Sunday, December 21, 2008
Great news! My paper abstract was accepted for presentation at MLA'09 in Hawaii. Sad news! I can't get any financial support from my institution. A few weeks ago, it was announced that all travel budget would be freeze for the coming year except travels essential to the university. I submitted my abstract in October hoping that the acceptance would provide me the first justification to go to the meeting as I always did in the past 5 years. However, economy has gone down so quickly that I have to consider paying my own way to attend the meeting.
Since I was on my current job in August 2003, I had been lucky to get full support from my library to attend two professional conferences each year. I really have nothing to complain about so far. In a few days I have to make the decision: to go or not to go. The major concern is how much I need to go to MLA'09 in Hawaii?
Airfare: $746, the cheapest ticket I could get from AA as of yesterday (December 20)
Hotel: $199 per night x 4 days=$796 + plus tax
Conference registration: $295 (Conference only)
Transportation and food: $200
I need at least $2000 !
I know this is the minimum $ for a trip to Hawaii. I might get some support from the LISTEN grant to cover portion of the travel. I'm thinking of other strategies that can reduce the cost such as rooming with two conference attendees, finding another cheaper hotel, shopping airfare plus hotel together, or using a travel agent to book tickets. I also have another plan in mind. Since this trip could be once-in-a lifetime, I have to satisfy my photography desire. Of course, that would increase my spending.
I am going to spend more time on the Internet looking for good deals during the holiday. I also hope to find good deals to Hawaii using Twitter.
Monday, December 15, 2008
And here is my experience using Google Site to collaborate a committee work:
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I found it very interesting and amazing that people post information in less than 140 characters. The screen shot is a list of my top 10 favorite tweets ending at 11 am, Dec, 8, 2008.
From my perspective, what's good about twitter?
- It feeds me with the information I need quickly and saves me time to look around
- It trains me moving toward a networked librarian
- It opens up a colorful virtual world and I see myself swimming with those smart and informed people
- It tells me what my peers are reading, thinking, and experiencing
- It inspires me in many ways both professionally and personally
Monday, December 1, 2008
I think a networked librarian, at least, knows how these things are functioning and get a feel of and understand how they are connected together to create learning opportunities:
- Social networking (e.g., Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace)
- Social bookmarking (e.g., Delicious, Digg, CiteUlike, Connotea, Foxmarks)
- Blog, blogging, and microblogging (e.g., Twitter, FriendFeed, Pownce)
- Photo sharing (e.g., flickr, Picasa, Kodak Gallery)
- RSS feed Readers (e.g., Google Reader, iGoogle, Bloglines, My Yahoo!)
- Online collaboration (e.g., Google Docs, Wiki)
- Information sharing using all the online tools mentioned above.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
"The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.
The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters."
I think all it said is mostly true about me except the last sentence. I have never thought about driving race cars. Driving a stick shift Honda Element might be considered enjoying adventure but not the same as driving a race car. Working as policemen and firefighters has never come across my mind. I know, at least, one thing it didn't catch me: my dream career is to be a professional photographer.
I then tried entering several other blogs I enjoy reading frequently. The Myers-Brigg analysis on those blogs almost matched my judgment about those blogs' authors. It did tell something. At least, it told me what kind of blog I like to read: ISTP-The Mechanics.
As for the reading level of my blog, I'm shock. The Blog Readability Test classified my blog's reading level as Genius. This can't be true as English is not my first language.
All is for fun, though!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Waiting, in vain, for a month hoping to get a reply from a 4th year med student who complained about our library catalog, I think I need to say something. Here is the email we received about a month ago:
"I am a 4th year med student and think the new library catalog format is garbage. I cannot get on pubmed or uptodate like I used to and when I search the catalog even simple basic medical concepts return little to no results. This is severely affecting my ability to gather information and is very discouraging when compared to other institutions access to appropriate research/educational material."
This kind of message would make every medical librarian restless and want to offer the best help they can. The student's complaint about the library catalog didn't worry me much because the new search interface is really simple and easy to use. I tried searching PubMed and UpToDate, both showed up in seconds at the very top of the search results with links to the databases. What struck me the most was something underneath the complaint--the student's information literacy skills and knowledge of researching the library. Obviously, the student had a hard time finding information he needed to complete his course assignments. Let me guess. He didn't know the difference between an online database and the library's catalog. It happened quite often when students with a list of readings from their professors came to the library to retrieve the full text articles, they started searching the catalog by entering the article titles to conduct the search. Of course, nothing came out. Another possible diagnosis. The student had a research topic for a course project. He wanted to know what literatures are available out there. He started searching the catalog. Of course, it would retrieve a list of books and journals, which made him frustrated because he couldn't go into each item to view the content.
Dear med student, if you could spare some time with a medical librarian either by phone, by email, by Live Chat, or drop by the library, your life would be much easier. The librarian would orientate you navigating the library and its resources and point you to the right direction where to look for what you need. Dear med student, don't let this happen again, contact your librarian.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I was asked by CHILI (Careers in Health Information, Librarianship, and Informatics) project directors to blog about my experiences working in a library before I received my MLIS degree and how that experiences helped me to be what I am today. Imagine, I'm talking to a group of high school kids visiting my library hoping to inspire them to enter medical librarianship.
During the first semester in McGill Library School, I had no idea of what kind of libraries (i.e., special library, public library, academic library, and hospital library) I should set my feet on in the future. By the end of the first semester something happened that changed my career life. I failed in Dr. Beheshti's Information System Design, a required and core course for all Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students. I lost 3 credits! I had a gloomy Christmas for the year 1999 pondering and reflecting how to be more effective and efficient in coping with the Winter 2000 required courses. I was told I must take another course to make up for the lost credits as soon as possible. The earliest chance I could have was Spring 2000 and the only available selective course was Health Sciences Information. I had no choice but registered for the course in order to get the 3 credits back. It turned out to be the turning point in my life. I pictured my career goal from vague to crystal clear by the time I competed the course. I knew what I wanted to be, a medical librarian, a health sciences librarian. I started building my career path by looking for any kind of part-time job or volunteer work or anything that would lead me in achieving my career goal. My every first experience was working as a volunteer in the Nurses' Library in Montreal General Hospital in Canada, part of the McGill University Health Center (MUHC). Another step I took was to take a Practicum and worked at Royal Victoria Medical Library. The Practicum gave me the opportunity to create current awareness program for doctors and physicians. Working 2-3 hours a week in the Nurses' Library, slowly and gradually, I touched almost every aspect of the library's functions from shelving to cataloging. The then librarian, Lynn Kiraly-Batist, was nice and professional, who inspired me and trained me to be a professional medical librarian. She showed me many of the things that were not taught in the library school.
By the time I received my MLIS degree in 2001, I was offered a part-time position as a research librarian working for McGill University School of Nursing. It was there I was given a lot of chances to conduct literature searches on medical literature for nursing faculty members. In 2002, after Mrs. Kiraly-Batist moved to another hospital library, I was hired to work solo and manage the Nurses' Library and worked on every aspect of the library including collection development, acquisitions, serials, cataloging, interlibrary loan services, reference and instructional services, training volunteers, recruiting and hiring library research assistants. These experiences helped me understand many of the health science resources either print or electronically and greatly enrich my professional knowledge as a medical librarian. They also laid a solid foundation for me to grow in the field of medical librarianship.
Being a reference librarian in a health sciences library is very challenged and this is the part I like most. Challenges always motivate me and inspire me to keep pursuing for career advancement. I have been active in serving on professional committees of the Medical Library Association (MLA) and Southern Chapter of the MLA, presenting posters and papers at professional conferences, writing and researching related to reference services, and networking with medical librarians across the country. Looking back, I'm grateful and happy for every little step and effort I have been taken to lead me to where I am today. I always believe working persistently towards one's goal will eventually lead you to what you want to be.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Have you ever had this nagging feeling as onellums expressed in ACRLog while working at the reference desk? We are lucky to have our Web team and Circulation to cove many of the requests and problems related to computers, printing system, and copy machines. Whenever we received those questions or requests, we would just do referral. However, I do receive other requests at the reference desk and probably I shouldn't fill:
- Blank CDs and CD markers
- Spoons and forks
- Advil® ( I always keep a bottle in my office)
- Printing online articles
- Retrieving a book from the shelf and put it at Circulation for them to pick up
- Photocopying articles
- PDFing articles from print collection
I always enjoy helping others and by doing so I get help, too. Does that make me a bad librarian? Does offering extra help go beyond my responsibilities?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
We sometimes got stuck no matter we were new to the profession or even at junior or senior level. At the Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association (SC/MLA) Annual Meeting last week, Rachel Singer Gordon gave a wonderful speech about how to get unstuck when difficult episodes appeared. Here are her 12 strategies to get unstuck:
- Set goal: realistic and small objectives
- Address your own mindset: identifying negative thoughts and what drew you to the profession
- Identify and overcome obstacles
- Defeat the status with bias: trying one little change every week
- Defeat procrastination: go back to your goals
- Get by with a little help from your friends
- Keep learning and innovating
- Cultivate resilience and neoteny (carry youthful characteristic into adulthood)
- Go around if you can't go forward
- Realize that change is inevitable
- Be proactive: don't sit around waiting
- Work from a place of personal and professional power: realize your value and skills
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Let's wish it grow and useful...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
With the $2 off coupon, I went to the pharmacy. I handed over the coupon to the gentleman at the drop-off window and asked him to check the price for me. Soon he returned with a box saying $29.99. I asked him what the cream mainly for. He explained that the ingredients information showed it was a heavy-duty moisturizer. I asked whether the cream was for stretch marks. He said he didn't see this information. I doubted whether he was a pharmacist and he said he was an intern. To make sure he gave me the correct information, he went to a real pharmacist and they both agreed the cream was only a superior moisturizer.
Here is the thing. My insurance paid $390 for the two visits while I paid $40. I didn't get the right medication and useful information. Did I purchase the cream? Nope! Hi! Doc, if you really care, tell the why and how. If you really care, give realistic suggestions. I canceled the 3rd appointment today. My son is still looking forward for a cream for the stretch marks.
Friday, October 3, 2008
My recent strategy turned out pretty effective. Each day, prioritize a list of things from my to do list leaving enough room for unanticipated tasks. Once I got one item done, crossed it out. By the end of the day, even though I did not get to do what I planned to do, I could see on the sheet a couple of cross-outs. I did accomplish a lot in a day! Sometimes more than 10 items. Instead of feeling irritated due to burnout, I felt positive and good about myself. Meanwhile, I realized I can't do everything I wanted to do. It is OK to let go and say no.
- Add features (i.e., export references, print, email, and save) within my Collections
- Be able to choose to display all references in one page within my single collection instead of clicking on next page
- Be able to delete my Saved Searches in My Saved Data section
- Be able to delete my Saved Searches in Saved Search Settings, the page that can set up automatic email alerts
- On My Saved Data page, add some text (i.e., delete and update searches) along with Manage my Saved Searches and Manage my Collections
- Be able to add selected citations from my Collections to My Bibliography
- Be able to add selected citations from PubMed search and add them to My Bibliography directly just like adding citations to my Collections from the Send button
- Be able to edit my saved searches
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Here is the direct link to the survey:
Saturday, September 13, 2008
During the course students looked for information and worked on their wiki pages, I was swamped, crazy, but happy to help them. Especially the few days before the due date, I received more than 90 email requests, provided more than 20 one-on-one consultations, and got more than 20 SMS messages. In addition, I delivered mini-talks before each face-to-face class on library skills and tips on searching for information using library resources and online resources. The assignment itself was also a challenge to the instructors. We designed just-in-time guides, tutorials, and handouts put on the course wiki page and Blackboard to help students with searching and finding related information. We also brought in a nursing PhD student to assist students in locating information for their assignments. The nursing faculty, the health sciences librarian, and the nursing PhD student have only one goal in mind: help students to achieve success.
I was inspired and impressed as the course moved forward, especially the two learning just-in- time modules developed by Dr. Russell: Searching for Web Resources and Distinguishing Types of Literature. When librarians develop online tutorials or subject guides, they always ask themselves what their patrons need. Few has the answer and just do it out of their own creativity and assumptions. I think these two narrated slide presentations give librarians some ideas on what the students need and what the teaching faculty expect of librarians.
What I have learned from the teaching faculty included innovative ways in using technology to deliver teaching content; creative teaching methods to engage students in learning and critical thinking; and enthusiasm in guiding and helping students. Seeing students grow I feel myself grow, too.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Ok. As a teenager, my son might have memory problem. However, what concerns me is the information the doctor distributed to the patient. Hi! doctors, if you really care, customize the information for your patient. If you really care, use patient pamphlets not photocopy the medical book pages. If you really care, take some time and look through these trusted health information recommended by the Medical Library Association. Your patients would really appreciated your care.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Stephanie's recent post, What Do Faculty Want of Librarians, got me looking back the past 6 years since I became an academic health sciences librarian. These are the things faculty members enjoyed having a connection with me, a health sciences librarian:
- Get full text articles, print or electronic, at the point of need.
- Conduct literature searches on their projects and research topics.
- Update their course materials each year.
- Update their dissertation references on a regular basis. Some of them are working on their PhD degrees while teaching in the departments.
- Teach their students on how to use the library's resources to complete course assignments.
- Create workshops tailed to a specific group of students.
- Set up automatically email alerts on their research topics or on their favorite journals' TOCs.
- Send out brief news, tips, and resources related to their fields.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The medical mashups reviewed in Allan Cho's article are good examples. I tried to find some more related to medical or health and ended up getting several dead links. Then I had to pick any mashup. I searched the programmableweb and found Adactio Elsewhere. I like it. The author put together a variety of personal information from across the web in one place via Ajax scripting and the APIs from Upcoming.org, Flickr, Amazon, and Del.icio.us. Under one roof, you can browse author's Flickr pictures, Amazon wish list, the newest links he tagged on Magnolia, his incoming events, and RSS feeds from his friends and colleagues. Cool!
2. What these bloggers said about privacy?
The search yielded 9570 results. On the first search results page (20 results), none of the librarian bloggers talked about "privacy" in their blog posts. Instead, the commercial sites about free credit reports and privacy protection software appeared three times on the page. Do I need to go to the next page? No. It was not worth browsing further more. This made me think why the search was not able to retrieve relevant results? This also motivated me to create a search roll using Rollyo-- I'm My Own Doctor: searching for health information from 20+ trusted Web sites I selected. I tested a few search on my newly created search roll, I'm satisfied with the results. However, I still can't find the answer to the question.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
YouTube is another way for promoting library resources and library services.
Discover Information Literacy is one of the videos I like:
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Here are some of the libraries and library associations that have presences on Flickr:
Abilene Public Library
Boston Public Library
Library of Congress
University of Vermont
Waukee Public Library
Yale Science Libraries
I believe there are much more out there.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Friday, April 4, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
So, what do social bookmarking tools mean to libraries and library patrons? Our Reference & Outreach Department created a delicious account hoping that it can be served as a resource portal for reference staff. This site is still under development. Another project I have been working on is LISTEN grant. The project team created a delicious site to organize useful Web sites and provide easy access to its users. An online presentation, "Using a Social Bookmark Site to Assist in Diffusion of Online Information to Support Professional Practices", will talk about our experiences with a social bookmarking site as a means of providing a central repository for online information related to information literacy and evidence-based practices in nursing. It will be presented at the 13th TCC Worldwide Online Conference in April 15-17, 2008.
Is social bookmarking all that good? What is the other side of the world? When bookmarked article citations on campus, it's better to find the citations to add to your site from free PubMed if available, otherwise, you would be frustrated. On campus bookmarks to articles will give you access to full text articles the library subscribed to while you tried to access them off-campus, the access would be denied.
Potential for research assistance? It might be helpful and useful to create interest groups using social bookmarking tools such as 2collab, CiteULike, or Connotea. Then invite faculty members to participate in the group activities. Social bookmarking tools can also be used to created subject guides for different group patrons such as nursing, pharmacy, medicine, occupation therapy... I might have a try.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Yes. Privacy is always a big concern in the virtual space. It is effortless for the Internet constantly collect and aggregate personal information. Website managers can easily record and track users' every action, which can lead to legal consequences. Before signing up for each site, make use how personal information is collected and used. Users need to have a second thought what to put and what not to put up there.
I like the fact that people, either friends or non-friends, can meet and connect instantly without geographical limitation. What I don't like? It could be addictive and it could be time consuming to build a good profile and interact with people in a regular basis. If my library has a space there, I can't imagine who can invest so much time to monitor its activities and hold users' interest.
Hopefuly, in the near future, monitoring library's social networking sites is included in librarians' daily routine responsibility just like staffing the reference desk and providing library instructions. More research needs to be done as to how libraries can grow and interact with their patrons in the virtual environment.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Library patrons can use RSS feeds to organize information and keep current on their research area, such as get updates about news, stay current on topics of their interest, collect blogs of their interest and share information with their colleagues, etc. RSS feeds can bring all the latest information in one location and save time to search for the information in databases or the Web again and again.
Lots of potentials using RSS feeds for librarians to explore. The question is "if we build them and promote them, are they going to be used?" Changing patrons behavior of organizing information is a hard shell. Breaking the shell needs time and effort. Even among librarians, many have never used Web 2.0 tools to organize information either personally or professionally, let along implementing and persuading patrons to try new things.
I believe Web 2.0, the new generation of web services, will play an important role in the future of library services. Whether we like it or not, it will change the way libraries provide services.