Sunday, November 17, 2013

Eric Altmyer Recipient of Southern Chapter/Medical Library Association 2013 Research Award

Martha Earl and Eric Altmyer

Eric Altmyer’s poster, Analyzing In-House Article Requests, received a 1st place research award at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association.

Eric is a SciData student intern at Preston Medical Library, and a graduate student in the College of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 

Preston librarians Michael Lindsay and Martha Earl were co-authors.


Analyzing In-House Article Requests

Eric Altmyer, BS, SciData Student Intern; Michael Lindsay, MSIS, AHIP, Electronic Services Librarian; and Martha Earl, MSLS, AHIP, Assistant Director, University of Tennessee, Preston Medical Library, Knoxville, TN

Question: Researchers at the medical library utilize the library’s electronic collections, but request articles that they are unable to find; what patterns are present in these requests and are these patterns distinctive from the use patterns of the electronic collection in general?

Setting: An academic medical library.

Participants: Participants were anyone who requested an article be sent electronically from the medical library. This includes faculty, staff, and students from the Graduate School of Medicine and attached medical center as well as local medical professionals. 

Methods: When articles are sent to patrons by library staff, a specific email account is carbon copied on the email. These emails are sorted and analyzed, with information being collected on individual articles, including the citation information, journal subject headings, the person who requested the article, and the date the article was sent.

Main Findings: 115 individuals requested 625 articles between February 4, 2013, and March 17, 2013. A sample of journal subject headings found 81 articles from journals in obstetrics and gynecology, 65 in surgery, 41 in pediatrics, 31 in nursing, and 19 in dentistry.

Conclusions: The scope of this study is smaller than other journal use studies, but the articles being analyzed are ones researchers have already spent effort looking for and have specifically requested. Looking at the collected data shows certain subjects are being studied more by researchers. For example, the subject of obstetrics and gynecology has over four times the number of articles sent out than dentistry.  Further research is necessary to determine the cause for the results and to determine further actions that must be taken.

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