Category Archives: Uncategorized

MLA 2008 – conference blogging experiment pays off

Though I rather wonder if the MLA hadn’t had official conference bloggers if the same outpouring of blog coverage would have occurred, I think that the NPC can still count the conference blogging experiment as an unqualified success.  The posts, whether David’s wonderful video posts or the image-laden and content rich posts many others are putting online, are giving attendees and non-attendees alike a great impression of what’s going on here at MLA.

I haven’t seen too many in-depth posts covering the speeches and presentations from yesterday (but I haven’t looked much, either…), so I look forward to seeing that kind of coverage at some point, but we already are seeing photos of Mark’s fabulous speech (he did it again, that’s for sure) up on Flickr and Facebook, and we’re also seeing a lot of Twitter coverage of the event both to the MLA 2008 stream and by individuals.  The Task Force members in particular are showing their technology stuff by posting pictures, live-blogging and Twittering, and more.

I’ll link up some of the bits where there should obviously be links later today!


PubMed Advanced Search beta

I stumbled across a beta Advanced Search in PubMed today.  Has anyone else played with this?  It appears that it merges the Preview/Index, History, Limits, and field searching screens all together in one place.  Perhaps this will make some of PubMed’s features more obvious to searchers, but I’m not seeing too much benefit to it otherwise.  The History still has to be combined in the old, rather annoying way with the # and the capital ANDs and ORs and NOTs, for example, though there are of course the contextual menus to help you do that without the typing.  Now, if there was a nice checkbox option instead…

mla 2008 – coming soon to a theatre near you (or to chicago)

I’m rather glad that MLA is hiring bloggers to cover MLA because this year I already have about forty times the number of commitments as last year, so I’m not sure how much time I’ll spend typing. (I am obviously not going to be an official blogger as I didn’t really cherish the idea of applying for it and revealing my name, and since I already have wireless all taken care of, that wasn’t really an incentive.) This year, I will in fact have a cell phone with an unlimited data plan, so I will likely be twittering like crazy instead. Whether I choose to twitter as Ratcatcher or not…well, we’ll see.

For those twitterers going to MLA, make sure you follow mla2008. You can send mla2008 a direct message, and it will get redistributed to the group using GroupTweet.

Stuff at MLA I’m looking forward to (besides the Ovid party…):

Some posters:

Really, there’s too much to link to right now.

marketing to bloggers

I was highly amused to receive the following comment on one of my posts about MLA 2008:

Stop by the Epocrates booth at MLA; #239, and enter to win a FREE Centro!

Our team looks forward to meet[sic] you!

I approved it just because I was so tickled that medical library vendors are starting to market to bloggers.  And, to boot, a blogger who hasn’t actually posted anything in ages.

health sciences librarian blog reading survey

No doubt you’ve seen a link to Marcus Banks’ interesting survey about reading health sciences librarian blogs–but if you haven’t completed it yet, take a minute to do so. You have until January 21, and Marcus has promised to reveal the results on his blog.

submit to biomedical digital libraries

In wake of recent (well, not that recent, really) criticism of publishing for Haworth comes a very welcome announcement. Biomedical Digital Libraries, the open access journal that has brought you such excellent articles as “Three options for citation tracking: Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science,” “The ‘impact factor’ revisited,” and “The excitement of Google Scholar, the worry of Google Print,” has dropped out of BioMed Central and started afresh using Open Journal Systems.

What does this mean for you?

  • You can now submit to Biomedical Digital Libraries without coughing up a hefty acceptance fee.  For those researchers with grants, BioMed Central and PLoS are good choices for publication.  Without those grants, many medical librarians just haven’t been able to publish in BDL, no matter their interest.  Hopefully, the lack of submission fee will bring the high quality content BDL has been publishing from more quarters.
  • Biomedical Digital Libraries used to encourage multimedia submissions.  I wasn’t able to locate that information on the new site, but perhaps Marcus might comment on whether this is still true?
  • BDL articles will be archived in DLIST or E-LIS.
  • BDL uses open peer review for submission acceptance (peer reviewers’ reviews are posted and identified by author) and it appears that it will allow readers to comment on articles–another form of open peer review.

Not sure if your article could be submitted to BDL?  Take a chance and submit it!  If you want more guidance, check the BDL site for author guidelines and journal scope.


People ask me all the time where the name Ratcatcher comes from (apparently, it is a weird handle for a chick).  My answer is always two-fold.  One: I think I got it from Romeo & Juliet.  Two: It’s been my handle online since my days of playing LORD in the early 1990’s via my local BBS.

So, today after someone asked my about my name, I got to feeling nostalgic about LORD, so I did a Google search for it and came up with enough to make me even more nostalgic.  I found Nuklear LORD, which hosts multiple online games at once (not via a BBS anymore), right away, and then I saw the list of penalized players and of course had to read the rules.  It’s amazing how many rules there are for playing LORD–but after being in many a cutthroat LORD game where players exploited every bug they could to get ahead and amass the most gold, kills, and etc. (you players out there know what I mean), I can see why a site that is trying to host fair games would enforce the rules.  I used to play at an online site in 1999 or 2000 with a guy who knew every trick in the book, and he would sit at the top of the charts for ages until he got bored and decided to hurry up and kill the dragon.  Since I used to spend hours at the reference desk using the primitive chat built into LORD talking to him, I didn’t mind so much (and he let me in on some cheats), but a lot of the other players did.

For a while, the members of my household (aka my and the sig other) even had our own local version of LORD installed, where we would duel it out with one another–that just goes to show you how geeky my life is.  🙂  Maybe one of these days I’ll try to get in a game at Nuklear LORD.

Anyway, this post is completely off the medical library/social software/bibliometric theme I tried to establish on this blog, but once in a while one has to indulge one’s reminiscences.  And to try to get other people to see the glory that is playing LORD.