“Ask a Librarian” a new series in the JAAPA.

22 03 2009

The Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAAPA) features a new online column : “Ask a Librarian”. Or as JAAPA states it: the inaugural installment of JAAPA’s first online only department. This column is a co-authored by Jim Anderson, Physician Assistant, and Susan Klawansky, Librarian. It aims to promote collaboration of PA’s and other clinicians with medical librarians, address questions from physician assistants and point to resources, including nnlm.gov.

This is a very good initiative, an example that deserves to be followed by other publishers.

The first questions answered were:

  1. Can you explain what a MeSH Heading is? I always hear that term, but I don’t understand what it means. Is it something I need to know to do a good search?
  2. I need to find an article about an exotic genetic condition of one of my patients. I work in a hospital in a rural and remote area in Montana, and while I have access to the Internet, I don’t have access to a library or a librarian. How can I get help online finding an article, and when I find a reference, how can I get the full-text?

Relevant questions, but the answers are rather superficial and short on the one hand (one paragraph long), but too long-winded at the other hand.

For instance, the second question begins as follows:

Are you in luck! Thanks to the Web, medical librarians are everywhere, floating around in the ether, just waiting for questions like this. As a matter of fact, if you look really quick right now, you might see one sitting there up on your shoulder! But seriously, if you have the Internet, you have a librarian…

to simply tell, one can contact nnlm.gov. for this question (web or telephone)…

This information could be much more to the point. On the other hand I wonder, is there no valuable information in (for instance) the OMIM database that the PA/clinician could get for free?

Again, it is a good initiative and I hope JAAPA will succeed in making this a successful column.

HATTIP : pat_devine (twitter)


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