About Andrew

I'm a health librarian in Sydney, Australia, who also happens to be a geocacher.

A week in the life of a medical librarian: day 5

Well, we’ve made it to the end of the week. It was another mixed bag today:

  • One-and-a-half hours working on my presentation
  • One-and-a-half hours updating our e-book holdings
  • One hour on email
  • Two hours working on our offsite access URLs
  • Two hours troubleshooting access to our e-journals

So what did I spend my time on this week?

 

  • Nine hours on literature searches
  • Seven hours on the front desk
  • Seven hours troubleshooting access to our e-journals
  • Four-and-a-half hours checking the links for our offsite access authentication
  • Three-and-a-half hours on emails
  • Three-and-a-half hours planning and preparing my presentation for next month’s Health Libraries Australia Professional Development Day
  • Three hours of meetings
  • Two-and-a-half hours on e-book usage statistics
  • One-and-a-half hours updating our e-book holdings
  • One hour working on a submission for our hospital Quality and Innovation Awards
  • One hour providing EndNote training
  • Half an hour updating usage statistics for last month
  • Lunch with Schrödinger the hospital cat (including a selfie)

I’m not surprised that literature searches and troubleshooting online resources were at the top of the list. My job is to maintain the library’s e-journals and offsite access systems, so those tasks should take up a lot of my time. I did seem to be doing more of that this week than usual, though. We also had quite a few literature searches come through recently, so that’s why it was at the top of my list.

I found it an interesting exercise to track what I did each day, and I hope it gives you a bit of an insight into what medical librarians do.

 

 

A week in the life of a medical librarian: day 4

Another day where a lot of my time was spent working on our online resources:

  • Three-and-a-half hours on the front desk (which includes some of the following)
  • One hour providing EndNote training
  • Two-and-a-half hours finishing a literature search
  • Half an hour on emails
  • Three-and-a-half hours doing various troubleshooting of online journals and offsite access

Tomorrow will be my final “day in the life” post, and will include a summary of the week.

A week in the life of a medical librarian: day 3

Well, there wasn’t much variety in my day today. Most of it involved working with our electronic resources.

  • Three-and-a-half hours on the front desk (which includes some of the following)
  • Two hours on a literature search
  • One-and-a-half hours troubleshooting a problem linking from PubMed to some of our full-text journals
  • Two hours gathering and interpreting the usage statistics from our e-book packages
  • One hour on emails

 

 

A week in the life of a medical librarian: day 2

So, here’s the second day of my working week.

  • Three hours of meetings
  • One-and-a-half hours checking the links for our offsite access authentication
  • Half an hour on emails
  • One hour on a new literature search
  • Half an hour working on my presentation
  • Half an hour on e-book usage statistics

Schrodinger the hospital cat didn’t make an appearance today.

 

 

A week in the life of a medical librarian: day 1

This week’s posts are going to be a record of my working days. Nothing too detailed, just a summary of what I spent my time on at work. Hopefully they may prove interesting to those of you who have wondered what medical librarians get up to each day. Of course, each medical library is different, so what I work on during the week is not representative of every librarian who works in a hospital library. So, what did I do at work today?

  • Three-and-a-half hours finishing of a literature review which I started last week
  • Half an hour checking the links for our offsite access authentication
  • Lunch with Schrödinger the hospital cat (including a selfie)
  • Half an hour updating usage statistics for last month
  • Half an hour on emails
  • An hour of working on a submission for our hospital Quality and Innovation Awards
  • One-and-a-half hours planning and preparing my presentation for next month’s Health Libraries Australia Professional Development Day

I’ll be interested to see if this changes much from day to day. I wonder what I’ll end up spending most time on.

 

Lego on a rainy Sunday

It was a pretty wet day here today, and the weather meant that it was a good day to stay inside. We all pottered around doing different things – my project was to finish off my Lego R2-D2 that has been a work in progress for a while. I got him for Christmas in 2014, and once he was built he stayed on the shelf for a year or so. In January I decided that it would be nice for the boys and I to work on building him together, so I disassembled him. We got through the first couple of bags of pieces in fairly quick time, but then their interest in the “R2-redo” waned.

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Starting point

Today was the day that R2 started to take shape again. With some help from Blake, I’m now up to the second-last bag, and will probably finish the build later this week. It was a nice relaxing couple of hours working on it.

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Blake helping out

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Nearly finished

The hospital cat

The hospital where I work has its own resident cat. It occasionally makes an appearance in the outdoor area where I have lunch, and today it was there. Because we’re never sure if it’s going to be there or not, my co-worker and I have named the cat Schrödinger after the cat in Schrödinger’s thought experiment.

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Schrödinger seems to have become less insistent that I share my lunch, perhaps because I’ve always ignored the meowing which is used on any new human who comes and sits down. Other people do give out tidbits, so there’s no danger of Schrödinger starving. I know there are several libraries which have their own cat, and I guess my hospital library does too, sort of.

A scattergories meme

I usually save the memes for a day when I’m struggling to think of what to write, but I’m going to use one for today’s post. The rule is that each answer must start with the last letter of your previous answer. Here’s my contribution:

Name – Andrew
Animal – Wolf
Girls name – Fiona
Colour – Aubergine
Movie – Empire Strikes Back
Something you wear – Kilt
Drink – Tequila
Food – Apricot
Item in the bathroom – Toothbrush
Place – Honduras
Reason to be late – Slept in

Well, that gives me a 100% posting rate for #blogjune so far. Don’t think it will last though.

Another year, another #blogjune

Well, June has rolled around again, which means it’s time for the annual #blogjune blogfest. There’s a list on Twitter if you want to keep up with all the posts. This will be the fifth year that I’ve participated, and I’ve managed to post every day in June for the last four years. However, I can’t see myself posting something every day this year. I’ve got a plan for a week where there will be daily posts, but otherwise I’ll be posting when I get the chance (and inclination).

As with last year, I won’t the only member of my family taking part in #blogjune. My wife will working on a modified version called #doodlejune, and our sons will be posting to their blog with their dinner reviews. Hopefully they’ll do a better job of posting every day than I will.

Twitter activity at the MLA conference

The Medical Library Association (MLA) has just held its annual conference in Toronto, Canada. Being based in Australia means that it’s hard for me to attend, but the Twitter stream is a very useful way of keeping up with what’s going on at the conference. I thought I would use it as a test of using the R programming language to conduct some very basic Social Network Analysis (SNA) on the Twitter stream of the conference. See my previous post for a background of my interest in R and SNA.

I used the twitteR package for R to retrieve all the tweets with the hashtag #mlanet16 which had been sent between 13th and 18th May (there were 9,985). Next, the graphTweets package was used to turn these tweets into a data frame which only included all the Twitter accounts which had been included in a mention i.e. an @ message, and/or sent a retweet. This data frame was then converted into a graphml file, which I opened in Gephi, a free data visualisation tool. If you’re interested, the code I used was:

library(twitteR)
library(igraph)
library(graphTweets)
setup_twitter_oauth("API key", "API secret", "access token", "access secret")
tweets <- searchTwitter("#mlanet16", n=15000, lang="en", since="2016-05-13", until="2016-05-18")
tw_df <- twListToDF(tweets)
edges <- getEdges(data = tw_df, tweets = "text", source = "screenName", "retweetCount", "favorited", str.length = 20)
nodes <- getNodes(edges)
g <- graph.data.frame(edges, directed = TRUE, vertices = nodes)
write.graph(g, "F:/mlagraph.graphml", format="graphml")

The raw, unfiltered data looks like this:

MLA complete

Each node represents an individual Twitter account (I’ve left them unlabelled in order not to identify anyone). This is a bit messy and hard to read, so I filtered the data to make the graph easier to interpret. The graph below shows the top nodes based on their “out-degree”, with the larger nodes having a larger out-degree. Out-degree is a measure of the influence of a node, i.e. how many outward ties they have to other nodes.

MLA out-degree

Another filter I applied was in-degree, which is a measure of the number of inward connections that each node has. Nodes with a high in-degree have a high prestige, as other nodes try to connect with them. The in-degree graph looks like this:

MLA in-degree

There are a range of other measures that can be used to filter the data, so I’ll have a play around a bit more. I certainly wouldn’t call myself an expert in R or social network analysis after doing this, but it has been a great introduction to what R can do.