I have spent the last 2+ years of my young medical library career pondering this question. I have benefitted from interacting with medical librarians on Twitter through the fantastic #medlibs hashtag – I use it for finding new information about the field, interacting with colleagues, and sharing great information I find those I know will find it useful. When it comes to Canadian library content however, I have no easy way of sharing this information. The same can be said for when I want to find useful information for Canadian medical librarians – I have no easy way to look for it on Twitter. That is not to say traditional methods of finding useful information on websites is a bad thing, but I personally think Canadian medical librarians would really benefit from a hashtag that would synthesize all of this great content and news. I’m going to spend the rest of this post trying to point to some great content i’ve found from Canadian medical librarians on Twitter, and hopefully prove my own point as to why a #canmedlibs hashtag would be useful. Here it goes.
Canadian Medical Librarian Tweeters
Below is a perfect example of a tweet that would benefit from a Twitter hashtag for Canadian medical librarians, and Dean Giustini has tried to incorporate the #canmedlibs hashtag to make it more searchable. This is a great tweet about the research papers published from the Canadian Health Library Association journal – what #canmedlibs wouldn’t want to know about that?
— Dean Giustini (@giustini) June 29, 2012
Here is a tweet from Natalie Clairoux, a medical librarian from the University of Montreal. Here she is posting some wonderful information about registration for the upcoming Canadian Health Library Association conference in May. This tweet would be incredibly useful for #canmedlibs, but Natalie has to use the #medlibs hashtag where a Canadian might have a hard time finding the information amongst the rest of the American-focused tweets. Natalie also posts excellent information related to bioinformatics, data management and medical information that would be very useful for #canmedlibs.
— Natalie Clairoux (@natalieclairoux) February 14, 2013
Another tweet from Mary-Doug Wright that introduces a new health innovation portal – this is a perfect opportunity to share this information with other #canmedlibs.
Aa tweet from Carol Cooke that provides a link to her health sciences library subject guide. This is another chance to provide #canmedlibs with insight into how other libraries are building their guides and providing services.
Below is another example of a Canadian medical librarian – Karen Neves – tweeting about Dalhousie University’s work with patron driven acquisitions, this provides more useful information about what other Canadian institutions are doing with their library services.
Doug Salzwedel is another great #canmedlibs tweeter who works at Cochrane and always provides great information with a Canadian focus. He also posts and retweets Cochrane-related information which I find useful:
Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR) – 2013 Conference (Vancouver): cahspr.ca/en/conference/…
— Doug Salzwedel (@DougSalzwedel) March 11, 2013
Sarah McGill provides excellent tweets about systematic reviews and local Ottawa library-related events. I always enjoy her Twitter feed and I think a lot of other #canmedlibs would too.
— Sarah McGill (@SarahCMcGill) February 27, 2013
Franklin Sayre is another colleague and relatively new medical librarian in Canada that tweets a lot of useful information about medical librarianship:
Assessing availability of scientific journals, databases, and health library services in Canadian Health Ministries buff.ly/10nCA8d
— Franklin Sayre (@fsayre) March 21, 2013
Canadian Health Library Associations and Libraries
The other obvious group that provides useful information about Canadian medical libraries are all of the wonderful medical libraries and professional associations across Canada; if they were using a common hashtag like #canmedlibs it would provide a one stop shop for information. The Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA-ASBC) is the most obvious Twitter feed that would do well to provide a #canmedlibs hashtag, as they offer some of the premier and seminal information in the field:
Protesting Libraries and Archives Canada Cutbacks and Policies: CHLA/ABSC has added its voice to protest the r… bit.ly/114G5zG
— CHLA/ABSC (@chlaabsc) April 12, 2013
The Health Library Association of British Columbia also provides some great tweets that have a more local Canadian focus:
— HLABC (@HLABC) June 1, 2011
The University of Toronto Gerstein Health Sciences Library has a great feed that offers student experience pieces from time to time about their time spent within the library:
Planning for the future at UTL. Our own Bonnie Horne writes about her experiences with library space and student… fb.me/1WpzuKCQ7
— Gerstein Library UTL (@GersteinLibrary) March 22, 2013
The University of Alberta John W. Scott Health Sciences Library has a great Twitter account that introduces new library databases, discusses ongoing health research at the U of A, and provides retweets with a Canadian focus:
NEW: Paediatric Economic Database Evaluation (PEDE) – Registry of econ eval citations & state utility weights- bit.ly/ZUXxae
— J. W. Scott Library (@jwslibrary) March 15, 2013
There are many more examples I could include, but for the sake of brevity I will stop it there as I hope there are enough examples to prove my point that Canadian medical librarians would benefit from a #candmedlibs hashtag.
Why is this important?
I think it is important to have an official #canmedlibs hashtag because it took me almost TWO FULL HOURS to find all of this great library-related information with a Canadian focus. If I had the hashtag, it would have taken me less than a minute. That should be reason enough for us all to start using #canmedlibs.
Another reason is I think that because we as Canadian medical librarians are so dispersed across the country (and in my case across the continent), that the use of a hashtag could really bring us together more easily and start a new collaborative culture. I know it already exists on the #medlibs chat, so why shouldn’t we have it too? I already talk to #canmedlibs regularly on Twitter, but it would be great to get more people in on the conversation.
Finally it is important because I love sharing information, and I think other librarians do too. If I have found some useful piece of information that I know will be of interest to #canmedlibs, I want to make sure that I know they are going to see it. Using a hashtag would at least help this process along. The same idea can be said for the other way around; I’m always looking for medical library material with a Canadian focus but it is exceedingly hard to find. In the most selfish way possible, #canmedlibs would really help me find the information I need.
Currently only myself and Dean Giustini have used the #canmedlibs tag on our tweets – but I’m hoping that this blog post might encourage other Canadian medical librarians to do the same. I know there are lots of us out there because many of them are listed on the HLWIKI International website. Sharing is caring after all! I would love to hear from any #canmedlibs who might think this is a good (or bad) idea. Feel free to weigh in!
****I’m sorry if I missed any fantastic Canadian medical librarian tweeters, if you use #canmedlibs next time you tweet i’ll be able to find you more easily *****