Tuesday, May 31, 2005

NLM and the British Library Turning the Pages

Yesterday the The ResourceShelf and Librarians' RX both blogged about the "Turning the Pages" project. It is very cool.

The NLM "Turning Pages" books are:
  • Konrad Gesner's (1516-1565) Historiae Animalium (Studies on Animals)
  • Ambroise Pare' (1510-1590), Oeuvres (Collected Works)
  • Andreas Vesalius's (1514-1564), De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body)
The British Library has 12 books:

Medical/Science Related
  • Sketches by Leonardo DaVinci
  • Andreas Vesalius's (1514-1564), De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body)
  • Elizabeth Blackwell's, A Curious Herbal

Non-Medical/Science, but very cool and beautiful all the same. (more info on the books)

  • Sultan Baybars', Qur'an
  • The Sherborne Missal
  • The Lindisfarne Gospels
  • The Diamond Sutra
  • The Sforza Hours
  • The Luttrell Psalter
  • The Golden Haggadah

Physician Prescription Database

Last week whistle-blowers from the government and the pharmaceutical industry met in Washington, D.C., at a meeting sponsored by, PLoS and the Government Accountability Project to discuss the pharmaceutical industry's influence on doctors.

I read an article this morning:
Spin Doctored: How drug companies keep tabs on physicians.
By Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer
Posted Tuesday, May 31, 2005, at 3:13 AM PT

Unbeknownst to most doctors, the drug companies have been using prescribed reports (weekly lists of every prescription written by each of the 600,000 doctors in the United States) to profile physicians. The prescriber reports are the pharmacy records with information containing the exact medication, dosages, and physician ID numbers for every prescription filled in the United States. The drug companies buy lists that match the ID numbers to doctors' names from the federal government or the American Medical Association, (earns about $20 million a year selling its "physician master file" database).

These reports allow drug reps to identify and rank doctors into tiers (based on how much they prescribe), market to top prescribers and monitor the effectiveness of their tactics. According to the article the drug reps change tactics based on doctor's prescribing behavior and personality. If one doctor prescribes more after certain perks then more perks are given. If a doctor likes to be swayed by published articles, then the doctor is inundated with articles. Of course the articles given to the doctor are the ones that are the most favorable, not necessarily those with best medical evidence. The article mentions that despite the revelation of one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2001 that Vioxx could be more harmful than the generic drug, Vioxx drug's sales continued to rise. It was discovered that Merck taught sales reps how to deflect doctors' questions about its safety, by handing out pamphlets referencing studies less powerful than the NEJM study to make it look as if Vioxx was associated with fewer heart attacks rather than more. "Merck code-named its marketing blitz 'Offense' and 'XXceleration."

It is an interesting and scary article. I wonder what percentage of prescriptions I have taken over the years have been driven by the drug companies. I used to always get excited when my doctor handed me free samples of a drug. Now I am not so sure I feel too great about that. While this article specifically talks about medical doctors, what about eye doctors?! I just went to the ophthalmologist Friday and was switched to a new brand of contacts, because according to the doctor they were "better" for me. It just so happens that they are also the most expensive brand and back on the market after a generic patent battle. I would like to believe that the doctor "believes" they are better for me, but now I have got to wonder when was the last time the Bausch and Lomb rep visited.

Friday, May 27, 2005

MLA '05 CD Available

In this issue of MLA FOCUS, there is information about the MLA '05 CD. It is available for $39 Through June 14, after which time the price goes up to $89.00.

The 2 CD-ROM set includes both audio files and PowerPoint presentations of most featured speakers, section programming, Open Forums, business meetings, and the popular Library of the Future panel and breakout sessions.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

PubChem Support

The Open Access Working Group and SPARC sent a letter to Congressman Ralph Regula (OH) in support of "barrier-free access to taxpayer-funded research," and express their support for continuation of PubChem.

The Librarians' Rx has a nice blog about the Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Program (CADRMP) Adverse Reaction Database. It contains information on suspected adverse reactions to Canadian marketed health products of pharmaceuticals, biologics (including blood products and therapeutic and diagnostic vaccines), natural health products, and radiopharmaceuticals, as reported to Health Canada.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ovid, LWW, AHA Journals Saga Continues

As I mentioned earlier this week, another librarian expressed her frustration with LWW, Ovid, and the AHA Journals to the Medlib list.
Well, the librarian was able to get some answers from her Ovid rep. and from other librarians. Here is her summary on Medlib-l.

What doesn't make sense is that Ovid is owned by Lippincott who publishes the AHA Journals, so why is there such a major problem with getting e-pages through Ovid?! Frustrating and ridiculous.

(From the librarian on Medlib-l)
I just received a call from Ovid Technical Support. E-pages ARE listed in
the contents pages for each month. However, they appear in the order
loaded, which means that they are out of numberic sequence. For example, in
May there were two articles on e-pages, starting with e48. However, they
are listed in the contents after the article that ends on page 1088 (last
article in the issue starts on page 1110). E-pages appear to be
continuously numbered from month to month. I suggested to Ovid technical
support that they find a more intuitive way to list pages. Hopefully they
will come up with a better way of doing it.

May I also suggest that somebody within Ovid, LWW, and AHA educated their reps and help desk employees as to what exactly is available to libraries from what interface. Again it is ridiculous that this many librarians are having problems with something that shouldn't be an issue.

NLM MLA Update

(Courtesy of Dragonfly)
If you read Genevieve Gore's report from 2005 MLA, you know she thought the NLM Update was "incredible." You too can now view the PowerPoint of The National Library of Medicine’s annual Update presented at the Medical Library Association meeting in San Antonio on May 17. It is now available from NLM’s Staff Publications and Presentations page.

Note: When you click on the presentation, you are asked to provide a username and password. Since I didn't have one, I clicked cancel, but I was surprised to find out the report still displayed.
I don't know whether it is an error to have the password box appear, or whether it is an error that you can still access the report without a password. I would appreciate knowing so I can post correctly whether it is free online, or requires a password.

Copyright and Digital Material and Google

All sorts of copyright and open access articles came at me today.

Google Scholar:

Publishers balk at Google book copy plan
Stefanie Olsen, CNET News.com
May 25, 2005

This first article briefly explains publisher's fears of digitizing copyrighted works on such a large scale. Publisher's question whether it is really fair use. According to the article, Peter Givler, executive director of the Association of American University Presses said, "If the fair use is not valid, it could be a gigantic copyright violation. There are fundamental questions about copyright that need to be answered."

A Google Project Pains Publishers
MAY 23, 2005

This second article is a little longer and gives a brief background of Google Print before Google Scholar came out. It also provides a link to the May 20 letter, where the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) blasts Google's so-called Print for Libraries program for posing a risk of "systematic infringement of copyright on a massive scale."

Originally, Google offered publishers a service to get their books in the search engine. When a book came up as a search result, users would only be allowed to view a few pages of the book and given links to where the book could be purchased. Additionally Google said it would place sponsored ads and links next to the book text and it would spit the ad revenue with the publisher. Of course publishers flocked to this like seagulls at bread tossing beach goers. Then everything changed when Google announced it plans for Scholar.

Copyright and Electronic Reserves:

A different sort of campus copyright fight
Publishers concerned as more professors put readings online

By Anick Jesdanun
The Associated Press
Updated: 6:15 p.m. ET May 21, 2005

Brief excerpt:
"Many librarians and professors see electronic postings as akin to library reserves, but publishers see them more as course packs subject to permission and royalty."

More and more libraries are moving away from print reserves and moving towards online reserves. Students are able to access articles and materials 24/7 and according to publisher's is possibly in violation of fair use.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Lippincott, Ovid, and AHA Journals Continued Problems

Yet another librarian has complained to the Medlib-l list that AHA Journals e-pages are not available online through Ovid's subscriptions.

Ovid's response:
"The publisher does not currently provide Ovid with the e-pages information,I am sorry to report. This has been reported by other customers, and Ovid is investigating being provided with this, in the future."

Again I want to let everyone know:
"Online subscriptions are available via Ovid Technologies and include access to tables of contents, abstracts, full-text searching, full-text display, document delivery, PDFs, links to Medline and GenBank, and future tables of contents. Access is limited to computers within a particular set of internet IP addresses. You may select access to the online journal through HighWire Press, Ovid, or both. For more information and to request pricing information, please contact the Regional Ovid Sales office closest to you."
(Taken from AHA Journals FAQ page)

When I was fighting this battle I found out that most of the reps on the phone that I called did not know about this. I was repeatedly transferred on the phone until I finally got somebody who knew about this. I DO NOT know the process by which you must go to do this and how much it costs. I moved to a different library before I could finish the battle.

Web Site Developement for Librarians

Here is some information for all you web developing librarians.

(Courtsey of Library Web Chic)
Librarian Way has a good post, Learning to Use CSS. It lists CSS resources and tutorials.
Some Resource Links mentioned are:
W3Schools- web design tutorial in general, materials on XHTML, CSS, ASP, XML, PHP etc.
EchoEcho.com -web developement design and tutorials
A List Apart-CSS articles and tutorials
Eric Meyer-collection CSS-driven design demos
CSS ZenGarden - clean design through CSS
Glish.com -CSS layout techniquesis fun to do this with.

CSS can be a bit tricky when first learning it. It is always helpful to have an HTML and CSS editor to help you create your pages. However, once you have gotten a taste of what a little CSS can do for designing and styling your pages, you will be hooked.

Google Scholar: the Pros and the Cons

ResourceShelf.com directed me to this article.

Title: Google Scholar: the pros and the cons
Author(s): Péter Jacsó
Journal: Online Information Review
Year: 2005 Volume: 29 Number: 2 Page: 208 -- 214
DOI: 10.1108/14684520510598066
It is available free online this week ONLY (week of May 23, 2005)

Purpose - To identify the pros and the cons of Google Scholar. Design/methodology/approach - Chronicles the recent history of the Google Scholar search engine from its inception in November 2004 and critiques it with regard to its merits and demerits. Findings - Feels that there are massive content omissions presently but that, with future changes in its structure, Google Scholar will become an excellent free tool for scholarly information discovery and retrieval. Originality/value - Presents a useful analysis for potential users of the Google Scholar site.

Researching Medical Literature on the Internet

Researching Medical Literature on the Internet -- 2005 Update
By Gloria Miccioli

This feature is about medical research resources for law librarians. Some of the information is not new to medical librarians, but Miccioli does have some nice information and profiles on some Commerical Medical Web Sites, Libraries and Nonprofits, and Medical Search Engines and Visual Information and Physician Information Resources.

Like I said, some of the information resources presented are already known by medical librarians. But, I found some good information and was reminded of good commercial sites and medical search engines.

Monday, May 23, 2005

New Changes to Docline

NLM announced the upcoming release of DOCLINE 2.5 and the newly redesigned Loansome Doc scheduled to be released shortly after MLA.
DOCLINE 2.5 Release Notes can be viewed at:http://www.nlm.nih.gov/docline/docline_rel_info_v2_5.html

Friday, May 20, 2005

Access Controls to BMJ

In the May 21, 2005 BMJ two letters to the editor questioning the controlled access to the online BMJ.

Access controls on bmj.com: Where's the evidence for restricting access? (free online)
Frank W Arnold BMJ 2005:1211, doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7501.1211

Access controls on bmj.com: Dual models are possible (free online)
Gunther Eysenbach
BMJ 2005:1211, doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7501.1211-a

The first letter makes a very good point that BMJ should be studying the impact of restricted access to determine truely if it is affordable, profitable, and harmless. The author says that now is the perfect time (the switch between open access and controlled access) to study these questions. He says, "The fact that we may get uncomfortable answers does not justify not looking."

The second letter offers a different option for BMJ. The author uses Journal of Medical Internet Research, as an example of a journal that provides open access but offers subscribers value added content such as the ability to download whole issues as PDF files or to download topical collections of articles as electronic books.

Both letters are interesting to read and are in response to the article:
Access controls on bmj.com: Restore true open access to bmj.com (not free)
Iain Chalmers BMJ 2005 330: 904.

Finally, a third letter which promotes open acces to all scientific research (not just BMJ) declares that the publishing system is broken.

Prevailing publishing system is irrevocably broken
Gavin Yamey, Andy Gass
BMJ 2005:1211, doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7501.1211-b

Public Health Information and Data Tutorial

The Public Health Information Data Tutorial, is a new tool designed to help the public health workforce effectively locate and use health information.

It is produced by the National Library of Medicine, University of Michigan Public Health Library & Informatics Division, and Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce.

The tutorial is made up of four modules:
Staying Informed
Health Education Resources
Health Statistics
Evidence Based Public Health

"In these modules, users can learn how to build a plan to stay informed about developments and events related to public health, find reliable and authoritative consumer-oriented materials to support health education goals, retrieve statistical information, access data sets relevant to public health, and use information in support of evidence-based practice," commented Marjorie A. Cahn, head of the National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR), NLM's lead office in the creation of the tutorial.

The Public Health Information and Data Tutorial captures these critical strategies employed by information specialists in the field to locate and manage public health information in an easily accessibly online format.

For more information check out http://www.nlm.nih.gov/news/phitutorial.html

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Value of Libraries: Impact, Normative Data, & Influencing Funders

The ResourceShelf found this article The Value of Libraries: Impact, Normative Data, & Influencing Funders by Stephen Abram.

Abram look at the real value of public, academic, school, and special libraries. He provides some nice statistics that you can include in your various hospital networking opportunities. Also included is a selected webliography at the end of the article for more indepth reading.

Brief excerpt:
"These are challenging times for libraries. We need to communicate our value strongly and in many ways. The studies and opportunities outlined above are fabulous initiatives. We must take our basic statistics and turn them into measurements, and then we must share our measurements. Raw statistics are just representations of effort -- something bureaucrats view with cost-cutting eyes. Well-chosen measurements can demonstrate the amazing value and impact of libraries to their communities, host organizations, and funders."

How Internet Users Evaluate Online Health Information

Today, while surfing I noticed Librarian.net just referenced a 2002 Pew Report Vital Decisions: How Internet users decide what information to trust when they or their loved ones are sick.

In a national survey conducted March 1-31, 2002, the Pew Internet Project found that 62% of Internet users, or 73 million people in the United States, have gone online in search of health information. Experts say that Internet users should check a health site’s sponsor, check the date of the information, set aside ample time for a health search, and visit four to six sites. In reality, most health seekers go online without a definite research plan. The typical health seeker starts at a search site, not a medical site, and visits two to five sites during an average visit. She spends at least thirty minutes on a search. She feels reassured by advice that matches what she already knew about a condition and by statements that are repeated at more than one site. She is likely to turn away from sites that seem to be selling something or don’t clearly identify the source of the information. And about one third of health seekers who find relevant information online bring it to their doctor for a final quality check. An addendum to this report includes a guide from the Medical Library Association about smart health-search strategies and good Web sites.

This fits perfectly with Librarians' Rx blog on the new Pew Report on Health Information Online and my blog on users evaluating online medical information.

American Chemical Society Wants PubChem Shut Down

This was forwarded from the Medlib-l listerv yesterday. I thought I would post it since it goes further into detail regarding the problems NLM/NCBI PubChem system that Genevieve Gore reported from the MLA conference .


The American Chemical Society is calling on Congress to shut down the NIH's PubChem, a freely accessible database on small organic molecules. PubChem is an important component of NIH's Molecular Libraries Initiative, which is a key element of the NIH "road map" for medical research.

ACS claims that PubChem competes with Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS). In> reality, PubChem and the Chemical Abstracts Service databases are complementary, not duplicative.

ACS is currently targeting the Ohio delegation to Congress, Rep. Ralph Regula (OH), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, and Senator Arlen Specter (PA), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

What is PubChem?
In 2004, as part of the NIH's Roadmap Initiative to speed new medical treatments and improved health care to all Americans, NIH launched an on-line database called PubChem as part of a suite of databases supporting the New Pathways to Discovery component of the roadmap effort. New Pathways focuses on very basic biomedical research, and especially focuses on understanding the molecular biology of health and illnesses. Bioinformatics is a critical component of that effort.

Drawing from many public sources, PubChem organizes information about the biological activities of chemical compounds into a comprehensive biomedical database. All of this supports the part of the Roadmap called the Molecular Libraries initiative. PubChem is the informatics backbone for virtually all of these components, and is intended to empower the scientific community to use small molecule chemical compounds in their research.

What is the issue?
A bedrock NIH principle is that medical research information developed with public funds must be made freely and publicly available for the good of advancing medical research to cure disease.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has expressed concern that a new NIH database called PubChem, which was created to support the NIH Roadmap initiative, and especially the Molecular Libraries Initiative, is a threat to the financial survival of the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS). PubChem provides free access to its database; CAS charges a fee for researchers to use its database. ACS has demanded that NIH shut down PubChem or substantially alter it so as not to compete with CAS.

  • ACS/CAS claims that a federally supported database that is freely available to all users and is supported by federal tax dollars has an unfair advantage over the CAS service, which charges a fee for access to its database.
  • ACS claims that PubChem will cripple CAS, sapping both it and the ACS's economic foundation, resulting in the loss of jobs in Columbus, Ohio.
  • ACS/CAS appears to want NIH to either shut down the PubChem database or severely limit its content so that it does not overlap with ACS/CAS in any way.
  • ACS/CAS also appears to want to provide some of the information contained in PubChem, but at a cost to researchers who would use this information.

This is much the same argument that the information industry made with regard to PubScience * which they managed to get shut down.

PubChem is a free, publicly available database created by NIH in 2004 to provide information about small molecules for use as research tools and as potential starting points that may lead to the development of new medications. The database connects chemical information with biomedical research and clinical information in a connect-the-dots fashion,
organizing facts in numerous public databases into a unified whole. PubChem is a critical part of the Molecular Libraries initiative of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. It will combine new data generated by this initiative with data available from other public sources to create a powerful new research tool. PubChem is the latest member of the powerful family of integrated databases operated by the National Library of Medicine, including GenBank, PubMed, GEO, OMIM, and a host of other resources that are utilized millions of times a day by scientists all over the world. The integration of these databases makes the whole much! greater than the sum of its parts.

NIH staff analysis shows that PubChem and CAS overlap relatively little in terms of content. PubChem and CAS differ widely in scope and resources.

  • Budget: CAS budget is reported to be $260 million; PubChem budget is $3 million.
  • Staffing: CAS staff is reported to be 1,300; PubChem staff is 13.
  • Chemicals: CAS has information on 25 million unique chemicals; PubChem has information on 850,000 unique chemicals (though this number is expected to grow).
  • Purpose: CAS provides chemical, commercial and patent information to chemists; PubChem integrates medical information for medical researchers. PubChem and CAS content are complementary resources tailored to the needs of different segments of the scientific community.

NIH met with ACS officials to seek a solution that would resolve the society's concern. Since the initial meeting, there have been multiple communications between NIH and ACS leadership. ACS has effectively broken off discussions, leaving the issues unresolved.

NIH is willing to continue discussions with ACS/CAS to benefit the scientific community and biomedical research. For example, PubChem management is willing to link to the CAS database, essentially bringing CAS a new, untapped market of customers. Medical researchers infrequently use CAS at this time.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Blog from MLA

I want to thank Genevieve Gore, Coordinator of Web Site Development, McGill University Library for submitting her insights from the MLA Conference to this blog. She has graciously taken notes and given us her thoughts on the various activities at MLA and I happy to post them below. If there any other librarians at MLA who are interested in also submitting please email me, I would love to hear from you.

---Genevieve Gore---

I can't believe how busy this conference has been: I finally have a couple of hours to digest the material, so I've forked over an additional $10 for Wi-Fi at the Emily Morgan Hotel for the day. This hotel has a special menu for dogs and cats, by the way (things like Chow Hound Chicken for $17, or Whisker Licking Liver for $16).

First Consult
I agree with you (Krafty Librarian)-- I see First Consult as something to watch. I haven't actually played with it myself, but I was quite impressed with the demo given at our library (I haven't seen it at MLA; somehow it got lost in the shuffle, and my boss really can't stand Elsevier): interface seems to provide many but not too many options, in a user-oriented manner. Of course, we're not huge fans of Elsevier; we might be stuck between a rock and a hard place in terms of pricing/licensing models if choosing between UpToDate and First Consult (we only have four simultaneous licenses for MD Consult at McGill because the pricing was so exorbitant).

So, I watched the UpToDate rep get torn to pieces by a group of what I'd call pretty damn angry librarians. UpToDate justifies its pricing model on sustainability: one part of this model is that authors are paid (and probably quite well). From an academic university's perspective, the big problem, on top of the high costs for site access, is remote access pricing. However, UpToDate really doesn't see why medical students should have a problem buying discounted subscriptions for remote access -- after all, they buy textbooks, right? -- and this of course also extends to physicians for different reasons. So, no plans to change their remote access pricing. He also defended the product as evidence-based, which is obviously a contentious issue with librarians (whether doctors care or not is an entirely different thing).

NLM Update
The NLM Update was incredible: as a Canadian, I have to hang my head in shame when I see what they're accomplishing. It's sheer international generosity. Dr. Lindberg told us about how clinicaltrials.gov has opened up to the world to make it possible for international trials to register (so that they can server the new ICMJE's, or International Committee of Medical Journal Editors', rules; interestingly, he noted the ICMJE doesn't actually have a legal status for this, which could possibly result in some interesting developments down the road). He also mentioned their top priority at this time is the Molecular Library. It will be supported by the NLM/NCBI PubChem system. The Molecular Library is causing some controversy with the ACS, whose president (a lawyer by training) is taking a political approach to the issue and has said in the press that if the NLM moves forward on this, "you might as well turn out the lights in Columbus, OH" (there is currently access to 24 million molecules through ACS). The NLM, however, is committed to the project, as are its partners.

Dr. Lindberg also mentioned the thing to watch is Interactive Publication. The NLM is going to have to figure out how to deal with this new publishing model (The NEJM, for example, is already linking to audio files; some other journals include more exciting multimedia such as ultrasound imaging segments, videos on endoscopic surgery...) If you know any editors of journals or groups willing to collaborate with NLM, they're listening. Good examples of the problems resulting from interactive publication are data files: the NCHS is currently collaborating with NLM to figure out how to deal with this issue (The NCHS has public data sets that aren't actually indexed as public, do not have a joint vocabulary...) By the way, I'm using acronyms because I haven't had time to actually check all full names yet.

Dr. Humphreys gave the second part of the talk. She talked about how NIHMS (NIH Manuscript Submission) has been running since May 2nd, 2005 (http://nihms.nih.gov): she estimated full participation would generate about 180 submissions/day; so far it's generating about 6 submissions/day, so there's obviously room for growth. Interestingly, third parties will be able to submit for authors, which is a good role for librarians. That system, accessible through My NCBI, will be available July 6th, 2005. You can sign up to the NIHMS News list to follow updates. Submitted articles will then be available through PMC. There is talk of a UK version as well (using Portable PMC to support mirror sites).

She mentioned the NIH Roadmap which I'll have to read. It involves the rearrangement of the research infrastructure. Also mentioned was the Commission on Systemic Interoperability, which is "developing a strategy to make healthcare information instantly accessible at all times, by consumers and their healthcare providers." They will be releasing a report in October 2005.

Other items mentioned were:
- UMLS, the Unified Medical Language System (they're developing a tutorial at present)
- RxNorm (standard names for clinical drugs and dose forms; connected to the FDA's National Drug Codes, or NDCs)
- their Public Health initiatives (visit http://www.phpartners.org/)
- WISER (the Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders)
- TOXMAP (visual exploration of environmental health data)
- Tox Town (a consumer health product for educating the population about environmental health risks and chemicals in their area)
- MedlinePlus and the Genetics Home Reference
- the GoLocal projects
- NIH Seniors Health (they're looking for stories from active seniors)- and the Information RX Project.

I hope their PowerPoints will be available on the web, because it was really hard to follow what she was saying and what was on the slides.

Thank you again Gen! Sounds like a good conference, I am jealous. :)

Internet Users Don't Always Evaluate Medical Information

I couldn't ask for a more perfect article to coincide with my previous blog entry.
Millions going online to find cures for what ails them
By Nancy McVicar Health Writer
Posted May 18 2005

Not only does this article mention the Pew Report on Health Information Online, it touches a little bit on my question about how these millions of people evaluate the information.

Susannah Fox, who released the Pew Report is quoted in this article saying, "We found that most people did go to two or three Web sites, and spent about 30 minutes on a health information search. But about half were not looking at the source and date. That is a little scary because there are many examples of drugs that have been recalled or therapies that have been canceled, and they should really be aware of it."

She also mentioned only about 25% of the searchers were evaluating information using techniques recommended by the Medical Library Association.

At least we have a brief look at how users are evaluating (or not) online medical information. While the information Fox mentions in the article is not in the Pew Report on Health Information Online, I would love to see it officially released or studied further for a separate report.

Pew Report on Health Information Online

Librarians' Rx posted a link to the new Pew Report on Health Information Online and I thought it forward it along.

"The report details the use of online health information in the U.S. One of the main findings is that 80% of internet users have looked online for health information. Reasons for online health information searching include speed of access and years of online experience. Searching in the areas of diet, fitness and drug information have increased since 2002." (Librarians' Rx)

The Pew Report indicates that approximately 95 million American adults use the internet for health research. (2002 figures)

This information is a great update to the information that I blogged about in November, Patients Finding Health Information. In one year alone, 1998, some 60 million adults were estimated by a Harris Poll (1999) to have searched the Internet for healthcare information. That is a 35 million people jump in 3 years!

I would love to see a report from Pew or somebody else detailing the consumers patterns and behaviors in evaluating health information on the internet. As we librarians know, there is really good stuff online, but there is some really bad stuff too. It would be interesting to know how these 95 million people sift the wheat from the chaff.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Hospital unveils ‘Wired, MD’ program

Hospital unveils ‘Wired, MD’ program
By Sun-News report
May 17, 2005, 12:01 am

A nice short little article about how one medical center patient education team has created a program that provides patients with health information. This program is joint effort between the hospital and the public library.

Former BMJ Editor Exposes Drug Firms Tactics In Pubishing

More information on the ways drug companies are getting their products published in the journal literature.

Ex-medical journal editor reveals drug firms' dirty tricks
Ian Johnston Science Correspondent
The Scotsman May 17, 2005

Med journals 'too close to firms'
BBC News May 17, 2005

RSS Feeds for Librarians

Peter Scott's library blog mentioned this:

RSS and Webfeeds: A Field Guide for Librarians - a PowerPoint presentation by Teri Vogel, Science Librarian, San Diego.

It is a nice presentation on what RSS is, how it can be used to monitor information, and how a library can use it to distribute news and information.

Major Search Engines Give Very Different Results

LISNews.com referenced this article and I thought it was very interesting. The article tends to focus on the search engine Dogpile.com but it also illustrates how each search engine has a unique set of web sites and displays the results completely differently based on their algorithms. It is something to keep in mind when you need to find something online or when your patrons claim they already search online (Google) and they can't find it.

Major Search Engines Deliver Much Different Results
By Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek
1:35 PM EDT Thu. May. 12, 2005

Brief excerpt:
"The study found that just over 3% of the returned results--10,712 of 336,232 links--were shared by Ask Jeeves, Google, and Yahoo. Some 12% of the returned results were listed by two of the three search engines. And 85% of the results were unique to one of the three search engines."

Monday, May 16, 2005

If Search Engines Could Read Your Mind

Clare Leibfarth directed me to this article in searchenginewatch.com.
If Search Engines Could Read Your Mind
By Chris Sherman, Associate Editor
May 11, 2005

Brief excerpt:
"When people complain about "poor quality" or "irrelevant" search results, they almost never blame their own poorly formed request—yet bad queries are a huge part of the problem. It's actually quite remarkable that search engines can take a sparse two or three word query and make sense of it. Lacking context, search engines are forced to virtually guess at your true intent."

Interesting article about the use of artificial intelligence in search engine programming. Of course we as librarians always point out that we are better than a search engine because while we may not read your mind, we have the ability to make the search process a two sided conversation.

Elsevier Launches new Health Science eJournal and eClinics Collections

Today at MLA Elsevier announced it will launch online access to its high impact journals and to the Clinics journals. These journals will be from various disciplines such as: Nursing, Internal Medicine, Specialty Medicine, Diagnostic Medicine and Surgery.

Journals will be available via IP-based access and seamless integration with MD Consult. You do not require an existing MD Consult subscription for access. The eJournals Collections include access to five years of archived content, while the eClinics Collections include all issues from 2002 to present.

I am very excited to have the opportunity to finally get the Clinics online. This sort of sounds similar to what Ovid and LWW journals did, I just hope Elsevier has learned from our frustrations with Ovid and LWW. I look forward to learning more about this, and I would love to hear from anybody at MLA who has heard about this.

Friday, May 13, 2005

New Search Engine Challenges Yahoo and Google

There is a new kid on the block, AnooX is a search engine that claims to produce better search results than Yahoo or Google. First the machine generates the search results and then continuously rearranges the results based on the majority vote of people. Then the search results are continuously rearranged for each given keyword, as per the majority vote.

In order to prove that AnooX is the better search engine, developers have issued a challenge to a contest to Yahoo and Google to see who actually delivers more accurate search results. Yahoo or Google representatives must respond to this challenge by May 30th and AnooX invited any 3rd party that wishes to officiate this challenge to contact them. Conditions for this contest can be reviewed here: http://www.anoox.com/challenge-conditions.jsp.

For more information about AnooX and the challenge check oh:

See for yourself whether AnooX is better than the other search engines at http://www.anoox.com

Where on earth do they come up with these search engine's names?! It is almost like the more bizarre is better.
I tried AnooX, and the search results were pretty good. Is it better than Google or Yahoo, I don't know. I couldn't really think of anything really difficult to search for. The trick will be whether I remember to go to AnooX when I am trying to find that obscure piece of information that I am struggling to find.

Dutch Scientists' Research Free for Everyone

I saw this on Liblicense list this morning.
Dutch academics declare research free-for-all
By Jan Libbenga
Published Wednesday 11th May 2005 13:06 GMT

First Paragraph:
"Scientists from all major Dutch universities officially launched a website on Tuesday where all their research material can be accessed for free. Interested parties can get hold of a total of 47,000 digital documents from 16 institutions the Digital Academic Repositories. No other nation in the world offers such easy access to its complete academic research output in digital form, the researchers claim. Obviously, commercial publishers are not amused."

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Medical Societies Reactions to NIH Open Access Policy

BMJ has another set of three short articles on the issue of Open Access, primarily on NIH's policy. All three articles are free online.

Medical societies react against public access to findings
Jeanne Lenzer
BMJ 2005:1104, doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7500.1104-d

Open access, impact, and demand
Peter Suber
BMJ 2005:1097-1098, doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7500.1097

Scientists bypass journal subscriptions
BMJ 2005;330 (14 May), doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7500.0-d

Ovid Announces a Federated Search Interface

Ovid Announces a new federated search solution called SearchSolver. According to the announcement, "Ovid SearchSolver is a federated search and resource discovery tool that allows organizations to simplify access to online information. With SearchSolver as a single point of access and authentication, users conduct one-step searches across hundreds of information sources. Unified results can further be edited and ranked as well as exported in research work tools." SearchSolver is offered at three pricing/product levels Basic Package, Mid-Tier Package, and Advanced Package.

SearchSolver's will allow users to:

-- Search an unlimited number of sources simultaneously
**Krafty's Question - Ok how does that deal with the whole controlled vocabulary thing in our medical databases? While databases like CINAHL and MEDLINE share some of the same terms they also have unique terms not in each other's database. So, does it treat the search like a keyword? If so then how do you deal with the plurals, synonyms, alternate spellings? Will somebody who types in Cancer get everything that is labeled Neoplasms?

-- Search across ALL types of sources from multiple vendors, including electronic journals, bibliographic databases, Internet portals, and OPACs
**Krafty's question- Is that by using Ovid's poor and non-user-friendly LinkSolver? LinkSolver and LinksatOvid (their freebie version) are some of the needlessly complex and time consuming OpenURL resolver systems. There is a reason why people are choosing Serials Solutions, SFX, Ebsco, etc. it is because they are user friendly, good customer service, and easy for librarians.

-- Display results, rank or export consistently across all interfaces in a single step

-- Refine and limit search results using the SearchSolver interface. Advanced query parsing allows users to search beyond keyword (also title, author, descriptors)

-- Explore a topic further using a specific database's native interface

-- Link out to external sources, using Ovid LinkSolver(TM) or other OpenURL resolvers
**Krafty's thoughts- Aaahh here is the dreaded reference to Ovid's link resolvers. I would be interested in knowing how other OpenURL resolvers work with this.

To read more about SearchSolver check out the press announcement or Ovid's SearchSolver page.

I don't think it is any coincidence that this announcement came just before we all leave for MLA. I am sure it will be prominently featured at the convention. I would be interested in hearing from anybody going to MLA who wants to check out SearchSolver. It will be discussed in their Sunrise Seminar and there will be In-Booth Theater Presenations on it as well. (Ovid MLA Invitatation) Please email me if you would like to check it out and report back to the blog about it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Google Scholar Supports Library Link Resolvers and OCLC Holdings

While it makes me cringe to hear one of my patrons say, just go on Google and get it, I realize that Google is here to stay and people use it for various reasons. So, why not use Google to advertise your collections!?!?

Google Scholar has developed two ways for libraries to tag their holdings within Google.

1. Using Link Resolvers -For libraries that make their resources available via a link resolver, we Google now offers the option to include a link for library patrons to the library's resources as a part of the Google Scholar search results. It is possible that home grown link resolvers would work with this.

2. OCLC WorldCat -For libraries that have their holdings listed in OCLC's Open WorldCat, Google will have a link for each Google Scholar book result that leads to the Open World database where users can find the book in a local library.

There is a lot of information on this including a FAQ on Google's page:

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Misleading Medical Journal Articles

A librarian shared a link to this article with the Medlib email list today.

New Protocol: Worrisome Ailment in Medicine: Misleading Journal Articles; Editors Demand More Data T Ensure Full Disclosure of Drug Risks, Trial Gaps; Sarbanes-Oxley for Professors.
by Anna Wilde Mathews
Wall Street Journal May 10, 2005 pg. A1.
(not free online)

Brief excerpt:
"Doctors and patients who rely on medical journals for drug information have a problem: discrepancies between published information and the full results of the studies behind them. Now some top journals are cracking down."

The article mentions that 65% of 122 articles published last year in JAMA did not completely report harmful drug effects and 50% of the articles had gaps in the over all effectiveness of the drug.

The WSJ artice states it is the ever increasing use of medical journal articles as publicity and marketing tools of the drug companies. Leading journals such as JAMA, NEJM and BMJ are starting to take measures to try and prevent publishing these misleading articles. BMJ is requiring authors to submit the original study design so that reviewser can determine if the author changed their primary outcomes.

I share the same feelings as the librarian on Medlib. With his latest discovery and the recent news of the ghost-writing journal articles, one has got to be concerned about reliable valid medical research information.

PubMed and Loansome Doc Changes

Boy I leave town for a wedding and I am drowning in a sea of unopened email, snail mail, and blog reading.

some changes on PubMed and Loansome Doc that might be of interest to people. They also have a nice article on RSS: The Future of Content Delivery.

So instead of recreating the wheel, I am going to do the bloggy thing and link to it. :)


Wiley to Digitize Backfiles

Wiley InterScience Launches a program to digitize journal back issues of all of its holdings.
The projected is cheduled for completion in 2007.

The backfiles are NOT free. Institutional customers may purchase Wiley InterScience Backfile Collections for a one-time fee. Pricing options for online access depend on the type of institution, and the user population.

For more information go to http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/aboutus/backfileCollections.html

Ohio Tech. Conference

Forwarded from OHSLA email list.

TechConnections 6 Conference
The Ohio Regional Library Systems – CAMLS, GCLC, MOLO, NOLA, NORWELD, OVAL and SOLO – invite all academic, public, school and special library technology and management staff and anyone else who is interested to mark your calendars and spread the word . . .

TechConnections 6, Ohio’s premier library technology conference, will be held on Monday and Tuesday, June 13 and 14, 2005, at the Embassy Suites, Dublin, Ohio. Please visit our Web site at http://www.rls.lib.oh.us/tc6/ for details on programs and online registration.

Rooms are being held at the Embassy Suites, Dublin, for the evening of Monday, June 13. Please contact the Embassy Suites at 614 790 9000 or 1 800 EMBASSY and refer to "TechConnections group" when making reservations. The special rate for Monday, June 13, is $119 (per room, pre-tax). The rate includes an extended continental breakfast. Reservations must be made by May 25, 2005 to receive this special rate!

We look forward to welcoming you to our conference!
Questions? Contact . . .

Marion Cochran, Executive Director
Ohio Valley Area Libraries Regional Library System (OVAL)
252 West Thirteenth Street, Wellston, OH 45692
740-384-2103 x 5 ~ 740-384-2106 fax

Monday, May 09, 2005

Is There a Librarian Shortage?!

Librarian.net blogged about a recent article in Library Journal, The Entry Level Gap
By Rachel Holt & Adrienne L. Strock. This article looks at library job marked and ascertains that their won't be a librarian shortage in the years to come and that it is actually more difficult for entry level librarians to find jobs.

First paragraph:
"Data from the library job market and mounting anecdotal evidence show that there is cause for alarm. The number of full-time, professional positions in libraries is dwindling, salaries continue to be depressed, more entry-level positions are being liquidated or "deprofessionalized," and qualified job seekers are having trouble securing work. Meanwhile, an industry wide MLS recruitment drive is in full swing, ensuring another large crop of graduates will be spilled out into the job market each year. Even with this bumper crop of new professionals, library administrators complain about the lack of qualified applicants for available positions."

I think this is a very interesting article and one that will generate a lot of discussion. I agree with many aspects of this article in regards to liquidation of some positions entirely or to non-MLS employees. I think ALA and library schools need to be WAY more technology driven.

For example: How many library schools offered systems librarianship? How many offered anything close to those kind of classes? Many of the systems librarians I know either were "Accidental Systems Librarians," or they were in computers and IT in a previous career life. Given that professionals in computers tend to make more money than librarians you tend to have more accidental systems librarians rather than computer professionals turning into librarians. That is no way to advance a libraries and ALA should really start to look at re-vamping and updating their core class requirements and accreditation requirements. One way to cut down on the number of library students is to seriously weed out and eliminate woeful library schools. While this might create some short term problems, I feel if done correctly could strengthen the over all profession.

I find one area of contention within this article.
"There is also confusion over what qualifications new graduates really need in order to get a library job. Most students enter master's programs thinking that they are earning the degree that will allow them entry into the library profession. They are not aware, by and large, that library experience is essential to their success upon graduation."

My opinion is: Name a profession that allows you to automatically get a job once you have a degree. The idea that you are entitled to a job (once you obtained the degree) with no prior experience is ridiculous. For some reason I don't hear other professionals complaining about this. How many new law school grads expect to get a job if they haven't clerked somewhere? Regardless of the profession, the job marked is extremely competitive, you have to arm yourself with the most experience possible in order to win a job. In my opinion there is NO degree that gives you the on the job knowledge that employers want. That is why there are internships, clerkships, volunteers, etc. I don't know whether we have a bunch of extremely naive library students or some less than truthful library school administrators. My hunch is a little bit of both.

That being said, ALA still needs to have a curriculum that supports and allows students to have the skills necessary to find those coveted internships, thus turning the theory into practice. I know of one library school that still teaches cataloging with CARDS!!! Really, at that point, do you want to hire an intern that doesn't even know how to do online cataloging? Don't give me this whole, MARC format can be taught without a computer....It is called MAchine-Readable Cataloging!

I hope you find this article as interesting as I have.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Innovative's Electronic Resource management

September 2004 I recently returned from the Eastern Great Lakes Innovative User's Group meeting in which Innovative demonstrated a new product, an Electronic Resource management system. In my September blog I was very excited about Millennium's ERM. I had been using a very long detailed Excel file to manage my resources and Innovative's product looked like the answer to my prayers. Unfortunately at the time, I didn't get all the answers to my questions because the sales person demonstrated who (I feel) didn't quite have a sold grasp on library needs.

Well in the latest issue of The Serials Librarian is the article:
Integrating and Streamlining Electronic Resources Workflows via Innovative's Electronic Resource Management (not free online)
Laura Tull, Janet Crum MLS, Trisha Davis, C Rockelle Strader
The Serials Librarian
Page Range: 103 - 124 DOI: 10.1300/J123v47n04_11
Copyright Year: 2005

Libraries have been grappling with the management of the growing number of electronic resources, such as e-journals and electronic article indexes, for the last decade especially after the availability of many of these resources on the World Wide Web. The integrated library system wasn't originally designed to accommodate many of these functions. In 2002, Innovative Interfaces, Inc. partnered with several of their customer libraries to develop a module to manage electronic resources based on the work of the Digital Library Federation's Electronic Resources Management Initiative. The result of this partnership is a module that addresses functions such as tracking trial access, license negotiations, maintenance, troubleshooting as well as integration into the online catalog.

Whooo hooo, a library's experience with the product, exactly what I wanted back in September.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Are Celebrity Preventive Health Messages Working Too Well?

Just Say No to Cancer Screenings
By Kristen Philipkoski
02:00 AM May. 04, 2005 PT

According to the article celebrity health messages are working in getting the message out regarding heath screening. They cite a brief communication article in today's issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute which found that "more than half of adults surveyed by phone had seen or heard celebrity cancer-screening endorsements, and more than one-fourth said the appeals made them more likely to get screened."

Robin J. Larson, Steven Woloshin, Lisa M. Schwartz, and H. Gilbert WelchCelebrity Endorsements of Cancer Screening J Natl Cancer Inst 2005; 97: 693-695 (not free online)

The Wire.com article points out that researchers (Larson et. al) found that may not necessarily always be a good thing, citing possible overdiagnosis and false positives as some reasons.

NIH Public Access Manuscript Submission Information

I am re-posting a message from Betsy Humphreys about the NIH Public Access manuscriptsubmission Web site was emailed to me from the GMRLIST.
The NIH Public Access manuscript submission website is nihms.nih.gov You
may subscribe to a listserv from this website to be notified about
significant updates to the system.

The basic manuscript submission system developed by NLM/NCBI went live this
morning at 8:30 am ET. The first manuscript was successfully submitted by
an NIH intramural scientist, entering via the login route established for
NIH employees. The process took about 6 minutes.

The eRA commons system (the route through which NIH grantees enter the
manuscript submisssion system) was experiencing technical difficulties and
was not available until about 10 am. (FYI: The eRA system is NOT an NLM

Release of a third submission route, which involves MyNCBI and will allow
third parties (including library staff) to submit manuscripts on behalf of
NIH grantees and contractors, is scheduled for July 6, 2005.

NLM and the RMLs will be providing more specific information to the library
community about both the eRA and MyNCBI submission paths in the near future
- at the MLA annual meeting and elsewhere. Late breaking technical and
policy issues prevented dissemination of such information in April, as
originally planned.

NLM appreciates the strong interest health sciences librarians have shown
in helping to make the NIH public access policy a success. Thanks to those
who have already helped out with testing, review, and useful comments on
various parts of the system.

I suggest that health science librarian at least subscribe to the listerv to get the latest information and updates.

Metadata for the Masses

April 13th I mentioned an article in Newsweek, the entitled In the New Game of Tag, All of Us Are It by Steven Levy, who talks about the practice of tagging.

Well CNN.com had an article online yesterday,'Tagging' helps unclutter data
Online search categorizes how humans label thing
and I thought it was worth a quick read.
Tuesday, May 3, 2005 Posted: 11:23 AM EDT (1523 GMT) (Thanks LITA listserv)

Brief excerpt:
"Tagging is fundamentally about tapping the collective human wisdom, rather than relying on a computer algorithm, for search, said Ben Shneiderman, who teaches human-computer interaction at the University of Maryland."

Librarians around the world, like one on the LITA listserv, will note how similar "tagging" is to cataloging. Interestingly the article mentions the problem of controlled vocabulary (or lack of it) tagging will encounter as more and more people start to use it.

Ownership & Access in Scholarly Publishing Webcast

For all those who missed the April 6, 2005 "Ownership & Access in Scholarly Publishing"
co-sponsored by the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Health
Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL) and the Johns Hopkins
University (JHU) Libraries it has been archived and is available.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Ageism in Medical Care

Ageism in medicine? Seniors find bias in care, experts say (free but must register)
May 2, 2005
By Fawn Vrazo
Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

Brief Excerpt:
'Many seniors deal with physicians who minimize their medical complaints, treat them like children, or deny them medicine that would be offered to younger patients, experts say.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association this year illustrated the point. Looking at the chemotherapy treatment of 6,487 breast-cancer patients in four clinical trials, researchers found that only 8 percent were 65 or older. By comparison, nearly 44 percent of the nation's breast-cancer victims are 65 or older."

The JAMA article mentioned is
Hyman B. Muss; Susan Woolf; Donald Berry; et al
Adjuvant Chemotherapy in Older and Younger Women With Lymph Node–Positive Breast Cancer.
JAMA, March 2, 2005; 293: 1073 - 1081.
Read the Abstract (full text not free)

Monday, May 02, 2005

NLM Announcements

I opened my email this morning and thought these were helpful so I am forwarding these on.

Forwarded from the NLM, Greater Midwest Region email list.

How do I report an error, such as my name incorrectly spelled, in
a PubMed citation?

Where can I find information about discounted or free medical care in the United States or in other countries?

NLM Technical Bulletin, Mar-Apr 2005, Technical Notes: Free Biomedical
Literature Resources

NLM Technical Bulletin, Mar-Apr 2005, Technical Notes: New Toxicology
and Environmental Health Web Resources Available

Public Access to NIH-Funded Research

As of today May 2, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are asked to voluntarily submit an online copy of their work to PubMed Central (www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov).

According to the NIH policy summary, the NIH "requests and strongly encourages all NIH-funded investigators to make their peer-reviewed author's final manuscripts available to other researchers and the public at the NIH National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central (PMC) immediately after the final date of journal publication. At the time of submission, authors are given the option to release their manuscripts at a later time, up to 12 months after the official date of final publication. NIH expects that only in limited cases will authors deem it necessary to select the longest delay period."

Some of you may remember an article I posted on my blog on April 25 from Library Journal, "Life After NIH" about Open Access (OA) specifically dealing with SPARC and NIH. Stevan Harnad, criticizes the NIH policy as not truly OA, but back access to older articles.

In the April 28, 2005 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine, the perspective Public Access to NIH-Funded Research by Robert Steinbrook looks at the issue and discusses some areas of confusion to authors.

The subject of Open Access is a very charged topic, but then throw in the issue of taxpayer access to publicly funded government research and you have added even more coals to the fire of an already hot debate.

One thing is for sure, it will be interesting to see how the NIH's policy works. Steinbrook states, "As the public-access policy takes effect, there are high expectations for quick movement toward timely availability of all publications from NIH-supported research. PubMed Central, however, could soon receive 5000 papers a month, or only a few hundred. It should rapidly become obvious whether the policy is working as the NIH - and Congress - intended."

Only time will tell

For more articles on OA in the medical community check out these from BMJ (thanks Medlib)

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The Krafty Librarian has been a medical librarian since 1998. She is currently the medical librarian for a hospital system in Ohio. You can email her at: