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Surveys: Gale Hannigan

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I got involved in the HSAV section in 1982 when I became Head of the LRC at the University of Minnesota. We had 4 Apple computers tucked away in a back room and lots of videos and slide tape programs. Managing AV collections was new for me, and it was great to find an MLA group for people in similar jobs.
Bernie Todd Smith, Laura Barrett, Wayne Peay, Janis Brown, Judy Lorrig, Diane Foxman, Damon Camille were all key members of the group and they were both fun to be around and forward-looking. I believe Wayne was behind changing the name to reflect the changing roles. At the 1990 meeting, I played the role of an "Oprah" as part of the section's program. It was an open discussion about the challenges facing us. Imagine - a time before the WWW!
Hot technologies in the early 80s were, of course, personal computers. The UM Biomedical Library's LRC had the first local area network installed on campus (a CORVUS) and it connected both Macs and PCs. Probably the first and last time that has worked! I do remember that my assistant's brand new Macintosh began to smoke one day (literally). Very hot technology...Of course, we were all still trying to figure out the future of videodiscs and I'll bet every medical school had a player and some programs donated by Miles laboratories. These were old by the early 80s and I'd always have to learn to use them all over again if anyone asked, but we still thought that videodisc had a big future. We were also moving from 3/4 inch to 1/2 inch video. And, end user search was just beginning, opening up a much broader educational role for librarians.
I have always felt that the EMTS folks are among the most innovative and risk-taking. Early on, we learned to jump right in and do our best, even when we were in unfamiliar territory. I believe those skills are even more important today. All of the Web-based information amazes me and I hope that librarians continue to play an important role in developing information resources and tools. I believe that the NLM has provided critical leadership in informatics and benefiited us as a profession.
Significant trends are the involvement of librarians in interdisciplinary teams to teach and develop information systems. Librarians have become more technically proficient, without losing the commitment to service and the emphasis on the importance of access to information. A big part of what was the LRC is now available "virtually" through the Internet: course materials, CME, other educational resources - even some of the social aspects are accomplished electronically, through e-mail and chat groups.
The future? I hope that the very best educational materials will be widely available and that individual medical schools will piece together curricula from these resources. The trend toward problem-based learning requires a broader base of resources that individuals can use for self-directed study. Opportunities for lifelong learning will increase and more of us will spend time in "edutainment" activities. I expect a computer companion in the nursing home - some device programmed to read to me, play the music I like, etc., so that I will continue to be engaged and not feel isolated.

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