Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New PubMed Advanced Search Builder

Today new PubMed Advanced search page gave me a Wow! I think it is more user friendly than the old page.

New PubMed Advanced Search Page
The neat thing is you can stay on this page and keep adding different search terms to the search history saving the time to go back and forth between the search results page and search builder page. The search results will be displayed in History.  You can easily combine them by clicking the Add button.

I do wish one thing to be added for the new page the Limits, which will make the search even more intuitive.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Where are MeSH Terms in PubMed Mobile?

While teaching students searching for medical literature, I enforced the importance of expert searching, which started with MeSH database. I also recommended students using MeSH terms associated with each citation as their search terms. For this purpose, I asked students to enter a PMID in the PubMed search box and find the MeSH terms. Interesting thing happened. Several students used iPad2 to search PubMed and they were forced automatically to use PubMed Mobile version. They were not able to find the link to MeSH terms from the mobile site. After some look around, I wasn't able to find the MeSH terms, either.

PubMed Mobile Search Results

What's the solution for that? Click the Standard PubMed link at the left corner of the page, and you will find MeSH terms. 

Standard PubMed Search Results
Keep in mind that PubMed Mobile is a light version of PubMed. Standard PubMed link is always available somewhere on the mobile site. You can switch to it whenever needed.

Last Presentation of the Year

Yesterday I gave a presentation on literature searching to 75 DNP and PhD nursing students. The course director sent me a nice email afterwards:

"Thank you for the excellent presentation you gave to the DNP and PhD students this afternoon! The content of your presentation and the pdf file you have shared will be useful to the students and me as course director. The faculty who are assisting with the course and I can readily refer students to the pdf file to reinforce the information you shared today."

Looking back, I really had a good year with my liaison services to the College of Nursing. The more I actively engaged myself with them,  the more return requests I received. A good busy year! 

Snow=Good harvest

Friday, November 4, 2011

E-Tracking Reference Statistics

Desk Statistics Record Sheet
If you want to turn manually recording of Reference Desk statistics into digital, read this article, "How to Build a Desk Statistics Tracker in Less Than an Hour Using Forms in Google Docs" by Sunshine Carter and Thomas Ambrosi  from the University of Minnesota–Duluth. The article provided detailed instructions on how to create a form for your library.  It would be better and more helpful if Google Docs form provided more functions for data collection and analysis.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My New Article

Fall Mood

Supporting Evidence-Based Medicine: A Survey of U.S. Medical Librarians, Medical Reference Services Quarterly 2011, 30:4, 365-38.
The most challenging part was to content analyze the three open-ended questions. But we did it!

Contact me if you are interested in the article.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No More Library Workshops!

Does your library experience low attendance rate to your library workshops? As a librarian instructor, you have worked so hard to get people to attend your workshops, but still  not much improvement. Does that mean your patrons do not need the information? Does that mean library workshops have no value to your library community? Librarians all know that is not the case. Here is an innovative way to make some changes: No more workshops in the library! One-on-one and on demand instructional sessions instead.

I look at this as a patron driven change and another level of providing library instruction. I can certainly see some of the advantages of one-on-one or on demand sessions:
  • Fit into the patron's schedule
  • Deliver content based on individual's needs or at the point of need
  • Provide a conformable environment to ask questions -- patrons
  • Reduce the tense of speaking in public -- librarians
I believe it's time to make a change for better or worse depending on what you think and what content you want to deliver. It might be more effective to turn those workshops that have hands on components into one-on-one sessions. 

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Want to Start an iPad Program for a Library?

    Yesterday I attended the ALA Webinar, Integrating iPads and Tablets Computers into Library Services (1). I  think the presenters did a great job. I hope MLA hosts a similar webcast to show successful iPad programs in health sciences libraries. At least one thing I learned from the webinar was that librarians need to ask questions before setting up a tablet program for their library:
    • What's it for? Is it for staff development, in-house use such as in class, or for circulating them to library patrons?
    • What content are you going to load on the device? Content would include apps and tools related to patron needs.
    • Do you have technical support for the program? 
    • How are you going to train library staff to provide frontline support for the program?
    If you already have a tablet program in your library, what's your thought so far? 

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Taking Photos Using an iPhone

    Want to take good pictures using an iPhone? Here is my experience:

    1. Composition: You are not taking a photo, you are creating one! -- Creative!
    2. Light: Make full use of natural light as iPhone doesn't provide any supplemental light - Critical! 
    3. Focus: Tab the object, zoom, focus, and shot - Sharp! 
    4. Stillness: Hold a deep breath and be as still as possible when pushing the photo button 
    5. Some of my photos taken with an iPhone: 

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Content Creators: Be Creative!

    Are you a librarian or a medical librarian? Do you use Twitter? Does your library has a twitter account or a Facebook page? As one of the content contributors to our Reference Department's twitter account, library's blog, Flickr, and Facebook page, I constantly felt it is challenging and time consuming to keep the contents in these accounts rolling effectively and feeding it with relevant information quickly. Ideally, I wish our contents were updated while I'm sleeping...

    A recent conversation with a librarian friend about feeding twitter account with RSS feeds on some desired topics. "Well, don't depend on those automatically feeds only. This is why you are here and you are the content creator." What he said really got me thinking. Yes, librarians are well known for being content creators in many ways including Web sites, subject guides, pathfinders, instructional materials, and library tutorials. Now content creators has evolved to include twittering, blogging, facebooking, and more. Librarians becoming digital content creators are the result of digital technology and digital reference services. The difference is digital content creators have to come up with contents in a quick and effective way.

    If you are the person behind the scene, how do you manage your library's social media accounts to keep them fresh and relevant?

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Make it Easy for them

    There is an interesting article, Don't make it easy for them, set me thinking. Yes, students need to learn library research skills. What about faculty members? My point is make it easy for them. Yes, make it easy for them! We call it support faculty teaching, research, and clinical education.

    The library outreach programs have provided lots of opportunities for librarians to connect with academic faculties. Years of liaison experience told me faculty members like helpful, personalized, and convenient library services delivered to their desktops. I found myself really enjoy working with them by providing these services. I questioned myself a while ago, "Am I spoiling them by doing so?" One of my librarian friend said, "No, this is called another level of customer service." So, here they are:

    • Set up automatic email alerts for each faculty on their research topics with My NCBI. This personalized service includes knowing and understanding each faculty member's research interests or topics, constructing a good search for each topic, creating My NCBI account for each faculty, and writing up instructions on how to manage the alerts.
    • Conduct literature searches for faculty members. This involves not only expert search using related databases, but delivering the search results in the format of their preferences. Sometimes it goes further than that such as organizing citations and retrieving full text articles for them.
    • Scan articles from the library's print collection to PDFs and send to them via emails. The challenge is basically time especially when I have a busy schedule and when the faculty are rush to need the articles.
    • Deliver one-on-one library workshop sessions to faculty's offices. This is especially in demand for hands-on workshops. What makes this service welcoming is the focus of individualization. This requires me to get very familiar with the workshop contents and alter the teaching method based on each individual faculty's characteristics and needs.
    • There are some very basic things we, librarians, expect our users to do them themselves while faculty members expect librarians to do those basic things for them. My liaison philosophy is don't ask, just do it. For example, could you get the full text of this article for me (I know we have online access to the article and she can download it from her desktop.); do we have this book in the library ( I know we do. A catalog search will tell her.); I need this article via interlibrary loan, could you request for me? (I know she can do it online by logging onto her library account.); Could you pull these articles for me from the library stack? I will come and pick up after work (I know the library doesn't offer this service. She can come to the library and do it herself.)
    Concern and worry was if I got lots of requests, it might be difficult to handle and it would greatly increase my workload. I took it as a challenge. Reference service hasn't change a lot, we just need to do it in different ways: make it easy for them, but might mean make it difficult for us. This brings to the core of my job -- providing excellent customer service!