The SCC/MLA meeting had a costume party and I thought I would share my costume. Anybody else who wants to share their pictures from the night, post the link in the comments. Hope you had a Happy Halloween!
Medical Librarians: We Can Do It!
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This week I was at the SCC/MLA annual meeting in Fort Worth teaching a class. I got in a little early and I was glad I did.
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Karen Keller, Dena Hanson, Lynne Harmon, and Barbara Steffensen at Cook Children’s Medical Center presented a paper on the creation of a tool for non-academic health sciences librarians to measure the value of research performed by librarians. The tool attempts to measure the value and establish an ROI of librarian expertise. The abstract of the paper can be found in their online program(pg 25 of 36 in PDF viewer)
I found this to be really interesting. Medical librarians have been looking for ways quantify what we do and put a value on it to our administration. I did not get a chance to listen to the actual paper presentation. I found out about it because I attended the Hospital Librarianship Forum where we discussed ideas and issues facing hospital librarians. In the forum Karen mention her tool. Unfortunately the tool is not available. The are still testing it.
Even though it it isn’t ready for prime time I wanted to blog about it to make sure it is on the radar for librarians who might also be interested. So keep your eyes and ears open.
Wow! November is just around the corner. If you have been planning to submit a paper or poster for MLA 2014 you better get moving because the deadline is Novmeber 1st.
(reposted from MLA-LMS email list)
NOVEMBER 1 DEADLINE – CALL FOR PAPERS/POSTERS, MLA’14, “BUILDING OUR INFORMATION FUTURE”
You are invited submit an abstract for a paper or poster that reflects on the best ideas for the future of information practices in health sciences librarianship at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting, May 16–21, 2014, Chicago. To begin, review the paper/poster FAQs at: http://mlanet.org/am/am2014/sect_prog/index.html, then begin the online submission process. Avoid the last-minute rush and submit your abstract before November 1st.
Be inspired to think how you can be an architect of a health information landscape that responds to the challenges of growth and an ever-evolving environment. How will you design your blueprint for the information future? What tools will you need? What skills will be required? How will you know if what you construct is useful? The MLA Annual Meeting will offer you an opportunity to plan and style an information future that reflects expanding roles to reach new heights.
Join your colleagues for MLA’14 in Chicago and build your information future at the largest meeting of medical librarians and health sciences information professionals in the world! In January, preliminary programs will be mailed to MLA members and meeting registration will officially open. For more information see: http://mlanet.org/am/am2014/index.html
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November 1st seems to be the deadline for a lot of things. So if you are thinking about applying for something, nominating somebody, or presenting something at MLA 2014, you better start checking your deadlines.
(reposted with persmission)
Please consider nominating a colleague for the Louise Darling Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Collection Development in the Health Sciences!
The Louise Darling Medal is presented annually to recognize distinguished achievement in collection development in the health sciences. The award was established in 1987 and first awarded in 1988, with a contribution by Ballen Booksellers International, Inc. The recipient receives an engraved medal, a certificate, and a $1,000 cash award.
If you want to nominate a deserving colleague, please go to www.mlanet.org/awards/honors/ for more information and online nomination forms. The deadline for applications is November 1. Please contact jury chair Jeff Williams at jeffrey.williams [atsign] nyumc [dot org] with any questions.
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Are you an MLA member and an MIS member and want/need a little career development support? If so, you might want to apply for the Medical Informatics Section/MLA Career Development Grant!
The Medical Informatics Section/MLA Career Development Grant provides one individual up to $1500 to support a career development activity that will contribute to advancement in the field of medical informatics.
The application deadline is December 1, 2013.
The full grant application, including eligibility requirements, is available at: http://www.mlanet.org/awards/grants/.
For additional information, contact Michael Newman, Jury Chair, at mnewman[atsign]stanford[dot edu].
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I think grants, awards, and scholarships are a great way to help us within the profession. Committee or jury chairs from other MLA, Chapter, Section, NN/LM, grants scholarships please feel free to email me and I will almost always post your announcement. I hate to see good money go unused because nobody applied for it and I just hope my posting it helps get the word out.
I do reserve the right not to post your grant if it doesn’t fall within the scope of libraries or medical librarianship in some remote way.
(reposted from MLA-LMS)
The MLA Rising Star program has been developed for MLA members who are interested in attaining leadership roles in MLA but who have not yet become active at a national level. The one-year leadership development program matches each Rising Star with a mentor in a curriculum that includes:
- learning how MLA succeeds through the volunteer efforts of its members;
- the roles of the MLA Board and staff; and
- project management skills applied to an actual MLA project.
Application and information can be found online at: http://www.mlanet.org/pdf/awards/20130827_rising_star_app.doc
Applications are due November 1, 2013.
Also, if your chapter, section, or committee is interested in submitting a project for the program, the host/mentor application can be found online at: http://www.mlanet.org/pdf/awards/20130827_rising_star_host_app.doc
Host/Mentor applications are also due November 1, 2013.
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One of our favorite movies is Raising Arizona. We can sit back and watch it any time and we often quote movie lines to each other when it fits a situation.
In Raising Arizona, Nicolas Cage plays H.I. “Hi” McDunnough and has quite a few interesting expressions and quips. One has been on a loop in my brain lately. It one that in the first few minutes of the film. “These were the happy days, the salad days as they say, and Ed felt that having a critter was the next logical step. It was all she thought about.” A few moments later, Hi’s voice says, “Our love for each other was stronger than ever, but I ‘preminisced’ no return of the salad days.”
Sometimes I wonder if there were ever a salad days in medical libraries. I know medical libraries had budgets, the money just wasn’t falling from the sky. However, it seems these last few years medical librarians have seen their budgets continually cut. Even “lucky” libraries who have had a flat budget for the past few years, are being told to cut their budget by a percentage. Those are the lucky ones. They have weathered the storm well until now. Hospital reimbursement from the ACA are impacting the hospital budget, they are seeing less reimbursement. Less reimbursement means less money, less money means they are cutting budgets.
Yet as hospital library budgets have been cut, the cost of resources have continually increased. Depending on the vendor it could be anywhere from the rate of inflation to a 75% increase. Librarians have done their best to watch all of their resources and cut anything that is under performing. Journals that cost more per use than ILL fees…gone. Databases that don’t have a certain cost per use…gone. Resources that up their prices to align with competitors because the competitor is more expensive…gone If medical libraries were a steak, they would be the leanest toughest piece of leather on the plate. There is no fat left. There is no chef’s steak sauce to compliment the “unique” flavor.
So what happens when you have trimmed the fat? You trim the muscle and the bone. The cuts in medical libraries have caused librarians to cut things we would never have cut 1-2 yrs ago. Guess what…We have now cut all of our under performing resources. We are now cutting products based on price alone.
Of course, what else can you do when you don’t have the money? Donors like to fund projects they could put their name on, not operating budgets or resources that are annual. A bake sale ain’t going to work. Yet the prices of resources continues to rise. Vendors have told me about the “VALUE” of their product and how important it is. Big flipping deal. I know it is valuable, I wouldn’t be talking to them if it wasn’t. Don’t talk to me about value. But they persist, as if hammering me about the “VALUE” will magically cause me to find money to pay for their 30% increase. My answer: My car is a value to my job and my life. But, if it breaks down and my family budget cannot pay for repairs or a new one, I have to take the bus. Do I want to commute 1 1/2 hours each way via public transportation every day? Hell no, but if that is all I can afford that is what I do.
If I can’t afford your “VALUED” product, I am going to make do without it. Sorry, but it could be the most valuable thing on the face of the planet but if I can’t buy it, I can’t buy it.
I know of a few great medical librarians, who are looking for new jobs out of librarianship. They aren’t looking because they were laid off (although there are those too). They are looking because they see no future in medical libraries. The shrinking budget (even in well funded institutions) and rising cost of resources makes them feel like they can’t do their job. Some question whether the rise in costs will inevitably force libraries to shift the costs to the institution as a whole. Thus the shift of the product’s cost to another cost center. What will happen when that happens for every resource, in the library? Don’t laugh, at 15%, 20%, 30% price increases when faced with a 3%, 5% or 10% budget cut, the pot of resources gets smaller and smaller.
It would be interesting if there was a survey where librarians could anonymously mention what percent their budget was cut and list the resources they cut as a result. They don’t have to list costs. Just the percentage they lost in their budget and the products that were dropped as a result. I know the resources cut will vary by institution, but it would be interesting to see if there was a pattern. What things people are holding onto until the bitter end? What type of vendor cannibalizing is happening within the library? Not only will it be interesting to see what products are eating the other, but what two (or more) products from the same company are eating each other. For example: Does a rise in the cost for UpToDate effect LWW titles purchased? Does a rise in the cost of AccessMedicine effect AccessSurgery (or other Access database)? It could be any resource or vendor.
The funding model is unsustainable for hospital libraries. Time will tell whether the reduction in reimbursements from ACA will make shifting the library resources cost to another department in the hospital unsustainable. Who wants to take on another department’s cost for a product when they are also rquired to cut a certain percentage out of their budget?
In my Sacred Cows and Heretical Librarians post I mentioned we need to think evaluate our sacred cows. At the time I meant services or how we do librarianship, but we probably need to apply the same principle to our resources.
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(reprinted with permission)
Do you know someone who has developed an application, tool or interface to help deliver medical information to their clients? Perhaps the technology fits the definition of meaningful use? Maybe you know of an innovative way that a library or informatics center is using technology to better serve a specific group of people. If so, consider nominating a colleague for the Thomson Reuters/Frank Bradway Rogers Information Advancement Award. Technological advances for this award are considered both on their merit, and the extent of their impact.
The award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding contributions in the application of technology to the delivery of health sciences information, to the science of information, or to the facilitation of the delivery of health sciences information. The award is sponsored by Thomson Reuters. The recipient receives a certificate and a cash award of $500.
Deadline for applications is November 1.
Complete information and nomination forms can be found at http://www.mlanet.org/awards/honors/
If you have questions, please contact Terrie Wheeler, Jury Chair, terriewheeler58[atsign]yahoo[dotcom]
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Last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to be the keynote speaker for the Midwest MLA Chapter meeting. It was a great meeting and I learned so much from so many people. I LOVE Chapter meetings. Ask me and I will tell you, the Chapter meeting is a great place to share and learn from other in a much more scaled back and doable scale than the large MLA meeting. That is not to take anything away from MLA, I just think that a Chapter meeting is more intimate.
Some people at the meeting asked if I was going to post my slides from my presentation. Yes, they are on SlideShare and I have re-posted them here.
These slides don’t have a lot of text. So I feel there needs to be a bit of outline of what I talked about to give them some context. So here is a brief summary of what I talked about….
Technology is disruptive. That doesn’t mean it is bad or good, it just changes everything we do. It could change things for the good or the bad. An example of a very disruptive technology is the light bulb. It completely changed the way we as society do things. Thinking of more recent technologies, the phone is another disruptive technology. The telephone changed how we communicated to each other. The cell phone disrupted things again. Not only were are we able to communicate with each other over long distances, but we can do it wherever and whenever. The smartphone just ramped things up even more by making our phones the necessary multi-purpose tool of our lives. We use it to communicate (text, voice, email, Twitter, Instagram, etc). We use it as our own personal computers to find information online and store/create documents. It is our entertainment center for music, movies, books, online radio and podcasts. The cell phone (among other technologies) have changed we as a society find and share information. It is has changed the way people find and share information in libraries. Think of what future technologies will be like and their impact on libraries. Think of the latest technology, Google Glass, and library possiblities.
People access library websites through their phone… OR they are bypassing the library website all together and using an app (journal app, library database app, library catalog app, etc.) to find information. They are accessing all of this information wherever and whenever….in the cafeteria, bathroom, in bed, etc. This change in society’s behavior requires us to change the way we do things. We must adapt to the changes in society or we face extinction. Other professions that are dealing with changes in society as a result of technology: US postal service, newspapers, photo journalists, etc.
My presentation was not a doom and gloom thing. On the contrary…. I said we needed to look at these disruptive technologies as opportunities. They provide us the opportunity to shape our own destiny. They allow us to take our services and resources and put them together in different ways to adapt to the changes. Think of your resources and services as Legos, each one can be put together in different positions. If something changes or doesn’t work, change the Lego’s position or swap it out.
Swapping out Lego pieces sounds easy but it may not be as easy as you think. Libraries need to look at the changes in society and start asking themselves some hard questions. Are the services/resources we provide for ourselves or for our users. We do a lot of fooling ourselves that some of our traditional services/resources are for our users when really they are for ourselves. For example, why are we checking in print journals? Why do we even have print journals?
We need to look at our sacred cows in our library. We need to evaluate whether we should keep them or kill them. We can’t just keep them because we have always kept them. Cows (in real life and virtual) need to be fed and maintained. If feeding and maintaining them serves a valid purpose to our users, then we should keep them. If they don’t, then we need to kill them, or they will eat food and take up space of other resources. I gave several examples of sacred cows. The one that everybody seemed to latch on to was my cataloging example. I asked the question, “Do you need a catalog or would an A-Z list suffice?” Predictably a few catalogers freaked. What I tried to convey…
- If you are at a large academic medical institution or even NLM you need a catalog….BUT do you need to catalog the way you are doing right now? Could you be more agile? Could you do something slightly different? We are too entrenched in the way we catalog things.
- If you are small hospital library with only a few shelves of books, you may not need a catalog. I know it is crazy to think that, but you may not. Perhaps an A-Z list or *gasp* an Excel sheet posted online will do. Maybe you could tag your holdings in Library Thing.
- If you are a small hospital library with more than a few shelves of books, but nowhere near what an academic library has perhaps you need a catalog. But do you need to add anything to the catalog other than what our users care about? Most users only care about title, author, year, edition, URL, and table of contents. They don’t care if it is 24 inches tall, illustrated and has 246 pages. Do you need to catalog using MeSH?
Evaluating these sacred cows may cause us to think some pretty heretical librarian thoughts. The idea of not cataloging is pretty heretical. don’t get stuck on my catalog example. One hospital librarian at the conference mentioned they did something pretty heretical, they stopped doing research and providing articles to people who were going back to school. She told them they needed to get their research help and articles from the library of the school they were attending. She said it was a pretty heretical thought to her staff at the time.
Wikipedia’s definition of heresy: “Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs.” Long established customs may not be what we need now as our society changes with technology. In order to evolve we need to look at our services and question our long established services and see if they are really needed or helping us go forward. If not, why are we doing them?
In sum we need to look at the sacred cows and start thinking heretical librarian thoughts. We need to always keep trying and never give up. Let’s not be afraid of failure, failure just tells us what doesn’t work. We need to know what doesn’t work, to know what does.
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Medical librarians were asking questions yesterday on Twitter and on Medlib-l about the impact the government shut down will have on medical library operations. Will PubMed be up? What about Docline?
There was some uncertainty. Alisha Miles has summed up the latest information (that we know of) in a blog post. PubMed, NLM, Docline, and MedlinePlus websites all have notes (click on links to see the images of the notes) regarding their status during the government shutdown.
Of course being librarians we are focused on how it will impact library services, to get a perspective of how it will impact health care and hospitals check out the Forbes article, “Government Shutdown Hits Research, Teaching Hospitals, Residency Programs.”
As bad as it is, we might consider ourselves somewhat lucky. At least the websites and backbone service programs (PubMed and Docline) we use are up. There are other sites and industries that are not.
Alisha pointed out on her blog that ERIC (eric.edu.gov screen shot) is down. And while this tweet got a snort of laughter out of me, NASA’s website is down and redirecting to http://usa.gov (screen shot).
The White House website is down, but interestingly the Senate and the House of Representative‘s websites are up. I am refraining from making a bevy of sarcastic comments about essential government services right now.
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Vanderbilt’s Eskind Medical Library has a REALLY good list of what is up and what isn’t.