National Library Week

12 04 2011

It is National Library Week! Did you know that?

To be honest I didn’t.

Today, Tuesday, is even National Library Workers Day — a time to thank librarians and the rest of the library staff (LA-Times).

I didn’t know that either, until I received a tweet from @doc_emer which was retweeted by doctor_V (see Fig).

Now I know.

Thank you Dr. Emer and Bryan Vartabedian (Doctor V). You made my day!

*********************************

Added:

 

@amcunningham (AnneMarie Cunningham) tweeted:
Since it’s national library week, thought I’d say thanks to all the great librarians on this list:) http://bit.ly/gkzKZm

 

 





Medical Information Matters 2.10 is up at The Search Principle Blog

16 11 2010

In case you missed it: the new edition of Medical Information Matters (edition 2.10) – formerly MedLibs Round is up at the well-known blog “Search Principles” of the equally well-known Dean Giustini, a knowledgeable, helpful and friendly Canadian medical librarian, one of the first bloggers, a web 2.0 pioneer, author of many papers (like this one in the BMJ), main contributor to the UBC Health Library Wiki, educator and expert in EBM. Need I say more?

With a wink to the name of the blog carnival, Dean gave his post the title: Medical Blogging Matters: A Carnival of Ideas, November 2010

And indeed, his post is a real ode to medical bloggers and medical blogging

Dean:

With the rise of Twitter, and the emphasis placed on ‘real time’ idea-sharing and here-I-am visibility on the social web, I often wonder where blogging (all kinds) will be in five years. Perhaps it’s a dying art form.

However, this month, the ‘art of blogging’ seems to be in ample evidence throughout the medical blogosphere and the array of postings illustrates a vast diversity of approaches and opinions. In the posts mentioned, you’ll recognize many of the top names in medical blogging – these dedicated, talented professionals continue to work hard at updating their blogs regularly while carrying on with their work as medical librarians, informaticists and physicians.

Dean started his post by saying

It’s my great honour to be this month’s host for Medical Information Matters — the official name for the medical blog carnival (formerly MedLibs Round) where the “best blog posts in the field of medical information” are shared by prominent bloggers. I am very proud to consider many of these bloggers to be my colleagues and friends.”

But the honor is all mine! I’m glad I finally “dared” to ask him to host this blog carnival and that he accepted it without hesitation. And I, too, consider many of these bloggers, including Dean, to be my colleagues and friends. (Micro)blogging has made the world smaller…

Here are a few tweets mentioning this edition of the blog carnival, showing that it is widely appreciated (see more here):

  1. Dean Giustini
    giustini Here comes “Medical Blogging Matters: A Carnival of Ideas, November 2010” http://bit.ly/aDzkLT [did I miss anyone? let me know]
  2. Francisco J Grajales
  3. westr
    westr Some big names in there! RT @pfanderson Medical blogging MATTERS http://bit.ly/aDzkLT
  4. Ves Dimov, M.D.
    DrVes Medical Information Matters: the weekly best of related blog posts http://goo.gl/sBgw2
  5. Kevin Clauson

this quote was brought to you by quoteurl

Next month Medical Information Matters will be hosted by another well known blogger: Martin Fenner of Gobblydook. Martin’s blog belonged to the Nature Network, but it was recently moved to the PLOS blog network.

According to the about section:

Martin Fenner works as a medical doctor and cancer researcher at the Hannover Medical School Cancer Center in Germany. He is writing about how the internet is changing scholarly communication. Martin can be found on Twitter as @mfenner.

So it seems that Martin combines 3 professions, that of a doctor, researcher, and a medical information specialist. This promises a wonderful round again.

The deadline for submission is Saturday December 4th (or perhaps even Sunday 5th).

The theme, if any, is not known yet. However, you can ALWAYS submit the URL/permalink of a recent, good quality post at:

http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_6092.html

(keep in touch, because we will write a call for submissions post later)

Finally a request to you all:

For 2011, I’m looking for new hosts, be it scientists, researchers, librarians, physicians or other health care workers, people who have hosted this blog carnival before, or not, people who have a longstanding reputation as blogger as well as people who just started blogging. It doesn’t matter, as long as you have a blog and you like hosting this blog carnival.

Please comment below or mail me at laika dot spoetnik at gmail dot com





An Educator by Chance

13 10 2010

The topic of the oncoming edition of the blog carnivalMedical Information Matters“, hosted by Daniel Hooker, is close to my heart.

Daniel at his call for submissions post:

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!

When I started as a clinical librarian 5 years ago, I mainly did search requests. Soon I also gave workshops as part of evidence based practice courses.

Our library gave the normal library courses PubMed, Reference Manager etc. We did little extra for medical students. There was a library introduction at the beginning and a PubMed training at the end of the curriculum.

Thus, when the interns had to do a CAT (Critically Appraised Topic), they had to start from SCRATCH 😉 : learn the PICO, domains, study types, searching the various databases.  After I gave  a dozen or so 1-hour long introductions to consecutive interns, repeating the same things over and over, I realized this was an ineffective use of time. So I organized a monthly CAT-introduction with a computer workshop. After this introduction I helped interns with their specific CAT, if necessary.

This course is appreciated very much and  interns usually sigh: “why didn’t we learn this before?! If we had known this…”, etcetera.

Thus we, librarians, were very enthusiastic when we got more time in the newly organized curriculum.

We made e-learning modules for the first year, two for the second year, a Pubmed-tutorial, and a computer workshop (150 min!). In the 4th year we grade the CATs.

The e-learning modules costed me tons of time. If you read the post “How to become a big e-learning nerd by mistake” at Finite Attention Span you understand why.

We used a system that was designed for exams. On my request the educational department embed the system in a website, so students could go back and forth. Lacking any good books on the topic, students should also be able to reread the text and print whatever they liked.

I was told that variation was important. Thus I used each and every of the 10 available question types. Drop down menus, clickable menus, making right pairs of terms etc. Ooh and I loved the one I used for PICO’s, where you could drag words in a sentence to the P, I, C or O. Wonderful.

Another e-learning module consisted largely of Adobe Captivate movies. As  described in the above mentioned post:

Recognise that you are on a learning curve. First of all, it is vital that your software does not always remind you to save individual files before closing the program. It is especially helpful if you can demonstrate this three times inside a week, so that you end up losing the equivalent of about two days’ work: this will provide you with a learning experience that is pretty much optimised.

Swear. Vigorously.

Become a virtuoso of the panic-save, performing Ctrl+S reflexively in your sleep, every three minutes (…)

Correcting the callouts and highlight boxes and animation timings so they don’t look like they were put together by committee is complicated. Also, writing really clear, unambiguous copy takes time.

It sounds familiar. It also regularly happened to me that I started with the wrong resolution. Then I heard afterwards: “Sorry, we can only use 800×600.”

But workshops are also time-consuming. Largely because the entire librarian staff is needed to run 30 workshops within a month (we have 350 students per year). Of course it didn’t end with those workshops. I had to make the lesson plan materials, had to instruct the tutors, make the time tables, the attendance lists and then put the data into an excel sheet again. I love it!

The knowledge is tested by exams. This year I had to make the questions myself -and score them too (luckily with help of one or two colleagues). Another time buster. The CATs had to be scored as well.

But it is worth all the pain and effort, isn’t it?

Students are sooo glad they learned all about EBM, CATS, scientific literature and searching…

Well, duh, not really.

Some things I learned in the meantime

  1. Medical students don’t give a da do not care much about searching and information literacy.
  2. Medical students don’t choose that study for nothing. They want to become doctors, not librarians.
  3. At the time we give the courses, the students not really need it. Unlike the interns, they do not need to present a CAT, shortly.
  4. Most of our work is undone by the influence of peers or tutors that learn the students all kind of “tricks” that aren’t.
  5. It is hard to make good exams. If the reasoning isn’t watertight, students will find it. And protest against it.
  6. …. Because even more important than becoming a doctor is their desire to pass the exams
  7. If the e-learning isn’t compulsory, it won’t be done.
  8. You can’t  test information literacy by multiple choice questions. It is “soft” knowledge, more a kind of approach or reasoning. Similarly PICO’s are seldom 100% wrong or right. The value of PICO-workshops lies in the discussions.
  9. The students just started their study. They’re mostly teens. These kids will have a completely other attitude after 4 years (no longer yelling, joking, mailing, Facebook-ing, or at least they are likely to stop after you ask).
  10. Education is something I did by chance. I just do it “in addition to my normal work”, i.e. in the same time.
  11. Even more important, I’m a beginner and have had no specific training. So I have to learn it the hard way.

Let me give some examples.

This year I wanted to update one of my modules. I had to, because practically all interfaces have changed the last two years (Think about PubMed for instance).

I made an appointment with the education department, because they had helped me enormously before.

Firstly I noticed that my name had been replaced by those of 3 people who hadn’t done anything (at least with regard to this particular e-learning course). Perhaps not so relevant here. But the first red flag…

The module was moved to another system. It looked much nicer, but apparently only allowed a few of those 10 types of questions. The drag and drop questions, I was so fond of, were replaced by irritating drop down menus. With the questions I made, it didn’t make sense.

The movies couldn’t be plaid fast forward, back or be stopped.

And the girl who I spoke to, a medical student herself, couldn’t disguise her dislike of the movies. First she didn’t like the call-outs and highlight boxes, she rather liked a voice (me speaking, deleting the laborious call-outs ?!). Then she said the videos were endless and it was nicer when the students could try it themselves (which was in fact the assignment). She ignored my suggestion that Adobe is suitable for virtual online training.

Then someone next to her said: Do you know “Snag-it”, you can make movies with that too!?

Do I know Snag-it? Yes I do. I even bought it for my home computer. But Snag-it is nowhere near Adobe Captivate, at least regarding call-outs and assembly. I almost mentioned Camtasia, which is from the same company as Snag-it, but more suitable for this job.

Then the girl said the movies were only meant to show “where to press the buttons”, which I repeatedly denied: those movies were meant to highlight the value of the various sources. She also suggested that I should do some usability testing, not on my colleagues, but on the students.

Funny how insights can change over times. The one who helped me considered it one of the best tutorials.

While talking to her, it stroke me that the movies were taking very long and I wondered whether each single call-out saying “press this” was functional. Perhaps she was right in a way. Perhaps some movies should be changed into plain screenshots (which I had tried to avoid, because they were so annoying Powerpoint like). If my aim wasn’t that students learned which button to press, why show it all the time?? (perhaps because Adobe shows every mouse click, it is so easy to keep it in..)

It is a long way to develop something that is educative, effective and not boring….

But little by little we can make things better.

Last year one of the coordinators proposed not to take an exam the first year but give an assignment. The students had to search for an original study on a topic in PubMed (2nd semester) and write a summary about it (3rd semester). The PubMed tutorial became compulsory, but the two Q & A sessions (with computers) were voluntary. Half of the students came to those sessions. And the atmosphere was very good. Most students really wanted to find a good study (you could only claim an article once). Some fished whether the answers were worth the full 4 points and what they had to do to get it. The quality of the searches and the general approach were quite good.

In good spirits I will start with updating the other modules. The first should be finished in a few days. That is… if they didn’t move this module to the next semester, as the catalog indicates.

That would be a shame, because then I have to change all the cardiology examples into pulmonology examples.

Gosh!…. No!!

Credits

The title is inspired by the  post “How to become a big e-learning nerd by mistake”.
Thanks to Annemarie Cunningham (@amcunningham on Twitter) for alerting me to it.

Related Articles





A Spooktacular Medlibs Round at Alisha764’s blog

17 10 2009

sunflower_looking_off_to_the_side alishaWhile I was attending the Cochrane Colloquium, Alisha Miles of Alisha’s blog wrote a really spectacular spooktacular Medlib’s Round, the blog carnival of *best* posts in the medical library blogosphere.

The official round comes with a whole bunch of bonus posts. Subjects included range from wikis to toolbar widgets, from unprofessional online content by medical students to H1N1-information, from the MidWest Medical Library Conference to social media (Side Wiki, Google Wave etc). As expected there are also many posts about the PubMed Redesign.

Interested? Please take a look at the spooktacular Medlibs Round here.

It is really incredible that so many posts were submitted in just 2 weeks and Alisha managed to include so many more.

Other good news about the round: we’ve got excellent hosts till April 2010! Really all sorts of *TOP* bloggers: (medical) librarians, a scientist, a physician and a Pubmed-3rd party host:

If you would like a host the MedLib’s Round please comment on this post, dm me at twitter or mail me at :

laika.spoetnik@gmail.com

The submission for each round is due the first Saturday of each month. The next round will already be published in about three weeks. Walter Jessen of Highlight Health looks forward to your posts. The main theme of the round will be:

Finding credible health information online

Other blogposts -if relevant to the MedLibs Round- will also be considered.

Submitting is easy (thanks Patricia Anderson):

  1. Write (a) blogpost(s) on your blog (or write a guest post on someone else’s blog) as usual.
  2. Pick the post you like that fits.
  3. Go to the blogcarnival submission from here, (register or log in),
  4. Fill in form to share the permalink of your post.
  5. The current host selects anthology of best submissions.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]




MedLib’s Round: call for submissions.

2 09 2009

Here we go. MedLib’s Round is coming to Laika’s MedLibLog again.

The Medlib’s Round is a blogcarnival of “recent good quality blog post in the field of medical librarianship”, hosted by a different blogger each time.

Everyone can submit, as long as the posts are good quality posts on the subject. What subject? Well for instance: PubMed, Library 2.0, new search engines, information literacy, management of information and references, open access, medical i-phone apps, searches and search filters.

Submission is easy, just submit the permalink (web address) of a post (you have already written on your blog) here at the Blog Carnival (registering required).

See here for the Announcement. The FAQs can be found here.

Deadline for submissions is midnight Saturday 6th September (EST). Well a few hrs later will be accepted….

—————————————————

p.s. still looking for new hosts, please contact me if you would like to host the November or December edition.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]




MedLib’s Round 1.5 at Pharmamotion

5 08 2009

The new Medlib’s Round (vol 1. no 5) with a compilation of interesting posts in the field of medical librarianship is up at Pharmamotion run by Flavio Guzmán. This is the first -and hopefully not the last- time that a MD has offered to host the round. Indeed the MedLib’s round is not only aimed at medical librarians, but also at physicians, researchers, nurses etcetera.

Please enjoy reading the posts at: MedLib’s Round 1.5: the best of medical librarianship. For those not knowing much about Medical librarianship, Flavio has embedded a short video about medical librarians.

Want to stay informed? You can take a RSS subscription to the Medlib’s Round. An aggregated feed of credible, rotating health and medicine blog carnivals is also available (thanks Walter Jessen).

The next round will be hosted by Laika’s Medliblog, September 8th.
Please submit your
favorite blog article to the next edition of MedLib’s Round before or at September 5 by using the carnival submission form (here) (!). Submission to the form makes it easier for the host to summarize the articles.

My advise: already start submitting links of good posts if you have them, and bookmark the submission form. September is sooner than you think. For links to Faqs and previous posts see the Medlib’s archive.

p.s. Perhaps you would like to host a future edition as well. If so, please inform me which edition you would like to host.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]





The 21st Century Librarian

21 02 2009

In a previous post “You don’t look like a librarian” I shortly described a book dealing with Librarian stereotypes and what can be done to defeat tired old perceptions and create positive new images…

I really liked the comments of Jenny and Creaky, basically confirming that there is something like a librarian “subtype”: “we look like nice people – curious, friendly, social” (Jenny) and “approachable” (Creaky, who is often spontaneously asked for help when she steps into a Border’s or a Barnes & Noble Bookstore.)

However, although THE stereotypical librarian does not really exist any longer in this information age, the picture continues to exist in some people’s mind (Ruth, the author of the book).

21st-century-librarian

Quite coincidentally @AllergyNotes (Ves Dimov) pointed that same day to an article in the New York Times about the “Twenty-First Century Librarian” highlighting that

“librarians are no longer just reshelving books but play a new role in the information age, since technology has brought out a whole new generation of practices.”

The article describes school librarians who connect kids not only with books but also with information. As an example a video is shown of Stephanie Rosalia, a librarian at an elementary school (see below). Stephanie does do the usual librarian things, but also learns kids how to surf the net and how to search databases using boolean operators(!) and she teaches them website literacy. For instance, a completely fake web site is shown to the kids, who have to learn what information they can trust and what information is suspect. They learn what to do when their search for Christopher Columbus yields 99 million returns in Google. “Kids are overwhelmed, they are swimming in an information ocean.. and they’re drowning”. Librarians like Stephanie guide the kids though the flood of information that confronts them on a daily basis.

Really impressive what crucial skills young kids learn these days, at least in the VS*. Yet as school librarians increasingly teach students crucial skills needed not only for school, but also on the job and in daily life, they are often the first casualties of school budget crunches. Certainly with the global recession kicking in.

* I wonder as how far these 21st century school librarians are specific for the US. My kids (elementary and high school) are not trained in web literacy by a school librarian. But I wish they were.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

By the way, there is a funny blogpost confirming Ruth’s idea that a few (?) people still think “that librarians, they don’t know nothin’ ’bout them complicated computer thingamajigs” on Caveat Lector by Dorothea Salo (hattip @eagledawg – “Nikki”)