Digital Libraries Network is for health librarians and trainers in the UK, interested in promotion and training.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Another view of MLA04

Here is Tom Roper's blog about MLA. Tom's the Information Resources Development Coordinator at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. He reckons it was only us Brits who were blogging about the event - which adds to the feeling I got from the conference overall that in many ways we're ahead of what the US is doing in terms of health libraries...


Wednesday, May 26, 2004

NeLH Pathways and Protocols database - update

Further to the recent Resource Alert and update, the launch of the new version of Care Pathways and Protocols will be delayed by another week to 2 weeks. Data import problems have delayed the release which is expected to take place towards end of week starting 31st May or beginning of week starting 7th June. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Open Access

With presentations at all levels from Keynote to posters, Open Access is a big issue at MLA04. With library budgets squeezed , a partial monopoly of publishers increasing pricing there is a real enthusiasm for open access amongst librarians here.

In a parallel session librarians told of their efforts to get authors and institutions to use the paradigm with one librarian facilitating a completely new online journal. Our own Biomedcentral agreement was hailed as a beacon to lead the way for American librarians.


Some interesting quotes...

Just come back from a session entitled "Influencing Change", about how computers and electronic resources are changing the roles of librarians. One of the papers was given by a Gillian Mayman from the University of Michigan, about "Re-inventing Reference in the Digital Age" - how they were moving from traditional enquiry work behind the desk in a library, to other ways of working. She had some pertinent quotes in her presentation, which I thought I'd share:

This one she translated to libraries: "My home is not a place, it is people", (Lois McMaster Bujold, 1991)

"In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia." (Unknown)

She used this to illustrate how she thinks of libraries: "Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is staggering." (R Buckminster Fuller, 1895 - 1983)

"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones." (John Cage, 1912 - 1992)

And to finish with, one of the other participants in the session chimed in with "Library is a service, not a place." Which I think summed up the whole session.


Small but mighty

The incoming president of the American Medical Library Association used this phrase to describe the MLA in comparison with some other professional associations. However, in a room with over 2500 other librarians (scary thought) I couldn't help feeling that the power of our combined knowledge and experience was pretty mighty! Then I got to thinking about the power of one. Each one of us has the power to do something big and this conference is all about seizing that power. A news item I saw the other day illustrated this perfectly: a bug flew into the open window of a moving car. The woman driver waved her hands in panic as the cicada flew into her face. Unfortunately she also stepped on the gas. The car careered down the street, demolished a fire hydrant and flooded the entire neighbourhood, causing chaos for several hours and leaving everything mud-caked. The clean-up operation will take weeks. All that because of one tiny bug........

Debra Thornton

Geographic Illiteracy and National Security

This was the title of the Keynote address here at Medical Library Association conference in Washington DC. Harm J. de Blij gave a very entertaining and informative talk on the state of geographical literacy in the United States, where only 18% of children are taught geography in schools. His premise was that this has horrifying implications for the country at a time when awareness of the connectivity of the world in spatial terms is crucial to world stability. He said the US is in a race against time with three key threats to national security: environmental change and global warming; the inevitable competition with the China as the next aspiring super power; and the terrorist threat in Iraq.

He also had some very amusing insights into the decline of the British Empire and why you should never trust a Brit in the dark!

Sara Whittaker

Change in access to Jnl Med Screen

The NeLH subscription to Journal of Medical Screening will end next week - access will now be via Proquest, as part of the Core Content deal. More info at http://www.nelh.nhs.uk/dlnet/resourcealert

Monday, May 24, 2004

MLA Hooray

I am in Washington at the MLA conference, and there is quite a lot of us including Nick and Fran, Anne Bryce amongst others. It is worth the effort to come and network with our colleagues here although they are very jealous of our NeLH! Lots of free breakfasts if you get up for the sunrise seminars and lots of spare time as well to see exhibits and local sites.


Today I came across a new acronym.. COWS (Computers on Wheels)for a reasonable old idea...laptops securely screwed to wheeled trolleys. They are then connected wirelessly and allow face to contact with at the same time as accessing the computer. Not an exclusive acronym as COWs is also used for a number of other wheeled ideas (cars, outreach projects etc

DLNet Pages now with DL Net blog feed

If you are reading this on the DL Net pages you will notice this is being fed directly from the DLNet blog.

If you are reading this on the blog you can now either go to /DLnet pages and read the latest posts alternatively you can can have the "feed" direct!Click on the orange XML button.

If you would like to contribute to the blog ...and we have a good selection of DL Reps contributing.. drop Alison a mail at nelh@nhsia.nhs.uk for a password and instructions. You can even email your posts directly to the blog!

Educating the 21st Century Health Professional

This was the programme section I attended yesterday afternoon. There were 4 speakers, 2 of whom talked about the online interactive tutorials that they've developed using a program called Camtasia, and the success they've had using them. Camtasia is similar to a program called RoboDemo that Nick and I are experimenting with. RoboDemo allows us to capture videos of mouse movements on screen. We're looking at using it to make new versions of the NeLH tours, which will make them much more interactive, and actually demonstrate how to search or display search results, etc, as part of the tours.

We were thinking about this before we came to Washington - and it's nice to now have confirmation from our American colleagues that they do work, and are an extremely well-received way of getting information across.

We'll let you know when we get our first one done, soon after we get home - watch this space!


Presidential Address

Greetings from Washington DC!

Patricia Thibodeau, President of the Medical Library Association, called on all delegates yesterday to "seize the power and be empowered". Speaking as part of her presidential address she also looked briefly at the image of medical librarians and medical libraries in the media, the need for a more international perspective within MLA, the issue of scholarly publishing, and the importance of advocacy. She also identified 3 key themes from her time as president of MLA: the need to revitalise the skill of expert searching, health information literacy within the general population, and the concept of the informationist.

Sara Whittaker

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Bloglines and RSS feeds

If you cant download (and more importantly install at work)why not try Bloglines which is server based and you can it get going in seconds www.bloglines.com. As with other Newsreaders you can acccess multiple blogs and feeds from one workspace. Does anyone else have a favourite? If so post a comment by clicking on the posting time below.


Washington Calling!

Hello All
As you all remember for the competition prize AW03 NeLH was offering 2 places at MLA conference. DLNet Reps Sara Whittaker and Debra Thornton were the lucky winners and are now in Washington together with some of the NeLH team. During the conference we will be posting blog entries about what is going on in and around the conference.

During our time we will also be visting National Library for Medicine and learning more about National Health Library Month.

We are looking forward to hearing about some of the American education programmes.

Fran and Nick

Friday, May 21, 2004

RSS feeds

You'll notice a little orange XML box has appeared on the blog page. This basically means you can get blog postings fed to you via an 'aggregator' - you can also install a feed into a web page. A big thanks to Matt, from the NeLH team, for setting this up!

More info on RSS feeds and aggregators at http://www.nelh.nhs.uk/xmlhelp.asp. Other RSS feeds available from NeLH include Hitting the Headlines, What's New and Document of the Week.

Have a go at downloading or using an aggregator - I downloaded SharpReader this afternoon and am already addicted. I've loaded up feeds from other blogs (some of the links from this page) and other places such as the BBC. It's fab fun ;-)

Interactive parenting guide for parents of deaf children by parents of deaf children.

I thought you might be interested in this article and resource, if you were not already aware of it. I have emailed the NDCS for price details and will post them once I receive a reply:



I'm not having much joy inserting the hyperlinks, but either URL can be cut & pasted into your browser address bar to take you to the article

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Current Journals for Health Sciences Librarians

New blog for hospital libraries

Although American (so with a slightly different focus), this new blog is worth checking out as it looks to develop into a useful resource.

Monday, May 17, 2004

PDAs report from Leicester

The final report of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust PDA project is now available. The project has led to additional funds being identified to purchase 58 PDAs with Drs Companion loaded onto them for the new Foundation Drs entering the Trust in August.

Google searching PubMed

See this blog entry on SiteLines for a good explanation of how Google searches PubMed and the drawbacks of relying on Google for this kind of searching:

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Posters On Demand- Your help needed (no change there then)

Ever since we started producing publicity for NeLH a constant feedback theme has been for customisation of publication so that individual libraries can highlight there own services. Additionally the ablity to segment resources for individual professional groups or sub groups has been sought( eg resources for Nurses in SCBU or OTs in Primary Care.

Poster on Demand allows you to produce high quality publications( posters, leaflets, certificates, signage, reports etc)using your printer or photocopier and paper stock ordered from the NHSIA order line. Targeted at short to medium length print runs the system also employs the just in time principle (as long as you have paper in stock!)

We need your help to quickly pilot the process as we are still developing it but it has to be ready for the Autumn!!.

Please order 30 sheets of "POD Blanks" and go to .../dlnet/postersondemand.asp for more detailed instructions and the word files.

Please let us know at nelh@nhsia.nhs.uk if you are taking part in the trial or any other clarification. Comments can be posted here on the blog

Thanks in anticipation ..F,A,N.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Evaluation in East London

Just saw this post on lis-medical from Sophie Robinson:
'The Health Information East London Information Skills Training Evaluation is now complete and is available on our website. It examines the impact and effectiveness of information skills training for Primary Care staff. If you would like more information please feel free to contact me.'

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

NeLH Goodies Display Box

While we are on the topic of NeLH publcity goodies, I thought I would share with you that I have created a little display box for my NeLH freebies in the library - nothing grand mind you, but it looks presentable and keeps the bits and pieces tidy.

I used the top of a photocopying paper box covered in white paper (it was green before) and then I cut up a large NeLH poster (sacrilege!) to put slogans around the side (eg the address). I also printed out an A4 sign using the NeLH powerpoint slide background. In the box I have postcards, business cards, fold-out leaflets and monitor clips. I was also hoping to incude pencils, but alas! It's situated by the photocopier and the monitor clips regularly disapear!

I have asked Fran and the team to consider if NeLH or NLH would create a more professional looking display box in flat-pack style to draw attention to these delights and to keep them tidy.

Friday, May 07, 2004

NeLH Publicity materials

Just a couple of thoughts on publicity materials.
1 NeLH pencils are always gratefully received by our library users, but not many people tend to use pencils once they've achieved the ripe old age of eight. How about cheap NeLH pens for our more grown-up users?
2 The enamel Digital Libraries badge sets off the navy of my suit extremely fetchingly, but has so far been conspicuously unsuccessful in attracting advances from other healthcare workers, or even fellow librarians. How about replacing the somewhat confusing 'Digital Libraries' with 'NeLH' on ther next run?

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Bits and bobs

The latest Free Pint has some interesting snippets:
  • Link to QuickMBA, some useful stuff there on marketing and management
  • A recommendation to try NeLH :-)
  • Feature article, "Marketing for the Info-Entrepreneur" by Mary Ellen Bates which is based on a new Free Pint publication

Monday, May 03, 2004

Dates for your diaries

Advance warning of workshops we'll be running in 2005:

- Workshop for primary care librarians
Birmingham, 11 - 12 January 2005

- DLnet residential conference
Birmingham, 8 - 9 March 2005