Learn about the Alaska Medical Library this week on Informania, Monday at 9am and Thursday at 5pm on KRUA, 88.1, The Edge.

On April 1, 2013, Deb the Librarian interviewed Kathy Murray, Head of the Alaska Medical Library.  Professor Murray shared historical information about the Alaska Medical Library, the clients they serve, health-related resources available, and tips for evaluating medical-related web sites.  Listen to this podcast using QuickTime software at www.kruaradio.org.


The Alaska Medical Library (AML) began as part of the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) in 1968.  AML has gone through a series of funding changes (from ANMC to Alaska State Library to University and fee-based) and name changes (including Health Sciences information Center and Health Sciences Information Services), and is now located on the second floor in the Consortium Library.  The name, Alaska Medical Library, was adopted in 2002.  There are currently three medical librarians and three support staff that help with AML services.

Who uses the Alaska Medical Library?

Medical Professionals, University Students, Community Members

The Alaska Medical Library is the primary library for most hospitals and medical practitioners in Alaska.  There are only two other medical libraries in Alaska:  one at the Alaska Native Medical Center and one at a Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

Students at the University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University, and those involved in the WWAMI medical school program have access to AML resources online using their student user name and password (also used for Blackboard and university email access).  Students studying nursing, biological sciences and allied health areas (dental assisting, emergency services, dietetics and nutrition, medical assisting, pharmacy technology, radiologic technology, etc.) are common users of Alaska Medical Library resources and services.  The medical libararians provide subject-related research instruction for courses in these subject areas.

Any person who comes to the Consortium Library can access databases paid for by the university and state.  These unique databases include Anatomy and Physiology Online, GIDEON Online, and Natural Standard.  Visitors to the Consortium Library may also ask for assistance in using any of the Library’s resources.  The Alaska Medical Library will do the research for people, but this is a fee-based service.  In other words, it costs money.

Evaluating Medical Information Online

Kathy Murray provides health literacy instruction, and provided great tips for evaluating health- and medical-related websites online.

1)  Look at the date – Is the information current?  Whas the web site updated recently?

2) Look for the author – Is the author of the web site listed?  Are their credentials (background schooling and professional experience) listed?  The Alaska Medical Library has a book that includes the board certifications of health professionals that they used to check the qualifications of medical web sites’ authors.

3) Look at the list of references / research resources that they claim support their statement about the health topic.  Does the site include a list of resources?  Can you find these resources?

4) Look for advertising on the web site.  Advertising gives a clue about who is paying for the web site.  There will be a bias (a certain perspective or an opinion) about the topic included on the web site, and when you see a large amount of advertising, be aware that the products paying for the web site might be recommended more frequently than others, even though they may not necessarily be better.  WebMD is an example of a medical web site that includes advertising.

What sources for finding medical information does Professor Murray recommend? 

It depends on the point of information needed, and the background of the person looking.

MedlinePlus is the source that Professor Murray will begin her research given a general health topic.  MedlinePlus is a source created by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.  The Mayo Clinic produces useful reports also, and these are searchable through MedlinePlus.

The next step up would be a search through CINAHL, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, a database available at the Consortium Library, but not accessible through the Internet without a subscription.

For Alaskans unable to come to the Consortium Library, and alternative might be the Health databases available through sled.alaska.edu/databases, which include Academic Search Premier and Health Source:  Nursing Academic Edition.

Finally, PubMed, is a comprehensive database of medical research, but is technically advanced.  This is the source used by medical professionals in their research.  It is available online through the Internet, but not all the articles are available in full text (so that you can read them).  Professor Murray said that if you search PubMed through the Consortium Library’s web page, the articles that are available in full text through the statewide databases will be identifiable.  For other titles, you could check for the title of the journal in the Consortium Library’s journal database.

Subject web pages created by Alaska Medical Librarians include:  Health Sciences, Nursing, Dental Assisting and Technology, Dietetics and Nutrition, and Medical Laboratory Science.  These web pages include subject-specific databases, web sites, books, and other sources.  A link to these Subject pages can also be found at www.consortiumlibrary.org, under the Subjects

Music played on Informania, April 1, 2013:  Information, by Dredg, and Help, by the Beatles

Do you need help writing papers, calculating math, or practicing a language? Learn about UAA’s Learning Resources Center on the next Informania radio show, on KRUA, 88.1, Monday at 9am or Thursday at 5pm.

March 25 on Informania, Deb the Librarian interviews Jonell Sauceda, Director of the Learning Resources Center (LRC), Dan Bonin, Math Learning Specialist/Tutor Trainer, and Cameron Nay, MS, Writing Specialist/Tutor Trainer about the services provided for UAA students at the Learning Resources Center.  You can listen to this podcast using QuickTime software at www.kruaradio.org.

The Learning Resources Center is located in the Sally Monserud Hall on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.  The following biographies are from the Learning Resources Center Directory.

Guest Bios

Jonell Sauceda LRC Director Office: SMH 125E Phone: 786-6829                         E-mail: jfsauceda@uaa.alaska.edu                                                                             Jonell Sauceda began working for the University of Alaska Anchorage over 20 years ago, joining the LRC as their Director in 1998. As Director, her focus has been on creating a student-centered environment that assists students in achieving their personal academic goals. Through providing access to educational resources and tutorial services that enhance the college learning experience, Jonell has created a setting where students can gain the help necessary to achieve their personal and educational dreams.

Dan Bonin, Math Learning Specialist/Tutor Trainer                                                  Office: SMH 121A Phone:786-6855 E-Mail: debonin@uaa.alaska.edu                    In 2009, shortly after graduating from New Mexico Tech with dual B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Physics with an Atmospheric Physics option, Dan Bonin began working for the LRC as an athlete tutor in math and physics. In 2010 he began tutoring in the math lab and became the math learning specialist in 2011. As both an adjunct faculty member and math learning specialist, Dan tries to instill his enjoyment of mathematics into his students. His primary goal for the math lab is to help students transition away from anxiety about math towards a genuine interest in it.

Camerson Nay, MS, Writing Specialist/Tutor Trainer Office: SMH 118A Phone: 786-6918 E-Mail: cgnay@uaa.alaska.edu Cameron Nay has been working with the Reading/Writing Center since October of 2010.  He has a Master of Science in Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Science and Management and earned his Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Restoration Ecology.  Both of Cameron’s degree programs were research-based and focused heavily on scientific writing and analysis.  Aside from working as the writing specialist in the RWC, Cameron also teaches online environmental science classes.  He has lived and worked in various locations including Washington State, Utah, Hawaii and Portugal.  Cameron is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish and truly enjoys working with students who are acquiring a new language.

How does tutoring work at the Learning Resources Center?

The Learning Resources Center math and writing tutors are available on a first come, first serve basis each day.  You schedule an appointment online once you arrive at the LRC.  For writing, students can sign up for 20-30 minutes of time with a writing tutor on the same day they come to the LRC.  For math, tutors are available in the math lab to answer questions, which typically take 3-5 minutes per math problem.  In these labs, they may have three tutors available at a time.  The tutors have subject experience, and are coached and mentored to assure they are patient, helpful and are comfortable in the role of coaching students (versus doing the work for them).

Online resources to help

Live Homework Help – a SLED (Statewide Library Electronic Doorway) online chat tutoring service, paid for by the State of Alaska.  Live Homework Help, provides access to tutors using computer technology as the mode of communication.  They can help with a range of topics, including writing and math.  If you are an Alaskan, go to sled.alaska.edu, and select Digital Pipeline.  You should stumble across a link to Live Homework Help here.  There is an 800 number to call for the user name and password, if the database doesn’t already recognize your computer IP as Alaskan.

The UAA Learning Resources Center writing tutors get questions about all aspects of writing papers, from the beginning to the bibliography, and some need assistance with learning the computers as well.  They refer students to classes or online lessons for learning the computer.  In exploring this option online, I discovered that Goodwill Community Foundation has a web site with basic tutorials on a range of topics from reading and math to learning about the computer, internet, and Microsoft Office.  Check this source out at http://www.gcflearnfree.org/ .

Also, there are specialized math resources available.  Khan Academy is a popular online math resource, with short videos and practice math problems to help students of all ages learn math.

BrainPop is another resource that the state of Alaska pays for throush SLED.  BrainPop offers short animated videos on a range of topics from history to music to writing to math.  You would need the Alaskan user name and password to access it.  The 800 number to call for this can be found at sled.alaska.edu.

Tips for Students

Will you be taking a test after lunch?  Study for that test after lunch!  Research has shown that it benefits a student to study in the same state of mind and body that you will be in when taking the test.  If you have a test at the end of a long work day, make sure you study the material for the test at the end of your long work day.  Your body and mind may be more likely to remember the material if you are in the same state of mind studying that you will be taking the test.                *Note to self:  find research sources to include here!

It helps to get in the habit of doing 30 minutes (or more) of homework a day instead of waiting until the day before the assignment is due, and then struggling with an abundance of work, and a great deal of stress!

Look at the due date of an assignment, and then the number of steps it will take to complete that assignment, and schedule a timeline including dates when you need to complete each step in the process.  This can help you focus on each step in the process, and assure that assignment gets done on time, without the added stress of procrastination.  There are many online tools that help with this.  One example is the Research Project Calculator, created by Minitext, An Information and Resource Sharing Program of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the University of Minnesota Libraries.  The University of California Los Angeles has also created an Assignment Calculator  that includes recommendations for resources on your subject as it defines and sets the steps needed for project completion.  By doing an internet search for assignment calculator, or homework calculator, you will see a wide range of options.  Those that are affiliated with a college (have .edu in the website address) would likely be more credible sources.

I recall learning from an author, if you write a bit everyday, your body and mind get used to writing.  Working on a paper may not be as painful if you write a little bit everyday as when you attempt to write a paper all at once the day (or night) before it is due.

Reflections on this interview

When a student has questions about writing a paper, figuring out a math problem, or needs support in learning English or another language, I will be referring them to the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Learning Resources Center with confidence.  People like Jonell Sauceda, Dan Bonin and Cameron Nay are examples of why the University of Alaska Anchorage is a great place to work and study.  They care, they know their subjects, and they assure that others in their department treat students with the dignity, patience, and support they deserve.  To me, this is an equation for success.

Deb the Librarian shares study tips this week on KRUA’s radio show, Informania, repeated Thursday at 5pm on 88.1, The Edge.

This week, Deb the Librarian began the hour talking about the path she took to become a librarian at the University of Alaska Anchorage.  After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in English with an emphasis in Business from Florida State University, and a Masters degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her path included experience at a variety of libraries.

Academic libraries she has worked at include:  University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Wisconsin-Superior (as a volunteer), and University of Alaska Anchorage.  She has also worked at public libraries, including the Duluth Public Library in Minnesota, Minneapolis Public Library (INFORM fee-based research service), and Anchorage Public Library (Branch Manager for Samson-Dimond Branch Library).  And finally, she has also gained more online and varied research experience working in special libraries, including, James J. Hill Reference Library (privately funded business library open to the public), Teltech (fee-based research firm), and Minnegasco/Reliant Energy/Centerpoint Energy (the library at a gas company (that experienced name changes over the years).

What Lessons from this experience can she share with students?

As she reflected on her path from Florida to Wisconsin to Minnesota to Alaska, Deb shared the following with students (now in an expanded version):

Getting involved in the professional association student chapter in graduate school paid off.  Being the Chair of the Special Libraries Association Student Chapter at University of Wisconsin-Madison helped her expand her leadership skills and build her resume.  Lesson:  Looking for opportunities to connect with professional groups, even as a student, can be beneficial.

Taking opportunities to volunteer or intern while looking for a full-time position provided helpful experience, and allowed Deb to develop relationships with others who could be mentors, and references.  Lesson:  While deciding what career path to follow or while looking for a job, consider volunteering or interning as a great way to build experience, network with people in the field, and explore that particular work environment to see if it is a good fit.

Focusing on the positive contribution helped Deb overcome fears.  (This wasn’t mentioned on the show, but I’m mentioning it now.)  Do  you think Deb has experienced insecurities related to hosting a radio show?  If you guessed yes, you are right!  When taking on new challenge, Deb has developed the habit to take time to think about the positive outcome for that challenge, and, in the case of hosting the radio show, the contribution that she wants to make to the community.  Lesson:  When feeling shy, insecure, or incapable, rephrase the thoughts to be positive.  I make a positive difference.  My radio show is a success.  I have a good memory, and can do well on this test.  I am capable.  I am a good student/librarian/presenter.

Tips for Studying

The majority of the Informania radio show on Monday, March 18, was spent discussing successful study habits, which Deb found in documents from Dartmouth College’s Academic Skills Center .  The particular documents she shared information from include an Active Study Handout, which was adapted from:  Ann Algier’s Everything You Need To Know About Learning.  Topics covered in this handout include, the use of mnemonics, study cards, and effective strategies for memorization.  There are also other helpful handouts on the Dartmouth’s Academic Skills Center web page.

Deb shared two tips from another handout titled, How to Retain Information.  The first part of the How to Retain Information handout talks about why we forget.  Highlighted at number one is that a negative self concept impacts our ability to remember.  Basically, “we think of ourselves as forgetting things.”  Reading this reinforces my belief that it is important to think positively (and rephrase those self criticisms)!  On this handout, I also found a discussion about changed cues helpful.  What does this mean?  When you have changed cues, it means that even though you memorize the wording from the textbook, when the information is presented differently on a test, it may be difficult to remember, because the cue (presentation of information) has changed.  This Academic Skills Handout recommends that to remember material for a test, a person studying should rephrase the ideas in his/her own words to help them remember the information when it is stated in a different way on the test.

There are also video tutorials as well as handouts on this information-filled web site Dartmouth College web site.  For those interested, the url is http://www.dartmouth.edu/~acskills/success/study.html

The music played on Informania this week follows:  Information, by Dredg;  With a Little Help from my Friends, by the Beatles; The Long and Winding Road, by The Beatles; What’s on Your Mind, by Information Society; Learning to Fly, by Tom Petty, and That’s What Friends Are For, by Dionne Warwick (and Friends)





Where can you find old photos of earthquake damage? Listen to Informania, Monday at 9am or Thursday at 5pm, on KRUA, 88.1FM to find out from Arlene Schmuland, Head of Archives and Special Collections.

During this week’s Informania interview, Arlene Schmuland, Head of Archives and Special Collections (ASC) at the Consortium Library talked about the Archives collection of photos, diaries, letters, film, artifacts, and University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University (APU) theses and dissertations housed at the Consortium Library.  Photographs, historic papers and film are preserved in special boxes to prevent light damage, and placed in a special vault to environmentally support the longevity of these items through constant, facilities-regulated temperature and humidity.

The UAA and APU theses and dissertations are browsable as a complete historic collection in Archives.  By next year, UAA theses and dissertations will only be submitted and available electronically.  UAA and APU students, staff and faculty can search dissertations/theses through Proquest Dissertations and Theses Full Text.

Where is the Archives and Special Collections Department, and how can you access their collection?

Archives and Special Collections is on the third floor of the Consortium Library, in Room 305, basically across the hall from the entrance to the elevators. Their hours are 10am-4pm, Monday through Friday, or by appointment.  You can reach Archives faculty by phone at 907-786-1849, or by email.  You can find their mailing address and other information at Location, Hours and Reference.

Can the community view Alaskan archival resources online?

Many historical images, texts and moving pictures are available online.  The Alaska Digital Archives, which includes more than 60,000 images (pictures, scans of texts (letters, diaries, etc.), maps, and moving images) from Alaskan history.  It originated with contributions from the Alaska State Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the University of Alaska Anchorage scanning images and documents with a focus on Alaska Native History and Culture, and Alaska’s Movement to Statehood.  You can find images of the Alaskan Gold Rush and the development of the Alaskan Highway in this database as part of the movement to statehood.

What is the current project in Archives?  A 1964 Earthquake Portal!

Currently, Arlene is overseeing a special grant-funded project in the Archives and Special Collections Department that will benefit those interested in exploring Alaska’s 1964 earthquake.  As part of this project, a librarian in Archives is busy at work scanning and creating meta-data (identifying, searchable descriptions of what or who is included in the old photographs or documents being scanned) so that these images and documents can be found and accessed online.  This online earthquake portal is expected to “go live” in about a month (April 2013?).  The goal is to create this resource in time for the 50th anniversary of the 1964 earthquake in 2014.  Thank you to the Alaska State Library grant and to the Archives and Special Collections team for providing this access!

Alaskan historical donations, any one?

Arlene emphasized the fact that they are open to all historical collections of photos and papers from Alaskan history.  In addition to simply being old family photos or videos to you, they can be resources that capture important moments in Alaskan history.  For example, a woman who donated a film collection to Archives, realized that it included an image of the End of the Road sign on the Seward Highway that was posted by Girdwood.  That image hadn’t been available in the Archives and Special Collections before receiving this contribution.  Do you have an old box of photos that present a part of Alaskan history?

Who uses Archives?

The national and international community contact Archives regularly.  With the growing number of Alaskan reality TV shows, Archives is called upon more frequently for historic images, film footage, and information.  Also, researchers looking for pictures of ancestors sometimes find them in Archives.  Community members often discover items in the Archives collection while searching Google.  The Archive’s finding aids (descriptions) of the donated collections of historic pictures and documents are searchable using Google.  One man was able to find pictures of his grandfather from World War II thanks to the detail in the description of a photo collection donated to the Consortium Library’s Archives and Special Collections.

The Archives and Special Collections Department additionally serves students and other university researchers.  Arlene will check the schedule of upcoming course offerings, and contact appropriate professors to alert them of resources that may support their curriculum, or tell them about resources that may engage their students in primary source research.  One example of students using Archives for their assignment included students finding and comparing pictures of the Portage Glacier taken during many different years, to demonstrate how the glacier is receeding.

What about film and artifacts?

On occasion, Archives will receive donations that include artifacts (things).  For example, they have an old dog sled that they keep on display.  They also have a turning signal from a car that was crushed during the Alaska earthquake.  The majority of artifacts that they receive are referred to a museum, since that facility would more likely have the space and conditions for storing artifacts.

The Archives includes some historic film footage provided through donations, but a larger historic video collection is available at the Consortium Library thanks to their neighbor, the Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association (AMIPA).  AMIPA is located on the third floor, within the doors of the Archives and Special Collections Department.  Videos in their collection include, but are not limited to, historic Iditerod race footage, copies of Jay Hammond’s Alaska, and film footage from old UAA classes.

What songs were played on Informania?

Information by Dredg was played at the beginning of this radio show, and Photograph by Nickelback was played at the end.


Facilities Planner Lonnie Mansell talks about the UAA Campus Master Plan on the Informania radio show, Monday at 9am or Thursday at 5pm on KRUA, 88.1, The Edge.

Lonnie Mansell was hired by the Department of Facilities, Planning and Construction as the Facilities Planner in the Fall of 2012.  Learn more about Lonnie Mansell from the Green and Gold News announcement.

Listen to the Informania interview with Lonnie Mansell.

On Informania, Lonnie shares that part of updating the UAA Campus Master Plan includes collecting information about UAA community needs and interests through interviews, meetings and blog comments, and then analyzing the information.  You can find a link to more information about the UAA Master Plan 2012 , as well as a comment blog on the lower righthand side of UAA’s home page.