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 can you buy cialis online 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 |

One month left! Get a GMR grant to help your library and your patrons!

Have you gotten any free money lately?  No?  Well, there’s still time to apply for an NNLM GMR grant!  There are even more grants now, giving you more opportunities for funding.  See for more information

This year’s grants include:

Award Type Description Maximum Award Submission Deadline

Community College Library

Promote projects that encourage the use of the products and services of the National Library of Medicine by community college librarians. $2,500 March 14, 2014

Community Engagement

Improve access to biomedical information for specific community populations by designing, implementing, planning and/or evaluating smaller scale outreach projects. $4,500 March 14, 2014

Exhibit and Event

Exhibit at health programs, fairs and related events sponsored by local and state health associations, community organizations, academic institutions, and library associations. $1,200 Rolling

Hospital Library

Propose projects that demonstrate emerging roles of hospital librarians or expand the involvement of library staff in hospital-wide initiatives. $4,500 March 14, 2014

Student Outreach

Allows GMR graduate library and information students to participate in meetings, conference sessions and other activities designed for them to learn about the importance of health information outreach and services conducted by librarians in the Midwest. $1,000 Closed

Target Project

Fund projects that address specific identified needs of the current NN/LM contract, such as community research, evidence-based librarianship, e-science, health information technologies, and minority populations. $15,000 March 14, 2014

Technology Improvement

Improve knowledge-based information services to health professionals and health care consumers through the application of technologies. $4,500 March 14, 2014

Medical Libraries & MLK Jr. Day

(apologies for the lack of an early January post; I need to create a buffer of post topics…e-mail any suggestions to adonahue (at) umn (dot) edu!)

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!  Many medical libraries will be closed or have limited hours today as the country celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For some, it’s the last day off before the academic semester starts.  For some, it’s a 3 day weekend.  For others, it’s just another Monday.  But nationally, since Clinton signed the legislature in 1994 (according to Wikipedia), it’s a day to engage in service.

Do you or your library do anything to celebrate this day?  Or do volunteer work really any other day of the year?  Does your library work with volunteers from your organization?  Any tips or tricks to getting such a program to work?

A quick Google search brought up one thing happening in the Midwest: the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Volunteer Services Department is running a book drive (the link is to a PDF) for the Patients Library through the month of January in celebration of MLK Jr. Day.  There’s always a medical library connection somewhere! 🙂  Anyone else doing anything similar?  Share your stories in the comments!

And happy MLK, Jr. Day (as well as a belated Happy New Year!)!

MeSH’s 50th Anniversary

This afternoon I watched the 5oth Anniversary Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) Event videocast. And yes, I personally found it interesting. If you are at all interested in matters vocabulary, you can watch the lecture yourself on the NIH website within a few days. Dr. Robert Braude reviewed the history of this medical vocabulary within its historical context. As a more mature person myself, I enjoyed Dr. Braude’s “unofficial” title for the lecture: “MeSH at 50: Should It Join AARP?”

I took some notes but Dr. Braude presented so much information that I couldn’t really keep up. And he had no audiovisuals to slow him down. I do wish that they would post a bibliography of the resources that he mentioned. I caught most but not all of them. I am sure most of them are listed here in this MeSH bibliography. Just for fun, NLM’s History of Medicine Division has posted the original 1960 edition of Medical Subject Headings: Main headings, Subheadings, and Cross references used in the Index Medicus and the National Library of Medicine Catalog. The preface notes that “The adoption of a single subject authority list for books and periodical articles is a departure from traditional practice.” I mentioned this later in the afternoon to our head of cataloging and metadata and this was as surprising to her as it was to me. The usefulness of a single vocabulary seems so obvious! I had no idea that MeSH was so controversial. One of the justifications for a carefully developed single medical vocabulary was its superiority over article derived terms in retrieving medical information. This remains a topic of discussion at MPOW. Here in the reference office we still have frequent discussions about whether it is preferable to teach health sciences students in the Google generation subject term searching rather than keyword searching. I am a staunch defender of the power of subject searching.

The most interesting part of the lecture were Dr. Braude’s personal reflections. He noted that as a young librarian the most valuable part of his MEDLARS training at NLM were the relationships that he developed. He spoke of time spent with many of the NLM greats. Imagine coffee breaks with Stan Jablonski! He noted that in those early days of the MEDLARS system searches were input using keypunch cards (I remember using those!) and search results were returned IN A FEW DAYS. How things have changed!

Building a liaison team

Today, I had the pleasure of listening to Kelly Thormodson of the University of Iowa talk about how they’ve been building a team out of their liaison program at their health sciences library. Sadly, the impetus for this grew out of the loss of our friend, Kathy Skhal, who many of us knew and admired. Losing Kathy made the Iowa librarians realize they needed to work together more on many fronts.

Clearly evident from Kelly’s talk was her enthusiasm and no nonsense approach. Kelly is a woman with a mission to improve an already successful program. She has accomplished this already in many ways including

-establishing standard training curricula and handouts
-having librarians write up their instruction sessions such that someone else could pick up the class and teach it if needed
-using a joint education calendar so she can quickly see who is teaching what at a specific time
-and encouraging cross contamination and communication through meetings, serving on committees outside of liaison assignments and team teaching.

I think what many of us can glean from this is there is benefit from sharing what we are teaching and how we are teaching it within our own libraries. By doing this, when emergencies arise, we have others to lean on that are well prepared to back us up. So many times we feel like our one-shot truly is our one shot at getting into a class and move heaven and earth or some in sick to teach it. This team approach really helps alleviate some of that pressure while still providing good service and preserving relationships that take so long to build.

It took a tragedy for these librarians to come together. My challenge (and yours) is to figure out how to do these things in our normal library lives sans tragedy.


Preferred Academic Formats in an Academic Center
Ebook definitions have progressively changed with emerging technology. There is still no universal accepted definition, however there are similarities that exist within the myriad definitions. Many of these similarities focus on the types of ebook formats.
This study addresses the specific needs of the users and assist the health science libraries in the selection and delivery of the preferred format of the product. This study was broken into three formats; print, electronic, and PDA’s. The types of books were generally focused on what was available, which were health-related textbooks that had images/graphs (some of the books used were Harrison’s Internal Medicine, Manual of Laboratory & Diagnostic Tests, and more that this blogger was unable to type fast enough)
The study started with an orientation, which included a pre-survey that was broken into age groups and PDA ownership prior to the study. A majority of the study participants fell between the 26-35 year range and most of those that had used PDAs were generally aware of the university’s ebook collection. However, only 9 out of the 16 used the ebook resources. Not surprisingly, most of the participants used the electronic resources within the academic atmosphere and within the hospital.
Ultimately, the results demonstrated that the university should continue to purchase web-based resources. Slides from the presentation will soon be posted

Preferred Academic Formats in an Academic Center

Knowing the resources and tools that patrons use is an important issue for any librarian that handles collection development. Not only does it determine what resources the library should offer, but also it creates an awareness as to whether the users understand the resources available.
This study used Survey Monkey to conduct and analyze the results. The survey consisted of 11 questions, cleverly had prize drawings as incentives to participate (the main luring device, because who can ignore a free prize), links were posted on the HSL home page, and the survey was promoted by liaisons to various departments.
An impressive 331 users completed the survey, graduate students and faculty occupied a majority of the respondents. So what did they learn?
The most popular way to access information was PubMed and Ovid. With Medline access, most patrons were familiar with PubMed and used both PubMed and Ovid. Surprisingly, specialty databases like PsychInfo did not have nearly as many users as expected.
While other databases were surveyed, they were not utilized nearly as much as PubMed/Ovid. Other databases included ISI, CSA, and Ebsco. It was mentioned that patrons were having trouble finding links to the less-used databases, which was noted as a future way to better promote the resources
And while the patrons used Google and Google Scholar, only a small portion use the full-text linking through Google Scholar.
The eventual application of these findings include instructional (departments and open classes through the library. This helps focusing their efforts to training—especially with the new PubMed interface), collection development, and reference (what, in addition to PubMed, would patrons use)
Information Needs and Behaviors of Young Breast Cancer Survivors.
Cancer is not a death sentence, but the term “survivor” can be misleading. Being a survivor may indicate that one is cancer free, however that does not include the risks for short-term and long-term quality of life issues. The goal of this study was to examine the information seeking needs and behaviors of young breast cancer survivors by determining whether these survivors have triggers that influence the desire to seek information
A good example of a trigger that influences that information seeking desire: if someone is very depressed, is she more likely to seek information?
Although this study didn’t demonstrate that there is a significant correlation between information seeking needs with psychosocial variables, the focus of the study was on young breast cancer survivors that had been symptom free for several years. Not surprisingly, 58% of the participants did not know about Medline. Most of the group either used Google or go to their health care providers for information. This implies that librarians need to enforce information literacy to physicians—especially since most of these women did not use the library for help finding information.
Find, Retrieve, Analyze and Use: Information Literacy Trainings for the Public Health Workers
What is competency? Generally it is an applied set of skills and knowledge that allow people to perform specific work. So when it comes to emergency preparedness, naturally one would want these workers to have a high health competency level. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case, thus there needs to be an effort for librarians to collaborate with health workers through training activities.
Training does not come through grants or contracts from CDC to local health departments. As a workforce development issue, the NLM recognize this and have provided resources for librarians, but not necessarily for public health workers. Only by librarians promoting and training can these workers become more competent within information literacy
Library workers of the NNLM-GMR can receive funding to ensure access to biomedical information and improve access to online health information for the public health workforce

PubMed, LinkOut, SERHOLD and More

Wow, your intrepid blog editor has been busy lately! I’m preparing to move the hospital library to a different campus across town. It has been a great opportunity to evaluate the entire collection, moving only that which meets the current needs of the library users. You know how “stuff” kind of accumulates. I last did this kind of a radical house cleaning when the current library space was remodeled in 1997 with a wonderfully generous contribution from a local business executive and his wife. So I have over a decade of “stuff” to sort out!
Since the library will be moving to smaller digs, I have had to do some rather siginficant de-selection in the print journal backfiles. Many of the titles are now on PubMed Central or are free online. So deciding to remove those from the collection was a no-brainer. Some of the other decisions have been more difficult. One grows attached to one’s collection! What to do with the no longer needed journals? A local recycler will take them. So I’ve moved many cubic yards of materials out of the library, across the parking lot, and into the semi sized recycling trailer. Who says librarianship is not hard work!
OK, so what does this have to do with PubMed, LinkOut, and SERHOLD? One thing that I’ve realized in this process is how much I rely on NLM services in providing service to my library’s patrons. PubMed LinkOut is the greatest thing since sliced bread in my book. It is the easiest way to let my library patrons know which articles are available through the library, either in print or online. The library’s budget cannot support a fancy ILS. Who can afford a link resolver? The library’s master print serials holding list is on SERHOLD. Why mess around developing some spreadsheet or database for this? My wonderful library volunteer Shirley uses old-fashoned check-in cards to keep track of current subscription receipts. When I need to know if the library has an article in print or online, I use PubMed to check. I print out a serials list every once in a while by requesting a DOCLINE holdings report for use in an emergency only and as a print copy of the library’s journal inventory. On Friday, I began the so exciting task of updating nearly every one of the library’s SERHOLD title records.
So as you might guess, I’ve been following closely the current flurry of discussion about PubMed on MEDLIB. For my library, PubMed is mission critical. There may be search interfaces for MEDLINE, but purchasing access for my library is out of the question. Even small changes in PubMed have a significant impact on how I provide library services. I was happy to see other librarians sharing my latest PubMed pet peeve on Friday. IMHO, eliminating the blue sidebar from search results displays was a poor decision. The most useful tools for searching PubMed simply are not available when they are needed. For example, it is difficult to try a MeSH search after your newly revised automatic term mapping search gives you a poor result.

Second Life Library Programs and Outreach

In last summer’s issue, MIDLINE featured an article by Carol Perryman about the Alliance Library System’s project “Providing Consumer Health Outreach and Library Programs to Virtual World Residents in Second Life.” Funding for the project was provided by the NN/LM Greater Midwest Region. Yesterday, she announced the publication of the project’s final report on MEDLIB-L.
The report is 46 pages with lots of illustrations. And well worth the read! A lot of real people were served (via their avatars) by the project with displays, workshops and presentations, support group meetings, and even by answering old-fashioned reference questions. I had no idea! Clearly, an important need is being served.
P.S. Did you know that the way a person’s avatar looks can affect real life behavior? I picked up this All Things Considered story in my feed reader last week. And I quote: “If you want to get thin, get a virtual life.” It is called vicarious reinforcement. An interesting approach to weight loss!

No music on my iPod?

I love my Christmas present iPod, but I have yet to download any music. I subscribe to a number of podcasts and listen during my daily commute. Today, on my way to Columbus for a 2009 Midwest Chapter conference planning committee meeting, I listened to last week’s SirsiDynix Institute podcast Maximizing the Power of the Web: Pew Internet & American Life Project’s 2007 Findings. Lee Rainie, Director Pew Internet & American Life Project reviewed the results of a their 2007 survey on how people use the internet, libraries, and government agencies when they need help. The presentation was interesting, but the very poor technical quality of the audio made listening challenging.
Although the results pertained mostly to public library use, I found two items interesting in the results. I refer you to the presentation slides for supporting numerical details. First, young adults, ages 18-29, turn to libraries for problem solving (slide 32). In my hospital, folks in this age group are my library’s most frequent users — students, residents, younger nursing staff. They are used to using the library for school and continue to turn to the library for information assistance even after graduation. Second, people who have internet access at home still use the library (slide 25). “The internet isn’t your enemy, it’s your ally.” (slide 40)
What do you think?