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

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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

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-demand 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 to 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.

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.

Information Overload? Make a Resource Guide YOUR Portal to the Library

infooverloadA wide variety of people use the Dana Library website: clinicians, researchers, educators, graduate students, medical students, and undergraduates. That means that there is a LOT of information wrapped up in one Web site. Do you want JUST the links that you need? We have a solution.

Librarians have created specialized individual web pages (called Research Guides) that can be used as portals to just the information you need. Only want clinical information? Try the Clinical Care research guide (http://danaguides.uvm.edu/clinicalcare). Only need Pediatrics resources? Check out the Pediatrics guide (http://danaguides.uvm.edu/Pediatrics).

All of these guides have unique, easy to remember URLs that can be bookmarked or made into an icon for a desktop. Use one of these guides instead of the Dana Library home page. That way, you don’t have to continue to sift through the many pages on Dana’s site looking for what you want. For example, nurses at FAHC have put the FAHC Nursing Resources guide (http://danaguides.uvm.edu/fahcnurses) on the nursing hub on FAHC’s intranet while residents at Milton Family Practice have put an icon on resident computer desktops linking directly to the Family Medicine guide (http://danaguides.uvm.edu/familymedicine).

Go to http://danaguides.uvm.edu/ to browse research guides already created by Dana librarians. If you can’t find what you are looking for, consider contacting the librarian assigned to your department, program or subject area (see http://library.uvm.edu/dana/about/staff/specialist.php) to request a research guide tailored to the needs of your department or program.

In fact, the best way to have useful resource guides is to give input; contact librarians directly with your ideas or leave comments on the guides themselves. We welcome all of your comments and suggestions and hope you will help us make these tools as useful as possible!

New Book Highlights

The UVM Libraries’ new book list is updated weekly. Subscribe via RSS feed to subjects that interest you. (Find subject categories listed here, RSS Feed available once in a subject area.)

Descriptive psychopathology : the signs and symptoms of behavioral disorders by Taylor, Michael Alan, 1940- (Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2009) WM 141 T244d 2009

“Provides a broad review of the psychopathology of psychiatric illness, beyond the limitations of the DSM and ICD criteria.” Publisher description

Deep brain stimulation : a new treatment shows promise in the most difficult cases by Talan, Jamie. (New York : Dana Press, 2009) WB 495 T137d 2009

“There are disorders that defy treatment with prescribed pharmaceuticals: a man’s hands shake so hard that he cannot hold anything; a woman is mired in severe, inescapable depression; or a child falls into severe epileptic seizures. For these patients and others, an alternative is emerging for when pharmaceuticals fail: deep brain stimulation. More than 30,000 people worldwide undergo this treatment each year, and with this volume, Jamie Talan and Richard Firstman explain this cutting-edge medical development that may hold the key to unlocking some of medicine’s most bewildering mysteries. Deep brain stimulation primarily consists of implanting electrodes in the brain that are connected to a device similar to a pacemaker. Talan and Firstman describe the ways in which deep brain stimulation has produced promising results in the treatment of numerous diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease, depression, and Tourette’s syndrome. The book also features compelling profiles of patients who have been helped through the treatment, including a trauma patient, once barely conscious, who can now talk, walk, and eat on his own; and a young man whose obsessive-compulsive disorder had left him housebound, but who is now married and holding a steady job. In addition, the authors introduce us to the doctors and scientists who pursue pioneering research and outline the possibilities that their most recent work holds for treating Alzheimer’s Disease and for stroke rehabilitation—as well as the ethical issues that have arisen in the course of their work. A fascinating and timely investigation,Deep Brain Stimulation reveals the exciting possibilities for restoring a richer life to the sufferers of diseases long thought to be incurable.” Publisher description

cogcancerCognition and cancer (Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2008) QZ 266 C676 2008

“This book is a unique resource on the influence cancer and cancer treatments have on cognition. The majority of cancer patients on active treatment experience cognitive impairments often referred to as ‘chemobrain’ or ‘chemofog’. In addition, patients with primary or metastatic tumors of the brain often experience direct neurologic symptoms.

This book helps health care professionals working with cancer patients who experience cognitive changes and provides practical information to help improve care by reviewing and describing brain-behavior relationships; research-based evidence on cognitive changes that occur with various cancers and cancer treatments; assessment techniques, including neurocognitive assessment and neuroimaging techniques; and intervention strategies for affected patients. In short, it will explain how to identify, assess and treat these conditions.” Publisher description

Personal Health Tools

floss1Ever wonder about the proper way to floss your teeth? The personal health tools at healthfinder.gov can show you how to floss, assess your risk of diabetes or calculate how much you spend on alcohol each month.

healthfinder.gov is a government Web site that presents health information and tools for individual use, either for yourself or a loved one. According to the site’s description it “has resources on a wide range of health topics selected from over 1,600 government and non-profit organizations to bring you the best, most reliable health information on the Internet.”

One of the most interesting sections of the site contains a variety of personal health tools, “free interactive tools to check your health, get personalized advice, and keep track of your progress.” A great place to start is the MyHealthfinder, which offers you several tools of interest based on your age and gender [information provided byU.S. Preventive Services Task Force].

While MedlinePlus is still the gold standard in consumer health information, it often works best when you approach it with a particular topic in mind. On the other hand, if you are looking for personalized general wellness information, either for yourself or your patients, healthfinder.gov is a great place to start.

Floss those pearly whites! by /*dave*/ used in accordance with the Creative Commons license.

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