Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Going to Woods Hole, MA

I'm extremely grateful to be awarded BML/NLM fellowship to study biomedical informatics in Woods Hole, MA from September 20-26. When I was informed I was put in the waiting list, I already had a plan to send in my application again for next year. I think I'm just that lucky! Someone canceled the trip and here I'm getting ready to go!

I have been co-instructor in Informatics for Healthcare since 2006 and got involved in teaching library sessions in Dental Informatics course this year, but I still feel nervous as to limited knowledge about what it is and what I'm going to do there. Looking at the course schedule and the required reading list for each day, I feel the intensity and challenge I'm going to face.

Despite the feeling of uncertainty, one thing I'm pretty sure is that I'm going to enjoy the training and learning experience. There are 30 participants from 30 different institutions across the country. The experience will enrich my knowledge as a medical librarian, but may look at informatics from a different perspective.

I've got words from my director that when I return from this one-week intensive course, I would be our library's biomedical informatics professional and liaison to the campus for this initiative.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pubget: Pros and Cons

I have been testing Pubget for some time and finally came up with this summary. Since quite a lot of good things and excitement were covered about Pubget, my point of view might be a bit different in that I approached the service from the point of end users, and yet they are only my opinions.

Pubget was added our proxy server for some time. With the Pubget proxy URL, patrons will be asked to log in if they are off campus. If log in successfully, remote access to the library is granted and articles in PDF formats are retrieved, which is the beauty and unique feature of Pubget.

Pubget was tested on Mac and PC using Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari both on campus and off campus. Here are some pros and cons based on my experience:


  1. Save time and provide quick access to PDF articles the library has subscribed to. Pubget searches retrieve PDF documents instantly. On campus access works well in getting PDF files.
  2. Share information. Patrons are able to email PDF files to anyone specified. This is good for group projects and journal clubs. One article can be sent to multiple emails at the same time and it can also be sent to social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
  3. Manage and organize information. References in Pubget can be exported to EndNote and RefWork. Tags can be assigned to individual reference.
  4. Stay current. Patrons can create email alerts or RSS feed on their topic of interest to get update articles. They can also browse latest issues of their favorite journals from Pubget. The favorite journal list can be customized to show on their Pubget home page.
  5. Save information. PDF files retrieved from Pubget can be saved/kept in Pubget server. Patrons can use their gmail account to log in Pubget if they don't want to create a separate account with Pubget.
  6. Revisit search history. Search history kept in Pubget's personal account can be marked as favorite searches and optionally can be used to get up-to-date articles without setting up email alerts or RSS feed.
  1. Using MeSH to search Pubget is not working unless exact MeSH terms are entered to run the search.
  2. PDFs are loaded and displayed inconsistently. Sometimes Pubget searches didn't display PDF files even the library owns the journal, which happens more often via off-campus access.
  3. The Keepers (saved references) within Pubget are kept in one pot. Users can not create separate folders to organize their saved articles.
  4. There is no way for patrons to select more than one articles or select a list of articles. Consequently, patrons have to choose one article at a time if they want to share, email, export, or save articles . This is especially inconvenient when they want to share a list of articles with people. "Shared all your keepers" link did not show as promised.
  5. An article sent from Pubget produces a link to the article not sending the actual article. Consequently, if the article is not freely available on the Internet, the recipient will not be able to download the article.
  6. When exporting references from Pubget to EndNote, only authors and titles are imported. Neither PDF full-text nor URLs are imported into EndNote.
Pubget is only one of the 3rd party life science search engines that tries to create shortcut to search PubMed. If you are a serious researcher, my advise is using the 3rd party search engines with caution or as a pre-search. Getting comfortable and familiar using PubMed itself is your goal. If you need assistance using PubMed, contact your medical librarians.