Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Why I Support #TeamHarpy

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

It has been a long and quiet summer over here on my blog as one thing after another has fallen apart. including my and my family’s health, but we’re all (mostly) ok now. It’s time to dust things off and get to back to business though because this issue is important and I’m concerned it’s not even on the radar of most medical librarians.

As soon as I learned the details a week ago, I spoke up via Twitter early of my support of two librarians (#teamharpy) who are being sued for $1.25 million in a defamation lawsuit for speaking out about sexual harassment by another librarian:

Since then I have seen numerous perspectives written which have been collected on their press page. Let me be clear: I do not personally or professionally know the plaintiff or the defendants, have not been to a single conference where they the plaintiff hasve been (to my knowledge has been enlightened; he was at 2009 ACRL but I have no recollection of this at all), and for that matter have never been an American Library Association (ALA) member even as a student (do I have to turn in my librarian card now?) so I have no ‘informed’ opinion to give regarding sexual or other harassment that may be occurring on their scene – nor should I.

Why, then, am I specifically blogging that I support and have donated to the legal defense fund for #teamharpy? Two reasons: I have been in similar (not anywhere near identical) shoes as the defendants and know the value of explicit support for doing the right thing, and it’s time for others to stop thinking their professional conference experience is both omniscient and extrapolated to thousands of other attendees and that harassment can’t possibly be occurring because they don’t see it happening.

Revisiting Clinical Reader

Readers since 2009 may remember when I was threatened to be sued via a tweet on Twitter by a company for blogging the truth about their misrepresentation of product endorsement by the National Library of Medicine on their website. The support I immediately and strongly received from others, many of whom were not in the medical library community nor had any clue who I was, kept me sane as the scenario evolved into a rather surreal mess. I remain thankful for Peter Murray’s coverage On the Pitfalls of Social Media: Learning from Clinical Reader as a recap of that bizarre and stressful time.

I still remember the moment I saw this tweet:


In the first 10 seconds I thought I was going to faint or enter cardiac arrest from abject fear and shock – and that was only from a litigation threat from a tweet, not actually being served with a lawsuit. It’s a terrifying place to be in for speaking your truth. The defendants are facing The Real Deal to a truly asinine amount of money that I believe the plaintiff (who lives in the United States) chose quite intentionally to file in Canada (where one of the the defendants lives) because it likely wouldn’t hold in an American court. There is no First Amendment in Canada protecting their citizens from SLAPP-happy litigation. 

Out of the Shadows

What happened to me was blatantly obvious and visible to everyone both in that tweet and the actions the company took afterwards. Advocacy doesn’t get better than having Ben Goldacre take them on in a public Twitter discussion (1, 2, 3, 4). One of my favorites –  

Therefore,  it absolutely disgusts me to hear that people are now interjecting things along the lines of ‘Well I saw the plaintiff at a conference and he didn’t say or do anything like that to me‘ and ‘I don’t see harassment happening at conferences’  regarding the #teamharpy discussion. These comments are indicative of an attitude that blames victims of harassment, further enables harassers, and reduces the likelihood that those who have experienced harassment past, present and future will come forward to seek the help and support they deserve to receive.  I believe Anita. I believe the defendants and potential witnesses when they say they are experiencing harassment at their conferences. They do not have to conform to anyone else’s expectations of what they should and should not be doing regarding the discussion of sexual harassment within their community.

I also support the proactive development and enforcement of a conference code of conduct for the Medical Library Association (MLA). To believe that similar things are not occurring in our community is really stretching it, and I am in favor of having the professional conference environment be as clearly against all forms of harassment as our work environments are because we are at work within them. Rachel Walden and Kate Flewelling from the Relevant Issues Section helped start the discussion already on our July 17th #medlibs chat and I welcome it continuing. While I personally find ALA’s code of conduct a bit lacking, I’ve found the updated ScienceOnline’s Harassment Policy to be a good model to consider and thank my colleague Betsy Rolland for encouraging us to look in that direction given what that community has experienced.

Twitter as Continuing Education

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014


Quick. come up with a way to teach how to participate in a Twitter hashtag chat *without using a single word*. This assignment nearly killed me.

Quick. teach how to participate in a Twitter hashtag chat without using a single word or picture. This instructional design assignment nearly killed me.

Two Twitter-related things to draw your attention to for now with rambling insights to follow later.*

Get ready for our second #medlibs journal club led by Tony Nguyen on Thursday, February 27th at 9pm Eastern/6 Pacific! We’ll be discussing The value of library and information services in patient care: results of a multisite study. Details are at the #medlibs chat blog.

Also, please help out a library student in Oxford with her dissertation about Twitter for professional development. She is taking on what I’ve long been meaning to with a much broader scope, and she’s offered to share her results later.

* Yes, I’ve been quiet here for months. That’s changing now that I’m closer to finding my new job/third of the way done with second masters degree/various professional commitments/family/life balance. I think. Some weeks are more questionable than others but this isn’t one of them.

New Directions

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Two equestrian riders, Creative Commons use by mikebaird on Flickr

The #medlibs chat was never supposed to be all me all the time.

As of 2013 it no longer is me as the one picking the topic and leading every.single.week. It’s always supposed to be about you. Your ideas. Your vision for the field of information in whatever way, shape or form that takes now and in the year ahead. Your strengths. Your ideas to share. Your community. Your leadership shining through.

I’m committed to continuing to host (picking a topic, promoting & leading the chat) the second Thursday of each month. Others have volunteered to step up and host on a series of weeks or just one week and all are welcome to. Simply let me know and I’ll add you to the chat schedule calendar and as a #medlibs chat blog author.

This week on Thursday, January 17th #medlibs will be about the role of volunteers, practicum and/or internship students at the library led by Tony Nguyen. Come check it out, first time participants are especially encouraged to join in!

Crashing and Phoenixing: Data MOOCs

Monday, December 10th, 2012

That social network analysis MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) I signed up for that initially went so well? I started having technical problems (not being able to view the videos at all, or seeing them without sound) on both Internet Explorer and Firefox. Updating browser versions, Flash & Java weren’t being able to fix it and I quickly learned closed captioning alone isn’t enough for me to ‘get it’ with videos, so I called it quits.

That said, there are several other MOOCs that have caught my attention for 2013 that may be of interest to you especially for data management and visualization. Things like the Electronic Health Records Infographic from don’t create themselves, although my quibble is the source data at the bottom needs to actually be legible.

Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization – January 12 – February23, 2013. This is the second offering of the class from the Knight Center for Journalism and the course platform is Moodle. I teach using Moodle so I’m studying the design and management closely – currently there are over 3,400 of us in there when I often cap my classes at 50 to keep things manageable. Enrollment was painless and provided immediate access after account setup to the main page and an introduction video, syllabus, instructor bio and even links to the first week reading assignments to get a head start. Course objectives include

  • How to analyze and critique infographics and visualizations in newspapers, books, TV, etc., and how to propose alternatives that would improve them.
  • How to plan for data-based storytelling through charts, maps, and diagrams.
  • How to design infographics and visualizations that are not just attractive but, above all, informative, deep, and accurate.
  • The rules of graphic design and of interaction design, applied to infographics and visualizations.
  • Optional: How to use Adobe Illustrator to create infographics.

As with most MOOCs no academic credit is offered, and a completion certificate is available for $30 if you meet the requirements for finishing the class. Thanks to Susan Kistler of the American Evaluation Association for the tip!

Data Management for Clinical Research – April 2013 for six weeks (this seems to be a standard MOOC course length) by Vanderbilt University on Coursera, the same platform that was crashing & burning for me so I’m hesitant to give it another go plus I’m not directly involved in clinical research or supporting it. The course description is

This course is designed to teach important concepts related to research data planning, collection, storage and dissemination. Instructors will offer information and best-practice guidelines for 1) investigator-initiated & sponsored research studies, 2) single- & multi-center studies, and 3) prospective data collection & secondary-reuse of clinical data for purposes of research. The curriculum will balance theoretical guidelines with the use of practical tools designed to assist in planning and conducting research. Real-world research examples, problem solving exercises and hands-on training will ensure students are comfortable with all concepts.

It would definitely be of interest to those new to working in clinical research , and thanks to Amy Donahue for alerting the Twitter #medlibs community to it!

Speaking of Twitter #medlibs chats, they has been consuming the vast majority of my personal bloggage time – I can apparently either do that or this blog well/regularly but not both at the same time. Be sure to stop by this Thursday, December 13th (last organized #medlibs chat of 2012) and check the #medlibs blog for details and transcripts of the great conversations your colleagues have been having.

The Storify of Sandy

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

For as awful as Hurricane Sandy was and the after effects are right now, I have really been impressed with the power of Storify in quickly telling stories with a combination of narrative and embedded tweets from Twitter.

Here are some of interest

I tinkered around with Storify several months ago and mostly found it to be time consuming and cumbersome to curate, but inspired by the layout of these stories I’ll give it another shot after the #medlibs chat on Thursday without feeling the need to capture every.single.tweet of it and see what happens. Despite my initial reaction of snark to Your Twitter Hashtags Chats Are Ruining My Life, Please Stop I do get it and librarians in particular are obsessed with order. At the same time there are real gems being shared in these chats and I’m not stopping so long as things like this are offered as feedback –


Announcing HLWIKI Advisory Role

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

It is a sincere pleasure to serve on the advisory of HLWIKI International, an already amazing resource, as it expands with a greater global focus from its original incarnation as HLWIKI Canada.

I’m particularly humbled to be the first United States representative and will strive to do my best to bring a wealth of perspectives from both my Me as My Job and Me As Me sides. Not that I have a split personality but they are currently fairly different professional outlets as you may be able to tell from the crickets around this blog as I’m focusing on getting the Thursday night #medlibs Twitter chats on solid ground over the past few months. It’s been quite an interesting experience and I’m enjoying watching it grow!

Onwards! Twitter #medlibs chat regularly on Thursday nights

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Be sure to add to your RSS feed as the game plan is for new topics to be announced there on Mondays with regular Twitter #medlibs chats held on Thursdays 6pm Pacific/9 pm Eastern time for the forseeable future. June 28th is going to be about eScience which evolved naturally from the MLA 2012 discussion on June 21st and was noted in the survey more than a few times as a beginning topic of interest.

Can’t make that time or miss a chat? There are a wealth of archiving options over at the Transcripts page. Storify (see June 21st) takes a long time to compile, but once we have a few chats done I think it has the potential to show the most value to others in the field who aren’t on Twitter. In the meantime keep spreading the word, I’m hoping we’ll get 50 or more participants this week, and next week some preliminary results from the survey will be shared on the #medlibs chat blog to help further develop plans including a shared leadership strategy. Thanks for participating and spreading the word!

Twitter #medlibs chat tomorrow

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

What are we talking about and how does a Twitter hashtag chat work? Check out the details on the #medlibs chat blog and see you there!

Twitter #medlibs chat: Scheduling time!

Monday, June 11th, 2012



Short and sweet, the Doodle poll (is now closed!) to schedule a first Twitter #medlibs chat may be a little different than you’re used to seeing Doodle polls:

  1. Please fill out the poll only if you are intending to attend. No worries if you can’t, a recap/transcript will be done.
  2. Check to make sure your time zone is listed in the box (it should be based on your computer setting)
  3. The (Yes) option = “Meh, not ideal but still possible” It really helps since Doodle autocalculates the best times for the majority with a combination of these and regular Yes options.
  4. Other replies are greyed out and yours is too. Everyone should have the same right to privacy as in the original poll.

Please share this Doodle with others who are interested in attending, it will close at the end of Wednesday, June 13th and chat time announced on Thursday, June 14th. Since organized Twitter hashtag chats were brand new and not something the vast majority of those who took the survey had done, I suggest keeping this first chat light and focused more on introductions so the community can get to know one another, learn how these chats work, and cover the top 3 takeaways from MLA 2012 for those who were able to be there either virtually, in person, or following the #mlanet12 backchannel.

A very valuable lesson was learned last week: Please take the # out of medlibs with retweets and directed tweets for the sake of all those who are following #medlibs which has been going strong for quite some time. The potential was pretty high that questions and resources were missed in some of the publicity for a potential hashtag chat and I feel bad about that.


Twitter #medlibs chat: Last call and scheduling poll next week

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Edit: Survey now closed!

From a Twitter #medlibs chat idea to action: 47 replies to the survey below – you all are awesome! It will be closing at the end of the day tomorrow (Friday, June 8th) so make sure your voice is heard. It will take some time to analyze the results during the off hours but (as always) I’m really excited by your innovative ideas, energy and excitement in addition to thoughtful questions and criticism. Please keep it up!

Stay tuned on Monday for a poll to try and narrow down a timeframe that works for the majority of interested participants. I already know it’s impossible for one time to work for everyone because we’ve all seen how committee Doodles go we’re all over the country and potentially the world with differing levels of work/life time availability.

It is clear there is a need for a base to summarize #medlibs chats and present the topics/chat questions ahead of time so that will hopefully help to welcome all.  I have parked a blog at that is easy to add additional authors to, and I doubt any of you will be surprised by my use of Bacon Ipsum until things are meatier further developed.