August 11, 2006

Friday Funny

Posted in Humor at 10:49 am by Alexia

This is totally not related to medical librarianship but I thought a Friday Funny is well deserved today.

From Get Fuzzy:

Get Fuzzy  


2007 NLM training schedule available

Posted in Professional Development at 8:31 am by Alexia

From the NLM Technical Bulletin:

The 2007 schedule of NLM online searching training classes is available. These classes, along with the remainder of the year 2006 classes, may be found at the

Site of Interest – DailyMed

Posted in Consumer Health, Reference Resources at 8:17 am by Alexia

DailyMed, produced by the National Library of Medicine, is a resource geared towards the consumer.  It provides information about marketed drugs, including FDA approved labels.  Results can be printed or emailed.  All labels can be downloaded.  An RSS feed for the database is also available.  As a consumer, I would like to be able to subscribe to a particular medication but a general feed is better than no feed at all.  Not all drugs are listed yet, the site currently contains 565 drugs (as of 11 August 2006).  The site does direct you to Medlineplus to get more information.  There is a link for reporting an adverse event that takes you to the FDA website.

Any product for consumers coming out of NLM is a quality product and I’d recommend adding this link to any consumer health web site or page.


August 10, 2006

Tip – add RSS feeds to your Electronic Journal list

Posted in Tips & Tricks, Web 2.0 / Medical Library 2.0 at 4:29 pm by Alexia

One of my major goals this year is to create and provide a comprehensive system of pushing RSS feeds out to our physicians, residents and other hospital staff.  My first step is to integrate url’s of RSS feeds for the toc of the journals on our EBSCO AtoZ list.  This has actually been an easier process than I thought though it is time consuming.  All I really have done is added the RSS feed as a custom link on the journal record in EBSCO AtoZ.  If there is interest, I will post step-by-step instructions.

Here is an example of what our patrons see:

Acta oto-laryngologica
    Print Collection  Your Access: 1990 to present 
The Helen L. DeRoy Medical Library at Providence Hospital holds the print version of this title  
    Ingenta Select  1998 to present  
Standard access is available via IP Address through any computer connected to the hospital network.  
    RSS Feed

ISSN: 0001-6489
Publisher: T & F Informa UK Limited
Subject: Medicine and Health Sciences — Otolaryngology

My next step will be to create an RSS page explaining RSS, giving links to readers, and offering links to medically related RSS directories.  At some point I would like to start pushing topically-related, pre-bundled RSS feeds as David Rothman has begun doing at this institution.  The possibilites are endless, my problem is overcoming the desire to offer everything at once.How are you using RSS feeds in your library?

Time management for the hospital librarian

Posted in Productivity at 11:30 am by Alexia

While I think that time management for the hospital librarian is an oxymoron (it is hard to manage time that is not necessarily your own when part of your job is interacting with other people, i.e. Patrons) I do believe there is a way for us to organize our work day.  I will elaborate on this in later posts.  Today I wanted to point out an article from the Boston Globe, specifically two paragraphs I think relevant to hospital librarians.

To do this, she says, start by blocking an hour or half-hour each day as power time to accomplish priorities. That may mean coming in early or hiding in the cafeteria to escape interruptions.

Break tasks into 10-minute segments; when you get interrupted, jot a phrase or cue to bring you back into the task later. When people drop in or call, give them your full attention, she suggests.

While hiding in the cafeteria may is probably not feasible, coming in 1/2 hour early may or may not work.  My director found that patrons eventually discover your early arrival and will use to their advantage.

I particularly liked the the suggestion about writing down a cue.  Hospital librarians, especially if they sit at a public reference desk, tend to get interrupted a lot.  Breaking down tasks into 10 minute segments is brilliant.  It’s a small enough segment that it most likely could be completed.  Cueing can help the hospital librarian get back on task quickly, until the next interruption.  We find ourselves torn between the two aspects of our job – helping the patron and keeping the library running.  While using a tool such as jotting down a cue will not solve this conflict entirely it can go a long way in helping us balance the two aspects of our job.


August 9, 2006

Podcast – Library Geeks 101

Posted in Professional Development at 7:27 pm by Alexia

Continuing education need not be limited to conferences, CE courses or professional meetings.  I have recently discovered podcasts and have found several that have helped me become more familiar with a variety of topics.  Podcasts will not give you indepth knowledge on a subject (as most are an hour or less) but instead you can get a rather good overview on a variety of topics.

Over at LibrarianInBlack I saw an announcement of a new podcast series called Library Geeks 101.  Lorcan Dempsey Dan Chudnov (thanks Alane for pointing out my error!) of One Big Library has posted the first podcast of the series, called Fun with OpenURL. talks to Ross Singer at the Georgia Tech library about OpenURL.  There are options to listen and subscribe via Odeo or iTunes.  I’m a little disappointed there is not Bloglines link as that is how I subscribe to my podcasts but I have downloaded iTunes at home.  Guess I’ll get a crash course in using that.


Article of possible interest – Purchasing online journal access for a hospital medical library: how to identify value in commercially available products

Posted in Articles of Interest at 1:15 pm by Alexia

Purchasing online journal access for a hospital medical library: how to identify value in commercially available products
Thomas P Carter , Anne O Carter and Gwendolyn Broomes
1School of Clinical Medicine and Research, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados
2Librarian, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, St. Michael, Barbados

Biomedical Digital Libraries 2006, 3:8     doi:10.1186/1742-5581-3-8

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

August 8, 2006

New website now available (and what it means for medical libraries)

Posted in News and Noteworthy at 3:49 pm by Alexia

From the MLC Communique: 

This site—and a downloadable WorldCat search box you can easily add to your Web site—opens the complete WorldCat database to the public, not just the smaller data subsets utilized by Open WorldCat partner sites such as Google, Yahoo! Search and others. builds on the success of OCLC’s Open WorldCat Program that has elevated the visibility of library materials on the open Web since the summer of 2003.

The main attraction of the new site is the WorldCat search box. Web users can now search the entire WorldCat database with the method most familiar to them: simple keywords. As in Open WorldCat, each linked result leads to a “Find in a Library” information page.  From there, users can enter geographic information such as a zip or postal code, receive a list of nearby libraries that own the item, and link right to a library’s online catalog record to initiate circulation activity or access electronic content directly. Users can also create their own WorldCat account and add book reviews, table-of-contents information and notes to many WorldCat items, helping to personalize their library search experience.

From, any Web user or organization can also easily download and install the free, WorldCat search box to their personal or commercial Web page, allowing even more people to discover library content through WorldCat. Libraries and other groups inside and outside the OCLC cooperative are encouraged to add the box to their sites. We believe that sharing the ability to search for library materials to as many other sites as possible will help increase the awareness of libraries as primary sources of reliable information and helpful personal assistance.

To try the new WorldCat search box and download the box to your own Web site, visit the site at

Being a hospital library that is not openly open to the public (nor do we circulate directly to those are not employed by the hospital) we use WorldCat for only “technical services” help.  But, since our holdings are on OCLC it is important that we know what the public is seeing.  For instance, I just looked up Hurst’s The Heart, which we own.  I notice we do not have any library information under our profile (my bad, guess who get’s to add something to her Projects list?).  So, some poor, hopeful patron could walk into our library looking for this book only to find out that he cannot check it out.  Not only does our library have our reputation to think about but that of our parent organization (the Hospital).  Steven Cohen over at LibraryStuff talks about this aspect of WorldCat and the need for WorldCat to offer lending information in the library’s profile.  That is only half of the solution.  It is then up to the library to utilize that feature.  While many hospital libaries are solo or minimally staffed, and we may think we don’t have time to do stuff like create and update WorldCat profiles, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to redirecting the public to the more appropriate institution.  Hospital libraries may not be open to the public but they are more and more becoming aware of our existence and we need to act accordingly.


Why another Medical Library blog?

Posted in Blog Announcements at 1:31 pm by Alexia

I have been a blogger for several years, though until recently only on a personal level.  There are a great many general library blogs out there, but only a few focusing on Medical Libraries and Librarianship.  They are excellent blogs, but there is power in numbers and the more of us who use our voice the better off our profession is.  So, that is why another Medical Library blog.

So, what will you get in this blog?  General discussions on library and medical library issues, announcements (products, continuing education opportunities, etc.) will garner most of the attention.  I also plan to write on work productivity issues and other general issues that could pertain to our profession even if not directly.

A little about me:

I have been a librarian for 16 years, 12 of which I have spent in the medical (hospital) librarian vein.  I have a bachelors in business administration and MLS.  I am a senior AHIP member and active (too active perhaps) in many professional organizations.  I am currently the president of the Metropolitan Detroit Medical Library Group.  Personally, I am a single mom of a wonderful boy and I love my career.

Enough about me.  Let’s get this party started!


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