October 02, 2008

Free Our Libraries (The Wired Campus)

October 2, 2008

Free Our Libraries, Cry University Presidents

Presidents of major universities want more library materials distributed online, without prohibitive charges.

At the Universal Access Digital Library Summit, held on September 24 and 25 at the Boston Public Library, Mark Huddleston, president of the University of New Hampshire, Peter Nicholls, provost of the University of Connecticut, and Jack Wilson, president of the University of Massachusetts, called for new approaches to the digitization of library collections that will allow access for all. The presidents urged libraries to halt what they described as an assault on the public’s right to knowledge, done in the name of copyright.

The meeting, which was convened by the Boston Library Consortium, also included the presentations of “Free Our Libraries! Why We Need a New Approach to Putting Library Collections Online,? a white paper by Richard K. Johnson, senior advisor to the Association of Research Libraries. In the paper, Mr. Johnson argues that libraries need to come up with new financing strategies, coordinate their actions, and adopt “forward-looking? principles to guide book and journal digitization projects.

Posted by schnitzr at 05:20 PM | Comments (1)

August 18, 2008

"Creepy Treehouse Effect"

http://flexknowlogy.learningfield.org/tag/creepytreehouse/Tyrel Kelsey suggests:

Students reject creepy treehouses for one reason: they are creepy. I think a better approach to education is the idea of a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) … which [students] can invite the professor into when they feel comfortable doing so.
In Students should build their own tree house

Posted by schnitzr at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2008

More about Google and Librarians

Google Reaches Out to Librarians

Google released an update today to its Librarian Central blog, heeding the complaints of some librarians that the company has been ignoring them. The blog announcement? Google is closing the blog but will communicate with librarians via a newsletter that it will send out “every few months.? The update provided a link to the issue released today. It includes an article on organizing medical records with Google and Google Book Search, its massive book digitization project.

“We want to keep this dialog open, so please stay in touch with us,? the post reads.—Andrea L. Foster

Posted on Friday July 11, 2008 | Permalink |

Posted by schnitzr at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2008

Why Do Lectures Have to Be One Hour?

Technology shrinks the lecture. The traditional class period lasts about an hour, so many professors design their lectures to be that long, too. But professors who record their lectures for the Web find that students prefer short segments to class-length talks. A free article in this week’s Chronicle describes how some professors are experimenting with short-form lectures in their classrooms as well as online. But some long-time professors worry that cutting up lectures into short pieces will lead to oversimplification.


Posted by schnitzr at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2008

Four Habits of Highly Effective Librarians

Basically, they boil down to the following four habits:

Details at:


Posted by schnitzr at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2007

Colleges Are Reluctant to Adopt New Publication Venues

Academe has been slow to accept new forms of scholarship like blogs, wikis, and video clips, according to a report released last week that examines emerging technology trends in higher education.


Posted by schnitzr at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2007

From Wired Campus 12/10/07

For Students, It's About Courses, Not Subjects

Students aren't interested in online information gateways about subjects. They're interested in information related to their courses. That's the message this week from ACRLog, the blog for academic and research librarians, as the blogger Steven Bell attempts to counsel professors and librarians on ways to reach out to students. He cites a recent study in the journal Portal, in which Oregon State University librarians found that students were much more interested in information if it was linked to a course they were taking. Topic-oriented information collections were much less compelling.

Posted by schnitzr at 07:36 AM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2007

Thoughts on the "Patchwork" Library of the Web

The New Yorker‘s Anthony Grafton begins a rumination on the future of the library by evoking “an old and reassuring story: bookish boy or girl enters the cool, dark library and discovers loneliness and freedom.? Now that many librarians are tasked with putting books online, not just depositing them in stacks, is that notion of the library as public space still resonant?

Mr. Grafton attempts to answer that question by tracing the intellectual history of Google’s and Microsoft’s library-scanning projects all the way back to the third millennium B.C. It’s an interesting tactic, and it leads the writer to a less Utopian take on the Web-as-library than some digitization advocates have posited:


Posted by schnitzr at 08:21 AM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2007

The new librarians

And the new university librarian at McMaster came from Wayne State University in Detroit!

Meet the risk-taking scholars who are shaking things up while they build tomorrow’s academic library

With its faded orange carpet, rows and rows of dusty stacks, and old-school study carrels, McMaster University’s H.G Thode Library of Science and Engineering looks like a place purposed with preserving the 1970s. But the future isn’t far away – and Jeffrey Trzeciak, the school’s new university librarian, can see it already.

“Here, here and here. This is where the plasma-screen monitors will go,? says Mr. Trzeciak, pointing to specific points along the curving red-brick wall that circumscribes the back of the building.

Soon an army of workers and the $4 million raised through a capital campaign will gut and utterly transform Thode. Print journals will be wheeled away to a new home in the basement, and book stacks will be transplanted to the second floor.

A café, diner-style booths, stand-up workstations, oversized ottomans, and even coffee tables with pillows on the floor will take their place, all equipped for online access. Interactive touch-screen monitors will line the wall.

“Students are still coming to the library in droves,? says Mr. Trzeciak. “But more and more often what they want to come to the library for is collaborative space where they can work with their friends and have a coffee, sit comfortably and do their homework, and get help when they need it.?

In an era of change for libraries, Mr. Trzeciak is a man in the vanguard. Although not especially young – with a hint of five-o’clock shadow, he’s a youthful 40-ish – everything about him, from his efficient gait to his soft yet purposeful manner of speech to his functional sense of style, seems geared for action.

More at:

Posted by schnitzr at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2007


Lorcan Dempsey's weblog: Presentations in the program points to an interesting use of Slideshare for embedding conference presentations in a meeting agenda or program (http://www.eduserv.org.uk/foundation/events/openid2007/programme).

I like this - no clicking back and forth to see the presentations you're interested in as they are all right there in the order presented. For those who aren't able to be present in person, it gives an easy way to follow the flow of the presentations.

Posted by janeblum at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

Facebook and Libraries

Lorcan Dempsey's weblog: Parents at the party quotes from an article on EducationGuardian.co.uk in which students indicate that they don't want faculty and librarians in MySpace and Facebook, but prefer to keep those spaces as fun, friend-oriented, off-the-record parts of their lives. Perhaps it's related to the rash of stories about graduates who lost job opportunities after an interviewer found their online profile or incriminating pictures, or perhaps the differences between generations about privacy aren't so different as we thought.

Ironically, the same day, I read a post in Stephen's Lighthouse, Facebook Institutions heralding the ability of institutions to have Facebook Profiles.

Will we be patting ourselves on the back for mastering the social network only to find we have only ourselves to talk to?

Posted by janeblum at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2007

Seems like common sense, doesn't it?

A Model for Health Care That Pays for Quality - New York Times

Maybe next they'll reimburse for quality information!

Posted by janeblum at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2007


Should we add this blog to the MLibrary2.0 feed?

Posted by janeblum at 06:35 PM | Comments (3)

September 28, 2007

Google Health ---system-to-be?

This is from a message by Chris Shaffer (Hardin Library) on Medlib-L. If you choose to check it out, don't neglect the comments at the end. People DO have opinions!

One of the library science students found these screenshots of the
Google Health product. This is not the same as Google Co-op in which
MLA participates.


Chris Shaffer, MS, AHIP, Assistant Director, Technology and Outreach
Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, University of Iowa

Posted by schnitzr at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2007

Defeating the Demons of Distraction (re: ADD)

At noon on Wednesday, September 19th, there was a presentation on ADD and how to conquer its "demons." Stuart Segal, a psychologist who works in the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities introduced the speaker Geraldine Markel, Ph.D. Of note, the Michigan Union allowed a room change for the overflow crowd--not even standing room was available when the talk started. We were informed that the previous audience for this topic, some time ago, had consisted of only 4 people and now, thanks to excellent publicity, there were hundreds of interested people gathered to hear this same speaker on this same topic. We were actually too late to receive any handouts, but there is some information on Dr. Markel's web site (http://www.managingyourmind.com/), and she has written a book (co-authored with Dr. Judity Greenbaum) called "Finding Your Focus: Practical Strategies for the Everyday Challenges Facing Adults with ADD."

Posted by schnitzr at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2007

Librarians and 2nd Life (2 letters of possible interest)

RE: Reaching out to the digital natives... Laugh if you must (in fact, I
think you should), but I play a MMPORG (Massively-Multiplayer Online
Roleplaying Game). There are a high number of young, net-savvy folks there.
There are frequently new players asking where things are, or how you do
things. I'll toss out answers when I can. About 50% of the time, the
person asking says "thanks," and I often respond with: "I'm a librarian-- I
love answering questions!" And they say "cool" and we move on.

There are librarians involved with Second Life, too, and I think those are
the places where we can reach out to this audience in a small way-- we're
librarians, we're helpful, we're information hunter-gatherers.

To paraphrase Churchill: "we shall research on the beaches, we shall
research in the databases, we shall research in the games and in the chat
rooms, we shall fight in the virtual worlds; we shall never surrender."

Ann M. Holman, MLS
Systems Librarian
Stitt Library: Information is Our Lifeblood.
National Naval Medical Center
301-319-8411 (voice)
269-8411 (DSN)
295-6001 (fax)

"If everyone knew how smart and funny and dedicated librarians were, no
library would ever be shut down again."
- Ann Seidl

-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [mailto:MEDLIB-L@LIST.UVM.EDU] On
Behalf Of Tony McSean
Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2007 6:14 AM
Subject: Re: Chat: re "librarian" as obsolete

It's a conundrum. "Librarian" and "library" are words that carry a lot of
undesirable historical baggage and can be used by the ignorant and/or young
as sticks to beat us; on the other hand, we don't have a decent
alternative. I think it's a really serious problem. We hear a lot from academic
librarians saying that students who have grown up in the digital age no
longer see the close association of libraries with knowledge acquisition.
When digital natives think of libraries at all they often think of a
quieter, dowdier version of Starbucks.

When you talk to people outside the profession - as we all have to do
occasionally - you sometimes find some very odd preconceptions indeed, not
all of them with a basis in reality. It's a commonplace to say that as a
profession we are rather too strongly wedded to our complex and abstruse
rules and procedures. I would take this down a level and say that we create
trouble for ourselves by our difficulty in ever completely dropping
something from our repertoire. Things get overlaid, never completely
replaced. Perhaps we should be more like the software industry and be
prepared to tell our users that Library 1.7 is no longer available and its
features no longer supported - we have moved to Library 2.0 And So Must You.

Posted by schnitzr at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2007

Top Ten Facebook Apps for Librarians

From iLibrarian - a good summary of Facebook applications for Librarians...


Posted by alisonrg at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2007

Comparisons of Point of Care Resources

The Krafty Librarian

Posted by janeblum at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2007

A chilling story

in the Sunday New York Times, Cancer Patients, Lost in a Maze of Uneven Care - New York Times.

Even with good insurance and access to information, patients get inconsistent and ineffective treatment, sometimes with deadly results.

Posted by janeblum at 10:49 AM | Comments (2)

July 14, 2007

Why we do what we do

This article on newyorktimes.com, has some interesting insights on the business of medicine. I was struck most not by the economics of the drug in question but by the description of a patient who insisted on getting treated with it, which may have saved or prolonged her life. Empowering people with health information and first-hand knowledge of their options can make a difference.

Posted by janeblum at 12:23 PM | Comments (1)

June 25, 2007

Didn't we want to do something like this?

Greasemonkey script to link to free text from PubMed

Posted by janeblum at 02:42 PM | Comments (1)

June 21, 2007

Take a look at this

Mary Moore's presentation on the future of health sciences libraries. Would anyone be interested in getting together to discuss her ideas, pro or con?

Posted by janeblum at 08:43 AM | Comments (5)

May 31, 2007

Comparing e-book platforms

This post on davidrothman.net links to an article at Against the Grain comparing four medical ebook vendors. The comparison chart is online.

Posted by janeblum at 10:33 AM | Comments (1)

May 25, 2007

More Not-Good News

The Chronicle: Daily news: 05/25/2007 -- 04: Teaching Hospitals Could Lose $1.8-Billion Under Proposed Medicaid Cuts

For forty years, Medicaid has support Medicaid with indirect payments for GME.

"The government's Medicare and Medicaid programs have historically promised a steady supply of money to help teaching hospitals educate medical residents and partially compensate them for the higher costs of treating sicker patients and offering expensive, specialized services like burn units and trauma centers. In addition, hospitals that train physicians are inherently less efficient: "It takes longer to care for patients in a team setting where learning is taking place," Ms. Davis Boyle said."

That may change now, with expensive consequences for teaching hospitals and residency programs.

Posted by janeblum at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2007

Blog from "The Journal of Dissident Librarianship"

On Competition, Creativity & Credibility

In the good olde days of the Internet (say 1995 - 2000) the library profession used to teach courses on how to evaluate a good website - things like clear statements of responsibility, the "authority" of the producer of the information, how often things were updated, etc. It made sense because it used to be fairly hard to publish content on the Web, and harder still to have much of it and keep it up to date. Doing so at all was a pretty good sign you were earnest and cared, and if people could get ahold of you with suggestions or corrections you were golden. (While ideas like HONcode were good ones I'm not so sure I really believe they ever did much to make or break a health website - good design and updated content seemed far more important).

Fast forward a few years and suddenly the ability to create and maintain a website becomes much easier, esp. with the advent of blogs. Even building a database-driven site (usually necessary for large amounts of content) became more trivial with the availability of open source scripting and database tools (i.e. PHP and MySQL). Then several years later some clever people started adding more interactivity and dynamism to websites with things like AJAX and Flash, which made websites start to act and look more like desktop applications. Suddenly what people had been saying years ago about websites supplanting their competitors, even desktop application competitors, started to come true. Upstart companies came out of nowhere and wound up changing entire businesses (witness the decimation of the travel agent when sites like Travelocity, Orbitz and Priceline really caught on).

Libraries and other information providers haven't been used to competition, and are finding it hard to adjust. Some clever programmers have come up with websites which provide the sorts of information tools libraries or library vendors used to provide exclusively. Often these new tools work "better" than traditional ones in the sense of being more intuitive, up to date, etc etc. Some tools provide reference-type information (i.e. Google Maps) while others provide library-like services for individuals rather than libraries (i.e. LibraryThing). These newer tools may not be as robust and authoritative as the older tools but they work, they work fast and they work painlessly - in short they provide a good user experience.

The future of library applications is, hopefully, going to be in a sweet spot between all the fun and easy to use interface things you see in "Library 2.0" and the more structured, robust, authoritative tools we've known and loved as a profession for years. I find it ironic that in the years prior to fast, cheap computing power and unlimited storage space librarians did an excellent job structuring data and providing some level of control, or at least good ideas for where large data sets could get unwieldy. In short we thought like computers before computers were ready for us - making data clean and interoperable and thinking ahead to prevent problems with systems that wouldn't scale. Now that cheap ubiquitous computing is here we're sort of asleep at the wheel, letting our lunch get eaten by people who do good programming and sometimes good interfaces but haven't thought ahead to what happens when their neat mashup becomes the next big thing. Looks like a perfect opportunity to me - combine the energy and new ideas with some way of making the thing scale and work together with other tools and systems (and making sure we bring our vendors along for the ride) so we can "leapfrog each other" and come up with easy to use, fun but useful and robust systems. What the Michigan Public Library system did by building a new interface on top of their ratty old OPAC's core system (same thing at NC State) is a good paradigm shift in my book - and eventually we can get rid of the old legacy systems underneath when they're no longer needed. An OPAC makes a great back end but a terrible front end in my experience - let's use the best of both worlds so we can have friendly competition, creativity and credibility.
posted by abarclay @ 10/21/06 1:35 PM 0 comments

Posted by schnitzr at 06:31 PM | Comments (1)

April 23, 2007

Some else had this idea, too

“Laptop Librarians? outreach program

Posted by janeblum at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2007

I suspect the post will be much discussed today

The Chronicle: 4/20/2007: Are Reference Desks Dying Out?

An interesting article that presents both sides of the debate. Comments are welcome.

Posted by janeblum at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2007

Information Literacy Article in the Chronicle

The Medical School is interested in how to measure information competency, and this article gives an overview of what's going on at the undergraduate level.

The Chronicle: 3/9/2007: Information Navigation 101

Posted by janeblum at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2007

More Food for (SecondLife) Thought

Joe Janes' Column in American Libraries: Life on the Island

"Like everyplace else, Second Life needs libraries"

Posted by janeblum at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2007

Mike Swanson blogging about his class on Health Informatics

Introduction to Health Informatics

This blog will provide comments on my experiences in a course in the School of Public Health titled Introduction to Health Informatics. Although I am somewhat tardy in starting this blog on the course, it should be noted that our first few weeks of class dealt with basic concepts relating to Health Informatics. Only more recently have we begun to dive into the meat of the subject matter. I will attempt to bring everyone up to date in subsequent postings, but for now I wish to focus on the main theme of the course. Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) have the promise to significantly impact diverse aspects of healthcare. Currently in the United States, only about 25% of healthcare facilities are using EMRs. The overriding question is why is this percentage as low as it is. The answers to this question are complex and varied. Addressing this issue, though, is what the course is all about and subsequent postings will touch upon these.

Posted by schnitzr at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2007

In Quest of the Perfect Library (from The Chronicle..)

From the issue dated February 23, 2007
In Quest of the Perfect Library


There is a sad truth about college libraries: No matter how attractively designed and cleverly constructed, they cannot disguise a central fact — that the undergraduates in them are seldom there to read books they want to read.

When I walk through the library at Georgetown University or American University, my heart goes out to the undergraduates sprawled under the fluorescent light like animals that have been euthanized. I know that whether they curl up in easy chairs, stretch their legs under long tables, or hunch over desks, nothing can alleviate the ordeal. The reason is simple: Only an adult can walk into a university library looking for a book he actually wants to read.

In a corner of Harvard Yard, there is a library called Lamont, a midcentury, redbrick, functional building whose most recent addition is a strange circular pit with glass walls that show students studying at their desks, like ants in a terrarium, or the virgins the Mayans threw into cenotes as sacrifices to the gods. But across an asphalt path lies Widener.

This enormity was named after a Harvard man who drowned on the Titanic, and its look still exemplifies the turn-of-the-century, upper-class, male WASP coterie with which Harvard was once synonymous. Opened in 1915 with a gift by Widener's mother, it was designed by an African-American architect in a Philadelphia firm that the Wideners had used for their enormous pile Lynnewood, a staggering estate whose plutocratic interiors are remembered today only in photographs since the building is now owned by a Korean church.

Widener dominates its portion of the Yard like some enormous train station — or the post office on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan that the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wanted to make the new Pennsylvania Station. Inside the library, murals by John Singer Sargent flank a marble staircase that leads to a vast reading room in whose shadows the beautiful green shades of reading lamps glimmer like emeralds.

The books Harvard owns outgrew Widener's 50 miles of shelves not long after it was opened, but Widener is still the Mother Church. Forbidden to freshmen, she constitutes a rite of passage when, at the beginning of sophomore year, one is finally allowed to leave Lamont for Widener. Obtaining a pass that allows one into the stacks of Widener means: I am growing up.

Widener is the jungle, the Amazon basin, where any budding intellectual must find gold. Yet 50 miles of books speak of the futility of it all. For one thing, you can never read all of them. For another, other people have tried. So the thrill soon pales.

Sitting in the stacks at some graduate student's desk (or carrel — a new word to the uninitiated!), staring out the narrow window that resembles the slit in the wall of a medieval castle through which archers aimed their crossbows, ennui, dejection, and despair descend, until one realizes one has entered the Sophomore Slump. Yes, getting into Widener may be a thrill, but getting out soon becomes an even bigger one.

Conveniently, there are other Harvard libraries — over 90, to house the largest university collection in the world. The reluctant reader searches for the perfect room, the perfect desk, the perfect lamp, the perfect chair, as if they will make it easier for the literary castor oil to go down.

When they become sophomores, students are expelled from the Yard and sent to live in individual colleges, or houses, near the river. Each house has its own library, small (like Lamont) but atmospheric (like Widener). The Lowell House Library, for instance, looks like the men's club in a New Yorker cartoon, with wood-paneled walls, brass chandeliers, dark tables, and red-leather chairs.

The Lowell House Library is, in a sense, perfect. But it takes perfection to realize a crucial truth about the limitations of architecture and décor. For it was there, one winter night, while sitting in one of those slippery, high-backed, red-leather chairs, that I finished a book called The American Adam — and realized I had, technically, completed this well-regarded study of my country's literature and could not remember a single word of what I had just read. The book had passed through me as a vapor.

So I went up to my room and spent the rest of my college years reading under a low ceiling, with a crummy little lamp, flat on my back, having finally realized I had been searching for something that cannot exist: a library that would read the book for me.

Andrew Holleran teaches creative writing at American University. His latest novel is Grief (Hyperion, 2006).

Posted by schnitzr at 05:09 AM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2007

Help for New Web Site

Hi, everyone,

As part of working toward the new HSL gateway web site, we've been asked to come up with some visually intriguing aspects of each of the libraries as possible future highlights. We would love to have your help with this. This could be services, collections, or something else. It could be cutting edge modern or historical. It would need to be something that can be photographed or in some way provide a point of visual interest. We would like it to be something about which we can toot our horn, a point of pride for us to promote to our patrons.

The Gateway working team is comprised of Gillian Mayman, Mark Chaffee, Anna Ercoli Schnitzer and myself (Patricia Anderson). Please send suggestions or concepts to any of us. We will compile and send the list out to everyone as a future step. Please do NOT reply to all.

Thank you in advance for your ideas!

-- Patricia Anderson, pfa@Umich.edu

Posted by schnitzr at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2007

Synopsis of Dr Farmer's Talk

From the Michigan Daily

A call to action - Campus Life

A brief summary of Paul Farmer's presentation yesterday, if you weren't able to view the live presentation or webcast.

Posted by janeblum at 01:04 PM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2007

Our Friends Across Town

Tame The Web: Libraries and Technology: SirsiDynix UpStream: Libraries Building Communities

Michael Stephens, a well-known medical library blogger, reprinted this article of his from the Spring 2006 Sirsi Dynix Upstream newsletter. He has strong praise for our colleagues in the Ann Arbor District Library. If you're not familiar with the library and the innovative use it's making of technology, give this a read. This morning at the coordinators' meeting we were talking about potential partnerships for outreach. AADL looks like a partner from whom we could learn much.

Posted by janeblum at 02:37 PM | Comments (1)

February 09, 2007

The Joint Conference of Librarians of Color

I've been meaning to share what I learned from the first Joint Conference of Librarians of Color which was held in Dallas from October 12-15, 2006. The Library's Diversity Committee has been working on sponsoring a brown bag to discuss the conference. It was a really great experience working on and participating in the conference. A Library Journal article gives a sample of the types of programs at the conference - "diversity in the workplace, cultural literacy, recruitment and retention, multicultural leadership, multicultural programs and materials, and equity of access."

I hope the recent "All Americans?" letter to the editor won't cast a shadow on the collaboration that took place. JCLC brought together individuals who feel passionate about diversity and want to help all types of libraries better serve the diverse needs of their communities. I believe this is reason why there was a strong representation of health sciences librarians, the NLM, and MLA at the conference. I look forward to the next JCLC and hope even more people will want to participate.

Posted by hlook at 09:54 AM | Comments (2)

Do we use machines or do they use us?

An anthropologist's view:


Posted by schnitzr at 08:03 AM | Comments (1)

February 06, 2007

The Trouble with E-Mail

Research on why/how e-mail promotes miscommunication.


Posted by schnitzr at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2007

33 Reasons Why Libraries and Librarians are Still Extremely Important

Jonathan pointed this article out to me:

Are Librarians Totally Obsolete?

I especially enjoy the heading for #23: The Internet is a mess.

Posted by pricek at 10:56 AM | Comments (3)

January 26, 2007

Live discussion on Changing Role of Academic Libraries

The Changing Role of Academic Libraries in the Information Age

Thursday, February 1, at 12 noon, U.S. Eastern time

Academic libraries face some of their greatest challenges, and greatest opportunities, of the generation. While the Internet has been a boon for information distribution, some librarians have considered it a threat to the vitality of traditional library space. Although the latest generation of students is plugged in and connected in ways never imagined years ago, they also seem disconnected from books and other traditional literary resources. Librarians and their academic colleagues must step up to face those challenges, says Michael Gorman, dean of library services at California State University at Fresno. He will share his thoughts on the future of librarians -- and take your questions

Click here to ask a question.
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Join us here on Thursday, February 1, at 12 noon, U.S. Eastern time.

The Guest
Michael Gorman is a critic of some uses of technology in libraries -- like the Google project to digitize books -- but also a fan of what he calls the appropriate use of technology. For more than 25 years he has been a leader in academic libraries and a major voice on key issues. He has been dean of library services at California State University at Fresno since 1988. He is the author of numerous books, including Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness, and Reality (co-written with Walt Crawford), which was honored with the 1997 Blackwell's Scholarship Award. He recently served as president of the American Library Association. He will respond to questions and comments about these issues on Thursday, February 1, at 12 noon, U.S. Eastern time. Readers are welcome to post questions and comments now.

A transcript will be available at this address following the discussion.


Posted by schnitzr at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2007

An example of what our medical students are up to

Google Co-op - Co-op Profile

This is the Google Co-op profile for Within Normal Limits of Reason (Ming Kao)

Here's the link to the webpage itself described as "Blog on evidence-based medicine and various issues in medical research." It's an impressive demonstration of the use of multiple web tools and technologies.

Posted by janeblum at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2007

Wouldn't it be nice if a visit to the HSL generated this much enthusiasm?

Official Google Blog: A field trip to Google

I know we're not Google, but still - what ideas do you have for making our work - and workplace - more interesting?

Posted by janeblum at 10:04 AM | Comments (5)

January 04, 2007

Good enough?

Phil Bradley's weblog: 2007 - the year of the Google Bash

Overall, I think this post can be summarized in the following text:

"It's the average person in the street who makes the difference, and quite frankly, they don't care. They're happy using Google with all its faults and limitations. They think they know what they're doing, they're reasonably happy with the results that they get, and that's all that matters to them. They are not, in the main, prepared to spend any time learning better search, or exploring alternatives because Google is 'good enough'."

The ogre of "good enough" is scary in the context of health care and medical information. I'd like to think my healthcare providers are using information that is accurate, not just close enough for horseshoes. On the other hand, I understand that time is the most precious and most limited asset a busy clinician has; the challenge to medical inofrmatics, as I see it, is to make the access to validated and authentic health care information as quick, easy, and intuitive as searching Google. We've got a long way to go.

Posted by janeblum at 06:58 AM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2007

Collaboration vs Consensus

Creating Passionate Users: The "Dumbness of Crowds"

This post, from one of my favorite non-library blogs, contains an interesting discussion contrasting the wisdom of collaboration (defined as individuals working together and maximizing their individual strengths) vs the inherent dumbing-down of consensus (defined as groupthink or lowest common demoninator). You may or may not agree with the definitions, discussion, and conclusions, but it's still an interesting contribution to our discussion on planning and decision making.

Posted by janeblum at 08:49 AM | Comments (1)

December 19, 2006

HSL Web Site: Questions for You

The HSL web project team (Patricia, Mark, Gillian, & Anna) would appreciate your feedback. The team has been looking at areas that seem to be represented on the web sites for all three individual libraries. The current discussion focuses on looking for topics or areas that might be consolidated on the main HSL web site. We would appreciate your feedback about whether there are functional reasons why the areas below might not be appropriate for consolidation, or if you have noticed other areas that might benefit from consolidation.

Areas for potential consolidation

1. Information about libraries:
- Location
- Contacts
- Hours
- Staff
- Services
- Classes

2. News items

3. Links to specific resources (many in common, some special to specific populations)

4. Guide/Tutorials

5. Links of interest

Posted by pfa at 09:27 PM | Comments (3)

And Speaking of Loving Libraries...

Am passing this link along from MEDLIB-L: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/shorts/episodes/2006/12/17
It tells about a recent NY Public Radio Show called "Loving Libraries."

Posted by schnitzr at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2006

It's important to laugh at yourself

Creating Passionate Users: The Asymptotic Twitter Curve

There are several reasons I'm posting this.

One, I love the graphic, so I'm sharing a little of my sense of (and enjoyment of) the absurd with you.

Two, It takes our blogging, communicating, Web2.0, Library2.0 focus to the extreme, and makes it laughable. And if you aren't willing to laugh at yourself, you're in trouble.

Three, I just discovered this blog "Creating Passionate Users." And I really like it. It's not a library blog, here's a little bit about it. It seems to me that "Creating Passionate Users" is exactly what we, as a library, are about, and in doing that, we need to explore thoughts and ideas from other fields.

Posted by janeblum at 06:57 AM | Comments (7)

December 06, 2006

What makes a community?

Here's what's poking at my brain this morning - a couple of blog posts I stumbled across last night that talk about different aspects of building community. While the posts are focused on blogging and newsgroups, I think the ideas are more generally applicable.

Creating Passionate Users

Thinking Like A Blogger: Is Blogging An Attitude That Can Be Taught?

Posted by janeblum at 08:59 AM | Comments (1)

December 05, 2006

Bibliophiles, take note

Are reports of the death of the printed book premature?

Books - Forbes.com

Thanks to Peter Suber's Open Access News Blog for highlighting this feature.

Posted by janeblum at 02:19 PM | Comments (2)

December 01, 2006

Organizational structure

Check out this post on the ALA TechSource Blog The Hyperlinked Organization: Radical Transparency, Crummy Meetings & Micromanagement. My favorite comment about organizations is this paragraph:

Micromanagent Has No Place in a Hyperlinked Organization
To the librarian I once overheard saying, "It is my personal duty to make sure we have no typos on anything!" I must say: Don't miss the forest for the trees, Dear Lady. Typos can be corrected, especially online, and focusing too much on those little details may lead to missing the big picture. You're the one that staff may be e-mailing about, while they wait to launch the new wiki, you are still proofing the proposal for the wiki! A nimble organization can move quickly if not mired in proofing, re-proofing, and proofing one more time a policy change, FAQ, or other document.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the following:

What's the best strategy for shifting our organizational focus to the big picture?

How can we become a more nimble, responsive organization?

How do we empower staff at the point of work with more decisionmaking authority and autonomy about that work?

Comment here, or come to office hours on Monday to talk!

Posted by janeblum at 07:12 AM | Comments (3)

November 29, 2006

The first of many new ways of thinking about our libraries

Library 2.0: An Academic's Perspective: Wal-Mart Greeters in the Library

Posted by janeblum at 02:29 PM | Comments (3)

November 23, 2006

Preparing for MLK Day

Helen Look, Jamaine Wourman, and I are thinking that the HSL could have some special event(s) for MLK Day, which is on January 15th. Helen has belonged to the MLK Day Committee for quite some time now, Jamaine is the Head of the UL Diversity Committee, and I have recently been invited to join the UMHS Diversity Awareness Subcommittee. Therefore, we were wondering how we could incorporate those connections into the HSL roster (Can you help us think of ways?). We would be delighted to collect any thoughts you might have on the subject. In the past, Patricia Anderson has also been "a player" in the MLK celebration with Dentistry resources, so we solicit Patricia's ideas, as well, of course. If any other staff member wants to be involved, PLEASE chime in.

The MLK events calendar is maintained at: http://www.mlksymposium.umich.edu/

Posted by schnitzr at 04:59 AM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2006

The user-centric library manifesto

This posting on Karen Schneider's blog last June has become famous in library 2.0 circles. What do you think?

Free Range Librarian: The User Is Not Broken: A meme masquerading as a manifesto

Posted by janeblum at 09:51 AM | Comments (5)

November 12, 2006

Web 3.0

Hi all -

Some of us have jest learned about Web 2.0 and mash-up. Here comes the "semantic Web".

To learn more about this and add to the discussion, see PFA's entry and associated comments on Googling for a diagnosis.

Posted by pmartin at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2006

HSL Web Site: You tell us, part 2

Hi, everyone! Since folks seem to have a lot of ideas they want to share about how the new web site could look and function, please add those in this place. We are just beginning this process, so are open to hearing all kinds of ideas.

Posted by pfa at 03:48 PM | Comments (4)

HSL Web Site: Question Three: Websites for partnering libraries

Question 3: What web sites would you recommend that represent a single public face for geographically separate libraries? This is common in public libraries, but less so in health and medical libraries. Please let us know of examples of web sites supporting communities like ours.

Posted by pfa at 12:08 PM | Comments (1)

HSL Web Site: Question Two: Other academic health libraries

Question 2: What academic health libraries do you feel are doing work similar to what we do or hope to do?

Posted by pfa at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

HSL Web Site: Question One: Library websites you like

Question 1: What library websites (in general) do you most like and
admire? What library websites do you think we could learn from in
designing our new "public face"?

Posted by pfa at 12:04 PM | Comments (4)

HSL Web Site: Step One -- You tell us!

In moving toward a unified web presence for the partner libraries, we will be looking both inward and outward. As part of this process, we will at various points be asking you for help, information, and your thoughts and opinions.

As a first step in information gathering, we would like to start by asking you all for a few thoughts about other libraries, their websites, and what we can learn from them. We will post each question separately so comments make sense.

Thank you in advance!

Posted by pfa at 11:06 AM | Comments (1)