Symposium to showcase all Becker Library has to offer

Becker Library Symposium

Things have been changing around the Becker Library, and the Symposium on Managing Knowledge in the Digital Domain is an engaging event designed to inform WUSM faculty, staff and students of all that is new. The gathering, featuring food and door prizes, takes place 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. April 19 in the library atrium and King Center.

“Times are changing” is more than an adage at the library; it’s an everyday reality guiding the direction and focus of the entire staff.

As the line between information and technology has become more and more transparent, libraries around the globe have helped pioneer the digital dissemination of knowledge. Keeping pace over the years, the Becker Library has transformed itself from a text repository into a technological hub for an ever-growing wealth of information. The goal of the symposium is to familiarize WUSM educators with all that’s available to them in a modern library.

“We want to reintroduce the faculty to all the services the library is offering these days,” Paul Schoening, director and associate dean for the Medical Library, said, “and break them out of the mold of what they’ve viewed the library as being in the past.”

Four new technical innovations will be revealed at the open house: the library’s new web site; the Library Liaison program; the MetaLib indexing and search tool; and a revamped electronic card catalog system.

All this modernization may trigger a bit of anxiety among traditionalists, but the technological enhancements of the library are all geared to make things easier for users. The librarians and other support staff are still there, too, and they’re still as helpful and informative as they’ve always been.

“That’s a primary focus,” Schoening said, “to really raise awareness of the library as more than just these sets of resources and electronic journals and to give people a glimpse of what the library is going to be in the future.”

The library is dedicated to promoting the three primary areas of focus for the School of Medicine: teaching, research, and patient care.

“We’d like to demonstrate to the faculty how the library can help them with any of those three areas,” Schoening said.

Library staff maintain a robust curriculum management system, help faculty find exciting ways to introduce technology into their courses, and even provide advanced streaming technologies for quality distance education initiatives.

Faculty and staff attending the symposium will find specific information regarding research resources, scholarly publishing and copyright considerations.

Three experts, each focusing on a relevant area of interest, will speak in the King Center: John Halamka, M.D., CIO of Harvard University, will discuss information management at 10 a.m.; Barbara Cohen, Senior Editor for PLoS Medicine, will focus on scholarly publishing at 12:30 p.m.; and Glynn Lunney, an attorney from Tulane University, will discuss copyright law at 2:30 p.m.

Attendees will also have a chance to familiarize themselves with Web Connections.

“The Web Connections group enables people in the medical school to get their message out,” Schoening said. “We work with Medical Public Affairs to provide Web sites that promote different groups within the medical school. We have many of these partnerships with various groups. When the smoke all clears, the library is that glue that binds everything together.

“The library is central to everything that happens in this institution,” Schoening said. ” We have a responsibility to serve everybody in the capacity that’s most germane to them, whether they’re a researcher, student, clinician or staff member.”