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October 18, 2014 / Christian M.

7 Weeks In…

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At grand opening of Henderson-Hopkins School library. Helping to design a mosaic art piece to be put on display. L-R: Me, Holly Thompson (Associate Fellow), Anne Seymour (Welch Library Director)

I’ve been here at Welch Library for seven weeks.  The orientation activities are finished, and now we are delving into the “real work.” I thought I would give a little recap of some of events I have attended, and projects I am starting work on. In addition to contributing to the work at Welch Library, I enjoy having the opportunity to learn more about Johns Hopkins University and the many projects and collaborations that are happening within the University as well as with outside organizations.

Grand Opening of Henderson-Hopkins School Library
My second week here, I attended the grand opening of the library and Early Childhood Center at the Henderson-Hopkins School. Henderson-Hopkins is a K-8 charter school in East Baltimore that is co-operated by Hopkins University and Morgan State University. The school opened last year, and if I remember correctly it is the first public school to be built in East Baltimore in 20 years. The library and childhood center received funding from the Weinberg Foundation. The library is part of Weinberg Foundations ongoing Baltimore Library Project. You can read more about the event, and watch a brief video recap of the grand opening here.

Telling Stories About Science
The goal of this series of events is to help researchers in science and medicine to improve their communication with people outside of their field. Scientists are very good at writing for and communicating with other scientists, but in general they are not trained to communicate with the general public, policymakers, the media, potential funders, etc. There needs to be more training and modeling for how to tell the story of why research is important and deserves funding. The event I attended featured Dr. Bill Nelson, Director of Kimmel Cancer Center and Elizabeth Tracey, Director of Electronic Media at Hopkins Medicine. They reviewed recordings of Dr. Nelson’s past radio and TV interviews, and he provided tips and advice. You can watch a recording here.

Work I’m Involved In

  • Systematic Review Support – The informationists here at Welch participate in a LOT of systematic reviews. I’m very excited to be involved in systematic review support as well. One of the informationists works with the Cochrane Eye and Vision Group here at Hopkins. She creates the search strategies for their reviews. Every review is supposed to be updated every two years. So my first introduction to this process is to assist with updating search strategies for some reviews that need updating. The search strategy I’m working on right now is for “Surgery for Nonarteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy.” I’m going to write a future post about the Cochrane Collaboration and their systematic reviews, because I didn’t know much about them until I came here. I think it’s pretty interesting.
  • Global Health Task Force – I have been invited to participate on a task force of informationists who are preparing to do a needs assessment of Hopkins University to determine what additional services or resources are needed to support the university’s global health programs and activities. In addition to that, I am partnering with one of the informationists to create a new global health LibGuide, and I have been tasked with developing a new class to be offered next year on global health databases and resources.  So I’ll be learning all about global health, the University’s work in this area, and the development of new services and resources to meet user needs.
  • Research support – I sat in on a consultation the other day that an informationist had with one of the staff/researchers here at Hopkins. This researcher is developing training curriculum for medical professionals and hospital staff in a lower/middle income country. She wants her curriculum to be evidence based, and needed some help getting started on a literature search. Hearing about the research topic was fascinating, and watching the process of guiding the researcher through selecting concepts and search words, and building the search strategy was very helpful to me. I’ve done reference interviews in a public library setting, but the questions and topics were always so simple. I feel more confident now, and the informationist said that she would let me know when she has more consults, and even let me take the lead. I guess what made me feel most nervous was not knowing too much about potential research topics. However, most patrons don’t come to us for help with their subject specialty. They need guidance with the actual search itself — forming the research question, identifying main concepts (and synonym terms), creating a search strategy, selecting the appropriate databases, and understanding the differing search syntax for each database. That I can do….although I’m still learning about the different databases.

There are some other projects that I will be involved in at later date, but these are the ones I have gotten started with.

Upcoming Events

  • The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of Medical Library Association Meeting (MAC-MLA) starts today and runs through Tuesday. I will be presenting a poster (my first poster presentation!) on the “User-Centered Approach to Redesigning the NLM Associate Fellowship Program Website”. I will be focusing on the user needs assessment tools and activities I used in the process that can be applied in any library setting. If you’re there, come talk to me (I’m presenting in the morning poster session). If you’re not there, you can follow conference tweets at #macmla2014.
  • I’m really excited that I will be able to attend my first American Public Health Association Conference next month. I’m looking forward to learning more about public health in general and connecting with librarians who work with public health researchers and practitioners. The conference is so huge and has so many events — I’m still trying to decide which ones to attend.
  • Also, I have been invited to be one of the panelists for a presentation on blogging that is sponsored by the DC Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. It will be held in Washington, DC on November 12th, and will be broadcasted over the web as well. There’s a brief event description on the DC/SLA website, I’ll share more details when I have them.

So those are all the updates that I have right now.  This post ended up being much longer than I planned, but I had so much I wanted to share. Until next time…  🙂

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