December 23, 2007
Although there's a week before the official turning of the calendar, it feels as though the year already has drawn to its end. The solstice was Friday, and though I still awake in the dark, I have the satisfaction of knowing that each day has slightly more daylight than the one before. The University and University Library are closed for their seasonal days. When we return to work, it will be 2008. Even though our fiscal and academic calendars are at the halfway point, it is a new season - the fall and winter terms are very different for the campus, and for us.
This time of year promotes reflection as well as speculation. I'm proud of what we have done this year. We've accomplished a lot - strengthened our liaison program, built new partnerships with the research community, and been awarded our first outreach subcontracts. Looking ahead, we'll be challenged to continue to develop our programs in those areas at the same time we address the changing nature of our collections, our space, and our work.
The library has been welcomed as a participant and partner in discussions of new curricula, new educational space, and expanded distance education. We're at the table for discussions around informatics, translational science, and information infrastructure. We're forging partnerships in the community with the district library, the literacy council, and the Center for Independent Living, with opportunities for many, many more such ventures. We have grant funding for some programs and proposals pending for others, for projects ranging from exploring the role of the informationist to bringing scientists and the public together to talk about clinical research.
In 2008, open access will be the law of the land, at least in biomedicine and at least for a year. And that's only the beginning of what we know about our future.
I'll continue to reflect, and continue to plan during this pause in activity. I wish you health and happiness in the year ahead, and your own time to reflect, plan, and progress over the next twelve months.
December 20, 2007
Living in Interesting Times
This week, we've heard new complaints about the ISI impact factor, watched Congress endorse open access, and seen Biomedical Digital Libraries leave BioMedCentral for Open Journal Systems.
What I conclude from all this activity is that we're still in the turmoil of transition. The promulgation and sharing of academic information is as healthy as ever, but the comfortable routines we've developed over the centuries no longer serve us as well as they once did. I find this exhilarating rather than frightening, and look forward to seeing what's next.
May we all continue to live in interesting times indeed.
December 18, 2007
Is the emperor wearing clothes?
One more negative review of ISI's impact factors (Show me the data -- Rossner et al. 179 (6): 1091 -- The Journal of Cell Biology) is not going to bring their use to an end. If that were the case, they already would be banished from our campuses. However, it's difficult to dislodge a tool that is widely accepted and easy to apply, especially when you have no strong alternative to offer in its place.
I don't know if there's a better way to measure impact. To the extent that I've been involved in evaluating projects of various sorts, I know how difficult it is to capture and quantify evidence of "making a difference." Nonetheless, deans, provosts, and granting agencies all want to be shown the value of the work they have funded. What can we as librarians and knowledge managers offer when we are asked for help in demonstrating value?
Thanks to my colleague Ken Varnum who brought this article to my attention.
December 10, 2007
An opportunity to shape the MLA 08 Plenary Session
David Rothman is asking for input for his presentation at the 2008 MLA annual meeting. Read more at Going to MLA 2008: Your advice, please? and post comments for David.
It's a twofer: Amanda Etches-Johnson, another MLA'08 presenter, has already stopped by davidrothman.net and commented that she'd like to read the responses David receives. So, while you're waiting for the preliminary program to arrive, get some the inside scoop and help make this meeting what you want it to be.
See you in Chicago - MLA'08 "Connections: Bridging the Gaps" May 16-21, 2008!
December 07, 2007
It isn't easy being green
Just ask Kermit! Nonetheless, the 2008 NPC is working with MLA staff, exhibitors, and the Hyatt to make this a very green meeting. The preliminary program, coming soon, and the MLA'08 Blog have details on these efforts, including this timely post by Marcus on Chicago's efforts to be a greener city. MLA ‘08 Blog: The City of Big Shoulders Becomes the City of Green Alleys
Watch MLA News for information on what you can do to go green @ 08!
December 06, 2007
It must be true, I saw it on YouTube
Connie Schardt summarizes an article in JAMA on health information found in YouTube videos: Medical Library Association Task Force on Social Networking Software -> YouTube as a source for health information?
I don't think the health literacy implications of YouTube are any greater in number than those for the Internet in general, and may be fewer since it's a subset of Web surfers who look at videos. Still, bad information drives out good, and those of us involved in health literacy efforts need to have this on our radar.
Keelan et al.
YouTube as a Source of Information on Immunization: A Content Analysis
JAMA.2007; 298: 2482-2484.
December 05, 2007
The epitome of schadenfreude
Is an Information ePrescription in our future?
At a press briefing today, Newt Gingrich, John Kerry, Debbie Stabenow (one of Michigan's senators), and others will talk about how the US government can facilitate adoption of this technology. For background on the issue and how it benefits patients as well as the healthcare system, see the editorial that Kerry and Gingrich wrote for the Wall Street Journal on Nov. 16.