The changing library: what clinicians need to know

mtsinai.gif  This article adapted from grand rounds presented by faculty from the Mt. Sinai Medical Center and published in the October 2006 issue of the Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine provides a nice overview of the services currently offered by medical libraries. The authors discuss the following myths, issues I deal with every working day:

Myth #1: Everything is online
Myth #2: Everything online is free
Myth #3: MEDLINE is difficult to use
Myth #4: Google can replace MEDLINE databases
Myth #5: Textbooks are out of date before they are published


Beam PS, Schimming LM,
Krissoff AB, Morgan LK. The changing library: what clinicians need to know. Mt Sinai J Med 2006; 73(6):857-863.  PubMed Related Articles 

Abstract: Over the last two decades, changes in technology have allowed academic medical center libraries to bring the world of biomedical information to the physician’s computer desktop. Because digital libraries have grown so rapidly and in so many ways, some clinicians may be uncertain about the services and resources that are available to them. This article explains how clinical faculty can best utilize their library to support their research and patient care. It addresses some of the most common myths about the “new” medical library, and it highlights innovations in library resources and services that can help physicians to better access, use and manage medical information.

Here is an abbreviated version of the authors’ Top ten tips for getting the most from your medical library (see p. 862 for the full version):
1. You don’t need to visit your library to use your library.
2. Most recent biomedical journal articles are available online; most older articles are available in print only.
3. Databases such as PubMed are getting “smarter” and easier to use.
4. To find current, accurate information about the latest research and best practices, check resources that cover peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Medline/PubMed) or that provide regularly updated, peer reviewed, evidence-based summaries.
5. Online resources such as MD Consult are streamlining your ability to keep up with changes in your field—and with what your patients are reading.
6. Full-text linking is now available from many library databases.
7. Faculty can now enter requests for books or articles not held at their local library through online interlibrary loan services.
8. Bibliographic management programs, available through many academic libraries, can help to organize the references for your publications.
9. Your library’s homepage is a gateway to your library’s services as well as its resources.
10. Ask a librarian—in person, by phone, by e-mail, or by an online chat service—to show you the
quickest, easiest ways to get the best information.

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