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Lessons Learned from the Midwest Veterinary Conference

Exhibit boothBy Jessica Page
Assistant Professor and Head
Veterinary Medicine Library
Ohio State University

The Midwest Veterinary Conference, hosted by the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, draws over 5000 veterinarians, technicians and others from Ohio and neighboring states. I often field calls from practicing veterinarians and alumni of OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine regarding how they can access the veterinary literature. Exhibiting at the 2012 MVC seemed like a good opportunity to reach these veterinarians on their own turf to let them know about some of the resources available to them.

The practicing veterinarians who visited our booth had varying degrees of familiarity with PubMed. Some were completely unaware that a free resource for searching the medical literature was available to them, and were eager to have a more targeted search tool than Google. Others who already used PubMed were happy to gain demonstrated and written tips on effectively searching the veterinary literature. Most veterinarians we spoke with were unaware, and pleased to learn, that they were eligible for library cards from the State Library of Ohio, which would give them convenient access to materials from the OSU Libraries and those of other OhioLINK member institutions.

We were surprised to be visited by a good number of veterinary technical students from throughout the state. Because of these students’ affiliation with their schools, they already have access through their libraries to the resources we were sharing with practitioners, but were not necessarily aware of them. They were grateful to learn about tools such as PubMed that would help them in their studies and in their future careers.

The MVC has a densely-scheduled program of events, which is something I appreciate when I’m a conference attendee, but it makes for many hours of very light traffic in the exhibit hall. The first day of the conference, in particular, had very sparse foot traffic through the exhibits. To top this off, our booth was in a less than ideal location, far from the front of the hall. We received relatively few visitors as a result.

In summary, I am happy to have talked with the conference attendees who visited our booth and to be able to share information that they found valuable. However, if the Veterinary Medicine Library returns to exhibit at the MVC in future years, we would likely benefit by partnering with the College of Veterinary Medicine. Sharing a booth with our OSU colleagues would save costs and would help draw additional visitors who could benefit from learning about the scholarly resources that are available to them.

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