Beyond the COM: May 2015 Conference Adventures! Part 2

We hope you enjoyed our post last week introducing the two conferences our library staff attended this month. This is Part 2 of that post, which focuses on our trip to Austin, Texas, for the Medical Library Association’s 2015 Annual Meeting.

Unlimited Potential at MLA 2015

Nadine Dexter, Michael Garner, Pamela (Pammy) Herring, and Melodie Gardner journeyed to Austin, Texas for the 2015 Medical Library Association annual conference. The conference began with an awesome lecture by the first African-American woman NASA astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison. She captured the audience’s attention with her numerous Star Trek references (she was on an episode of ST:TNG and is an astronaut, so why not?), and kept them captivated with her talk on the 100 Year Starship program. For humans to get to the point where we can travel to the next galaxy, we’re going to have to think outside the box. As the world of medical libraries changes, Librarians will need to do the same.

Pammy, Michael, and Nadine presenting our poster

Pammy, Michael, and Nadine presenting our poster

Later in the day, we presented our poster, “Redefining the Role of the Library: Connecting Users to New Technologies for Education, Research, and Patient Care,” which shared the creation and implementation of the Library Technology Lab (LTL). The poster generated great interest, and we were able to share our findings and experiences with several other librarians.

Pammy spent most of the time in the exhibit hall speaking with vendors about new products, resource renewals, or simply saying hello to people we’ve only spoken with through email and telephone. It’s always nice to put a face to a name. When she wasn’t in the exhibit hall, she joined the rest of the gang in attending some fabulous lunch-and-learns, sessions, and technology showcases. Some of the major themes from the conference include: research collaboration, data management and sharing, re-defining library services, and engaging patrons both in the library and online.

One session Pammy attended was for the MLA Research Agenda Systematic Review Project. The project is 15 teams consisting of 10 librarians each examining a research question picked from the final result of a three-phase Delphi study. Pammy is a member of Team 6 and attended to support her group and listen to the updates on the projects of all the teams. The updates ran the gamut from successfully completed systematic reviews to teams disbanding due to team leader issues. If you would like to learn more about Team 6’s work, please check out their Google+ Community.

Of course, being Austin, we did find time to check out some of the awesome local cuisine while we were there. Check out some of the delicious meals below!

Beyond the COM: May 2015 Conference Adventures! Part 1

Over the course of the last month or so, most of us in the library have been busily preparing to participate in two big library conferences that occurred one after the other this past week. This year, we were very fortunate to be presenting at both the Florida Library Association’s 2015 Annual Conference in Orlando, FL, and the Medical Library Association’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Austin, TX! This will be a two part recap of our adventures; first up is FLA 2015!

Inspiring Innovation at FLA 2015

Shalu and Natasha at FLA 2015

Natasha and Shalu at FLA 2015

This year, the Florida Library Association’s annual conference was held at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, FL, from May 12 – 15. It has always been a great conference to attend to get fun new ideas for improving our public services (our Step 1 Survival Coffee Cart actually came about in part because of a session we attended at the 2013 conference!). Further, we can connect with the more traditional side of librarianship we don’t get to hear so much about in the medical librarianship world. We had two of our staff attend, our Public Services Librarian Shalu and myself (hi there, Natasha here!), as well as our colleague Kerry, who recently moved onto a new position out of state.

Because we’re really proud of how our approach to public services has evolved over the past few years, we wanted to share these successes with our colleagues. Back in November, we submitted a proposal to put on an hour long session titled “Keeping It Fun! Innovative Ways to Build Relationships with Library Users”, which was accepted! It was a lot of fun to show everyone how much we enjoy working with all of you, and how your feedback is vitally important to how we operate and improve on the services we provide. We had quite the packed house, too!

Of course, we can’t talk about our services without mentioning Popcorn Day. We all had a good laugh about how well-received this particular event is. Check out this video below that our co-worker Raney put together especially for this portion of the presentation!

Overall, FLA 2015 was a good time. We had a chance to sit in on a variety of sessions, from website traffic data analyzing, to making use of 3D printers. We had a few tweets over on our Twitter account throughout the conference under the hashtag #flacon2015 if you’d like to check those out.

Next week, we’ll have Part 2 of this post; our recap of the trip to Austin, TX for the Medical Library Association’s meeting!

You Asked, We Answered: Here’s What You Asked Edition!

Ever wonder what kinds of questions the Health Sciences Library gets asked every day? Lucky for you, the library tracks this stuff! Here is a word cloud of the types of questions the library team was asked for the month of March. Words appearing larger represent more frequently occurring subject matters, while smaller words are for the not-so-common requests. It was a busy time for the FIRE module, so poster printing and reference citing questions were at the top of the list.


HSL March wordle

Tech Talk Thursday: Your One-Stop-Shop for Medical App Reviews

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Looking for a healthcare app? Check out the website iMedicalApps. This physician-curated and edited site has extensive information on mobile technology and healthcare apps for both medical professionals and patients. According to iMedicalApps, information for the site is based on the editorial team’s experiences in hospital and clinical settings.

Key features of the site include the top 15 free Android, top 10 free iPad, and top 20 free iPhone medical apps for healthcare professionals, as well as the best apps for family medicine and internal medicine.

You can also search for apps by a range of specialties, including anesthesiology, orthopedic surgery, psychiatry, radiology, and more. Looking for Windows or Blackberry apps? You can search by platform, too. For patients, iMedicalApps has a host of information on wearables, apps for disease monitoring, and much more.

Be sure to check out the reviews on iMedicalApps before deciding to download the next healthcare app onto your device.

Looking for medical news? Look no further!

Did you hear that antibiotic shortages are increasing in the U.S.? Or that ovary removal can reduce breast cancer death in BRCA1 gene carriers? How about that people with osteoporosis could be at higher risk for hearing loss?

medline plusIf you are looking for the latest in medical news from just-published studies, then look no further than MedlinePlus. This free government site from the National Library of Medicine provides daily health and medical news updates from HealthDay news service, as well as press announcements from major medical organizations. Health stories found here cite the latest studies from medical journals. You can also sign up to receive the latest health news delivered right to your email inbox, and search for news stories by date or topic. The coolest part? News stories are tagged with links to MedlinePlus entries on related topics. So when you read about ovary removal and the BRCA1 gene, you can also brush up on breast cancer, genetic testing, and ovarian cancer.

Happy news reading!


Interlibrary Loan: The Library Service You Should Absolutely Be Using

You’ve probably stopped by our library once or twice and noticed that we have very few books on our shelves compared to most libraries. The actual number is somewhere around 1,100, but out of those, 737 are allowed to be checked out; the rest are meant to exclusively serve the medical curriculum that is taught at the College.

Being a specialized library, we realize that most of the books available for you to checkout probably wouldn’t be considered light reading. There was a point a couple of years ago when we did have a small leisure reading collection we maintained, though it functioned more as a Book Swap than a “bring this back by the due date” transaction. Should you find yourself interested in reading up on medical procedures, terms, or techniques, we’d be happy to point you in the correct direction – just stop by the front desk and ask one of our staff to help you find what you’re looking for on our shelves! For all our other avid readers who don’t quite fancy brushing up on their medical knowledge, we’d like to introduce you to (or remind you about) our Interlibrary Loan service!

Interlibrary Loan allows us to request books we don’t have from other libraries across the state. For instance, if you really wanted to read The Lord of the Rings, we could create a request to borrow that book from another library since we don’t own a copy of it. They would send it to us, and we would check it out to you for a few weeks. Afterwards, we would send the book back to the library we borrowed it from.  The books arrive by mail, so it can take a few days for a request to be processed and shipped to us by a library depending on how far away it is. Loan periods can vary; one library may let you have the book for a month, while another will only let you borrow it for 3 weeks. There are a few restrictions (textbooks and bestsellers are typically pretty hard to get a hold of), but generally most books can be requested through this service.

One super convenient part to this service is that we can have books delivered to us from the John C. Hitt library on UCF’s main campus! They have a very extensive collection, including fiction titles.  If there is a book you want to borrow from the main campus library, but don’t have time to get over to that side of town, we can request that the Interlibrary Loan staff over there send us the book for you through the courier.

Did we mention that all of this happens at absolutely no charge to you? All you need to do is register for an ILLiad account on our website, and we’ll take care of the rest. You can shoot our Interlibrary Loan staff an email with any questions you might have about the process.

As summer slowly but surely approaches, we encourage you to take advantage of Interlibrary Loan so that you can have plenty of reading material for road trips, beach trips, and long lunch breaks!

You Asked, We Answered: Popcorn!

Popcorn Day. Now with Magical Mix-Ins

Popcorn Day: Part of a complete afternoon snack!

It’s Thursday and we all know what that means – it’s Popcorn Day! This edition of You Asked, We Answered is all about that crunchy, buttery, delicious kernel. The question we get asked most often about Popcorn Day is: Why doesn’t the library make kettle corn (a sweet-salty mix of popcorn and sugar)? The answer is quite simple: Because it would ruin the popcorn machine! And no one wants that, right?

So, to appease those clamoring for something sweet and salty, this week we’re mixing things up with mix-ins! Come by the library at 3pm today to try something different. 

Popcorn seems to be a polarizing snack. We have noticed that people either love it or don’t care for it. If you are one of the few who are on the fence: Did you know that air-popped popcorn only has 31 calories per cup? Lightly buttered popcorn has about 133 calories per cup. That’s still less than most candy bars. And popcorn is a whole grain food, which means it has fiber to fill you up between meals, making it a great snack. Perfect for that afternoon pick-me-up!

Stop by the library today to try out our mix-ins, and let us know what you think – we do listen to you!

Happy Birthday, The Scoop!

This month marks one whole year of  issues for our bathroom newsletter, The Scoop!

It's a birthday party! Naturally, we had to get a cake.

It’s a birthday party! Naturally, we had to get a cake.

For those of you not on the second floor of the Medical Education building, The Scoop is the name of our monthly newsletter that features information on events going on at the library, app recommendations, and other useful information and tidbits. It is posted in the stalls of the bathrooms closest to the library, and is a fun way to engage our library patrons. The Scoop is also housed on our website, so you can download PDFs of each issue.

Depending on the season or month, the header of our newsletter might change slightly. What started as a fun deviation from the normal header last summer has become an almost regular game of dress-up that has elicited quite a few smiles. Our dapper cat mascot, whom some of our students have apparently affectionately dubbed “Scoop”, has donned a number of accessories to reflect appropriate occasions or themes.

Here he is in his summer gear, the outfit that started it all:


There was also that time he masqueraded as the Dark Knight for Halloween:


He was cozy in snow drifts in December:


And accompanied by a friend in February:


This month, he’s appropriately dressed for his birthday party:


Did you know that the Hitt Library on UCF’s main campus also has a bathroom newsletter?  Appropriately titled “InSTALLments”, their newsletter is available in every bathroom on all 5 floors of the library. Like ours, PDFs of each issue can be downloaded on their website.  Their newsletter has been around since Fall 2006, so we have a long way to go before our archives are anywhere near the size of theirs. We’re up to the challenge though!

Our Scoop Team, from left to right: Natasha, Shalu, and Kerry

The Scoop Team, from left to right: Natasha, Shalu, and Kerry

So, what other looks will our cat debut in Volume 2? What new apps will we review? We hope you’ll keep reading and look forward to finding out. Our Scoop Team really enjoys putting together the newsletter and is pretty thrilled it’s been so well received. If you have content suggestions or want to see anything in particular covered in one of our issues, please let us know by sending an email to us at!



Tech Talk Thursday: Mobile Devices Battle it Out to See Who is Toughest

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If you have ever messed up your smartphone or tablet by dropping it in water (we won’t ask) or even on the floor, you might be wondering what other devices are out there that can withstand such beatings.

Consumer Reports has the answer. The products rating experts have compiled a list of mobile devices that survive even after taking a licking. Here is a summary of the toughest of the tough:

 Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy S 5

  • can survive in about 3 feet of water for 30 minutes
  • Active model is shock-resistant

Digital camera: Olympus Stylus TG3

  • waterproof to 50 feet
  • can withstand a drop from 7 feet

 Tablet: Sony Xperia Z3 compact tablet

  • designed to survive in several feet of water
  • can withstand dust and dirt

Action cam: Ricoh WG-M1

  • waterproof to 32 feet
  • shock resistant
  • cold resistant

Wireless speaker: TDK Life on Record A33

  • not meant for swimming but has a weatherized chassis to protect from water


You can check Consumer Reports on their website, or for UCF patrons, go the Hitt Library’s website.

What’s ‘supp? Find out if your supplements are really working for you

A while ago we told you about a great database called Natural Standard. Recently that database was re-branded and re-released as Natural Medicines. A new, better-fitting name notwithstanding, this is still a terrific database that everyone should keep bookmarked.

Natural Medicines database provides clinically relevant, bottom-line-focused information and ratings on over 90,000 commercial dietary supplements, natural medicines, and complementary alternative and integrative therapies.

If you ever wondered whether that gingko you’ve been taking for memory, or that St. John’s Wort you thought about trying are worth a trip to the drug or health store, try Natural Medicines Effectiveness Checker. It gives you a quick comparison of the effectiveness of different natural medicines for specific conditions. You can also check interaction between drugs and supplements.

I personally used this database (as Natural Standard) quite frequently for its Pregnancy and Lactation Checker feature during both of my pregnancies. You can search for safety data on specific integrative therapies that have been studied for use during pregnancy and lactation. Now you don’t have to worry about whether goji berries are safe to consume during pregnancy (hint: probably not!).

For those of our readers not affiliated with UCF COM, Natural Medicines does have a free consumer website you can check out here.