Tuesday, September 29, 2009

PubMed Preview Goes Stampeding

Circus elephants need to eat too via c.a.muller

Like retweets through the Twitterverse, so is the elephant stampeding through the information silos of our lives
- my current Facebook status.

Edit: I've since learned an entirely different webcast was the source for this information, but it was offered by staff at NCBI. The one I mentioned below was publicly available for a time as well. None of this changes the fact that a streamlined and effective communication policy is needed!

I shouldn't be surprised that the PubMed preview was leaked before the National Library of Medicine (NLM) was ready for the public to know about it via a link from the main PubMed website.

The discussion first began on Twitter this afternoon with the beginning and a sample of how it quickly spread.

Then it popped up in Facebook links.

Then the blogs from Emerging Technologies Librarian, NLM Toolbars and David Rothman, with many more to come I'm sure.

MEDLIB-L should catch up either sometime tonight or tomorrow.

There is one important point of clarification that needs to be made regarding the source though.

The preview website was not disclosed via any public webinar from NLM. I will always share any public information possible as fast as I can, especially when it comes to something we've been waiting for since May.

That 'webinar' was an internal, private staff meeting via web conference last week that was recorded for other staff members to watch if they weren't able to attend. Someone, in my not so humble opinion, made a very serious error in sharing that recording with everyone and to be honest I'm angry about it.

Why? I was the one on the web conference who asked about the preview URL being live and whether or not it should be promoted. The answer was no because bugs are still being worked out with it. What you see may not be what you eventually get. Confidentiality and integrity are at the core of librarianship and business; of course I wanted to share this with the world but I didn't. I still haven't linked directly to the preview site here.

Public URLs want to be free as does information. I keep trying to advocate for clear communication and social media presence. To be fair, @NLM_SIS and @medlineplus4you are on board which is great. The elephant in the medical librarian world is PubMed though, and today we've seen how important it is for things to remain on the development server until they're ready for the world and the need for information to be shared from an authoritative source in social media right from the start.


Rachel said...

Thanks for sharing this, Nikki. It certainly would have been nice if they had had someone linked in to the social networks yesterday to say, "Hey, this is not official yet, and it's not yet ready for critique."

Is it correct that @ncbi_pubmed is *not* official, then?

Anonymous said...

I wish NLM would have used their twitter feeds right away to communicate that the preview wasn't for public consumption. I follow many medical librarians (including you!) and was predictably excited to see the preview and shared it with my colleagues the minute I saw it.

I think librarians would be respectful of the embargo if they knew it was still in place.


Erika said...

Nikki, it just occurred to me--will the other Entrez dbs (like MeSH) be changing, or is it just PubMed?

Nikki Dettmar said...

Rachel, that account is not an official NLM/NCBI presence on Twitter in the way the other NIH accounts and the two accounts I listed (the only NLM I know of).

I agree, Alexandra!

Erika, MeSH changes each year with new entries and deletions but there is a technical bulletin about them currently.. sorry I don't have the link handy as I'm off to a meeting!

Erika said...

No, I meant will the MeSH & jrnls db interfaces change (and look like PubMed). But Alison answered for me--not right now...