Notes from the blogosphere

Foto: Hoellisch / Photocase

Quite a lot happened in the Medical Librarians Blogosphere since the last issue of this column – as well professionally as personally. Besides hundreds of individual blogs from medical librarians, there were only a handful “official” ones, inaugurated by professional organizations to announce and discuss professional topics in the members. The MLA comes with two official blogs which are worth watching. MLA president Mark Funk reports in his blog Only Connect! irregularly on his presidential duties, travels, and experiences in the office.[1] Secondly, the Task Force on Social Networking Software (SNSTF)[2], started a blog working on Web 2.0 software, suggested guidelines for MLA units or members wanting to collaborate via social software like. SNSTF is discussing hot themes like “Is staying current even possible?” and “love to hear your comments / nightmares / opinions on keeping up with 2.0 technology”.[3] For me it was a big relief to hear that even the technophile and most modern Americans librarians suffer from the rapid changes in our professional environment… The SNSTF did a survey of MLA members’ use and attitude towards Web 2.0. About 500 responded, and many claimed that some important web2.0 sites or applications are being blocked at their hospital due to tight security rules and firewalls. The results are made public as a 19 pages PDF full of charts.[4] The SNSTF concluded: “It is clear from the survey that new social networking technologies are important to MLA members, but only up to a point. While MLA members understand that these technologies may be important, they do not always see a personal or professional use in them (yet!).” [5]

Nearly unnoticed by the public, two blogs dedicated to medical library conferences were founded. They intend to provide information and news on the conferences, their organization, venues, social attractions, as well as topics and speakers way before they started. One could get a lot of insights and ideas long before (and after) the few days of the event itself. Take a look and be sure to leave some comments!

– 10th International Congress on Medical Librarianship, Brisbane, Australia[6]
– 11th European Conference of Medical and Health Libraries, Helsinki, Finland[7]

I’m fearing having to change my preferences, as my favourite blogger, The Krafty Librarian,[8] who regularly provides me with important news, details, and thoughts, is leaving her job.[9] Even though it isn’t yet clear, if the new job permits her to keep on blogging, I’m still anxious that this valuable source of information could dry out and nobody would point me ever again to exciting news such as “Librarians can help decrease hospital length of stay”[10] or “Are College Students Techno Idiots?”[11].

David Rothman is one of the most indefatigable bloggers around, and as a result his blog – Exploring Medical Librarianship and Web Geekery is the only one who is ranked in the top 10 healthcare blogs worldwide.[12] Congratulations! However, David recently suffered a spontaneous pneumothorax[13] and had slow down blogging for some time. Now – back again at his job – he feeled seriously pooped.[14] Nevertheless, his personal experience taught us much about thoracic surgery and NEJM videos on chest-tube insertion[15] as well as the benefits of the generous use of anaesthesia and conscious sedation.

Viewing at the medical librarian bloggership from a distance, one could get easily excited about their splendid variety. Not two share a common scope, each one express his or her own unique motivation, is written in a personal and characteristic way. For example, Krafty is writing from the essential day-to-day needs of a medical librarian, David collects all information sources one could imagine, Guus[16] will tell us everything on Second Life, and I posts everything what I think a German medical librarian ought to know.[17]

The blog of T.Scott[18] is unique in a different way. The MLA board member and former chief editor of the JMLA writes very personally and vivaciously about his life, wife, grandchild, playing in a band, loosing his hat – everything. When he writes about the profession, one really has to pay attention, because nobody is thinking so profoundly and thoughtfully as he does. A look at his two last blog entries may serve as a proof. Ethical boundaries for medical librarians[19] or Debating OA at the Charleston conference[20] contains many things like “libraries will become more marginalized in higher education institutions“, „there are plenty of potential hazards along the way [to Open Access]“, or „I don’t want to hear anymore about what we need to do to make ourselves relevant so that our libraries can survive“. First it’s amazing and even embarrasing, but then … I love the thought provoking kind of T.Scott quite much. It’s absolutely essential to get to know what really moves us.




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