InfoFair

InfoFair was an annual event at the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, held since 1983 with the goal of providing up-to-date health sciences information. For over thirty-five years, InfoFair has showcased cutting-edge computer technology and educated users on computer services, applications, and resources.

By Carmin Smoot, Joan Marcotte Gregory & Jeanne Le Ber

"A National First"

InfoFair 1983-1989

In 1983, the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library hosted more than 200 physicians and other health professionals at its first annual InfoFair.

Priscilla M. Mayden and Lynne Wilson attending the 1983 InfoFair. Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

 

In 1982, Priscilla M. Mayden, director of the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library from 1966-1984, wrote a letter to the National Library of Medicine inviting them to attend a “one-day workshop for individual owners of computer terminals and microcomputers.”

 

 

 

“Information Fair” Invitation to NLM- December 7, 1982. Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

 

The purpose of the workshop, she wrote, will be “to acquaint users of personal computer equipment with the information bases (presently or soon to be available) which can be accessed directly without library mediation.” Mayden added that “end-user hardware” would be available so that “participants may have some hands-on experience with the systems being demonstrated.”

 

 

 

Nina Dougherty
Nina E. Dougherty. Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

The first InfoFair, held in 1983, was organized by EHSL’s Nina E. Dougherty. The event was held in response to inquiries about using a home or office microcomputer to access the MEDLINE database, the National Library of Medicine’s premier bibliographic database since 1964.

Nina Dougherty served in various roles at EHSL, including Outreach Librarian and Assistant Director of Information Services. She planned and coordinated InfoFair from 1983 until 1989, solidifying the event as a showcase for technologies and computing in the health sciences in Utah.

 

Apple Exhibit at InfoFair. Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

 

Representatives at the 1983 InfoFair demonstrated databases from “CompuServ,” “DIALOG” and “Knowledge Index,” “AMA/NET,” “BRS/After Dark” and “SCIMATE.” and the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), and MEDLINE.

 

 

 

 

National Library of Medicine and “Paper Chase” exhibits at 1984 InfoFair. Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

 

A variety of microcomputers were exhibited from vendors including IBM, Apple, Laser Disc, and various early desktop computers. Representatives were given space for both demonstrations and mini-seminars, participants learned about the availability and cost of health-related databases, equipment, and software.

 

 

 

 

This event marked not only a first in Utah, but a first in the United States for a library: ‘end users’ learned how to access online databases, information sources that store everything from airline schedules to medical research data.”

(Health Sciences Report, University of Utah, Summer ’83)

InfoFair Article in The Salt Lake Tribune, Friday Feb. 22, 1985.

A keynote address featuring Donald A.B. Lindberg M.D., Director of the National Library of Medicine for over thirty years, was a highlight of the 1985 InfoFair, themed “The Virtual Information Revolution.” In his speech, entitled “Medical Information: The New Technologies and You,” Dr. Lindberg spoke about information technologies on the rise in the health sciences.

1987- First Priscilla M. Mayden Award

 

 

The 1987 InfoFair saw the presentation by Donald A. Lindberg, M.D. of the first Priscilla M. Mayden Award to Randolph A. Miller M.D. for contributions to the health sciences and application of computer technology to medical science. The award honors Priscilla M. Mayden for her work in health science librarianship.

Suzanne S. Stensaas, Ph.D. 1994. Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

 

In 1987, Suzanne S. Stensaas, Ph.D., showcased the first edition of her neuroanatomy software program, HyperBrain, to be used with a videodisc called “Slice of Life.” Hyperbrain included thousands of images and illustrated glossary terms.

 

 

 

 

Student using Slice of Life, Eccles Health Sciences Library, 1990. Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

 

From 1985 to 2007, the Slice of Life Project served as a nonprofit, cooperative venture called The Knowledge Weavers Project, creating and sharing educational materials using computers, multimedia, and new media in health sciences education.

An Annual Computer & Information Event

InfoFair 1990-1999

Joan Gregory
Joan Marcotte Gregory. Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

From 1988 until 1999, Joan Marcotte Gregory, MLS, AHIP served as InfoFair Coordinator. During this time period, InfoFair both expanded and experienced important changes, such as the advent of the Clifford C. Snyder, M.D. and Mary Snyder Lecture, and  the videotaping of popular InfoFair sessions for many who could not attend due to space restrictions.

 

InfoFair 1993 featured the first presentation of the Clifford C. Snyder, M.D. and Mary Snyder Lecture. Dr. Snyder, Professor of Surgery, founded the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the School of Medicine in 1967. Their funding generously ensured the continuation of future InfoFair presentations.

 

 

Homer Warner Gittins Portrait Edit
Homer R. Warner, M.D., Ph.D. Oil Portrait by Galina Perova, 1996. Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

 

In 1996, the keynote speech, “Medicine in the Computer Age,” was made by medical pioneer Homer R. Warner, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Department Chair of the Department of Medical Informatics. Dr. Warner founded the University of Utah’s first Biomedical Informatics Department in 1964. Dr. Warner had also been a featured InfoFair speaker in 1990 and served on the “Meet the Experts”  panel in 1995.

 

 

 

Meet the Experts Panel, InfoFair 1996, “Becoming Digital.” Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

 

“Meet the Experts” panel sessions presented an opportunity for informal discussion with presenters and other experts in the fields of medicine and technology. A panel moderator discussed a variety of topics with panelists including evidence-based health care, consumer health informatics, and integrating multimedia in the health sciences curriculum.

 

In 1997, the library broke with tradition by setting up a “virtual” exhibit area on the Web versus a “physical” one, highlighting links to providers of computer and information technology, hardware, software and services.

In 1998 an Electronic Resources Fair was added as a new feature, where Reference staff were available at computers to answer questions.

Glimpse Into The Future of Computing

InfoFair 2000-2015

Jeanne Le Ber. Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

Jeanne Le Ber, MLIS, served as InfoFair Coordinator from 2000-2015, organizing InfoFair events such as the 2014 InfoFair focusing on sex and gender differences and women’s health. Jeanne served as the Education Librarian at EHSL from 1994 until 2010, when she was appointed the Associate Director for Education and Research.

 

Ellen More, Ph.D. Lecture, InfoFair 2012, “Changing the Face of Medicine.” Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

 

Speakers from the InfoFairs that were held between 2000 and 2015 included Ellen More, Ph.D., Valerie Florance, Ph.D.., Joseph Henderson, M.D., Daniel Masys, M.D., Nanci Murphy, Pharm.D., Devra Davis, Ph.D., Parlmer Taylor, Ph.D., and Donald A. B. Lindberg, M.D. (for a second time).

 

 

InfoFair 2003 Active Class
InfoFair 2003 Active Class. Digital Collections, Digital Collections, Eccles Health Sciences Library.

 

A wide range of themes from genome research in healthcare, to women’s health, to air quality, centered around one common goal: to provide innovative technological solutions to issues faced by the healthcare professional community and beyond.

Ultimately, many hands went into the creation of InfoFair, ensuring its success and longevity and rendering it the most important and invaluable information technology event in the history of the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library.