2020 is certainly the year of change, and UT Libraries staff is working hard to keep users and each other as up-to-date as possible so that we can all weather these changes and come out the other side stronger than ever. One of these efforts is a newly published Research Guide outlining and explaining upcoming changes to the highly used database, PubMed.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is transitioning to an updated interface and search algorithm in PubMed. This version will be the sole option for using PubMed when the legacy version is decommissioned. New PubMed, or PubMed Labs as it’s sometimes known, provides the same PubMed content to users with an updated design to correspond more closely with modern users’ expectations of the database functionality. Additionally, PubMed is seeking to create a responsive design system with ongoing user feedback, added features and a regular maintenance schedule. While this is a great undertaking by NLM, UT librarians wanted to show users where and how to do the things they’re familiar with in Legacy PubMed in the New PubMed.
With this in mind, the UT Libraries Systematic Reviews Interest Group created a Research Guide illustrating common processes in PubMed. The Research Guide features side-by-side instructions, with accompanying screenshots of Legacy PubMed and New PubMed, to walk users through the changes to the resource.
Ada Lovelace was a pioneering computer scientist
and mathematician of the 19th century. Since 2009, on the second Tuesday in
October individuals around the country and globe gather to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day by commemorating her life and raising the profile of women and
LGBTQ+ persons in the STEM fields. To honor her legacy, a group of librarians
at UT planned and facilitated a daylong Wikipedia Edit-a-thon scheduled for
October 8, 2019.
Beginning in earnest in mid-August, four
librarians including Gina Bastone, Roxanne Bogucka, Lydia Fletcher, and myself
sat together at a table in the Physics, Math and Astronomy Library to
brainstorm ideas and organize what would turn out to be an amazing experience
and very meaningful event. The event drew more than 45 participants from across
campus to learn about the Wikipedia editing process and get inaugural edits
under their belts.
To organize a successful Edit-a-thon event
requires considerable planning in addition to forethought and purpose. Some of
the initial goals were to improve the visibility of women in STEM fields, to
teach first-time editors the quirks of Wikipedia editing, and to democratize
the process of editing Wikipedia, which itself is largely contributed to by cis
white men. Creating an accessible and drop-in event where folks could learn
something, grab some food, and edit in between classes was also a priority.
Starting the research process, identifying useful Wikipedia-friendly sources on
top of creating content was a high order to meet in addition to orienting
participants to the editing process. Reflecting on our cumulative past
experience it was agreed that structuring the event to be largely self-guided
was the best approach. Recognizing that the average participant may spend about
an hour between classes at the Edit-a-thon, librarians identified pages that
required editing and organizing sources ahead of time, focusing specifically on
local women in STEM. We reached out to campus groups such as Women in Physics,
Gender & Sexuality Center, and CNS-Q, who proved helpful by
enthusiastically providing support in word of mouth and extra sustenance on the
day of the Edit-a-thon.
We organized the day through a system of Google Drive links and physical sticky notes to ensure that only one person would be editing one article at a time, while retaining the ability to have more than one contributor to each article on the day. Using this system of sticky notes to identify topics for editing, each person would grab a note with a unique scientist’s name off the board, hold on to it while editing that topic and then return it to the board if the entry still needed further edits. The Google Drive folder contained supporting material for our selected topics in addition to a wealth of curated training documents. Many of these training documents were reused and can be reused again in the future. These tools allowed us to plan and coordinate an event without having a required time for a formal demonstration.
The Edit-a-thon was wildly successful and drew
participation from many first-time editors in the College of Natural Sciences.
While the turnout was better than we had expected, the true success was in the
feedback. All of the respondents to our survey agreed that they had learned
about editing Wikipedia and the construction of articles at the event, and 87%
said that they plan to continue editing into the future. The goals of the
planning group had been met and exceeded, encouraging us to run further events
teaching the ins and outs of contributing to Wikipedia.