Newsletter | 12.10.2013

Interview with a Springer customer

Donna Gibson, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Director of Library Services

*The views expressed in these answers are solely those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Donna Gibson, provides us with insight into how her library acquires content, what's important for both her doctor's and researchers, and what kind of training needs her users have when it comes to accessing content.

Tell us a little about yourself, the center's role and focus

I joined Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in August 2004 and became the Library Director in August 2009. Prior to this, I worked for over 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry in various library-related roles.
MSKCC offers patients the best available treatment in an environment that focuses on the patient as an individual. In addition, our researchers are committed to better understanding cancer, developing new modalities, and ultimately striving to find a cure. There is also an education and training component to the Center’s mission where future scientists and doctors are prepared to take on leadership roles in their chosen fields.
The MSKCC Library’s mission is to proactively partner with our Library users by delivering innovative services and targeted published content in support of quality patient care, research excellence, and ongoing learning for the progressive control and cure of cancer. This is our focus and what drives us to acquire targeted content and deliver innovative services.

How do you go about choosing content for the library?

 Based on the nature of our research and medical activities, our collection is very tailored and specific. Decisions to purchase content are based on the subject matter, the quality of the information provided as well as the delivery formats. Certainly cost is another criterion to evaluate as we all want to see a good return on investment for each of the information assets we acquire.
About two years ago we invested in additional ebooks and purchased the Springer Medicine and Biomedical & Life Sciences collections. This decision proved to be a good one as Library users, no matter where they are located, can access targeted content 24/7. Many of them are able to print out chapters or carry only book sections of interest to them. From the Library’s perspective, multiple users can use the same e-book and the user is provided with additional links to information such as authors’ email addresses, primary literature, and websites.
The Library’s collections are evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that we provide the right information at the right time for our users. We will continue to survey the published literature and information landscape for content that makes a difference in the work lives of our user community.

What do you think about Adis products, and do you use them/have you used them in the past?

I became aware of ADIS journals, many, many years ago while working in the pharmaceutical industry. Journals such as Drugs or Drugs & Therapy Perspectives often contain timely and comprehensive review articles on medications and drug therapies that are relevant and definitely appreciated by my user communities, past and present. In my current position, we continue to seek and acquire content that will enhance and support informed decision making in the treatment of cancer patients and cutting-edge medical and research endeavors. The option for published articles to be designated open access for a fee and made available to all interested individual is certainly a plus!

What do your researchers do with content, and what are they usually looking for?

 A prime activity of our researchers is to stay current in their research area, follow the literature closely and be aware of the publications by experts in their field. This impacts how they conduct their own research and how they develop their network of colleagues. As their partners in the “literature” discovering process we can help by purchasing, curating, and pointing them to key content.

What kind of specific request do you receive from your doctors?

Our Doctors main focus is on the treatment of their patients and many of our requests center on finding published literature to support them in providing the best care possible. In addition, we help our Doctors stay current in their field of interest by providing topic alerts.

What training needs do you have for your library and for your users?

What we have seen over the past few years is a need to provide training that goes beyond the classroom setting. Developing web tutorials, offering webinars and walk-in clinics, providing assistance in our clients’ work environments has gain in popularity. Our researchers and physicians are extremely busy and we need to seek ways to deliver tips and tricks, educational moments in how to use information resources effectively in many different ways in order to accommodate busy work schedules. Better yet, there is enormous value for librarians to work with our information providers to design platforms that are truly intuitive and require minimal formal instruction.