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Archive for June, 2012

Update on Disaster Information Specialization from MLA

Thursday, June 28th, 2012


The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is funding a series of continuing education courses with the Medical Library Association (MLA). These courses may be used to lead to a Basic or Advanced certificate, “Disaster Information Specialization,” which will be available from MLA for completion of courses and other activities focused on the information aspects of disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

Three courses were taught the week of May 19 in-person at MLA in Seattle and are now (or will be) available online. These three courses, plus an additional two online courses from FEMA, meet the requirements for a Basic-level certificate.

• Disaster Information Sources: The Basics

• Information Roles in Disaster Management

• US Response to Disasters and Public Health Emergencies

Additional enrichment courses are being developed and their CE contact hours may be used toward the requirements for the Advanced-level certificate.

• Disaster Situations in an International Context

• A Seat at the Table: A Step-by-Step Approach to Working with Local Responders

• Ethical and Legal Aspects of Disaster Response

Most of these courses will be offered June-August in a classroom setting or online at no cost. Please see the following links for more information. If you have any questions about the planning of the Disaster Information Specialization program, please contact Kathleen Combs, Director, Professional Development, MLA at 312-419-9094 x29 or

CLASSROOM COURSES, schedule/info/how to register, Also scroll down for more about the specialization.

ONLINE LIVE, June 27-28, US Response to Disasters and Public Health Emergencies, info at

ONLINE LIVE, July 18-19, Information Roles in Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery, link available soon.

ONLINE LIVE, Aug 23-24, Ethical and Legal Aspects of Disaster Response, link available soon.

ONLINE LIVE, Aug 29-30, A Seat at the Table:  Approach to Working with Local Responders, link available soon.

ONLINE LIVE, Disaster Situations in an International Context, date and link available soon.

ONLINE ARCHIVED, Disaster Information Sources: The Basics, course available at

Mobile Mindset Study

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

infographic image of cell phone from the report

Smartphone use is everywhere. Smartphone users seem to constantly be checking their device at the dinner table, in line at the coffee shop, at meetings, and even while walking or driving. Has the smartphone changed the way Americans interact with their mobile devices? A new study conduced by Harris Interactive and released by Lookout Mobile Security has found just that. The Mobile Mindset Study found that “a new mobile mindset has emerged: our thoughts, emotions and behavior are impacted by smartphones.”

The study found that when it came to “mobile attachment” 58% of smartphone users don’t go one hour without checking their phones. The study also asked those surveyed “how do you feel when you misplace your phone?” 73% of smartphone users feel panicked when they misplace their phone. Smartphone users are also checking their devices while lying in bed and during meals with others. 24% reported checking their devices while driving.

The study concludes that a “new set of behaviors and emotional attachments driven by smartphones” has developed. Society today has a new “mobile mindset” and this mindset is impacting our thoughts, behaviors, emotions, and even our social interactions with others.

Twitter Hashtags and Chats

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Hash sign symbol

A recent post from RedWriteWeb provides an answer to the question “What is the point of: #Hashtags?” Part of an going What is the Point of Series, the hashtag topic is of interest for Twitter users as well as those who want to keep up with popular topics, events, meetings, or even have learning experiences through the use of social media.

Hashtags are a great way to label tweets and information when sharing with at group. Adding a hashtag to a tweet will label the information and allow it to show up in a hashtag search with other tweets containing the same hashtag. The hashtag adds metadata to the tweet.

Hashtags can be used for humorous purposes, networking, sharing information, and have even been used in emergencies. Using search tools on sites such as Twitter you can search for specific hashtags and check updates as new information is tweeted with the hashtag. Don’t forget that adding a hashtag to a tweet requires using the # symbol before the words or letters designated as the tag. Often hashtags are set up before meetings and events so that everyone attending knows the hashtag to use.

One of the growing trends with hashtag use is for information sharing and idea exchange. The Medical Library Association (MLA) typically promotes the use of hashtags at annual meetings so that users on Twitter can keep up with what is happening at the meeting. You can still find many tweets about the 2012 MLA Annual Meeting by searching for the #mlanet12 hashtag. You may also see some users are already talking about next year’s meeting using the hashtag #mlanet13.

Because hashtags are easy to search and follow, another use of hashtags on Twitter is in the form of chats. Using a hashtag users can tweet about the same topic and see real-time results from others using the same hashtag. In many ways a dialog can form, ideas or experiences can be shared, or questions can be answered.

Many library groups are already using hashtags to have successful Twitter chats. A list of 20 Essential Twitter Chats for the Library Crowd lists some of the more popular chats. On Thursday, June 21st, for the first time, medical librarians will have a live chat using the #medlibs hashtag. This is a first time attempt at an organized medical librarian chat on Twitter but continued chats are expected. Everyone is invited to join the conversation using the #medlibs hashtag.

Sewell Stipend Available for APHA 2012

Monday, June 18th, 2012

banner for APHA 2012 annual meeting

Librarians with an interest in public health, make this the year you attend the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. Stipends funded by The Grace and Harold Sewell Memorial Fund for this purpose will be awarded to at least 11 librarians in 2012. This year’s APHA meeting will take place in San Francisco, CA from October 27 – 31, 2012. Its theme is Prevention and Wellness Across the Life Span.

Applications are now being accepted. The deadline for application is Friday July 27, 2012, 5pm EST. For more information and an application form, go to

For more information on the 2012 APHA meeting, see

For more information on the Sewell Fund, see

The mission of the Fund is to increase librarians’ identification with medical and health care professionals. Stipends have been awarded annually since 2001.

If you have any questions, please contact Barb Folb directly at or any one of the committee members listed on the website.

Library Student Award Deadline Coming Soon

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Library Student

Know a library student who is interested in learning more about health sciences librarianship and/or health information outreach?  Why not tell them about the NN/LM SCR’s Library Student Outreach Award?  The award provides funding for students to attend the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association (SCC/MLA) Annual Meeting in Lubbock, TX, October 13 – 17, 2012 and participate in meetings, conference sessions and other activities designed for them to learn about the importance of health information outreach and services conducted by librarians in the South Central Region.

Applying is easy but the deadline is June 30th, so get those applications in today!


Meebo Alternatives

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

two empty chat bubbles

For years many libraries have relied upon Meebo as a tool to provide virtual reference services through instant message (IM) chat reference. The free service allowed libraries to respond to chat reference queries from a number of  IM service providers including Yahoo Messenger, MSN, Google Talk, AIM, and many more. Earlier this month Google acquired Meebo and soon after announced that the service will be shutting down as of July 11, 2012.

Many libraries and librarians are now looking into alternative options to continue their IM reference services. While one solution will not work for all, the links below provide an overview of some of the options that exist for library chat and IM service continuity.

Some libraries are looking into paid services such as LibraryH3lp. LibraryH3lp provides chat reference support for libraries and non-profit organizations. Fees for use are based on the size of the population served. Many academic and public libraries are already using services through LibraryH3lp. The company also provides an additional package which supports SMS messaging for libraries that want to engage with users on their mobile devices. Free trials are available.

Another fee based service, LibChat, will soon be provided by Springshare, the makers of LibGuides. The company is currently suggesting that LibChat will work with other Springshare products and services. Pricing information is not currently available.

Additional free chat clients are still available. A few of the featured free services include the following:

Digsby: This service allows users to integrate and manage IM, email, and social networking. Support for AIM, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, and more is provided. This service also helps to manage multiple email accounts and social networking profiles. Download necessary.

IMO: A web-based option, IMO provides support for various IM services as well as social media sites. Download only necessary for mobile version of the service.

Pidgin: An open-source instant messaging client Pidgin has support for many of the most common IM services including AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, and more. Download necessary.

For a full list of recommended services visit: Additional information on services provided at:

Top Tech Trends from MLA 2012

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

2012 marked the sixth Tech Trend Panel at the Medical Library Association (MLA) Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA.  This year’s panel included a variety of speakers and new topics.

google plus logo

Gabe Rios: Google+. Gabe presented on the ins and outs of Google Plus also known as Google+. A show of hands from the audience indicated that most people in the crowd had at least tried to use Google+. Also of note for new users, if you have a gmail account, you can activate your Google+ account and start using it right away. Gabe mentioned the ease of posting to Google+ and the ability to share stories you post with specific groups or “circles” of contacts. Google+ also brings users the ability to host “hangouts” which provide users with group video chat services free of charge.

Additional links:
Google Plus Video
How to Start with Google Plus
Getting Started with Google Plus
Learn More about Google+

Emily Hurst: Tumblr. Emily presented on the ease of use of the microblogging site Tumblr. She pointed out that Tumblr is continuing to see growth and that with easy set up, even first time bloggers will be able to use Tumblr. The benefits of Tumblr come from the ease with which users can repost or reblog posts from accounts they follow. Tumblr can also be integrated into Twitter and Facebook for cross-posting.

To search Tumblr without logging in, try the following: Insert any word in the place of ‘library’ in this link,, to see results for posts tagged with that word. Emily cautioned the group on the wide variety of subjects that can be found in Tumblr.

Tumblr is a great way to share short form information with others. One of the benefits of Tumblr is that it makes posting multimedia very easy by using quick buttons for posting links, text, images, videos and audio. A drawback comes from the lack of commenting ability currently found in Tumblr.

Additional links:
New York Public Library Tumblr Feed
Mashable Tips for Marketing with Tumblr
Jerry Perry’s MLA President Tumblr Page

Kimberley Barker: Near Field Communication. Kimberley provided a great introduction to near field communication and even brought a fun toy to show off the technology. Explaining that near field communication is a subset of RFID (Radio-frequency identification), Kimberley demonstrated how the technology works using the Karotz bunny.

Kartoz rabbit

Using near field communication, the bunny can interact with you in many ways. It can be programed to communicate with you and even alert you to when your children arrive home. Kimberly also provided examples of how this technology will be deployed in healthcare and how it could provide for better patient care and safety in the future.

Additional links:
Karotz Video
Delicious links about near field communication

Michelle Frisque: Big Data. Michelle spoke about the implications of the large data sets that we are seeing created today. Michelle mentioned that creating library spaces that are better suited to working with big data will be important. Having large LCD screens available for researchers is a great way for libraries to start opening their doors to big data researchers. Additionally librarians have skill sets for organizing data which can be beneficial for researchers working with big data.

Eric Schnell: Augmented Reality. Eric spoke about new advances in augmented reality and demonstrated new apps. He also invited attendees to play with some of this new technology. The iPhone/iPad app String allows users to create augmented reality environments and interact with them with ease.

Eric also demonstrated augmented reality programs that are helping medical students learn more about the human body and can even be used to show patients how their surgeries will be performed.

Additional links:
Augmented Reality and Libraries

Fatima Barnes: Web 2.0/Library 2.0. Fatima provided a brief overview of numerous web 2.0 concepts that have shaped library services. Included were concepts such as Flashmob Cataloging and managing online reputations with services such as Social Mention.

Connect with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

social media icon cube

Stay on top of the latest news from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) with this full list of social media links: Not only will you find quick access to Twitter, Facebook, and blog posts from the South Central Region, now you can find links to the social media sites and blogs from other Regions as well as the National Training Center (NTC), Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC), and more.

For a comprehensive list of social media and news links from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) visit

2012 Hurricane Season is Here

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Once againsatellite image of Hurricane Katrina, hurricane season has begun. The official season for the Atlantic begins June 1 and ends November 30. The season for the Eastern Pacific begins slightly earlier on May 15, but also ends on November 30. At this time, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) predicts a “near normal 2012 hurricane season.” For the entire six-month season, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says there’s a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms, of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane and of those one to three will become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4 or 5). Based on the period 1981-2010, an average season produces 12 named storms with six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

Regardless of the predictions, families, communities, and businesses are encouraged to prepare for a potential hurricane. Several organizations offer online resources to assist with these preparations. Some include widgets which can be used on library or other organizational websites to quickly link to valuable information.

Take the necessary steps now to prepare yourself, your home, your family, and your workplace for a potential hurricane BEFORE it happens!

SCR CONNECTions, June 20, 2012

Monday, June 4th, 2012

MLA 2012 banner

Join us Wednesday, June 20, 2012 from 10:30 – 11:30 am (CT) for the NN/LM SCR’s monthly webinar, SCR CONNECTions.

This month’s topic will be “NLM Updates from MLA.” Select highlights from the recent Medical Library Association (MLA) annual  meeting will be covered including recent changes to PubMed, NIHSeniorHealth, DOCLINE, and more. MLA CE will be available for the June SCR CONNECTions.

Webinars are conducted via the Adobe Connect web meeting system. Join the webinar using the following URL:  Once you enter the online meeting room, follow the instructions on the screen to have the system call you on your telephone.

Test your connection before joining with Adobe using the following URL:

This webinar is available for 1 hour of Medical Library Association Continuing Education credit. If you cannot attend the live webinar, it will be recorded and archived for viewing at a later date.