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.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A day in the life

I often get asked what I do all day. Some days are very slow and I have to find tasks to keep myself busy (there's always stuff to do, but some stuff is much more interesting than others!). Other days are so busy they make my head spin. Today has been a somewhat typical day, so I thought I would use it as an example.

  • Got in around 8:00 (it's always "around" 8:00 because I am the beck and call of our shuttles from my parking garage)
  • Helped a research fellow obtain some images for her presentation she's doing
  • Helped obtain another article for another staff member (who was very pleased that I could get the PDF)
  • Sent a couple of articles that had come in from interlibrary loan
  • Helped a staff member find some articles for a research paper she's doing for class
  • Had a request from a faculty member to help track down some information on a particular radiologist she has been asked to do a presentation with (Ever Googled your date? Yeah, this was along the same lines - pretty funny!)
  • Helped a staff member locate some specific articles she was having a hard time finding
  • Photocopied an article in the main library and scanned the article so I could e-mail it to another staff member. This would typically be handled via interlibrary loan, but she needed the article sooner than we could get it through ILL. I've helped get several articles for this staff member over the past few days, and she was gushing with praise. :-)
  • Obtained an article for another staff member
  • Helped a faculty member find a book he was looking for
  • Traded out one volume of a set for the correct one, which I had mistakenly given a staff member earlier in the week
I also had a nice lunch and a short coffee break with a friend. Now it's the end of the day, and I'm ready for the weekend!

Thoughts on TLA

It's been a week since TLA, and I need to post some thoughts before they're completely gone.

Here's a recap:


Arrived at the convention center just after 9:00. I had intended to go to the opening session, but that just didn't happen. I'm sorry; I would have enjoyed hearing Isabel Allende.

I joke that TLA is where I pretend I'm still a children's librarian. This was evident in my first chosen session, which was about books that are good family choices. This was fun session! Lots of good ideas for multiage read-alouds (which is good, since I have a very high-reading-level 4th grader and a 2nd grader who is at or slightly above grade level), a fun readers theatre, and a talk by children's author Grace Lin.

After this session I browsed the exhibit hall briefly (picking up an Advanced Reading Copy of one of the books mentioned in the session I had just attended!) and then had lunch on the Riverwalk.

The 2nd session I attended was about management skills for solo librarians. I got some very helpful tips in this session; it was nice to know others have similar difficulties as I do! The biggest thing I learned from this session is that I really need to hone my networking skills.

I browsed the exhibit hall some more and decided to go back to the hotel before my evening function, which was my university's alumni dinner. This dinner was somewhat of a disappointment, and I wish I had chosen to spend that evening another way, I think.


I made it to the convention center earlier on Friday to hear the Authors Readers Theater with Walter Dean Myers, Avi, Sarah Weeks, and Sharon Creech. This was absolutely fabulous, and I'm so glad I went!

I next attended a Digital Photography session, since it was hosted by my division (and also because my mother, an accomplished photographer, was with me). Interesting talk, but not particularly relevant for me. Very, very popular, though! I ran into a former coworker here and enjoyed touching base with him again after about 2.5 years. I also managed to get myself elected secretary/treasurer, which, reflecting on, I'm quite pleased about.

The only other session I attended was on the politics of weeding which was really not helpful for me at all, unfortunately, as it was geared towards public libraries.

I spent even more time in the exhibit hall before heading back to the hotel. Again, this is where I pretend I'm still a children's librarian, and I picked up lots of advanced reading copies, which I'll share with my daughter.

After resting for a little while, I spent the rest of the afternoon on the Riverwalk with my mother, had a nice dinner, and headed back to the convention center for the President's Party. I was too exhausted to stay long, but I was glad I did go for a little while.

And that's all for this year. I'm already looking forward to getting away again next year!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Back from TLA

I hope to give a detailed report of my Texas Library Association conference experience soon, but for now I wanted to post an observation.

You can tell it's a slow time of year (or at least a slow time of the month) in the departmental library world when you come back after being gone for 3 days and find a total of 3 books having been checked out, no voice mail, and a total of 6 e-mail messages, of the 52 messages waiting in my inbox, requiring action (of which 2 of those only require a quick response).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Texas Library Association

I am leaving tomorrow for the the Texas Library Association conference in San Antonio. This is a bit of a luxury for me, since it is really more geared towards public libraries than medical, academic, etc. but I go to step out of my box for a few days. Mixed in with the fun stuff, I do find a few useful sessions. For example, this year, I plan to go to sessions on managing solo libraries, teaching adults, tech trends, and the politics of weeding. But ultimately, this is a way for me to keep a finger in the non-medical library world, just in case I should ever decide to venture back into the world of public libraries.

This year is going to be a lot of fun, as my mother is joining me from Memphis and actually attending the conference (she's not a librarian). We haven't spent any real time alone in many years, so I'm really looking forward to that quality time on top of a great conference!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

In the News

Another interesting article in The New England Journal of Medicine. A new study suggests that the use of computer-aided detection in screening for breast cancer may not be as accurate as mammograms read by radiologists without the use of CAD.

Fenton JJ, Taplin SH, Carney PA et al. Influence of computer-aided detection on performance of screening mammography. NEJM 2007; 356: 1399-1409.


Progress is being made, at least behind the scenes, on the creation of the Diagnostic Imaging Learning Laboratory (DILL), which I will be housing in my tiny library. The DILL will have several computers for the purpose of accessing research material and learning resources as part of one of our faculty member's Academic Development Program.

We're at a roadblock currently because the designated room is still being used for storage by two separate people. I talked to one yesterday who asked if she could have until at least mid-May to sort through her boxes, and she is trying to firm that up with the faculty member's secretary. The other person has every intention of removing her stuff when she has another place to put it. Unfortunately, the person who is supposed to find her space is out of the country until May 1! As for the first person, the secretary told her yesterday, "Oh, there's no big hurry, since he doesn't even have the computers yet." Then later, a person from IT came in to ask me if this is where the computers were supposed to go. I had to tell her, yes, but not yet!

Once finished, this is going to be a great addition to my library (even if it's not officially my lab). I'm hoping to be able to use it for small-group training, something I don't do much of now.