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


Followup for MLA ebook webcast

Earlier this week, MLA presented the webcast ABCs of E-books: Strategies for the Medical Library. The program is available “on-demand” through December 10, 2010.

In response to a followup question posted on #mlaebooks Twitter feed, Michelle Kraft has posted some practical tips for small libraries just getting started with ebooks.  Check it out: Ebooks and Small Libraries 

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!


Shrinking medical libraries

I’m aware of a number of hospital libraries that have lost space and/or staff in the last few years, mine included.  Part of the justification is the advent of electronic resources; administrators are convinced that we just don’t need the space any longer, and if we don’t have as much collection to maintain, we must not need as much staff, either.  As a result, we’ve had to re-examine our collection development policies, our holdings, and our practices to make do with less while staying in line with the libraries’ missions.

The latest JMLA includes 6 case studies of academic medical libraries required to reduce space in the last couple of years.  The purpose of the studies is “to point out that a trend may be developing and that lessons can be learned from libraries that have undergone a loss of space.”   In some cases, the requirement for space reduction came as a surprise to library administration and staff; in other cases, planning included time to elicit input from faculty and librarians.

Based on this sample, it seems to be only a matter of when, not if, health sciences libraries will be asked to give up space. Although advance planning and preparation cannot always lead to the outcomes that seem most desirable for the library and the parent institution, these case studies show that, as the Boy Scouts say, it is best to “be prepared.”

Freiberger G.  Introduction: be prepared. J Med Libr Assoc. 2010 January; 98(1): 24. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.98.1.009. PMCID: PMC2801978

The January 2010 issue of JMLA which includes the case studies is free online in PubMed Central: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/issues/183881/

MLA Mobile Webcast – “Cutting the cord”

Rave reviews from the West Michigan group viewing the webcast in Big Rapids!

I tried following the tweets (#MLAmobile) but found that multitasking was beyond me – I kept missing the jokes! – both onscreen and at our site. Might be age related – I’m, well, over 21.

So, for continuing coverage – and responses to some of the Twitter commentary – check out David Rothman’s website: http://davidrothman.net/

Great job!

Snow day – catching up on library blogs

Glad to be in here, not out there, as the snow continues to fall…

I don’t offer “virtual reference” as such, as a solo librarian, but I found David Lee King’s post, Ask-a-librarian services need a reboot, thought-provoking.  How do we prioritize service requests? And how do we advise our patrons of likely wait times without seeming to put them off? 

John Mark Ockerbloom at Everybody’s Libraries reminds us that January 1 is Public Domain Day in  Public Domain Day 2009: Freeing the Libraries. The post reviews public domain rules under U.S. Copyright law and the Berne Convention, celebrating the additional works that came into public domain the first of the year. Ockerbloom calls on libraries to track when works they hold come under public domain, to digitize them and make them publicly available.

Baby Boomer Librarian Bill Drew points us to a new MaintainIT Cookbook from WebJunction.  This toolkit, part of TechSoup’s Planning for Success series for library management, includes downloadable chapters to assist in developing technology plans, guidelines for collaborating with stakeholders, daily management of public computers, etc.

And from Michelle Kraft’s The Krafty Librarian, Using Delicious for Subject Guides refers us to an article by Edward Corrado of Birmingham University detailing a project using the Del.icio.us social bookmarking site to create online subject guides.  Kraft’s post and its comments link to a couple of medical libraries with similar project.  This kind of project is on my very long to-do list…

Library roles in disaster (or everyday service)

The Emerging Technologies Librarian’s recent post, Assumptions about Library’s Role in Disasters, raises some interesting points about disaster planning, and library roles in general, as it compares public vs. library administrators’ assumptions about what materials public and academic libraries hold/retain, and in what format that material should be available.

The contrast between the patrons’ assumption that they need not keep their own copies of important resources because the library will always have them, and the library administrators’ assumption that patrons are responsible for retaining personal copies of resources of vital importance to them, reminds me of a discussion I had with a fellow hospital librarian today.  She had just advised a medical resident that the library does not provide paper copies of Dubin, or the Washington Manual, or the Lange series titles, because the first person who “checked out” the title didn’t bring it back.  The library budget doesn’t stretch to buying multiple replacement copies of these relatively inexpensive titles every year; the resident would need to buy his own copy.   “But they told me you would have it!”, the resident protested.  Whoever “they” were, their assumptions weren’t based on library realities.

Speaking of disaster planning, I look forward to the upcoming MLA Webcast, Survival Tips and Stories: Expanding the Library’s Services in Times of Disaster. As a hospital librarian, my informal “disaster plan” is to assure that paper copies of important reference works are available in paper, in the event of a blackout or network outage. Yet as I read the disaster stories posted at the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness and Response Toolkit (http://nnlm.gov/ep/lessons-learnedstories-told/ ) I see that medical libraries and librarians have been called on to fill many roles beyond providing the latest copy of Harrison’s when disaster strikes their communities. It’s time to re-examine my own assumptions.