The final plenary, and indeed, the final non-CE class or tour event of MLA13 Boston, was on my list of events to blog for the official conference blog. I summed up the entire presentation. As stated previously, I can’t reproduce those posts here on my personal blog, so please go over and take a look at that summary before reading my responses to and thoughts on the presentation.
Got it? Good!
Ok, so, what was my reaction to this lecture? Well, first, honestly I had a bit of a panic. I felt frightened, unsafe, and like the world is doomed. At first I thought that was just my anxious-prone self over-reacting to the presentation, but after discussing it with friends and colleagues who were also there, I realized that Garrett seems to have actually sought to pull out this fear in people.
In a presentation that ends with pleas for us to fight fear and panic, why did she spend so much time investing in frightening us and very little (if any) spent in reassuring us? Why focus so much on pandemics just a single mistake away, germ warfare close at hand (although, not really since 3D printing of germs isn’t happening yet). I don’t know. I don’t know what would make Garrett think making people feel this way is a good thing. Maybe she’s fallen prey to the idea that the only way to get people to pay attention to your cause is to frighten them. I know people in various movements who use that tactic. It’s not one I’m a fan of. Maybe she didn’t intend to gloom and doom the people present. But I think she did. Given that her own speech pointed out the dangers of panic and unwarranted fear, I find it odd that this was her intent. And yet there you have it. A room full of frightened librarians. Think I’m exaggerating? Check out just a few of the tweets from during her presentation:
Everyone has their own style, and I certainly learned a lot from the presentation and wasn’t bored. But. I’m not a fan of nonfiction presentations (aka not horror plays or movies) inciting fear and panic in the audience. I think it’s counter-productive when talking to a room full of intelligent, educated individuals. Librarians aren’t 5 year olds who need to be told about icky germs in order to get us to wash our hands. I’m sure there could have been a way to give this presentation with truths and realities that could be frightening without actually inciting this level of anxiety. Even just a little positivity and more hope for the future would have been nice. You don’t want a populace that is exerting all their energy preparing for Armageddon.
I should also mention that I stood up to ask a question of Garrett at the end. With all the talk of synthetic biology, I wanted to know what her opinion was on GMOs. I admit, this is not an issue I am yet clear-cut on myself. I generally prefer organic, but I also understand the value of say rice that has been modified to have more vitamins in it for an at-risk population. But on the other hand I get the concern of manipulating something at a genetic level and what that might do to our own bodies when we ingest it. It’s something that just doesn’t have enough long-term studies yet to really show if it’s truly safe or not, and it concerns me that it’s mostly the poor, at-risk populations who are being used as guinea pigs eating it.
In any case, I asked Garrett at the public microphone about her stance on GMO foods and the movement to label them. Given all of her doom and gloom talk about synthetic viruses, I was shocked at her answer. She believes that GMO foods are necessary because as more of the world becomes middle class, more of the world is eating meat, and meat eating just cannot be sustained on the land we currently have available, so we must turn to eating synthetic foods.
Um, EXCUSE ME?!?!
So the lady who just spent over an hour and a half talking about how dangerous synthetic biology could turn out to be turns right around and says that meat eating isn’t sustainable to feed the entire globe (which it isn’t, see this article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) turns right around and says that well we have to eat GMOs to feed everyone because people won’t just give up meat. Right, ok, if someone is so concerned about the possible bad consequences of synthetic biology don’t you think she might possibly take this opportunity to espouse a vegetarian, vegan, or even just more plant-based diet to combat the global food crisis instead of relying exclusively on GMOs? Apparently not. Apparently it’s really great to fear-monger about pandemics and international relations but when it comes to what we eat, the basis of much of our health, that’s too controversial.
Well, at least it was an interesting final couple of hours of MLA13, although I can’t say I really feel that it was very useful to librarians or working to promote true global health.
At the meeting, librarians present their papers that were accepted to the conference. These are organized into groups of four sponsored by one of the MLA’s sections. The presentations are timed so that you can see the first presentation in one section then go to another section to see the second, etc… I wasn’t able to take notes at all of the section programming I listened to, because some of the rooms looked like this when I switched into them:
International Congress on Medical Librarianship 2: Trustworthy and Authoritative Publicly Available Information Section
“Trustworthiness and Authoritativeness of YouTube Videos on Smokeless Tobacco” by Donghua Tao, Prajakta Adsul, Ricardo Wray, Keri Jupka, Carolyn Semar, and Kathryn Goggins
- Use online media as a tool to educate health care users
- a future study could use a survey of real YouTube users and test their hypothesis
- Methodology of published papers doesn’t discuss how they searched YouTube
- See how videos connect to each other (videos referencing other videos)
- 3,603 unique videos brought up, randomly sampled 433, of which 278 were used based on inclusion criteria
“Twenty Years of the Cochrane Collaboration: A Legacy of Trustworthy and Authoritative Publicly Available Information and Plans for the Future” by Carol Lefebvre, Julie Glanville, Jessie McGowan AHIP, Alison Weightman, and Bernadette Coles
- 2013 is Cochrane’s 20th anniversary, and they have a special anniversary website.
- Cochrane Collaboration crates the Cochrane Library
- plain long summaries, free, multiple languages
- 4 million downloads in 2010
- 6 million downloads in 2012
- New publishing agreement with Wiley
- February 1, 2013 to the end of 2018
- gold open access –> author pays a publication fee then article is available immediately
- green open access –> no author payment but there is a 1 year embargo
- impact of Cochrane Reviews
- We’re not here to decide if we publish clinical data but how
- 20 years ago:
- only 20,000 RCTs indexed in medline
- no RCT filter in medline
- new MeSH term for quasi-RCT: Controlled Clinical Trial
- 1996 Central launched
- medline’s retagging project supports Central
- proliferation of search filters
- Cochrane Handbook has grown
- registration of clinical trials
- move toward single portals
- increased access to clinical study reports
- PubReMiner will increase use
- text mining increase
- strengthen relationship with other organizations
- challenge will still lie in discoverability
Federal Libraries Section: The Role of Librarians in Evidence-Based Medicine: Part One
“Telling the Research Story: A Role for Librarians in Analyzing Research Impact Based on Evidence” by Terrie Wheeler and Cathy C. Sarli AHIP
- Genesis project (Not really sure what this is. Had trouble seeing the slides and hearing).
- citation analysis
- “It is no longer enough to measure what we can–we need to measure what matters.”
- Found a lot of gray literature using Google
- use clean data –> clear linkage
- explanation of the h-index
- explanation of the g-index
- explanation of the tapered h-index
- all index factors have one limitation or another
- can we produce future science with publication data? Maybe.
That’s all of my notes I managed to get. I’ll have to figure out how to better juggle notebooks/pens next year. Or maybe MLA can get us more seating. Up next, the National Library of Medicine’s Update.
Hello all. I just wanted to take a moment to let those of you who don’t follow me on twitter or facebook know that I and my loved ones are safe, although a student who goes to the university I am an academic librarian at is one of the (currently) three dead. My medical library serves the medical school that is affiliated with one of the Boston hospitals caring for the victims, and we also serve as the medical library for that hospital. Today is my first day back at work after my long weekend (which was pre-scheduled for Marathon Monday). Things are very subdued on-campus. My morning commute had a side of national guardsmen and extra police presence as I commute directly through part of the area that was put on lock-down after the bombings.
I am full of mixed emotions. I am incredibly grateful that myself and my loved ones are safe, but I am also full of empathy for everyone who cannot say that. I am angry that someone would attack a bunch of innocent people on a day that is about so many positive things. The Boston Marathon is about athleticism, cheering on the accomplishments of others, and fortitude. But it also takes place on Patriot’s Day. Patriot’s Day is celebrated in Massachusetts, Maine, and Wisconsin to commemorate the first battle of the American Revolutionary War. It celebrates our freedom, and in Boston, it’s about celebrating being the birthplace of our nation. And I hope that the people of Boston won’t let the events of Monday ruin our celebrations in the years to come. You defeat terrorism by refusing to be terrorized. My boyfriend and I have already made a pact that next year we are going to the marathon and we are cheering our guts out. In the meantime, I am just continuing to live my life and trying to do whatever small part I can to support those who have much tougher rows to hoe.
If your heart has been touched by what has occurred in my city, I ask you not to pray, but to do something. If you can afford it, donate to the official One Fund set up by Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino. It is a verified safe way to get the funds where they will reach those in need. If you can’t afford to donate money and are close by, donate blood. Or donate blood where you are in honor of the event. If you can’t do either of those things, or even if you do those things, then please show support in other ways. Express support online, offer a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. Try not to let anyone fall through the cracks. Let those around you know that somebody cares.
Hello my lovely readers!
So, I knew I hadn’t written a Friday Fun post in a while, but was floored to see it hadn’t happened since November 16, 2012.
I know we all hate it when bloggers talk about their crazy busy lives, even though it’s true, because, hello, we all have busy lives! Suffice to say, what I thought was a busy phase is actually the new stasis of my life. I’m proud of the fact that I’m still managing to find time to blog, because I do love book blogging. But I want to continue to touch base with you all periodically. Weekly is just too overwhelming though. So I’ve decided to move Friday Fun to just occurring on the last Friday (or Saturday) of every month. Treating it more like a special event instead of a weekly meme will help me keep up and enjoy it. I hope you all enjoy the new change!
On a similar note, I am still closed to review requests, and I don’t expect that to be changing anytime soon. I still periodically request ARCs, if I’m highly interested, but that is a rare occurrence. I also, you may have noticed, switched my reading from about 50% things I felt I “should” be reading (for ARCs, to better myself, etc….) down to about 10%. This means 90% of my reading is for funsies, because frankly I need that stress relief in my life. Reading “should’s” worked great when I was in a life limbo and needing to fill the time with actual things to do that made me feel like I was accomplishing something. But now when I read, I want it to be for fun. I need it to be a stress reliever. Something that helps give me a few moments of internally-focused peace in my day. So any changes you’ve noticed in the books being reviewed here reflect that choice I made at the beginning of 2013.
As for my non-blog life! The holidays happened. I taught my first library orientation by myself for the incoming class of one of the schools affiliated with my library. I created my first library tutorials. I finished my first archival finding aid. Those have been the big-hitters in work life. In regular, non-librarian Amanda life I went on vacation with my boyfriend to an off-the-grid cabin! We snowshoed and built fires in wood stoves and generally thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I went home to visit my dad in Vermont and learned how to make the perfect grilled cheese. I got an iPhone. I became addicted to Instagram and taking photos in general. I survived Blizzard Nemo and got my first real snowday in *years*. I learned how to play the Call of Cthulhu tabletop game. Finally, I just last week joined my gym’s 60 day fitness competition, and I am loving how much it has reinvigorated my passion for fitness. And I’m still trying to figure out how to be a part-time indie author in amongst all of this.
How was everyone’s March? Ours came in like a lion and out like a lamb, just like the old saying goes.
Hello my lovely readers!
Yes, I realize it’s technically Saturday, but things have been rather quiet around here the last couple of weeks, and I didn’t want to leave you hanging any longer! So why have things been so quiet?
Well, first, it was Labor Day weekend here in the States, and I actually for once went on vacation for it. Shocking, I know. I went camping in the Green Mountains. This was the view from my tent:
Gorgeous, eh? And it was such a great break! Zero technology. My cell phone didn’t even have reception. I got disgustingly filthy, and I loved it. I went for a swim in the pond and for a hike and cooked over a campfire.
Oh, yes, and the boy I’ve been dating asked me to be his girlfriend, and I said yes. He’s an awesome boyfriend, and I love him.
Beyond the vacation and personal development, it’s the start of the semester at work, so I’ve been incredibly busy with beginning of the semester library classes, orientations, and just general helping out the new students. Also, the audiobook I’m currently reading while completely *awesome* (Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi), is also super-long. The other book I was reading on my kindle that will be reviewed next week was kind of dullsville, so had trouble holding my interest. All of these things came together to make for a bit of silence, BUT! Never fear. I will always return! With bells on.
Happy weekends all!
One thing I have learned from the two movie reference guides I’ve received for review since starting this book blog is that movie reference guides are not for me. Frankly with things like, oh, the internet, they’re just not useful the way they were back when I was in undergrad and professors wouldn’t accept IMDB as a reference in your English paper comparing books to their movie versions. But I digress.
Putting on my librarian cap then why does this reference guide get 2 and not 3 stars? (3 indicating not for me but maybe for others). It frankly bothers me how not academic it is. It essentially reads as a list randomly assembled by some random dude down the road, not a professor of the history of film or a film critic or anything like that really. This would be great for a blog, but not for a serious reference book. Additionally, maybe the print edition is better, but the ebook version is badly formatted and contains none of the pictures promised in the blurb.
The book basically then is your neighbor yammering in alphabetical order about random movies he selected from the early 1900s with all of the natural individual prejudices and caveats that go along with that. There’s nothing academic about it, and when push comes to shove, it’s something that would be better off as a blog than a book. I will give it this though: the title and cover are excellent.
2 out of 5 stars