Archive for the 'Tools You Can Use' Category

Come one, Come all – it’s time to register for the MAHSLIN annual meeting!

Here are my top ten reasons to attend the meeting.

1.     Listen and learn from a national expert on disaster medicine.

2.     Learn about the free resources from the National Library of Medicine’s Disaster Information Management  Research Center.

3.     Lunch is included in the registration!

4.     The meeting is centrally located, right off Route 95/128 in Waltham.

5.     There are great afternoon snacks!

6.     Meet other librarians from New England.

7.     What other way can you celebrate the Ides of March.

8.     Learn what to do with a tourniquet.

9.     MA Health Science Librarians are fun!

10.  Become inspired to learn something new.

Here is the link to the meeting web site.



Submitted by Heather Edmonds, Director of Library Services, New England College of Optometry,

slack_rgb is a free communication tool that is part-IM service, part-email, part-shared drive that also integrates with numerous productivity apps and other services.  It’s available as a mobile or desktop app, as well as via the web.  Though primarily marketed as a tool for small businesses and start-ups, the staff at my small library has been using it for nearly a year, and we have found it invaluable.

Slack allows for both group conversations — which can be organized by topic/project/etc. via “channels” — as well as direct messages to individuals on one’s “team” (our “team” is small and consists of only library staff members, but teams can be as large or as small as they need to be to accommodate the user group).  Messages are archived, and fully searchable.

Slack also permits the sharing of files among team members directly in the app.  File sharing is particularly easy when using cloud-based services such as Google Drive or Dropbox, as you need only cut and paste the link to the file into Slack in order to share it.

Multi-Device GroupOne of the most useful Slack features for us is the ability to integrate our shared Google Calendars into specific channels that update automatically when an “event” is forthcoming, so that you can see what’s happening on a particular day without having to leave the app.  For example, one of the shared calendars we’ve integrated is our circulation desk schedule, so that it’s easy to keep on top of who is scheduled to cover the desk, and when.

We initially decided to try Slack because we found that email, while useful for many purposes, wasn’t fully addressing our day-to-day communication needs as a staff.  Face-to-face communication is best, of course — but our library is open many hours, and because we cover different shifts we don’t always see each other as much as we’d like.  So we decided to try an IM service, and Slack proved to be the most versatile.  I highly recommend Slack for any library staff interested in communicating outside the email box.




Submitted by Frances Foret, Head of Collection Development at Tufts Hirsh Health Sciences Library.

Browzine allows users to browse, read, and monitor the journals available through their library and is a great tool for non-techies like me. When you first log in it quickly identifies your institution’s journal holdings and organizes them by general subject category. You can, of course, also search and retrieve holdings information by journal title name.


Browzine replicates the feeling of being in the print world of a library reading room where journals are shelved on periodicals display shelves. You can take a virtual trip of walking through the stacks browsing your institution’s journal holdings.


There is a “My Bookshelf” feature that corrals your favorite journals, making it simple to peruse them (this feature requires a personal login).


Browzine is easy to use, and the vendor is well-known for being very responsive to any questions or issues you may have. Browzine is not a free product but requires an annual subscription. At Tufts we have made the mobile and desktop versions available to our users.

Below please find more details about Browzine directly from Third Iron, the provider of this product.

Searching for Reusable Images via Google

Did you know you can filter Google Images to find ones with usage rights?

To find reusable images on Google click the Tools button. This will bring up a number of options including Usage rights. From here select the type of usage rights you are interested in viewing.



Public Domain images are not owned by anyone. You can use, publish, or change them. Attribution is not required but you should do it anyway.

Creative Commons is a type of Copyright that simplifies sharing and reuse. There are six different types of CC licenses. You MUST attribute Creative Commons materials and some hold greater restrictions.

For more information visit

Vysor: Display Your Android Screen on a Mac or PC in Real Time

By Berika Williams, Research & Instruction/Emerging Technologies and Web Librarian at Hirsh Health Sciences Library, Tufts University.

As a Health Sciences Librarian I often give demos of point of care tools and mobile apps that our library has access to through subscribed databases. In these demos I find it useful to provide screenshots from my mobile device to show users the benefits of mobile point of care apps such as Dynamed, BMJ Best Practice, and journal apps such as BrowZine. Recently I discovered that there is a way for Android users to display or mirror their screen on a PC or a Mac in real time through the use of an app called Vysor. Previously, Android users would have had to hack their devices by “rooting” them in order to get their screen to mirror on a desktop computer or laptop. Now, Vysor makes it easier by simply installing the app on your desktop device.

What you’ll need:
• Android mobile device
• Android USB charging cable
• PC or Mac
• Chrome Browser

How it works:
1. In Chrome, find and install the Vysor app on your desktop computer (PC or Mac) and then “Add to Chrome”.
2. On your Android, go to “Settings”, find the “About Phone” menu item and select it.
3. Locate your “Build number” (usually at the bottom).
4. Press down on your “Build number” 7 times.  This activates the “Developer” feature on your device.
5. Navigate back to “Settings”, find the “Developer options” menu item and select it.
6. Among the options, enable or switch on “USB Debugging Mode” and confirm.
7. Hook your phone to your computer using the USB charging cable.
8. In Chrome, open Vysor, which can now be found under the Apps icon apps-launcher-icon .
9. Go to “Find Devices” and select your mobile device from the options that appear.
NOTE: Windows users will need Universal Windows ADB Driver in order for this to work.
10. A message may appear on your Android, “Allow USB debugging?” Select “OK”. You should now be able to mirror your device in real time on your computer!
NOTE: When you are NOT mirroring your device, be sure to turn off or disable “Developer Options” found in your Settings.


Innovation on a Shoestring: A Lot to Learn and Much to Think About

Contributed by Olga Lyczmanenko, Library Director, New England Baptist Hospital

There was a lot to learn and much to think about at the most recent BBLC/MAHSLIN -sponsored Meeting – “Innovation on a Shoestring: High Impact Ideas for a Limited Budget”. 

Brandy King, owner of Knowledge Linking and independent consultant, guided the audience into the world of social media and very ably demonstrated the possibilities.  She showed that the power of Facebook, Linked-in and Twitter can be tapped successfully to promote library services – in ways many of us had not considered.  Connecting to thought leaders, adding professional groups to our contacts, and promoting information resources can all be accomplished with these social apps. 

Kate Donovan, currently at Children’s Hospital and a former Apple “genius”, introduced a number of free, easy to use, dynamic I-Pad apps.  Want to create an e-book? Just use IBooks Author ).  Similarly, use Flipboard   (  to create a personalized magazine.  Thinglink ( allows video creation with step-by-step instructions.  With a little creativity and with the help of these friendly apps, pushing out library news or patient education will never be the same again. 

3D Printing and its intricacies were very expertly explained via a webcast featuring  Patricia Anderson , Emerging Technologies Librarian from the University of Michigan, and Kimberly Barker, Manager for Technology Education & Computing at University of Virginia’s Moore Health Science Libraries.  Patricia, focused mainly on the explosive growth of 3D printing and its dramatic use in many areas, especially in anatomy and orthopedics; Kimberly addressed her library’s experience with its 3D printer, about funding and general public response to the printer.  

Quite coincidentally, just a few days after this presentation, an NPR story aired that highlighted a successful  windpipe implant fashioned from a 3 D printer.  Link to the NPR story

As always, this meeting was well organized, well attended and provided much to think about.

Thank you to everyone who made it possible.






This post was written by Sally Gore, MAHSLIN President.

Do you have a project or two that keeps getting pushed down the “to do” list? Are you having trouble staying on track getting that article written, that report or flyer finished, or that presentation presentable? Then join us for our first MAHSLIN ACTION DAY on Friday, October 14th.

Those of you who attended the 2010 annual meeting might recall our keynote speaker, Stever Robbins, telling us about the power and usefulness of Action Days. I’ve been wanting to coordinate one ever since, both for my own benefit and for my colleagues in need of the same help. You can find background and details on the idea from Stever’s “Get it Done Guy” podcast, but in general, here’s how it works:

  1. Identify a project/task or two that you want to focus on for a day.
  2. Share this with others via a conference call.
  3. Check in every hour to share your progress.

It’s really that simple. We help each other be accountable and get those stubborn, “procrastinatable” projects done!

I’ll be working out the arrangements over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned to the blog and listserv for updates. For now, if you’re interested in taking part, mark your calendars and get ready to Get it Done!

P.S. Your task can be just about anything, even cleaning out your desk drawers or getting “thank you” notes written. And feel free to pass this along to anyone you think will find it interesting and/or helpful. The more, the merrier!

A Little Help From Your Friends

This post was written by Elaine Alligood, MAHSLIN President.

It’s a little known fact that I drove my ’66 Corvair to Woodstock in 1969 to see Joe Cocker and Janis Joplin.  A hyper-cheap hippie student, I mapped out a route that avoided toll roads and wound up missing all the traffic.  While I can’t say my luck has consistently held since then, I can say, emphatically, I’ve been the beneficiary of great advice by my friends over the years.  With that support in mind, The MAHSLIN Board wants to help members experience that same Joe Cocker feeling of friendly support. . . Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends!

Last September, I wrote about the Board brainstorming how we could help our members during tough times, and now it’s here–we’ve got the door open to help when you need it:

The Board brainstormed how we could help MAHSLIN members in the throes of Library drama or just worried that their library is in jeopardy of closing.   We aimed for something totally informal, no heavy lifting for anyone, confidential, fast in the moment support.

Now, I’m happy to say our members can reach out and get a little help in the form of a personal bit of one on one coaching, advice, or strategic counsel.

Whether you’re in the midst of a minor drama, crisis, management surprise, or just need a bit of wisdom from a confidential colleague, you can send an email to our new email group: and get some help!

We’re a few seasoned MAHSLIN members who’ve volunteered to help:   send a email to the group and a mentor will reply to you, then you both take it from there, it’s confidential, short term, practical advice, and no records are kept.

MAHSLIN Mentors is not reference help or ILL or resource help.  It is just-in-time advice, counsel, coaching, and practical strategic assistance when you’re pulling out your hair.

Give it a try if you’re in need of a friend!

Let me know what you think!

Elaine Alligood
MAHSLIN President

Instructional Materials from the NN/LM South Central Region

This post was written by Florence Mercer, MAHSLIN Education Chair.

The South Central Region of NN/LM has a page of presentations and instructional materials created by their staff and subcontractors.  These are free to be reproduced and adapted.  The most recent, “NLM Resources for Informing Comparative Effectiveness,” details how NLM is involved in comparative effectiveness research and why you and your patrons should be alert to this new field of endeavor.

Other topics include Reliable CAM Websites, Nursing Resources, Funding Opportunities and Proposal Writing Tips and Screencasting in Libraries.   Why recreate the wheel when these are available to us.  Go to

I have been reading all the region newsletters on my Google Reader.  Once in awhile something great pops up—I recommend these to you. provides a map of the regions and links to their homepages.

Stever Does it Again. . . 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More – The Book !

This post was written by Elaine Alligood, MAHSLIN president

9 Steps to Work Less and Do MoreRemember how terrific Stever Robbins was at our May Meeting?  He mentioned then he had a book coming out. . . well it’s out today in softcover and Kindle!  It will soon be available as an audio book.

Get-It-Done Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More is a playful yet serious guide to working less and doing more. In other words, creating a more productive life. Yes, it’s about getting more done at work. It’s also about getting more done in life. It lays out nine skills that apply anywhere you want to get greater results with less work. (For the buzzword-inclined, you can think of the book as business process re-engineering applied to individual productivity.  But Stever advises us to not say that aloud!)

These steps, along with tips for running meetings and managing multiple projects, are a unique contribution to business literature – and it’s funny too!  For instance, who among us is free, I mean devoid, of procrastination?  No one’s raising a hand, are you?  Well here’s Stever on procrastinating. . .

Why do we procrastinate?  What are some simple tips for beating procrastination?
Thinking causes procrastination.  No, really. We build up tasks in our mind, thinking they’ll be huge, unachievable,or unpleasant. The remedy is to stop thinking and just start acting. Your brain will still get in your way, however. While you’re filling out your procrastinated expense reports, your brain will distract you with worries that you’re making no progress on the novel you’ve been procrastinating.

As I mention in my book, you can make your brain happy by speed-dating your tasks. List what you’re procrastinating. Start at the top and work on each task for exactly five minutes, then move to the next task. Use a timer to be precise. When you’re done, take a 5-10 minute break and do it again. Five minutes is short; your brain will let you do it. Since you’re hitting several of your procrastinated tasks, your brain knows you’ll get to your other tasks just five minutes from now. It frees you to focus completely on the task in front of you, yet guarantees you’ll go on to make progress on everything that’s important.

Do you plan to get this book? Have you become a follower of Stever’s tips since seeing him speak at the meeting?  Comment below!

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