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Conference Dates: October 3 - 6, 2009
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Draft Midwest MLA Conference 2009 Program Details

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Thin Book with Lots of Pictures
Clifford Stoll, Keynote Speaker

Researchers demand fast answers and easy access to information - they don't want to take time to do a detailed literature search. This makes sense - who wants to spend time looking for an answer?

But this obsession with the quick, facile answer has a deep cost: The fast online response may be have dubious accuracy or uncertain applicability. No search engine can substitute for understanding, discrimination, and knowledge.

Yet across the landscape of research, we find uncritical acceptance of shallow searches: Amongst practicing physicians, research scientists, undergraduates, and (naturally) children.

A pathologist in San Francisco has shelves of reference books, but does a simple Google search when analyzing the kinetics of certain tumor growths.

At the University of California, I've talked with premed students who spend hours on Facebook, but won't open a simplified textbook in introductory chemistry. Instead, they do their homework on Yahoo: "What is the difference between Alkanes, Alkenes, and Alkynes"

High school students - so adept at texting and Twitter - seem particularly averse to spending time doing basic research. Why should I read Moby Dick when there are thousands of summaries online, and a half dozen movies?

My local librarian tells of 8th graders with assignments: "I'm writing about the history of Europe during the middle ages, and I need to reference a book. Do you have a thin book with lots of pictures?"

All these search methods provide answers, with a minimum investment of time and energy. So why are they so unsatisfying? And why this emphasis on speed at the cost of quality?

What Administrators Want From Libraries
Margaret Bandy, Karen Heiser, and Rebecca Phillips

Have you ever wondered what administrators want from libraries? Librarians confront various misconceptions when talking to administrators, from “Everything is free on the Internet,” to “We will save money with just a digital collection,” to “Doctors can find their own information just as quickly as a librarian.” How can librarians effectively articulate to administrators the value professionally delivered library services bring to advancing organizational programs and goals? How can librarians convince administrators that the library is an essential asset to the delivery of high quality patient care and education? You will hear from two academic medical center administrators and a nationally known hospital library leader and member of MLA’s Task Force on Vital Pathways for Hospital Librarians describing winning strategies to identify, adopt, measure and innovate when asked to prove the library’s value. Learn the importance of “connecting the dots” for senior leaders, talking their talk, and creatively demonstrating library outcomes. Library professional need to prospectively demonstrate the value of their services, not simply respond to inquiries (and agendas) of others. You will leave this session with information and tactics to strategically position the library for the academic/health system of the future.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Network, Library Boundaries, and Systemwide Organization
Lorcan Dempsey, Keynote Speaker

We often think of networking in terms of improved access to information, communication and computational resources. There is less attention to institutional issues, to how networking changes organizational boundaries and the systemwide allocation of resources.
Think of what is happening to consumer services on the web. We have seen a major shift to webscale which has reconfigured whole industries. Some obvious examples are the influence of iTunes on music distribution, Expedia/Orbitz/Travelocity on travel, Amazon on the book trade, Amazon and eBay on retail, Netflix on movie distribution, CraigsList on classified ads, and the Web generally on newspapers and TV. Discovery is now largely a webscale activity.

At the same time the web has accelerated the vertical disintegration of firms and the sourcing of capacity with specialist providers. Think historically of payroll, or more recently of customer relationship management. A wide range of capacities may be sourced externally: think of anything from data centers, to the provision and care of plants, to education, training and counselling services. Companies make decisions about what their distinctive capacities are, and often externalise other capacities to networks of providers and partners. And, in fact, effective supply chain management has become an integral business function and an important competitive factor, often itself sourced from an external provider.
This presentation will consider libraries in this context, looking at boundary and service decisions in evolving network environments.

Scholarly Communication 101: It’s All About Change Panel
Ray English and Karen Fischer

The system of scholarly communication, through which research and other scholarly writings are disseminated, is under severe pressure, as is evident in the high cost of medical journals and the difficulty medical libraries have in providing their patrons with the research literature they need. But change is in the wind! The open access movement, made possible by the internet and networked information technologies, is creating new publishing models and new means for distributing and gaining access to research literature. It’s also helping authors to increase access to their work by exerting control over their copyright. Come learn some basics about scholarly communication, new publishing and access models, and what you can do to help bring about transformative change.


Monday, October 5, 2009

GMR Technology Forum
Eric Schnell, Catherine Arnott Smith, and Michelle Kraft

Three technologies have begun to make an impact on users and how the access health information. Mobile devices, Personal Health Records (PHRs) and social sharing sites such as Facebook and Twitter have taken the health care industry by storm. Each of the three panelists will discuss what hospital and academic medical libraries should know and how they might be able to take advantage of these things to help their patrons utilize these resources to effectively find, organize or communicate health information.

More than ever, library users are using mobile devices for a wide variety of purposes including voice and text communication, network access, and research. It is expected that in 10 years mobile devices will be the primary tools to connect to the Internet. Since users are already expecting to access information on their mobile devices, it is essential that libraries begin to providing resources. Eric Schnell will discuss this trend and how librarians can take advantage of the technology.

Personal health records (PHRs) are the latest electronic incarnation of a very old print technology that allows consumers to self-document their healthcare experiences. Currently unstandardized in form and function, PHRs can appear as flash drives, commercial websites, portals permitting access to healthcare provider websites, free tools (Google Health), free environments (Microsoft HealthVault), and templates provided by federal agencies. What are the pros, cons, challenges and implications of PHRs for librarians? How can and how should medical librarians be involved? Prof. Catherine Arnott Smith will present findings from a large study of PHRs in public libraries and suggest some new directions.

Facebook and Twitter have extended their reach into the professional realm and age groups. More and more people are sharing personal information about themselves and their activities. These two applications have experienced rapid growth and also are becoming a preferred method of online communication among groups of people. As patients, medical students, residents, and hospital employees join these online communities it is important for libraries to be aware of these opportunities to communicate and advertise resources and information to their user groups. Michelle Kraft will discuss the trend of hospitals and other medical health professionals joining Facebook and Twitter and how librarians can determine their social networking path.