Director’s Viewpoint

What’s in a Name?

Marianne Burke, Dana Medical Library

Marianne Burke, Dana Medical Library

What do the words Circulation or Reference mean to you? A few years ago we took down the large letter signs over the service desks at the front of the Library that said “Circulation” and “Reference”. The terms seemed obscure, especially in a medical library (Circulation, defined as the continuous movement of blood through the heart and blood vessels.)  “Circulation” was where library users checked out and returned books or journal volumes.  “Reference” was the desk with the knowledgeable medical librarian who readily found answers to questions as they arose.

Since research journals, textbooks, and multi-format media are now available on mobile devices and desktops, thousands of downloads of UVM Libraries licensed content are completed each year without a visit to the brick and mortar library. Along with electronic delivery of services (article delivery requests for example), many queries are now answered remotely .

Yet, students, faculty, and clinicians do visit the library every month. They come to the library to study, seek services, find a book, and consult with a librarian (See “Dana Survey asks…” article). In fact, 13,409 items were checked out in FY2015.  As we evaluated services and library use, we learned that most questions, including topic-based collection queries, were answered effectively by the professional staff at the front service desk. Librarians, as liaisons to medical & health science campus departments and education programs, are frequently out of the library.

In January, the front desk (formerly known as Circulation) was officially renamed the Main Desk.  The Reference Desk was taken down, replaced with on-demand librarians for complex queries and research consultation by appointment.  (See Main Desk article.)

Medical libraries are changing, and our names are changing too.  Does the term “reference librarian” still apply without a reference desk? Many academic health science libraries don’t think so.  Depending on their position, librarians are called knowledge managers, research informaticians, information literacy specialists, and informationists.

What do you think? What’s in a name?  Do you prefer the traditional nomenclature and services of the library or can you envision with us an exciting, unfolding future?

Marianne Burke MA AHIP, Library Associate Professor

Director, Dana Medical Library

Library Main Desk helps more than ever

MainDeskImagecropped

Main Desk staff assisting patron

After carefully researching the library literature and conducting wide-ranging discussions among Library faculty and staff, Dana closed and removed its Reference Desk in January. Although the word “Reference” may not be used any longer, an on-demand librarian assistance service is still available through the Main Desk. In addition, the Main Desk now answers a variety of questions. Switching to a single service location maximizes library space and better serves patron needs while becoming the central point for help, information, and services at the Library. Stop at the Main Desk to find an e-journal or get started on a PubMed or CatQuest search on your topic!

Research Support

The Main Desk received an average of 14,000 questions per month during the academic year. In 2015, the Main Desk staff encountered 1,840 reference questions and, in the first quarter of 2016 (January to March), the new single service Main Desk received 662 reference queries. Main Desk staff are now, more than ever, prepared to answer research questions. However, for more in-depth queries, staff can refer you to the on-call librarian.

Assistance from librarians is available on a walk-in basis 10 am to 4 pm each weekday. Or make an appointment on the Library’s webpage. Get focused attention for individual or group research.

Student Curriculum and Technical Support

The Main Desk is also the place to go for curriculum support. Access and place materials on reserve, request articles through electronic article delivery and interlibrary loan, gain support for research, get help with database navigation and reserve group study spaces.  Also, check out books, media and print journals and borrow supplies like ethernet & power cables, standup desks, white boards & markers, and headphones.

Get help with technology for printing, scanning, copying, public computers, wireless access, and referral to external IT support. In addition, the library has a lost and found and can provide emergency cleanup supplies.

Staffed by Lesley Boucher (supervisor), John Printon, Brenda Nelson, Colin McClung and Craig Chalone, with the help of student assistants, the Main Desk is available help you with all your library needs. Contact them at 656-2200 to get started.

Dana Survey asks, Who uses the library for What?

During the last week of February (Feb 23-28), Dana conducted a library survey to determine “Who is using the Dana Library?” and “For what purpose?”. Library faculty and staff distributed surveys to everyone entering the Library for one hour at different times on each day. The survey asked visitors to state why they were using the Library and allowed them to select more than one activity. A total of 268 surveys were distributed with 243 patrons completing the questionnaire. Of those surveyed, 90% (219) came to the library to study or do coursework and many of those individuals used their personal laptops. The following chart reveals more survey details:

WhoGraph

WhatGraph

As the chart above shows, our largest patron group was Medical Students (35%), followed by Other Undergraduate Students (28%). Our lowest Patron Group was UVM Med Center employees (2%). For Purpose of Visit, Study or Coursework (90%) was the most common reason and 70% of patrons preferred to use their laptops as opposed to the library computers.

Dana will use this information to plan programs and services at the Library. We will also compare this information with previous years’ patron studies and map trends in library usage. For more information, contact Donna O’Malley at 656-4415.

Whiteboard Survey: Students Weigh-in on Study Space

Furniture survey image (2)In February, Library staff conducted a whiteboard survey in the space where the Reference Desk once resided. With the removal of the Desk, this empty space was re-claimed as study space, and now it needed furniture! Who better to ask about usable and comfortable furniture than our very own patrons? Library patrons were asked to share their thoughts on the whiteboard to the following two questions:

  1. What kind of furniture would you like in this area? The choices were: Carrels, Lounge Chairs, Lounge Chairs with Laptop Desks, Round Tables, Rectangular Tables
  2. Comments or other suggestions?

The most popular response came from the Comments question. Twenty-one respondents indicated that they would prefer standing desks. The next most popular response was rectangular tables (19), followed by lounge chairs (9) and lounge chairs with desks (8). Only five people wanted to see carrels in this area. No one was a fan of round tables.

Other popular survey suggestions included a fish tank, massage chairs, and kittens and puppies. Another idea was to move all the chairs against the wall from the former Reference area, and fill in the center with tables.

As a result of the survey, we have rearranged the existing furniture as suggested and added another rectangular table. We are in the process of scheduling more visits from Tucker the therapy dog. And we are investigating using our mobile monitor to display a fish tank video when it is not in use elsewhere. Survey feedback will also inform future decisions about purchasing furniture for the Dana Library. As a reminder, the Main Desk has nine portable stand-up desks that can be checked out.

More questions or comments? Contact Lesley Boucher at 656-4404.

Step Exam Resource Trial Results

USMLEimage

The Dana Medical Library and Collections Head Jeanene Light held a trial of the medical step exam USMLE EASY. This question and answer bank is intended to help students prepare for the USMLE licensing examinations.  It contains over 11,000 questions from Step 1, CK Step 2, and Step 3 and allows students to create a study plan, track their progress, and seek remediation from their own personal “dashboard.”

From November 25th to January 25th, 46 people created accounts and looked at this resource.  An equal number of people “sampled” Step 1 tests and Step 3 tests.  No one tried Step 2.

Individuals who created accounts were invited to answer a short survey to evaluate whether this resource was beneficial for USMLE test preparation. We learned, in general, that a high-quality resource would be widely used if made available electronically. Thank you to all the students who evaluated USMLE Easy online, during the two-month trial period and then completed the evaluative survey. For more information on the Trial and Survey, contact Jeanene Light at 656- 0521.

USMLE study guides now circulate longer

In response to survey feedback, the print USMLE study guides can now be checked out for three days, up from two hours. Following the three days, they may be renewed.  For any help with renewals or recalls, contact the Main Desk at 656-2200.

Library Workshops Support Important Systematic Reviews

Gray Lit photo

Systematic reviews are an integral component of evidence-based healthcare, but they can be hard to define. According to the Cochrane Library, a systematic review “is a high-level overview of primary research on a particular research question that tries to identify, select, synthesize and appraise all high quality research evidence relevant to that question in order to answer it.” (http://community-archive.cochrane.org/about-us/evidence-based-health-care) Like all quality research studies, the protocol used to conduct a systematic review must be spelled out in advance to minimize bias and to ensure that the review can be replicated by another group. Because of the rigor involved, systematic reviews can take several months to complete and usually involve two or more researchers. When done correctly, however, they can provide very reliable evidence for health care providers.

A quick search of PubMed shows that approximately 223 healthcare related systematic reviews have been completed here at the University of Vermont and more are ongoing. Some most recent examples of these reviews are on topics like Physiological Genomics (J. Hudziak), Diabetes Research (M. Cushman), Clinical Pediatrics (S. Yeager), and Sports and Health (B. Beynnon). In an effort to support these projects, and other like them, Dana Medical Library offered a series of three systematic review workshops this spring:

  • Introduction to Systematic Reviews – led by Donna O’Malley and Gary Atwood, provided an overview of the elements that make up a systematic review and some of the issues that researchers encounter.
  • Searching for Systematic Reviews – led by Donna O’Malley, showed researchers how to find existing systematic reviews as examples.
  • Going Gray: How to Find Gray Literature – led by Nancy Bianchi and Gary Atwood, outlined the role that gray literature plays in the systematic review process and reviewed potential sources that researchers can search.

The workshops were attended by faculty members, researchers, and students – many of whom are either at the initial stages of their own systematic review or anticipating one in the not too distant future.

Given the positive reaction to this first round of systematic review workshops, the Reference Librarians at Dana hope to offer them again in the future. Of course, researchers can also contact their liaison for help with their own research in the meantime. For more information on workshops at Dana, contact Gary Atwood at 656-4488.

UVM Librarians Collaborate in Peru

FredPeru2

Fred Pond, MLS, in Lima, Peru

Dana Librarian Fred Pond, MLS, recently participated in a professional visit at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), in Lima. Building on a university collaboration which was formed in 2010, Fred & Bailey-Howe Librarian Laurie Kutner spent several days working with librarians at PUCP, discussing building relationships between librarians and teaching faculty.  Specifically, UVM & PUCP librarians worked to enhance access, or discoverability of library information resources, such as databases, journals, books, and research guides, similar to what is available at Dana’s website, Research Guides By Subject. At the end of the visit, Fred & Laurie attended a Latin American Librarian conference, the International Congress of University Libraries (CIBU 2016), held on the PUCP campus. UVM & PUCP librarians will continue to exchange knowledge in the coming year; a follow-up visit may occur in the future, including professional exchanges in other disciplines.

Fred is an acting member of the Dana Library staff through June. He is currently the liaison for the departments of Family Medicine, Surgery, Anesthesiology, and Pharmacies, and has broad interests in Health Sciences, History of Medicine and Vermont History.

Associated webpages:

Pontifical Catholic University of Peru http://www.pucp.edu.pe/en/

International Congress of University Libraries http://congreso.pucp.edu.pe/cibu2016/

Dana’s Research Guides http://researchguides.uvm.edu/dana

Thinking Locally, Acting Globally: Global Health exhibit features UVM

GH Nursing Photo

Health Assessment, Manikganj, Bangladesh

Hundreds of library patrons had an opportunity to learn about global health activities at UVM over the Spring semester. Kate Bright and librarian colleagues at the Dana Medical Library mounted an exhibit focused on global health initiatives with the enthusiastic help of faculty and students throughout the University.

Each of the four panels of the exhibit case highlighted a different global health project, and all panels rotated their displays midway through the semester. The College of Medicine Ebola mission to Liberia and the School of Nursing public health nursing programs in Uganda and Bangladesh opened the exhibit in January. These projects were closely followed by exhibit panels featuring global health research in Anthropology, Women’s Healthcare in Uganda and Tanzania, and Physical Therapy Down Under.

In addition, the exhibit provided the Library with a wonderful opportunity to display many of its new books on global health as well as to remind patrons of the availability of the Global Health database in its collection. The closing of the Library exhibit coincided quite nicely with a celebration of World Health Day on April 7, 2016.

Please check Dana’s website for the January to March segment of Thinking Locally, Acting Globally: Global Health at UVM. Questions? Please contact Kate Bright at 656-0695.

New NLM Exhibit on the History of Drugs and Addiction at Dana

PYPPoster5exhibition

Crack is Wack playground mural, Keith Haring, 1986. Courtesy Keith Haring Foundation and Jonathan Kuhn/New York City Parks & Recreation

In May and June, The Dana Medical Library will host the National Library of Medicine Traveling Exhibition Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions.

Mind-altering drugs have been used throughout the history of America. While some remain socially acceptable, others are outlawed because of their toxic, and intoxicating, characteristics. These classifications have shifted at different times in history, and will continue to change. The transformation of a particular drug, from an acceptable indulgence to a bad habit, or vice versa, is closely tied to the intentions of those endorsing its use, and their status in society. This exhibition explores some of the factors that have shaped the changing definition of some of our most potent drugs, from medical miracle to social menace. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/pickyourpoison/exhibition-introduction.html

This exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health. For more information, contact Kate Bright at 656-0695.