UAB Libraries’ application to host the Library Carpentry workshop series sponsored by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) has been approved by NNLM. This online training provides an introduction to core concepts in data science and software development to help prepare librarians, researchers, and academic faculty to interact effectively with data as an evolving information resource. Individuals with no prior programming or data-related experience are highly encouraged to consider attending. The virtual workshops are scheduled for January 22, February 26, March 26, and April 23 of 2021 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Attendance at all sessions is not required, attendees may select specific workshops to attend.) In partnership with ALHeLA, we are opening registration to Alabama health science librarians. Please visit the workshop registration page to receive updated information and registration links as we get closer to the workshop dates. Please note that attendance is capped at 20 registrants, and it is likely we will not be allowed to record the session – so, register early!
Questions about the Library Carpentries workshops at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Libraries may be directed to Kay Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dorothy Ogdon (email@example.com).
Submitted by Becca Billings, MLIS University of Alabama at Birmingham Lister Hill Library
Greetings, wonderful folks
of ALHeLA! As librarians, we are always
expanding our knowledge of our many and varied resources and tools in order to
share them with our students and faculty as they attain their research
endeavors. Many universities purchase an
array of great tools for specific parts of a project, like EndNote or Mendeley to
create and manage their library of references for writing a paper, or Covidence
and DistillerSR to help researchers fulfill their screening steps when
conducting a systematic review. Most
faculty have a favorite tool that they ask students to use as well, and in many
instances, these faculty call on the librarians to cover the training.
No matter how many times
I schedule a class or consultation on EndNote or another tool, I feel like it will
never end! Part of me feels like I could
do something differently to save time and energy. I believe as librarians, and I don’t think
I’m the only one, many of us think it’s our responsibility to learn how to use
all of our tools in order to better serve our patrons. During my most recent instruction session
with the UAB School of Nursing, I found myself needing to cover a variety of
different reference manager tools and screening tools for students in the PhD
program, but instead of attempting to teach the students how to use each
possible library tool, I, along with my colleague, Dorothy Ogdon, developed an
instruction session called “Practical Planning for Managing Research Materials.” I found it to be a somewhat liberating
experience to focus on such a different angle of library resources, not how to
use each one, but choose each one, and wanted to share a few things.
I think that it was a good
experience to teach students on how to plan for their research projects before
they actually start them, which encourages students to really think about what
tools they are already comfortable with, what each tool is made to do, and how
to incorporate a tool appropriately into their work at the right time. By focusing more on the planning part of a
research project workflow, rather than focusing so much on how to use every
possible tool that they could use within the process, I think it helped put
resources into a different perspective for students, and helped them understand
that they have options! If they don’t
feel comfortable with a specific resource or database, there is something else
available for them to try instead. It
also allows them to ask the right questions like, “Is this tool useful for my
group that has members outside of my university?” or “Will I have access to
this screening tool when I leave my university, or am I confortable with
purchasing an individual subscription when I graduate in order to still have
access to my work?”
During the instruction session, Dorothy and I first talked about the importance of planning a workflow and how to document your project so losing your work is less likely. Steps for the planning, implementation, & end-of-project stages were all discussed. We also focused on research steps that might occur in various projects and how to work with group members and how to select the best tools in each stage to use. We broke up this part by focusing on what to ask before selecting citation management tools with specific attention given to EndNote, F1000 Workspace, & Mendeley, & later focused on considerations to make for screening tools like Covidence, DistillerSR, & Rayyan. Each of these databases, while not instructed on how to use, were given a pros and cons list based on our experiences with using the technology. More resources were provided as well to give students a chance to make their own decisions.
Once the presentation portion was covered, we allowed students to get hands-on experience with both F1000 Workspace, a citation manager, and Rayyan, a free screening tool. We created a practice project so that students could get a better idea on how to use the tools and what limitations they had. We got some good feedback and the students really seemed to appreciate a different approach to library instruction that wasn’t black and white but gave them options to make their own decisions. It is the librarian’s job to provide our students and faculty with the resources to make their own decisions, and I think teaching this session reminded me of that purpose rather than knowing absolutely everything myself. If you’re interested in seeing the PPT slides and the activity handout, please let me know!
Submitted by Kay Hogan Smith, MLS, MPH UAB Libraries – Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences
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.
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?
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!”
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.