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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

Archive for June, 2013

Beyond the SEA: July 17, 2013 – HSLANJ Group Licensing Initiative: What’s the Buzz?

Friday, June 14th, 2013

July 17, 2013

Time: Noon to 1:00PM (EDT)

Presenter: Robert T. Mackes, Executive Director, The Health Sciences Library Association of New Jersey
Robb is the Executive Director of the Health Sciences Library Association of New Jersey (HSLANJ), and has been project manager for the HSLANJ Group Licensing Initiative (GLI) since 2010. Robb holds a Masters Degree in Library Science from Kutztown University, Pennsylvania, is a distinguished member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals, and has been a medical librarian in New Jersey and Delaware for 20 years. Prior to managing the HSLANJ GLI, he was project manager for the Delaware Medical Information Resources Alliance, an initiative of the Delaware Academy of Medicine, and managed several health sciences libraries in hospitals in New Jersey. Robb has been involved in HSLANJ, MLA, Hospital Libraries Section, and the NYNJ and Philadelphia Chapters for many years. Later this year, HSLANJ has plans to exhibit at both MACMLA (Pittsburgh, PA) and Southern Chapter MLA (Ridgeland, MS). Among Robb’s achievements are the Medical Library Association’s Thomson Reuters Frank Bradway Rogers Information Advancement Award, the Health Sciences Library Association of New Jersey Librarian of the Year, and the Hospital Libraries Section Leadership Award.

HSLANJ Group Licensing Initiative: What’s the Buzz?
With support from the National Network of Libraries – Southeastern Atlantic Region (SE/A), HSLANJ is conducting a group licensing pilot within the region ending in April2014. HSLANJ has a tradition and is a strong leader in group licensing of electronic resources strictly for hospital libraries mostly in the mid-Atlantic area; with SE/A support it is anticipated that HSLANJ will fill an important niche for hospital libraries throughout our region. For over 11 years, it has been providing access to high quality, knowledge-based resources, saving hospital libraries between 10% and 90% compared to the cost of licensing the same resources on their own. During these tight economic times, many libraries are seeing flat budgets, at best, or more likely, rapidly shrinking budgets, while librarians are being tasked with maintaining the same level of service as they did in prior years. The HSLANJ Group Licensing Initiative strives to help the librarian make the right purchasing choices for their hospitals, at a more affordable price.

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What We Learned: MLA13 – Posters, posters, and more posters

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

By David Midyette, Outreach and Communications Coordinator, NN/LM, SE/ A Region

Despite having gone to professional meetings for many years, this was my first time preparing and presenting a poster (a VERY big thanks to my co-authors Andrew Youngkin and Sheila Snow-Croft).


I have long been a lurker at poster sessions, scanning the aisles for snippets of wisdom and clues as to what types of research or applications were being conducted and developed. My problems with posters have always been that there is generally limited space for them and that if you miss the session, then you miss the poster because they are so ephemeral. At MLA13, there was an enormous area devoted to posters and they were available throughout the conference. This made the experience far more rewarding because you could explore new ideas during exhibit hall hours without having to rush, although, I did spy more than a few folks taking photos of posters with their smart devices for later examination. I knew I wanted to write this blog post on the topic, so I followed suit and have attached some of the images.

Posters as a presentation format are particularly appealing because they are far more interactive than a paper presentation. The ability to speak directly to individual interests, needs, and concerns makes them an exceptionally valuable experience. Many institutions are now including them in institutional repositories to add to the collective knowledge and experience of the institution. The HS/HSL here does the same thing. ( ) Given the fleeting and primarily conversational nature of the format, it will be interesting to see if a more direct archiving of the information will change the information landscape.

The MLA13 posters were truly broad in scope given the international and cross-disciplinary nature of the conference. The variety of topics within the larger realm of health sciences was amazing. It was particularly interesting to see the inclusion of veterinary health information as it applied to zoonoses and the intersection of animal and human health. However, the majority of posters focused on topics related to library practice in the health sciences. Several posters stood out based on my interests in systematic reviews (SRs), social media, and library services.

Some of the more notable SR posters include:


Poster 53 by Elaine Garrett looked at overlap in content retrieved during a SR search to see if the search protocol could be streamlined and made more efficient.


Poster 107 by Mala Mann, et al, presented a concise overview of the steps in the SR process in relation to an actual query on reducing unplanned hospital admissions.


Poster 110 by Ellen Justice, et al, examined the role of hospital librarians in the SR process.

Social media posters also dealt with a range of topics from overload to archiving to policies to usage:


Poster 91 by Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, et al, looked at managing multiple twitter accounts at an NLM division, and concluded that reusing tweets helped them improve workflows and provide even coverage.


Poster 87 by Alexandra Gomes, et al, examined the intersection of social media and professionalism in first year medical students with the goal of developing social media policies to help guide the students in their development.

Library services posters encompassed a wide variety, but some of the more unusual ones included:


Poster 99 by Ann Farrell, et al, focused on getting their library employees to stand up and move rather than sitting at their desks as part of a wellness program at their institution.


Poster 148 by Sandra Bandy and Kim Mears covered their 20 year analysis of membership data from the Southern Chapter, concluding that professional membership is valuable and that there is room for improving.


Poster 63 by Brenda Seago, et al, provided a rather detailed look at the complexities of merging and reorganizing a health science library with an academic library.

Overall, the posters were truly enlightening and I was very glad to have the opportunity to explore them in greater depth over a longer period of time. One final thought is that the number and quality of posters from the SE/A region was exceptional!

What We Learned: MLA13 – Consumer Health and the Power of Storytelling

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

by Terri Ottosen, Consumer Health Coordinator, NN/LM, SE/A Region

Attending the annual meeting of MLA is a ritual replete with social and intellectual experiences. These experiences help to reenergize and stimulate thinking about our profession, and about how we can bring new ideas back and put them into practice. One particular theme seemed to dominate conversations and presentations at the many programs and meetings I attended, the idea of storytelling.  

Richard Besser, ABC News’s senior health and medical editor, gave the John P. McGovern Award Lecture entitled, “Life on Two Sides of the Camera: The Role of Media in Shaping Health.”  He talked about the need to distill large and sometimes overwhelming health news into bite-sized television stories that were compelling, yet also relayed important facts, statistics, and information important to the public. He said that oftentimes he was lucky to get a full minute on air, which led him to construct stories differently than might be done otherwise. Instead of a recitation of statistics or facts, he told stories that illustrated the impact of the particular health concern using very few words that were heartfelt, emotional, and personally compelling.

For example, Dr. Besser showed a clip from the ABC World News that he did on children and brain injuries from football and other sports. In this clip, we saw a boy meet his football hero after suffering a head injury. Yes, it was emotional, but it carried the message in a way that made the most impact on viewers, rather than a recitation of the dangers of playing sports for children. The power of the story is not only the drama, but also the ability to get a message across that is relatable and carries great impact.

Other presentations and papers brought the idea home about how we, as librarians, can use the power of storytelling in our professional lives. When you think of consumer health, consumer engagement, and health care, it is important that we incorporate the principles of telling a health story to engage our patrons and our constituencies rather than a recitation of circulation statistics and reference request tallies. Instead of telling our administrators that we answered 50 consumer health questions last month, we should highlight a few stories about the personal side of those requests.

An illustration of this concept might be to tell the story of a patient unable to afford treatment for an anxiety disorder that you were able to help simply by pointing them to a directory of treatment centers using a sliding scale for payment. This may be a relatively small thing to an information professional, but to that individual it may mean the difference between existing and thriving. Think about those small victories you experience regularly in your library. How can you use those to highlight the important work you do for your institutions? How can your story be told to capture the attention of the decision-makers?

Increasingly, many fields in health care are recognizing the importance and power of storytelling. A recent article on emphasizes why storytelling still matters in a high-tech world. ( Arguably, it is probably even more important to relate technology developments in consumer health on a personal level. What is the value of technology if it is not to improve the lives of individuals? There are examples in the literature and on the web in many areas of business and public health in which experts are urging the use of story to enlighten and educate.

One particular blog of interest is called “Storlietelling: Inspiration, Ideas & Inroads for Health.” ( The author writes in her bio that she brings her professional training in nutrition and fitness with her experience in marketing to “translate the complexity of health into motivating communications and programs…connecting the dots between these worlds to breathe meaning into health communications.” This concept is definitely something to think about when we are trying to breathe life into communicating what we do every day to help consumers or health professionals to tell their story and ours.

What I learned at MLA 2013 – Sheila Snow-Croft

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Sheila Snow-Croft, Public Health Coordinator, NN/LM SE/A Region

My initial response to the task at hand, sharing what I learned at this year’s conference, is to discuss logistics. I learned that if one belongs to 3 sections and 2 SIGs, one cannot attend all of the necessary meetings. This year this was because they were all scheduled at the same time. As incoming Chair, I attended the EMTS meeting but had to miss both the Public Health and Relevant Issues sections’ and the LGBT SIG’s meetings. At least the new Health Disparities SIG met for lunch on Sunday, rather than during a properly slated time block, with the added benefit of some delicious Thai food. Shameless plug: anyone with any interest in addressing health disparities should consider joining this dynamic group.

Another logistical reality that I learned at MLA is that I cannot adequately tweet, read tweets, and pay attention to speakers and sessions. I enjoy social networking, but without a full sized keyboard it simply takes too much time and attention for me to try and tweet. I found myself missing good parts while going back over what had just been said, reading the same quotation from many different tweeters, and experiencing some frustration because I knew I was missing what was happening in real time. After the first few tries I went old school and just sat back and listened and learned and immensely enjoyed the speakers and discussions.

One session that stood out for me was the John P. McGovern Award Lecturer: Dr. Richard Besser, ABC Chief Health & Medical Editor. He spoke of his impressive career, including being Director of the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response at the CDC and his work with disasters, including being awarded the Surgeon General’s Medallion for leadership during the H1N1 response. His career path was interesting, as he had never planned to be a reporter or to work in a high profile position such as his spot at ABC, which includes spots on Good Morning America, World News with Diane Sawyer, and Nightline. The stories of his work in public health and at the CDC were fascinating, as was his current role explaining major events and health emergencies while trying to keep an audience’ attention and not be too depressing – usually in a minute to a minute and a half of airtime. As I listened and watched his clips of ABC news spots, I read tweets where colleagues were asserting that his information was not relevant to librarians. I could not disagree more: my previous degrees in English dictate that I believe in the power of storytelling.  Dr. Besser explained, with examples, how he makes information interesting and tries to keep people listening enough that perhaps they will truly pay attention and learn something. This is the heart of what we do: what good is information if it is not shared? And what better skill to have than the ability to share our stories succinctly and well?  I was inspired and entertained and I learned things, and that’s all I can ask of any conference session. 

Last updated on Tuesday, Nov 8, 2016

Funded under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012340 with the University of Maryland, Health Sciences and Human Services Library, and awarded by the DHHS, NIH, National Library of Medicine.