September 14, 2007

DOCLINE Ettiquette

Posted in ILL at 10:04 am by Alexia

Karen Bülow, Health Professionals Outreach Coordinar for the Southcentral Region of the National Nework of Libraries of Medicne, has put together an article on Docline ettiquette.  With the prices of journals, both print and electronic, skyrocketing hospital libraries will be relying heavily on interlibrary loan.  This document was designed to make interlibrary loan for medical libraries as easy and painless as possible.

The only addition I would  make is to expand the Sending section to include making sure the lending library scans the Docline coversheet when scanning and sending an article electronically, either by Ariel, email or other electronic means.


September 13, 2007

Revisiting GTD in the library

Posted in Geeky Stuff, Getting Things Done, GTD, Web 2.0 / Medical Library 2.0 at 1:04 pm by Alexia

A little over a year ago I wrote a post on Getting Things Done in the Library.  One of the things I like most about this “system” is that it is geared towards helping you manage tasks and not time.  I believe this is a major factor in my success of using GTD as a librarian.  Even if one could manage time our jobs are full of too many interruptions.  The best we can hope for is to manage what we have to do in such a way that we can get it done between reference questions.

The tool that has worked the best for me in using GTD has been AirSet.  This Web 2.0 application offers a calendar, lists, files, contacts and links.  You can use it alone or for groups.  I use my calendar for my “hard landscape” tasks – meetings, appointments, etc. – that have a definite time.  I use the list function for keeping track of my tasks and projects.  Between those two functions I am able to keep track of my projects and tasks and that is half the battle.

I would be very interested to know if other librarians are using GTD and if so, how.


September 11, 2007

Living la vida CyberTools

Posted in Integrated Library Systems, Vendors at 2:33 pm by Alexia

As I am sure you all have noticed I went MIA for a while.  Why?  Well, it was the summer of the ILS migration!  We had been using Professional Software since as long as I’ve been here (November 1994) and though it was a great system it was becoming outdated and the developer seems to have disappeared.  We had extra money in our budget this year and decided to take the opportunity to make the change.  We chose CyberTools for several reason including price and the fact that three of the other libraries in our health system and the idea of a union catalog was tempting.  We have not been disappointed.

No ILS is perfect but for our needs CyberTools has come close.  So far I’ve only really played extensively with the circulation module and the catalog module.  I am particularly enamored with circulation, especially the automatic email capability to remind patrons their books are due.  There is a similar feature for the overdues but I haven’t gotten that far yet.  Besides cleaning up records after the migration I am cataloging our electronic books, which excites me to no end.  Before CyberTools we had links on our web page to our ebook vendors and links to titles in our EBSCO AtoZ product but there was no way to search our catalog, find an ebook AND access it all from one resource.

Thus far, my only major disappointment with the cataloging module is the way it handles (or doesn’t handle) loose-leaf books (i.e. – Drug Facts and Comparisons).  It’s a monograph but I wanted a serials record to keep track of the updates.  CyberTools support was able to help me but they did a lot of the work behind the scenes and I can’t recreate it on my own.  This is a relatively minor issue since that is the only active loose-leaf book we have in print.  Nothing in the circulation module has disappointed me.  I have not dealt enough with the serials module to have a strong opinion but I like what I see so far.  Most of my problems with the serials module have to do with journal publishers rather than CyberTools.

I know there are features I haven’t even discovered yet, like the ability of the patron to edit their record and renew items.  I do wish CyberTools had an RSS feature that would let a patron save a search as and RSS feed so that their reader would be updated any time we updated our catalog with an item fitting the patron’s search. I would highly recommend this ILS to any hospital library, especially ones in health systems.


June 11, 2007

RSS on A-to-Z

Posted in Tips & Tricks, Web 2.0 / Medical Library 2.0 at 3:44 pm by Alexia

A comment left on this blog post by Michael Porter reminded me that I’m very lax in posting actual instructions on adding RSS urls to an A-to-Z list, specifically EBSCO.  It’s really rather simple.  There may actually be an easier way to do it but this is the only way I have figured out how that keeps the RSS feed with the rest of the title.

First you have to log into the administration module for A-to-Z and download your holdings file:

  1. Log in to Ebsco A-to-Z administration module
  2. Cursor over “Title Wizard” then choose “Download/Upload”
  3. List format should be tab deliminated, list content should be All Resources. I download all columns, it’s just easier for me that way.
  4. When the download file has been generated, right click on the “Click here to download your A-to-Z collection. ” link and save onto your computer.
  5. Open up the file in Excell.

To add an RSS feed to a title I generally do the following, which ensures that the RSS feed is in the same spot as the ejournal entry on A-to-Z:

  1. Erase the data in the LinkId and ResourceId columns.
  2. Keep data in Title and Sort Title columns the same.
  3. Change source to RSS feed
  4. Put RSS feed url in URL and ProxiedURL field.
  5. Keep data in PrintISSN and OnlineISSN columns.
  6. Erase data in all coverage related columns, including embargo.
  7. Don’t change anything in the subject related columns.
  8. Change the IsCustom column to Y
  9. Don’t change the Delete column.

I generally then delete any other rows for that title and for titles that don’t have RSS feeds.  After saving the file just go back to the A-to-Z administration module and upload the file as follows:

  1. Cursor over “Title Wizard” then choose “Download/Upload”.
  2. Click on the “Upload Collection” tab.
  3. Find the file on your computer.
  4. Click on the upload button.

From here you can customize as you wish.  I added the orange RSS Feed square as a custom note the attached the note to any source that was RSS Feed.

I hope this tutorial is useful.  Please leave any questions in the comment section and I’ll try and answer them as quickly as possible.  I’ll definitely be more prompt than I was getting this post up and running.

May 1, 2007


Posted in Consumer Health, Rants, Reference Resources, Web 2.0 / Medical Library 2.0 at 12:49 pm by Alexia

Okay, I’ll bite.  The biblioblogosphere has brought to my attention a new consumer health tool called MEDgle (or hypochondria 2.0 in some circles).  For a good review of signs and symptoms web sites visit David Rothman’s post on his blog.  I’m not going to reinvent his wheel but I did want to discuss my test run of MEDgle.

First some background.  I have a 9 year old son with physical challanges.  He is hypotonic (low muscle tone) and ataxic.  We’ve put him through more diagnostic tests than any child should ever have to go through and all we’ve been able to determine is what he doesn’t have.  As an aside, none of the diseases my son was test for was listed as possible diagnoses on MEDgle.

So, off to MEDgle I go.  I start by typing in hypotonic.  There is no such symptom.  Hmmm.  I type in low muscle tone.  Still nothing.  I type in muscle.  There are a lot of terms but none that mean low muscle tone.  Low muscle tone is NOT muscle weakness.  So, MEDgle fails me right from the start.

Ataxia is a term in MEDgle.  My son has a disturbed gait.  Abnormal gait it a “term”.  So I search.  The first possibility is corns and calluses.  The third possibility is consequences of obesity (I checked that my son is NOT overweight on the initial search).  CP is the fifth possibility and because it’s an “umbrella term” is the closest thing we have to an official diagnosis.

I did another search for headache, nausea and sensitivity to light and migraine came right up. 

I was put off by MEDgle.  It seems to be okay for common, run of the mill symptom combinations but that’s about it.  The site claims it’s a “search engine” for medical information and should not be used to self-diagnose but with a symptom-driven search engine many people will.  I will say the interface was easy to use but a down and dirty Google search of hypotonia +ataxia came up with more relevant sites than MEDgle.

While I think the Internet and World Wide Web has done much in terms of information sharing the lack of oversight and authoritative information for consumer health users is frightening and I’m not sure what health sciences libraries can really do about it.  We can promote the heck out of librarians and sites such as MEDLINEPlus but since we can’t regulate who puts health information on the web and what information they put there the problem will always exist.  I think the best we can hope to do is to educate the heck out of any consumer health library user that darkens our doorstep.


April 20, 2007

Friday Funny

Posted in Humor at 11:04 am by Alexia

Because I think we all need something to chuckle at after this week:

April 4, 2007

Articles of Interest 2.0

Posted in Articles of Interest, Professional Development, Web 2.0 / Medical Library 2.0 at 2:42 pm by Alexia

While reading a post on Squidoo on Infodoodads I stumbled across Brian Gray’s treatise on Using Web 2.0 Principles to Become Librarian 2.0.  On that site I ran into CiteULike, a site that “is a free service to help academics to share, store, and organise the academic papers they are reading.”  I am constantly running into articles I think would be of interest to other medical librarians, and see many postings on medlib-l sharing their articles.  It stuck me that CiteULike would be a great place to serve as a repository or our serindipitously or otherwise obtained articles.  I have created both a profile and a group (Health_Sciences_Librarians) to facilitate this sharing.  I am encouraging all to join CiteULike (all they ask for is a username, passoword and email address) and join the group (it’s open to all for now).

 CiteULike is easy to use.  Just add a “Post to CiteULike” bookmark to your favorites and whenever you run across an article from a variety of sources (including PubMed, but not OVID) just choose the “Post to CiteULike” link and all the citation information will be pulled into CiteULike.  Just add tags, reviews, etc. then click save and your done.  If you’ve joined the Health Sciences Librarians group the citation will show up in your library and under your username in the group’s library.  If full text is available you can obtain it from a link on CiteULike.  You can track fellow users or groups via RSS feeds or via watchlists on CiteULike.  The site even offers electronic tables of contents to over 11,000 journals (which you can add to your watch list).

This is a dynamic and useful site and I see lots of potential for information sharing among medical and health science librarians, many of whom work in one-person libraries.  CiteULike is a quick and easy way to share articles of interest and I hope many of you will join in the fun.

March 23, 2007

Why this comic hits too close to home…

Posted in Consumer Health, Library promotion, Rants at 10:18 am by Alexia

Heart of the City - March 23, 2007

Last October the Pew Internet & American Life Project published a report regarding behaviors of Internet users searching for health information (emphasis mine):

Eighty percent of American internet users, or some 113 million adults, have searched for information on at least one of seventeen health topics. Most internet users start at a general search engine when researching health and medical advice online. Just 15% of health seekers say they “always” check the source and date of the health information they find online, while another 10% say they do so “most of the time.” Fully three-quarters of health seekers say they check the source and date “only sometimes,” “hardly ever,” or “never,” which translates to about 85 million Americans gathering health advice online without consistently examining the quality indicators of the information they find. Most health seekers are pleased about what they find online, but some are frustrated or confused.

I read the above posted comic this morning, as I was updating the public Consumer Health Resource page at my hospital.  I have no idea how much this page is access, if at all (partially due to an IT department that doesn’t really care why I care about statistics) and was hoping I wasn’t updating the page for naught.  After all, getting to the page itself is an exercise in patience.  It takes clicking on no fewer than four links to get to the page and that is only if you know that you have to choose my particular hospitals page from the health system’s main page.  We are the only library in the system with enough staff to maintain an external web page for consumer health information seekers.

Translation – 75% of health information seekers don’t care if the information is right as long as it “looks like they did the work”.  85 million people thinking Krypton is a planet.  85 million people who probably don’t even know there are brick and morter or virtual consumer health libraries and librarians who are happy and willing to guide them to authorative, accurate health information.  85 million people whose local hospitals purchase “health library” packages for their web pages without consulting the librarians on staff.

So, as I sit here contemplating ideas for goals for the next fiscal year and wondering if partnering with local public libraries to teach critical appraisal skills to health information seekers would be worthwhile I see this report and think no – 75% of Internet users don’t care and feel the information is useful.  Then I think ignorance is no excuse and there has to be a way to reach the public.  It’s difficult for me to sit back and do nothing but I’m not exactly sure what we can do.  Here are some thoughts that have been bouncing around me head:

  • Try to get a link to the consumer health resource page on the main system web site.
  • Brainstorm about ideas for getting marketing involved in promoting healthy Internet search skills.
  • Continue conteplating partnering with public libraries in the hospital’s community to teach healthy Internet search skills.

I would love to hear other ideas.

March 20, 2007

“New” technology confounded the human race from the beginning

Posted in Geeky Stuff, Humor at 2:45 pm by Alexia

or, what tech support was like centuries ago…

How to read a book

February 22, 2007

Things that make you go ewwww

Posted in Humor at 10:32 am by Alexia

This article makes me want to run out and get an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator lead… 

Daccarett M. Alexander P. Machado C. Large vegetation associated with implantable cardioverter-defibrillator lead. [Case Reports. Journal Article] Acute Cardiac Care. 8(2):109, 2006.

I wonder why am I picturing a tree growing out of someone’s chest?

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