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Systematic Reviews at UAB Lister Hill Library

Like most health sciences libraries, particularly in academic medical science libraries, we’ve received an increasing number of requests for help with systematic reviews from our users at UAB Lister Hill Library over the past few years. Around 2015, we started a systematic review journal club for our librarians to learn more in order to assist our users better, and we formalized our systematic review service policies and procedures under the direction of the head of the Lister Hill reference department at the time, Lee Vucovich. I myself (Kay Smith) took leadership of the systematic review journal club around the same time.

UAB Systematic Reviews LibGuide Screenshot

Lee has retired since, but our systematic review service has grown and matured in some ways. The majority of reference librarians at Lister Hill work on at least one or two reviews a month, and consult with review teams on that many more. We provide tips on systematic reviews as well as details about our library services in our Systematic Reviews LibGuide. The guide spells out recommendations for things like librarian co-authorship and lead time on searching. We also try to give review teams a realistic idea of the time and effort it takes to produce a good systematic review. Too many of our users have the notion that this is a quick and easy route to publication. We disabuse them of that notion! One policy we’ve recently implemented requires would-be systematic reviewers to complete a protocol, or at least a protocol template, before we’ll continue to help them with the project.

Although we piloted Distiller SR over the past year as a systematic review support software program for the UAB community, it turned out to be fairly cumbersome to implement, both for us and our users. We have recently licensed Covidence for the UAB systematic reviewers, which we’re currently in the process of rolling out to users.

As for the librarians ourselves, we’ve often found it useful to divide up databases to search for the more laborious reviews. One librarian acts as “lead librarian” on the review and provides the collected results to the review team. Sometimes we’ll conduct all the searches for a review, especially if we’re particularly interested in co-authorship, and we have the time to devote to it.

Our journal club continues to meet monthly, with members taking turns identifying promising articles or book chapters to cover and leading the discussions. Sometimes librarians who’ve attended a particularly enlightening CE or presentation at a professional meeting will channel the learning to the group at a meeting. It’s really interesting to learn about the fresh approaches librarians in different settings take toward certain systematic review issues!

What about you? Have you been participating in more systematic reviews at your institution? What’s your experience?

Submitted by Kay Hogan Smith, MLS, MPH
UAB Libraries – Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences

Grandview’s Print Collection: Rearranged

Grandview Book Collection
The final result after rearranging all books within the print collection to be in call number order.]

The Kahn-Sibley Medical Library at the Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, AL recently underwent a huge change.  All books in the library’s collection were originally alphabetized by subject and then by call number under each “subject.”  The library’s print collection followed this organizational system for some time, but the McMahon-Sibley Medical Library at Princeton Baptist Medical Center, a sister library, already followed the National Library of Medicine classification system.  Emily Harris, solo librarian at Kahn-Sibley, felt all collections within the Brookwood Baptist Health hospital libraries should follow the same classification system to help create a consistent user experience.  Harris, along with MLIS intern, Alanna Cole, reorganized and shifted the entire print collection.

After two days of shifting and going through the print collection at Kahn-Sibley, the monograph materials were successfully arranged by the NLM call number order.  The tremendous task of shifting allowed the collection to be thoroughly inspected for out of date and miscataloged materials.  Book shelf labels were updated to better represent the “subjects” of the newly-ordered books.  New signs clarified the NLM subject classifications to help patrons find books after the completion of the project. Harris stated, “I believe residents, doctors, and medical students are going to have an easier time finding the exact book they need thanks to this shifting project.  The goal is to allow materials to be found as quickly as possible – with a little help from new signs and labels!”

Surgery titles with blue labels
Surgery titles with blue labels

For instance, blue labels were added to all surgery books and signs were made to note these changes. This labeling system was to ease the transition for surgery residents as they most frequently use the physical books in an eBook era. There have had frantic questions about why cardiothoracic atlases, for example, are no longer shelved with ALL other surgery texts.

Any medical librarian intimidated by the thought of undertaking a massive reordering of materials within the library can rest assured that the project will have ample benefits in terms of collection development and collection knowledge.  Do not hesitate to reach out for help by seeking out other librarians, volunteers, or interns to help expedite the project as well.

Submitted by Alanna Cole
UA MLIS graduate student

No One Flies Solo: Memories From the 2017 ALHeLA Meeting in Tuskegee

In anticipation of our 2018 ALHeLA meeting in Birmingham, hosted by Lister Hill Library, here are some images from our meeting in Tuskegee, hosted by the T.S. Williams Veterinary Medical Library.  These photos were taken on our tours of Tuskegee.

Katherine Eastman and James Gilbreath taking in the sun and the sights at the Tuskegee Airfield
In the hanger
Movie time!
Touring the George Washington Carver Museum
The famous “Lifting the Veil of Ignorance” statue on Tuskegee’s beautiful campus