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Logo of jmlaJournal informationSubscribeSubmissions on the Publisher web siteCurrent issue of JMLA in PMCAlso see BMLA journal in PMC
J Med Libr Assoc. Jul 2006; 94(3): 243.
PMCID: PMC1525300

Introduction and future directions

Nunzia Bettinsoli Giuse, AHIP, FMLA, Editor

As you may have seen by now, this issue marks the transition of the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) to a new editorial team. We are pleased to carry on the excellent work of former editors and particularly thank outgoing editor, T. Scott Plutchak, AHIP, for his graciousness in assisting the team with understanding JMLA procedures from the editorial side, and the MLA publications staff for their help with administrative guidelines and requirements. The new editorial team includes me, Nunzia Giuse, AHIP, FMLA, and three colleagues from the Eskind Biomedical Library (EBL), Rebecca Jerome, Taneya Koonce, and Nila Sathe.

The EBL is well known as a training institution and one that is not afraid to experiment with new approaches. These strengths will carry though in our work with the JMLA as well. I deliberately approached the editorship as a team endeavor to extend the professional development opportunities and excellent training inherent in reviewing and managing papers to the next generation of library leaders. This emphasis on education and developing and broadening the skills of librarians will be a key focus during our editorial term.

For instance, we plan to initiate new features including an interactive “Case Study,” which will introduce an information-related problem such as a complex clinical question requiring a synthesis of evidence. Expert commentators will offer their opinions and solutions for dealing with aspects of the presented issues, and readers can comment and propose their suggestions online. While development of the case studies will involve the entire JMLA editorial team, the feature will be curated by coeditor Rebecca Jerome.

We hope that this feature will promote a dialogue among readers and increase participants' knowledge of the topics discussed and abilities to think critically about issues of importance to librarianship. Similarly, we are extending the work of previous editors to improve the research rigor and scholarship of articles in the JMLA to showcase the important work of health sciences librarians and their contributions to health care. JMLA's exposure and potential audience has vastly increased through its inclusion in PubMed Central, and we want to maximize this opportunity to introduce or reinforce the knowledge and expertise of librarians to readers from other disciplines.

We are firmly committed to proven practices of librarianship, such as libraries' effective resource management and training techniques. Further, we feel these techniques should be informed and modified (as appropriate) by advances in technology, learning, and a pioneering spirit of inquiry. The JMLA will reflect this pioneering spirit through, among other means, experiments with the format of the online journal to capitalize on librarians' expertise in accessing and using journals and inclusion of diverse, expert editorial viewpoints.

In line with MLA's strategies, we also believe in fostering a research mentality in the library community and demonstrating the library's value in the changing information economy. To further this aim, we advocate libraries' assumption of an active leadership role in developing innovations in the information purview. As experts in organizing, locating, and managing information, libraries should focus on improving or innovating information access and processing. We believe that libraries should not passively wait for future information innovations but should actively work toward creating them.

This transitional issue focuses in part on libraries' increasing assumption of this mantle in the area of supporting bioinformatics information needs. Focus paper authors discuss establishing bioinformatics support services, assessing user needs, and developing collaborations with institutional bioinformatics-related programs, among other topics.

Similarly, Martin and Kroth et al. describe innovations in using teams in libraries and promoting institutional contributions to PubMed Central, respectively, while Albert reviews the potential impacts of the open access publishing revolution. To keep us grounded in the successes of our past as we look to the future, Perryman reviews the development of consumer health services in libraries in light of evolutions in health care.

These articles reflect current and future roles and issues for libraries. We hope that readers will find them informative and inspiring and a forerunner of our approach to the journal. We will continue work to channel the JMLA as a means to enhance professionalism, innovation, and leadership in biomedical librarianship. We invite your active participation in the process.

Articles from Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA are provided here courtesy of Medical Library Association
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