on iTunes. The book,  ”Creatures, Plants and More! A Kid’s Guide to Northwest Florida,” is interactive and contains pictures, videos and text related to the wildlife found in Northwest Florida.  It was published by a seventh grade class at Woodlawn Beach Middle school, based on a student assignment to create multimedia content around the local gulf-coast wildlife.

Now the book is free, so I am sure that helps keep it at the top of the best “seller” list.  One could argue the press surrounding the creation of an ibook by middle schoolers helps drive the ”buys” as well.  However, the book was just published April 26, 2012 and according to a May 1st  article (earliest report on the ebook I could find) on the Woodlawn Beach Middle School’s web page, the book was already the top ranking free book. So, while the press coverage might add to the popularity, the book itself started out strong.

Why is this important, especially on a blog about medical librarianship?  

Maybe I got up on a different side of the bed today, but this report got me thinking about the design of ebooks and whether publishers are just too old, to “get it.”  Are the powers that be and structure within publishing  too steeped in the traditional concept of a paper book to really understand the idea of an interactive ebook?  to further explain this let me draw upon my grade school experiences with computers. (Yes I can remember back that far.)

When I was a kid (2nd or 3rd grade) everyone seemed to be rushing to get computers in school and I remember an old room converted to a computer lab stuffed with Apple IIe’s.  Time in the computer lab was supposed to be important, but since the whole grade school had to share 10 computers, we didn’t visit the lab very often.  The only time I remember visiting the computer lab was for math class, specifically plotting graph equations on the computer.  We would spend the whole math hour inputting coordinates into the computer and at the end, if we did it right, we were “treated” to a green line or triangle.  Booooorring.  I got nothing out of that.  I actually dreaded computer lab time.

In grade school we never used the computers for anything other than that section in the math curriculum.  Yet everyone spoke about technology in the classroom, using computers in education, and teachers were asked to teach with computers.  However the problem was the teachers were using old traditional concepts and marrying them to computers.  They really didn’t adapt the lessons or concepts at all.  The tool of the computer was little more than complicated graphing paper.  They were forcing a square peg into a round hole but not realizing they were even doing that. 

Now the computer has been around for long time and we now have the Internet.  Many teachers today grew up with computers (or at least remember sitting in front of those old Apple II’s).  Their minds no longer think of the computer as a technology, it is a part of their life, a tool for other things.  It is integrated better into the curriculum because it is already integrated into their (and their students) lives.  It is now as common as other things in the classroom like reference books, smartboards (no more banging chalk out of erasers), desks, etc. 

The interactive ebook is the Apple IIe, we don’t know how to create or use it effectively.  The vast majority of us have been programmed with the linear thinking of traditional books.  Many of us talk about converting medical texts into ebooks but we (including publishers) think of the book as a linear progression; start, middle, end.  We throw in movies, pictures and sound but those are positioned in a linear way; within chapters.  Often the ebook is the paper book with multimedia and perhaps added chapters.  But it is usually pretty straight forward.  It is the paper juiced up on steroids, but it is still the paper.

So while the middle schooler’s ebook is still more in line with traditional books it was created only as an electronic product therefore it is free of some of the contraints from already printed version.  Perhaps as tablet devices evolve and people grow up with them and begin to think of them as an everyday thing, our ebooks will begin to evolve beyond the print model.  My 5 yr old or my 1 yr old will be thinking of something totally different regarding an ebook when they are adults.  They will be the ones to see how to publish and distribute content that was once in paper.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - May 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

Categories: Electronic Access, Journals and Books, Technology   Tags:

Libraries Loaning iPads

A few weeks ago I sent out an email to MEDLIB-L asking for librarians who are circulating iPads to contact me off list to answer some questions.  I was really killing about 3 birds with one stone.  Not only did iMedicalApps want me to write a story about libraries loaning iPads, but I wanted to investigate the idea for our library, and I wanted to share the information for others on this blog.

A lot of librarians got back to me and I want to thank everyone who responded. 

Here are some links about current library loaning projects:

Sampling of library policies:

Sampling of general apps loaded on iPads: 

  • Adobe Photoshop Express
  • Apple’s iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote)
  • Box
  • DocToGo
  • Dolphin Browser
  • DropBox
  • Elements
  • Evernote
  • GoodReader
  • Google Search
  • iAnnotate PDF
  • iBook
  • Kindle
  • Nook
  • PDF Expert
  • QuickOffice
  • Penultimate
  • Podcasting 4 Education
  • Print Central for iPad
  • Sekai Camera for iPad
  • Skype
  • Whiteboard HD

Sampling of medical apps loaded on iPads: 

  •  3D STem Cell Simulation & Strain Tool
  • AHRQ ePSS
  • AIDSInfo HIV/AIDS Glossary
  • BrainPro
  • DailyMed
  • Davis’s Drug Guide
  • Dragon Dictation
  • Epocrates
  • Eponyms
  • Embryo
  • Eye Chart Pro
  • GeneIndex
  • Health Hotlines
  • Human Anatomy!
  • Improve Bleeding Risk Tool
  • Improve VTE Associative Model
  • Inkly
  • iMuscle
  • iPharmacyPro
  • iRadiology
  • iTriage
  • LactMed
  • LexiComp
  • MedCalc
  • Micromedex
  • MedPage Today
  • Mobile REMM (Radiation Emergency Medical Management)
  • Molecules
  • Muscle & Bone Anatomy 3D
  • NEJM This Week
  • NeuroMind
  • PEPID
  • Skyscape Medical Resources
  • WISER

Sample of medical library type apps loaded:
(Some overlap with above list. I think some maybe bookmarks not necessarily apps)

  • AccessMedicine
  • Annals of Oncology
  • Annual Reviews
  • Chest
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • DailyMed
  • Diagnosaurus
  • DynaMed
  • EBSCOHost
  • First Consult
  • Health Hotlines
  • LactMed
  • LexiComp
  • Mary Ann Liebert Journals
  • MDConsult
  • Medscape
  • Micromedex
  • Natural Standard
  • PLoS Medicine
  • Procedures Consult
  • PsychOnline
  • PubMed (unclear whether PubMed Mobile or for Handhelds)
  • PubMed Clip
  • RefWorks Mobile
  • Science Direct
  • StatREF!
  • Skyscape Medical Resources
  • VisualDX

Summary:

Loan Rules
Loan rules vary from a few hours to a few days.  Most libraries reset the devices to factory standards for security and privacy reasons.  Although a few librarians have reported that some apps “remember” despite this and are looking into more.  I was unable to find many hospital libraries that loan out iPads. 

Secure Network and EMR
Additionally few hospitals or medical school responded that their iPads were also able to access the EMR.  Mayo Clinic’s iPads can access the EMR as well as the devices used by residents at the NSU residency program at Palmetto Hospital.  As we are looking into our own iPad program we discovered that our devices must have specific Microsoft Client Access Licenses (CALs) to software necessary to access the secure network (and the EMR).  For us, the CALs add quite a bit to the cost of the iPad, about $200 more.  You pay per device.  So each regular 16 GB WiFi only iPad3 that normally costs $499 ends up costing $799 once you factor in the cost of the CAL’s and AppleCare+ (2 yr insurance on the device for $100).  We feel it is essential to get on the secure network so the extra cost of the CALs is something we have to plan for.  Working with IT has been essential in this process, without them we would not have known of the requirement to get the iPads on the secure network.  While the cost of the CALs was a surprise, I am glad we had IT help so that it was a surprise in the beginning/planning stages not after we bought them.

Apps
Both libraries who loan iPads and those who don’t are providing lists of mobile friendly (and tablet friendly) library apps and websites.  Things are bit like the Wild West with apps and mobile sites.  Some library vendors mobile friendly sites require secondary authentication (using their own personal login) despite being on institutional network.  Some vendors are creating apps when really a mobile friendly site is all that is needed.  Apps often require a username and password to use regardless of whether they are on institutional network.  Some apps are intended for individual subscribers NOT institutional subscribers, and unless the wording explicitly states that, it is confusing. 

Regarding medical apps (not medical library apps like databases), library purchase (or not) policies are varried as well.  Some libraries have accounts on iTunes to buy apps in bulk, while others just load devices with free apps that people might need.  Some have said that they do not buy specific medical apps because the iPads are circulated to eveyone and that would mean a lot of different subject specific apps that would need to be on the device.  Some librarians also spoke about the need to constantly update the apps, especially the free apps.  In order for the pre-installed library “owned” apps to be updated, somebody must log in using the library install account to update them.  Some mentioned this could be time consuming depending on how many they have loaded.

Many libraries seem to allow people to load their own apps on the loaned devices.  The reason is that the app follows the patron not the library.  So when the library restores the iPad to factory settings the app disappears from the library device, but the patron still retains ownership and can install it on another iPad.

Other thoughts and suggestions
Start off with a few iPads then grow if/as needed. 

Tie the iPads into the curriculum, load medical bookmarks/apps, or get them on the secure network, in other words make them relevant for work.  One library reported they bought iPads but really didn’t have a budget for apps and most already had smartphones and laptops so the iPad was more fun than productive. 

Many people said that their patrons often did a try before you buy with the library iPads.  Not sure how some feel about this given how expensive of an investment the devices are, but part of me knows they already do this with our textbooks.

Barcode and label EVERYTHING! Some librarians reported their patrons trying to swap out their old frayed Apple charging cables by passing them off as the library’s cables. 

Get a bag and a cover for the iPad.  Cover helps protects the device while in use. The bag makes it easier to hold all of the stuff (charger, forms, etc.) for circulation AND not everyone who use the device have lab coats and it is nice to just put in a shoulder bag.

I hope this is helpful to others who currently are lending iPads and to those looking to start.  Feel free to comment if you have more information or questions.

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7 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - April 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Categories: Apps, iPad, Technology   Tags:

Libraries Loaning iPads

This morning I posted on iMedicalApps.com the article, “Don’t have an iPad, go to the medical library and borrow one.”  There are lots of medical libraries loaning iPads out to their patrons and this post was a way to highlight to physicians some of the ways libraries are helping them get connected using iPads.

In my research I discovered that there are A LOT of medical libraries doing this, too many to list in the actual article.  So in order to have a more comprehensive list of libraries loaning iPads I thought it would be a good idea to create a comprehensive list of libraries who loan them and post it on the iMedicalApps forum. So if you library loans iPads, list it on the forum with your basic rules and some of the popular apps loaded. Remember keep it short and sweet with not to much library geek jargon, we want it to be easy for docs and medical professionals to scan through and look at it.

Interested in the geeky library details?  Don’t worry, I will posting in the next few days the librarian version of the iMedicalApps article.  This will have the information that librarians interested in starting their own iPad loaning project will want to know about.

 

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1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - April 11, 2012 at 9:04 am

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Webcast: Leveraging Mobile Technologies for Health Sciences Libraries

Interested in learning more about how mobile technologies can be used in the medical library? If so, register for the Medical Library Association (MLA) continuing education webcast Leveraging Mobile Technologies for Health Sciences Libraries on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 1:00-2:30 (central time)

More information about the webcast (from MLA.net)

Program Goals:
The goal of this webcast is to familiarize information professionals with current practical applications of mobile technologies in clinical and curricular support settings.  Topics will highlight innovative uses of mobile technologies, address technology challenges, and provide best practice guidance for applying in viewers local environments.  

Program Objectives

  • Define how mobile technologies can be used in clinical settings
  • Define how mobile technologies can be integrated into curricula
  • Identify challenges faced when using mobile technologies in different settings
  • Explain challenges faced in clinical and curricular settings that mobile technologies can help solve
  • Demonstrate how mobile technologies can be used in your own setting
  • Plan how to work with vendors and IT support to enable use of mobile technologies
  • Identify opportunities for library resources via mobile technologies in multiple settings
  • Compare different mobile technologies and choose which might be appropriate for your own setting

Go to the MLA Webcast site to learn more about presenters Colleen Cuddy, Heather Holmes, Molly Knapp, Kimberley Barker, and Alisha Miles.

There are two ways to register for this webcast, individual or site.  Individual Earlybird Registration Fee: $75 (nonmember, $150.00).  Earlybird Site Registration is $395 (nonmember $495). 

Keep your eyes and ears open for sites near you that have registered for the program. 

For example:

For more information about the webinar or to register go to:
http://www.mlanet.org/education/distance_ed/techtrends/index.html

 

 

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1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - April 4, 2012 at 9:27 am

Categories: Educational Opportunities, iPad, Technology   Tags:

What is a disaster and what are your plans?

I think we all can agree that something like fire, tornado, flood, earthquake are all disasters and hopefully libraries have some sort of contingency plans when those events happen.  But what about those “other” disasters.  I say other because they may not meet the standard definition of a disaster, but when they happen all work stops or something majorly impacts your productivity.

Marie Kennedy posted “Disaster planning for e-resources” on Organization Monkey about her library’s recent problems when EBSCO’s databases went down earlier this month.  “From a library perspective, when a major content provider goes down, it is a legitimate disaster. For electronic resources librarians, all the usual work stops and crisis management mode takes over.”  This is true for us as well.  Even if a major journal goes down we start getting calls right away from doctor’s wondering what happened.  If our linking system goes down or a major database goes down, then all *blank* hits the fan. 

Our operations are so dependent on certain programs that when they go down our access to information also goes down.  It may not be a disaster in the traditional sense of the word, but it is still a disaster for information retrieval. 

Marie describes the procedures her library use to inform library personnel and library users of situation.  She also mentions how frustrating it was for her and her library’s staff to go through this “without the help of EBSCO.”  In fact most librarians were reaching out through MEDLIB-L, Twitter, and other local listservs,  to try and figure out why CINAHL, Discovery, and other resources were DOA.

EBSCO is just the latest resource, but this sort of things has happened with Ovid, PubMed and other databases or online journals.  It also won’t be the last resource to experience a “temporary outage.”  So what are your library procedures for dealing with these events?  How do you notify your customers and does that vary according to the resource?

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - April 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Categories: Databases, EBSCO, Journals and Books, Medline, Technology   Tags:

Spear Phishing?

I think by now everyone has heard of the term phishing as the gathering information online on an individual or group of people.  But today I read of a new type of phishing, spear phishing.  Spear phishing is using information for pinpoint attacks. 

It is apparently pretty successful because recent spear phishing attacks have ”ensnared” several top U.S. government officials and RSA (you know the company that makes those SecurID tokens) and defense contractor Lockheed Martin (using information from hacked from RSA).  According to a CNNMoney article, the attackers were able to trick people into opening email attachments that appeared to come from trusted sources or colleagues.

While we don’t know exactly how hackers were able to hack the government officials and RSA, we do know that many believe that social media sites, especially LinkedIn, serve as a hacker’s gold mine.  According to the article, at a DefCon security conference where they staged a hacker game, Google and LinkedIn were the most widely used resources.

All it takes is getting the name of one of your coworkers and a well created email to get you to click on a link. 

Everything is on the Internet, while I don’t want to discourage people from connecting to family, friends, colleagues and coworkers, but you may want to use some discretion when connecting.  Obviously on Facebook you want to lock down your site.  On LinkedIn, maybe you might not want to put down everything about your current job.

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1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - March 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm

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How Do I Generate Interest in QR Codes?

This project was to increase awareness our patron’s awareness of our e-book collection and I am worried I am going to going to become Sisyphus in the process.

Problem:
E-books are hard for patrons to know about.  We still have a large group of users who peruse the stacks for books on a topic. 

Possible Solution:
Put the subject list of e-books within eyesight of those who browse the shelves.  Create a brightly colored message to be displayed on the shelves informing people of our ebooks and how to access them.

Ideal outcome:
Users will see the QR code and scan them with their smartphone to view a list of ebooks within that subject.  We are using http://www.delivr.com to create the codes and track their usage. Users without smartphones will see the note and check the catalog for ebooks. 

Used bright yellow paper and old unbound journal holders.

QR1

 

Made multiple notices for each subject area depending on the size of print collection (area it spans on the shelves).

ebookscart

 

Distributed the notices through out the stacks within each subject area and spaced for maximum viewing opportunity.

QRs In Stacks
 

We haven’t invested anything into this project other bright yellow paper and my time.  We used the many unbound journal holders that we had left over from our print journal days to post the yellow paper and as place holder in the stacks.  Even the QR code generator and tracker is free.  The only thing that really wasn’t free was our e-books but we bought them long ago before QR codes were known to geeks. 

So while we haven’t invested anything in the project. We have a vested interest that our e-books get more usage.  This project is just another way to drive attention to them. 

Still, I am plagued by a persistent little voice in my head asking whether people will even bother to scan these codes.  Because according to the CNN Tech article, Why QR Codes Aren’t Catching On, “many people don’t understand what QR codes are or what to do with them.”  The article cites a study by Archival which found that while ”80% of students owned a smartphone and had previously seen a QR code, only about 20% were able to successfully scan the example QR code they were shown. Furthermore, about 75% said they were unlikely to scan a QR code in the future.”  Even if people know what a QR code is and know how to scan it this Market Plan post says, Consumers Still Don’t Know What to do With QR Codes

I really want this project to work, but these articles suggest I have an uphill battle.  It is going to take a lot of promoting and educating to get this QR code thing moving. 

I have begun to post signs through out the library and strategically next to QR codes in the stacks (see the yellow code below the sign) promoting our e-books and the QR codes.

QRsign

 

I finally got all of the yellow QR code signs in the stacks and the advertising signs up on Friday.  It is Monday and while I know I have a long way to go before I know if this project is boom or bust, I need to come up with some more educational and promotional ideas to get it off to the best possible start.  So I am asking you all in the library world to throw me some suggestions via your comments.  The suggestions won’t only help me, they will help others who are thinking of doing the same thing.

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12 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - February 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

Categories: Electronic Access, Journals and Books, SmartPhones, Technology   Tags:

Harrison’s Through Inkling vs. AccessMedicine

The iMedicalApps team compared Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine on Inkling vs. AccessMedicine.  I feel I am at a bit of a conflict of interest here.  I have recently begun to work with iMedicalApps to write some posts (I am currently working on a post right now) and I agreed to moderate the Medical Librarian’s Corner of their Medical Apps Forum.

My problem is that I see at least one error in the review, another area where the author needed to be clearer in their evaluation, omissions regarding updates, and a slight bias toward student use.  As a result it makes it difficult for me to read the comparison without talking back to the computer.  Now I don’t have an iPad (saving up for an iPad 3 when they come out) and I don’t have a subscription to Inkling, but I have worked with Harrison’s Online through AccessMedicine extensively so I am extremely familiar with it.  Since I don’t have Inkling’s Harrion’s I can’t do a comparison of the two products, but I feel the need to point out the error in the review and provide some criticisms about the review itself.

While I may be struggling with how to do this appropriately given my new relationship with iMedicalApps, I don’t have any conflict of interest with AccessMedicine, McGraw Hill or any of the Access databases.  In fact I have recently been kind of critical of them for having difficult mobile access policies (require personal login even while on campus) that do more to hinder the use of their ebooks. 

****
Update 2/22/12 Ooops…I am wrong, I do have a conflict of interest with McGraw Hill that I should report.  I am on the Library Board for Silverchair and Silverchair actually built McGraw Hill’s AccessMedicine product. I want to thank those who reminded me of that.  It was never my intention to hide that information, I just was more focused on the actual product and the review and honestly forgot about Silverchair’s involvement.  So I guess with ties to iMedicalApps and AccessMedicine, you could say I am equally(?) conflicted?

Despite the various possible conflicts of interest, I really just tried to expand on the orginal review of the two platforms and correct an error. 
****

First, let me address the obvious error within the review.  The author of the review compared the search features of the Inkling platform and the AccessMedicine platform. 

“Both AM and Inkling have search capacities, but Inkling’s is far superior. First, Inkling confines its search only to Harrison’s and it retrieves every table, figure, and text finding. AM, on the other hand, has a website-wide search function that doesn’t just give Harrison’s results but also the results from other titles in the AM library.”

This is incorrect.  AccessMedicine’s Harrison’s can search only within the book.  The author of this review failed to notice the drop down arrow next to the search box that allows one to search only within Harrison’s.  See image below.

harrisons

This a pretty obvious error.  Now I admit the default for the search box is AccessMedcine (as you can see) but just clicking the arrow you can easily limit your search to Harrison’s.  Perhaps AccessMedcine might want to consider making the default for the Search dependent on where the user is on the site.  If the user is within Harrison’s then the default is Harrison’s.  If the user is in Goodman and Gilman’s then the default is Goodman and Gilman’s.  If this is possible, this would help people out.

Second, I feel the reviewer needs to be a little clearer regarding the search results within Inkling and AccessMedicine.  The reviewer takes issue with the number of times the term heparin was found within AccessMedicine’s Harrison’s vs Inkling. 

“Moreover, the power of the Inkling search is greater than AM’s. I retrieved 50 matches when I searched Heparin on Inkling. In AM, I only retrieved 13 matches, most of which were tables, rather than mentions of heparin within text chapters. Harrison’s is such a mammoth text that a powerful search function is essential, which Inkling provides and AM does not.

This statement implies that the reviewer only looked at the search results screen from Harrison’s and counted on the number of retrieved results.  They are correct that most of the retrieved results were tables where heparin was mentioned, and only one result was where heparin was mentioned within the text of Harrison’s.  However, this is kind of misleading.  This implies that the term heparin was only mention once in the entire book of Harrison’s on AccessMedicine, which is not the case.  When you do a search for heparin in AccessMedicine’s Harrison’s, the top result (see image below) is a whole chapter on antiplatelets and anticoagulants (Chapter 118).  Yet in the reviewers own screen shots, a search on heparin in Inkling also lists mostly tables AND the most relevant information (the chapter that heparin is mentioned) is listed far down on the retrieved results.  I would have thought the chapter is more relevant than the tables (and given the tone of the review, so does the reviewer) but it would seem from the Inkling screen shots that it isn’t because listing for the chapter burried below the results for tables.

harrisons2

The whole chapter in AccessMedicine’s Harrison’s has over 100 mentions of the term heparin (as shown in bright red circle below)

harrisons3

So my question for the reviewer is whether Inkling retrieved more hits because it was counting the multiple times the term heparin was mentioned in the chapter on anticoagulants OR did it find more instances of the term heparin within OTHER chapters of Harrison’s.  This is kind of an important nuance when you are looking at search results.  Because if Inkling’s 50 hits were all within the same anticoagulant chapter then the search feature is similar to AccessMedicine’s and the results are just presented differently.  (Here is a whole chapter on heparin vs. here is where it is mentioned every single time in the chapter.)  But if Inking’s search found more instances of the term heparin within other chapters of the whole book then the search features on Inkling are picking up something that AccessMedicine isn’t.  Is this good or bad?  It really depends.  Is it picking up relevant results like the paragraph on heparin in Chapter 370 Cerebrovascular Diseases (ischemic stroke section) or is it just picking up the term where it is used briefly in a sentence and really has little relevance if you truly searching the subject heparin?  It is also important to remember that Inkling’s results for heparin were not as relevant because the chapter was listed the tables.

When looking at the strength of search engines more than a mere word count needs to be discussed if we are to really understand which platform has the best search features.  Relevancy is way more important than sheer number of results, look how much junk floats to the surface of some Google searches.  Unfortunately this was not discussed in detail enough for us to determine whether Inkling’s search engine is really better (retrieves more relevant results). 

The reviewer does correctly mention that AccessMedicine has the most updated information from Harrison’s.  Updates are made continuously online through AccessMedicine, therefore a reader doesn’t have to wait for a new printing of the book.  ”It is uncertain whether Inkling will enable the same kind of updates.”  The reviewer surmises that Inkling will update their version when the next edition of Harrison’s is available (much like a print edition schedule).  However, the reviewer omitted to discuss the e-chapters within AccessMedicine’s Harrisons and whether they were available on Inkling. 

There are over 50 e-chapters that according to AccessMedicine are only available online (image below just captures the last chapters with the note about the e-chapter logo). 

harrisons5
 That is A LOT of addition e-content.  Some of those e-chapters are tutorials and videos but others are actual chapters not ”ancillary content.”   

Some chapters that are e-content only:

  • Primary Care in Low and Middle Income Countries
  • Complementary, Alternative & Integrative Medicine
  • Ethical Issues in Clinical Medicine
  • Approach to the Patient with a Heart Murmur
  • Mitochondrial DNA and Heritable Traits and Diseases

It is imporant to know whether Inkling’s text has these same chapters as AccessMedicine or whether it is missing chapters.

Finally, the reviewer seems to have a slight bias toward student use.  The reviewer seems to dismiss the charts, tables, and PowerPoint lecture slides. 

“There is also some ancillary material that the AM version gives that Inkling does not. Nearly every chapter in AM’s Harrison’s has powerpoint lecture slides that have figures and tables from the book. This is not of great importance to most students I suspect, but instructors may care.”

Maybe some students may not care about slides, figures, and PowerPoint slides, but if you have to give a presentation you probably care a lot. As a librarian at a large research medical center I can tell you this type of “ancillary material” is asked for and used more than the reviewer would think.  For example I can’t tell you how many times I used to get asked about NEJM’s PowerPoint slides and how they could download them.  (I am not unique, other librarians have been asked this too.)  So I would say that Harrison’s slides, charts and tables are more than just mere ancillary material that only instructors may care about.  I think if you are doing any  research, publishing, and presenting you will be very happy to have another resource for your papers and presentations. 

 Now that I have pointed out the things I found to be lacking in the review, I do want to mention some of things that I feel the reviewer correctly hit on. 

Note taking within AccessMedicine’s Harrison’s is not helpful and all types of users, including students, take notes.  If you have created your own personal MyAccessMedcine account you can “Bookmark” chapters and items, but you really can’t take notes. 

The reviewer is also correct that if you want a version of Harrison’s that is not dependent on an Internet connection then Inkling is for you.  However, as hospital networks improve I see this locally loaded feature (of any product not just Inkling) to be less of an issue.  The cloud is the future for information storage and retrieval. But I do recognize this is a personal taste issue, some people just like having content loaded locally.

The way AccessMedicine limits readers to view only sections at a time is frustrating and a barrier.  As a result AccessMedicine’s Harrison’s Online is not an easy book to read online.  Inkling’s version appears to be very easy to read online based ont he review.  The reviewer correctly mentioned the reason for divvying up the book into sections was to prevent online piracy.  Unfortunatly, this does little to prevent piracy and more to inhibit real usage. (People are scanning entire books and making them available online. AccessMedicine does little to prevent guests from creating a MyAccessMedicine password at a subscribing institution and using it well after they are an authorized user.)  It appears from the review, Inkling’s book is much more user friendly to read in a sitting rather than the AccessMedicine version.  AccessMedicine’s presentation is limits its use.

Personally, I think the decision to use AccessMedicine’s Harrison’s vs Inkling breaks down into 2 parts.

1. If you want to stay current and have the most recent information then you need to use AccessMedicine’s version.  Inkling has not indicated their update schedule and AccessMedicine always updates Harrison’s.  The reviewer did not mention if e-chapters are in Inkling’s version, if they aren’t then you are missing chapters.

2. If you are not as concerned about the timeliness of the information (or the possiblity of missing e-chapters) and you want an easy to read experience with the ability to take notes and read offline then Inkling’s version is what you want.

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4 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - February 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Categories: Apps, Electronic Access, Journals and Books, Technology   Tags:

e-Books: Why Bother

I had a great idea.  Or at least I thought it was a great idea.  However making it a reality makes me think that maybe my idea might just stay in the realm of ideas.

I have mentioned in previous posts that I swear a boat load of people got iPads or smartphones for Christmas because the calls for help about resources, ebooks, network access, etc. have really taken off. Some things like network access or knowing how much data they might consume if they are doing 3G are a little bit out of our control.  But ebooks and library resources, well hell, I thought I could help with that in a relatively easy way.  (Just hit me over the head if I ever think something is going to be easy.)

We are in process of re-designing our website so we did a survey of our users.  We learned that 53% surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that a website for mobile use of library resources is important.  We learned that our users want a website with; better organization, streamlined function, easy for tech un-savvy, and fewer clicks to get to resources.  They want a simple way to find books and ebooks.  (Clearly the catalog isn’t what they consider simple.) They want an easier way to login to resources from home, and to login once.   Not only do our users want simple easy ways to access online resources from the website and their mobile devices but they want simple (few clicks, easy one login) to ebooks from home. 

Ok, now we’re cooking. We know what our users want, so let’s get going. Somebody is working on the regular website and I thought I could help get things mobile.  I approached it on two fronts, the mobile resources and easier access to ebooks.

Lots of librarians shared their lists on iMedicalApps.com Medical Librarian Forum and we have been compiling a list of mobile friendly resources.  Not only would we have a list of mobile friendly sites and apps the library subscribed to but we would have our own mobile site linking to the mobile friendly library resources.  Additionally we came up with a few ideas on how to increase the visibility (and hopefully the usage) of our ebooks. 

I was feeling pretty confident that these things could make finding ebooks easier and also help current and future mobile users get to our resources.  Remember, I said I thought it would be easy? Just start hitting me on the head now…

The problem is the mobile site of vendors.  Many vendors like Elsevier (MDConsult and First Consult), McGraw Hill (Access database) direct smartphones immediately to their mobile site.  While this is nice, their mobile sites require users to login  using their personal login they created.  So a library user would have to have a personal login to each database: MDConsult, First Consult, and all of the Access databases we subscribe to.  If somebody is accessing our resources off campus these personal logins are needed in addition to our proxy login that our users already use to access library resources from home. 

See the problem?  People who are just browsing our resources on their smartphone on campus have to create multiple logins in order to use our online resources from their phone.  We link to our ebooks through the catalog and we are thinking about adding QR code browsing of ebooks in the stacks, but this won’t work on smartphones.  Why? Because when the person scans on the code or clicks the link in our catalog the vendor’s mobile site demands a personal login.  So there is no direct link to the ebook, they have to have a personal login.  Most users don’t think of our ebooks according to vendors, they just click on the title and they EXPECT the book to show up, they don’t expect to be asked for another login.  This method assumes our users have created a personal login with that vendor prior to clicking on the book.  Most people aren’t thinking, “Oh I want to look in Harrison’s Online, I should get a MyAccess login before I click on the title.”

The problem gets even more compounded when our users are off campus.  Our users have been trained to login to our resources using our proxy server.  This is what they have been doing for years, it is a standard for accessing resources remotely, and this is what most users want.  In fact respondents to our recent user survey said they want one login! Well, we can’t provide that if the vendors are creating an extra login! 

So even if I want to provide easy access to ebooks, I can’t.  I have remind people that they have to create a personal login with each vendor.  How do I do that?  That is a heck of mess to write in the online catalog record for each title.  “Click here for access. If you are using a smartphone you must login with your personal login.”  Great then I get more calls about how to create a personal login, to reset their personal login, or that they are using their personal login and can’t get in (but they are using their proxy login). 

Not only do I have the problem in the catalog, I would have the same communication problem on the mobile library site. As anybody who has a smartphone knows, mobile optimized sites are easier to view than the full website.  So the design is a little different than a regular website.  For example if you are linking to resources, you probably don’t want  a whole lot words explaining things.  People on a mobile library website really kind of want the links to go to the resources they need not a whole bunch of instructions about unique login procedures for each resource.

As somebody mentioned to me users don’t have to have a personal login they just tap on the link to Full Site and they can access the resources.  Um doesn’t that kill the whole point of having mobile optimized resources?  Searching th full site of MDConsult or AccessMedicine on a smartphone involves a lot of screen expanding and pinching.  Aren’t we trying to get our users to use our ebooks?  Aren’t we asking/demanding vendors that our ebooks also become mobile optimized?! 

Locking ebooks behind personal logins or forcing people to use the Full Site is not getting people to use the ebooks or online resources. It is a barrier!  Why have vendors created this artificial barrier?!  Why can’t an institutional user access an online resource or ebook without having a personal login?!

In addition to the user access problems I have with personal logins, I have two other questions/problems…

  • Usage stats – Are we getting usage stats each time somebody from our institution is using their personal login? If no, that is very bad. If yes, that is good but we can get without personal logins. You already have our IP ranges and proxy info.
  • Concurrent users – If you don’t have an site license then people can easily come as visitors create a personal login and then use that personal login to access your material looooong after they have left your institution.  These unauthorized unaffiliated users are taking up your concurrent user license spot(s).  We maintain our authorized users list.  We enter the expiration date of visitors, students, contractors, techs, etc. into our system.  When their badge expires they can’t access our resources via proxy.  Therefore we are in agreement with our license agreements AND they are taking up a concurrent user spot.

It is possible to have the mobile site work using institutional proxy, Thompson Reuters Web of Science is mobile optimized.  I click on the link to WoS and I am directed to the mobile site. I am not asked for a personal login.  Off campus I am asked to login to my library account then I am directed to mobile site.  Easy squeazey and MAKES SENSE!

What started out as an easy (yes keep hitting me on the head) project of providing a simple list of mobile optimized resources and linking directly to the books turned into a giant mess.  How can I recommend these mobile resources to smartphone users or the ebooks when I know it will confuse them and frustrate them.  Hell, it confused and frustrated me and I am a librarian who is FAMILIAR with this stuff.  Our users aren’t going to use this stuff the way it is set up right now and unfortunately I can’t make it easier for them because this personal login thing is out of my control.  Why should I bother setting up links to mobile resources and ebooks when it is going to cause more problems and questions then it is worth and serve as another reason to bypass the library for stuff.  No wonder people get their ebooks from Amazon….it is EASY!  Easy is what the users want, medical library ebooks in their current state are not easy, they are a royal pain. 

Why bother?!  We try to make things easily available and barriers keep getting thrown up.  It is enough to drive you batty.  According to ReadWriteWeb, mobile Internet usage has doubled every year since 2009….so this problem isn’t going away.   Hopefully in the near future I won’t be asking why bother with the mess of ebooks.

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6 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - February 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Categories: Databases, Electronic Access, Journals and Books, SmartPhones, Technology   Tags:

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