Library Workshops Support Important Systematic Reviews

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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.

Print Journals on the Move

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Beginning August 7th, over 1,300 linear feet of print journals has been packed up and transferred out of the Dana Medical Library. Why? You may ask.

The Dana Medical Library is, increasingly, home to electronic journals…thousands of them, in fact, and increasingly, students and researchers prefer the convenience and 24/7 access of ejournals over print.

What hasn’t changed, though, is the continuing desire and need for library space- individual, quiet study, collaborative group study, and classrooms – for a variety of teaching and learning activities.

To that end, the University Libraries recently licensed extensive collections of electronic “backfiles” of those titles that were not originally available in electronic form before the years dating approximately 1986-1995.

These purchases made it possible for the Library to transfer many hundreds of titles out of the library to remote storage areas, or to give them away to other libraries. Before they were earmarked for transfer, though, staff performed a careful examination to compare the print and electronic titles for the following elements:

  • All print content available in electronic format
  • All charts, illustrations and graphics legible
  • All supplements and added materials included
  • Format of content- PDF or HTML or both?
  • Editorial staff directories included
  • Advertisements and Announcements included

The electronic content was found to be acceptable in almost all backfiles evaluated. The only content that was regularly omitted was the last element- advertisements and announcements of upcoming meetings and conferences. Since that last information has a short “shelf life” of relevant interest, this seemed a reasonable trade-off to gain both physical space in the crowded library and provide additional electronic content to our users.

In the next few years Dana Medical Library will see many changes to its physical space to accommodate the diverse ways people in the health sciences learn, study and research. Making room for these changes by moving to an increasingly electronic environment is the first step in this exciting evolution of libraries.

For more information on the Library’s journal shift, contact Jeanene Light at (802) 656-0521.


Isn’t All Learning “Active Learning?”

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Students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine engaged in group work

If you do anything related to education, you have probably heard of the term “active learning”. People write books and articles about it. They give presentations extolling its benefits. If you search for active learning in Google, you’ll get over 265,000 results. It seems like active learning is everywhere, but what does it really mean?

When people talk about active learning, they are usually referring to a style of teaching where students are encouraged to engage with the material they are studying in some manner. Students usually do this through reading, writing, talking, listening, and reflecting in some way with course content. For example, a teacher might have students work on a case study to see how they would apply concepts they have read about. There are several other active learning strategies that can be used in addition to case studies such as discussion groups, role-playing, and journal writing. Ultimately, the goal is to move away from a scenario where the teacher spends the whole class lecturing, while students passively sit and listen.

The new Larner Classroom at Dana Medical Library is being built to accommodate 120 students at small tables optimizing the team-based or active learning philosophy. The space will feature flexible furniture to support a variety of learning configurations, multiple projection screens, an advanced video and sound system, and active acoustics to accommodate both small and large groups.

Incorporating active learning into a class takes planning and time, but the results are usually worth it. Studies have shown that students in active learning classes learn and retain more information, participate more in class, and do better overall in terms of grades. Teachers usually report that they benefit from active learning too. After all, what more could a teacher ask for then to have a class full of engaged and successful students?

Nationally Normed Survey Highlights Student and Faculty Success at Dana

LibQUAL_Logo_100px_highIn April 2013 the Dana Medical Library and Bailey-Howe Library made the LIbQual+ Survey available to UVM and Fletcher Allen faculty, staff, and students. Thank you to the 942 individuals who completed the survey.

The Dana Medical Library is committed to providing high quality medical and health sciences information and services to our patrons. One tool available to libraries for assessing service quality is the LibQual+ Survey. The U.S. Association for Research Libraries developed and rigorously tested this web-based survey. It has been used by more than 1,200 libraries, including University of Massachusetts, Northeastern University, University of Connecticut, University of Rhode Island, and SUNY Stony Brook.

The survey asked for patrons to indicate their minimum acceptable service level, their desired service level, and the level of service they perceive for 22 attributes.

The three attributes that Dana Library patrons were most satisfied with were:

  1. Employees who are consistently courteous
  2. Willingness to help users
  3. Readiness to respond to users’ questions.

Dana Library patrons indicated that their three most desired service attributes are:

  1. Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work
  2. The electronic information resources I need
  3. Making electronic resources accessible from my home or office

Mean scores for Dana Library services exceeded the minimum acceptable service level for all 22 attributes, including the three most desired attributes listed above.

Dana Medical Library also has data from its 2009 LibQual+ survey. Almost all scores were higher in 2013, but two specific changes stand out. First, survey results from 2013 indicated an increased score for “Employees who have the knowledge to answer user questions.” Second, the scores for “Community space for group learning and group study,” while not large in 2009 or 2013, were higher in 2013.

Stay tuned for Dana Library’s plans to use the data from the 2013 LibQual+ Survey, including information gleaned from survey comments.

Donna O’Malley, MLS
donna.omalley@uvm.edu

Top Dana Research Guides for 2013

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Research guides developed by Dana Librarians help you find key resources for your area of interest. Some guides focus on a clinical specialty, while others focus on types of resources, such as mobile apps or study guides. The Mobile Apps subject guide was the most popular subject guide on the Dana website in FY’13. See a full list of research guides for health sciences here (http://researchguides.uvm.edu/dana).

Top Dana Subject Guides (July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013)

Subject Guide

Views

Mobile Apps

4125

Nursing Resources for Clinical Practice

3061

Anatomy of a Scholarly Journal Article

2855

Clinical Care

1973

USMLE Study Guides

1461

Family Medicine

1391

Endnote and EndNote Web

1048

Anesthesiology

1023

CNHS Student Survey Results: “The atmosphere focuses me….”

In the spring of 2013, Librarians Frances Delwiche and Gary Atwood surveyed students in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS). The eleven-question survey asked students about how they spent their time in the library as well as their level of satisfaction with library space, services and resources. Generally speaking, results show that CNHS students have a very positive view of the physical library and the resources and services that are offered.

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Students were also asked to submit comments about the library. One of the major themes to emerge from these comments is the idea of the library as a refuge for serious study. In many cases, students cited specific attributes like the “comfy chairs” or the study tables as factors that contributed to this sentiment. Others referred to more intangible factors such as the lighting or the “sense of openness.” Students were equally pleased with the library’s resources with several mentioning online journals and e-books as important. They were also complimentary about library services such as the “incredibly helpful and patient” librarians at the Reference Desk and the staff who are, “ALWAYS willing to help.”

You know you mean business when you walk in. No messing around at the Dana. You can always get work done there.

Even when students did register complaints, they were usually tied to something that they liked about the library. In other words, students would cite a positive library characteristic and then request more of the same when asked about what they would change. Several respondents, for example, stated that they preferred to use the individual study carrels located near the back of the library and wished that they library would install more to ensure availability. From the library’s point of view, this is actually a very positive statement, because it shows that we are providing access to resources that students need and want to use.

Although we only heard from a sample of CNHS students, the results were very important. They show that the library is having a positive impact by providing students with a space conducive to serious study and the resources and services to help them complete their work. Of course, they also show areas where we need to continue improving, which we are committed to doing in the months and years ahead.

Gary Atwood, MSLIS
gary.atwood@uvm.edu

Technology Upgrades for the Library Classroom

Over the winter break many technological upgrades were made to the projector, screen and podium in the Library Classroom in order to improve the teaching and learning experience. Students will now have a larger screen that is clearer and easier to read, and instructors will be able to project content from their favorite devices, including tablets and laptops. All technological changes were made with a focus on flexibility. Good teaching and learning happens in a variety of modalities and environments, so having spaces that are flexible enough to accommodate those differences was a priority in planning the upgrades.

Most noticeable is the now very large screen. A new Eiki screen, 87 X 139 inches, or 164 inches diagonally, was installed. The larger screen is more visible from the back of the room and displays a clearer image.

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The library classroom under construction.

The old projector was replaced with a new, significantly brighter projector, making the images projected onto the screen crisper and more detailed than before. The new projector can also project HD 1080p quality video in wide screen format, which makes it compatible with DVD movies and wide-screen PowerPoint presentations. It is also much more flexible than the old projector, and can accommodate other devices, such as tablets.

The electronics in the podium, except for the computer, have been completely upgraded. The VCR has been removed and a new DVD player that is capable of reading multiple formats (DVD Video/MP3/WMA/WAV, etc.) has been added. In addition, instructors can now plug in devices that are HDMI compatible (such as the iPad) in addition to just the standard VGA. Finally, there is a new Crestron touch screen control panel to run all of the technology in the podium. The new electronics in the podium can also be expanded to adapt to new technology, which will give instructors greater flexibility going forward.

Dana also obtained a new Sharp 55″ High Definition flat panel monitor mounted on a movable cart so that it can be moved from room to room as needed. Instructors and students can plug their laptops into the panel and display what is on their laptop on the monitor. Dana librarians foresee using this set up with smaller groups of people when the big screen would be too overwhelming.

As classes settle into this new space, Dana education librarian, Gary Atwood, who oversaw the project, will be surveying instructors and students alike for feedback on these technological improvements.

Laura Haines, MLS
laura.haines@uvm.edu

Thanks for Another Great Funding to Publication Series

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Hilda Alajajian presents Finding Grant Opportunities: The Search Process

Mid October represents a lot of things. The leaves are falling. Cooler weather is coming. It also marks the end of another great Funding to Publication series. Funding to Publication is a series of workshops that focus on different aspects of the research process such as tools for finding research, sources of funding, and publication strategies. This year 57 people attended one or more of the workshops, which represents an increase of 42% over last year’s series. In fact, so many people signed up for two workshops (Advanced EndNote and Sources and Databases Beyond PubMed) that we had to add a third day to fit everyone in! Thank you to everyone who attended the workshops and for your help in making it such a great experience for everyone involved. If you missed any part of the series, take a look at its site, http://danaguides.uvm.edu/research2013, for class content and supplemental materials.

Although the Funding to Publication series is over, there are still lots of workshops being offered between now and December. For example, you can learn some new tricks on using images in PowerPoint in the “An Image is Worth a Thousand Words” workshop. Additional topics include EndNote, Google Scholar, The Cochrane Library, and a great session on creating posters. You can find a list of the workshops and when they’ll be offered on the Schedule of Library Workshops page.  How to Stay Up to Date: Alerts, Preparing Posters, and Introduction to Google Scholar are new selections alongside popular standards such as Advanced EndNote and Beyond PubMed.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Please let us know. We’re always looking for great ideas for future workshops.

Gary Atwood, MSLIS
gary.atwood@uvm.edu

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