DAHSL: Developing Academic Health Sciences Libraries


a collaboration to create the 21st century academic health sciences library…

How Physical Does the Library Need to Be?

by: James Shedlock, Director of Galter Health Sciences Library at Northwestern University COM in Library Notes

The announcement that the Johns Hopkins University medical school will close its health sciences library starting January 1, 2012 has stunned many in the library world. A posting on the Welch Medical Library website describes their new reality. As surprising as the news is, the Hopkins staff and their director, Nancy Roderer, deserve credit for making a tough but reasonable decision.

One take away from the Hopkins announcement is that it’s time to rethink our terminology about libraries. The library building may be closing but the library is still open … online. The physical library is less relevant at Hopkins but the electronic library is what users want, need, appreciate and actually use.

You may wonder if this will become more common at other medical schools. Because this is happening at Hopkins, a top ranked research-intensive medical school according to the U.S. News and World Report, I’ve already been asked by NU faculty if this is a trend. I doubt it for established medical schools, and particularly for Northwestern. Hopkins developed separate student facilities for their programs in medicine, nursing and public health and as a result, the students didn’t need to use the physical Welch Medical Library. At Northwestern, the Galter Library is one of the chief education and collaboration facilities for our students, and the medical school has invested money to make the library a versatile space for study, research, resource storage and social functions. Read the rest of this entry »


Filed under: Administrative Issues, Issues and Challenges, , ,

10 Steps to a Better Library Interior: Tips That Don’t Have To Cost a Lot | Library by Design – in LJ

An interior designer weighs in with simple, effective, and inexpensive steps that can be taken to reinvigorate your library

By Traci Lesneski, Sep 20, 2011 in LJ

At a time when many of our country’s libraries need an update owing to age and higher-than-ever expectations from patrons, available dollars for renovations are all too scarce. Fortunately, there are simple, effective, and inexpensive steps that can be taken to re­invigorate your library interior.


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You are in your building every day, so you probably don’t even see the interior anymore. Take a step back, and view your library with fresh eyes. Walk through the building as though it were your first time. Can you identify the areas of your library easily from the entry point? Is it clear where to go for help? Can you find the bathroom? What visual noise is in the way of these goals?

At Dakota County’s Wescott Library, MN, customers entering the building were confronted with the overflowing holds section, long lines for self-check blocking their way, and little clarity about the library’s overall layout. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Issues and Challenges, New Libraries

Customers And The Future Of Innovation

We all want our organizations and work force to be more innovative. If we want to achieve progress, develop new services and create more value for our community members – and especially with constrained resources that prevent us throwing money at possible solutions to our problems – we’ve got to get innovative. Innovation can generally be understood to mean creating something new (or new for your organization) that delivers value. It sounds easy enough but coming up with novel ideas that are within our means and resources to develop and implement, well, it’s not so easy. The organizations that demonstrate a good track record of innovation usually succeed with a structured management approach that helps to build the innovation culture. Innovation management isn’t something I’ve thought about much, so I was intrigued by a new report,from the consulting firm Arthur D. Little, titled “The Future of Innovation Management: The Next 10 Years“. So I took a look and here is what I found.

The report is based on surveys that A.D.Little conducted with approximately 100 CTOs and CIOs. There are five innovation management concepts discussed in the report, but I’m only going to mention the first of them. You can explore the others if they interest you. The first trend to watch is customer-based innovation, and it reinforces some of the important points made about the user experience here at DBL. What is customer-based innovation?

It’s all about finding new and more profound ways to engage with customers and develop deeper relationships with them.

The operative word here is “relationships”. A.D. Little advises its clients to “explore ways of designing an ownership experience”. A car manufacturer, for example, should put as much effort into designing service and support at all customer touchpoints as they do with the design of the cars themselves. That’s the path to designing what is referred to as a “total customer experience.” We need to think more like that in our libraries. A high-fidelity experience should be about totality, not just what happens at any single services point or where usability matters. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Issues and Challenges,

Never too late to be a doctor-from CNN

By Madison Park, CNN, June 13, 2011 11:21 a.m. EDT

(CNN) — By the time Mike Moore finishes school and starts his career as a doctor, he’ll be in his 50s.

As a second-year medical student at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Moore listens to lectures from younger professors and sits with classmates who are old enough to be his kids.

“I kinda stick out a little bit,” the 48-year-old Army major said.

Stories about midlife career transitions are mostly about how a stressed out professional quits to pursue a passion like baking cupcakes or opening a cafe.

Seldom do they involve a more rigorous route — like becoming a doctor in your 40s and 50s.

Medicine is a pressure-packed field that requires between seven and 11 years of training, including post-medical school residencies with 80-hour workweeks.

Future doctors like Moore who make unlikely career choices are called nontraditional students, and they are increasingly attractive candidates for medical schools.

“Some of them have become the most desirable applicants,” said David Muller, dean for medical education at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Issues and Challenges

Academic Library Futures, from Stephen’s Lighthouse

by Stephen Abram…

Thanks to Frank Cervone for pointing to this video and commenting on a session entitled “The Future of the Academic Library: Space, Digitization, Access, and Curation in the New World of Information” (available via streaming video) where Susan Perry pointed out 10 major issues libraries need to consider as they plan and develop services. The entire list of issues can be found at Tracy Mitrano’s post The Future of the Academic Library – Law, Policy — and IT? (highlights below). Frank’s top 4 are:

  1. Within ten years, most academic information will be available in digital format, so the need for space for collections really will markedly decrease;
  2. Librarians today need to be: intellectually curious, collaborative, technologically sophisticated, good teachers, and adaptable because things are changing to quickly to not be all of these things;
  3. While the Open Source movement is making many learning materials and computer applications freely available, maintenance of the applications requires staff. It is completely unreasonable to think you can build an infrastructure based on open-source without developing the necessary skills within your staff to maintain these applications;
  4. Digital asset management and production is the name of the game for the archives of the future;
    Helping students find and evaluate accurate information is probably the most important roles for librarians now. In order to do this librarians, instructional technologists, as well as faculty, must work together.

The Future of the Library — Ten Things to Keep in Mind

  1. Within ten years, most academic information will be available in digital format.
  2. The campus network is vital to your information delivery system/library. Now is the time to assure that it is robust and can remain so.
  3. Librarians today need to be: intellectually curious, collaborative, technologically sophisticated, good teachers, and adaptable.
  4. Purchasing and cataloging functions are changing rapidly and the need for traditional technical services staff is shrinking.
  5. Licensing, rather than purchasing, material is prevalent.
  6. The Open Source movement is making many learning materials and computer applications freely available. However, maintenance of the applications requires staff. It is a trade-off between purchased applications with support and open source applications that you have to support yourself.
  7. Digital asset management and production is becoming the name of the game.
  8. Helping students find and evaluate accurate information is one of the most important roles for librarians now. In order to do this well, they need to work closely with faculty.
  9. Libraries are becoming the group study and social centers for many campuses, as well as the place to explore new information, tools and ways of developing and sharing information. Some library areas are beginning to look like Apple Computer Stores. These are often the most heavily used areas within the library.
  10. To support these new learning centers well, librarians and instructional technologists, as well as faculty, must work together.

Read the two posts and watch the video for some conversation starters about the future in academic libraries.

Stephen — Here!!

Filed under: Administrative Issues, Issues and Challenges, New Libraries

MLA 2010 NEEHSL Slides – # 1 of at least three!

Data Grid MLA 2010 poster grid 20100406.

Filed under: Administrative Issues, Issues and Challenges, Multi-Institutional Partnerships, New Libraries, ,

Also from DBL: Differentiating The Information Commodity

One of the core components of creating a unique user experience is making it clear to the end user or customer that a product or service is differentiated from competitors so that it compels the individual to seek out this different experience. At DBL we’ve discussed the importance of identifying ways to differentiate the library. From the end-user perspective, what is it about the library that makes it different and unique from all other potential sources of information – especially the ones that are more convenient to use.

One of the challenges librarians face is that their primary product, information, is a commodity that is difficult to differentiate. It used to be that academic libraries could emphasize their scholarly content as different from what search engines offered, but Google Scholar changed all that. The end user perceives all information as relatively the same, especially when they can find it on their own, and it all seems to relate to the question or topic of choice. And even if it isn’t the highest quality information, if finding it is convenient and fast then it’s good enough.

The Branding Strategy blog explores how one might go about differentiating or branding a commodity. In fact, one of the bloggers there, Brad VanAuken, said “I am a firm believer that everything can be branded/differentiated. I have never encountered a product or service that I could not brand/differentiate”. In that same post he provided some examples of branding products for differentiation. In a more recent post VanAuken wrote more specifically about how to differentiate commodities. Commodities, like the information contained in articles and books, is difficult to differentiate. What is different about the information found in a book in the local public library and the same or a similar book found online via Google books or Amazon?

The answer is nothing, at least nothing much different than the vodka found in bottles from two different companies, or for that matter much of the water sold in plastic bottles. Can you really taste the difference between two brands? But why does one brand command a higher price and why do more consumers know the name or can recite its tagline? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Administrative Issues, Issues and Challenges, ,

From T Scott’s blog: The Relevance of Libraries

I assume those of you planning to attend MLA have the Bearded Pigs event in your calendar, if you don’t, consider adding it.  See http://beardedpigs.net/ for info.  And, since Scott always has interesting thoughts about libraries, here is a recent post from his blog.

The Relevance of Libraries

“And the library?

“It can look like the most archaic institution of all.  Yet its past bodes well for its future, because libraries were never warehouses of books.  They have always been and always will be centers of learning.  Their central position in the world of learning makes them ideally suited to mediate between the printed and the digital modes of communication.”

This, from the introduction to Robert Darnton’s The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future.

I’ve been a fan of Darnton’s ever since reading The Great Cat Massacre many years ago.  As a historian with an annales disposition, he has done some of the most interesting and useful work on the history of the book and printing and the way they have affected society and the diffusion of knowledge of anyone in the past fifty years.  As an innovator and experimenter (he founded the Gutenberg-e program), he has taken what he’s learned from all of that scholarly work and looked for ways to apply it in shaping the intellectual infrastructure of the 21st century.  Now, as Director of the Harvard University Library, he is perfectly placed to assess the state of libraries and the convergence of print and digital. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Issues and Challenges,

Pending state approval, FAU to offer own medical degrees

By Samantha Frank, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Florida Atlantic University will soon be home to region’s newest medical school.

The university’s board of trustees voted today to end a medical education agreement with the University of Miami, and instead, move forward with its own independent four-year medical degree.

The board also discussed entering a new, long-term agreement with the Scripps Research Institute, which would allow students to earn a doctorate degree in chemical and biological sciences from The Scripps Research Institute in addition to a medical degree from FAU during a six-year period.

“This is a natural evolution for FAU and our medical education program,” said Nancy Blosser, chairwoman of FAU’s board of trustees. “We’ve grown up, we’ve established a program here and we know it works.”

In 2004, FAU opened its doors to a class of two-year medical students on its Boca Raton campus. Following their two years at FAU, the students would move to the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, where they would complete their last two years of medical school and receive their degrees.

Three years later, FAU began offering students the option of staying on its campus for all four years of medical school, but the students’ degrees would still come from the University of Miami.

In 2006, the two schools entered an agreement with Boca Raton Community Hospital, which had plans to build a 500-bed, academic medical center on FAU’s Boca Raton campus. But the hospital ended up backing out of the agreement because of financial woes.

FAU’s decision to end its agreement with the University of Miami means that medical students will save money and FAU will collect tuition. Tuition for the University of Miami costs about $30,000 per year, whereas FAU costs $21,752.

The medical program from the start has been financed with state money, which will continue to be the case. No additional money will be needed during FAU’s transition to an independent medical school, said FAU’s interim President John Pritchett, and the university already has in place the necessary medical staff.

FAU hopes to welcome its first class of medical school students in the fall of 2011, pending approval from the Florida Board of Governors and the state legislature.

The 127 students enrolled in the joint medical program on FAU’s campus will continue their education without interruption and earn their medical degrees from the University of Miami…See entire article HERE.

Filed under: Issues and Challenges, Multi-Institutional Partnerships,

From Designing Better Libraries: UX And Sketching – Two Videos Worth Your Time

Posted at DBL

One thing you can say about the design community is that do produce a good number of instructional videos. I don’t mean instructional in the sense that they were created to teach new skills. Many of the videos are conference presentations or interviews with the experts. I’ve learned a good deal about design topics and user experience ideas just from having watched the videos that are freely available. I wanted to share two I think are worth watching.

I’ve actually taken in a few videos featuring Jesse James Garrett, and there’s usually something useful to be learned from his presentations (although some are a bit too techy for me) and his writings. In this video he speaks about the “current state of user experience”, and by that he offers his interpretation of what it means when we speak about user experience and where he sees things headed. It’s a good investment of time for those both new to and familiar with user experience….

Visit here to see the video:  http://dbl.lishost.org/blog/2009/11/05/ux-and-sketching-two-videos-worth-your-time/

Filed under: Issues and Challenges, ,



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