Background: The objective of this talk is to demonstrate how collaboration between librarians and non-librarians can create unique educational programming that brings new life to PubMed instruction. The Medical Librarian and Managing Editor of HSS Journal were invited by leadership of the HSS Education Institute (EI) to collaborate on the first “Lunch & Learn” event held by the department. The audience included EI staff with minimal experience with either PubMed or poetry. Presenters were given freedom to decide the topic and format.
Description: The respective fields of the presenters have much in common – writing and searching require individuals to play with and manipulate words. A session titled “PubMed and Poetry – Where Science Meets Creativity” was marketed to EI staff as “an hour of searching our thoughts and the literature.” A session was planned that would encourage participation through reading and discussing a health care-related poem. The poem was then used as a prompt for the first search of PubMed, introducing MeSH and Automatic Term Mapping – demonstrating how words might be interpreted in an unintended way. After a brief introduction to PubMed the poem was reread. Attendees and presenters then spent 5 minutes writing based on prompts the presenters gave from the poem.
Conclusion: The interactive session was well-received, attended by 13 people. A group sonnet was created as attendees and presenters volunteered one line each from their writing. The poem was later emailed to all who attended. Group members said they gained a better understanding of how to perform a basic search in PubMed through the medium of poetry. This collaboration between a librarian and a poet shed a unique light on tools that encouraged a playful, curious, and cohesive group approach to literature searching. After a successful event, the presenters have decided to bring this session to other audiences at HSS.