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Vol 12 No 3 – February 2014

In This Issue:


something to know a bit about

Have you heard about this…this altmetrics (short for alternative assessment metrics or alternative metrics) business? We know it has to be important because it is one of the topics for the Chapter Sharing Roundtables at this year’s Medical Library Association Conference. We know it might even be super important because it is right at the top of the list of 25 topics being discussed. It beat out Building a Network of Partners, which came in second, followed by Consumer Health, Copyright Issues, and Embedded Librarians. Wow!

altmetrics word cloud

Why is it a good idea for librarians to pay attention to altmetrics to at least a level of understanding where we can carry on an intelligent conversation with a…Altmetricologist (fyi, not a real word…yet)? We hope that by reading through the rest of this article and following the links to some websites, you’ll be able to determine for yourself if this is something you need to add to your Things-To-Know-More-About list. (more…)

Becker Library’s Archives and Rare Books

at the Washington University School of Medicine

Elisabeth Brander
Bernard Becker Medical Library
St. Louis, Missouri
Stephen Logsdon
Bernard Becker Medical Library
St. Louis, Missouri

The Archives and Rare Books at the Bernard Becker Medical Library of the Washington University School of Medicine serves as a continuing resource providing information services to faculty, staff, and students as well as visiting researchers, scholars, and the general public. The library’s rare book holdings consist of some 20,000 volumes spread across nine distinct collections. Some of these collections are general in scope, and contain works on a wide variety of medical topics, while others are focused on a specific subject. Altogether, the Becker’s rare book collections cover the past 500 years of medical history, and contain several landmarks in medical publication including the first and second editions of Andreas Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica, Siegfried Albinus’ monumental Tabulae sceleti et musculorum corporis humani, with its superb copperplate engravings, and the first American edition of Henry Gray’s Anatomy, descriptive and surgical.

Copperplate engraving from Cowper’s ‘Myotomia reformata’. William Cowper (1666-1709). Myotomia reformata, or an anatomical treatise on the muscles of the human body illustrated with figures after the life. London: Printed for Robert Knaplock . . ., William & John Innes, and Jacob Tonson, 1724. (Plate XII) Copper engraving.

The medical school began to collect rare books in 1912, when it purchased the library of Professor Walter Pagel, Professor of Medicine at the University of Berlin. This initial purchase was followed by the acquisition of Dr. John Green’s collection of 19th century books on ophthalmology and otology, and, in 1916, the purchase of Frank J. Lutz’s collection of early printed medical works. These books are now the basis of the Becker’s Classics of Medicine and Monuments of Medicine collection. The Classics of Medicine contains works from the late 15th century up to 1820 while Monuments, the largest of the individual collections, holds books from 1820 to the mid-20th century. These two collections, which hold works by both major and less well-known medical authors, form the core of the Becker’s rare book holdings. (more…)

The Librarian: Rounding to Be Lean

Lean— “A management system that focusses upon value (from the customer/patient’s point of view) and elimination of waste, making it easy to do the right thing by focusing on improving processes.” (Luca Boi, MHA, University of Utah Health Care Value Engineer.)

Developed by Toyota in the 1900s, Lean was first adopted by manufacturers but is now practiced in many sectors of our society including government, education, service organizations, and healthcare. The University of Utah Health Care is integrating Lean throughout the organization. To build skill levels, staff was invited to submit a problem, learn the process and apply Lean to the problem. Four sessions of “The Physician Leader/Health Sciences Leader: Lean Education Program” were run in 2013. Faculty from Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library participated in three of the sessions working on different projects.

Addressing value and elimination of waste should have a financial impact on the organization. Could Lean be used to determine the financial impact of the librarian on patient care? I submitted a problem to find out. This was a fast track learn and do program that started in September 2013 with training and ended in December 2013 with a presentation on the project. (more…)

Highlights from the PubMed Update – January 2014

Lisa Traditi
Health Sciences Library – University of Colorado
Aurora, Colorado
-Dana Abbey, Colorado/Health Information Literacy Coordinator

If you missed the January 2014 Spotlight! on NLM Resources with the National Training Center’s (NTC) Jessi Van Der Volgen discussing recent updates to PubMed, don’t fret. We’ve put together a recap of the information.

Here’s what’s new: (more…)

Whooo Says…

Dear Whooo,

I am one of four librarians who work in a medium sized urban hospital. I am fairly new to this job and to the profession, and I want to be sure and start my career off on the right foot. In my few months here, I have noticed there is a difference in how people are treated and how their ideas are received that doesn’t seem to correlate to the quality of their work. I’m not sure what is going on here; is this common? How can I ensure that my contributions are recognized favorably?



Dear Confused,

I’m so glad you wrote with this question. I think you have stumbled on a very important part of the workplace, and I congratulate you for your astute perception. You are very correct in your observation that the quality of your work is not the only criteria for job success.

One of the important aspects of any job is your relationship with your boss. This relationship is important now, and may continue to be important in your career as a source of references and mentorship. It is also an area in which you have some degree of control. (more…)

Supporting Public Library Health Information Programs and Training

One of the major charges for the NN/LM MCR is to work toward improving access to and sharing of biomedical information resources throughout the region. We believe working with and through public libraries is one of the major ways to reach out to the residents of our states. Public libraries interact with individuals and groups in ways that hospital and academic libraries cannot.

Our coordinators have formed relationships with many of the public libraries in our states, and also with our state libraries in order to offer educational programming and opportunities for partnership to achieve our mission. We also offer region-wide programming opportunities with Spotlight! on NLM Resources. For the past few years, we have noticed that participation by public librarians has decreased. In order to increase public librarians’ attendance at our training opportunities, we decided to work through our six state libraries to find out what the interests and needs are for health information trainings. (more…)

Health Literacy: Succeeding One Project at a Time

Note: This is the first in a series of articles on librarian involvement in health information literacy.

Health literacy is the “degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process and understand health information and services in order to make appropriate health decisions.” The RML wants to help you foster health literacy in your institution, while also advocating for your library and its services, so we’ve made a list of things to keep in mind and ways to get started!

Before diving in, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a gradual process and it takes time to build relationships and trust and as they say, “slow and steady wins the race.” We also know that not all suggestions or activities are appropriate for every institution. We encourage you to get creative and find ways to either make an adjustment so it can work for you, or use it as a jumping off point to think of new ideas. We highly suggest you seek out your supervisor’s approval. This offers them the opportunity to provide support and suggest contacts. As an added bonus, you can use this as a way to get buy-in from them to not just support you in your efforts, but to become involved themselves. (more…)

NN/LM National Initiatives

As part of supporting the mission of The National Library of Medicine, the NN/LM MCR also participates in national outreach initiatives. The NN/LM is currently focusing on four outreach initiatives. The NN/LM MCR has a coordinator serving on each of the task forces.

  • Community College Outreach – John Bramble
  • MedlinePlus Connect – Rachel Vukas
  • – Dana Abbey
  • K-12 Education – Barb Jones

Each task force was asked to define desired outcomes from outreach activities targeting a specific population or subject. Then the task force was to learn about the group’s needs and currently available resources. Once the task force identified needs, they developed a logic model to describe how to achieve outcomes, and determine how those outcomes would be measured, and data collected. Throughout the process they were to identify and document effective practices for providing outreach and then share those findings with the rest of the NN/LM. (more…)