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On Thu, 24 Aug 1995, Millard Johnson wrote:
 
> A few thoughts on MEDLIB-L at the change of management:
> 1.  Medical librarians practice solo or in small groups.  They NEED a
> community of colleagues.  Before the list, MLA and the equivalent local
> groups served that function.  Now MLA is becoming obsolescent for
> people who have net access.  MLA publications are monthly; their
> meetings annual.  A staff of people in a building in Chicago is an
> institution that medical librarians may affiliate with.  MEDLIB-L, by
> contrast, is the community of medical librarians.  For a realitively trivial
> total cost, MEDLIB-L is a far more practical, daily, significant benefit to
> the average medical librarian than all of the other programs of the MLA
> combined -- that is cost effectiveness.
> 2.  For all of its value, MEDLIB-L is the wrong tool!  It is a primitive
> cloaca of questions, comments and threads.  The components of
> MEDLIB-L (reference questions, verifications, ILL, discussion of
> professional issues, etc.) each would benefit enormously from
> specialized routine routing and management -- programming specifically
> designed for each function.  The effectiveness of MEDLIB-L now, while
> outstanding, is only a shadow of what it will be when we have good
> specialized net tools that take full advantage of electronic networking.
> The programming necessary to do this requires vision and creativity but
> it is NOT particularly difficult.
> 3.  We should welcome the elected and paid staff of MLA to the online
> community of medical librarians.  Jana Bradley is commended for trying
> to drag MLA out of the 70's.  But if they really want to play, MLA
> should leap over the 90's.  Don't put money in a paid list coordinator --
> invest the bucks in professional society network software for 2000 and
> beyond.
> 4.  If MLA begins to act like the collective voice of networked medical
> librarians, those of us who have held back, should join.  It could
> reasonably be argued that MLA was not worth the price of membership
> for many of the readers of this list.  If MLA gets lean and electronic, this
> probably wont be the case.
>
> *********************************************************
> Millard Johnson PORTALS                [log in to unmask]
> I would rather risk failure than achieve it without risk.
> *********************************************************
Hear, Hear, Millard!!  VERY  well said.  As someone located in neither
academia OR a hospital, I have found MLA just not addressing my
interests/needs, whereas the MEDLIB-l is where its at--in the trenches!
Certainly if MLA heeded your recommendations and REALLY enhanced the list
by jumping to the millenium, I think we'd all stand up and cheer.
 
Lee Hover
Information Developers
Computer-Based Research
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