Librarian Highlight: John Oliver


Librarian: John Oliver

Title: Health Sciences Reference & Instruction Librarian

Subject specialties: Research and clinical support in the health sciences

Contact info:

Library: Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library

@ Columbia Libraries since: July 2006

Education Info: MA in Cognitive Studies in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University (anticipated graduation, 2010); MLS from Rutgers University; BA in English Literature from Trenton State College

About me: "Almost nothing makes me happier than making people’s research easier. Whether it’s by giving one-on-one consultations, designing and delivering new classes about information resources and services, or staffing my library’s drop-by reference desk."

What’s new at my library: The library space itself! The Health Sciences Library spent much of the last few years undergoing a major construction project. Now we have far fewer journals and books in paper format here, but in the same space there are some amazing new classrooms, reading rooms and collaboration spaces.

Personal Favorite: Scopus: For research topics that are interdisciplinary, this database is tough to beat! It contains tens of thousands of journals in far-ranging academic disciplines. Scopus may be just about the most easy-to-use academic database ever made. And, once you’ve identified a few good articles, finding related materials is a breeze: Scopus gives you “times cited” information so you can see which other researchers have cited a given item easily.

Recommended Resources:

  • Any citation manager, whether it’s EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley, Refworks, or something else. These tools help you collect and organize citations, then automatically format your paper’s references. This video can get your started with citation management.
  • PubMed and Ovid MEDLINE: Although these two tap into essentially the same pool of nearly 20 million articles, using them together—harnessing the best of each interface—can make for a powerful search! To learn these tricks, check out one of the Health Sciences Library’s drop-in PubMed/MEDLINE classes.
  • The Cochrane Library: By collecting, summarizing and synthesizing existing research and trials, the Cochrane Library serves as a powerful repository of clinical evidence. In other words, you’ll spend less time searching (and reading), and more time finding (and implementing).
  • Stat!Ref e-books: Search across dozens of landmark health sciences textbooks simultaneously.