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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

Coping with Disasters, Violence, and Traumatic Events

Written by Sheila Snow-Croft, Public Health Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), Southeastern/Atlantic (SE/A) Region. Contact Sheila at

In light of the recent, tragic events in Charleston, and after discovering one of the victims worked for the Charleston Regional Public Library, we want to remind everyone about these resources for communities dealing with disasters.

The Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), a part of the US Department of Health & Human Services’ Specialized Information Services (SIS), has a Resource Guide for Disaster Medicine and Public Health that might also be of assistance.  It is a database of links to disaster medicine and public health documents, and a quick search using “coping,” provides these results while one for “mass violence” yields the following results.

Preparing with information for the worst of circumstances may help us all help each other.

National Health Observances – July 2015

Below is a list of National Health Observances for the month of July. Click on each topic to learn more and consider promoting one or more of these health observances within your institution.

Call for Applications: NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program, 2015-2016

The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) is pleased to announce the 2015-2016 year of the leadership program jointly sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and AAHSL. The NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program, which focuses on preparing emerging leaders for the position of library director in academic health sciences libraries, is accepting applications through July 20, 2015.

Fellows will have the opportunity to experience another library environment and to work closely with a mentor and collaboratively with other fellows and mentors. The multi-faceted program takes advantage of flexible scheduling and an online learning community. Candidates with a strong interest in pursuing a directorship in academic health sciences libraries and with leadership experience in academic health sciences libraries, hospital libraries, or other library-related settings are encouraged to apply.

Sixty-seven fellows and fifty-seven different mentors have participated in the program since its beginning. To date, twenty-seven of sixty-one graduate fellows have received director appointments. Overall, 75% of fellow graduates have been promoted to director or other positions of higher responsibility.

Download the program brochure, which includes information on program design, schedule, and application process. For more information about the program, please contact Carol Jenkins, Program Director, AAHSL Future Leadership Committee,

What We Learned: MLA 2015, Austin

Many of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), Southeastern/Atlantic (SE/A) Region staff attended the Medical Library Association’s (MLA) Annual Conference in Austin, TX, this past May. Below are highlights of the conference from those in attendance.

PJ Grier, Outreach/Access Coordinator. Contact PJ at

This year I attended a CE class entitled “Perspectives in Research Data Management” which assisted in furthering the goal of offering a data management course tailored to SE/A needs. I learned about data management needs of researchers in different environments, addressing specific researcher data management needs, and practical approaches to developing tailored services. I also attended the “Data Management: E-Science as a Library Service” paper session, sponsored by the Hospital Libraries Section, and learned of various approaches to data management that academic libraries are pursuing. A common librarian theme is to understand the overall approach to the data management life cycle, but tailor the library’s data management activity to the unique needs of its researchers and scientists balanced by the library’s competencies. Additionally, I presented a co-authored paper entitled “The Role of the Librarian in Achieving Compliance for Meaningful Use Stage 2 Core Measure 5.” Of final interest, I attended the Top Tech Trends panel, sponsored by the EMTS Section, where I learned about “The Internet of Things” and the Apple Watch. The wristwatch is a reality, but the notion of embedding sensors into material items that work seamlessly within our daily lives is a challenge that will improve and grow overtime.

Tony Nguyen, Emerging Technologies/Communications Coordinator. Contact Tony at

This year I had two posters with colleagues accepted: Social Media Communication: An Evaluation of Its Impact and Value in Promotion and Public Awareness and Do Health Sciences Libraries and Librarians Have an Impact on the Cost of Health Care and Research? A Systematic Review. The first poster, presented with Andrew Youngkin and Sheila Snow-Croft, evaluated NN/LM SE/A’s social media presence and its effectiveness while the second poster is part of the MLA Research Agenda Systematic Review Project. Both posters were well received and gave additional insights as each team works towards publication of the studies. I also became more active with the Research Section and judged two paper presentations for the first time. Additionally, I accepted the role of LGBT Special Interest Group (SIG) co-convener for 2015-2017 which will give me new insights into the operations of SIGs. Of the many sessions, I particularly enjoyed Difficult Conversations: strategies to make sure they enhance rather than ruin your leadership. While currently not in a leadership role, I think effective communication skills are of great benefit to anyone in a difficult situation. Finally, I participated in a continuing education class, Instructional Design: proven principles and practices for librarians who teach. While I haven’t taken many formal classes on instructional design, this course reinforced theoretical and practical skills and I found it beneficial in providing a foundation for course development.

Terri Ottosen, Consumer Health Coordinator. Contact Terri at

This year’s MLA conference in Austin was particularly interesting as Consumer Health Coordinator. I was selected to represent the Consumer and Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS) on the MLA Nominating Committee. It was a chance to go behind the curtain and see the inner workings of the organization in choosing our future leaders, including the Board of Directors and MLA President. I was also thrilled and honored to receive the Consumer Health Librarian of the Year award from CAPHIS, partially for my work providing consumer health classes online that many people were able to take advantage of in order to earn their MLA Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS). I’d like to publicly thank Dale Prince for nominating me for this honor. I also attended the Open Competencies Forum in which attendees wrote their ideas for the revision of the competencies for health sciences librarians, an interesting and important issue for us all. One of the exciting events of MLA was the Awards Luncheon. Many deserving recipients from the SE/A Region received MLA awards, including Julia Shaw-Kokot and Beverly Murphy, who were made MLA Fellows. Overall, it was an exciting and informative conference.

Sheila Snow-Croft, Public Health Coordinator. Contact Sheila at

A real highlight for me this year at MLA was continuing to work with the Educational Media & Technologies Section (EMTS) and representing them at the Section Council meeting. I can’t discount the great section programming, general sessions, and reconnecting with friends and colleagues from near and far any more than I can discount the importance of those delicious margaritas in Austin, but participating in Sections and SIGs is always a highlight. It gives us all a voice and lets us determine the future, from themes to topics to material covered and learned. As EMTS Past-Chair, I was encouraged as I watched my colleagues take the helm. EMTS won the Section Project of the Year award for holding a webinar last fall, “Delving into Distance Support: Instructional Design, Library Role, and Social Media,” hosted and spurred on by colleagues who wanted to start a distance education SIG but agreed to work within the framework of EMTS instead. Hosting this webinar provided great satisfaction in being a part of an effort to integrate MLA into our careers throughout the year, rather than just at the annual conference, and to increase participation by all members, rather than only those able to attend the annual conference. I urge everyone to get involved in the Sections and SIGs and to make your voices be heard; push for online business meetings so those unable to attend the annual meeting can also participate. If only those who attend the conference make decisions, we are no longer an organization that represents all medical librarians. Make sure the new MLA leadership knows the importance of these groups; the future of MLA is in our hands.

Andrew Youngkin, Outreach/Assessment Coordinator. Contact Andrew at

A major highlight of the meeting came early with the delivery of the John P. McGovern Lecture delivered by Dr. Mae Jemison. A scientist, doctor, entrepreneur, and former NASA astronaut, Dr. Jemison successfully articulated the relevance of scientific discovery—specifically space travel—for those of us who are not working or studying in the fields of astrophysics or interstellar discovery. The lecture emphasized various socio-economic, cultural, and technological solutions that have resulted, or could result from, continued exploration of space to improve the quality of life and health on present-day earth. Dr. Jemison was also adept in explaining the relevance of space travel exploration for health sciences librarianship. On a personal note, I was so inspired by her lecture on her work and life story that I was quick to share her message with my children to emphasize the importance of dreaming big, overcoming adversity, and working hard, in addition to the exciting opportunities science offers young people in the future, especially girls and young women interested in S.T.E.M fields.

Ashley Cuffia, DOCLINE/Library Associate. Contact Ashley at

As a first year MLS student at the University of Maryland, College Park, and thanks to our Executive Director, Dale Prince, I was able to attend the conference from start to finish. As a student versus a library associate, I was able to see what was being discussed and presented in meetings and programming in a different light. Everything in some way, shape, or form is changing how the library world functions, and as a soon to be member of the library professional world, it is great to see that progress happening in real time. This year I spent time gathering photos and statistics and presented a poster with Terri Ottosen on the 30-year history of our Regional Medical Library. At the New Member Breakfast, I learned what the everyday life of a librarian in the 60s was like and the drastic changes that made medical libraries the way they are today. Through the various business meetings and presentations I attended, I was able to see how each part of the library field affects the whole and its direction. Overall, it was a great experience to talk to many different librarians at different points in their careers and make good connections with people as I complete my MLS next year.

NLM Request for Comments: Discontinuation of Artificial Subject Strings for Cataloging Records

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has been recording geographic locations and publications types in the MARC21 fields 651 and 655 respectively since 1999 to match indexing practices in subject assignment. This differs from the Library of Congress’ practice of putting geographic locations in 650 $z and publication types in 650 $v.  In 1999, 80% of medical libraries responding to the announcement of this practice being adopted at NLM, indicated that subjects in this format would be difficult to incorporate in their OPAC.  NLM therefore continued to provide a specially programmed output with a traditional subject string of 650 $a $x $z $v for subscribers to Catfile.  (See the example at the end of this announcement.)

In 2005, NLM once again surveyed the community and proposed discontinuing the special programming to create traditional subject strings and to distribute records as they appear in LocatorPlus.  At that time, a small majority of libraries were in favor of such a proposal.  However, those who were opposed were very passionate about the issue and made some compelling arguments for keeping the strings.  NLM made some minor changes to the record distribution programs at that time to ease some of the complexities its catalogers encountered in trying to code subjects for proper output, but continued to output traditional subject strings.

It is now 10 years since this issue was considered, and NLM believes that the environment has changed enough to once again propose discontinuing the practice of creating artificial subject strings for subscribers to Catfile. Rather than traditional OPACs, many libraries are using discovery systems that search across different input streams and provide faceted searching options.  The library community is planning to make much more use of linked data, particularly with the future adoption of BIBFRAME.  Long subject strings do not work well in a linked data environment, and in fact, we see many libraries breaking up the traditional LCSH subject string into its component parts using the FAST vocabulary. MeSH has recently been released in RDF triples that correspond to data in 650 $a and $x, 651 or 655 fields. NLM believes the time is now appropriate to stop creating artificial subject strings and distribute NLM records exactly as they appear in our database.  This would mean that libraries that take copy from both NLM and OCLC would not have to edit one form or another to have consistency in their catalogs.

NLM is asking the medical library community to let us know what the effect would be on your institution if NLM were to discontinue distributing its MARC cataloging bibliographic records with artificially reconstructed subject strings. Records in MARC format would continue to have MeSH headings combined with the appropriate topical subheadings (650 $a $x), but geographic locations, and publication types would be carried in separate fields in the record, rather than as subfields of the MeSH heading. This would mean that records distributed to bibliographic utilities and other licensees would be identical to the records in LocatorPlus.

Please send your comments by August 31, 2015 to:

  • Diane Boehr
  • Head, Cataloging and Metadata Management Section
  • National Library of Medicine
  • 8600 Rockville Pike, Room 1N11
  • Bethesda, MD 20894

NLM will announce the final decision on whether or not to implement this change by September 30, 2015.  Any changes to distribution files will not occur until calendar year 2016.

Example of current practice:

In NLM database:

  • 650 12  $a Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome $x ethnology
  • 650 22  $a Cross Cultural Comparison
  • 650 22  $a Health Policy
  • 651 _2  $a Africa $x ethnology
  • 651 _2  $a Caribbean Region $b ethnology
  • 655 _2  $a Congresses

Subject strings created for distribution

  • 650 12  $a Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome $x ethnology $z Africa $v Congresses
  • 650 12  $a Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome $x ethnology $z Caribbean Region $v Congresses
  • 650 22  $a Cross Cultural Comparison $z Africa $v Congresses
  • 650 22  $a Cross Cultural Comparison $z Caribbean Region $v Congresses
  • 650 22  $a Health Policy $z Africa $v Congresses
  • 650 22  $a Health Policy $z Caribbean Region $v Congresses

Last updated on Friday, 22 November, 2013

Funded by the National Library of Medicine under contract HHS-N-276-2011-00004-C with the Health Sciences and Human Services Library of the University of Maryland