About Dean Giustini

I am the UBC Biomedical Branch librarian at Vancouver hospital. I teach at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, and the School of Population and Public Health.

Snowball fights and paper pedagogies in LIBR534

This week, the UBC campus was alight with epic snow and a friendly fusillade of student snowball lobs on the Main Mall. The snowball exchange (hardly a fight) made national news. Throwing snow at your neighbours is a rare event here in Vancouver, but it can feel good. It’s meant to be fun, and a way to circumvent social conventions in a stressful term. I decided to replicate this snowball throwing in my evening class at SLAIS, in LIBR534 (health information sources and services) by using a crumpled paper pedagogy. Ask students to write down on pieces of paper what they learned in class AND what they would try to learn by next week.

Crumple the paper with your ideas and throw it back at me (the teacher) like in a snowball fight!

As an academic health librarian, I’m aware of the vital role I play in teaching at the university.  In my LIBR534 class are some future health librarians. It’s a big challenge to teach 13-week courses which is really unlike any other teaching I do. Health librarians across Canada (the world) are regularly engaged in teaching library resources and how to search for materials in the evidence-based literature using Ovid’s interface to MEDLINE (and EMBASE) and EBSCO’s interface to CINAHL (PsycINFO, etc).

Here’s what the student health librarians revealed in their completely anonymous, crumpled sheets that they threw at me. I’ll be using this to design next Tuesday night’s class:

What I want to REMEMBER from tonight’s class on MEDLINE searching:

  • …I’d never really understood the power of explode and focus in a hierarchical vocabulary structure…I’d like to know more about when to use them (or not)”
  • …How to navigate OVID as a powerful interface to perform high-level searches”
  • “…The ability to form a basic search strategy… is something I need to work on”
  • “…MeSH searching is very powerful… and a lot of fun actually”
  • “…Medline and Embase are built on similar but distinct controlled vocabularies”
  • “…Medline’s tree structure is amazing…so are the limiters in OVID”
  • “…The challenge for me is to be comprehensive using MeSH and keywords for my clinical question”
  • “…I didn’t know the difference between PubMed and Medline : I thought they were the same”!
  • “…I want to remember all the cool tricks to get at the medical literature”

What I’d like to LEARN before next week’s class:

  • “…More efficient ways to phrase search sets; keywords to improve recall”
  • “…I want to learn more about those Ovid Commands to be more efficient”
  • “….can you talk more about ‘nesting’ keywords for searches?”
  • “…this is really valuable but can you build confidence in a short time? This is important for me”
  • “…I’d like to know more about what a good search length is; when is enough enough?”
  • “When should I use Medline first over Embase, and vice versa? If CINAHL is covered mostly in those databases when would I go there first?”
  • “….can you talk about PICO next week”?
  • “… floating subheadings; qualifiers, exploding subheadings (never heard of that before!”…
  • “…searching biomedical databases is so new to me, but I want to learn how to do this”




New chapter outline & introduction re: grey literature searching

Chapter 6 “Retrieving grey literature, information and data in the digital age”

Here is the new chapter outline and introduction to whet your appetite. This is the penultimate version which has grown to a whopping 60 pages. The bibliography has over 100 references and there are seven tables and two appendices. Comments welcome!


The objective of this chapter is to discuss the retrieval of grey (or gray) literature in support of the research synthesis, and some of the current theories and practices used to perform it systematically. It is assumed that the reader will be familiar with the basics of structured database searching in the social, behavioural or medical sciences and will have read previous chapters in this volume, notably chapter V, entitled Searching bibliographic databases. To get the most from this chapter, the reader should note the descriptions of terms in Table 1 of chapter V, “Key concepts in database searching”.

Grey literature is literature that has not been formally published, has limited distribution or is not available via conventional channels (Auger 1998). Research synthesis is the practice of systematically retrieving, distilling and integrating data from a variety of published sources (“the evidence base”) to draw more reliable conclusions from the literature (Cooper and Hedges 2009). Rothstein and Hopewell have said that “…there is a critical relationship between the reliability and validity of a research synthesis, and the thoroughness of and lack of bias in the search for relevant studies” (2009, 104). In a high quality review that aims to inform policy or practice, the goal is to identify all available evidence, including the grey literature, relevant to the question (Boland, Cherry and Dickson 2013; IOM 2011).

The chapter begins by examining definitions and document types specified as grey literature. The focus is on issues such as thorough search planning, mapping resources to a research question and identifying as many potentially relevant resources for searching as possible. However, the strategies and techniques by which a desired result in grey literature searching is achieved will shift somewhat for each project. In this chapter, several approaches and theories are offered to assist searchers in building their search strategies and refining each to suit an individual purpose and context.

Before any major grey literature searching is undertaken, seeking advice from experts in systematic information retrieval is recommended (Lefebvre C, Manheimer E, Glanville 2011; Boland, Cherry and Dickson 2013). The chapter includes a discussion of the role of grey literature searching in amassing a body of literature for a topic and the importance of peer review of search strategies or checking them with a librarian (McGowan, Sampson, Salzwedel et al 2016). Most of the remainder of the chapter is concerned with extending grey literature search techniques to locate a higher percentage of relevant documents. The chapter concludes with a discussion of when to stop searching and the recording of all searches performed up to that point.

A letter to the Harvard Business Review, Dec 2016

Dear Harvard Business Review,

Your Dec. 19th article, “How Physicians Can Keep Up With The Knowledge Explosion in Medicine”, authored by Dr. Lynda Chin and Greg Satell is an opportunity for you to consider inviting authors to publish well-researched articles about the roles of medical librarians in the medical information ‘ecosystem’.

While it is true that there is an explosion of research and clinical trials in medicine, the information explosion can be seen across society and in many other professions beyond medicine. In fact, it is no news to anyone that we live in an era of Google and speedy access to medical information of all kinds (and so little of it, by the way, can be viewed as authoritative or applicable to patients at all).

All librarians, and medical librarians in particular, are acutely aware of the important roles they assume in the information age. Medicine, as a scientific field of inquiry, is not immune from the scourge of disinformation and fake news. Some of your readers may be interested to know, for example, that librarians of all stripes are engaged every day in teaching physicians about this information ecosystem so that they can make their own assessments of it. Dr. Chin’s point about the value of business analytics in medicine and automated forms of knowledge syntheses is not lost on medical librarians; we assess, provide access to and teach physicians how to use a wide array of knowledge synthesis and information sources from PubMed and UpToDate to DynaMed and the Cochrane Library.

As some of the contributed comments to the Chin and Satell (2016) piece illustrate, medical librarians are keen to point out the value that we bring to the ‘medical information ecosystem’. We understand that the return on investment re: medical librarians and high-quality sources of information must be demonstrated – and we are prepared, often, to do so. Medical librarians have been demonstrating our value in scientific terms and in business terms that our decision-makers understand. We welcome the opportunity to tell your readers more about the work that we do.

Futher reading:

  1. Marshall JG, Sollenberger J, Easterby-Gannett S, Morgan LK, Klem ML, Cavanaugh SK, Oliver KB, Thompson CA, Romanosky N, Hunter S. The value of library and information services in patient care: Results of a multi-site study. J Med Libr Assoc. 2013 Jan; 101(1):39-46.
  2. HLWIKI International. Point of care tools in medicine. http://hlwiki.slais.ubc.ca/index.php/Point-of-care_tools_in_medicine
  3. Giustini D. A comprehensive description: what health librarians do…HLA News. December 2012. & What Health Librarians Do. The Public Health Informationist. June 2013.

LIBR 1111 Online searching & information handling

I am currently teaching LIBR1111 at Langara College. Here is the course syllabus:

Course description

This course provides student learners with experience in online searching, and some of the basic skills in using software programs and digital resources used in libraries for communication and information handling. Several aspects of social media, mobile technologies and operating content management systems are integrated into the course.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

    1. Use common communications (i.e. email) and social media tools for working in library environments
    2. Understand the information cycle, different publication types and how resources are cited & annotated
    3. Conduct successful searches for resources using effective search strategies and appropriate databases
    4. Demonstrate understanding of content management systems for organizing library resources, including finding and selecting authoritative resources in order to develop a subject guide
    5. Develop teaching skills one on one or presenting to demonstrate search techniques
    6. Show patrons how to use technologies in the library
    7. Evaluate information resources

Learning outcomes and critical elements

  • Effectively use common communications such as email & social media to work in library environments
    • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of electronic communications for email, listserv, chat & blogs and be able to identify appropriate uses of each in a library setting;
    • Send, read, reply, forward and print messages, and manage folders
    • Find, subscribe to and participate in mailing list discussions
    • Find and create a blog
    • Identify appropriate uses of each communications technology in a library setting.
  • Understand the information cycle and the different publication types and how resources should be cited and annotated within the research context
    • Identify the progression of information as it progresses through the cycle
    • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of different citation styles and how to create a basic annotation
  • Conduct successful searches for resources using effective search strategies and appropriate databases or other resources;
    • Identify categories of electronic resources
    • Find and conduct searches of library OPACs, discovery layers and subscription databases
    • Construct and conduct appropriate Boolean search strategies
    • Demonstrate proficiency and advanced techniques with WWW search engines
    • Share knowledge of various database interfaces by teaching search methods (through the use of technology or a class presentation)
  • Use appropriate software for organizing library resources, retrieval and subject guides.
    • Describe the component parts of bibliographic databases
    • Demonstrate proficiency with software used to automate basic library functions, including data entry and retrieval
    • Create, edit, add links, and publish a Learning Guide (blog) using Courseweb (wordpress) / content management system
  • Evaluate and annotate information resources
    • Identify the various evaluative criteria used to critically evaluate information resources in all forms of publications.

Good common sense leadership (100 ideas)

  1. Whatever [kind of leader] you are, be a good one. —Abraham Lincoln
  2. They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. —Theodore Roosevelt
  3. A good leader is a person who takes a more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of credit. —John Maxwell
  4. To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. ―Eleanor Roosevelt
  5. Vivo ut serviam = I live to serve” ―Latin phrase
  6. “It’s a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.” ―Harry Potter
  7. Librarians wield unfathomable power. With the flip of a wrist they can hide your dissertation behind a pile of old magazines. ―Erica Olsen
  8. A library represents the mind of its collector, fancies and foibles, strengths and weaknesses, prejudices and preferences. ―Sir William Osler
  9. No one cares what you know, unless they know that you care. —Anonymous
  10. The readers of today are the leaders of tomorrow. —Southwest Public Library
  11. The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. —William Arthur Ward
  12. If you’re rich you can buy books. If you’re not rich, you need a library. —John Kenneth Galbraith
  13. Power isn’t control at all — power is strength and giving it to others. —Anonymous
  14. Be known for pleasing others, especially if you manage them. —Anonymous
  15. A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves. —Anonymous
  16. Lead by example (ductus exemplo) —United States Marine Corps
  17. Values are critical guides for making decisions. When in doubt, they cut the fog like beacons in the night. —Robert Townsend
  18. You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere. —Lee Iacocca
  19. Excellence is caring more than others think is wise; risking more than others think is safe; dreaming more than others think is practical. Expecting more than others think is possible. —Winston Churchill
  20. The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things. —Ronald Reagan
  21. The real leader has no need to lead; he is content to point the way. —Henry Miller
  22. Productivity is not an accident. It is the result of a commitment to excellence, and focused effort. —Anonymous
  23. A leader is best when people barely know he exists and when the work is done, they say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu
  24. Where there is an absence of vision, people perish. —Proverbs 29:18
  25. You manage things and lead people. —Admiral Hopper
  26. A competent leader can get efficiency from weak empolyees, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of them. —John J Pershing
  27. The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a train wreck towed to the scrapyard. —Ayn Rand
  28. Any one can hold the helm when the seas are calm. —Publilius Syrus
  29. If your actions inspire others to dream, learn, do and become, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams
  30. He who has great power should use it lightly. —Seneca
  31. To command is to serve others, nothing more and nothing less. —Andre Malraux
  32. He who has never learned to obey cannot be a commander. —Aristotle
  33. There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage. —Fuchan Yuan
  34. My dad had a simple test that helps me measure my own leadership: when out of the office, does your staff carry on well without you?” —Martha Peak
  35. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. —Max DePree
  36. Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. —Warren Bennis
  37. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way. — General George Patton
  38. Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch
  39. A leader is a dealer in hope. —Napoleon Bonaparte
  40. Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  41. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell
  42. My own definition of leadership is “The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence”. —General Montgomery
  43. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision, raising a person’s performance to a high standard, building a personality beyond its normal limitations. —Peter Drucker
  44. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead
  45. The nation will find it very hard to look up to leaders who keep their ears to the ground. —Sir Winston Churchill
  46. The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. —Warren Bennis
  47. Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position. —Brian Tracy
  48. I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. —Ralph Nader
  49. Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. —Peter Drucker
  50. Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. —Publilius Syrus
  51. A great person attracts great people and knows how to bring them together. —Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
  52. The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it. —Theodore Roosevelt
  53. You don’t lead by pointing and telling people where to go. You lead by going there and making your case. —Ken Kesey
  54. When I give a minister an order, I leave it to him to find the means to carry it out. —Napoleon Bonaparte
  55. Men make history not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. —Harry S. Truman
  56. People buy into the leader before they buy into “the vision”. —John Maxwell
  57. So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to do their work. —Peter Drucker
  58. The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. —Kenneth Blanchard
  59. A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. —John Maxwell
  60. Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of others. When people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can do. —Sam Walton
  61. A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, courage to make decisions, and compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by his actions and the integrity of his intent. —Douglas MacArthur
  62. A ruler should be slow to punish and swift to reward. —Ovid
  63. No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it. —Andrew Carnegie
  64. Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. —General Dwight Eisenhower
  65. The leader has to be practical and a realist yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist. —Eric Hoffer
  66. A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the audience. —Max Lucado
  67. Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. —General George Patton
  68. As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. —Bill Gates
  69. Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway. —Eleanor Roosevelt
  70. Don’t necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leading others. —Donald Rumsfeld
  71. Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand. —General Colin Powell
  72. I am reminded how hollow the label of leadership is and how heroic followership can be. —Warren Bennis
  73. I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody. —Herbert Swope
  74. If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities. —Maya Angelou
  75. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams
  76. In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. —Thomas Jefferson
  77. It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself. —Latin Proverb
  78. I cherish the ideal of a democratic and free society where all live together in harmony with equal opportunity. —Nelson Mandela
  79. Lead and inspire people. Don’t manage or manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led. —Ross Perot
  80. Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made like anything else, through hard work. That’s the price we have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal. —Vince Lombardi
  81. Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. —John C. Maxwell
  82. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. —John F. Kennedy
  83. Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenges of the day. —Jesse Jackson
  84. Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise. —Woodrow Wilson
  85. Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts. —Erskine Bowles
  86. Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. —Bill Bradley
  87. Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. —Tom Peters
  88. Never give an order that can’t be obeyed. —General Douglas MacArthur
  89. No man is good enough to govern others without their consent. —Abraham Lincoln
  90. What you do has far greater impact than what you say. —Stephen Covey
  91. Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly. —Chinese Proverb
  92. One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency. —Arnold Glasow
  93. The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind others, the conviction and the will to carry on. —Walter Lippman
  94. The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing around a shared vision. —Ken Blanchard
  95. The growth and development of others is the highest calling. —Harvey Firestone
  96. To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult. —Friedrich Nietzsche
  97. To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way. —Pat Riley
  98. Let us overthrow the totems, break the taboos. Or better, let us consider them cancelled. Coldly, let us be intelligent. —Pierre Eliot Trudeau
  99. A mind is a fire to be ignited, not a vessel to be filled. —Plutarch
  100. The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. —Ghandi

HLWIKI reaches 16 million views 

HLWIKI International, a wiki originally created to support LIBR 534: Health Information Sources and Services & LIBR 559M – Social Media for Information Professionals at UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS), has reached a new milestone: 16,000,000 million page views.

The wiki has become part of a larger strategy to track information practices in health librarianship especially fast-moving topics related to information technology. For eight years the wiki has been used as a digital space for teaching, information-sharing and collaborative writing. (The attached screenshot shows 16,000,000 views from all over the world, especially in developing countries where librarians need to access to current information in their field.)

I’d like to thank the librarians on our Advisory for their assistance in the project. From its start, the wiki was meant to build a health information and libraries tool with a global perspective but to emphasize issues affecting Canadian practitioners. If you look at the top 100 files of more than 1100 entries many are now essential sources of information (judging from their usage). Here’s to the next 16 million views. Dean Giustini, UBC


View statistics
HLWIKI total views
(Views to non-existing pages and special pages are not included)
  1. hlwikiAboriginal health‏‎ (301,334 views)
  2. HLWIKI International‏‎ (292,829 views)
  3. Aboriginal health search filter‏‎ (160,639 views)
  4. Apple iPhone4 for physicians‏‎ (143,214 views)
  5. Accreditation‏‎ (126,985 views)
  6. Google scholar‏‎ (116,168 views)
  7. Author impact metrics‏‎ (108,895 views)
  8. Academic libraries 2.0‏‎ (90,343 views)
  9. Google scholar bibliography‏‎ (89,701 views)
  10. Altmetrics‏‎ (87,505 views)
  11. Bibliography – Library 2.0‏‎ (84,292 views)
  12. Bibliotherapy‏‎ (82,123 views)
  13. Breast cancer‏‎ (81,799 views)
  14. Blogs‏‎ (80,452 views)
  15. Social media glossary‏‎ (78,933 views)
  16. Apple iPad for physicians‏‎ (78,041 views)
  17. Bioinformatics‏‎ (77,913 views)
  18. Consumer health information‏‎ (72,784 views)
  19. Bibliometrics‏‎ (67,925 views)
  20. Clinical librarianship‏‎ (63,873 views)
  21. Systematic review searching‏‎ (61,676 views)
  22. Evidence-based health care‏‎ (60,659 views)
  23. Acupuncture case study‏‎ (60,512 views)
  24. Collaboration 2.0‏‎ (60,044 views)
  25. H1N1 (Human Swine Flu) in Canada‏‎ (58,387 views)
  26. Library 2.0 Chronology‏‎ (54,082 views)
  27. History of surgery in British Columbia‏‎ (52,566 views)
  28. Zotero vs. Mendeley‏‎ (52,064 views)
  29. Grey literature‏‎ (51,805 views)
  30. Lists of hospitals in Canada‏‎ (51,478 views)
  31. Evidence-based web 2.0‏‎ (51,398 views)
  32. Scopus vs. Web of Science‏‎ (50,460 views)
  33. BOPPPS Model‏‎ (49,546 views)
  34. Social media policies‏‎ (49,419 views)
  35. Social cataloguing‏‎ (48,349 views)
  36. Advocacy‏‎ (47,193 views)
  37. Information literacy‏‎ (47,047 views)
  38. Top Fifty (50) Medical Wikis You Might (Want to) Know‏‎ (45,756 views)
  39. Twitter‏‎ (44,319 views)
  40. Bibliographic citation software‏‎ (44,210 views)
  41. Archives 2.0‏‎ (44,195 views)
  42. Scoping reviews‏‎ (43,868 views)
  43. Creating a Library 2.0 program for a public library‏‎ (43,823 views)
  44. Allied health professionals‏‎ (43,043 views)
  45. Medical podcasts & videocasts‏‎ (42,932 views)
  46. Best Canadian medical books‏‎ (40,813 views)
  47. Module I – Affordance‏‎ (40,551 views)
  48. Aboriginal health search tools‏‎ (40,183 views)
  49. Complementary & alternative medicine (CAM)‏‎ (39,930 views)
  50. Tag clouds in the OPAC: a starting point‏‎ (39,618 views)
  51. Angina‏‎ (36,966 views)
  52. Getting started‏‎ (36,590 views)
  53. Avatars‏‎ (36,041 views)
  54. Information technology topics‏‎ (35,931 views)
  55. Medical sites for mobiles‏‎ (35,882 views)
  56. Allergy & Immunology – Recommended Websites‏‎ (35,864 views)
  57. Hand-searching‏‎ (35,776 views)
  58. Authority‏‎ (35,702 views)
  59. Table of Contents – Part I‏‎ (35,625 views)
  60. Dublin Core‏‎ (35,516 views)
  61. Disaster Information For Librarians‏‎ (35,257 views)
  62. Informationists‏‎ (35,145 views)
  63. Semantic web‏‎ (35,093 views)
  64. Adult learning theory (andragogy)‏‎ (34,925 views)
  65. Health 2.0‏‎ (34,483 views)
  66. Teaching library users‏‎ (34,210 views)
  67. Impact factors‏‎ (33,743 views)
  68. Citation management‏‎ (33,574 views)
  69. Archival principles for medical librarians‏‎ (33,259 views)
  70. Creating an LIS course on social software‏‎ (33,223 views)
  71. PubMed – MEDLINE‏‎ (32,954 views)
  72. Canadian consumer health information (CHI) portal‏‎ (32,841 views)
  73. Second Life‏‎ (32,173 views)
  74. Open search‏‎ (31,987 views)
  75. Psychiatry 2.0‏‎ (31,853 views)
  76. Basic reference sources‏‎ (31,841 views)
  77. Canadian health librarians that Twitter‏‎ (31,377 views)
  78. Semantic search‏‎ (31,156 views)
  79. PubMed Alternative Interfaces‏‎ (30,938 views)
  80. Medical informatics‏‎ (30,413 views)
  81. Ethics and the health librarian‏‎ (30,060 views)
  82. Health care managers & social media‏‎ (29,475 views)
  83. Alberta health libraries‏‎ (29,474 views)
  84. Social media landscape‏‎ (29,055 views)
  85. Medical Chinese for health workers‏‎ (29,039 views)
  86. Social media‏‎ (28,852 views)
  87. Point-of-care tools in medicine‏‎ (28,759 views)
  88. EBooks‏‎ (28,476 views)
  89. Consumer health 2.0‏‎ (28,424 views)
  90. Expert searching‏‎ (28,260 views)
  91. Web 2.0‏‎ (28,109 views)
  92. Really Simple Syndication (RSS)‏‎ (27,930 views)
  93. Institutional repositories‏‎ (27,610 views)
  94. Ottawa Valley Health Libraries Association, Social media in health libraries, May 2012‏‎ (27,380 views)
  95. Awards for academic librarians‏‎ (27,254 views)
  96. Web 3.0‏‎ (27,220 views)
  97. Wikis‏‎ (27,018 views)
  98. Ada Ducas‏‎ (26,936 views)
  99. Dean Giustini, UBC Biomedical Branch Librarian – 2010‏‎ (26,557 views)
  100. Massive open online courses (MOOCs)‏‎ (26,546 views)


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 Academia.edu, 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) http://hlwiki.slais.ubc.ca/index.php/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 #https://twitter.com/search?q=%23myresearch

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.