Behind the Scenes of Medical Blogs:

This month, I’m going to present famous medical bloggers to you. My aim is to get my readers closer to these quality blogs and the bloggers as well. I’d like to convince more and more health professionals/people interested in medicine to create their own blogs by providing interesting “behind-the-scenes” interviews. The third blogger in this series is David Rothman, the world’s most famous medical librarian.


  • How do you find information for your blog? You certainly read other blogs, journals but do you use RSS reader? How many blogs do you track?

I use Google Reader and I’m currently subscribed to about 530 feeds. Offhand, I have no idea how many of those are blogs. I keep tabs on buzz in the biblioblogosphere and the medical blogsphere by using LibWorm and MedWorm.

  • You have an incredible number of feedreaders (950)! How did you reach that awesome number? Could you loan me some? 🙂

I don’t think that’s really an incredible number of subscribers. After all, it is a tiny percentage of the total number of anglophonic medical libraryfolk (my target readership) and I’m a bit skeptical about how reliable FeedBurner numbers are. You’re welcome to borrow as many as you can carry with you, Berci. 😉

  • You’re a real web 2.0 geek. Tell us your opinion on web 2.0 and medicine! What kind of changes would you like to see in medicine?

I’m not really a “web 2.0 geek.” I am increasingly uncomfortable with the uses of the “2.0” suffix, be it after “Web,” “Library,” or “Medicine.” I like to write about “social software” or “emerging Web technologies,” but I don’t think that the ” 2.0″ label is helpful and I think it’ll get even less helpful as time passes.

I think that the evolution of information technology could potentially have an incredible impact on medicine in the next 30 years, but I really don’t believe that the greatest benefits will come from blogs, wikis, social bookmarking or any of the other currently popular social technolgies. Certainly, these tools can be good and helpful, but I don’t expect they’ll revolutionize medicine.

What I get excited about is the way that new technologies can enable clinicians to keep up with the news, trends and literature of their specialties. I also think that the medical librarian will have a very different role to play in being the go-to person in a clinical setting to help a clinician make use of these technologies.

  • A helpful and web 2.0 based medical librarian could be the right-hand of a physician. Don’t you plan to work in Debrecen?

Nah. The best right-hand for a physician is probably a Physician Assistant.

It is a very short train ride from Debrecen to Budapest, isn’t it? Very tempting. When you finish your training, be sure to let me the salary and relocation expenses you’re offering as incentives. 😉

  • What about the other medical librarians? Have they discovered you and your blog? Do they consider you as a “leader” regarding your topics?

Based on a poll, I’d estimate that about 60% of my blog’s readers are medical librarians or medical library paraprofessionals. I’m not really qualified to estimate how I am regarded among medical libraryfolk, though I’ve been invited to present to librarians at the Mayo Clinic and at MLA 2008 (the annual meeting of the professional association for U.S. Medical Librarians) – so those appear to be good signs that a handful of people think I’m speaking out of the correct orifice. Some individual medical librarians who I respect and admire have said some nice things about my blog, and that’s pretty exciting for someone who has only been working in this field for a couple of years.

  • I’m pretty sure that you get plenty of mails about new tools/services. How often do you have to search for new content on the web?

Actually, I don’t get very much email about new tools and services. Thanks to the glory and wonder of RSS, most of the stuff I write about is discovered in the daily review of my Google Reader account. I do very little searching unless I’m researching for a post I’m already writing.

  • Why don’t you start a medical librarian blog carnival?

Mostly because the adminstration of such a project would take a significant amount of time that I’m not really able to give right now. However, the number of medical librar* blogs isn’t yet very great. While the massive number of medical blogs makes a weekly “best of” very useful, it isn’t hard to follow most of the existing medical librar* blogs. I did, however, want to create a better sense of community among medical librar* blogs. To this end, I founded the MedLib Blog masterlist and created the MedLib Blog Badge. It has been gratifying to see these widely embraced by medical librar* bloggers.

  • At last, what are your future plans with your blog?

I plan to keep writing it for as long as I continue to enjoy doing so. However, the frequency of my posts is going to dramatically decline soon as I start another geeky medical library endeavor that’ll take up a lot of my time.

Thank you, David,  for the kind answers and keep up this great work, inform the medical librarians about the new trends and tools of web 2.0.

Behind-the Scenes interviews so far: