Monday, February 16, 2009

Manage Information Manage your Career

Since my last presentation in January for a group of DNP students about how to use My NCBI to manage information, I had several individual literature searching consultation sessions with nursing PhD students. There is no doubt, all students are keen to learn how to conduct an effective literature search using scholarly resources. Set aside literature searches, one thing struck me the most was how to organize information once they were retrieved from either Internet sites or databases. It is like a product assembly-line process. The product won't be a finished product until you carry it out through to the finish line. Again I feel strongly for my saying managing information, managing your career. The ability and knowledge of managing information is critical in conducting research and even leading to career success.

Based on my own experience on using social bookmarking sites to organize information, I found the following sites serve me well for different purposes. I hope my experience can be of help in making decisions. There are many good tools out there that you might find them useful, too. So many choices! What to choose? The key is to get start seriously and devote some time getting to know the tools and stick to those met your needs.
  • -- Collect general Web sites or Internet resources. It is a generic social bookmarking site that can bookmark almost everything from the Internet. I use this site to bookmark my favorite sites. Descriptions can be added to each bookmark.
  • 2collab -- Manage journal articles especially those from Science Direct and Scopus. Unique features include pre-assigned research fields providing a way to browse and organize bookmarks in a broader subject than an individual tag, the ability to select bookmarks to create a new list, and the ability to create RSS feeds for any list filtered by groups or research fields. I use this site to collect journal articles and assign them to different groups. I also use this site to keep track of my published articles.
  • CiteUlike -- Manage journal articles. Unique features include the capability of uploading PDF files associate with the bookmarks so that they can be accessed from any computers. I use this site to collect and store PDF articles for future reading or for group projects. Another feature I like about CiteUlike is the article reviews written by site users. You can also write reviews about an article and share with others.
Other tools I use to organize information are services directly from database publishers.
  • My NCBI -- Organize references, create folders, and save searches while searching PubMed/Medline. My NCBI does several things for me: set up automatically email alerts or subscribe to RSS Feeds on topics I need to get updates on a regular basis, collect references and group them into topics and folders, save PubMed searches, and create my bibliographies.
  • My EBSCOhost -- Manage references, create collections, and save searches while searching CINAHL@EBSCOhost. I use My EBSCOhost to save CINAHL searches and assign references into different folders. I can also share the folders with my peers. My EBSCOhost is especially helpful when I can't use social bookmarking sites to bookmark an EBSCOhost article due to access issues.
Here came another question: "I have collected my references in several places. How am I going to pull them into one central location for my paper?" The solution is to log in each of these sites and export your references to reference manage software like EndNote and RefWorks.

I always believe finding the right tools to mange information can save time and boost productivity.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cool Tools for Physicians and More

There is a saying managing your credit, managing your life. My saying is managing information, managing your career. In today's information explosion era the ability to manage information effectively and efficiently is critical. I believe anyone who wants to be professional in their field needs to stay current and keep themselves up to date. To do so, a bag of cool tools is essential. I'm trilled after reading the Internet Cool Tools for Physicians by Melissa Rethlefsen, David Rothman, and Daniel Mojon. I would say those cool tools are not only put together for physicians, but for anyone who wants to be professional in their field. I found them useful, relevant, and interesting for my career as a medical librarian.

Earlier in March 2008, MLA host an eight-week online CE course Web 2.0 101: Introduction to Second Generation Web Tools to MLA members. Currently MLA Social Networking Software Task Force is offering CE opportunities entitled Dig Deeper with Social Media: short courses on emerging online tools for MLA members. The Southeastern Atlantic and Greater Midwest regions of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine also offered an online CE course, Geeks Bearing Gifts in both regions. What does all this for? It's a call for medical librarians to explore, experience, test, and discuss Web 2.0 technologies and Internet tools and its potential uses in medical libraries. Internet Cool Tools for Physicians takes a deep look at these cool and neat tools that are useful not just for physicians. I would suggest reading and even owing this book if you have these questions or if you are asked these questions:
  1. Where to find comprehensive tips in searching Google from basics to Scholar?
  2. How to use RSS feeds to keep current?
  3. How to create a RSS feed for the information that doesn't offer it?
  4. How to export Google Reader subscriptions to another aggregator?
  5. How to combine multiple feeds into one single feed?
  6. What if I still want RSS items delivered to me via email?
  7. How to use iGoogle as a personalized start page?
  8. What can a wiki do to meet a professional need?
  9. How to create a live survey using Google Docs?
  10. How to take notes on the Web pages I like and share with others?
Internet Cool Tools for Physicians provides answers to all these questions and those tools can make your life a lot more easy in the Internet world. I'm guessing the 2nd edition of the book will have have a section on micro-blogging in health care. While physicians, let's expand this group to health care professionals and health care educators, are using those cool tools, what medical librarians should do and can do in terms of providing library services? Medical librarians are challenged. This is not in the future, it is happening now whether you like it or not.

I love trying new stuff and believe good information should be shared. Since my library is undergoing financial difficulty, adding a book to the collection is hardly possible. I'm thinking of donating the book to the library and let more people benefit from those cool and neat tools.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Did Google Read Me?

I didn't pay much attention to the new Google Reader layout since it came live until T. Scott's recent blog entry showed up on the right panel of my Google Reader. I don't think I had subscribed to his feed. Why did it show up in my reader? Digging deeper, I finally woke up. It was a recommendation list generated automatically by Google. According to Google, the recommendations list is automatically generated. It takes into account the feeds I've already subscribed to, as well as information from my Web History, including my location. Aggregated across many users, Google collects the information that it thinks I might be interested in. Isn't this scary? Where does Google go from here?