MLA E-Books Webinar Update

As I mentioned Marian and I only had about 5 minutes max to describe what we are doing at our library and why.  There was a lot of stuff we just had to leave out for the sake of time.  So here are some of the things we could have talked about if we had more time.

Why did we have an HTML page with titles and subjects of ebooks?

Many patrons don’t use the catalog to find things.  They preferred looking on a web page that listed the books and browsing through that list either by subject (very general subject) or title.   We actually have usage statistics supporting this.   When we looked at our annual usage statistics for the library website the ebooks title and subject web pages had some of highest usage statistics for our site.  Therefore we felt it important to have the ebooks listed on a web page in addition to the catalog.

You mentioned that having a website list them all by title and subject became difficult and time consuming, how does the ERM help?

The ERM allows us to display resources by subject or by title. We created the very general subjects such as database, ebook, alternative medicine, EBM, etc. and assigned those subjects to each resource in the ERM.  People can browse for resources (ebooks, databases, internet sites) according to subject and title.  Please note the linked page in the previous sentence is still under development, so what you see is not the final product.  Instead of people typing in the title they will be able to browse titles by A-Z and we will actually have two subject search boxes, one for resources and one for just ebooks. That way people can just browse the ebooks not all of our resources (databases, internet sites, etc.).

Ideally we will be able to link to the page featuring the alphabetic title list option and use that as our “browsable web page of ebooks by title.”  Same idea for subjects.  We are in the process of setting everything up and we have been making several changes since we recorded our webcast video and I predict several more changes to come.  So this is by no means final, but it offers you a glimpse of how we are trying to still meet our users’ needs by having a browsable “webpage” but also make it more manageable for everyone as we acquire more ebooks.

How can I get an ERM, do I have to have an Innovative Interfaces ILS?

Innovative can be a pretty big and expensive system so some smaller to medium hospital libraries may not have it.  However there are several ILS companies that offer ERMs for their systems, one company specializing in small hospitals that offers an ERM as a part of their system is Cybertools for Libraries. 

One thing to note: We have found that cost is just one of the factors involved in an ERM.  The other MAJOR factor that few fully understand is time.  It takes A LOT of time to import the data of your resources into your ERM.  We were able to get a lot of it imported in during our initial set up and training, and that did save some time.  But that doesn’t mean that everything was able to be imported and the stuff that was imported was correct.  If possible you will want to have your information imported during set up and prior to training (that will help a lot), but don’t think that this will solve all of your time issues.  An ERM is only as good as the information you supply it, so not only do you have to make sure the imported information is correct but you have to MAINTAIN and UPDATE the information within the system. 

Personally, I liken ERM system to when a library first begins the process of getting their electronic journals into a Open URL system and maintaining that system.  Once you have the guts of the data in, you will find you need to go into it to update subscription information, invoice and payment information, usage statistics, changes in contacts, etc.  Are you in it everyday doing something?  No but you may be in it several times for several days depending on what time of the year it is and what needs to be done (renewal time, budget time, your sales/support rep emails you saying they are leaving and somebody else is your new contact).

I was following the Twitter discussion #mlaebooks while I was watching the webcast and one person mentioned “An HTML list or an Electronic Resource Mgt system does not seem scaleable to me. Seems self limiting.” 

The HTML list is indeed limiting and not scaleable.  It really only works well with a small list of ebooks (about 100 or so I would say) after that it becomes a pain to deal with (from the librarian side of things) and a pain to browse (from the patron side of things).  The HTML list was really one of our first method of organizing ebooks for discovery (besides the catalog).  While we are technically moving away from it, I think it is still a good option for small libraries with small ebook collections.  As I mentioned many users just don’t search the catalog, but they will browse a web page. 

The ERM is scaleable.  You can add almost as much information as you want in the system and you can remove or hide resource records (ebooks or whatever else) as you want.  However as I mentioned the ERM has a lot of up front work and does require maintenance to keep it running, but once you start having a lot of ebooks and other online resources that you need to display and make available to patrons, it offers a lot more options than a simple HTML list and it is scalable.

I really enjoyed watching the webcast and found a lot of stuff to be interesting.  Following the discussion on Twitter was also interesting and I am sure a lot of discussions on and offline will follow.  If you have questions with what we are doing please feel free to comment and I will do my best to answer them.

MLA Election Reminder

Believe it or not I am now just really starting to feel better from whatever I had that had gottten me.  It took me a while but several types of antibiotics and a steroid inhaler later I am feeling more like my old self.  A lot of stuff went on while I was out on my blogging leave of absence, and there is no way I can cover all of it.  So I will just go forward with what is going on now. 

You thought November 2nd was the end of the elections for a while, but if you are a member of MLA then election season is not quite over. 

The MLA 2011/2012 election is now underway, and the deadline for voting is December 7th.  Email messages with a link to the ballot have been sent to all MLA members with email addresses, and paper ballots have been sent to those without email.  The participation rates for the 2009/10 and 2010/11 MLA elections were 42.37% and 39.75%, respectively.  We hope to see the level of participation in MLA elections rise.  These elections are important because they determine who will lead MLA, set its priorities, and allocate its resources during these difficult times.  Please take the time to cast your ballot by December 7th.

So read through the ballot and the candidates and select the people you think will lead and represent MLA.  Be involved and vote!

Congratulations 2010-2011 NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows

The NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program  is “focused on preparing emerging leaders for the position of library director in academic health sciences libraries. Fellows will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in a variety of learning settings, including exposure to leadership in another environment.”  Fellows are paired with academic health sciences library directors who will mentor them during the fellowship.

Congratuations Tania P. Bardyn, Keith Cogdill, Kelly R. Gonzalez, Deborah Sibley, Susan Nash Simpson.  Read more about the new fellows and their mentors and more information about the scholarship on the AAHSL web site.

MLA E-Books Webinar

This morning my colleague and I finished recording our brief video that will be a part of MLA’s ABC’s of E-Books: Strategies for the Medical Librarywebinar on November 10th.  You can see the agenda for the presnterson MLA’s website.

Marian Simonson and I will have a brief 4-5 min. video presenting how we manage our ebooks at the Cleveland Clinic.  We will talk about how/why we add them to the catalog and how we originally created a plain old web page listing all of our ebooks by title and by subject.  Then as we started to collect more and more ebooks the web list became difficult to manage, time consuming, and too long to scroll through.  So we decided to manage our electronic books using our Electronic Resource Management system.  Our ERM is through our ILS which is Innovative Interfaces.  In the video we discussed how we are using our ERM to manage our ebooks and what our patrons will see and how they might use it as well as what the librarians will see and how they use it.  (Side Note: We didn’t mention this in the video but you don’t have to have III to have an ERM, many other ILS providers have ERMs, including systems specializing in small to medium size medical libraries.)

Our video was only meant to be 4 minutes and I feel like we could have talked longer on the topic. After the webinar on November 10th I will post about some of things that I think I would have liked to have said or expanded upon if we had more time.  It is easier to do it after the webinar so I when I refer to things, you will have already seen the video.

Section Planning from a Newbie’s Perspective Part 4

It has been quite a while since I wrote about section planning from a newbie’s perspective, (last entry was Section Planning From a Newbie’s Perspective: Part 3).  A lot of the section planner’s work is at the beginning of their term.  Once the 2011 programs are submitted to MLA in July, we have a bit of a breather until September/October.  In September we send out a call for posters and papers to our section members and in October we ask for volunteers  from our section to review the abstracts submitted for MLA’s 2011 Annual Meeting.  We also sit and cross our fingers that people are submitting abstracts to our programs and that we get enough volunteers to review the abstracts. 

In case you are interested you still have time submit your abstract for the 2011 meeting, just review the instructions in the poster or paper FAQs on MLA’s site, then begin the online submission process. Submission deadline is November 1, 2010.

Once we have the list of people willing to review the abstracts we send that information to MLA.  MLA will contact them with information and instructions for reviewing the abstracts and the date they need to finish their reviews.  Everything is done online through OASIS and I have been a reviewer a few times and it is a pretty interesting and painless process.   

Starting October 1st, section program planners are allowed to seek and contact vendors to help defray the costs of the program.  It is the responsibility of each section of MLA to pay for their sponsored program.  So to answer a question some people might have about joining sections and the costs associated with it; some of your section membership fees might be going to the cost of your section’s MLA programming.  You aren’t just paying section dues just for the sake of it.  What kind of costs are there for a program?  Well Internet and the big screen people display their Power Point slides on aren’t free, they cost money.  Some sections have outside speakers that they reimburse for travel.  Some sections are able to cover the costs of the program, while others are not and they do some fundraising.  This is the time they are allowed to start that process.

So I think I have brought you up to speed with what is involved in being a section planner for an MLA annual meeting.  For more information on what is like to be a section program planner for an MLA meeting go to:

I will continue to provide posts about the section planning process every so often until MLA 2011 actually happens.  Hopefully, these posts will help demystify the process so others who have never had the opportunity to be a section planner can learn about it and be interested in it enough to volunteer to participate in their section.  You don’t have to be a section planner to participate, as you can see your section needs your help with a lot of other things such as reviewing abstracts and being a program moderator (more on program moderators in a future post).

MLA MIS Members You Are Needed!

If you are a member of the Medical Informatics Section of MLA, we need your help for the 2011 section programming.  We are looking for volunteers to who are willing to review the abstracts that are submitted to the programs we are sponsoring.  This is a great way to help and participate in the section, you DON’T have to be going to the annual meeting to be a reviewer.  We are looking for anybody who is willing and interested in reading the submitted abstracts online and rating them on their quality and how they fit in within the programs we are sponsoring.  I have been a reviewer a few times and I found it to be quite interesting and a relatively easy process. If you are on the fence and have any questions as to what might be involved please let me know. 

Below is a list and a description of the programs that MIS is sponsoring or co-sponsoring for which we will need reviewers.

***If you are interested I need your name and email by no later than October 9, 2010, as well as the name of the program you wish to review. (Email using the address on file with MLA and on the MIS listserv)

  • Rethink Technology (General Topic Session)
    What are you doing with technology in your library? Implementing a metasearch? Linking in the electronic health record ? Adding folksonomy to the catalog? We want to hear about it. If your technology-related paper idea does not fit into any of the section programming themes, this general topic session is the place for you.
  • Top Tech Trends V
    Technology trend spotters will speak about the latest issues in technology and provide their opinions and thoughts on their impact on health sciences libraries. It will be a quick-paced and interesting discussion among the panelists, along with the aid of a Google jockey searching and highlighting the topics. Bring your mobile devices, and participate in the program online as a Twitter jockey will summarize each panelist’s thoughts, fostering the online discussion. Make sure to stay to the end of the session to take advantage of the Technology Petting Zoo, where you will be able to touch and play with the latest technology tools.
    The sponsoring sections will solicit abstract submissions in the months preceding the meeting.
  • Rethinking the Librarian’s Role in EHRs, PHRs, and EMRs: A Place at the Table
    In the health care environment these days, if your library is not at the table, you are on the menu. The role of medical librarians has moved from operating physical libraries to their underlying responsibility: facilitating access to and use of evidence to support quality clinical care and patient education.
    The emergence of electronic health record (EHR), personal health record (PHR), and electronic medical record (EMR) systems provides new opportunities for libraries to participate in the integration of evidence into the clinical process and the documentation of appropriate resources for consumers. Librarians possess the expertise, skills, and resources that are integral to facilitating these connections between information and the clinician or consumer.
    The Fifth Annual Lecture on the Evidence Base will present an overview of the librarian’s role and experiences in integrating into institutions’ EHRs, PHRs, or EMRs. Topics may include, but are not limited to, convincing your organization to bring the library to the table, selecting and integrating of point-of-care evidence-based resources, designing systems, mapping clinical questions to appropriate resources, and documenting resources that are provided by the library to support patient care in the EHR, PHR, or EMR.

 Please consider being a reviewer it is a great way to help make the annual meeting and the section programs a strong and educational component for librarians at the meeting.