Posts tagged - Sunday May 18

NLM Theater Presentations

The NLM Theater puts on a series of 20 min sessions on a variety of topics. All of the sessions are put on at least twice throughout the conference and some are put on three times. At each of the sessions they had a raffle for a prize. I couldn’t make it to all of the sessions, but I went to as many as I could and will provide a brief summary of the ones I made it to. Here is a list of their sessions.

 

Using ClinicalTrials.gov to Find Research Results Not Available Elsewhere
Rebecca Williams gave the presentation on clinicaltrials.gov. Clinical Trials has over 165,000 registered clinical trials and observational studies with over 12,000 of those available on the website. This collection consists of both private and federal studies at all stages. Studies are registered at the beginning, updated when no new participants are being allowed in, when the study is complete, and when results are available. Each record is made of two sections. The first is the registration section which includes the protocol of the trial and recruitment information. The second section is the results section where the results are displayed on a table. Not all studies will include their results.
Where do these studies come from?
Researchers submit their information when they start their trials. It is important to point out that publishing results in this collection will not interfere with publication in journals as long as the results are published with the registration record. In fact, most medical journals require registration of all clinical trials, and some are mandated by federal law.
What can you do with clinicaltrials.gov?
  • Find potential trials for you or your patrons to participate in. It could be a place for you to refer patrons who are looking for different treatment alternatives.
  • Track progress of trials.
  • See what kind of trials are going on.
  • Find investigators and centers that are doing research on a particular disease.
When you search clinical trials you can use the advance search option to limit your results in a variety of ways including only studies accepting patients or only those with results.
If you want more information or want to learn more, you can email register@clinicaltrials.gov. Your local NNLM also provides classes.

Modernizing History: The New (and much improved) IndexCat interface
This session was about the new IndexCat. Stephen Greenberg told us that there are 3.7 million citations XML downloadable. The new IndexCat is fast! It also has a new record display and format. The collection is made up of five series based mostly on the age of the material. Series 1-3 are complete while series 4&5 are still incomplete.
Stephen gave us an overview of how to search the new interface. The searching is full-text keyword, there is no controlled vocabulary. Some exciting upgrades to the IndexCat searching include Boolean functions, phrase searching, and truncation searching. One thing they are still working on are journal titles. Journal titles would change and often the journal editor would be cited rather than the journal title. This makes for an ugly situation but they are working on ways to make searching for journals in IndexCat easier.

Still Scanning After All These Years: New Digital Projects from HMD
Stephen gave the presentation on new digital projects from the NLM History of Medicine Department (HMD). He started his talk by admitting that the search engine of the Medical Heritage Library is not the best, but it is being upgraded. As for the scanning, that it’s good. They use a Kirtas scanner. These scanners are pretty cool and can turn book pages on its own (check out some videos online, they are fun to watch), plus they have a cold light source so they are safe for the materials. HMD turn the pages by hand since many of their books are fragile and they don’t want to risk damaging the books. The scanner produces a tiff file which is then uploaded as a PDF.
Many people assume that the fragility of the materials would be the major issue, but in reality the main concern is copyright. If the NLM has a document you need that isn’t online they will scan on demand for DOCLINE requests. These requests usually only take about a week. One thing to note is that the entire book will be scanned and sent to you as a PDF even if only a chapter or a few pages were requested.
Due to the complexity of journal metadata, journals haven’t been scanned. This is changing very soon! Some journal scanning will be starting by the first week of June. They are also doing incunabula.

NLM Resources Used In Disasters
Elizabeth Norton, Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, and Maria Collins presented on using the NLM in disaster situations.

We all know that librarianship is a service oriented career. The Stafford Act federally recognized this by making libraries eligible for federal assistance for temporary facilities in case of a disaster.
The NLM Disaster Information Specialist Program provides “support for librarians providing disaster information outreach to their communities.” In the case of a disaster there are roles librarians can take. These include:
  • Aggregate information
  • Develop FAQs
  • Develop helpful apps
  • Act as call centers and charging stations
  • Monitor social media
  • Authenticate news and information
Next, Mary talked about the Emergency Access Initiative (EAI) which was started after the Katrina disaster. Many major publishers provide resources for free to be used after a disaster. In order for the Initiative to be turned “on” at least 5 health sciences libraries in the area need to lose access to biomedical literature for at least two weeks. If these conditions are met then there is free access for four weeks with a possible renewal. An example is NYU which actually was not able to take advantage of this resource due to it’s local support. These materials are not open access, they are only for those impacted by the disaster. To date the EAI had been turned “on” five times:
  • Haiti 2010 earthquake
  • Pakistan 2010
  • Haiti 2010 cholera
  • Japan 2011
  • Philippians 2013

After all these occurrences the data was analyzed. It was seen that book literature was used more than journals. The most popular books were drug books and trauma books depending on the event. In the case of Japan radiation books were added. Data is analyzed after each event.

PubMed Update
Marie Collins gave us the update on PubMed. Some stats include: 23.7 records, 5667 journals, and mobile searches have increased to 430,000.
One problem that was talked about is that of disambiguating authors. One solution to this is adding affiliation information for all authors rather than just the lead author. You may not notice this at first since it is a collapsed option. You can easily open them up to find the information. You can also change a setting in MyNCBI to make the default not be collapsed. Another solution to the author problem is the unique author identifier which comes from the publisher. There is a new field to search this identifier. Finally, there is a “computed author” search. If you click on an authors name in an abstract you will get articles written by that same author.
Other upgrades:

  • The history function has been updated with the query now showing keywords rather than the search #.
  • You can now also delete individual searches from the history.
  • Recent activity is stored for six months and can be searched, sorted, and added to collections.
There are interface changes too:
  • Relevance sort!
    • The algorithm is available in Help for anyone to see
  • Cited by systematic reviews
    • In the right hand of results of results display
    • Links to resources that cite a study
  • LinkOut to PubMed Health
  • Schema:all
    • This “rescues zero results searches” by doing a modify search of all terms in all fields
    • Results in two searches showing up on the search history
  • Old Medline can be searched in two ways
    • Oldmedline[sb] searches the subset of 400,000
    • Jsubsetom searches entire two million
  • New catalog filter for journals currently indexed in Medline
  • PMCID-PMID-manuscript ID-DOI converter is available on the homepage

If you need any assistance the PubMed help desk is very helpful. Also keep your eye open for PubMed training classes.

PubMed Health
Hilda Bastian gave this presentation on PubMed Health. PubMed Health provides help with finding systematic reviews and help with understanding them. The PubMed Health collection consists of systematic reviews, knowledge translation, and education materials. Systematic reviews have a few basics that qualify them as systematic reviews:

  • Ask structured, pre-specified question
  • Have systematic methods
  • Methods aim to minimize bias
  • May or may not have quantitative synthesis / meta-analysis
The resources in PubMed Health come from a variety of places including DARE, Cochrane, and health technology assessment (HTA) agencies.

 

RDA One Year Later
Cataloging is not my area of expertise, so I am just going to provide some key points I got out of this presentation:
  • There were no catastrophic problems!
  • RDA is principle based rather than format based
  • RDA makes a true representation of an item
  • There was lots and lots of prep for implementation
    • Daily upload from LC authority files updated
  • Vocabulary changes were necessary for RDA
  • Guidelines are available in the RDA Toolkit

———

I really wish I had been able to attend all of the events, the NLM definitely puts on some great sessions.

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Posters: Collections, Scholarly Communication, and More

Today’s collections are not our grandmothers’ collections, and librarians involved in collection (resource) development, analysis, and management may work in various scholarly communication areas as well.  The wide scope of 2014 posters shows work in collection analysis, promotion, development of discovery tools and portals, as well as scholarly communication areas.

MLA units staffed their posters on Sunday, and some posters remained hanging in the Hyatt’s Gold Level hallway during the meeting days. In collections and related areas, functional sections such as the Collection Development Section (Sunday poster 242) and the Technical Services Section (Sunday poster 257) display how they have focused and worked in these areas for years. Other sections and special interest groups (SIGs) may work on scholarly publishing analysis projects through their subject prisms.

In the main poster area, some posters depicted more “traditional” (familiar) collections activities, including analysis of print collection age (Tuesday poster 186), comparison of print and e-book use (Tuesday poster 216), product comparisons (evaluation of evidence-practice summary databases in Sunday poster 18 and  drug interactions in databases in Monday poster 89). The currently popular collection building technique of patron –driven acquisitions is explored in Tuesday poster 162.

Promotion of a nursing product at point of care is depicted in Sunday poster 10, and linking physicians to evidence-based point of care tools is seen in Monday poster 78. Tuesday poster 225 shows new technology to push out content, while  portals and discovery tools (hopefully) led users to licensed and free resources as described in Monday poster 84 and Tuesday poster 206.

Scholarly publishing trends in one area (book reviews) was examined in opthalmic journals (Sunday poster 35). Scholarly productivity topics were popular:  nursing bibliometrics  in Sunday poster 31, Institutional author scholarly productivity analysis in Sunday posters 16 and 20, and Monday poster 93. Posters highlighting work done in analysis of scholarly publishing impact and altmetrics include Sunday poster 5, Monday posters 92, 93, and Tuesday poster 152 .A number of posters depicted research data management plans, initiatives, analysis of various scholarly publishing services for and resource needs of researchers that go beyond the scope of this short overview.

2014 MLA col dev postere

In the area of scholarly communication, Sunday poster 15 drew the eye, since it wasn’t relaying a scholarly communication experience or publication research per se. Rather, it showed the need for and the birth of a new (separate) conference (Advancing Research Communication and Scholarship), scheduled to take place, interestingly, the month prior to the 2015 annual MLA meeting. It is nice to see that academic health sciences librarians are involved in the emergence of a new specialized scholarly communication conference, yet one hopes that future interest and MLA posters on this topic won’t diminish either.

This was an attempt to hone in on some 2014 posters on collections (resources) and scholarly communication (scholarly productivity analysis) topics. If some posters described here have already been taken down, read more about them by going to: http://www.eventscribe.com/2014/mla/. Click on the “posters” link to view abstracts. Or visit the ePoster Gallery.

 

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A Library Student at MLA ’14 – tweckling, the ACA and other Lessons Learned

Due to my work schedule and family commitments, Sunday was my last day at MLA ’14. Besides being tired from travel and not wanting to write last night, I also put off posting my report on my third day at MLA because I didn’t want to post this right after Kelly Thormodson’s “And it begins!” post. Although I learned a lot and experienced a lot in three packed days, I think my goal for the next MLA will be to take it a bit slower and perhaps spend more time on fewer things.

That being said I guess I have to tackle the Big Issue we all considered yesterday as we listened to Dr. Aaron E. Carroll deliver the John P. McGovern Award lecture, “The Affordable Care Act: Health Care Reform Is Far From Over.” Over the past few years I have learned not to bring up Obamacare on social media unless I am prepared for never-ending and frustrating debates with some guy I went to high school with and my wife’s second cousin’s friend. If my Facebook interactions are even a skewed measure of how people understand and feel about the current state of healthcare in America, then this lecture is still timely even four years after Obamacare became law.

As Dr. Carroll spoke, I began to understand why healthcare is such a big issue. As his graphs showed (and everyone retweeted and tweckled), we don’t have a spending problem or a social security problem we have a healthcare problem. Once again I fell into my MLA ’14 pitfall of trying furiously to understand, take notes and tweet about what I was learning all at the same time.  (Wait, was that smoke coming from the touch screen of my iPad??!!) Finally I sat back and just began to listen to what Dr. Carroll was saying. I agree with Rachel Harrison’s blog entry below, that his explanation of Obamacare was the most clear cut and fact-based explanation I have heard to date. His rule of threes, from the Iron Triangle of Cost, Quality and Access to his Three Legged Stool of Regulations, Individual Mandate and Subsidies helped to make a complex and emotional issue more rational and understandable.  His lecture gave me a clear overview of the challenges we face as healthcare professionals and a new rational voice to listen to.

I wish I could say that after my first experience at MLA ’14 I am now a master at statistics, electronic health records, iPad apps and the Affordable Care Act. Was I too ambitious in my goal setting, perhaps? But what can I say? Like a good librarian I gathered and organized my resources (or I will be this week).  So now I have an answer to the following questions:

Q: Where would I go for a primer on how to assess statistics published in medical journals?
A: Steve Simon’s retro webpage at http://pmean.com and his book “Statistical Evidence in Medical Trials: Mountain or Molehill, What Do the Data Really Tell Us?

Q: I want to see what a typical Electronic Health Record System (EHR) looks like, but my hospital won’t give me access. How can I find out what EHRs are all about?
A: Set up a free account and enter some fictitious patients in Practice Fusion and see what functions are common to most EHRs, without worrying about HIPAA or institutional red-tape.

Q: I want to jump on the bandwagon and really use my iPad. What free apps are out there for Medical Professionals?
A: Start with the National Library of Medicine’s “Gallery of Mobile Apps and Sites

Q: My sister’s friend’s uncle says Obamacare will ruin this country. Where can I go to read the latest information from an expert?
A: Try The Incidental Economist blog (Affordable Care Act tag) where Dr. Aaron Carroll is an Editor.

Q: Can you beat @TonyNguyen411 at silly selfies?
A: No!

Q: What is tweckling?
A: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=tweckle

So for all you #medlibs and fellow library students still in Chicago, don’t be afraid to jump into the deep end of the pool with the big kids. Have fun, and learn a lot but remember to pace yourselves. There are more MLA’s coming: Austin, Toronto, Seattle, Atlanta and back in Chi-town in 2019! I know I’ll be there next time!

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Plenary Session 2: McGovern Lecture

This year’s McGovern Lecturer was Dr. Aaron E. Carroll, a renowned pediatrician and preeminent expert on healthcare economics and healthcare reform.

Dr. Carroll devoted the first half an hour or so of his talk to a stark dose of reality. In the United States, we spend an astronomical sum on healthcare, outspending on a per capita basis every other member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), but we still have incredibly poor access to care and, “at best” average outcomes. This means we’re not maximizing any aspect of the “Iron Triangle.”

The Iron Triangle

In the next segment of his talk, Dr. Carroll did an admirable job of explaining the fundamentals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For all that I’ve read, watched, listened and heard about the ACA since it was signed into law two years ago, this was by far the most clear cut, reasonably, and fact-based explanation I have heard to date. The three fundamental aspects of the healthcare reform are:

1. Regulation – The requirement that insurance companies must provide insurance to those with pre-existing conditions without charging higher rates for premiums and deductibles.
2. Individual Mandate – The requirement that all individuals purchase health insurance.
3. Subsidies – The requirement that the government will help fund insurance for those who can’t afford it.

Dr. Carroll explains that the three main tenets of the law form a three legged stool, meaning that all three must be present in order for the law to be practical and successful. If any one is removed, the whole thing collapses.

One of the main points emphasized by Dr. Carroll is that everyone–hospitals, medical device companies, physicians and those all throughout the healthcare ecosystem–is increasingly being asked to do more with less. This pressure actually represents an opportunity for medical librarians, since we can play a vital role in saving care providers’ time and informing their patient care decisions.

 

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DOCLINE Users Group Meeting

I was a few minuets late to the DOCLINE users group meeting since I couldn’t find the room. The first thing that was being stated when I walked in was who the RML contacts are. It was a repeated theme throughout the session that your RML is a great resource and they will help with questions or concerns. Next, we were told the numbers. Last year there were 1.41 million transactions using DOCLINE with a fill rate of 93% and an average number of routes being 1.3 libraries. The main number of the session was the number of libraries participating in DOCLINE. Participation has dropped by 173 libraries since last year. The number of requests last year also declined. This decline in the use of DOCLINE has been trending. For example, Lonesome Doc requests have declined 73% since 2002. Last year a decision was made to try and figure out what was happening. DOCLINE users participated in a survey and the results were presented at this meeting. Results of the survey point out that libraries have more and more access to full text literature, either through Open Access or through subscription packages. Patrons are also wanting instant access more and more. They go for an article that is full text immediately, rather than wait for DOCLINE, even though the wait isn’t that long. Other things shown by the survey are about library holdings. Ease of updating holdings in DOCLINE is problematic, decreasing its efficiency. This will be changed so that it is easier to update holdings. Other findings have to do with the shift from print to electronic that we all see happening. Only about 50% of DOCLINE libraries permit ILL with their electronic journals, and for many of us understanding the licenses that go along with electronic holdings is hard.
Conclusions to this study:
  • Access to historical literature is becoming more difficult due to the shift to electronic and slow process of scanning and uploading older material.
  • Collections as a whole are moving to be more electronic.
  • Licenses are challenging.
  • Users want “free” full text resources immediately.
  • Clinicians use point of care tools.
  • ILL methods are key for obtaining literature. The use is declining, but they are still key.
The other major part of this meeting was on the changes that are coming, including the release of DOCLINE 5.0 this August. Changes already in effect include an updated summary lender report and Lonesome Doc summary report. There was also a change to the routing table maintenance page to add an alert message reminding people to click “request approval” after updating their routing table. If approval is not requested, the changes entered in the routing table are not made.
The major changes are coming with DOCLINE 5.0. 5.0 will include a default value for the Lonesome Doc ship to field, so that you don’t have to change it every time. You will be able to set your default and then only have to change it when you need a location besides the default. Support for Internet Explorers 8 will continue till the end of the calendar year. Starting in 2015 support will only be for versions 9 and later. 5.0 will also include a monthly summary of institution activity. Reports will still be quarterly, but this summary will be available to see monthly statistics and performance numbers. A long desired change of adding an embargo field to serial holdings will also be included in 5.0. You can enter the embargo length in the field and if there is no embargo you can leave the field blank, or enter 0 months, whichever works best for your record keeping.
There are more changes in store beyond 5.0. Soon network members will have greater flexibility with how often it is necessary to log in. This means that those libraries that are not able to be open everyday can still participate in DOCLINE. There will be a calendar of days of service, and multiple periods of “out of office” can be entered at once. The uploading to serial holdings will become a simple file upload, and there will be short video tutorials for those who need training. Looking into the future beyond these changes are other plans. One idea is e-journal licensing assistance including training, a repository of language clauses, and possibly even group licenses. There will also be improved interoperability between DOCLINE and ILL vendors including ILLiad.
There are some really good changes coming. Remember, if you have any questions or comments, contact your RML!

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Highlights from Sunday’s Poster Session

This Sunday kicked off MLA’s poster sessions.  There were 75 excellent presenters, and only one hour to try to talk to them all!  While I wasn’t able to talk to every presenter in great detail, here are a few highlights from Sunday’s session:

Familiar with flash mobs?  How about FlashClass?  Inspired by flash mobs, Groupon, and popup retail, the librarians at the University of Pittsburgh experimented with ways to revitalize their instruction program by offering “flash classes”, sending out notices of class offerings no more than a week in advance.  Classes were only held if at least three registrants signed up, with the librarian doing just-in-time prep and teaching the class; if minimum registration was not met, the topic was recycled and saved for another date.  Check the poster out here.

Do you work in an academic library, and you’re considering moving to a single service desk?  A Road Map to Creating Capacity in Education and Reference tells the story of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Library’s planning and implementation of a single service desk as well as exploration of different virtual reference services in order to provide better service and support to their constituents. The project resulted in an increase in team productivity as well as efficiency, and an increase in reference statistics!

Interested in learning more about Altmetrics, and how they stack up against standard metrics such as the citation index?  This poster compared the altmetrics score versus Scopus citation metrics of tenure-track faculty publications at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.  Articles from 2009 to 2013 that were either peer-reviewed or invited editorials were compared, and the top 25 articles were closely evaluated. The investigators found that articles of a clinical nature had the top altmetric scores, and that there was a slight positive trend between the altmetric scores versus impact factor and Scopus times cited.  Ultimately, it is very difficult to compare altmetrics to traditional metrics, and the impact of altmetrics on scholarly communication will continue to evolve as time goes on.

Thinking about getting a 3D printer in your library? Take a look at Building for Innovation with Library-Hosted 3D Printing and Scanning. The University of Florida Health Science Center Libraries began this project to identify local uses among clinicians, researchers, educators, and students for 3D printing. The library was able to purchase a Makerbot Replicator 2 model, which heats plastic filament to 230 degrees Celsius in order to print 3D models. Hannah Norton, the point person on the project, informed me that their 3D printing services were just rolled out to the public 3 weeks ago, and personally I can’t wait to hear more about what the library users are printing!

There were so many interesting posters within the first session on a wide variety of topics, and I wish I could write about all 75! If you would like to browse through the available posters, check the online scheduler for a list of all available abstracts as well as e-posters.  Take a look, and see what your colleagues have been up to!

 

 

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Posters: International Themes and Presenters

Three of us will be blogging about 2014 posters. Here are some initial thoughts on international themes and presenters that includes section and chapter posters, featured for the first time during a poster session timeslot (though in a different venue). The 2013 annual meeting was billed as an international federated meeting and featured 4 poster sessions, but in 2014, the poster area is no less international. According to information reported through International Cooperation Section channels, attendees from 16 countries have travelled to Chicago. Some presented posters, as did a number of North American librarians who shared global experiences and research findings.

Sunday was busy for the globally focused International Cooperation Section (ICS) which celebrated its 25th anniversary all day long (business meeting, international visitors’ reception, a concurrent session paper, a dining circle). In preparing the ICS poster, it could not have been easy to highlight 25 years of the section’s and its members’ international projects and activities. MLA chapters fortunate enough to have U.S. territories and international geographic membership include the Hawaii-Pacific Chapter (Sunday poster 230), the Southern Chapter (Sunday poster 239), and UNYOC (the Upstate New York and Ontario Chapter, Sunday poster 240).

On Sunday, Alexa Mayo and Ryan Harris from University of Maryland staffed their poster 29, “Baltimore to Nairobi: A Collaboration to Improve Medical Education in Kenya”, explaining how their university’s global health initiative to help improve AIDS and HIV medical education in Kenya automatically built in a role for the library. Kenyan librarians and health professionals have visited University of Maryland, and Alexa and Ryan travelled to Kenya to share their information expertise.

2014 MLA MD Nairobi 20140518_155103

Posters highlighting support for international health professionals and students  on-site and remotely, include Sunday poster 24:  “An Interdisciplinary Model: Integrating Library Instruction in Pharmacy Educational Programs for International Students”, Monday poster 79: “Expanding Global Reach: Standardizing Self-Paced Nursing Learning Courses”, and Monday poster 121: “Information-Seeking Behaviour of Internationally Educated Registered Nurses in Saskatchewan”. Other posters analyze global literature and information sources.

Posters presented by international attendees include the Monday poster 101 of Yukiko Sakai from Japan, entitled “Exploring the Possibility of More Active Use of Medical Articles by Laypeople: How and What Would They Read?”.  Posters from Taiwan are especially visible at the Chicago annual meeting. On Sunday that includes analysis of librarian CE courses (poster 25) and an evidence-practice database analysis (poster 18). On Tuesday, librarians from Taiwan present posters about: a workshop on evidence-based nursing (poster 188) , a conspectus for an English-language print collection (poster 223), and the building of a portal for international research collaboration (poster 196).

Many, but not all of the posters were mounted for viewing during the first staffed poster session on Sunday afternoon, so visits each day will be warranted. However, perusal of the three days’ poster themes and abstracts reinforces the fact that the MLA (poster) village is global.

To read more about the posters described, go to: http://www.eventscribe.com/2014/mla/ and click on the “posters” link to view abstracts or visit the ePoster Gallery.

 

 

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McGraw-Hill at the Field Museum

What a party!

After splitting into teams of eight on the bus over, we charged headlong into the awesome Field Museum on an information scavenger hunt, following clues to various exhibits to answer 14 different questions. This got us looking at a lot of the cool things to see (albeit in a very narrow and hasty fashion), and let us find our way around the place.

There are a lot of very interesting exhibits, including fascinating materials on the histories of different native cultures and a lot of amazing, beautifully presented natural history displays.

The main bad thing about the evening was the fact that my team, Sue’s Clues–although obviously the most awesome team of all from any objective standpoint–was denied a place in the Winner’s Circle due to what I believe to be a combination of blatant favoritism, rampant cheating, bribery and corruption at the highest levels, and the fact that all of us were born under an evil star. Nevertheless, we know in our hearts that we were the best. We’ll always have those memories, team. Sue’s Clues Forever!

Crushing disappointment aside, it’s hard to find much fault with the party at the Field Museum. I felt bad that I didn’t get a picture of the sturgeon for you at the Aquarium on Saturday, so I took this one of Sue the T-Rex and the (ominously red-lit) elephants.

Enjoy!

2014-05-18 20.38.42

(Question: Sue vs. two elephants–who wins? They’re actually pretty much the same size, Sue’s just farther away. And I know Sue’s a T-Rex and all, but there are two elephants and they look pretty fierce.)

I did not get a picture of the very classy tables set up for us, with floral centerpieces and linen napkins and nice china and all, but it was a lovely arrangement. The food was good, and the beverages plentiful and varied, with mixed drinks in addition to soda, juice, wine and beer.

I would note that the music was pretty loud, making conversation a bit of a challenge if you didn’t shout at each other, but this is pretty standard for events and restaurants (does everyone except me love music so loud you have to shout? Why is the music always so loud you have to shout?), so I don’t place any particular blame on the party’s organizers.

My only other complaint is that this party was scheduled at the same time as Library School Reunion, which I therefore had to miss. I’m so sorry, Dr. MacCall. You know we still love you!

It was a lot of fun to have the chance to visit this very cool location after hours, and I had a good time getting to know the other members of my team, so the scavenger hunt was a fun activity even if it was hideously rigged against us from the start.

Big thumbs up for this party. I would go again tomorrow if they had it twice, because we didn’t see half of what there was to see in the museum.

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And it begins!

Hello all – and welcome to MLA 2014 and the Annual Meeting here in Chicago, the windy and sometimes snowy city.  The meeting kicked off this morning with a welcome from our President Dixie Jones.  The theme this year is “Building Our Information Future” a play on the great buildings and architecture of Chicago.  I was excited to hear about a couple of “firsts” at this annual meeting.  This is the first meeting to have a closing Party with a Purpose.  A silent auction ongoing now in the registration area of the conference center will be capped off with a live auction of 5 top donated items at Tuesday evening’s MLA party with the proceeds going to the MLA Scholarship Fund, the Section Project of the Year Fund and the Chicago adult literacy organization Literacy Works.  Another first at this meeting,  a flipped paper session!  The Educational Media and Technologies Section is conducting this experiment on Sunday afternoon with the presenters sending out their presentation in advance to be watched by the attendees and with the full presentation being a discussion of the in actual session.

The welcome address concluded with a nod to retiring execute director Carla Funk, whom received a standing ovation.  Thanks for everything Carla.

 

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Plenary Session 1: Welcome and Presidential Address

The opening plenary session this morning did a great job of kicking off the conference and setting the stage for all of the great posters and sessions to come over the next few days. I particularly liked the quote from the Midwest Chapter representative in her welcome speech: “Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” These next few days are all about dreaming big, thinking big and acting big. That’s the only way we can build a robust information future for ourselves and those we serve. I also loved President Dixie Jones’s description of librarians as, “people who would like to make the world a better place.” Librarianship is, at its very core, a service profession.

For those who were unable to attend the session, here it a list of the 2013-2014 MLA Presidential Priorities:
1. Advocacy
2. Research
3. Education & Mentoring
4. Ethics
5. History

I like that these priorities don’t stand in isolation from one another, but rather are intertwined in interesting ways. For example, the Ethical Awareness Task Force conducted a survey about members’ awareness of the MLA Code of Ethics, the results of which will be published in the October edition of JMLA, thereby interconnecting the Research and Ethics priorities.

Dixie also gave special mention to the first ever flipped program, going on at MLA this year. What I find compelling about the flipped session is that it is analogous to the “flipped classroom” concept that is becoming increasingly common in medical schools across the country. This is a way is creating a shared experience with our users, thereby better understanding and being able to better serve our user communities. (Another example of this is how the medical library community is increasingly focusing on have an evidence basis for our decision making, by, for instance, using instructions techniques that have been proven to be effective or showing the value of medical libraries by relying on studies that prove their effectiveness.)

Thanks to Dixie Jones for her service as MLA’s President. And a special thanks to Carla Funk, Whois retiring this year after serving as MLA’s Executive Director since 1992. Carla received a well deserved standing ovation during the opening plenary session. Thank you, Carla!

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