Don’t worry – you can still access MLA ’13 online proceedings long after the meeting has ended

I received a great question about the MLA 2013 online proceedings: how long do we have access to the content? I have been wondering this myself because I still need to listen to some of the sessions I highlighted in my program.

According to MLA’s FAQ for the online proceedings, if you registered for the conference you have access to the e-content for 12 months after meeting is over! After that, all paid MLA members can access meeting content as a benefit of membership (did not know that!). This is available from the MLA Member Center. We can actually listen to meetings from 2010 to present!

Please check the online proceedings FAQ page to read more answers to your questions about the e-conference.

Happy listening!

The Impact of the Clinical Informationist

Session: Monday 1.30pm – 3.00pm ICLC1 : Quality Assurance for Clinical Librarians, Informationists and Embedded Librarians

Alison Aldrich of The Ohio State University was the first to present and spoke about how a Clinical Informationist role was established at the University Medical Centre. Her tips were practical and I wish she had been around when I was a newbie to share gems such as don’t expect to be introduced, master the elevator speech and act like you belong (aka fake it ‘til you make it). She highlighted the issue of resident (or in UK parlance, junior doctor) burnout. She advised archiving articles from rounds for doctors to access later. This is a service recently introduced at my hospital and our new CEBIS (Clinical Evidence Based Information Service) ICT system provides staff with a platform to access these articles by linking from the electronic patient record. She recommended sending only the best articles and including the search strategy for the rest. In May, 2012 a survey was carried out to ascertain the impact of the Informationist. 22 respondents included residents, students and staff from rounds. The majority of staff agreed that the Informationist allowed them handle a clinical situation differently than they would have otherwise, saved them time, provided new knowledge and was accurate, relevant and current. Alison found it useful to tie the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) standards to her work. She plans on developing evaluation strategies for ACGME milestones of clinical education and believes that this approach will help overcome cultural challenges at the Medical Centre. She and her colleague Stephanie Schulte Education/Reference Service Coordinator also of Ohio State University, intend on rolling it out to other services at the medical centre.

Victoria Goode Clinical Informationist at Welch Medical Library at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine presented a survey she had carried out to investigate the value of both the Informationist and library services. Survey participants were faculty, fellows, house staff & residents in the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine, nursing and public health. The Critical Incident Technique (CIT) was used in her research. Victoria went through the main findings of the survey and discussed how the information was used to improve the services.

The final speaker was Rachel Walden Project Manager at the Eskind Biomedical Library at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre. She gave an overview of the collaborators and their responsibilities in her institution’s Clinical Practice Committee. Their aim is to “inform and standardize” evidence-based practices. A typical research process was detailed and then an example was given of a question relating to preoperative chest x-ray. AMSTAR and AGREE were the instruments used by Rachel to appraise systematic reviews and guidelines respectively. Choosing Wisely recommendations were consulted. This is an interesting resource which I had not encountered before and will be adding it to my list of online bookmarks.

From an international perspective, these sessions provide insight into the clinical informationist role in the US. It is useful to be able to compare and contrast their practice with my own and learn how and where improvements may be made. Thanks to all for sharing and I hope to follow your development in the future.

Collaboration for Patient-Centered Informed Consents

Pharmacy and Drug Information Section and Leadership and Management Section:Enabling and Enriching Transnational and Interprofessional Collaboration

Consenting Adults: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Improving Patient Care via the Informed Consent Process.
Presenter: Margo Coletti, AHIP, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston.

What a perfect way to further the visibility of your hospital library!  Coletti described a project at her hospital that started quite simply as an attempt to increase the readability of informed consent documents and turned into a successful collaborative workshop that goes way beyond improving their ICs. Representatives from the IRB (Institutional Review Board), the hospital legal department, risk management, community affairs, interpreter services and the human subjects protection office, as well as Coletti’s own knowledge services joined forces to create a quarterly half-day program for informed consent writers. Topics included health literacy and plain language principles, how to access for patient comprehension, and how to work with patients and limited English language skills. Since informed consents are quite well known for their “unfriendliness,” the creation of this workshop and the resultant positive changes go a long way toward increasing patient safety and advocacy. Consider trying out this idea in your institution!

Audio and slides now available for most sessions

The One Health conference may be over, but we can all still enjoy the many excellent sessions the meeting had to offer. Audio and slides of most MLA programs are now available from the e-conference proceedings page. I had no idea where to start, but thankfully MLA made it easier for me – you can view the most liked sessions! Thanks to all of you who have already logged in, viewed, and liked several of the programs. I will be listening to presentations on Open Access and systematic reviews. I also wanted to catch the “Latest Trends in Mobile Technology “ session, but I don’t see any audio linked to it (yet).

If you are viewing the list of available presentations by date, it may not appear as though the audio is available. Go ahead and click on the presentation to see options – you will likely see links to audio, slides, or audio with slides. There is also a link to “additional files,” but I have yet to figure out what those files are. I only see options for audio or slides.

Once you click on the audio with slides, a player opens up displaying the slides in a main window. On the left side of the screen you can choose to view an outline of the presentation (handy!), thumbnails of the slides, or you can even search the slide text or notes. The outline view allows you to skip ahead, or if you need to stop listening for any reason, you can return to the same segment later. Perfect for listening in between busy weekend or work activities.

Happy listening!

Altmetrics and Scholarly Communication

On Tuesday May 7th, Jason Priem presented “Altmetrics and Revolutions: Web-Native Science and the Future of Scholarly Communication” in a session co-sponsored by the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries and MLA.

The web, created as a scholarly tool, has revolutionized nearly every corner of society, except scholarship. But this is changing. Priem discussed the current research and practice of altmetrics (alternative metrics of scholarly impact based on online use), as well as their long-term implications: the potential to power a fast, open, and truly web-native scholarly communication ecosystem.

I had the chance to see Jason as an invited speaker at the Ohio State University Libraries a couple months ago. (Read the OSU linked blog post for an excellent summary of what he covered in his MLA presentation). Since I had to leave the OSU presentation early, I introduced myself prior to his MLA presentation and told him a quick story on how I used ImpactStory during a recent promotion review. During his presentation he called on me to tell the audience what I had told him. Since people were there to hear him talk, and not me, I promised to share my story on a blog and Tweet it out, so here it is.

I am always looking at emerging forms scholarly communications to see how they can impact or transform the nature of scholarly discourse within the discipline of librarianship. One of the ways I have experimented is by posting many of my presentations onto SlideShare. Few, if any, of the informal modes of scholarly communication like SlideShare count as scholarship or are recognized as contributions in most academic reward systems, even though informal scholarly communication is often where new ideas are first presented.

Knowing that my traditional scholarship usually carries more weight in promotion reviews I tossed in the SlideShare information simply as an educational opportunity, not expecting much more.  Primary to open a discussion within the eligible voting faculty on the impact of my SlldeShare scholarship I turned to ImpactStory. I pulled together a story of my shares and made it available for the faculty to review – creating an altmetric of my alternative scholarship.

To my surprise, the summary of the discussion about my case specifically mentioned my SlideShare altmetrics. Apparently, one of my external evaluators took my ImpactStory one step further and totaled up the number of times my SlideShare files had been viewed as a group – which was over 10,000! I hadn’t added them up myself recently and was surprised.

Although my traditional scholarship likely played a bigger role in the outcome of my review, the fact that my alternative scholarship and altmetrics were acknowledged is an encouraging sign.


Sheila Davis and Laurie Garrett: Major Speakers on the Last Day of the Conference

On Wednesday, May 8, when many MLA conference attendees had already left Boston or were in the process of packing up and leaving, Sheila Davis, the Joseph Leiter NLM/MLA Lecturer, spoke eloquently about Partners in Health (PIH) and its mission. PIH is an international nongovernmental organization which provides health care and health training to millions of people in twelve countries. It is noteworthy in that it trains and pays the people of the countries it serves to carry out most of its work. I am familiar with PIH because of some family members’ involvement in the organization, yet I was still spellbound by Dr. Davis’s speech.

Following Dr. Davis’ speech, Laurie Garrett, the Plenary Speaker, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, an expert on HIV/AIDS, and a Senior Fellow at the Global Health Council on Foreign Relations, gave a fast-paced, brain-exploding, and sometimes scary speech about global health threats, such as the SARS virus ten years ago and the new H7N9 Chinese bird influenza virus, which is evolving now. She also spoke about how global health funds have been decreasing because of the world’s economic problems, at a time when more funding is badly needed.  In addition, she talked about “synthetic biology” and the expanding use of new 3-D printing technology to perform DIY DNA experiments  – some of which have potentially good uses (creating artificial organs for transplant) and some of which have potentially dangerous uses (creation of dangerous organisms for germ warfare).

Both speakers were inspirational and dynamic and I wish that more MLA conference attendees had been present to hear these speakers.  I’m hopeful that in the future, such major speaker’s presentations can be scheduled on days in the middle of the conference, when more conference attendees will be able to hear and be inspired by them.

International Cooperation Section (ICS) Business Meeting

I attended the International Cooperation Section (ICS) business meeting on Monday morning. Despite (or in spite) of the 7am time, we had a good turnout. :)

In recapping some of the extra special events for this meeting, ICS has been busy! To complement the usual MLA Colleague Connection (where a new MLA attendee is paired up with an MLA veteran attendee), ICS offered an ICS Connection to connect new international attendees with an ICS member to acquaint them with and orient them to the meeting. Additionally, using the Doodle poll tool, three Dining Circles were set up during the meeting for various lunch and dinner spots that ICS members and international visitors could attend, highlighting local restaurants with international flavor and all-around good food.

ICS Chair Alicia Livinski leading discussion at the ICS Business Meeting.

As usual, ICS members also staffed the International Visitors Desk. Like last year, attendees were invited to write “Welcome” in their various languages and post them on a board. This year, we also had a map of the world for visitors to show where they were from, and we also used a Polaroid camera to snap photos of attendees and add it to the board. I worked the desk with Samathi Hewakapuge and we had a fun guessing game from the display of world flags, as well as helping people set up their posters and find out about ICS events at the meeting. I continue to be impressed by ICS members and their willingness to work in these various venues to improve the conference experience for international visitors.

As far as section business, ICS is looking to transition its newsletter into a blog. There was also discussion about improving communications across the section through members volunteering to write about their “normal” in their various libraries, to help us learn from each other and understand the roles we play, the structure of our institutions, and the different world views which we have. These might be “essays” (one or two paragraphs), so not burdensome for anyone, but a new venue to encourage us to share with one another.

We also had a very interesting discussion on the broad topics of plagiarism and copyright, and how these definitions and meanings might be very different, depending on your country and local laws. This can be of broad interest for both those working internationally, as well as those working in the United States. More and more schools in the US have international students, and having them understand what is appropriate and allowed (and within the honor code) could be an education role for librarians to play.

Brief note–the Japan Medical Library Association now has an English website: , so feel free to check out the site.

Thanks again to ICS for the work it does to promote and encourage international partnerships, and look forward to continued collaborations across the world with medical librarians.

Healthcare Information for All by 2015 (HIFA2015)

(Many thanks to Charlie Greenberg, ICS member, for sharing these thoughts from this session–all the credit to him.)

The Healthcare Information for All by 2015 sponsored by  the International Cooperation, Corporate Information Services, Federal Libraries and Public Health/Health Administration Sections kicked off with moderator Kathy Kwan reading a statement from Neil Pakenham-Walsh, the Coordinator of the HIFA2015 initiative:

I am honoured to introduce this important Session on improving access to health information around the world, and I thank Kathy Kwan for reading this introduction on my behalf.

It is a tragic reality that citizens and health workers continue to be starved of the information and knowledge they need to protect their own health and the health of others. More than 20,000 people die unnecessarily every day in low- and middle-income countries. The vast majority of these deaths could have been easily avoided with simple interventions – furthermore, these interventions are often locally available, but are simply not provided.

When I worked as an isolated health worker in rural Peru in 1987, a dead child was brought to my health post. This 2-year old child had been well until 2 days before, and then developed diarrhoea. His mother wrongly believed that she should withhold fluids. She did the exact opposite of what should be done. The child got worse, and died in his mother’s arms on the way to my health post. More than 2000 children die EVERY DAY due to untreated dehydration from diarrhoeal disease in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Every day. And almost all of these deaths could have been prevented with basic oral fluid replacement.

I am sure you will agree that it is unacceptable that people should die simply because they did not have basic information and knowledge to know what to do. We, as health information professionals, have a vital role to empower citizens and health professionals to protect their health and the health of others. 

HIFA was launched in 2006 in Mombassa, Kenya. We have five global forums in English, French and Portuguese, bringing together more than 10,000 librarians, health information professionals, health workers, publishers, researchers and policymakers from more than 2000 organisations in almost every country in the world, in English, Portuguese and French. We are supported by more than 170 organisations, including the MLA and the World Health Organization.

On behalf of HIFA, I would like to thank the Medical Library Association for supporting the HIFA vision: a world where people are no longer dying for lack of basic healthcare knowledge. I would like also to send our greetings to all participants for a successful Congress and, in particular, a successful and rewarding HIFA2015 Session. We look forward to hear about it and to continue the global conversation with you on the HIFA2015 forum.”

The first speaker, Alexa Mayo from the University of Maryland’s Health Sciences and Human Services Library, presented her school’s international collaboration to improve medical education in Kenya, which included contemporary digital library training for three Kenyan library staff members.

Kenyan Library Staff Members Wikari Gikenye, Jane Muriithi, and Mogire Orito

The second speaker, former Cunningham  fellowship  recipient Grace Ajuwon, presented a report on a librarian-initiated HIV/AIDS prevention program she organized in a rural area of Nigeria, which also used a dramatic presentation as a teaching tool for the rural  audience.

The third speaker, Annamore Matambanadzo PhD., described the outreach project to both African Americans and African immigrant populations in the Pittsburgh area, based on an RML grant.

Objectives for the University of Pittsburgh project


The fourth speaker, librarian Carlos Rodriguez from the University of Pennsylvania, describe the Guataemala Health Initiative conducted by a partnership of the Medical School and health sciences library.

For the conclusion,  Grace Ajuwan returned to the podium to describe a new organization formed by former Cunningham Fellows, the Network of African Medical Librarians (NAML),  to create training materials and conduct training for colleagues.

Network of African Medical Librarians (NAML)

Many questions and comments were contributed from the audience, and Kathy expressed her appreciation to those that attended this global health session.

Practicalities of Searching

Session: International Clinical Librarian Conference 3: Practicalities of Searching for Clinical Librarians, Informationists, and Embedded Librarian

Prior to the conference, members of the expert searching listserv responded to a call for searching questions that they would like to have help with or discussed in this session. Each of the four panelists in this session took two questions and presented solutions for each query. This was a good practical session for the beginner and/or intermediate searcher.

Several of the panelists prefaced their presentation with the acknowledgement that they use PubMed for the majority of their searching so some of the techniques may not apply to other databases.

Below are some of the questions asked and answered:

What are the guidelines used to support systematic reviews?
The presenter reviewed the
Cochrane Handbook of standards for systematic reviews as well as other resources. Duke University has an exceptional guide to the systematic review process. Other issues to keep in mind when conducting systematic review searches are: managing the patron’s expectations, the amount of time involved in the process and the searching expertise of the librarian.

How to find statistical/numerical information for a given country?
Start with Google where searches can be limited to geographic region. This approach can retrieve some grey literature and many of the sources found were open access. Check the website of an authoritative body—ask yourself, who would publish statistics on your topic of interest?

What is the best practice for reporting and sending out search results?
It is important to format the search results and include your library’s branding (logo). Some librarians include a disclaimer and a request for the client to contact the librarian to let him/her know if the results saved them time, money or helped make a decision—sort of like a ROI. Everyone in the room agreed that it is difficult to get feedback from clients. However, always report any feedback to your manager so that they can share it up the management chain.

Why do I get different results when performing the same search?
There are a few variables to consider when searching between two or more systems. The coverage of the database in each system is not the same. For example, NLM Pubmed is updated daily Tuesday through Saturday. This may not be true for Medline on other platforms such as Ovid.  Also determine the structure and indexing principles of the database system. The type of  search terms used is another issue for consideration. Terms are either controlled vocabulary or free text terms—how are you searching these? Does the system automatically explode terms and what fields will be searched? Another example, Ovid Medline’s default searches all fields as keywords but there is no automatic explosion of terms. When a term is truncated in NLM PubMed, mapping is turned off. For these reasons and others, get to know the database and the platform you are searching.

How to use subheadings in searches?
Using MeSH terms with subheadings may limit your results to records that are indexed in PubMed. Sometimes two separate searches are warranted in order to retrieve records that are not indexed or in process. A keyword search can be performed separately to retrieve new records. Floating subheadings have been used in searches but this can lead to false drops and expand the number of search results. It can be helpful to have a peer critique your search strategy in order to ensure relevant results.


Poster Session 1 – A Few More to Check Out

A few more items from Poster Session 1 on Sunday that I wanted to highlight before wrapping up for the year:

Laurissa Gann, Shamsha Damani, and Stephanie Fulton at MD Anderson shared results from a study of clinical faulty on how they are using their iPads or other tablets. Of 272 responses, almost 3/4 owned an iPad or other tablet, but only 37.1% felt satisfied accessing medical information through the device. Work email was a big driver of use, of more than half were also accessing medical databases, medical articles, and using social media. Notably, 88.6% of respondents were interested in receiving help from library staff in finding and downloading useful information resources and applications. [poster 17]

Donna Kafel et al of Lamar Soutter at UMass described a 7-module curriculum for teaching data management, a hot topic. [poster 117]

Xiaomei Gu et al also took a look at data management, with a needs assessment, finding that more than 1/3 of those surveyed did not get any data management assistance. [poster 270]

Nancy Harger et all also of Soutter had an interesting poster on improving the delivery of culturally appropriate pediatric palliative care targeted to populations in Central Massachusetts and use of their library’s resources. There is a corresponding libguide at with information on countries, ethnicities, religious beliefs, recommended citations, and especially resources focuses on culturally appropriate palliative care. Even if you don’t have the exact collection as Soutter, this is a good starting point for understanding some of these issues! Their guide apparently had >3,000 hits in the first quarter of 2013. [poster 149]

From Yumi Yamashita, a nice snapshot of what librarians in Japan are doing for information literacy of medical and nursing students, noting a problem we face in the U.S. as well, that “librarians didn’t have enough time and opportunities to explain information literacy.” [poster 154]

Dawn Littleton et al of Mayo had a poster on their Native American programs addressing cancer awareness and culturally appropriate materials; more info is online at [poster 197]

Stephanie Swanberg et al posted on a series of events focused on diseases or issues targeted toward cultural competency, and mapping events to the curriculum, med school competencies, national health observances, and university events. For example, an event focused around World AIDS Day. Their poster included attendance details as well. [poster 205]

Barbara Davis and Sheila Hays, in collaboration with nurses, made use of the play format to address issues such as bullying and lateral violence. I wish I could see some of these! [poster 246]

Also, as trend notes, there were several posters on culture and cultural competency, equity, community health, global public health, and literacy, including posters numbered 1, 07, 129, 149, 197, 205, 234, 266, and 298. There were also several posters on systematic review topics, including posters numbered 37, 73, and 254. I’m sure there are others on these topics from other sessions, but these may be a good starting point for browsing when posters are online.

Random tip for poster authors, from an MLA poster blogger: I know it’s seen as wasting paper, but I found handouts such as copies of the poster or related program brochures *extremely* helpful in remembering the details for blogging later. A prominent URL on the poster where it’s possible to follow up for more info is just as useful (assuming wifi access during the conference), and doesn’t waste the paper or take up luggage space.