February chat: expert searching, 8 pm, Tuesday

In 2001 a healthy volunteer signed up to take part In research at John Hopkins University in Baltimore in the United states. The study involved exposing subjects to hexamethonium, to which the volunteer had an adverse reaction, and died. In a subsequent investigation, it emerged that the researchers and the university had not known of published information about hexamethomium toxicity, which was readily available in the literature.

In response to this incident, the Medical Library Association set up a Task Force on Expert Searching, which produced a policy statement on the role of expert searching in health sciences libraries and organised a symposium on the subject, whose papers were published in Volume 93(1) of the Journal of the Medical Library Association (open access, as are all JMLA and BMLA articles)

CD-ROM databases, internet search engines and PubMed opened up searching to non-experts. Some proclaimed that mediated, expert searching was dead. Yet the market for the well-crafted literature search remains strong.

In 2019, 18 years after the hexamethonium incident, what is the future for expert search services and searchers?

Join us at 8 pm on Tuesday 19th February to discuss these questions.



Questions for tonight, Tuesday 15th January: nutrition and diet information

Join us at 8 pm tonight to discuss nutrition and diet information. Lucy Sinclair (@LuceSinclair1) will lead the discussion and has prepared questions to give us some focus.

1) What do you think as information professionals our role is in providing patient information about nutrition and healthy eating?

2) Do your team currently support clinicians with patient information on healthy eating?

3) Is your team planning in developing or increasing support to clinicians on patient information?

4) How do or would you signpost clinicians to access this information?

And please remember to use the #ukmedlibs hashtag when you tweet

January’s chat – Patient information on nutrition and healthy eating, Tuesday 15th January 8pm

We will be kicking off 2019 with a chat about supporting clinicians to find information on nutrition and healthy eating, enabling them to pass on high quality information to new patients. Celebrating the new year is quickly followed with an onslaught of health warnings, quick fix diets and articles on the negative effects of sugar in the media. Searching for evidence-based nutrition and health information can be a minefield.

Do you think that health information professionals have a role in helping clinicians and the public find this information? Is this something that you already do?

Join the ukmedlibs team on the 15th January at 8pm for a discussion on all thing healthy information!

Caricature by Charles Williams, c. 1815. A fat physician grasps the hand of the cook and compliments him on his culinary abilities, which increase the frequency of the physician’s visits. Two assistants prepare food in the background.
domain. From the NLM


#ukmedlibs Christmas quiz: the winner, the answers and the transcript and analytics

Congratulations to Katie Smith, @KatieSmithLIB, the winner of last night’s #ukmedlibs Christmas quiz. A £20 Amazon voucher, donated by EBSCO UK,  is on its way to her.

On the evidence of the answers, we conclude that your cat recognition skills are second to none, but you could do with a little revision on classification history.

The answers (you can look back at the questions here)

  1. Edith Cavell was the nurse who didn’t go to the Crimean war.

  2. Prancer and Vixen were the two missing reindeer

  3. The three wise men were Balthasar, Caspar, and Melchoir

  4. The first NHS regional librarian to be appointed was Roy Tabor in Wessex  November 1967. See Forrest M, Carmel M. The NHS Regional Librarians Group. Health Libr Rev. 1987 Sep;4(3):160-3 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2532.1987.430160.x for more fun facts about our history

  5. The French word Noel is derived, via Old French, from the Latin, dies natalis.

  6. Coca Cola started using Santa Claus in advertisements in the 1920s.

  7. Liverpool Central Library won The Bookseller’s Library of the year award in 2018

  8. Nina Browne, the inventor of Browne issue, spelt her name with a terminal e. (You nearly all got this right, unlike a certain eminent member of the profession whose name I will keep to myself)

Identify these items of library equipment. Due to a glitch in Google Forms, most of you coldn’t submit answers for the 3rd and 4th picture, so we didn’t score the answers for these. But they were, in order, a date stamp, a hole punch, paper clips and rubber bands

Match the cat to the #ukmedlibs team member: cat 1 was Sam’s Phoebe, cat 2 was Holly’s Lupin, cat 3 was Tom’s Percy and cat 4 was Lucy’s father’s cat Fluffy.

And the most difficult round, match the photograph to the classification they invented. The answers are:

  1. Cyril Barnard, inventor of the Barnard classification (and after whom the Barnard prize is named)

  2. Melvil Dewey – you nearly all got this one

  3. Henry E. Bliss, who devised the Bliss Bibliographic classification

  4. S.R. Ranganathan, he of the Colon classification (named after the punctuation mark, not the large intestine

  5. Paul Otlet, a famous Belgian who, with Henri La Fontaine, devised the Universal Decimal Classifcaiton

  6. Herbert Putnam who introduced the Library of Congress Classification at, surprisingly, the Library of Congress.

  7. The two in this photograph who developed classifications are Eileen Cunningham, on the left, and Mary Louise Marshall, on the right, whom we have to thank for the NLM classification. In between them sits Janet Doe, after whom the MLA’s Janet Doe lecture is named. Read Brodman E. Mary Louise Marshall, 1893-1986. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1986;74(3):288–290 for more about these formidable women, and their sometimes difficult relationships with one another. “She could irritate everyone
    without trying: she talked endlessly, and she thought your time should be her time.” I’m sure we’ve all had colleagues like that.

And finally, the transcript and analytics aren’t yet available. We’ll tweet when they are.  We start 2019 with our first chat of the year on Tuesday 15th January, at 8pm. We’ll announce more details early in the new year. In the meantime, a happy Christmas to you all.



The #ukmedlibs Christmas quiz questions

The questions are live at https://goo.gl/forms/6TsHdqahZsxorWE92

You have until 9 pm to complete them; and while you do, join us on Twitter at #ukmedlibs to chat about things professional. Then the quiz will close, a sophisticated algorithm (Tom) will harvest and mark your answers, decide on the winner, and announce the name. The winner will receive a £20 Amazon voucher generously donated by EBSCO.

The rules:

  1. No Googling (How will we know? We’ll know, we assure you)
  2. One entry each
  3. There are no more rules


A happy Christmas to you all from the #ukmedlibs team: Holly, Lucy, Sam and Tom

Discovery systems chat, Tuesday 20th November: the questions

Tonight’s the night, and here’s some questions to structure the discussion. Join us online at 8pm at the hashtag #ukmedlibs

  1. Does your library have a discovery system? If not, are you considering one?
  2. What do you hope a discovery system will achieve? How can discovery systems offer our users a better experience?
  3. How do you see the relationship between discovery of digital and print resources? Should both be findable in a discovery system?
  4. If you’ve used a discovery system, how easy or labour –intensive is it to manage and maintain?
  5. What can we learn from discovery systems in use in higher education? And NHS Wales and Scotland?
  6. What else could discovery systems do? Current awareness?
  7. Are discovery systems better suited to general collections covering the whole of human knowledge, and less suited to medical information?
  8. Do they really overcome multiple logins?
  9. Why not use Google and or SciHub?
  10. National, regional or local?
  11. How do we want to see our discovery systems evolve?


Discovery systems: flavour of the month (November chat )?

Discovery systems seem to be all the rage. Widely adopted in higher education libraries, and heavily promoted by vendors, some NHS libraries have installed a discovery system, though we have no information on their use in non-NHS, non HE health libraries, such as Royal Colleges, membership organisations and charities.

Knowledge for Healthcare commissioned Ken Chad to report on discovery systems for the NHS. His report, summarised in this Knowledge for Healthcare blog post, recommends a single national gateway to enable NHS staff to access trusted, high quality resources, services and support, and highlights the need to provide end users with a better experience, and to reduce the complexity of the existing infrastructure, which complicates access for end-users and carries high maintenance costs.

Igor Brbre kindly recommended two other resources for those wishing to know more: Unified Resource Discovery Comparison and Discovery Tools: a bibliography.

Whether you already have a discovery system, are looking at procuring one, are waiting for the NHS gateway, or just wondering what they can do, you’ll find it informative.

Website for the #ukmedlibs Twitter chats