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What is the role of a Life Sciences Liaison Librarian in the Google Age?


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A presentation I gave as part of the interview process for an academic library position.

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What is the role of a Life Sciences Liaison Librarian in the Google Age?

  1. 1. Martin MorrisWhat is the role of aLIFE SCIENCESLIAISON LIBRARIANin the Age? McGill Job Talk – 27 April 2012
  2. 2. Introducing… the PacificNorthwest Tree Octopus• Moves by “tentaculation”• Sensitive suckers steal bird eggs• Eye-sight comparable to humans
  3. 3. A useful fake• It is also, of course, also a hoax• Helps explain aspects of the Google Effect and the Google Generation.• Why should Life Sciences Liaison Librarians care?
  4. 4. The Google Generation…In 2008 a major study wasconducted by UniversityCollege London, TarbiatMoallam University,Tehran, and the Universityof Tennessee, attemptingto predict future trends ininformation seekingbehaviour, and to examineprevailing receivedwisdom.They found…
  5. 5. …not so hot at Googling after all• Rely very heavily on search engines• Tendency to view rather than read• Display “horizontal” search strategies, skipping and bouncing, and stopping searching the moment they find an answer• Display a tendency for natural language search strings and difficulty in selecting search terms• Do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information they find on the web
  6. 6. …and the Google Effect?“…when faced withdifficult questions,people are primed tothink about computers[…] and when peopleexpect to have futureaccess to information,they have lower rates ofrecall of the informationitself and enhancedrecall instead for whereto access it.” Sparrow, B., et al. (2011). Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at our Fingertips. Science Express.
  7. 7. How does this apply to LIFE SCIENCES?• What do they say? – Giustini (BMJ, Dec 2005) “I entered the salient features into Google, and [the diagnosis] popped right up.” The attending doctor was taken aback by the Google diagnosis. “Are we physicians no longer needed? Is an observer who can accurately select the findings to be entered in a Google search all we need for a diagnosis to appear—as if by magic?” – Hider 2009 (JMLA, Jan 2009) Of a sample of health professionals asked which resources they used at least once a month, Google (62.9%) far more popular than UpToDate (16.7%), PubMed (41.9%) or Clinical Evidence (31.4%) – Tang (BMJ, Dec 2006) We identified 26 cases from the case records. Google searches found the correct diagnosis in 15 […] cases
  8. 8. Five characteristics of a good life sciences liaison librarian• In the Google Age – As perceptions of libraries, and of personal search abilities change, It is more important than ever for us to demonstrate our value – “Everyone can search” is commonly believed, but wrong. Changes in information-seeking behaviour make it vital to emphasise quality information. – Thinking about the role of a life sciences liaison librarian led me to divide the role into five desirable characteristics, and to look at each one within the context of the Google Age.
  9. 9. Five necessary characteristicsCollaboration Social Comfort with Mobility Intellectual Awareness technology Curiosity
  10. 10. COLLABORATIONA desire to work with others
  11. 11. …in the age…HOW DO LIFE SCIENCES LIAISON LIBRARIANSDEMONSTRATE COLLABORATION?sharing search expertisepromoting the widest possibleawareness and use of resourcesbuilding links with user communitiese.g. shared collection development
  12. 12. RESOURCE PROMOTION• QR codes on posters link back to the library’s site• Libguides for academic resources• Mobile app guides• Future need for greater training, suggest customised by department with search examples• Research into use.
  13. 13. SOCIAL AWARENESSUnderstanding the needs of our users
  14. 14. …in the age…HOW DO LIFE SCIENCES LIAISON LIBRARIANSDEMONSTRATE SOCIAL AWARENESS?Developing tailored trainingProviding and promotingcustomized access to resourcesby being an embedded librarian
  15. 15. TAILOREDTRAININGBecause students andresearchers expect tobe able to findinformation instantly, ifwe are to demonstratehow to search better,we also need tocustomize our trainingto their specific needs.
  16. 16. NURSES’ CONTINUINGEDUCATIONAt the MUHC, we have beenworking with nurseeducators to ensure thatnurses know how the librarycan help with theirContinuing Educationrequirements.• Dedicated website• Journal Clubs
  17. 17. COMFORT WITH TECHNOLOGYAware of different ways of delivering information
  18. 18. …in the age…HOW DO LIFE SCIENCES LIAISONLIBRARIANS DEMONSTRATECOMFORT WITH TECHNOLOGY?offering on-line referenceusing social networking topromote and teach library servicesby engaging with our users in newways, such as through mobile access
  19. 19. INTERNET REFERENCE• Using QuestionPoint Question: Chat Transcript: Im a medical resident looking for articles on the psychological side effects of using Champix. Martin Morris: Note: Patrons screen name: software to Phil Martin Morris: Hello, I can certainly help you with that. Is this for an assignment? Have you respond to already looked in any databases yourself? Joe Thompson: Ive looked in Medline but didnt come up with much Martin Morris: OK. Im going to take a look student myself. How far back would you like to go - last 5 years? Martin Morris: …and did you use MeSH enquiries Question: [1664095] I’m a medical resident looking for articles on the psychological side effects of using Champix. headings or keywords? Patron: Joe Thompson (• An alternative Patron’s Library: Heartland University Library Queue: UK Reference Collective IP Address: to face-to-face, not a replacement
  20. 20. The future is mobile• Excellent mobile health apps site from McGill Life Sciences Library• We’re currently planning 3 “brown bag” lunchtime sessions at MUHC to introduce this – with very strong interest.• Possible developments: Research into use of point of care tools at an MUHC site?• Frequent questions about VPN/EZ Proxy access – can this be built in?• Would a stand-alone app be a practical or useful possibility?
  21. 21. MOBILITYWillingness to work outside thewalls of the library building
  22. 22. …in the age…HOW DO LIFE SCIENCES LIAISON LIBRARIANSDEMONSTRATE MOBILITY?Being an embedded librarianGoing to our users, not waiting forthem to come to usWorking with librarian colleaguesat, for example, the MUHC
  23. 23. The Embedded Librarian• Working with scholars• Collaborating – with IS experts – with student support service – with librarians at other institutions
  24. 24. INTELLECTUAL CURIOSITYAlways finding new ways to share information
  25. 25. …in the age…HOW DO LIFE SCIENCES LIAISON LIBRARIANSDEMONSTRATE INTELLECTUAL CURIOSITY?publishing original researchdemonstrating a willingness tonetwork and learn from peersidentifying new ways of working
  26. 26. A personal view of possible future research directions• Examine willingness of liaison and other academic librarians to adopt social networking for reference through Diffusion of Innovations Theory• How effective is library training – under what circumstances is it better to teach, or to instead promote that “the librarian can do it better”
  27. 27. Summary• Skills sharing, promoting resources• Tailored training, customised access• Tech: understanding trends, working with them, constantly improving• Getting embedded• Being intellectually curious• There’s no such thing as a tree octopus
  28. 28. Neil Gaiman puts it well, as always
  29. 29. CitationsGiustini, D., (2005). How Google is Changing Medicine. BMJ. 331, 1487-8Hider, P.N., et al. (2009). The information-seeking behaviour of clinical staff in a large health care organization. JMLA. 97(1), 47-51Rowlands, I., et al. (2008). The Google generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of the future. Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives. 60(4), 290-310Sparrow, B., et al. (2011). Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at our Fingertips. Science Express. Published online 14 July, 2011. Retrieved from ll.pdfTang, H. & Ng, J.H.K., (2006) . Googling for a diagnosis—use of Google as a diagnostic aid: internet based study. BMJ. 333, 1143-1145
  30. 30. ANY QUESTIONS?