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

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/

Gray Literature

Fade Library, the library service of Liverpool Primary Care Trust, offers a blog tracking gray literature on health topics.  From their home page:

What is Grey Literature?
“Information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body.” (Luxembourg, 1997 – Expanded in New York, 2004)

Key topics of Fade Library: Bringing Information to You range from abortion to wi-fi and can be found using a dropdown box, category cloud or tag cloud.   Recent posts include information about alcohol consumption, NICE guidelines, and the Podbean podcasting service. 

Customized Website Search Engines

David Rothman has taken the list of medical library websites published by M.D. Hardin (http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/hardin/hslibs.html) and built a Custom Search Engine to search them: http://davidrothman.net/medical-library-search-engine/.

Custom Google Search is available free, and even ad-free for nonprofits. I tried this out; take a look at my “EBP Site Search.” After refining it a bit (I need to customize the appearance), I plan to add the link to my intranet page. It was a bit tricky to add websites and get them to work, so here are my tips:

Build your own Google Custom Search at http://www.google.com/coop/cse/ .