Curation, RSS and Susie’s “Bits & Bytes”

susieIt’s been a while since I composed a proper blogpost but I’m inspired today to do so…

My colleague Mary Sue Stephenson is literally a “cornerstone” of the UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies. She’s one of the most relied-upon contacts at the School. I met her many years ago when I was doing my MLS and when she was a junior faculty member. It’s a generation ago!

Since that time ~30 years ago, Susie has become a friend and “go to” person for many things: information about computer technologies; indexing; social software (as we used to call social media) and anything about the School, and teaching there as an adjunct. She’s mentored library school instructors, and is always available for a hilarious quip, kind words and help of any kind. Any time! (and usually within minutes..)

I’m happy to say I’ve convinced her to speak to my LIBR559M class on February 9th about her work creating “Bits & Bytes“! B&B is a curated list, one Susie has developed over a decade, and one of my essential reads every week. Susie follows more than 100 RSS feeds and culls the best posts in tech, LIS and related topics, facets, amusing and shocking, bibliographic and even the weird and wonderful on the web.

Perhaps I can convince her not to ever retire or to retire her essential list, “Bits & Bytes“!

bits bytes 2016

Grandpa Dean’s Perch: Figure Skating Post-Toller Cranston

Between teaching LIBR 559M – Social Media for Information Professionals, 2016‎ this term and watching The Skating Lesson, it’s crossed my mind I may need to start blogging again under a new guise. My main social media activities these days are Twitter and wiki-related. But I seem to have a desire to weigh in on figure skating, sparkling outfits and the profound musicality of skaters (mind you, not all!). Also the controversies.

Thematically, I’m thinking along the lines of a bitchy blog written from the POV of master blogger (“I’ve seen it all, was there from the beginning”) and skating historian, completely uncredentialed as such (not a skating expert though I know all six jumps and can describe them) in a post Toller Cranston world ….Toller Cranston died in 2015.

I’ll keep you posted. Dean

Top Ten (10) Trends (to watch) in medical libraries

Based on my teaching of LIBR 534 (health information sources and services) in 2015, marking many assignments and reading the literature, as well as working in a hospital library… here are my top ten (10) trends to watch in medical libraries for 2016:

  1. Altmetrics and Author impact metrics  —health librarians are assisting physicians and faculty curate research impact & author profiles on ORCID and Google Scholar
  2. Big data and data management —health librarians should know the basics of data management, but not get sidelined by the buzz
  3. Expert search protocols and reporting standards   
  4. Health librarian competencies & competencies in medical reference services
  5. Print vs. electronic book technologies —More understanding of print books and their unique affordances, pros and cons of e-books in information literacy
  6. mHealth —ongoing mobile-iPhone -ization of key information sources
  7. Renewed interest in “library as place” for accreditation —library as tech & innovation hub
  8. Increased info/data fragmentation due to open access and data trends (see #2)
  9. Protests around publisher pricing (e.g., Elsevier #1 story) and monopoly (will Elsevier acquire Web of Science) and Mendeley Data, owned by Elsevier
  10. In Canada, health librarians are key collaborators with medical researchers for: CIHR funding, Tri-Agency Open Access Policy, teaching information skills

Researchers: how to improve your “impact”

gs profile

Yesterday, my colleague Sheryl Adam and I gave a workshop on citation metrics.

Despite the criticism of bibliometrics in academic circles, there is every sign to suggest that citation metrics are here to stay. Academic librarians are key to understanding this area of measuring research and its impact. The question I am hearing in medicine more and  more: how can I improve my research impact? Here are some suggestions:


  1. Curate your own research profiles using Google Scholar profiles or academic social networking sites such as, ResearchGate, LinkedIn
  2. Use standard forms of your name, institutional affiliations & address. To help you, create an ORCID or Researcher ID profile to be more easily findable on the web
  3. Think about using Mendeley, Zotero or CiteULike.
  4. Deposit your publications (drafts or final paper depending on copyright policies of your publishers) in an institutional repository or PubMedCentral Canada. Make your research, and that of your peers, more findable.
  5. Use metadata to describe your research papers, and carefully select keywords for your publications. Make it possible for search engines to find you easily.
  6. Publish in journals with a high impact factor (IF) and use Web of Science or Scopus to find IFs (try SCImago too)
  7. Collaborate with researchers worldwide, and be more social in social spaces. Present preliminary findings of your research at meetings and conferences
  8. Build your Hirsch index (h-index)
  9. Start a blog (see LSE Impact Blog) or contribute to Wikipedia
  10. Consider communicating information about your research using Twitter or create a Twitter hashtag #

Finally, ask your favourite academic librarian (or medical librarian) for help. Dean


Bibliometrics: Highlighting Your Track Record: Using Metrics in Your CV‌ (presentation)

Standing on the shoulders of the Google giant: Sustainable discovery and Google Scholar’s comprehensive coverage.

Teaching health (medical) librarianship: from the students

400px-Raphael_School_of_AthensOne of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my career is teach. And to be frank I haven’t always been very good. I’m a work in progress.

I graduated with my MLS in the late 1980s, and during my time at SLAIS we talked about bibliographic instruction but I had no idea I would teach to the extent I have. I was often really overwhelmed by it all. Now, academic health librarians throughout North America and the world offer courses to support problem-based learning and some have opportunities to teach full semester-long (13 week) courses. I say enjoy it!

I started to teach at UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies about 15 years ago. I have become a much better teacher over that time, and pursued additional credentials including a Master of Education degree. It’s been quite a ride.

Now, in 2015, I am teaching my introductory course on health information sources and services (LIBR534: Health Information Sources and Services, Sept 2015). I have an intrepid and really delightful group of MLIS and joint MLIS/MAS students in the fall cohort.

Last night, I asked them to spend some time to tell me confidentially one or two things that they have learned so far. I asked them to fill out the back of some old reference cards, and to put their responses in a brown envelope. Truly a blinded early assessment.

Here are some of their responses:

  • Dean, I hadn’t known that the MLA – Medical Library Association (U.S.) was founded in 1898 by two Canadians Sir William Osler and Margaret Ridley Charlton”.
  • Thanks for the opportunity to learn more about Vancouver Style. This is my first encounter with it and I am used to APA…
  • I enjoyed learning about the history and founding of the National Library of Medicine (U.S.) in Washington (Bethesda Maryland).
  • “….Dean it was fun to learn about the Osler Library of the History of Medicine; Vancouver Style was definitely new to me; and I am slowly learning about the roles and importance of health librarians….”
  • I enjoyed learning about the history of medicine (in great detail). I am still struggling with Vancouver Style.
  • Good class so far, really enjoyable. Things I’ve learned: clinicians require resources, and help from medical librarians.
  • The Sollenberger article “The Evolving Role and Value of Libraries and Librarians“was really interesting. I like how she discussed the role of librarians as educators (teaching search and evaluation skills) and their roles in patient education.
  • Love the handouts. So far, the class is very interesting. Dean is encouraging.
  • Medicine was unregulated in Canada until the 19th century, and doctors were from other parts of the world, often working for the Hudson Bay Company as barber surgeons. History of health care in Canada
  • I always enjoy historical material. I appreciate the passion for the course material/by the instructor. I’m looking forward to learning more about MEDLINE.

Canada’s Five (5) Critical Areas for Health Innovation, 2015

Unleashing-Innovation-Excellent-Healthcare-for-CanadaNaylor, D et. al. Unleashing Innovation: Excellent Healthcare for Canada. Report of the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation. 2015. Ottawa: Health Canada.

This newly-released report is the product of a year-long consultation with Canadians, supplemented by literature reviews, commissioned research and discussions and deliberations of the Advisory Panel on Health Care Innovation.

The report identifies five critical areas for healthcare innovation in Canada:

  • patient engagement and empowerment
  • health systems integration with workforce modernization
  • technological transformation via digital health and precision medicine
  • better value from procurement, reimbursement and regulation
  • industry as an economic driver and innovation catalyst.

CHLA/ABSC 2015 CE: Preparing for and Developing your Leadership Role

CHLA/ABSC 2015 CE: Preparing for and Developing your Leadership Role

Don’t miss the early bird deadline. Why pay more? Register today:

To: CHLA/ABSC & MLA Members and Future Leaders

Have you thought of taking a CE course at the CHLA/ABSC June 2015 Conference in Vancouver BC? Join us for this interactive and exciting new workshop on leadership. Whether you are considering a move into leadership or are already experienced at leading others, this workshop will play a part in helping you develop your leadership plans. One of the activities in this CE is to help you complete your own leadership workbook where you develop reflections, goals, challenges and a plan for success.

This is the only CE with six instructors, an impressive, knowledgeable group of facilitators who met each other at the Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians and who regularly share leadership advice and experience with each other. This CE is a rare opportunity to work with some emerging leaders some of whom come from health librarianship and other in related areas (providing multiple perspectives).

  1. Lindsay Alcock is Head of Public Services at the Health Sciences Library at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and our incoming 2015-2016 Vice-President of CHLA/ABSC 
  2.  Shelley Blackman is Faculty Librarian & Instructor at Evergreen Valley College Library in San Jose, California
  3.  Ken Carriveau is Director of Delivery Services at Baylor University Libraries in Waco, Texas
  4.  Robyn Reed is Head of Access Services at Schaffer Library, Union College in Schenactady, New York
  5.  Kelly Thormodson is Head of Health Sciences Education & Research in the Harley E. French Library of the Health Sciences at the University of North Dakota
  6.  Martin Wood is Director of the Charlotte Edwards Maguire Medical Library at Florida State University

Please contact me off list for information.
Dean Giustini, MLS, MEd
UBC Biomedical Branch Librarian
Diamond Health Care Centre, VGH
2775 Laurel Street, Vancouver BC
t: 604.875.4505

CHLA ABSC Conference June 2015 (Early Bird Discount Ends May 1st)

Continuing Education at CHLA/ABSC June 19th 2015 in Vancouver BC
Save your PD funds: early bird registration discount is May 1st – this Friday (why pay more?)
Full details at:
Contact us with questions:
1)      ABCs of Research Impact:  Altmetrics, Bibliometrics and Citations (morning)
Guess what? You’re not the only librarian or researcher confused by altmetrics, bibliometrics and new ways to measure research impact. With new research metrics there is a lot to learn!
Come to this session on June 19th and get your ABCs on the topic. Be the “go to” person and use tools to handle questions from researchers within your organizations.
2)      Advanced PubMed Searching (afternoon)
Want to develop your search skills in PubMed?  Bring your PubMed “challenges” to this hands-on session and learn how to solve them. Session is open to librarians, library technicians, health professionals, consumers.  Basic familiarity of PubMed is required.
3)      Don’t Panic:  You CAN Find Health Statistics (afternoon)
The title of this session says it all, and is music to librarians, library technicians, researchers, health professionals and consumers. Learn systematic approaches and effective methods to find….health statistics.  Participants are strongly encouraged to bring their own laptops.
Presenters:   Dagmara Chojecki & Liza Chan, John W. Scott Health Sciences Library, University of Alberta and Institute of Health Economics (IHE)
4)      An Introduction to Systematic Review Methods and the Librarian’s Role (morning)
Do you want to participate as a member of the research team for systematic reviews? This introduction will help you build the basic skills you need to take on new roles. Learn the steps in conducting a systematic review, and your role, from a skilled librarian who does it every day.
Presenter: Mimi Doyle-Waters, MA, MLIS Centre for Clinical Epidemiology & Evaluation
5)      Preparing for your Leadership Role (morning) – standalone or pre-requisite to Part II
Preparing for and Developing your Leadership Role (full-day) Part I is pre-requisite 
Librarians, vendors and would-be leaders: listen up! Want to lead, but don’t know where to start? Want to take a leadership role but don’t know how? This course can help you find your way with instructors from six organizations who learned at the Harvard Leadership Institute.
Take the half-day morning class to get the leadership basics.
Take the full-day course if you need to develop your style!
 Presenters:  Lindsay Alcock, Head, Public Services, Health Sciences Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, in conjunction with instructors (all graduates of the Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians).
6)      Waves of Grey:  How to Search Grey Literature Effectively (full day)
Put your diving gear on for this session and avoid drowning in grey literature. This hands-on workshop, led by information experts at CADTH, will provide practical advice, tools and tips to navigate grey literature in healthcare. Build your expert search skills in this full day session.
Presenters:   Amanda Hodgson and Monika Mierzwinski-Urban, Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health – CADTH


A hospital librarian working with doctors… to save lives

A truly wonderful project and this example of Nasra Gathoni shows that one hospital librarian can have a big impact on her profession. “I strongly believe that doctors can’t do what the librarian can do….but by working together …we can save lives”

A librarian working with doctors to save lives [Research4Life] casestudies/nasragathoni/

Some of the other global testimonies of librarians making a difference:

A Joint CHLA-MLA research collaboration wins the 2015 “Ida and George Eliot Prize”

I am happy to report that MLA’s Ida and George Eliot Prize for 2015 goes to the Canadian-American research collaboration entitled Effects of librarian-provided services in healthcare setting: a systematic review.flags

The paper is a true joint CHLA-MLA research collaboration. The Ida and George Eliot Prize is presented annually for a work published in the preceding calendar year and that has been judged most effective in furthering medical librarianship. The award will be presented at this year’s MLA conference Awards Ceremony.

Perrier L, Farrell A, Ayala AP, Lightfoot D, Kenny T, Aaronson E, Allee N, Brigham T, Connor E, Constantinescu T, Muellenbach J, Epstein HA, Weiss A.
Effects of librarian-provided services in healthcare settings: a systematic review.
J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2014 Nov-Dec;21(6):1118-24. doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2014-002825. Epub 2014 May 28.

The Ida and George Eliot Prize was established by Ida and George Eliot, friends of the Medical Library Association and owners of Eliot Health Sciences Books, Inc., Long Island City, New York. In the mid-1980’s Login Brothers Book Company acquired the company and continued to support the prize. MLA now supports the award. The recipient receives a certificate at the association’s annual meeting and a cash award of $200.00 after the annual meeting.

2009-2014 Award Recipients

  • 2014: Joanne Gard Marshall, AHIP, FMLA, Julia Sollenberger, AHIP, FMLA, Sharon Easterby-Gannett, AHIP, Lynn Kasner Morgan, Mary Lou Klem, Susan K. Cavanaugh, Kathleen Burr Oliver, Cheryl A. Thompson, Neil Romanosky, and Sue Hunter “The value of library and information services in patient care: results of a multisite study.”
    2013: None Awarded
    2012: Margaret M. Bandy, AHIP, FMLA and Rosalind F. Dudden, AHIP, FMLA
  • “The Medical Library Association Guide to Managing Health Care Libraries”
    2011: None Awarded
    2010: Ana D. Cleveland and Donald Cleveland
  • “Health Informatics for Medical Librarians”
    2009: Daniel E. Banks, Runhua Shi, Donna F. Timm, Kerri Ann Christopher, David Charles Duggar, Marianne Comegys, and Jerry McLarty “Decreased Hospital Length of Stay Associated with Presentation of Cases at Morning Report with Librarian Support”