Tools! Tools! Tools!

December 3, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Posted in General News | 1 Comment

Hi all,

Thanks to some questions, comments and thoughtful insights from members over the past months (and especially the past few days) it’s come to my attention that multiple means of electronic communication can prove confusing if not downright overwhelming (both for recipients and the lonely NAHSL Electronic Communications Committee of one). In an attempt to (1) alleviate confusion and (2) explain a bit of why I’m trying to utilize some of these means for the Organization, let me offer a few words here.

First, NAHSL currently has the following formal ways of spreading news about the Chapter:

  • NAHSL website – this is the place where consistent and fairly static information about the organization can be found. For example membership lists, the names and contact information of board members, links to annual meeting websites, conference reports, etc.
  • NAHSL blog – this is the place where you can find information about upcoming classes, links to other MLA or MLA chapters’ news, notice of important things related to health sciences libraries in general, celebratory notes about members’ achievements (remember, we do not have a newsletter), etc. THE BLOG IS OPEN TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN POSTING AND/OR COMMENTING. It IS mediated and registration is required, but ALL members are welcomed to take part.
  • NAHSL – this is where you can post many of the same things you might post to the blog, the differences being (1) more people check their email than the blog, (2) more people have worksite access to the list than the blog, and (3) things do NOT get as easily archived on the list as the blog.
  • And most recently, i.e. this morning, a NAHSL twitter account Why the heck Twitter?!?! Well, read on for some justification, but Twitter is a way to easily keep current with news from the worlds of science, health sciences, libraries, etc. YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE A TWITTER ACCOUNT TO BENEFIT FROM NAHSL HAVING A TWITTER ACCOUNT. You don’t need to follow Twitter if you don’t want to. What I hope to provide via this platform is a convenient collection of relevant sources of such information.

I’m well aware of the fact that individuals have individual preferences regarding how they like to receive information. Some people find email most convenient, others prefer checking a website, some like to utilize feed aggregators like Google Reader, and others still like to follow blogs or tweets. Much has to do with our level of comfort. Some has to do with how or where we work. Some people really like the emerging mobile technologies (did you catch the recent MLA webcast?). Some people work most comfortably in front of a PC. We are all different, hence there are a lot of different ways to communicate.

And this is nothing new. Once we walked across the office to tell someone something. Then we started using a telephone, then came inter-office mail, then email, then instant messaging and texting. I can tell you that when I was growing up, I’d better have been on death’s door before I ever called my mom at work, but times have changed. I now work with plenty of people who have their cell phones on at their desks so that their kids or spouses or parents can be in touch. This is the world we live in. We are connected in many, many ways.

And from a professional perspective, so are our users. I hope that one of the benefits you see in my introducing some of these electronic communication tools to you via NAHSL is so that you have the chance to try them out, explore them in a safe environment. We’re all colleagues learning these things together. Maybe this is one way we can help one another in this type of professional development.

Realizing all of these preferences, all of these opportunities for growth, all of these exiting new venues to explore… as much as I’d like to serve NAHSL full-time as its electronic communications communicator, I actually do have another job that calls for my attention. I know this is the case for everyone else, too (meaning I’m absolutely convinced that YOU want to be the full-time electronic communications communicator, too!). It’s a lot to ask anyone to share relevant news, announcements, resources, tips, etc. to the membership through multiple channels. If you post something to the blog, you like to think that’s enough. Same holds true for the listserv. Unfortunately, it’s not the case yet and so some bits of information only end up in one place and subsequently, some members miss them.

I want to remedy this! My goal for the coming year is to bring these different means into one centralized location so that NAHSL members will be able to both share and receive information more easily. This is easier to do now – technologically speaking – than it’s ever been. It will take a little bit of time and coordination to make this happen, but I hope in the end it will prove worthwhile for everyone.  Stay tuned!

I hope this helps in clarifying a few things and in letting you know that I am not trying to inundate anyone with more frivolous things. I also hope you’ll continue (or start!) using these tool and to share your feedback with me. It helps everyone!

Electronically speaking,



1 Comment »

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  1. Sally – what an excellent overview and explanation of your work on NAHSL electronic communications. I especially appreciate the idea that we can ‘try out’ these things that our patrons are using. I will say I liked the use of Twitter during the conference. It could quickly capture some of the most interesting points made by our speakers. That opportunity to use Twitter at the conference made me understand its appeal. Thank you Sally!


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