Facebook: how does it fit in your professional life?

As a hospital librarian, I work in an environment where Facebook and other social media tools are blocked by an Internet filter. I have a personal account, but I’ve never considered it as an outreach tool, though my parent organization (a health system) has a corporate Facebook presence.

So I found Hilary Davis’ article reflecting on the pros and cons of a professional Facebook presence very thought-provoking.  Reconsidering Facebook (at In the Library with a Lead Pipe) discusses the issues of the personal-professional separation, privacy and data ownership concerns, the need to offer access and services where the patrons are, and the increasing business and corporate use of Facebook to reach out to customers.

Facebook is becoming “mainstream,”  a trend we’ll need to keep in view.

NYU Health Sciences Library implements Twitter

Laika’s Blog summarizes an article from Medical Reference Services Quarterly detailing New York University Health Sciences Library’s implementation of Twitter, Facebook, and a library blog “to give users as many options as possible to keep current with library news, resources, and services.” The article includes a flowchart illustrating how information created in one of these sources flows to the others without duplicating effort.  A free companion program, CoTwitter, is also described; CoTwitter allows the workload of creating “tweets” to be shared among the staff.

Cuddy, Colleen , Graham, Jamie and Morton-Owens, Emily G. (2010) Implementing Twitter in a Health Sciences Library. Medical Reference Services Quarterly 29(4): 320 — 330
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02763869.2010.518915

The Google Connection

 Well, I’m geeked. 

I read in the December CCL Outlook  that Proquest and Ebsco have entered a relationship with Google Scholar that allows libraries to set up links from Google Scholar results page to the fulltext found in their databases.  The enduser uses the “Scholar preferences” link in the upper right corner of the Scholar search screen , searches for his or her library name(s) in the “Library Links” section in the middle of the page, and selects the resources available.  Save preferences, and it’s good to go. 

Looks like I have some behind-the-scenes work to do, to get this set up for my patrons; I found my Proquest but not my Ebsco databases.  I also found one of the statewide Gale subscriptions, which seems to work perfectly well.

I work in a tiny hospital library.  High-end link resolvers and meta-search engines aren’t in my budget; so any time I can link fulltext to search results on the cheap, I’m a happy camper. 

CCL Outlook also reports on a couple of free tutorials:

  • 20 things I learned about the web , an interactive ebook explaining concepts such as “what is a browser?”, Javascript, TCP/IP, and cloud computing. Requires a browser that can handle HTML5; that rules out my hospital PC!
  • Google Search Manual at the Google Tutor blog, providing “tutorials, tips and advice for Google users.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,400 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 22 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 201 posts.

The busiest day of the year was January 5th with 53 views. The most popular post that day was Medical & Science Cartoons.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were mhsla.org, en.search.wordpress.com, mycrazyreader.info, bigextracash.com, and twitter.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for science cartoons, library humor, humorous pictures, science cartoon, and mrsa cartoon.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Medical & Science Cartoons December 2007


Friday fun February 2008


SWOT analysis for Web 2.0 tools May 2008


Slide Sharing sites December 2007


University of Michigan’s digital repository now available through PubMed December 2007
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New AMA policy: Professionalism in the Use of Social Media

The American Medical Association just posted “Professionalism in the Use of Social Media” , a policy statement issued by the House of Delegates at its 2010 Interim Meeting.  The policy stresses maintaining professionalism,  privacy, and patient-physician boundaries.

Reaction to the policy amongst medical/industry bloggers is mixed.

Dr. Bertalan Meskó (ScienceRoll) and John Mack (Pharma Marketing Blog) suggest that the policy is too little, too late. “The cow has left the barn,” as John Mack puts it;  doctors are using social media and find it useful.

Dr. Meskó points us to Medicine and Web 2.0, an online course giving practical information for the physician using social media.

Stephen Welch (executive editor for Chest), in It Ain’t Rocket Surgery , applauds AMA for “pushing this out in front of docs and generating discussion about the use of social media by physicians” but notes that the policy is “too general and seems more like a warning in some areas than a policy.”

Want to read more? Keep up on this topic with Google or Google Blog searches.

MHSLA Conference – Tech Tools presentation

A conference highlight for me was the “Tech Tools” presentation by Christine Tobias.  This collection of free Web 2.0 tools was mind-boggling – so many options for upgrading and enhancing reference services, from screen capture to sound recording, surveys, web polls, and more.

As promised, the presentation slides are now available in SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/tobiasc/tech-toolsmhsla

Doctor Rating — Real Patients or Paid Promotions?

The SF Weekly News story Doctoring the Web exposes some doctors’ and their marketing agencies’ use of phony “patient comments” on doctor rating sites to drive business to their practice.  Moderators of the rating sites, such as RateMD, are aware of the practice (called “medical astroturfing”) and remove such comments when they can identify fraudulent postings; for example, when they can trace multiple postings back to IP addresses owned by the physician’s practice.  However, sheer volume of traffic (1.1 million visits per month at RateMD) and technology that promotes anonymity (such as free throw-away email addresses at GMail, Yahoo, etc.) make it difficult to determine where postings originate.  Would-be patients are advised to check reputable sources such as the state medical board.

I hadn’t heard of the SF Weekly News, so I checked it out — using Google, of course. It’s an alternative weekly newspaper located in San Francisco, distributed free on Wednesdays.  I found articles about SF Weekly News in Wikipedia and Mondo Times.

via ScienceRoll

Medical Information Blog Carnival

Laika’s MedLibLog hosts an archive of links to the medical library blog postings constituting the blog carnival MedLibs Round (soon to be called Medical Information Matters).

Interesting concept,  the blog carnival.  Jacqueline (“Laika”) explains in Medlibs Round First Edition.  In essence, each issue is hosted by a different medical library blogger, who solicits posts concerning an announced theme. The host summarizes the submitted posts and provides links to them.  This is a terrific way to explore not only the topics/themes but also to find interesting new blogs in an arena that’s constantly changing.

This month’s host is Daniel Hooker, at Health Libraries, Medicine and the Web. As he describes his theme:

I’d love to see posts on new things you’re trying out this year: new projects, teaching sessions, innovative services. Maybe it’s something tried and true that you’d like to reflect on. And this goes for anyone starting out fresh this term, not just librarians! We should all be brimming with enthusiasm; the doldrums of winter have yet to set in. If you can find the time to reflect and even just write up your busy workday, I’ll do my best to weave them all together. I, for one, hope to describe some of the projects that I’m involved with at my new workplace.

I look forward to checking it out!


FDA Social Media hearings

Emerging Technologies Librarian at University of Michigan is posting a series of reports on the November FDA public forum intended to inform FDA’s development of guidelines for their use of social media  (FDASM).  Her posts include commentary as well as links to videos and documents.

Why do we care?  As she says,

The FDA guidelines will very likely shape non-health guidelines for social media and may very well impact on health communications in broader spheres, especially that of information professionals, health advocates, and potentially the general public. Please see http://fdasm.com for more information on how you can contribute to the dialog.

While the FDA posted two 8-hour videos of the hearings, some of the material has been broken down into more manageable pieces as individual speakers have uploaded their bits to YouTube.  A playlist of these videos (for those who can get to YouTube) has been posted at UM Health Sciences Libraries blog: FDA Social Media Forum Videos: Thought Leaders & Opinions.  The playlist can also be found at http://www.youtube.com/user/perplexitypeccable#g/c/C1A3ED9EF1F5BB8E. The first video in the playlists includes an interview explaining the FDA’s interest in using social media to communicate with the public, referencing the peanut product recall that occurred earlier this year.

Check out Emerging Technology Librarian’s posts on FDASM: http://etechlib.wordpress.com/?s=fdasm

Swine Flu Information Widget

The Swine Flu information widget (resembling the green box on the PubMed start page) is available at the HHS Website’s Image & Icon library: http://www.hhs.gov/web/library/index.html#HHSWidgets. Sorry, I can’t post a copy here, WordPress doesn’t allow javascript.

Looking for more ways to spread the word?  Check out this post in the Cornflower: Using social software to deliver Swine Flu information


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