Tuesday, May 11, 2010

@hand: mobile technologies in academia + medicine

On April 21st I spent the day at the University of Maryland, Baltimore for "@hand: mobile technologies in academia + medicine", a symposium sponsored by the UMB Health Sciences and Human Services Library. The event began with a Keynote address from healthcare journalist Neil Versel, appropriately titled “Healthcare Here, There, and Everywhere”. The speakers that followed were divided into three sessions; Educational Uses of Mobil Technology, Clinical Uses of Mobile Technology, and Mobile Technology@UMB.

The two presentations in the session Educational Uses of Mobil Technology were most relevant to the non-clinical environment on the Homewood Campus.

“The IM Learning Initiative” at Shenandoah University presented by Dr. Wallace Marsh described their initiative to provide all of their students and faculty with a laptop (MacBook Pro) and iPod/iPhone, to get faculty & students on same platform/equipment. Dr. Marsh provided several examples of the advantages of having everyone using the same equipment; the most interesting one for me occurred this past February during snowmageddon. Even though the University physically closed for several days, the Pharmacy School continued to hold classes using live (Elluminate) and recorded (Camtasia Relay and placed on iTunesU) technologies and remained on schedule for the term. Only the lab courses had to be rescheduled with make-up sessions. This would be a huge advantage to any institution, for any emergency closure. The possibilities of planning for a pandemic immediately came to my mind.

Megan von Isenburg from Duke University Medical Center Library presented “The Kindle: A Novel Way to Increase Access to Information” and taught me a few things I did not know about the Kindle. There are several course related books for students available on the Kindle, and the Kindle is able to search some web-based resources (resource-poor sites). The study provided a Kindle to students and preceptors during a Family Medicine rotation. In an academic setting the Kindle proved to be adequate for providing information, but was identified as intolerable in the clinical setting. Important issues to consider that were addressed: know your audience and know what devices they already own. Is your audience willing and flexible to incorporate new devices into their workflow? Know your content and know what you want your audience to have access to. What materials are available for your specific device? And of course faculty involvement is extremely important. Duke University Medical Center Library plans to use the iPod/iPhone in their next study.

In addition to the presentations, there were also a few exhibitors, most notably Apple providing iPads for attendees to try. Blackboard Mobile was there showing their applications for Blackberry and iPod/iPhone. EBSCOhost Mobile was there showing their application designed especially for the smaller screens of mobile devices. Mobile MedlinePlus was also there showing their consumer focused mobile application from the National Library of Medicine.

The remaining talks are listed below. If you have any questions about this event, please contact me and I will be happy to discuss the sessions with you.

Clinical Uses of Mobile Technology

  • Incorporation of handheld computing to a 4 year medical school curriculum
  • Mobile MedlinePlus: Health Information On-the-Go
  • Mobile for the Millennial Medical Student

Mobile Technology @ UMB

  • UMMS Medical Encyclopedia iPhone App: The Journey from Idea to iTunes
  • Development of Mobile Applications for the UMB Dental School
  • HS/HSL Web App for the iPhone

Monday, May 10, 2010

Integrating Resources cataloging course

During the month of April I took an SCCTP (Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program) online course on "Integrating Resources." What's that? In the past the world of cataloging was divided into monographs and serials, with little in between. Now that we are acquiring more and more electronic resources, which may be frequently updated and which do not remain discrete, but rather have the updates integrated into the whole, a new category was needed: hence, "Integrating Resources." The course covered everything from updating electronic resources, such as databases and Web sites, to the more familiar old-fashioned loose-leaf publications.

This course required several hours a week, with homework assignments. Part of the difficulty of cataloging Integrating Resources is that, by definition, they are continually changing. Another difficulty is that the rules that apply to them are changing as well. In fact, the course did not incorporate the most up-to-date decisions, which was a disappointment; our own in house documentation is more in line with the current cataloging guidelines than some of the course materials. For one class assignment the instructor gave as many as six "correct" answers. Clearly, this kind of cataloging is evolving rapidly, and it takes great effort just to try to keep up with all the changes. I am sharing what I have learned with our staff who are dealing with these materials, and I hope to learn more with hands-on cataloging in the future.

Darlene Townsend
Copy Cataloging Supervisor

Sunday, May 9, 2010

14th Off-Campus Library Services Conference 2010

Along with my colleague Jennifer Costaldo (who, I might add, did a great poster presentation) I, too, attended the Off-Campus Library Services Conference in Cleveland at the end of April. I'll try to truncate my usual verbosity to brief points of interest and welcome additional questions or thoughts. ( Ohhh, that audio you hear?? Go down to the bottom of the post and press the 'pause' button on my iPhone...we'll get to that later. ) --- [ UPDATE: (I've removed my electronic iPhone due to it's 'automatic' start function.) Here is a link to the material: LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D55jOkEt6n8 ]

Ok, back to the post-conference brain dump.

The 14th Off-Campus Library Services Conference took place in Cleveland, Ohio from April 27th – 30th , 2010. There were (5) five primary and overarching conceptual foci during the event. 1) Defining variations of the Distance learner; 2) Cloud Computing & movement of institutional repository types of works to 'the cloud'; 3) Service provision in virtual spaces ; 4) Assessment ; 5) Technological sharing platforms and useful integrative software for delivering library services.

My personal interests – 1) Cutting-edge technologies; and 2) Creative integration(s) of technology into service delivery methods – grounded my session selections.

Below, I've provided 'bullet-points' of interesting thoughts, vocabulary, buzz words/phrases, and a few 'light-bulb' moments. (Hopefully there's at least one at every conference you attend.)

* Librarians are being slowly disintermediated (that's right, you heard me...disintermediated. NOTE: This blog space IS somewhat interactive, in that you can post a comment. So, let me know what you think about this --- and anything else that strikes a nerve.)

* Virtual spaces provide access points for the disintermediated librarian

* Immersion via 3D web platforms --- Second Life; Open Cobalt; Open Simulator; Education Grid; Immersive Education Initiative

* Software: Wimba ( much like Adobe Connect - without the massive audio problems )

* Distance students are often unaware of library services. How do we track the elusive students and market our services regularly without becoming a disturbance or distraction.

* Why do distance students like Librarians as a source? --- Quotes from graduate students in the research process: 1) "My librarian is the only one who answers my questions." 2) "Is it me?? Because, I'm not finding anything in my Ebsco searches!"
3) "I can count on you being around more consistently than my professor."

* Real-time interaction is critical to the learning experience and students prefer synchronous as opposed to asynchronous environments

* Virtual office hours tend not to work (hmmm...comments?)

* TERMINOLOGY: Digital Nomads (constantly smartphone connected) Dr. Camila Alire

* BOOK: The Anywhere Library: A Primer for the Mobile Web

* BOOK: The Visible Librarian -- by Judith Seiss

* Craft a message that people can hold onto

* Ensure tutorials and assessment tools can be viewed on mobile devices and make them intuitive. Student comment: "Don't make me figure out what I need to do...please."

* Although some librarian's are still using audio beds underneath PowerPoint presentations, many have graduated to "Jing"-type tools ( watch out for my next blog post on my personal Jing experiences over the past 6 months )

I've also included an overview of the Second Life platform's use in library environments. (that was the pesky audio you heard at the beginning of my post --- "Enter, stage left,... the video in my iPhone below.") UPDATE: (I've removed my electronic iPhone due to it's 'automatic' start function.) Here is a link to the material: LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D55jOkEt6n8

Again, I welcome any questions or response posts.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Off-Campus Library Services (OCLS) Conference

I recently attended the OCLS conference in Cleveland, OH from April 28-30. This conference is offered every two years and focuses on the issues surrounding providing library services and resources to distance education faculty and students. It is a very important conference for many of us over in ELP!

Some notable themes/presentations:
  • Discussion on changing the name of the conference from Off-Campus, to something that more accurately reflects what we are doing, such as "online," for example. Location of users is no longer as important as the medium of communication with them.
  • Embedding library resources and services, as well as librarians, into online course management systems.
  • Assessing distance education service delivery- and how to align this to organizational performance.
  • Is it a librarian's job to teach writing?
  • Personal branding- great workshop where we went through a worksheet and tried to create our own personal brands to promote services and reach distant users.
  • Seeking library donors among alumni of distance learning programs.
  • Library-led online faculty workshops to help with meeting information literacy objectives
While I was there, I also presented a poster on a process for embedding library resources into online courses that we created for the Excelsior College Library. You can see a copy of the poster that Anita Norton and I created on the ELP Blog.

Please feel free to ask me any questions. I am happy to share my notes on these sessions!