Friday, December 29, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
(1) Co-operation and partnership
Co-operation and partnerships have been key to libraries for a number of years. As budgets shrink, cooperative collection development has been more readily accepted as a policy.
(2) Open access
Radical changes in scholarly communication comprises a major area affecting all library services and not just those in the health sector. Much of the discussion in recent years has dealt with open access. The importance of this theme is emphasized by the fact that the British Government has even been included in the debate.
The rapid growth and uptake of technology has had a massive impact on libraries over the last 20 years. The Internet has changed the way libraries access information, and the move to electronic publishing has caused major concerns for libraries as to whether to continue to take print journals or to move to electronic materials.
(4) Keeping ahead of the curve
The idea of horizon scanning has only recently appeared in the health-library sector in the UK as a recommendation of the ‘Future Proofing the Profession’ report. It is essential that health librarians and information professionals keep up to date with developments in key areas such as information technology.
But this is in a British context; has North American health librarianship caught up yet? I guess we'll find out.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
(10) Teaching - As he says so often, the profession has changed immensely over the last twenty years. Emphasis on teaching has never been as great as it is now, and that is one of the reasons why librarians must also be great teachers, which the Google Scholar is.
(9) Empathy - He treats his students and employees as he would a top-level administrator. He sees the profession not as a hierarchical ladder, but as a community where information flows as freely as emotions and thoughts. He stands up for his employees and colleagues, and puts his neck on the line for them. When he sees students in need, he doesn't think twice about phoning them and asking how they're doing during their late evening shifts.
(8) Networks - He believes in social networks, not for personal gain, but for collaboration and learning. The Scholar's reach in the library, academic, and medical community is far and wide. He reaches out, and connects people not only to information, but also to other people.
(7) Cooperation - He believes in librarians helping each other. He believes that equal opportunities exist for all, and hence, his support for such things as open-access, PubMed, and Google Scholar.
(6) Knowledge - The Google Scholar is one of the premiere information retrieval experts in the profession. More admirably, he believes in sharing his knowledge, which he does through his tireless writings on his blog and discussions with colleagues and students.
(5) Believing in oneself - As he tells all his students, self-confidence is the key to success. Although he offers opinions, when it really matters, he steps back and allows his mentees to think for themselves, for he knows they are ultimately the ones who control their own destinies. He creates pathways, and allows us to find our own destinations.
(4) Humour - The Google Scholar is also a performer and comedian. He can light up any audience with his lighthearted quips and creative improvisation, often at the most appropriate of times.
(3) Technology - If there is one thing that I learned from the Google Scholar, it is to keep up with technology. In the library profession, technology is important as ever, and is a key goal in helping maximize information resources for the users and patrons. Google, blogging, mashups, blikis, etc. They keep on coming, and the Google Scholar keeps on absorbing. Nothing gets by this man.
(2) Hard work - Paying your dues. That's what the Google Scholar's career is all about. As he so often tells us, he started out with no clear indication of where he was going. All he knew was that he wanted to be a health librarian in order to make a difference in people's lives. Through sheer determination and hard work, he has done just that. And much more.
(1) Passion - If there's one thing that defines the Google Scholar, it is passion, a pure love of librarianship. Regardless of how one performs and how knowledgeable one is, nothing can compensate for passion. He breathes and bleeds librarianship. His passion is contagious. He is not only a mentor and teacher, but also a true friend.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Why are mashups relevant for information professionals and librarians? Matthew Dames lists two reasons: First, social software tools such as mashups are the perfect opportunity to extend its reach beyond the library building, particularly in a time when there is real fear that patrons are no longer use reference services as vehemently as they once did. Second: job security. Social software tools such as mashups allow librarians to “reclaim” areas of influence and expertise in the organization that have been ceded to the IT department.
I'd add one more, and it's pretty obvious: the main goal of the health librarian (and all librarians, for that matter) is to serve his or her user. Mashups help achieve that goal, and then some.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Today, UBC librarian Hilde Colenbrander gave a fascinating presentation on open access. She pointed out that the "impact factor" plays a large hand in the OA movement. The reason why is that scholars have an incentive to publish in established and prestigious journals. For young scholars who want tenureship, they must get published in such journals, not in open access publications, freely available to all.
Heleen Gierveld's recent article, Considering a Marketing and Communications Approach for an Institutional Repository proposes an "8P's" as a strategy for promoting institutional repositories. This article complements a previous entry that I had made, and supports the idea that creativity is essential for the OA movement.
One thing Colenbrander said which stood out in my mind: research and development. With a hectic work schedule, most academic librarians simply do not have time for study and reflection on gigantic issues such as open access. Without support from their institutions, librarians simply cannot devote the proper attention necessary. But librarians are supposed to be at the forefront of this moment; they need more support than they are currently given.
Friday, November 03, 2006
The wait is over. The National Hockey League (NHL) has paved the road for professional sports' entrance into open-access. Understandably, there will be skeptics who cringe at the thought of a corporate entertainment giant taking a plunge into the online environment, and making a profit at the same time. But the NHL has just made an agreement with Google Videos which allows entire broadcasts to be online. Hence, classics such as the Vancouver Canucks-New York Rangers' Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals can be seen in its entirety, or games that you missed from yesterday can be replayed at a click of a mouse.
But the NHL is making a bold move. By putting its games online, it has unwittingly joined the realm of open-access, which includes among other things, "open collaboration, open authoring, open platforming, and open searching for everyone." Whether this hurts its NHL Network cable broadcasts remains to be seen. (They are live events, compared to Google Video's 4 hour tape-delay). As a sports fan, this is an unbelievable day. As a proponent of Web 2.0, I am ecstatic. The champagne is flowing endlessly. Let the games begin!
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
With that said, I introduce to you Web 3.0. What is it? Phil Wainewright, a technology expert, believes that Web 2.0 is but a "transitional" period proto-Web 3.0 stage, where the best is yet to come. What do I think? Be careful what you wish for. Sooner or later, Web XP will be the latest version of the web that you and I will be using...
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Yesterday's session on systematic review searching was an eye-opener. It turns out that I've been doing systematic review searching the whole time, but never knew it! It's no wonder why researchers have kept on insisting that I keep a list of my search terms and databases in my literature searches. As an uninformed searcher, I had wondered why do they need it? They've got the articles, they're useful, why do they need to be so careful about such seemingly "unimportant" data?
I'll ask the question again: Why do we need systematic review searching? The reason, as Mimi Doyle of the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation reveals, is so that researchers can keep a tab of how much time they had spent on a project (for things like accounting audits). Not only that, as part of the scientific method, the experiment should have reproductibility, which means that everything from searching to the actual experimentation and apparatuses needs to be as documented as carefully as possible. This is a fascinating revelation: searching in the health sciences is every bit as scientific as the labs that go on each day. It's all part of the bigger picture
Saturday, October 21, 2006
I recently went to a luncheon hosted by the Vancouver Association of Law Librarians (VALL) with whom the talented Eugene Barsky gave a talk on Wiki's. The similarities between medical librarianship and law librarianship caught my attention. After freshly returning from a conference in Seattle from the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association where I spoke to medical librarians about the salient issues of the day, I was intrigued to hear similar discussion echoed among law librarians (and technicians).
Conclusion? Things aren't so different between these two supposedly very different areas of librarianship. Social software, Web 2.0, recruitment, employment forecasts all came up during discussion. (In fact, Christina Tribe of Harper Grey tells me that 50% of her time is spent on medical databases and CISTI). One person who participated at the luncheon has a blog entry which has striking relevance to medical librarianship and echoes a similar problem. I'd like to share with you an excerpt:
Replace the legal terms/people with medical terms/people and you'd find the above arguments to be highly relevant and interchangeable in both areas. In my opinion, because both professions - law and medicine - are so specialized, they require talented and creative individuals to fill its posts, especially one which requires information retrieval. Answer? Librarians of the future.
So who must pay attention to this? Well first of all - VALL. We (I speak as a member of the Executive) have to prepare our membership. Mentoring and training are goingnto be more important than ever. Next up, UBC SLAIS. The legal bibliography course needs to be offered regularly, and we need to support it (be it Teresa Gleave or another local Librarian who takes on this huge task).
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Second, Henner left an indelible mark for me about the acceptance of new experimental technologies. In his conclusion, he makes clear the point that not everyone will accept what you think is integral: "Utility is in the eye of the beholder." What an excellent point. Simple, yet so often overlooked. We often want results right away -- but in doing so, we forget that it takes time and patience for others to follow. (However, "Resistance can be overcome" as he argues). Henner leaves us with what I thought was the best quote to take home with me: "Some success is better than none." A marvellous anecdote: if we create something out of nothing, then perhaps that itself is an achievement worthy of celebration.
(1) Interface - Well, what more can I say. It's definitely a diversion from Google's simplicity. There's more to look at, that's for sure. But I like it. It's fresh, dynamic, and interactive. The only drawback is that the search results are a bit cumbersome to navigate.
(2) Web 2.0-compatible - To date, there's still no search engine that makes witty comments, shows signs of moodiness, and has an interest in your searches. True, it's artificial, but it's still not a bad attempt at user interaction. When one types in a search term or phrase, Janina offers a commentary. If the question is bizarre enough, Janina might even perform a short skit.
(3) Effectiveness - In the end, the question is, can it do what it's supposed to do? I've done quite a few searches. It's definitely no Google. A little trick that I use to determine an engine's effectiveness is to try finding a journal article by simply by typing in the full (or partial) article title. Ms. Dewey unfortunately comes up short (but so does Yahoo! and MSN Live). Google still rules at the end of the day.
(4) A new type of search engine - The "traditional" search engine days of Google and Yahoo! are increasingly challenged by up and comers. The clustering search engines such as Clusty and Vivisimo are great tools; and the visual search engines like Kartoo are also great as well. And now we have the "interactive" search engine. What does this all mean? There's still a ways to go before Ms. Dewey can offer us searchers something substantial. Perhaps Janina can offer a witty remark to that.