It’s a good thing that I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions related to my personal writing, because I’d have to report a failure already. That said, the CTSA grant proposal that everyone has been working ’round the clock on for weeks now is very close … oh so very close … to being put to bed, which in this case means submitted. And then I’ll be able to start focusing on how to approach doing the new job that I’ve been hired to do. Up until now, I’ve only been writing what I’ll do. Next stop, figure out how to do what I said I’d do. I’ve already joined the American Evaluation Association and signed up for one of their upcoming coffee break webcasts.
An aside… I think the idea of coffee break webcasts – 30-minute weekly sessions that focus on a particular topic, led by different members of the organization – is a TERRIFIC idea. I know that I belong to a few organizations that are struggling to define and/or create the real benefits of membership and such a simple thing as a regular, free, short-and-sweet-yet-interesting webcast is just that sort of thing.
For today, I at least wanted to send up a post with a few fun things I’ve come across over the past couple days/weeks – some delayed candy canes, if you will:
- The Spudd – it’s The Onion of medical and pharma news. Hilarious. I discovered it just this very morning, thanks to a hilarious post shared on Twitter by my friend, Dean Hendrix.
- How Reddit Created the World’s Largest Dialogue between Scientists and the General Public is a very good blog post by Simon Owens. I’m fascinated with scientific communication and, in particular, efforts to bring the scientific community together with the general public. We are a scientifically illiterate culture at our own peril. I love what’s happening on this online community and so I’ve set up a Reddit account and plan to follow along for awhile.
- Finally, for anyone curious about public health and/or epidemiology and NOT interested in returning to school ever again <hand raised>, I came across an on-demand course from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I confess that I’ve signed-up and failed at several MOOC’s, mostly because of timing. I’m really happy to find a relevant, on-demand one and hope to work through it soon. I have a feeling that doing a course on my own, at my own pace, and at my own convenience will work well for me, especially now as I juggle all of the new tasks of a new job.
Back to the grindstone here. Happy New Year to all of my readers and followers! You make blogging fun.
My 3 New Year’s Resolutions for 2015. No progress yet!
December 11 - Managing Information and/or Managing Data
I admit that I struggle greatly with how easily we librarians interchangeably use the terms information and data. I believe that there are significant differences between managing information and managing data. I also think that our history, professionally, is in the former more than the latter. That said, as we move more and more into the realm of data management, we’re making the argument that we also have a history of managing data.
In a recent post on the e-Science Community Blog (a part of the e-Science Portal for New England Librarians), Nancy Glassman, Assistant Director for Informatics at the D. Samuel Gottesman Library, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, argues that Librarians are the Original Data Managers. I’m not sure that I wholeheartedly agree with Nancy, but what I do really like about this post is how she lays out the thesis for a class of students who attended a data management workshop she led. What I like best is that she convinced them that librarians do, in fact, have a role in this area. They understood her explanation and she gained credibility not just for herself, but for other librarians these attendees might encounter in the future.
That’s a win-win for all!
Tomorrow is Friday! What will the treat be? Check in to find out.
December 10 - Teaching Online
Yesterday was the last official day of classes at the University of Rhode Island, thus it marked the “official” end of my first semester as an adjunct professor. I still have grades to do, of course, but the instruction part is over. It was really a great experience and I so enjoyed putting together materials for each of the topics. And my students were fantastic.
That said, it was a lot of work – perhaps even more than I’d anticipated (and I’d anticipated a lot). Mostly this is because I’d never taught a full class and more, I’d never taught a full class online. Online education is a different animal and many of the techniques I’d come to rely upon in my traditional classroom teaching didn’t translate easily to the online environment. In short, my students learned a lot about health sciences librarianship and I learned a lot about teaching, curriculum development, and the online educational environment. It’s like I took a class, too!
I recently read a good review in the “Advice” column of The Chronicle of Higher Education on Michelle Miller’s new book, Minds Online: Teaching Effectively With Technology. Miller is a professor at Northern Arizona University, an institution that was early to adopt the online educational environment, in part because of their location. Bad weather is common and rather than cancelling classes, the University took to the Web to provide uninterrupted learning. I haven’t read this book yet, but based on the review will likely check it out. Understanding how people learn in different environments is key to effective teaching. I think this book will offer more insight there.
If you find yourself in the situation of moving course content and/or entire classes online, you might find it of interest, too.
The treats continue tomorrow… (And in case you’re wondering, I’m still going on my Jingle Bell 5K-a-Day challenge, too! Going for 10 today.)
December 9 - Go, Libraries, Go!
I love a mobile library, a bookmobile, and biblioburros! Several years ago, my neighbor introduced me to the Mobile Library Mystery Series by the Northern Ireland author, Ian Sansom. The Case of the Missing Books got me hooked! I love the Little Free Library movement and book trading posts. I loved James Whitmore’s character in the movie, The Shawshank Redemption, as he pushed his book cart down the prison rows, stopping at each cell to ask, “Book?” Yes, I love any and all of the creative ways that libraries and librarians and plenty of plain citizens (or fictional convicts) bring books and literacy to their communities.
Today’s Candy Cane celebrates the beauty of mobile libraries. Ebook Friendly’s list of the 10 Most Extraordinary Mobile Libraries is a real treat. As the website notes:
From donkey-drawn trolleys to huge ships, you’ll see here outstanding vehicles that are designed to carry the most important cargo in the world – wisdom.
Take a moment out of your busy day to marvel at these and celebrate the wonderful gifts of literacy and books.
More tomorrow …
December 6 - Share and Share Alike!
One of the best characteristics of our profession is sharing. Librarians share things freely and openly. Unfortunately, I’m as guilty as anyone in too often forgetting this fact. Libraries, library organizations, and the like are GREAT places to find archives of useful materials. One of these is the archives of webinars and resource materials from the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries. You’ll find lots of good things here related to data, the digital environment, emerging trends in research libraries, and more.
December 7 - “The future of libraries won’t be created by libraries.”
This is the opening line to a column, Let the Future Go, that David Weinberger, codirector of Harvard’s Library Innovation Lab and a senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, wrote last September. I’ve written about Weinberger in past posts and really like the way he pushes us to think about information. It rubs some folks the wrong way (as this column did), but I personally like the challenges he presents. If you’re not afraid to think BIG when it comes to information and the role of libraries and other information services/institutions today, you might enjoy this piece. It will, at the very least, get you thinking.
December 8 - Datalibrarians Unite!
Datalibrarians, By Datalibrarians for Datalibrarians is a collaborative blog/website created by Celia Emmelhainz, the social sciences data librarian at Colby College in Maine. It offers up lots and lots of practical posts related to who datalibrarians are, what they do, tools they use, tips and tricks, and more. It’s a terrific resource for those working in and/or interested in this area of librarianship (which might be a bunch of people who follow my blog!). :)
Tune in tomorrow for more Candy Canes!
December 5 - If you can’t beat ‘em, at least show them how to Google better!
We librarians have our love-hate relationship with Google, for sure, but truth be told, we all know that it actually does provide a valuable service in many situations. No, it’s not the first spot I want to see a medical student, doctoral candidate, clinician or researcher going when they’re searching for the answer to a clinical and/or research question, but I also tell the students in our Clinical Population Health Research degree program (the ones that I work most closely with), that to avoid it altogether is likely to find you missing a pretty valuable piece of information or two. Use it, but use it wisely.
Here’s a really terrific infographic from the website, Visual.ly, called Get More Out of Google (Designer: Bobby Bernethy; Published by Hack College). You can see that it provides a number of tips and tricks for better searching with Google, including a whole bunch of operators that most people either don’t know about and/or don’t use. Like many of the infographics on Visual.ly, it’s professional quality and you can easily share it on all types of sites. I subscribe to their email list and get a daily note containing some of the popular graphics on their site for that day. I’ve found a lot that are useful, including this one about Google. You may, too.
Tomorrow may be Saturday, but there will still be treats! Come back.
Here we are at Day 4, folks. Doesn’t it feel like yesterday was just Day 1? Heh…
December 4 - Humanizing Medicine
My great friend and colleague, Brandy King (of Knowledge Linking) sent me a nice email, after reading yesterday’s post, telling me that she love the countdown idea. I told her to feel free to share any “candy canes” with me that she might want to add to the project, and she promptly offered up the blog that she puts together for the Arnold P. Gold Foundation entitled, Humanizing Medicine. Each month, Brandy authors the “Research Roundup,” to provide readers with an overview of the latest studies published in the area of humanism in medicine.
During this fall’s annual meeting of the North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, Inc. (NAHSL), Haider Javed Warraich, MD, a 3rd year Resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, gave a wonderful keynote address on this very topic. (You can find some of Dr. Warraich’s writing here.) I know that it resonated well with those of us in attendance and I’m grateful to discover the “treat” of Brandy’s work and I look forward to the regular dose of thoughtfulness that it will give me each month.
Tomorrow… visit to unwrap another treat!