Friday, April 27, 2007

Health Sciences Interest Group

On Thursday, 26 April, Laurel Egan of St. James Hospital, Butte, led our Health Sciences Interest Group in a discussion of possible technologies that we could use in our various libraries which serve medical professionals, nursing and other students. As an aside, the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Medical Libraries Association will hold its annual conference in Billings, MT, from 28 September to 2 October, 2007.

The discussion returned to the topic of how we are using technology in our libraries. Some in our group bemoaned the fact that their libraries were basically locked down with regards to free access to the system for experimentation with the latest technologies and ideas in presenting information. The problem seemed to involve security and firewalls.

Laurel has been using blogs to get her information across to professionals at her institution. She discussed the value of blogs in the health sciences and mentioned some of the blogging software which she found valuable in building her sites. If any of us would like to create our own blogs, Laurel has offered to walk us through some of the problems.

Choosing a provider for your blog depends upon what you want your blog to do. Some providers include Blogspot, WordPress, Xanga, and LiveJournal. Laurel also recommended "mooshing" the names of blogs which may contain sensitive information (e.g. sjhdiabetes) to hide the blogs from "outsiders" when necessary. Having created a blog for physicians to maintain currency on some of the medical literature without getting buy-in from the physicians, Laurel used her site as an example of what not to do. She emphasized the necessity of discovering the needs of one's clients and what they are willing to make use of before creating a resource which they may not use.

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