This lecture explores changes in the medical library profession over the last fifty years, as revealed by individual word usage in a body of literature.
I downloaded articles published in the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association and Journal of the Medical Library Association between 1961 and 2000 to create an electronic corpus and tracked annual frequency of individual word usage. I used frequency sparklines of words, matching one of four archetypal shapes (level, rise, fall, and rise-and-fall) to identify significant words.
Most significant words fell into the categories of environment, management, technology, and research. Based on word usage changes, the following trends are revealed: Compared to 1961, today's medical librarians are more concerned with digital information, not physical packages. We prefer information to be evidence-based. We focus more on health than medicine. We are reaching out to new constituents, sometimes leaving our building to do so. Teaching has become important for us. We run our libraries more like businesses, using constantly changing technology. We are publishing more research articles.
Although these words were chosen by individual authors to tell their particular stories, in the aggregate, our words reveal our story of change in our profession.
The goal of this project was to categorize and classify bulletin board postings pertaining to pharmaceutical policy from both the professional and lay press.
Bulletin board postings were used to supplement in-class discussion to keep students, faculty and staff up-to-date on emerging trends. A bulletin board located in the main classroom area of the College of Pharmacy Building where students would pass by on the way to class and congregate during break periods was used to display articles from various sources concerning topics related to pharmaceutical policy. Information is presented about the primary subject matters addressed in the articles, the types of publications from which they were drawn, and the top ten sources of articles displayed.
This project showed that coverage of issues related to pharmacists is predominantly seen in newspapers and most pertinent issues are business related.
It can be seen from this analysis that the issues facing pharmacists are varied. The pharmaceutical policy field is transforming and many of these changes are very relevant to the general population. This is seen from the coverage of all of these issues in the lay press.
Mass Media; Education; Pharmacy; Public Policy; United States