Shake, Rattle, and Roll!

Event planning is hard, especially when unexpected things happen.  It is also fun and rewarding when things go right.  Either way it is definitely worth all the work because it is still, even in our iGeneration, the best way to learn, connect with colleagues, and have fun.

One of the main purposes for me to attend #MidwestMHSLA17 was to observe the details of planning a professional conference.  I am on the Planning Committee for the next Midwest MLA Conference in Cleveland in October 2018.  I am a member of the Publicity Committee, and the Webmaster for the conference site.  The Publicity Committee is responsible for getting the word out to the Midwest MLA membership about the conference and promoting the host city and state. We have already been working hard since the spring and the 2017 meeting was our first big milestone in planning.  Besides observing and meeting our counterparts at the 2017 meeting, the 2018 Planning Committee sponsored a table with promotional materials, and announced the conference at the MHSLA Business Meeting and the Midwest Chapter Business Meeting.

The 2018 Publicity Committee (consisting of Margaret Hoogland, Theresa Kline, and me) planned out our table and decided to give out buckeyes (chocolate and peanut butter truffles for those non-Ohioans), Cleveland pins, and chances to win a $50 coupon towards the registration cost of the next meeting. We made a banner and decorated our table with rock-n-roll paraphernalia.  We encouraged visitors to take selfies and tag them with the official meeting hasthtag, #MidwestMLA18.  We benefited from the 2017 Special Karaoke Event which got people thinking in a rock-and-roll mode.  The video featuring our 2018 conference chairs Mary Pat Harnegie and Mary Schleicher, and the music of real life rock star librarian Cathy Murch put an exclamation point on our marketing efforts.  In a happy coincidence, the NLM in Focus blog has been focusing on “rock-star” medical librarians all month – a gift of free marketing for us!

I am sure that all the 2018 Conference Planning Committee members were watching carefully and learning from the 2017 meeting.  Stephanie Swanberg, the chair of the 2017 Publicity Committee, met with us and shared some pointers and volunteered to be available for questions.  I spoke with Emily Ginier, the chair of the CE committee, when my CE instructor suddenly cancelled.  Probably the most important thing I learned from observing this meeting is how to land on one’s feet when that inevitable something doesn’t go as planned. Switching gracefully to Plan B is a conference planner’s biggest challenge.  But the 2017 conference planning committee did an excellent job of moving forward and rolling with the stormy waves.  I told Emily that I actually enjoyed the substituted CE class very much as it ended up giving me a full day crash course on Research Data Management. Although I was disappointed at not getting to hear Curt Guyette speak, I did not mind the gap in the schedule as things just moved on gracefully.

In reflecting on my 2017 conference experience, I am very thankful for this opportunity.  I am thankful to have received an NN/LM GMR Professional Development Award to attend the conference.  I had hoped to take some CEs, and learn from the vendors, paper and poster presenters, and the keynote speaker, but what I learned most is how important personal interaction still is and how valuable physical attendance at a conference is.  Even the “fun” sessions like the welcome party, karaoke night, and down-time are not just icing on the cake, but opportunities to really build relationships among colleagues, have some great discussions, and even establish some mentor and mentee relationships.

All in all I was very pleased with my conference experience – and that is the goal, after all, isn’t it?  I realized that a tight schedule is important, but that just being with and learning from one’s peers is what is most important about conferences.  If I want to learn about a topic I can just search for an article, or watch a video online.  But there is no replacement for meeting people in person.  Even with scheduling snafus, an annual conference still provides that in-person networking and fellowship time that is growing increasingly rare in our society.  I will take this realization back to my 2018 planning work.  I want to keep in mind that building collegial relationships is the most important thing in a conference, not the production of a perfectly smooth, clockwork event.  In that spirit, we can almost guarantee that the Cleveland conference next year will Shake, Rattle, and Roll!!

Donald Pearson, MBA/MIS, MLIS, AHIP
Library Technology Specialist, Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library
Columbus, Ohio
dpearson@mchs.com | library.mchs.com

Virtual Reality at MidwestMHSLA ’17

On Sunday, October 15, at the #MidwestMHSLA17 Conference, I attended the NN/LM GMR Technology Topic on Virtual Reality. I had a small hand in helping plan this event, as I was tasked with soliciting vendors for a raffle prize to encourage attendance. After a few emails to my local EBSCO rep, they donated a cool little View-Master Deluxe VR Viewer which reminded me of a toy I had as a kid. This one, however, works with a smartphone and allows for an inexpensive entry into the world of virtual reality.

As further preparation for the conference, I had read an article in Forbes Magazine entitled How VR Saves Lives In The OR which explored uses of virtual reality in medicine in seven areas: training, education, visualization, psychology, telehealth and telesurgery, screen consolidation and physical training, health, and fitness. I was fascinated by the new applications on the healthcare horizon, things like: mapping CT scans onto a patient’s body, surgical simulations with haptic feedback, flight simulator-like surgery rehearsals, and more.  There is great promise in using VR to improve the medical education process.

At the GMR Tech Topic, Jennifer Herron, Jason Lilly, and Kellie Kaneshiro, all of Indiana University Ruth Lilly Medical Library, served on a panel to explore the use of virtual reality in medical practice. Being good librarians, they performed a search of Clinicaltrials.gov with the key words “virtual reality” and found 439 studies spanning 350 conditions. They found three general categories of use beyond education: rehabilitation, pain management, and psychiatric disorders.

They introduced us to CAREN, the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment system,  which is a multi-sensory system for the analysis, evaluation and rehabilitation of the balance system, especially for injured war veterans. Then they showed us how VR is also being considered as an alternative method of analgesia, for example during labor in the VRAIL Pilot Study (Virtual Reality Analgesia in Labor). Other VR innovations are being used to prevent and treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The STRIVE and Bravemind systems benefit service members who may need both physical and psychiatric rehabilitation.

Despite all these amazing applications of VR, the panel from IU also noted that one disadvantage of VR is that it may cause motion sickness. This problem is more pronounced in women due to differences in their postural sway while maintaining balance. In an interesting aside, the panelists suggested that there is a need for more female VR system designers to help mitigate this problem.

The panel concluded by sharing a list of the many health sciences libraries across the country which are hosting Tech Hubs, Technology Labs, Innovation Spaces and Sandboxes. In a nice followup on Sunday evening, Kellie, Jennifer and Jason held their own VR petting zoo, while karaoke was simultaneously going on at the front of the room. They set up a full VR system and also demonstrated the Virtuali-Tee by Curiscope which gives the VR user a guided tour inside the human body.

The VR Technology Forum was a fascinating, eye-opening, and fun introduction into VR in medicine. Thank you to the NN/LM GMR and Indiana University Ruth Lilly Medical Library for this excellent addition to the conference, and congratulations to Karen Hanus, the winner of the Viewmaster!

Donald Pearson, MBA/MIS, MLIS, AHIP
Library Technology Specialist, Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library
Columbus, Ohio
dpearson@mchs.com | library.mchs.com

Research Data Management and Serendipity

Saturday at #MidwestMHSLA17 was a full day of Continuing Education for me. I had planned to learn about Research Data Management (RDM) with Kevin Read and Alisa Surkis from New York University School of Medicine in the morning, then about library assessment in the afternoon. I thought it would be a nice introduction to two dissimilar topics, one having to do with research and numbers, and the other with having to do with marketing and the business of libraries.

Serendipitously, though, I ended up spending a full eight hours learning about RDM. My afternoon class got cancelled and so I ended up in a second class entitled Data Management for Librarians given by Caitlin Bakker from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

From Kevin and Alisa I learned not only the basics of RDM, but also how it can be marketed. I learned that librarians should make meetings with researchers about their research, not about the library. Kevin even went into how to “cold-call” researchers to drum up business for the library. A couple of ways to find out about what your institution’s researchers are doing include the NIH RePORTER database and your institution’s grant office.

Then Alisa showed us this cute video, which dramatized many of the frustrations researchers have when managing their data and what can go wrong with RDM and sharing.

I’m going to start learning more about RDM by reading this article by Kevin and Alisa and their colleagues, “Starting the data conversation: informing data services at an academic health sciences library.”

As usual, I felt overwhelmed with the information in just one CE class; nevertheless, I persisted in the afternoon, as Caitlin Bakker reinforced many of the RDM topics from Kevin and Alisa’s class. Caitlin provided us with some hands-on exercises using the DMP Tool to actually critique and compose a Data Management Plan. Within a few hours she had the class reviewing and creating real plans that would meet institutional and funder requirements.

I ended up with a day-long crash course in data management, but I still learned about library marketing as I had hoped. I was a beneficiary of a serendipitous confluence of three great instructors and a rising topic in health sciences librarianship. I made sure to tell Emily Ginier, the Chair of the CE Committee, how pleased I was with my day, despite the cancellation and substitution of my afternoon class. I also wrote to Kevin, Alisa, and Caitlin suggesting they team teach a seminar together on RDM. What an excellent day of learning at #MidwestMHSLA17!

Donald Pearson, MBA/MIS, MLIS, AHIP
Library Technology Specialist, Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library
Columbus, Ohio
dpearson@mchs.com | library.mchs.com