From Chris Shaffer, Midwest Chapter President
Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
The Medical Library Association is dipping its toes in the waters of social networking. With the theme “Only Connect,” MLA President Mark Funk introduced initiatives to move the business of MLA beyond e-mail and an occasionally updated website to the (wonderful? innovative? scary?) worlds of blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, and virtual meetings. It will be interesting to see how many of these actually get adopted and how they change the services and benefits we get from MLA membership.
Will future medical librarians learn to recognize a colleague’s avatar before they ever meet in-person? I’ve been using TheCat as my ID and the infrared cat photo as my avatar for many years now. Will that be my identifier in the medical library community as well? Or will corporate firewalls prevent my hospital library colleagues from communicating with me on LinkedIn and Facebook? Is medical librarianship a large enough community to support social networking, or will we be subsumed into the larger online library community?
Here in the Midwest Chapter, we’re doing our part to jump on the Web 2.0 bandwagon. The new website will include RSS feeds and an online directory. The newsletter is hosted on a blog server (but still published on a schedule old-style). The Conference Call blog allows attendees to share their experiences at the annual meeting. The website redesign will offer ways for committees and the board to share information and work on "living" documents. I’m working with several chairs on the new committee charges using Google Docs, an online word processor that allows multiple people to edit a document simultaneously.
Join me in-person at the annual meeting and we can talk face-to-face about the virtual world! ☺