Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00000058/00001
 Material Information
Title: Change
Physical Description: Journal Article
Language: English
Creator: Bushhousen, Ellie
Publisher: Ellie Bushhousen
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: November 2009
Funding: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Mary Bushhousen.
Publication Status: Published
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: Permissions granted to the University of Florida Institutional Repository and University of Florida Digital Collections to allow use by the submitter. All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00000058:00001


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Ellie Bushhousen, Health Science Center Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville,


As the new editor of the Web column in the Journal of Hospital Librarianship, I am

asking you, the reader, to explore change with me and other librarians. All around us, change

impacts everything we see and do. The tools of the information-based world (cell and smart

phones, computers, electronic book readers, etc.) are ubiquitous and methods of

communicating in this world (texting, tweeting, friending, etc.) threaten to put us in a state of

information fatigue or information anxiety. The hospital librarian can be a welcome harbor in

today's maelstrom of information. Whether it is a person receiving a diagnosis, a researcher

collaborating with colleagues, or the chief of the hospital preparing a presentation for the

hospital's board of directors, finding and evaluating quality information is key to successful

outcomes. How can the hospital librarian fulfill these information needs in an efficient manner?

Knowing what resource or database provides useful answers and guiding a patron in that

direction is at the heart of each reference transaction. Health care professionals and staff

prefer using electronic resources and data, and the average health care consumer is becoming

more at ease using online resources as well. This is why this publication is important. Within

these pages are accounts of librarians in a wide array of hospital, medical and academic

libraries, sharing their experiences in providing information services and exploring new ways to

reach health information consumers.

The Journal of Hospital Librarianship is a forum for hospital librarians and information

professionals to share their expertise, experience, and research with others about the many

facets of this profession. The Web column is the place to highlight your efforts to make your

facility's online information experience rewarding and enjoyable. Have you found a new way to

spotlight leading researchers at your hospital? Have you identified resources that would be of

use to hospital administrators and placed them on your website? Have you partnered with your

information technology (IT) staff to discover ways to keep your library's website secure yet

user-friendly? Today's economic climate has everyone thinking of ways to work smarter and

more efficiently. How are you weathering the current economic downturn yet keeping your

website presence fresh and exciting? Hospital librarians are resourceful and are finding safe and

useful ways to provide information services. M. Sandra Wood says, "To remain relevant to their

users, libraries must provide services that users want and will use." (1) Meredith G. Farkas

echoes this sentiment, saying, "It's important to be aware of the tools your patrons use to see if

you can provide services using the same tools." (2)

The World Wide Web is an information lifeline for hospital librarians, offering an array

of portals, databases, and news feeds from which the librarian can select what best suits a

hospital's patrons. But, there's a catch. Does utilizing web-based resources put the hospital's

Internet connection at risk of exposure to unknown dangers? There is a reason a malicious

software program is called a "virus." With uncanny rapidity, a computer virus can spread and

"infect" an entire computer network, wreaking havoc on a formerly stable system. An innocent

online search by a hospital librarian to locate an updated news report for a physician might lead

to a Trojan horse virus riding piggy-back in the feed. It is no wonder IT department personnel

are protective of their systems.

Hospital librarians know that providing their patrons with a steady supply of timely and

accurate information benefits everyone. Finding new methods or enhancing current practices

can be daunting, especially if the hospital library has a staff of one. As information professionals

we must stay abreast of new methods and tools that may assist or enhance information

delivery. The Medical Librarian Association (MLA) created a Task Force on Social Networking

Software in 2007 to monitor developments and potential use of social networking tools in its

own organization. (3) It is also critical to understand your patrons. A brief communication in

the July 2004 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association describes how the authors

examined hospital and library websites in a five state region. The authors' goals were to study

"...if, and how effectively, selected hospitals and libraries are meeting consumer health

information needs and expectations." (4) The readers of this Web column want to learn

different or better ways to move information.

So, are hospital librarians using social networking applications on their websites, and, if

so, how? Below are two health science libraries, (the first is part of a university system and the

second belongs to a hospital), that have made the effort to incorporate simple social software

applications on their websites.

Becker Blogs Keeping the Medical School Community Informed

Becker Medical Library now publishes several blogs for the Washington Unrversity
School of Mediccine ommrnity. Bioggig proudes another way we communicate with
our users to promote library services and programs, publish news items of interest to .
segments of our user comnmuniy, add libranrn commentary, and provide a forum for
discussion and comments from cur users.
The Becker biogs are written and maintained by Becker Medical Library personnel. The
dynamic nature of blogs allows easy and frequent updating, provedinrg a fleoxe format
by which the staff can deliver news and information to users. All Hecker blogs allow
uster to subtcnbe va RSS feeds (or e-mail alerts) so that you can be alerted when lnw
items are posted.
We mlkvts you to visit:
3 BwoinformaticsiBecker Q presenting information about classes, programs and
initiatives from the Bhoinformatics team at Becker Medical Library. Editor Kristi
Hoamet, PhO, posts items that covwe a range of topKs related to bioinformabtcts
bocemrmstry, genorncs, and resources aimed at biological and bioendcal science a
4 Databasesol cker f featunng up-to-date information about the Database
ReourcL s avadblet at Becker Medcal Litbrry, Members of the Helth Information
Resources staff post items about enhancements and features of our electronic -
databases.- -
SEvidencoCOecker Q proving a Forum for Evidan ce Based Mdrciie resources,
drsussionr and practices. The blog is edited by wil olmstadt, clinical Resources

Figure 1 Screenshot of the Bernard Becker Medical Library

The Bernard Becker Medical Library (http://becker.wustl.edu/services/blogs.html)

employs two social software applications on its website blogs and RSS feeds. This is an image

of the list of blogs that librarians and subject specialists keep up to date for medical faculty,

staff and patients.

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NEWS: The Medical Library and the Pyrtek Learning Resource Center have
moved to the Education and Resource Center (ERC), 3rd floor. (more)

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Figure 2 Hartford Hospital

The Hartford Hospital in Connecticut (http://www.harthosp.org/hsl/default.aspx)

has three health science libraries, accounts on two popular social applications-Facebook,

Twitter, and provides RSS feeds on hospital news as well. These two examples demonstrate it is

possible to add some small widgets on a hospital library's web page to provide current content

and utilize social software applications. Breaking ground on your library's website with social

applications like Facebook or Twitter, or using current awareness tools such as RSS feeds may

or may not be appropriate for your situation. It would be interesting to read in the Web column

of the Journal of Hospital Librarianship about a librarian-IT collaboration that explored this


If your hospital instituted a new service or treatment option how is your hospital library

website getting the word out? Has the hospital administration made changes in policy that

affect staff and services? If so, which Web tools might be appropriate for providing support

documents or tutorials? Are you collaborating with a member of your hospital's staff to

examine how specific Web resources might support the organization's objectives? These are

challenging economic times and when the going gets tough, the tough get creative. The

examples above are the tip of the iceberg. These hospitals and their librarians have found ways

to utilize the Internet and the World Wide Web that are safe for themselves and their clients.

There is a diverse set of issues facing today's hospital librarians:

hospital library standards and medical school accreditation,

hospital librarians' role in support of patient care,

hospital libraries that merge to create a single system,

hospital libraries' contributions to the larger organization's goals, and

hospital libraries' websites providing accurate consumer health information.

How are hospital librarians utilizing web tools and applications to address challenges such as


Michele Kraft, a medical librarian and author of the widely followed blog, the Krafty

Librarian, wrote a June 17, 2009 post entitled "Why is the Hospital Library Disappearing?"

Speaking about some of the librarians Ms. Kraft encounters in her travels she notes, "I also run

into librarians who seem to be stuck in a time warp and are running a 1980 library in 2009...".(5)

Ms. Kraft wonders if, in addition to deep budget cuts, maybe some hospital librarians are not

staying current with trends and new ideas. Money is not the only factor that drives a library. It

takes imagination, creativity and more than a little courage to explore what can be

accomplished with just a few new tools. Hospital libraries, like those featured above, can and

do show fellow librarians and information professionals what can be done.

In October 2009, the Medical Library Association will release a white paper entitled

"Vital Pathways for Hospital Librarians: Addressing the Hospital's Information and Training

Needs." The executive summary of this document is available now on the MLA website

(www.mlanet.org/resources/vital/). The summary describes the role of hospital librarians in

five areas: clinical care, management of operations, education, innovation and research, and

customer service. (6) I encourage the reader to review this document and consider how your

library is using the web to tackle these areas.

So make this column resonate with examples of your creativity. If you've updated your

hospital library's website with a new flavor of content, tell the hospital library community at

large. Have you tried a more efficient or effective way to push content from your website to

specific patron groups who come to your hospital for treatment? Are you and your IT staff

working collaboratively in some way to make resources more accessible in multiple formats? If

you now blog and send "tweets" to keep patrons and healthcare providers up to date about

your library, if your hospital library network has pooled resources and effort to offer a robust

package of online materials to your patrons, then share your experiences in this column. There

is probably a solo librarian at a rural hospital or in a merged hospital system that would

appreciate reading your account and learning from your example.


1 Wood, M. S. editor. Medical librarian 2.0: Use of Web 2.0 technologies in reference

services. Haworth Information Press; 2007. 213 p..

2 Farkas, M.G. Social software in libraries: building collaboration, communication,

and community online. Information Today, Inc. Medford, New Jersey; 2007. 320 p.

3 Medical Library Association Task Force on Social Networking Software website

http://sns.mlanet.org/blog/charge/. Retrieved June 3, 2009

4 Fulda, P.O., Kwasik, H. Consumer health information provided by library and

hospital websites in the South Central Region. J Med Libr Assoc. 2004 Jul;92(3):372-


5 Kraft, M. (2009, June 17) Why is the hospital library disappearing? Message posted

to http://kraftylibrarian.com/

6 Medical Library Association. Vital Pathways for Hospital Librarians: Addressing the

hospital's information and training needs. Executive summary. Retrieved June 1,

2009 from http://www.mlanet.org/resources/vital/