Wednesday, May 16, 2007


One of my weak spots as a solo librarian is outreach. By nature, I am an introvert, so it takes a lot of effort for me to put myself out there. When I do, I get a lot of positive feedback and, as a result, I feel really good about myself as a professional. I wish I could remember that when I'm stressing about sending that send button after finishing a newsletter! I have made a goal of sending out a very short newsletter via e-mail to my entire division once a month, which contains, typically, some type of tip, an interesting website, new tool, etc. Maybe 3 or 4 things total. Today I sent one that included basically an advertisement for myself, offering to set up search alerts for anyone interested (this isn't the first time I have offered this, but I haven't advertised it in a while) and have already gotten one response. I need to remember that we are ever-growing, and the newer faculty members aren't aware of what I can do for them!


I'm exploring RSS feeds for all the tables of contents I receive via e-mail (yes, I know, better late than never). Of the ones I've seen so far, most just have feeds for their current issue, but the American Journal of Roentgenology really has a sophisticated set of feeds. Not only do they have a feed for their current issue, they also have a feed for recent issues, as well as feeds for specific content areas, such as chest imaging, etc. Pretty cool!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Praise comes easy sometimes

It's funny how something that seems so clear to us never even occurs to those we serve. Take for instance my most recent reference question. A faculty member was looking for information on a particular grant. She had the grant number and a general idea what it was about but couldn't locate the description. Surprisingly, she had even already searched the NIH grants page. So, what do I do? Take the grant number, put it in quotes, and stick it in Google. Bam! First result was exactly what she was looking for. And I'm "AMAZING" for thinking of that. Yes, yes I am.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Open access journals and citation counts

I just read a post on BoingBoing by Cory Doctorow about a blogger posting a portion of a figure from a scientific journal on her blog. This blogger is now being sued threatened by lawyers representing Wiley for copyright infringement. That, of course, is a whole topic in and of itself, but what I found interesting was a claim that Doctorow made that I'm not sure is true.

According to his post, scientists who publish in open access journals "get more citations and attention from their peers." Based on the impact factors I have seen for traditional medical journals as compared to open access journals in the same fields, this just isn't true. The impact factors for open access journals are rising as they become more popular (and trusted), but in my experience, researchers are still hesitant to stray from the tried and true. In many cases, tenure depends on how many articles you've published in "good" journals, and that "good" is determined by how high the impact factor is for that journal. Is this a good thing? I don't think so. Is it changing? I hope so, and I try to push open access journals as publishing options whenever asked my opinion.

Bloglines vs. Google Reader

Inspired by David Rothman's post yesterday, I decided to try out Google Reader. I'd been thinking about doing this, but seeing his easy instructions on how to import my feeds from Bloglines into Google Reader, I decided to take the plunge.

I wasn't sure at first, but I can say now that I definitely like Google Reader better, for one main reason. With Bloglines, if you click on a feed, it automatically marks all of the entries as read, even if you don't click through them all (at least, I've never found a way to keep it from doing this). Google Reader only marks an entry as read once you click on it. Considering that I read my feeds sporadically throughout the day and may not get through all of the entries for a particular blog in one sitting (especially if I get busy and don't read for several days), this is a highly desirable feature. Another nifty feature is being able to view only updated entries instead of the full list of feeds.