LBA Profile: Nalini Mahajan MA, MLS
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Editor’s Note: In response to reader request, we are adding two new features to the DCDM Newsletter, which will appear in alternating months. One month we will publish the profile of a member of Doody’s Library Board of Advisors (LBA) followed the next month by an account of a library’s successful marketing launch of a new product or service.

The LBA has guided the development of our company’s library services since our inception. With gratitude, this month we present the profile of the longest-serving member of the LBA, Nalini Mahajan.


LBA Profile: Nalini Mahajan MA, MLSlini

I have been the Library Director and Webmaster at the Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital (now part of Northwestern Medicine) since 1986. As a webmaster, I am responsible for several websites including Information Connections (a website for parents of children with development disabilities) and Disability & Rehabilitation (a website with a special focus on stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, chronic pain, and orthopedic and neuromuscular diseases). Both projects were funded by the National Library of Medicine. In addition, I am a part-time faculty member at College of DuPage library in Glen Ellyn, IL, where I work as a reference librarian and library instructor specializing in medical/health sciences and consumer health information.

I currently serve as Chair of the Executive Board of the Special Library Association (SLA) Biomedical and Life Sciences Division (DBIO), the latest in many leadership positions I’ve held at SLA and the Medical Library Association (MLA). In June 2017, I became the sixth recipient of the Winifred Sewell Prize for Innovation in Information Technologies awarded by DBIO.

I strongly believe that having timely access to high-quality and reliable information at the point of care and point of need helps clinicians and consumers make informed healthcare decisions. It can reduce hospital costs and improve patient outcomes. Our mission is to provide knowledge-based information resources and specialized services to all Marianjoy associates, including physicians, and help users obtain reliable and up-to-date information when and where it is needed. The emergence of the internet, the World Wide Web, and social networks has dramatically increased patients’ access to health information. It is clear that the future of healthcare will be shaped by the rise of consumerism. Digital libraries have become the heart of knowledge societies; they enable people to access, share, and apply knowledge. Hospital librarians can play an important role by integrating the hospital library with patient care, teaching, and research, and by leveraging social media to minimize misinformation. At Marianjoy, we have a community-wide digital inclusion initiative, linking libraries and communities, with library staff playing a leading role.

“Delivering information when and where needed,” has become my mantra. From experience, I have learned that the performance and ingenuity of a librarian are more important than the physical size or location of a library.

I feel honored to serve on the Library Board of Advisors (LBA) for Doody Enterprises, Inc. (DEI). Founded in January of 1993, Doody’s Review Service™ (DRS) is a highly trusted source of expert reviews of newly published books and software in the health sciences. Since the beginning, DEI has always relied on the members of the LBA for their expert counsel on the content and delivery system used for its services. It is a volunteer organization, which meets at least once a year, usually at the MLA Annual Meeting. The LBA engages in ongoing long-term and short-term strategic planning; helps define specific goals and objectives; makes recommendations; gives feedback and evaluates the success of programs at achieving the mission. Based on LBA feedback, actions are taken to improve the products and services. I really look forward to our annual meetings as they offer a great opportunity to meet the other experts in the field, establish connections, and collaborate.

Just eight months after the Brandon/Hill discontinuation announcement, Doody Enterprises published the first edition of Doody’s Core Titles in the Health Sciences (DCT). A review published in the July 2005 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association stated, “The greatest strengths of the DCT are the comprehensiveness of the list and the participation of a large number of professionals. It is a very useful collection management tool and well worth the reasonable price.” DCT, designed by the LBA, is an annual list of book and software titles that are considered “essential” for library collections serving healthcare professionals and is available only electronically. The selection of titles for DCT is a 3-step process involving content specialists and library selectors (a panel of 2 or 3 librarians per specialty). Librarian selectors sign disclosure agreements and are not compensated, but selectors can apply for AHIP credit. The 2017 edition of DCT covers 121 specialties with 78 Content Specialists and 102 medical librarians voluntarily serving as Library Selectors. I have served as a Librarian Selector on all editions since its inception in 2004 and enjoy and appreciate the exercise very much.

We’ve been using DRS since 1993 and DCT since 2004, and have found these tools to be consistently helpful. Unique to the DRS review process is the Doody’s Star Rating that accompanies each review. The service is invaluable to us in evaluating new books and making the final selections for our library. The reviews along with the star ratings are not only forwarded to our staff, but are also added to our catalog.


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