Sorry we missed you yesterday at the celebration for the new clinical buildings. It was PACKED solid. Wall-to-Wall. But a good vibe was had by all. The "red carpet" treatment was a very nice touch. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our information table to inquire about Welch, or just to pass along a kind or two. And I must say, there were many kind words. I told my information table buddy Julie Adamo that "folks just seem to want to share". So we listened and shared. Hey, I could listen to praise 24/7 (even if I'm not the direct recipient, I'm STILL grabbing my share!). Not only were questions asked about the future of the library, but we also had our fair share of gentle remembrances. Here are a couple pictures...


Angela Kohli (left) and Carmela Lynch wanted us to know that they really, really, really appreciated getting their articles from Welch. They even gave us more than a few "no really, thanks" just to show they were serious. Isn't this picture is too charming for words.




Agatha Garner also had good stuff to pass along. I told her "Agatha, just ONE picture---I need proof". Wish I hadn't run out of candy and welch pencils, but I don't think she minded too much.





Former Welch-nik, Kathy Hackett was a welcome sight. We got to talking and both agreed that all those wonderful endorphins you get by walking (or riding a bike!) to work are----a must have everyday item.



Nooooo it's not the circus, it's Yours Truly and Julie Adamo taking in the sights. I'm leaning forward because we all know how painful a sudden balloon attack can be.


Once again, thanks for everyone who stopped by. And speaking of WELCH MEDICAL LIBRARY pencils----I think they need to go on ebay because we went through 2 boxes and could easily have gone through 5 or 6. I call 'em low tech treats. You say you want your own. Call now, an operator's standing by.


Alonzo LaMont

Posted in: Hopkins Community  Tags:

Ran across this article that pinpoints some specific numbers surrounding academic journal publishing. It links to several other posts that we're highlighted before, Harvard in particular, seems to be navigating some stormy seas.

Alonzo LaMont

Posted in: Hopkins Community  Tags:
CommComm posted on February 23, 2012 19:44

I stumbled upon this terrific (and I don't usually/maybe never/never/ use "terrific") article about the future design of colleges,  and the unbundling of courses . It creates a parallel argument between the game-changer that was APPLE's iTunes and it's "assault" on the traditional music factories, versus the recent (practically daily!) news and events behind the "alt. movement" approach that is fast infiltrating higher education. 

Being caught up in the 24-hour cycle of news, discoveries and trends it's easy NOT take a step back and view the mind-bending changes in textbooks, teaching apps, libraries re-inventions and the rise of online universities as part of a grander scheme. We lose sight of that marvelously bigger picture we all yearn to see, from time to time. This much we know, some of the methodology that taught previous generations will last. Others, will not. However as this article reveals, all parties involved in the educational process are re-thinking previously established roles.

That's my take. Feel free to send along yours.

Alonzo LaMont      

Posted in: Hopkins Community  Tags:
CommComm posted on February 19, 2012 22:54

This is the story about connections. It's a little long, so you may need to settle in. It's not another glance-over item, you can devour in seconds. You'll have to find yourself a comfy chair and put down your busines.

A community, a student and a local business all manage to intersect. A couple weeks ago I met recent Hopkins graduate Tom Smith. Tom invented the Gado. Actually, it’s Gado 2. Tom’s wanted to be able to digitize old newspaper articles, clippings and miscellaneous bits of news for the Baltimore Afro-American (the “AFRO”) newspaper. Tom’s releasing the design of his invention to the public. He believes in the open access aspect of education and knowledge sharing. He could make a tidy little profit from his labors, and down the road perhaps he will. But needless to say, it’s a very noble enterprise he’s embarked upon, and much better than any dollars and cents appraisals, he’s engaged a part of the Baltimore community that was ---at best---existing on the perimeter of technology and digitization. The information accrued by the AFRO after all these years is historically priceless, and tells the tale of the African-American story in the City of Baltimore, along with the evolution of Baltimore City itself. That someone comes along, invents the machinery that allows this history to be witnessed online allows for no small sense of wonder.

The intersection of Tom’s invention with the AFRO is one of those small phenomenons that often pass unnoticed in the world of big stories and ideas. How this all started can be traced to an early curiousity Tom had about his family’s origins. His family had roughly 5,000 pictures of various family members, and he scanned them all and created a family archive. He said it took “all summer”, just as he said it took all summer to redo the Gado from version 1 to version 2. I mentioned to Tom that he and I have a very different interpretation of “summer”. Here's an interview that we did at the AFRO.

Q: Tom, how did you get started with the Gado.

A: I started out working on the east Baltimore history project, that was part of a class I was taking called “The Power of Place,” We started out doing oral histories and then I started to focus on east Baltimore. The neighborhoods by Hopkins, and the stories who lived in those neighborhood. I tried looking for images to match some of these stories, images that would reflect that community. I didn’t find any, and there were none that were digitized. That seemed really weird to me because you have this whole area and it’s been there forever. I ended up tagging along with the “Diaspora Pathways: Archival Access Project”. Which is a collaboration between Hopkins and the Afro, funded by the Mellon Foundation. But they didn’t have any money to do any digitization. There were millions of images and they were just sitting there at the Afro, and nobody could access them. I started thinking how could I help solve this problem. I’ve always done hardware and software development, particularly Open Source, which is everything you create----in terms of software and what you create---is open to public domain. So I started with some existing Open Source material, and realized I could build a robot.

Q The reception that’s at Homewood on February 22nd, will your work be there?

A Yes, Alex (Alex Neville, Digitization Consultant) will be there with the machine doing a demo. One of the other components is to take the images that we’re getting so that community members, or scholars might want to come here and study. People working with newspapers, or a book, or may even a film---could illustrate a story, or use the images. Of course, they’d need to contact the AFRO. With the Gado, I could find the image and pay for it right through the website. As opposed to (without digitization) finding the image through the collection (this could take hours and hours), and then having someone scan it and then having it delivered to you for your research. We wanted to create something that was really sustainable, and could really support itself. Currently, we’re funded by the ABELL Foundation and the Sheridan Libraries. We started off being located in the Center for Social Concern building. Now we’re situated in the Emerging Technology Center which is the city-supported tech incubator. The original Gado took about 2 minutes to scan, but this version scans in about 42 seconds for a full resolution.

Q And how did Alex (Neville) come into the project?

A We were friends at Hopkins, I started working on the project, but was spending so much of my time administering the project and working on the technology, I didn’t have time to work on the day-to-day. And also I needed somebody else to look at things and say “this makes sense,” or “this needs work”. So we were at lunch or something……and I said to him, “hey you should really come take a look at it”.

(Alex says he’s there to oversee things and make sure the robot doesn’t smash itself against a wall or something)

Q Tom, correct me if I’m wrong, but you could make some serious money with this machine, right?

A My goal is to keep the machine totally open so that anybody who wants to use it, or expand upon it can do that. But at the same time, if somebody comes up with a great new use for it, that also will be in the public domain. I think this is a good way to support the open source community. The hope is that we have a component (the machine) and the software that’s sustainable. (He laughs) I’m not opposed to making money, and certainly one of the things we’re looking at from a service model is working in a consulting aspect. I think you can work with organizations and businesses, while at the same time, working with those around you. I think I’ve always had an interest in social enterprise and the more we started working at the AFRO with these images, that we realized there are so many organizations that have these kinds of images----and that there’s a real audience for them. If we can scan 10,000 images and license at least 3% of them, then you really start to have an income stream that’s meaningful to an organization like the AFRO.

Q Talk about the initial Gado.

A Yes, we built this HUGE, massive machine that was just too big, and too clunky and it had all these pieces, massive wires----and we ended up having to get it out of here (the Afro Building)

Q (Alonzo, laughing because getting to the archives room WHILE WALKING is a mazz all by itself)

A We ended up needing a couple guys to finally get it out, but I scanned about 1,000 images just to sort of prove that the idea would work. I had the images, the machinery but I was about to graduate and I didn’t want to just let it go. I had worked with the Sheridan Libraries before to create some software for the oral history project, which is still online and works pretty well. So I proposed this robot, and, well, luckily I was able to get the start-up funding from the Center for Africana Studies. My goal is to keep the machine totally open so that anybody who wants to use it, or expand upon it can do that. But at the same time, if somebody comes up with a great new use for it, that also will be in the public domain. I think this is a good way to support the open source community. The hope is that we have a component (the machine) and the software that’s sustainable. (He laughs) I’m not opposed to making money, and certainly one of the things we’re looking at from a service model is working in a consulting aspect. I think you can work with organizations and businesses, while at the same time, working with those around you. I think I’ve always had an interest in social enterprise and the more we started working at the AFRO with these images, that we realized there are so many organizations that have these kinds of images----and that there’s a real audience for them. If we can scan 10,000 images and license at least 3% of them, then you really start to have an income stream that’s meaningful to an organization like the AFRO.

To me, this story isn't about finances, or do-gooding. Sure, you could insert them if you want. You could make a strong case for Open Access, because this shoe sure fits. But what I was MOST pleasantly surprised by was the level of engagement between Tom's invention and how it unlocks the past. A past tucked away in file cabinets, living in the dark. But, somebody invents a machine, and the sun shines on everything. A part of Baltimore has became brightly illuminated.


Alonzo LaMont

Working on the GADO, Tom Smith (left) and Alex Neville




Tom Smith

Posted in: Hopkins Community  Tags:
CommComm posted on February 17, 2012 22:41

Our friends over at OvidMD are currently running an ETrials Web Page. 


This will be available until February 29, 2012.  Please test it out and submit comments. We’d love some feedback because then we know if this subscription is a keeper or a goner. "Do we want it, do we not". So if you could give us a little “how say ye” it’d be much appreciated.  


Alonzo LaMont


Posted in: Hopkins Community  Tags:
CommComm posted on February 16, 2012 00:53

Our new website is up!  It's right here! So if you haven’t taken a glance, take a tour. See what you like, and feel free to use the "feedback" link on the right-hand side of the page. 


"How do I find the page from WelchWeb?" 

It’s accessible through the Preview Welch Medical Library website button on the old site.




Alonzo LaMont 

Posted in: Hopkins Community  Tags:


 (Pictured above: Sue Woodson, presenting before First Thursday at Eisenhower)

I attended a “First Thursday” meeting (hosted and sponsored by Hopkins Library Systems staff) at Homewood last week, and received quite an education regarding the state of our current Library System, along with several available options. Let’s cut to the chase: because of functionality limitations with Catalyst, Johns Hopkins Library Systems (David Kennedy, Head) staff recently interviewed and reviewed four new LMS potential replacements. However, none of the four were chosen. From these four, Ex Libris was considered the best fit because of their expertise and history with unified resource management (unified workflow for print, electronic and digital) and interoperability. Ultimately, Ex Libris fell short on several levels. 

1) Strategic shifts in the direction of the company

2) The user experience would be limited

3) Partnership issues became very prominent during the interview process

 Even though the experience left Hopkins without a new LMS, the experience provided a blueprint for future investigations, if and when new systems are explored.  There were several “Challenges and Takeaways” revealed during the process of this search, in fact the search itself---judging by the committee's reflections---was an exhaustive experience. Not surprisingly, in their notes the committee designated a full-time “Project Manager” as a necessary component to any future investigations. When you factor in time-spent A) establishing the history of the company you’re exploring, B) examining the company’s potential room for growth and C) crafting a working relationship that allows for suggestions and alterations that extend beyond the honeymoon period----these concerns beg for full-time facilitation. Looking forward, the committee recognized the following criteria as part of their bottom-line requirements for any new LMS.

1)    Acknowledging the scope of the diverse needs of our population (patron needs, staff needs and campus departments)which includes the geographic disparity of  campus locations not only in the US but abroad)

2)      Use of Knowledge bases and licensed metadata (robust knowledge bases that are updated in a timely manner, copyright issues, availability of full bibliographic records for ebooks and finally LMS and publishing vendors  collaborating on agreements to share metadata with the library community)

3)      The need for a Project Manager to lead the effort.

 In terms of solutions, the most agreed upon aspect was the “piecemeal option”. Ideally, this would provide more flexibility, easier lines of communication and more manageability between Hopkins and the chosen vendor.

Piecemeal Option #1:

Single knowledge base for e-resources. Utilizing 3 systems to manage e-resources: Electronic Resource Management (ERM), SFX and Horizon. The benefit would be efficiency in updating and troubleshooting.

Piecemeal Option #2:

 Seek a replacement for Horizon for all the physical collections (this would entail evaluating a company such as EVERGREEN which is used by 1,000+ libraries and also my many academic libraries). The benefits would be it’s open source appeal along with it's service oriented architecture---providing the greater flexibility that we’re presently seeking, along with the aforementioned interoperability.

Piecemeal Option #3:

Web Scale Article Discovery Study, however this is considered a bit too primitive and problematic.

Based on the facts, the conclusions the committee presented displayed a sobering, thoughtful approach to future LMS “expeditions”.  Chiefly, because of the developing marketplace of Library Management Systems, Hopkins should not attempt a long-range goal to “one-stop shop”. The next wave of library management is currently well underway, and the idea of one encompassing system to replace CATALYST is, at best, daunting. As we enter a new era with new vendors, systems and more expanding/developing knowledge-based playing fields----the  landscape appears to be enjoying a transitional “growth spurth”. For the needs of Hopkins the piecemeal option (specifically #1) may be the best route to take. The diverse geographic challenges of our community, coupled with the demand for stream-lined access would seem to support the need to forgo the limited possibilities a less intuitive patron environment would impose.   

 Alonzo LaMont




Posted in: Hopkins Community  Tags:

Our January Podcast is up and ready for a listen. We missed December altogether, but as they say----absence makes the heart grow fonder. My guest is Sue Woodson,  head of Digital Library Services at Welch and as always Victoria Goode, Clinical Informationist, is my trusty co-host. The chat timeline gives you a roadmap.


0:00-1:35 :: Introductions! Everyone enjoys a round of "friendly". We have a new space AND a producer, Dominic Delauney. Dominic is an Audio Production Coordinator at the School of Public Health.  

1:35 :: Sue talks about the state of the Welch collection, especially in terms of how the library budget is utilized, and how journals are purchased. Also, we discuss how academic libraries (in general) struggle with so many diverse needs and Sue gives us some (sordid--juicy--and gossipy) insight into the relationship between all those sweet, lovable academic (think biblical, David) libraries vs. those behemoth, meglomaniacal (think biblical, Goliath) publishers. It's a battle royale, ladies and gents.

10:25 :: We speak a bit about the current and future status of e-textbooks, along with the traditional publisher's role and we hit on how this developing story touches on the wide-ranging tentacles of the Open Access movement.

19:00 - 25:00 :: Victoria and I once again prowl through some tidbits about Welch classes and the status of the new website. 


Below----Sue, Victoria and Alonzo settle into our new digs. No we're not blinded by the light. But did we have the good sense to move the mike out of Sue's face? The proof's in the puddin.  


 Below----little angelic angels about to make with some snappy repartee....


We'll be back next month. With a surprise guest!

Alonzo LaMont

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CommComm posted on February 6, 2012 18:35
Perhaps this isn't "trending" as much as it is-----a new model. ---Alonzo LaMont
++ Click to Enlarge Image ++
Rise of the Digital Doctor  | Infographic |
Image Source: Mesothelioma Page

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This week I had the opportunity to tag-along with Katie Lobner to her Radiation Oncology office hours. I’ve been bugging Katie to “take me fishing” so I could get an idea of how an Informationist actually becoming embedded. So away we went to Radiation/Oncology in Weinberg, and as we walked through the corridors and floors little ‘site reminders’ of my time there with my mother seemed to sentimentalize themselves right before my eyes. But moving on….. 

I was surprised when Katie introduced me to Ron Noecker, who I realized was the very same Ron Noecker who started Nursing Heart all by his lonesome. When I asked why he’d started the blog Ron said that “sometimes we all need a higher power to connect with. Working in Oncology you utilize so many analytical qualities and resources that it’s easy to lose sight of the actual practice of healing.”  Ron admitted that Katie helped him find links for “nursing and spirituality”. If by any unfortunate chance you’ve had some proximity to chemotherapy, you immediately know the breath of his intentions.   

(above, Kathryn Han and Ron Noecker)

Between quickly munched goodies, Kathryn Han and Amanda Choflet were busy making follow-up calls to patients, making inquiries into their condition, making appointments and inputting data. I got the sense this was the general mode of operation, and that a real lunch was a very infrequent commodity. Amanda, pursuing her Ph.D in Nursing Education, said Katie had helped her with literature searches and accessing Welch resources. She commented on the convenience of having an Informationist come to them (!!!) . Nurse Manager Marian Richardson stopped by to check in and get updates. (And wondering “who the heck is this new guy who’s not a nurse”)

 As time unfolded, I saw the preciousness behind “devotion to duty” reveal itself in patient analysis, computer work, reviewing files and the kindness of a sympathetic, caring voice to patients on the other end of the line.  Of course, this doesn’t even account for the patients this crew has actually seen or will see that day. You can well imagine that taking a visit to the library is a luxury time-out they simply can’t afford.


(above, Amanda Choflet)

After my short stay, I reflected on Ron’s comments. When I asked him about the blog, I already knew the scope of his answer since I posted about in on the Welch FB page. But sometimes I’ve found that when hearing people describe what they do and how they do it, you stumble onto the originality behind the logic. It makes perfect sense that Ron wanted something to connect an audience to the greater powers of healing. With the endgame that often comes from radiation treatments, everyone needs those rays of light that don’t come from hospital visits, needles and consultations.     

(Marian Richardson, Nurse Manager)

Having an Informationist embedded in your Department certainly won’t make anyone's Radiation/Oncology experience less painful. However, having your nurse or doctor armed with the correct information right at hand could make the experience, the interaction, and the actual time spent between all parties involved become a bit more seamless, a bit more efficient. Then, maybe everyone could have a few extra moments to connect with that "higher power" spiritual shindig. Blog away, Ron. 


Alonzo LaMont     




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