26 March 2008


Like most of you (I hope), I still get some of my library news from print sources. Here’s some of what I’ve read lately.

Rise and Shine, by Tracey Caldwell, gives an European view of the changes in medical information. Here are some excerpts:
"Dan Penny, analyst at Outsell, identifies a number of issues that will affect the role of the health information professional. ‘The emphasis of the role will change from being purely a curator [!!!!??] to sitting on cross-disciplinary teams working with IT and medical practitioners to establish what is the best value-added product,’ he says.” [In a sidebar…] “Up and Coming in Health Information: Health information professionals and analysts tip the following trends: involvement in cross-disciplinary work and more tailored training; standardizing data input and semantic interoperability in health information systems; librarians’ taking on knowledge management; workflow is a concern of information professionals, not just content service providers; library space usage changing to reflect new roles and priorities; convergence of technologies and content in ways is likely to be reflected by supplier tie-ups; consortial purchasing of health information.” They also list technology trends not yet in the mainstream, including electronic patient records, blogs and wikis (facing reliability and trust issues), PDAs, e-books, and digital imaging management.
Caldwell ends the article with, “…it is up to the health information professionals to get in at the beginning to build new models if they are to secure their future.”
Read the entire article in Information World Review (224):12-14, March 2008.

Tales of Technology Innovation Gone Wrong, by Mary Mallery.
It is very unusual for anyone to write about what didn’t work, but Mallery has put together a list of failures that we can learn from. She even says, “technology is not the best solution for every problem in a library”—what a concept! There are good sidebars on issues to consider before and after innovating. Well worth a read.
Computers in Libraries 28(4):22-25, April 2008

In the same issue, columnist Marshall Breeding has a good article, Content, Community, and Visibility: A Winning Combination, on operating “in a dual existence, divided between in-person and online services. Excerpts: “Content is a natural area of excellence for libraries. It’s what we do.” But that’s not enough. On community, “it’s no longer only about serving up pages of static content but also about engagement, community and participation.” “It’s not that I necessarily expect the library Web presence to ever displace social networking hotspots such as Facebook of LinkedIn, but we do need to ratchet up our social engagement a notch or two….” He also writes about the importance of location, findability and measurable performance.

Computers in Libraries
28(4):26-28, April 2008

You should also read the column by Terence Huwe on “understanding fun and its crucial role is an important skill for digital librarians.” (pp. 33-35), Janet Balas’s list of resources on social networks and the library community (p. 40), and the tech tips for every librarian column on Optimizing In-House Internet Experiences (pp. 46-47). And don’t miss one ad (sponsored content): Robert Berkman’s Twenty Years of Changes in Information, Online Technology, and Research. Berkman is the editor of The Information Advisor and the two-page article (pp. 44-45) covers 1988-2013—that’s 25 years, but who’s counting.

Thanks to Information Today, Inc., publishers of The New OPL Sourcebook, for free subscriptions to these journals—but this does not influence my reviews—I read a lot of other not-free journals, too.

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