Category Archives: Spotlight

Library Main Desk helps more than ever

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After carefully researching the library literature and conducting wide-ranging discussions among Library faculty and staff, Dana closed and removed its Reference Desk in January. Although the word “Reference” may not be used any longer, an on-demand librarian assistance service is still available through the Main Desk. In addition, the Main Desk now answers a variety of questions. Switching to a single service location maximizes library space and better serves patron needs while becoming the central point for help, information, and services at the Library. Stop at the Main Desk to find an e-journal or get started on a PubMed or CatQuest search on your topic!

Research Support

In 2015, the Main Desk staff encountered 1,840 reference questions and, in the first quarter of 2016 (January to March), the new single service Main Desk received 662 reference queries. Main Desk staff are now, more than ever, prepared to answer research questions. However, for more in-depth queries, staff can refer you to the on-call librarian.

Assistance from librarians is available on a walk-in basis 10 am to 4 pm each weekday. Or make an appointment on the Library’s webpage. Get focused attention for individual or group research.

Student Curriculum and Technical Support

The Main Desk is also the place to go for curriculum support. Access and place materials on reserve, request articles through electronic article delivery and interlibrary loan, gain support for research, get help with database navigation and reserve group study spaces.  Also, check out books, media and print journals and borrow supplies like ethernet & power cables, standup desks, white boards & markers, and headphones.

Get help with technology for printing, scanning, copying, public computers, wireless access, and referral to external IT support. In addition, the library has a lost and found and can provide emergency cleanup supplies.

Staffed by Lesley Boucher (supervisor), John Printon, Brenda Nelson, Colin McClung and Craig Chalone, with the help of student assistants, the Main Desk is available help you with all your library needs. Contact them at 656-2200 to get started.

Whiteboard Survey: Students Weigh-in on Study Space

Furniture survey board image resizedIn February, Library staff conducted a whiteboard survey in the space where the Reference Desk once resided. With the removal of the Desk, this empty space was re-claimed as study space, and now it needed furniture! Who better to ask about usable and comfortable furniture than our very own patrons? Library patrons were asked to share their thoughts on the whiteboard to the following two questions:

What kind of furniture would you like in this area? The choices were: Carrels, Lounge Chairs, Lounge Chairs with Laptop Desks, Round Tables, Rectangular Tables.

Comments or other suggestions?

The most popular response came from the Comments question. Twenty-one respondents indicated that they would prefer standing desks. The next most popular response was rectangular tables (19), followed by lounge chairs (9) and lounge chairs with desks (8). Only five people wanted to see carrels in this area. No one was a fan of round tables.

Other popular survey suggestions included a fish tank, massage chairs, and kittens and puppies. Another idea was to move all the chairs against the wall from the former Reference area, and fill in the center with tables.

As a result of the survey, we have rearranged the existing furniture as suggested and added another rectangular table. We are in the process of scheduling more visits from Tucker the therapy dog. And we are investigating using our mobile monitor to display a fish tank video when it is not in use elsewhere. Survey feedback will also inform future decisions about purchasing furniture for the Dana Library. As a reminder, the Main Desk has nine portable stand-up desks that can be checked out.

More questions or comments? Contact Lesley Boucher at 656-4404.

Systematic Reviews 101: A New Workshop Series at Dana Medical Library

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Systematic reviews are an integral component of evidence-based healthcare, but they can be hard to define. According to the Cochrane Library, a systematic review “is a high-level overview of primary research on a particular research question that tries to identify, select, synthesize and appraise all high quality research evidence relevant to that question in order to answer it.” (http://community-archive.cochrane.org/about-us/evidence-based-health-care) Like all quality research studies, the protocol used to conduct a systematic review must be spelled out in advance to minimize bias and to ensure that the review can be replicated by another group. Because of the rigor involved, systematic reviews can take several months to complete and usually involve two or more researchers. When done correctly, however, they can provide very reliable evidence for health care providers.

A quick search of PubMed shows that approximately 223 healthcare related systematic reviews have been completed here at the University of Vermont and more are ongoing. In an effort to support these projects, Dana Medical Library offered a series of three systematic review workshops this spring:

  • Introduction to Systematic Reviews – led by Donna O’Malley and Gary Atwood, provided an overview of the elements that make up a systematic review and some of the issues that researchers encounter.
  • Searching for Systematic Reviews – led by Donna O’Malley, showed researchers how to find existing systematic reviews for review.
  • Going Gray: How to Find Gray Literature – led by Nancy Bianchi and Gary Atwood, outlined the role that gray literature plays in the systematic review process and reviewed potential sources that researchers can search.

The workshops were attended by faculty members, researchers, and students – many of whom are either at the initial stages of their own systematic review or anticipating one in the not too distant future.

Given the positive reaction to this first round of systematic review workshops, the Reference Librarians at Dana hope to offer them again in the future. Of course, researchers can also contact their liaison for help with their own research in the meantime.

For more information contact Gary Atwood at 656-4488.