Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Student in Evidence-Based Medicine for the Medical Librarian

So exciting! I'm going to be in this 8-week program(9/13-11/5), Evidence-Based Medicine for the Medical Librarian, co-instructed by Connie Schardt and Angela Myatt. As the course description states:

"This course will focus on understanding the skills clinicians need to practice EBM, such as how to formulate relevant questions, efficiently search medical literature and evaluate the evidence for validity and applicability to the patient. The course also will focus on the roles that librarians can play to support EBM."

This is a great learning opportunity for me to systematically understand EBM and how librarians can support EBM. Thanks to the MLA CE award that made my dream to attend this course came true!

The course will cover four modules. I quickly identified my focus for each module:

Module 1: Introduction and Question Building -- study design and how to construct the well-built question

Module 2: Selecting Resources and Conducting the Search -- framework for formulating the search strategy and basic EBM terminology for searching Medline

Module 3: Evaluating the Evidence -- Appraising articles in therapy,diagnosis,
harm/etiology,and systematic reviews, and understanding EBM Statistics

Module 4: Roles for Librarians and Final Assignment -- EBM and nursing

Looking forward to the first week!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Texting a Librarian Using a GV Number: Pros and Cons

I finally got a Google Voice (GV) number for my library to launch Text a Librarian reference service! After running some tests, it seems to work well so far. To monitor the service, the text messages are forwarded to the library email account. A FAQ page was created to help those who need more information about this service.

There are two ways to send messages (SMS) using a Google Voice (GV) number:

1). Sending text messages from Gmail Chat box

  • Avoid SMS charges
  • Convenient for Gmail account holders
  • Convenient for patrons without a cellphone
  • Act like live chat or IM
  • Some learning curve for the initial setup. Users have to know where to enable SMS to send a text message
  • Have to have internet connection to be able to send and receive text messages

2). Sending text messages from a cellphone

  • Instant, direct, and fast communications
  • Convenient for those who have text message service from their cellphone carriers
  • No internet connection is needed
  • display sender's cellphone number
From the stand point of providing Text a Librarian service, here are my wish list for GV:
  • Be able to choose a desired GV phone number
  • Be able to reply to the text message from any non-Gmail accounts once GV messages are forwarded
  • Be able to archive text messages in a meaningful way within GV account (e.g., create folders or subfolders)
You are welcome to share your experience in using GV to provide library services.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Doodle -- Online Signup Sheet

In the past three years, I was co-teaching with our nursing faculty on a 2-credit course--Informatics for Healthcare. We had over 60 students each year and we required them to work on Never Event group project. Each group had three students. We had used Wikispaces, Google sites, and our campus wiki for students to sign up for their topics and wiki served as group project site for online collaboration.

Now here comes this year. This course has a new instructor and we decided not to use wiki as online collaboration tool. When it came to have more than 60 students sign up for their never event topics and areas, what tool can we use except using a traditional paper signup sheet? With this question in mind, I tried Google forms and couldn't make them to work for our purpose. One of my friend suggested trying Doodle, which is known for scheduling events. I hadn't seen people use it for signing up for tasks, at least not among my colleagues and peers. Wow, it only took three steps to create a poll: name your poll, enter choices, set up settings, and done. Then Doodle generated an URL to be sent to participants. From the participants' site, it is even simple: click the poll URL, enter their names, make selections, and save.

Good things about Doodle:
  • Create as many options as you wish
  • Control how many choices one participant can make
  • Make participants' choices visible or invisible to them
  • Control who has permission to edit choices or results
  • No signup is needed to participate in the poll
  • Form display layout in mobile devices looks great
  • Explore results to an Excel spreadsheet
  • Free
Not so good things about Doodle:
  • Can't type a long sentence into an option box, which means you will have to use key words to describe your choices.
  • There is no way to create a multiple choice form. For example, if you have a topic, you need to have more than one students to sign up for that topic, you will have to repeat the topic with choices such as this.
  • The horizontal layout of the form on the Web is difficult to navigate especially when you have a lot of choices.
In general, Doodle making choices feature serves the purpose of signing up group work quite well. Unfortunately, it didn't get used for this course. The primary instructor decided to stick to a paper signup form. I totally understand a paper form is always the safer and traditional method and most people feel comfortable with.

This got me to think that adopting technology in teaching and learning takes effort and risk. Not everyone is willing to take the risk and go beyond their comfort zone. I also think there might be even better tools out there for signing up group work. Send me the link if you know of any.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mobile Literate Librarian

Are you a mobile literate librarian or should we all be one? What are the competencies and skills a mobile literate librarian should have? This is an excellent presentation:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Happy and Typical Wednesday

My day started with the good news: LISTEN grant will fund my travel to MLA 2010 in Washington D.C. Another good new arrived in the mail. I was awarded the MLA CE Grant to take this eight-week curse: Evidence-Based Medicine and Medical Librarian taught by Connie Schardt and Angela Myatt. I wanted to take this course long time ago and now I felt my dream came true finally!

This is my big day in 2010! Other than the good news, I think I had a productive and enjoyable day:
  1. Finished reviewing and editing two articles for our library newsletter;
  2. Had a phone consultation with a PhD student on how to search PubMed and CINAHL effectively. We also talked about how to use EndNote to collect references in these two databases;
  3. Showed a faculty member and a student how to use the book scanner;
  4. Accidentally found links not working within our online databases due to our domain name change. Reported the problems to the E-Services Department and they got fixed instantly;
  5. Two hours staffing the Reference Desk;
  6. Of course, enjoyed the sunshine during my one-hour lunch break.
I really enjoy my job and I know I will have a good day tomorrow!