Monday, February 05, 2007

Catalogers Tour of the Medical Library!

On Saturday February 3rd I had a large group of Library Staff from all over the world in our Medical Library. They were doing a grand tour of all Libraries within our organisation. When they started at the Main Library there were about 20 people I guess, but when they reached the Medical Library there were "only"10 left. Their special interest was in all library resources made available within our buildings. Yes, you could call them Catalogers. They describe all resources to make them availabe for searching in the OPAC, making them visible on the Web, but all Library resources will also be visible and accessible via all Infokiosks, a sort of computer terminal for walk-in users.

We had an interesting discussion about what kind of classification we should use for Medical Resources. Should we use MESH or the LC Classification or both? I added to the discussion that in my opinion we should add TAGS, and offer patrons the option to ADD TAGS ánd Comments in the OPAC. Let's spice up the OPAC!

I showed them around in the Medical Library, the books section (including e-books), the podcasts, the computer room, meeting rooms etc. I showed how people can search Medical databases, like PubMed in the Library. Patrons can also browse WorldCat and Google or consult the special displays with Medical News sections by subject.

The Library is open 24/7 and people can use services and resources all day. Our staff can be reached by Email or IM if they are not present or occupied. All questions will be answered as soon as possible by the medical information specialist "on duty".

The Catalogers were particularly surpised by the very stylishly designed Consumer Health Library building. There are resources in there, but they are not the most important part of that Library. The Consumer Health Librarian did a great job in making people feel at home, in a trusted, private atmosphere. She takes time to talk to people in private about Health related questions and helps them to find the answers in quality resources.

After identifying the relevant resources of the Consumer Health Library to the group they had to leave to have a look at the remaining Libraries. It was great to have them here. They explained that, for them, they now could imagine where these resources -they are só busy with describing them- are located and in what setting.

Some of them took off with a flying leap, a few used TP (Teleport) and others just walked away to another Island. Because -if you did not already guess- this whole situation was placed on HealthInfo Island inside Second Life, a virtual environment. Within the large amount of Second Life Library volunteers is a group of 32 people involved with "cataloguing" all services and resources of ALL Second Life Libraries, including the Second Life Medical Library, the Consumer Health Library, the Calendon Branch Library and the Main Library.
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