CAPHIS, RA21 and DIMRC: Medical Library Association 2018

For attending my fourth Medical Library Association (MLA) annual meeting, I developed a strategy. I identified presentations and community meetings that best fit my current job as Education and Outreach Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. I selected a few cultural excursions, so that I’d feel like I’d visited Atlanta (not just the hotel). And I allowed for downtime. I no longer feel guilty about downtime. I absorb information more effectively if I give myself time to unwind.

I live tweeted the Plenaries using the hashtag #MLANet18. For my blog, I decided to focus on what I learned during the presentations and community meetings.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

For this Adapting | Transforming | Leading conference, my Sunday schedule included attending the Consumer and Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS) meeting and checking out presentations on RA21 and the Disaster Information Management Research Center.

Book entitled The Medical Library Association Guide to Developing Consumer Health Collections

MLA Guide to Consumer Collections

CAPHIS meeting. My work history includes twelve years in public libraries and eight years in a hospital library. I was the Community Outreach librarian for the majority of my time at Baystate Health. CAPHIS is a natural fit for me–the MLA Section that focuses on serving the needs of patients and their families. Before the conference, fellow CAPHIS member Claire Joseph (South Nassau Communities Hospital) emailed me. Claire wanted to notify me that she cited my previous work in her new book The MLA Guide to Developing Consumer Health Collections. She used my logic models, published in Consumer Health Information Services and Programs: Best Practices (2016), to demonstrate planning for community outreach.

Attendees did not have the opportunity to share much during the hour together. MLA Executive Director Kevin Baliozian hijacked the CAPHIS meeting (more or less) to review proposed changes in MLA communities. Most of this didn’t interest me. The only message I retained is that MLA hopes to build a relationship with the Public Library Association (PLA).

RA21 presentation. In April, Michelle Kraft (Cleveland Clinic) sent out an alert to medical librarians about RA21. What is RA21? Sunday’s presenters Michelle Brewer (Wolters Kluwer) and Jean Shipman (Elsevier) explained that Resource Access for the 21st Century (RA21) is a joint initiative of the International Association of STM Publishers (STM) and the National Information Standards Organization (NISO). The goal is to optimize access protocols and create a standard user interface for scholarly communications.

The presenters stated… rightly so… that scholarly communications exists within the larger ecosystem of the 21st century. Campus proxy servers force users to start their searching on the institutional portals rather than preferred methods (let’s face it–Google). From the IT perspective, the mix of institutional VPN and proxy servers is cumbersome. Fraudulent access to subscription journals is a concern to publishers. Methods of accessing journal articles is archaic in the context of our online consumer experience.

Many hospital librarians are very worried about this effort because 1) their budgets don’t allow for any costs associated with implementing RA21; 2) hospital IT departments are notoriously difficult to work with; and 3) any system that diverts users away from library portals may spell THE END for hospital libraries. Michelle expands upon these concerns in her blog post (and, do read the comments to this post!) To learn more about RA21, check out the STM/NISO website.

DIMRC at the NLM Booth. After the RA21 presentation, I scooted into the Exhibit Hall and headed toward the National Library of Medicine booth. Siobhan Champ-Blackwell (NLM) gave us an overview of useful resources from the Disaster Management Research Center. DIMRC promotes the role of librarians as “information responders” during disasters of all sorts. The new course on Social Media Analysis During Disasters caught my attention.

According to the learning objectives, this course helps learners develop a plan for monitoring social media for disaster information. The course covers identifying actionable information, choosing reliable sources, verifying content, and selecting techniques to lessen uncertainty.  This self-paced online course is free and eligible for three credits from the Medical Library Association.

Ariel interior view of hotel lobby.

Interior of Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Supper at Ponce City Market. Time to explore the city. Atlanta native Eugenia Liu (UNH) suggested an outing to Ponce City Market. Joined by my colleague Susan Halpin (NNLM NER) and Eugenia’s friend Leila Ledbetter (Duke Health), we indulged in the eclectic choices of the Food Hall. I went with Hops Chicken and a Kölsch-style beer from Burial Beer Company. For dessert, I selected fancy macaroons from St. Germain Artisan Breads and Pastries while my companions enjoyed gourmet ice cream.

As dusk fell, we ubered back to the hotel. Forgoing the Wolters-Kluwer/Ovid sponsored party at the Aquarium, I retreated to my room to watch Little Women on PBS.