Wednesday, 15 September 2010


Thought this would be a suitable colour for reviewing some of our e-books. I can't say that it was a raging success. If you can access them then they are wonderful - all with little idiosynchrasies, depending on publisher.

University Library ones:- Tried a few from Newton:-

ABC of Aids was basic - disappointing with its links. It had a clear font and decent pictures.

Lecture notes on clinical medicine - Netlib supplier again. Basic - no links from index.

Devita's cancer - yes still on Newton as electronic - but no longer accessible. We cancelled the subscription and nobdy has removed it. Hmmm. Will contact "help" to take it off.

I knew "Harrison's principles of internal medicine" had been paid for with StatRef. as supplier, so tried this. The presentation was much better than that of Netlib and it was more flexible. Nice clear font, linked references to article abstracts on PubMed, and links to tables.

NHS - Booo! "Flow control warning" came up for everything I'd chosen, with a note, "Contact a librarian"!! I tried a variety of books from psychology to general medicine. Also, even if there was a heading in the index it didn't mean there was a book eg. "Chronic leg ulcers" heading had no books. - Very frustrating!! Will try again.

Freebies - Project Gutenberg - very interesting selection and very easy to use and read. Some texts were better than others eg. "Anomalies and curiosities of medicine" had no links, whereas "Old-time makers of medicine" linked from the index to the relevant pages.

My favourite - needless to say is the "Oxford textbook of medicine" - wonderful links to articles from references, easy to read, good graphics. One problem - it's still not on Newton and we bought it 2 months ago - grrr! Must pursue.

All in all, the ease of access should make e-books very popular. No more lugging heavy tomes around. Very good for clinical students on placement. The big hang-up - the publishers won't let us have e-book format on the most popular textbooks as they lose revenue and therefore the possible prohibitive costs if they finally are worked round to the idea.

Have run out of time for ipod touch - maybe tomorrow?!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Follow that journal

Not my best graphic - have messed up the cropping for the second time - but it gives the right idea of the workflow if you can read it..Either you need glasses or you'll have to cope with it fluffy! I'm only going to note the bits re the selection of journals of which you may be unaware.

This represents journal purchasing
Basically, selection comes in 3 ways - Legal Deposit, offering trials of journals, and from requests. Legal Deposit is the easiest. The Periodicals Dept stacks journals which have a medical flavour up for me and I wander over there every 3 months. I check to see if they are already online through a package, the publishers, the editorial boards, where they are cited, the Journal Citation Index, etc. If they look good and we've received > 3 issues I'll consider them, otherwise I leave it longer. They're no use to us if the supply peters out.

Trials of journals - a lovely proactive approach, but since we can't afford them anyway, I'm not prepared to offer day!

Reader requests - with no money, this is a challenge - but I still have to go through the hoops. Lesley, as Journal Consultation Committee coordinator has given all of us a long list of evaluation points.(See Anna's blog for some of the evaluation methods used.) If, after evaluating, I consider they're worth recommending, I feed them onto the journals recommendations website with the details of costing,(having contacted the publishers,) and any comments justifying my recommendation.

The journal recommendation then has to be scored by the Journal Consultation Committee and then forwarded to the Steering Committee if the score is high enough. The Consultation Committee for us covers the biosciences. Pre the Journals Coordination Committee, Lesley sends out the list of recommended journals from the biosciences and we all have to score them. 10 is the highest - and this score means that the title will automatically be considered by the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee controls the purse strings and sets the strategic policies for the process. All the titles are ranked according to the perceived needs of each of the biosciences departments. For more information re scoring do come and see me and I'll show you the crib sheet-it's quite complex, with doubling some scores and multiplying by 1.5 for others. (This system came from the humanities groups - bless them! - It does show up the front runners very clearly though.) Our highest ranking journals will later be weighed against those titles from the social sciences and also the humanities.

Over the last year the whole process has become more formalised, but rather discouraging, due to the work input needed and the lack of funds. :(
Last year we were allowed to order 2 titles, but we were allowed none this year. However, I have a waiting list of 26 titles which I have ranked for when money is available.
For the rest of "Follow that journal.." do come and and ask if you can't fit into a group - I can bore you further!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Thing 17 - podcasts

Woops - have started to run behind.

Podcasts are wonderful. I've had a listen to the BMJ ones giving some comment on the current events. They sound really good so have subscribed.

The Cambridge podcasts were interesting - just wish I made more time to listen to them. It's great to here the world's movers and shakers debating on"What future life on earth". The pictures were pretty ropey but it was produced in 2006. I love the podcasts on "Cambridge ideas" - and particularly like the "Bird tango"

I think I could spend many happy hours listening to them.

Yes, very useful for the clinical students - but not that obvious in the mass of other information on the ERWEB site.

Re other medical practitioners - surgeons watching complex operations, (before trying them out!) is an obviously useful feature of podcasts. Ditto showing good techniques when consulting with patients.

Applicability to our library - well induction podcasts are the most obvious possibility, but could also put basic training in the use of reference tools on . It all depends on time and possible take-up.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Maps Thing 18ish

What fun - could stay on this all day.

However, 19.6 miles between my home and here (Cambridge), for some reason the AA didn't like the end of our hospital postcode - wierd and probably me.

Google street map - yes I can appreciate the privacy angle. However, they haven't been created in real time, so burglars can't check when you're in or out. I loved the Streetview, which I haven't tried before. So useful if your in a new place. Intend to play with it world wide. Photos must've been taken when the whole family was out working - no sign of any cars. Hmm, Amazed that it had some photos of our tiny village. It did find the middle of a road junction in West Road for the UL, but can't win them all -guess it was the postcode.

I thought the TED video was amazing - so useful and interesting. Open Street map is such a good idea with the local folk having the ability to edit it. Very useful for the planners too - (have forwarded it to older daughter to see if Brent is up with it). I think it's a wonderful tool and well-worth collaborating. I liked the bus stops and particularly the cafes!!

I think both the Google street maps and Open Steet Maps have their place - it just depends what you need. I reckon the cycle map must be really useful

I had a quick try at creating a map with a local walk -could spend many happy hours. I hope it's embedded itself here. I thought I might try a footpath, but time is wizzing on so had better stop. It seemed fairly strightforward, except the route I was trying to set up kept moving the markers. I think this may be a home project.

View Walk around Ashley in a larger map

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Follow that reader - Optional extra

Can't find 2,3, and 9.

Suspect 5 is "MRCPH part2, data interpretation questions."

...a challenging reader - great!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Thing 13 and 14

No problems with the logging in on the laptop - either in the library or in the hospital.

I'm not keen on ipod touch - didn't find it intuitive - how did I know how to get up the Querty keypad!? Anyhow, with help from both Connor and Jenni I'm happy to say I won in the end. Am also not keen on the tiny keys - my peasant fingers don't fit on them properly and misspelling passwords is a pain. I guess I might stay a luddite with this one - would prefer something bigger - sign of my age!

Thing 15 - NHS Reforms

Thought I'd better add something topical and sensible. ...Also up-to-date!

Thought I'd also add a link to this one:- should you want to make your own soloar panel. I used Google to find this and tried another couple of sites. However, in one I was bombarded with adverts - which I haven't had on YouTube. - Mayhap it's 'cos I haven't used it much. The YouTube videos look better and they also link from Google videos. -Quite fancy making my own panel for the greenhouse heating.

Finally, my favourite singer:-

I could spend a long time on YouTube....

Hey ho - iprocurement training online calls!

Gorilla librarian

I couldn't resist this one!! Just like our selection interviews isn't it?!

The insulting librarian

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


Used the "Follow That...Reader" to scan - but should've added more colour. Dead easy - helps if you remember to save as .jpg and not other variations.
Much easier than double-sided copying!! No I didn't do it right first or second time - am now up to speed!

Friday, 2 July 2010

wikis are wonderful!

Wikis are wonderful - and very useful.

Yesterday I set one up for our family party in 2 weeks time. To avoid having 20 bottles of Pimms, (fairly typical of everyone choosing booze,) I decided to create a wiki so everyone could note down what food they'd bring and we wouldn't end up with a glut. It took less that 10 minutes to set up from scratch on Jeff's email and we've already have a couple of answers. In fact it worked out just as shown on the video Isla recommended about wikis.

The food and drink list has been edited and added to by different members of the family and we can all see it . It's easy to share and saves loads of emails.


Staff manual here we come!

The Mouse that cried

Try out Friendfeed. - One of Isla's suggestions from the conference yesterday.

I signed up and found a goody because I had a pet mouse that cried - yes it was male. Yes it was on its own. My mother, being a sucker bought it a little female and.... 3 months later there were 60 or so mice in our outhouse. Now I've discovered why it cried!! - Good old Snowy!

This is what it smells like when mice cry
June 30th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

A pheromone in the male mouse’s tears causes a positive sexual response in female mice who smell it. The neural pathway was meticulously mapped in a study published today in Nature. Females ready to copulate arch their back and pose their behind when the pheromone, ESP1 is secreted. Females not ready to copulate usually just run away.

Pheromones in tears may have evolved because tear fluid lingers in the fur, and female mice often groom the faces of other mice. Crying for sex does not work in humans though, as quite a few of us know.

Haga, S., Hattori, T., Sato, T., Sato, K., Matsuda, S., Kobayakawa, R., Sakano, H., Yoshihara, Y., Kikusui, T., & Touhara, K. (2010). The male mouse pheromone ESP1 enhances female sexual receptive behaviour through a specific vomeronasal receptor Nature, 466 (7302), 118-122 DOI: 10.1038/nature09142t

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Thing 12 - wiki

Screenshot of wiki contribution:-

I think this is just what we want for our staff manual. Will have a play with uploading some of our documents and editing them. It means we can all edit processes as they change and everybody will know where to find the latest procedures.

Very useful for any collaborative ventures.

Mind you - don't know what happened to by Google gadget - it's on my edit screen but no sign on wiki - still haven't cracked it. Nil desperadum! There's always tomorrow.

Thing 11 - pigs and vege

Google docs - seem very easy to use - even I managed it. Screenshot below. It's also easy to share - see if anyone responds to email.

Was delighted to be able to produce a form. Jumped in with both feet so didn't compose a proper question - but great fun, (on the subject of pests and vegetables.) Screenshot below - no it isn't - Isla - help!

Still to try slide option and powerpoint.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Librarian of the future

Had an interesting meeting yesterday set up by Niamh re librarian of the future. I had further thoughts on the topic which I thought I'd like to note.

-Lack of marketing and PR has been a major problem. Librarians of the future need to spin like all the other professionals - branding is important! I believe marketing needs to concentrate on the time which can be saved by the organisations and by individuals if they are given accurate, quality information, which is where librarians come in. Specialists, eg. doctors, lawyers, civil servants, engineers etc. often don't have the time to put aside for this. Their time is also more expensive to the organisation than ours!

-Teaching searching techniques/critical appraisal of specialist papers/referencing comes into our brief for future development. Librarians might be more accepted in some institutions if librarians had teaching qualifications. A 4 year degree in librarianship, with the 4th year equivalent to the 1 yr postgrad. teaching diploma might help.

-The researcher I heard speak in the last year - can't remember which meeting - gave a list of his wants which included:- copyright advice, help with getting published, help with citations, help with indexing terminology, open access advice. All of this could fall within our brief for the future.

-Librarian of the future - unlikely to have a fixed abode if working in a scientific community- outreach to researchers and departments. Not governed by physical space.

- Some specialism in licensing and legal terminology for publisher deals. Negotiation skills.

- Understanding techiniques of digitisation and promoting it.

- Management skills - the library is as good as its staff.

- "What people think is important isn't necessarily what we think is important" (Terry Kendrick)- Has CILIP every surveyed different user groups to ask their needs? "Information only has value when you use it." Our core users need to believe in us. We have to make an effect, publicise it and collect testimonials to justify our existence to our stakeholders in order to be at the top of the pile.

That's enough pontficating for 1 morning!

Interested to hear other ideas!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Things 8-10

Here we go with Thing 8. I never give myself time to arrange my bookmarks. I started to make folders once, but it became too time consuming and I couldn't be bothered. Please ignore all duplicate entries.

That's not why we're doing it anyway. Yes, easy to bookmark on both Internet Explorer and Mozilla. Really too easy - if I'd had to think about it I'd 've put them in folders and been tidy. (possibly) As it is - if I can't find something, then I just look it up again and bookmark it. Maybe I'll rationalise it sometime. Watch for flying pigs. Hope we aren't being marked on style!

Thing 9. That was last week. Can I remember it? Oh yes, -but it doesn't fancy uploading here -- yup - do I have to do another blog? No. It's uploaded at the opposite end of the blog. Nil desperandum. Well this is Thing 9. I was going back to front- (started at Thing 10) - so what's new? Yes, I could remember this - easy to use and useful. Admittedly, I've done it before, but it posed no great problems. Of course - it's not a share - like delicious, but it's quick and easy. Not sure why this has been part underlined - inanimate objects 15 Collins 0.

Basically, 'cos I'm idle, I find the conventional bookmarking easier than using delicious. Having just spent a while on it - possibly not helped by using Internet explorer - which I found didn't support Bookmarklets on delicious. I was still able to bookmark, using the copy and paste option, but it wasn't the method I wanted. Later I used Firefox and bookmarklets. Hurray - it worked!

You can see how I'm moving towards a "food/cake" theme! Quelle surprise! How about a library book cake Isla?!

Yes, delicious would be very useful for groups of people in one area of research to share useful sites with similar tags. The lack of a thesaurus would worry me - too many synonyms etc. Am not keen on finding my way thro' free text - there are too many possibilities.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Sand Music

Caught this on the radio - "Museum of curiosities" last night.

Did you know that the Sand Mountain in Nevada emits a low C, while dunes in Chile sound an F, and those in Morocco a G#?

You could make a choir!

A journey through science and the imagination
Michael Welland
352 pages 50 black and white images, 8pp colour plate section 234x156mm
978-0-19-956318-0 Hardback 13 August 2009
Also available as: Paperback
Price: £18.99

Can also recommend:-

-not for the squeamish! - medicinal uses of mummies!

You could order parts in the Merck catalogue in 1908. Interesting "alternative" medicine.

Mummies were also used to fuel the boats at the relief of Khartoum - typically British!

Thing 7

I think all the RSS feeds are very useful and will save a lot of time, since they are all being handed to you on a plate and give you the up-to-date news. You might have missed them if you had to check each site.

I hadn't realised the potential of Google Reader -first time I've tried it. I found I spent quite a while with it - particularly the optional task. I didn't find the different tabs easy to sort out. ( Lost "reader settings" and "folders and tabs" - will ask those more informed amongst us.) I produced something - but if I tried it again it would still take a while. Generally, I thought it was very useful for sharing information. I found the NHS site easy to use and the browsers were OK.

Optional Thing 6

Thought I ought to try the optional task - it's be good to share useful resources amongst colleagues and fun ones with friends.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Thing 5

There's so much happening in Cambridge and I thought it'd be good to see what events and courses the University was running. I set this up on Internet Explorer.

I rarely use Mozilla, but thought I should try that too. I've added the Arcadia feed.
Hence 2 items for Thing 5.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Interesting science blog

I thought this one was interesting. I was looking for blogs on ethnobotany and fell across this site. It covers a vast range of topics and has tabs for eg. body, earth, heavens, brain, culture... with interesting articles.

The number of adverts are dire, but it's worth ignoring them and having a look around.

igoogle and sheep

and something to become edicated

or not...

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

23 Things

I think some of the 23 Things will be of use in the workplace eg. iGoogle, wikis and RSS to name a few. I was delighted to see a decent looking blog I'd created on the library website, so roll on the next Thing!

iGoogle was great and very useful, allowing me to log in onto the same news items/widgets etc. both here and at home.

The rest of the family are hoping to learn some of the gizmos since they're falling behind with the technology too.