EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

Category Archives: Instruction

News, A Look Back: Happy New Year and Picks for Best Posts

First:  Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year 2011 to everyone! 

Since I have been writing this blog (which began in July 2007), I have yet to assemble a list of  “favorite posts” from the backlist.  The first week of a brand New Year seems like a good time to offer up this collection.

Here’s a list of top picks from the EBM & Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC blog (in no particular order):

  • Digital Natives (Jun 12 2008) compares the learning environment of today’s graduate students with those from my generation (i.e., circa 1970’s).
  • A continuing series called Show Me The EvidencePart 1 is linked here. Part 2 – go here.  And Part 3 (which has received the most hits over time) link is here.

That’s a compilation to start out the New Year, folks – and thanks for reading this blog.

 


 

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News, Information Seeking Behaviors, Research: Project Information Literacy surveys College Students

Wow…  Been away from blogging for so long I’m relieved to remember how it works! 8) *

Health literacy is a key focus for librarians who interact frequently with patients looking for information about their own health issues.

Larger, more universal information-seeking behaviors and lifelong learning strategies are topics of ongoing interest to two information scientists at the University of Washington Information School who started Project Information Literacy (PIL) in 2008. Lead researcher Alison P. Head is the Co-Director of the project along with Michael Eisenberg, professor at the iSchool. Funding is provided by the MacArthur Foundation.  Here is a description of the scope of PIL from the home page:

Project Information Literacy is a study “across” different types of campuses (community colleges, state colleges, and public and private universities) from different geographic areas in the U.S.  Our goal is to help fill in some of the “missing pieces” of the information literacy puzzle and provide data that helps answer some of the following questions:  1) How do early adults (in their own words) put their information literacy competencies into practice in learning environments in a digital age, regardless of how they may measure up to standards for being information literate? 2) With the proliferation of online resources and new technologies, how do early adults recognize the information needs they may have and in turn, how do they locate, evaluate, select and use the information that is needed? 3) How can teaching the critical and information literacy skills that are needed to enable lifelong learning be more effectively transferred to college students? “

The newest progress report from PIL was published Nov 1 2010 and may be of interest to anyone who uses a real or digital library in 2010, as it describes findings from a large survey of undergraduate students from around the U.S., asking 22 standard questions about how they plan, execute and assess their research efforts for required course work.

It is 72 pages in length, and entitled “Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age“, available free and online for anyone to read. Following is an excerpt from the introduction:

In this [2010] report, we continue our investigation by asking how students evaluate information and use information once they have found it. What difficulties do students encounter with course-related and everyday life research from start to finish? We collected data to answer these questions by administering a student survey in the spring of 2010 to 112,844 undergraduates. Our findings are based on a collective sample of 8,353 students enrolled at 25 U.S. colleges and universities “.

Source: http://projectinfolit.org/pdfs/PIL_Fall2010_Survey_FullReport1.pdf

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I was interested to read these “background” questions that Dr. Head and Dr. Eisenberg wanted to learn more about:

Source: http://projectinfolit.org/pdfs/PIL_Fall2010_Survey_FullReport1.pdf

Their work is of practical value to anyone who uses – or works in – an academic library.

Also see a video about Project Information Literacy on YouTube, at this link.

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*My daughter told me to stop using Smiley Faces, but that “it’s OK because I don’t know any better”.

 

 

 

Clinical Tutorials, Teaching & Learning in Medicine: That Old Krebs Cycle, with Singing

I apologize for the lack of blog-posts this month… it’s been pretty busy around here.

Today’s post is about metabolic pathways, which the first-year students are deep into studying this month. Here is a link to a pretty illustration which was found on Wikipedia:

Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Metabolic_pathways – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

Each year in PBL, I struggle to re-remember facts about biochemistry, cellular signaling and metabolism including steps in the Krebs cycle*. (Why? Because I never took biochemistry.) Two years ago, I found the illustration below so useful that I decided to post it on the blog for the second time!

Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krebs_cycle – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010
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Next, a small joke: WWSD (or, what would Setlow do)? He could sing along to this Krebs Cycle song, found on ScienceGroove.com.

Image Source: http://www.science-groove.org/Now/Krebs.html – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010
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Publisher McGraw-Hill has placed some content from their textbook Anatomy & Physiology (7th edition) online for free, including this tutorial and quiz titled “How the Krebs Cycle Works“.  After you take the quiz, relax by working a few of their Crossword Puzzles:

Image Source:  http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072507470/student_view0/chapter25/crossword_puzzles.html – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010
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Salman Khan founded a non-profit group, The Khan Academy, with the goal of providing high quality free online educational materials to anyone in the world.  This year, their collection of videos about Science, Math, Humanities, History, Finance and other academic subjects has grown to 1,800. A 10-minute video describing the educational content is here: Khan Academy.

Found on their ScienceBiology category: a 13-minute lecture describing the ATP (adenosine-triphosphate) process.

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On YouTube, author Faxe14011991 has posted this series of short animations/tutorials on cellular mechanisms, each of which is less than two minutes in length:

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Finally, a video found on YouTube called Cellular Respiration (hey there Delilah)

Image Source: http://YouTube.com – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

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* Dr. Krebs was a Nobel Prize laureate.  Read the following text, found on the nobelprize.org page: ” The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1953 was divided equally between Hans Adolf Krebs for his discovery of the citric acid cycle, and Fritz Albert Lipmann for his discovery of co-enzyme A and its importance for intermediary metabolism.

News, Educational Sites: A Guide to Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month

Image Credit: http://www.biography.com/blackhistory/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

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My excellent colleagues, University of Connecticut librarians Valerie Love and Phara Bayonne, have created a detailed subject guide for 2010 Black History Month including – but not limited to – resources and exhibits specific to UConn and Connecticut.

As this is an area wholly out of my area of expertise (as a medical librarian), I thank them for sharing a diverse collections of websites, collections and links in celebration of the efforts of so many Black Americans who have shaped the history and rich fabric of this country (past and present).

News, Public Service Announcements, Public Health: Hands Symphony and CPR Reminder

Here’s a wonderful public service announcement from

American Heart Association

Hands Symphony

AHAHandsSymphonyImage Source: http://handsonlycpr.org/symphony/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

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This is an interactive visualization… choose the style of music, and click any pair of hands to create (or lessen) a full sound.  Each set of hands adds its’ own unique contribution to the ‘symphony’.

At the bottom of this page on the AHA website, there is a 1.3 minute video showing a demonstration of how to initiate and continue hands-only CPR while awaiting medical assistance.

Well-done public service announcement, American Heart Association!

Visualization, PBL: Visit with Wordle Occasionally

One aspect of participating in problem-based learning is that by the end of the semester, every student in the group has taken their turn at the group tasks involved, which are:

  • The Reader narrates the case as it is made available online. The written case with any supporting visual materials such as radiology or histology about the patient are posted on Blackboard and are no longer distributed in paper handouts.
  • The Scribe is the person with the marker who listens to the groups’ discussion and synthesis of the pertinent data about the patient such as chief complaint, presentation, past medical history, current labs values, medications, tests to be ordered, treatments to begin, etc.  They are writing down the data, hypotheses, learning issues as they become available.
  • Before every student in the room brought a computer to class — which sounds like the olden days but it was less than 6 years ago — the Scribe may or may not have been the one creating hand-drawn concept maps of that week’s PBL work.  Nowadays, concept maps are created not by drawing on the whiteboard but by using CMap, a free software program from IHMC (Institute for Human and Machine Cognition).  This brings on a new role in the group: Concept Mapper.
  • The Facilitators mostly listen, occasionally asking clinically-oriented questions or providing a bit of background or narrative about a patient, a procedure or a disease without being “teacherly”.
  • Each week, one person bakes and brings in goodies for 9 people.  That is an important function, too.

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On a basic science or biomolecular level, concept maps can get pretty complicated.

Recently I wrote down some of the medical terms, processes or conclusions which were heard during PBL, and made a Wordle map out of them.   Here is what it looks like:

WordleNPC1

Image credit: http://www.wordle.net – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

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This week I learned more about the function of Purkinje fibers (oh my duh – I’d never make it through medical school!).

Here are two other Wordles.

This one is based on words found on the EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC blog:

WordleEBMBlog

Image credit: http://www.wordle.net – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

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The last one is formed from words taken from my Delicious account called Onc2009, a set of bookmarks about cancer, that was created for Mechanisms of Disease-Oncology:

WordleOnc2009

Image credit: http://www.wordle.net – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

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Wordle, an elegant piece of software, was created by Jonathan Feinberg.

News, E-Books, Scientific Research, Tools: The AMA Manual of Style Online

As the new and returning medical, dental, MPH and PhD students get settled into their academic routines, including researching learning issues for PBL, there is a new E-book subscription from UCHC Library which may help them: The AMA Manual of Style: A guide for authors and editors (2009 – E-edition)*.  

Editors of this work are Dr.  Catherine D. DeAngelis, editor of JAMA and editor-in-chief of AMA Scientific Publications & Multimedia Applications, JAMA & Archives Journals, and the AMA Manual of Style committee, chaired by Cheryl Iverson.

Writing for science-technology-medicine audiences for inclusion in peer-reviewed journals has changed so much since (let’s say) 1995.  Scientific writing, presenting and summarizing original research (which may have taken years of the authors’ lives, time and focus) is challenging work, made more complex in 2009 by a shared global internet, cross-referenced publishing platforms, instant dissemination of minute-by-minute scientific news, evolving ideas of digital rights, acceptance and legitimization of open access journals, electronic archives or repository sites… each of these innovations has created effects seen by both consumers of – and publishers of – STM scholarly publishing.  (Not to mention digital journalists, loosey-goosey bloggers, micro-blogging, and 24-hours a day media/reporting frenzies.)

Will a digital edition of the AMA Manual of Style make writing for STM audiences easier?  Actually, it might.

After browsing through the print version of the AMA Manual of Style (10th edition – 2007) from the Reference collection and then using the electronic version, in my humble opinion the digital version is easier to use and quicker to ” find”.

To get an overview of how the work is organized, link to the Table of Contents which reveals the organization of the five Sections, which are:

  • Section 4:  Measurement & Quantitation.  Below is a screenshot of Section 4 – Chapters 18 through 20 which is about  “Study Design and Statistics”:

AMAManualofStyleSection4MeasurementandQuantitation

The Glossary of Statistical Terms from Section 4 would be a good source for students learning biostatistics or epidemiological methods.

Also in Section 4 is a clinical calculator:  Table 2.   Selected Laboratory Tests, With Reference Ranges and Conversion Factors that allows specific patient data to be entered and calculated against stored normal reference ranges (for adults only, no infant or child values are available).

I like that. First year students might like this tool also!  Here’s a screenshot of Table 2:

AMAManualofStyleReferenceValues.

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A different way to search the Manual is by simple (or advanced) keyword.  Following is a screenshot of results from a search for “laboratory values”  that retrieved 16 hits with the Section and Chapter shown:

AMAManualSearchforLaboratoryValues.

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Section 5 of the Manual is entitled Technical Information.  This is where an author could read descriptions of typography, manuscript editing or proofreading practice,  or find links to websites of specific medical associations, databases or global organizations.  There is a Glossary of Publishing Terms in Section 5.

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Finally, there are selected tutorials available through the digital version of the Manual.  One is the Learning Resources section which links to groups of interactive quizzes taken from sections of the E-book.  Students or clinicians can test their knowledge using the Stylebook Quizzes such as “Jargon” or “Correct and Preferred Usage”, “Numbers”, “Grammar” or “Capitalization”.  Items which are answered incorrectly allow a brief tutorial to pop up.

Another teaching-learning-tool is Tip of the Month. An entry from July 2009 about Digital Object Identifiers is shown below:

AMAManualofStyleJuly2009TipDOIs
Credits:  All Images – courtesy of AMA Manual of Style (2009) – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

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After reading this, you may be asking yourself, “What if I have no plans to publish a research article in JAMA?  How will this manual help me? “.

Graduate students, researchers and faculty in a variety of academic disciplines are required to write a fair amount including grant proposals, patient summaries, journal club presentations, articles for their professional associations, selective project descriptions and of course, required theses or dissertations.

Use this e-book created by medical editors as the working reference source it was designed to be… and because clarity is always in style.

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* Note:  Use of this e-book is by subscription only.  UConn Libraries allows access to this source for UConn or UCHC faculty, staff and students only; if off-site, log in using your proxy account number.  There are 5 simultaneous users allowed, please remember to click log-out when finished using the AMA Manual of Style.

News, Searching the Medical Literature: Two Expert Opinions on Searching, or PubMed and Beyond

Today is a great day to highlight the recent posts of two fellow medical bloggers:  the first is from Laika’s MedLibLog, written by a Dutch research-scientist/medical-librarian; the second post is from Life in the Fast Lane, a blog written collectively by a group of Australian physicians.

Each author has written definitive posts about the mechanics – and utility – of searching the medical literature, and evaluating what has been found.

These posts should be seen as instant classics – and required reading for new graduate students in medicine, dental medicine or biomedical research or just about anyone with an interest in finding more-pertinent clinical information (in less time).

Their descriptive clarity in explaining what to search, and how to search is pitch-perfect.

Thank youLaika and SandNSurf – for writing them!

Please read:

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Next: Following are several quite different compilations of medical information resources written by librarians.

Elena Giglia, a medical librarian from Central Library of Medicine, University of Turin, Italy,  wrote in 2007 an excellent overview of the medical literature entitled “Beyond PubMed: Other Free Biomedical Databases.  This 11-page article was published in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (Europa Medicophysica) – Vol. 43(4):563-9 (Dec 2007). It is available online for anyone to read.

Ms. Giglia is the author of a very recent article, “Medline/PubMed revisited: new, semantic tools to explore the biomedical literature“, published June 2009 in Eur J Phys Rehabil Med – Vol. 45(2):293-7 (subscription required).

Law librarian Gloria Miccioli wrote a summary of medical sources targeted for legal professionals, entitled  “Researching Medical Literature on the Web” (published Sept 22 2008), found on LLRX.com.

The LLRX website also offers a list of links for librarians (or others) doing legal research.

My own Home Week: Evidence Based Medicine Resources page on Libguides.com was created – and is updated annually – as a source-sheet for third-year medical students at UCHC as they rotate throug h their clinical clerkship year.

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Finally:  Librarians working in academic health science libraries offer a variety of digital training tutorials or subject lists for orienting their students, residents and faculty to the technical aspects of searching the literature of medicine.

A quick search on Google for “tutorials searching medical literature” brings up an eclectic group of 968,000 retrievals.

The same search using Bing f0und 1,530,000 well-filtered retrievals.

News, Teaching and Learning in Medicine and Dentistry: An Upgrade for MedEdPortal

mededportal

.MedEdPORTAL is an open-access archive of 1,300 educational or clinical training materials voluntarily submitted by medical or dental faculty from around the world, sponsored and produced by the Association of American Medical Colleges and American Dental Education Association.  Here is the AAMC description of the site:

MedEdPORTAL is a free online publication service…  designed to promote educational collaboration by facilitating the open exchange of teaching resources such as clinical tutorials, virtual patients, simulation cases, tutorials, lab guides, videos, podcasts, assessment tools, etc.  While MedEdPORTAL’s primary audiences include health educators and learners around the globe, it is open and available for free to the general public. Users can access quality, peer-reviewed teaching material and assessment tools in both the basic and clinical sciences in medicine and in oral health “.

Source: http://services.aamc.org/30/mededportal/servlet/segment/mededportal/information/

An upgrade to the content and searchability of the page was announced on Apr 7 2009 by AAMC, and the name is now MedEdPORTAL 2.0.

mededportalpeerreviewedbadge

This is an important archive of peer-reviewed teaching and training tools for students, residents (and librarians).  The architecture of the site has been made more functional, with the addition of subject/content links like this one:

mededportalcollections_____________________________________

.Another way to search the site is to Browse by Discipline or Hot Topics in Medicine or Dentistry.

An example of featured content, added Mar 4 2009 by a faculty in Emergency Medicine from University of Minnesota, is entitled “Stab to Neck” (two screenshots from this video/tutorial):

mededportalsaemtutorial1

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mededportalsaemtutorialobjectives

Source Credit:  All images courtesy of http://www.aacm.org/medportal – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

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I like this site – it is created by physiciansfor physicians (and students) in all disciplines.   The brainpower and clinical experience of many are shared on MedEdPORTAL.

AAMC and ADEA have created a fine, free example of the power of cooperative resource-sharing distributed on an open-access platform.  It should be on your list of teaching-and-training bookmarks.

News, Academic-Health Science Libraries, Collection Management: Ruminations on Reference – Part 2: Using the (Real) or (Virtual) Library Collections

This is Part 2 of a 3-part post about managing and maintaining a core Reference collection, and the people who use resources available from University of Connecticut Health Center.

As a state-funded public institution, and the only medical library in Connecticut open to the general public, Lyman Maynard Stowe Library is staffed 94-hours per week and provides an open-door policy to anyone, with free access to the university’s collection of subscription databases and health science collection.

Reference librarians and public services staff assist many different types of information seeking folks who come in to use the library: college or graduate students from other area institutions, student nurses, nursing faculty or other allied health professionals, hospital patients or out-patients, family members, high school students, trial attorneys, paralegals, medical writers (and anyone else).  Workstations are available for searching subscription databases, journals, e-textbooks, software, etc. or to access the large online collections and databases from UConn’s Homer Babbidge Library (the main library in Storrs, CT).

There are only a few caveats: users must be on-site in order to access the collections (i.e., no remote access with a current UConn ID), and doing medical research (i.e., not playing computer games for hours using a UCHC workstation).  Printing out full-text articles costs seven cents per page.

Some of the people who visit do so without asking for assistance from staff for finding specific information; some do ask for brief instructions on choosing what to search and how to “best” search it.

Other visitors are very motivated to learn the mechanics of searching Medline (PubMed) effectively from a library professional, which is great… generally in 40 minutes we can demonstrate and teach just about anyone how to search effectively, or introduce them to MedlinePlus.gov.

And there are a few who just won’t touch a computer to find the medical information they’re seeking.  There are varied reasons for this: they may not have computing skills, or have physical impairments such as limited vision or hearing, or  low-mobility.  Some would be better served in another language than English.  And some just don’t want to spend the time to learn how to search online.  A few have just received a bad medical diagnosis and are visibly upset… not a good time to start working on a medical research project.  So the print Reference collection is a resource that they can use (without help, if that is their choice).

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A different divide for our general library users is temporal in nature. Because the library is open seven days per week from 700am to 1100pm during the week, a “day” staff and a “evening/night” staff is required.  How do we best serve those who come here in the daytime hours (when professional staff is here) versus those who use the collections and physical building during evening, night or during weekend hours (when one evening reference librarian is available)? Recently I asked our evening librarian (whose name is John) for input on updating the Reference collection; his response was: “There are plenty of people use the library between 600pm and 10 pm”.   They typically are UConn MPH graduate students, patients or family members  and anyone who has to visit after their workday is over.

He also noted that many of the after-500pm crowdgoes straight to the Reference books… not to the computer“.

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There are standard (anticipated) sets of questions which librarians are accustomed to be asked at Reference.  First to be considered: is this user trying to connect while on-campus as in there in real-life – or are they connecting digitally?  In other words, did they walk through the (real) front door of the UCHC building on their own two feet, or did they use their mouse to click into the library home page?

Does it matter to them?  Does it matter to the librarians Sure! There are more than 4,000 people working in the building every day.  We (i.e. the librarians) aim to serve many different research needs seven days per week.

Here is a list of “composite Reference questions” which public services staff do hear, and answer, on a frequent basis:

  • How do I know if you have it? Users who haven’t visited a library in a long time will find the old card catalog long gone… and may not know about – or embrace the utility of – an online catalog. Many graduate students in the MPH or MSN programs are returning adult learners who haven’t been actively using an academic library in decades.  Some of the faculty are still mourning the disappearance of the card catalog. Knowing how to look, as well as where to look is crucial.
  • One of the most common questions that reference staff answers daily is: I think the library owns this journal or textbook, but where is it?  It could be online, or on the shelf depending on the date of the publication, the choices of the producer of the information, the budget which was available to the library at the time of publication, or it could be available by request from another library (interlibrary-loan). Digital availability is a decision made by publishers who determine what sources to make available electronically as well as basing their fees on market demand, institutional (versus individual) usage and electronic access charges.  It is a fallacy to think that because a journal or book has gone online, it represents a cost-savings for the library.  Many times, the electronic version is more costly than buying a print edition due to hardware management, storage requirements, staff to manage collections and administer systems… none of these are “free”.
  • For Those who do not Compute. It is no longer possible to actually walk into the journals-stacks area to find the volume and issue that is needed, because in many cases, those current issues are now only available digitally.  But there are still plenty of people who do just that.  These users need the librarians’ help to make that leap, and a major concern is that generations of library users are missing essential information because they’ve not learned to effectively employ the tools of the digital library.  These users may not know how to search online.  They may be unaware of the deep investment of digital resources made available to them online.  Some do know about the electronic collections, but don’t possess the technical skills or knowledge base (or confidence) to effectively search online for them.  They are traditional users who still need real books and book-stacks to browse in. This isn’t meant to be “age-discriminatory” because there are many library users who are over 50+ years of age who’ve fully made that leap from in-print to digital format, the so-called “early adopters”.
  • The Digital Natives. Having said the above, I’ve yet to meet and work with any 23-year old student who can’t or just won’t use the digital resources of an academic library.  They grew up with a PC and a mouse in their hands.  Their concern is more likely to be, “If it’s not online, I don’t need it“.  Fair enough – we’ll try to supply it online for you.
  • Those who do compute but are not searching expertly. Here’s a scene playing out in the library lately:  Users who are technologically-savvy but whose first choice (sometimes their only choice) is to use Google or Google Scholar to search our collections while standing in the real library.  Eek! Google-only searchers end up bypassing our integrated collections of databases and limiting their research retrievals to what they can “google” because they are not searching in the “best” places.  Consequently they miss out on accessing a huge body of clinical information.  They would be better served by searching Medline or Scopus or other subscription resources that they are literally standing right next to in this building.
  • Call me. Librarians are generally user-friendly, customer service oriented people whose main goal at work is to connect the user to the information which they require, delivered in an efficient and timely way.  When this model doesn’t work, users can and should initiate a conversation to ask for assistance… this could be via telephone, email, in-person at the Reference desk.  How can we (librarians) help library users – either in the building or off-campus – when they don’t find what they need but then also do not ask for assistance on how to search or which sources are best to answer their research questions?
  • Digital Migration. A journal or textbook may go out of print at any time in favor of digital access only.  As an example, this library pays for access to roughly 1,100 electronic textbooks currently. It is an individual decision by the collection management librarians as to whether to continue to purchase a paper textbook if the digital version is available.  Some core medical textbooks – such as Nelson’s Pediatrics, Hurst’s The Heart and especially, Harrison’s Principals of Internal Medicine – are heavily used in both formats.  It is a judgement call to be made by the librarians, weighing cost versus availability versus expected usage.  Hint: Networked version of standard medical textbooks generally get funding.

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Here are a few other things librarians ruminate over.

  • Library users researching topics outside the scope of health sciences and medicine should search the resources assembled by our main library.  Access is only a few mouse-clicks away, including 240+ academic subject databases and a vast journal collection available online.  How many times have I said to someone, “Just go to Storrs”.  The response sometimes is “I don’t want to drive there!”.  (Um.  There’s no need to drive there in a car to access these resources if you are affiliated or are on-site.)
  • A declining gate count doesn’t mean people are using the library less. We as librarians need to provide better statistical reporting and become more effective at explaining and promoting library services to senior managers in a time of budget stressors.  Do university or hospital administrators understand that the number of times that people actually walk in the front door into the real library (what librarians call the ‘gate count’) declines as we become more successful at providing virtual access to periodicals, textbooks, databases and teaching materials?
  • Information literacy is a concern because some of our users coming in the door may not speak or read in the English language well enough to understand what medical information is available here. But lbrarians have found online sources for patient-education materials in Spanish, Polish or other languages… but if those users didn’t ask Reference staff for assistance, it isn’t likely they could find those sources on their own.
  • We never see you anymore. How do library staff measure users’ satisfaction (or lack of satisfaction) with our collections and services, if we aren’t in the same building to interact face-to-face?  How do our remote users ask for help with searching or finding, if they are sitting at their home or office 20 miles from the reference librarians?  Or if they working at 1:oo am, when there’s no staff in the library but they are searching?  What are quantifiable, credible ways to measure the results of remote library users that we don’t get to interact with face-to-face?  This is a long-term issue for library managers.  There are statistics about hits on subscription journal titles or databases, quantified by date and time, but that data is only a part of the answer.

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If you’ve read this far… thank you for hanging in there to read what has unexpectedly become something of an essay! The last and final part of the Musings on Reference will appear next week, with a list of open-access documents or reports which I found while looking up “other stuff” for the 2009 Reference collection update.