News from the McGoogan Library of Medicine
June 2020
Value of the Library in Changing Times  
In the twenty years since I became a librarian, one thing has been constant – change. My background is in library collections, so I entered my career during the early years of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) journals moving from print to electronic access. Now the library only subscribes to electronic journals. Since I started at UNMC in 2013, we have seen an increase in the usage of our ebooks by 26%, databases by 20%, and ejournal article downloads by 77%. With the advent of electronic publications, we have seen the proliferation of scientific literature. The number of articles indexed in MEDLINE has increased 166% per year from the year I started my career.

Since the move from print to electronic access, a common question is why libraries are needed if everything is online. The value of libraries is just as significant now, if not more so, than ever before. The curation and management of electronic resources is more complex than the handling of print publications. For instance, over the last fiscal year, McGoogan Library increased journal holdings by 7% and databases by 3%. These numbers are important because most libraries are reducing their collections due to rising costs. McGoogan Library is able to accomplish growth because of its purchasing strategies, which includes participation in the University of Nebraska Consortium of Libraries (UNCL), formed to help us meet the information needs of users through combined purchasing strategies. It is still a struggle to purchase everything requested because of the high increases imposed by some database and journal publishers. McGoogan Library is actively pushing back on high inflationary increases.

Another value the library brings to the university is archiving and providing access to our unique collections through Special Collections and Archives. Through the Wigton Heritage Center, we will bring our unique collections to the forefront through physical and digital exhibits. This is in addition to the digitized special collections that we already provide to a global audience, as seen through our resources curated in DigitalCommons@UNMC.

McGoogan Library faculty conduct extensive literature searches and systematic reviews at an increasing rate. Since I started at McGoogan Library in 2013, literature searches have increased 9% and systematic reviews by 590%. The feedback received from users of these services demonstrates the value and expertise that our faculty bring to campus. We are involved in education across disciplines for all students, residents, and fellows. Not only are we partners in the research and publication process with UNMC faculty, we also serve an essential role in providing consumer health information for all Nebraska residents.

Above all, the library serves as an important place on campus. Occasionally we receive a question on the need to visit the library when everything is available online, or why the library is being remodeled when libraries are “becoming obsolete.” Students value the library as a place for study and reflection, even when the physical space has been less than ideal. Library usage will increase in a renovated space that is more conducive to study and consultation with librarians. An increase in the types of available services through the library will also attract a greater number of users. The new Faculty Commons will offer the first space on campus solely dedicated to faculty collaboration, with accessibility to those who hold expertise in education technology, interprofessional education, and educators from the Interprofessional Academy of Educators. At the bottom of the newsletter, you will see photos previewing Level 6 of the renovated library.

Dean Emily McElroy 
COVID-19 Collecting
Since February of 2020, the Special Collections and Archives (SCA) Department faculty have been actively documenting the role of UNMC and Nebraska Medicine in combatting COVID-19. This effort includes capturing and storing digital documents and physical material related to COVID-19 and UNMC/Nebraska Medicine. Actively collecting material in real-time ensures the preservation of the content and shows the evolution and leadership of the response in research, care, management, and education of the public. The archival record of COVID-19 will give future researchers a broad picture of the university’s response to this pandemic.  

The SCA COVID-19 collecting scope includes official university statements, news releases from the office of Governor Ricketts, news releases from the Douglas County Department of Health and Human Services, and media articles highlighting UNMC and Nebraska Medicine’s COVID-19 efforts. These statements, news releases, and news articles are converted to PDF files and stored for long-term preservation in the library’s digital archives. A curated selection of these PDFs is used by SCA faculty to create a timeline of events recording the historical highlights of the rapidly changing news related to COVID-19. This timeline, with its PDF sources, serves as a quick reference tool for library staff and researchers looking for a one-shot history of UNMC and Nebraska Medicine’s COVID-19 pandemic response.  

To capture Twitter files, the SCA faculty use Twarc, a command-line based tool created by “Documenting the Now,” a grant-based project whose staff develop tools to chronicle and preserve digital content from historically significant events. With this tool, the library can capture social media content. The library prioritizes ethical practices for the collection and long-term preservation of social media content.  

As an additional collecting effort, the SCA launched a campus-wide project encouraging UNMC students, staff, faculty, and alumni to document their personal experiences during the COVID-19 outbreak and contribute them to the library archive. Donations to this effort can be submitted to the SCA using an online form .
In Their Own Words: New Oral Histories
The library captures the stories of UNMC as told by some who have had an impact on our institutional history. New histories recently made available on our digital archives site include interviews with:

  • Mary Haven, associate dean emeritus of the College of Allied Health Professions and professor emeritus of the Department of Pathology and Microbiology. From a chemist who helped set up the institution’s first clinical laboratory to educator and associate dean, Haven was an eyewitness to the growth of UNMC and its allied health programs.

  • Reba Benschoter, PhD, professor emeritus. Dr. Benschoter was one of the pioneers in telemedicine, bringing expertise to expanding distance education at UNMC and leading the College of Allied Health Professions as associate dean.

  • Tom O’Connor, retired senior associate director of UNMC Public Relations. O’Connor witnessed the rise of UNMC’s prominence across the globe through the lens of media relations. Maintaining a good relationship with the media, he shepherded UNMC and its experts as they took center stage.

Additional oral histories will be available in the coming months as we continue to capture the stories of UNMC.
Renovation Update
The McGoogan Library anticipates reopening Levels 6 and 7 at the end of July. The windows facing 42 nd Street, as well as an overlook of the Wigton Heritage Center, are a refreshing change that allows natural light in the library. Study areas located near the windows should be a popular space! A significant interest of students was better soundproofing of study rooms. As a result, study rooms have been designed to decrease noise pollution, and will have acoustical panels mounted to the walls to facilitate soundproofing. Open study areas will have acoustical baffles on the ceiling to help reduce noise levels. The library is working with campus leaders on opening in the COVID-19 environment. Cleaning stations will be located throughout the library, along with social distancing reminders. Masks will be required in all open areas, classrooms, and conference rooms.

The Wigton Heritage Center construction is on schedule, with anticipated opening in spring 2021. The Special Collections and Archives staff are working on exhibit content for opening day exhibits. Future articles will feature teasers of exhibit displays.

Please see the bottom of this newsletter for recent photos of the renovation.
Staff and Faculty Notes

Emily Glenn co-presented " Leadership Workshop: OER and using Pressbooks across the NU System" at the Innovation in Pedagogy and Technology Symposium on May 12, 2020.

Carrie Meyer was interviewed for a segment on NET’s Friday Live Radio regarding the COVID19 collecting efforts of the library.
Library Renovation Photos
McGoogan Library of Medicine
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