Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hard to Find Government Reports

The Washington Post reported Monday about a new open-access website that
provides digital copies of hard to find government reports:

Hard-to-Get Policy Briefings For Congress Are Now Online
Technology Group Opens Access to Research Reports
By Brian FalerSpecial to The Washington PostTuesday, June 28, 2005; Page A13

Open CRS provides access to CRS Reports that are already in the public domain and encourages Congress to provide public access to all CRS Reports.

According to the Washington Post article, "The site includes searchable links to more than 3,300 reports -- and thousands of updates of those reports -- that were gathered by the center and five other groups: the National Council on Science and the Environment, the Federation of American Scientists, the library at the University of Maryland's law school, a Web site associated with the Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire and the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. The CDT said it is also trying to work out a deal with the University of North Texas, which has built its own online trove of reports, to make those accessible through the site as well."

Example of reports that might be needed in medical libraries:

RL32107 - Importing Prescription Drugsуomparison of the Drug Import Provisions in the Medicare Reform Bills, H.R. 2427, and Current Law, October 8, 2003

IB97018 - Science, Technology, and Medicine: Issues Facing the 105th Congress, First Session, September 09, 1998

RL32237 - Health Insurance: A Primer February 03, 2005

RL31692 - Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and Fifty-State Survey of Caps on Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages September 17, 2004

RL31503 - Importing Prescription Drugs August 22, 2002

RL31983 -Patient Safety: Legislation to Promote Voluntary Reporting of Medical Errors February 04, 2005

While this may not be a resource we use every day like, it is one that might come in handy every once and a while.

Review of Doody's Core Titles in the Health Sciences

Librarians' Rx had the sharp eye and noticed that the latest issue of Biomedical Digital Libraries (June 29, 2005) has a review of Doody's Core Titles for 2004. Judging from the chatter on Medlib, this is something we have been anxiously awaiting.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Will the True Number of Librarians Please Stand Up?

I had just settled down to read the blogs and wake up to my morning coke when I read on Peter Scott's Library Blog that the Institute of Museum and Library Services announced $21,087,684 in grants to 37 universities, libraries, and library organizations to recruit and educate a new generation of librarians. This is intended help "offset a current shortage of school library media specialists, library school faculty, and librarians working in underserved communities, as well a looming shortage of library directors and other senior librarians who are expected to retire in the next 20 years."

The Institute of Museum and Library Services says there is a current and impending shortage librarians based on a reports in Library Journal (May 2000), the Monthly Labor Review (July 200), and American Libraries (March 2002). The reports indicate that 40% of America's library directors plan to retire in 9 years or less and almost 58% of professional librarians will reach the age of 65 between 2005 and 2019.

However, I am totally confused...

In my May 9 2005 blog I referenced an article in Library Journal (May 2005), The Entry Level Gap that determined there was no librarian shortage and actually it is more difficult for new graduates to find librarian jobs.

First Paragraph from The Entry Level Gap:
"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."

According to the authors, Rachel Holt and Adrienne Strock, ALA reports there will be 41,000 job openings due to growth and replacement between 2000-2010. However, there are also approximately 5,000 new library graduates each year. So over that 10 year period there will be 50,000 new library grads for the 41,000 jobs. Using those numbers means we actually have a surplus of librarians not a shortage!

Additionally, Holt and Strock discovered evidence that suggests that new grads are not getting hired for the entry level jobs (necessary to gain experience) and a growing number of libraries are hiring MLS graduates for non-MLS positions.

So who is right?! Is there a short of library jobs? Do we need to educate, train, and hire a lot more librarians to replace those retiring? Or are we promoting a myth and the reality is that we are over populated with librarians?

Sirsi Launches Next-Generation Library User Interface

At the 2005 Annual Conference of the American Library Association Sirsi announced availability of its next-generation library user interface. The Sirsi Enterprise Portal Solution is an "intuitive, user-friendly environment – similar to popular Internet search interfaces – through which libraries manage and present the myriad information, resources, and services they offer today."

For more information check out:

No information about what effect the merger of SirsiDynix will have on this system in the future.

Blog University

So you want to start a blog for your library but you are unsure how? Try attending BlogU.

Blog University is a one day conference form librarians and information professionals Sunday, September 18, 2005 at the Marriott Crystal City in Arlington, VA. It will provide an "in-depth look at the blog tools and best practices, tips and techniques for designing and managing Weblogs, and practical advice for creating engaging content that will attract your audience."

Topics that will be covered include:
  • Technology options
  • Getting buy-in
  • Interface design: look, feel, & usability
  • Case studies & real-world applications
  • RSS & getting the most out of your feed
  • Guidelines, policies, & ethics
  • Writing good content for Weblogs
  • Marketing library staff & client Weblogs

Pricing for Blog University is $265 until August 26, 2005 and $295 after.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

PubMed Enhancements

(Courtesy of GMRLIST)

  1. identifier numbers will appear in PubMed records when the original publications include them. This will allow cross-referencing between PubMed citations and (Unfortunately, the cross-references will not be "clickable" so you'll have to look 'em up manually.)
  2. Author names in Citation and Abstract formats will now be clickable. Hover the cursor over an author name and a mouseover box will pop-up, instructing users to click on the name to search for other citations by the same author. Keep in mind that the "same" author may be the same only in the sense that names are the same.
  3. Search terms will now be highlighted in PubMed. Enter search terms in the PubMed search box and the terms will night be marked in pale yellow. The really good news is that this feature is available not only in the Abstract and Citation displays, but also in the Summary display format, the default in PubMed.
  4. PubMed's online help document (located on the blue side bar on the left-hand side of the page) is being replaced by an enhanced "book" in the NCBI Bookshelf. The good news is that the help book will be searchable from the Entrez search box (just as one would search PubMed.)

So, for more of that information, go to the Technical Bulletin:

Keep in mind that this link will take you to the Current Issue, which, for only a few days more, is the May-June issue. If you don't get there before the end of June, you will need to look up these articles in the past issues.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Drug Companies...What Have We Learned

Here is more information regarding Vioxx and the drug companies sales tactics.

The Lessons of Vioxx--- Drug Safety and Sales
N Engl J Med. 2005 Jun 23;352(25):2576-8. PMID: 15972862
Henry A. Waxman, J.D.

Waxman writes about his thoughts while he was sitting on the May 5, 2005 Government Reform Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, which focused on Merck, Vioxx, and how "drugs with serious safety issues, such as rofecoxib, can remain so popular for so long."

This NEJM article references Merck documents which show how Merck taught pushed their reps to market the drug to doctors despite safety concerns. For example, inquiring physicians who sought additional information about the cardiovascular effects of rofecoxib were given Merck Cardiovascular cards which cited studies less powerful than one in NEJM (2001 v.343:1520-1528) to make it look as if Vioxx was associated with fewer heart attacks rather than more.
Merck's Cardiovascular Card memo.
Many others documents on the drug industry's practices are available at

Unfortunately the article does not mention the drug industry's secretive database which is able to track every physician's prescription ever ordered. Prescriber reports can show the names of the doctors in a rep's territory and what each doctor prescribed and how much of it. Reports provide reps with up-to-date feedback on just how effective their marketing has been.

In my May 31, 2005 blog, I reference the article, Spin Doctored: How drug companies keep tabs on physicians which details how the database works and the fact drug companies buy the physician 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).

In the age of online information and privacy fears, I am amazed that more physicians aren't upset about their prescription ID information being sold. I now find it ironic when physicians freak out about providing me (the library) with their contact information if they want to check out a book.

I agree with Waxman when he says, "Legislative reform will not be successful, however, without attention to this issue in hospitals and doctors' offices. Practicing physicians, journal editors, and leaders of associations of medical professionals may find these documents useful as they develop new strategies to keep promotional efforts from distorting clinical care."

Scientists Behaving Badly

Scientists behaving badly: Journal editors reveal researchers' wicked ways.
Published online: 04 March 2004; doi:10.1038/news040301-9
Jim Giles

The annual report of the Committee on Publishing Ethics documents 29 instances of medical authors unethical publishing behavior. Some of the authors had plagerised while others tried submitting an already published paper. The Nature article reference a study published in JAMA 2004;291:974-980, where some authors were able to get their articles published five times.

The biggest concern for editors (as well as the readers) were the authors who had conflicts of interest or authors whose misconduct concerned medical treatments.

Packing Up The Books Bring In The Computers

In the July Chronicle of Higher Education the article by Katherine S. Mangan, "Packing Up the Books: U. of Texas becomes the latest institution to clear out a main library to make room for computers" details dramatic changes occurring at the library. "Nearly all of the 90,000 volumes contained in the undergraduate library are being carted off this summer to other libraries on the campus to make room for an 'information commons' -- a growing trend at colleges and universities around the country."

The idea is to create an information center where students meet in groups, download digital information (just like they can at their dorms), have tech support, rent lap tops, and perhaps bring lap tops in for repair. Critics complain that the days of scholars could wandering and browsing the stacks to find interesting books might be coming to an end.

What is interesting is the The Chronicle asks the question:
"Colleges are increasingly clearing books and journals out of their libraries to make room for information commonsi -- digital information centers stocked with computers, technical-help desks, comfortable chairs, and even coffee shops. Do digital libraries, as their fans suggest, help students take a more active role in learning? Is anything wrong with moving books off-site as long as they can still be obtained digitally or overnight through interlibrary loan? Or are librarians too quick to embrace a passing fad?"

My thoughts:
I don't think we are in the midst of a passing fad. I have no problem dedicating a portion of the library to an online information commons. I think the idea of having tech support and lap top repair is brilliant. Why should students to their research at one place (library) and create their presentations elsewhere (dorms or computer lab)?
However, I do have concerns about transforming almost the whole library into the information commons. 90,000 books is A LOT of books, only 1,000 reference books will remain. While there is a great deal of information online, sometimes the best information isn't available online, it is only in the printed word.

The big question is who is going to teach these students about information retrieval and evaluation. How will the students know that Google is not the answer to everything? How will students know what databases to search to find those online articles? Finally how will students know when they really need to get something from the storage area because it won't be available full text online?

Libraries, colleges, and hospitals give their users a lot of credit and assume these users were "born" with the skills. I can't tell you how many meetings I have attended where the administration described the new crop of medical students as being really tech savvy, so much so that they won't need Medline searching classes or information evaluation classes. When the new crop comes in I am then inundated with teachers frustrated that their students are finding all their information on Google or Wikipedia!
Additionally people are lazy. How many medical students and doctors have you dealt with who just wanted a few quick full text articles? What about some of the articles that aren't available online? Are patrons going to wait around to get their ILL book or they just going to find the next best online article that might sort of answer the question? Do we need another instance similar to the death at Johns Hopkins' before our patrons realize that their is valid and necessary information not on the Internet?

I have no problem removing some books and creating an information commons area, but not at the expense of 90,000 books. To eliminate books completely is to almost give them no importance at all.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Blogs as Instructional Tools in Libraries - A Survey

Library Stuff mention librarians Lani Draper & Priscilla Coulter who are conducting a blog survey:
"The purpose of this survey is to find out how librarians are using weblogs (blogs) to interact with and teach library users. The results will be presented at the Off-Campus Library Services Conference in Savannah, GA in April 2006. Your participation is greatly appreciated."
(link via Digital Divide)

If you are using a blog to interact with your users I highly encourage you to take part in the survey. It would be interested to get some medical library bloggers in the mix.

**Warning Shameless Plug**
I recently just submitted an article to the Journal of Hospital Librarianship, "The Use of Blogs in Medical Libraries" and it is scheduled to be published in Vol 6 No 1 beginning of 2006.

The article looks at how medial libraries/librarians are using blogs to inform their users (other librarians or patrons). While researching this paper I was surprised to discover that there are very few medical libraries who are using blogs for more than just a news alert on their web page. There are a lot of untapped areas where medical library blogs could be used including but not limited to: replacing the reference desk binder and medical student's PBL instruction.

You are bounded only by your imagination. I will be interesting to see the Draper and Coulter's survey results, because maybe we can get some ideas from it.

Worldwide Readiness for Open Access Mandate

From the Serialst mailing list:

New international study demonstrates worldwide readiness for Open Access
A wide-ranging new international study across all disciplines has found that over 80 per cent of academic researchers the world over would willingly comply with a mandate to deposit copies of their articles in an institutional repository.

The findings of the study, carried out by Key Perspectives Ltd, for the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the UK, have been greeted by Southampton's Professor Stevan Harnad as 'a historic turning point in the worldwide research community's progress towards 100 per cent Open Access'. The new results are being reported this week at the International Conference on Policies and Strategies for Open Access to Scientific Information in Beijing, China (22-24 June 2005) by Dr Alma Swan of Key Perspectives, along with new findings from Dr Les Carr, of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, the only UK university that already has a self-archiving mandate. Southampton is a leader in the
worldwide Open Access movement.

The international, cross-disciplinary study on Open Access had 1296 respondents. The main findings are:
  • The vast majority of authors (81 per cent) would comply willingly with a mandate from their employer or research funder to deposit copies of their articles in an institutional or subject-based repository; a further 14 per cent would comply reluctantly, and only 5 per cent would not comply (highest willingness, US: 88 per cent; UK: 83 per cent; lowest, China: 58 per cent).
  • 49 per cent of respondents had already self-archived at least one article in the previous three years
  • 31 per cent of respondents were not yet aware of the possibilities of self-archiving
  • Use of institutional repositories for self-archiving had doubled since the first survey (2004) ; the University of Southampton has the highest rate of self-archiving in the UK
  • Only 20 per cent of authors who self-archived reported any degree of difficulty in self-archiving, and this dropped to 9 per cent with subsequent experience. Les Carr's analyses of Southampton web-logs show that it takes 10 minutes for the first paper, and even less for subsequent papers.
  • Self-archiving is done the most by those researchers who publish the most papers
  • Researchers' primary purpose in publishing is to have an impact on their fields (i.e., to be read, used, built upon, and cited)

In a separate exercise the American Physical Society (APS) and the Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd (IOPP) were asked about their experiences over the last 14 years of existence of arXiv (the open e-print archive which has over 300,000 physics papers deposited). Both publishers said that they could not identify any loss of subscriptions due to arXiv, did not view it as a threat to their own publishing activities and indeed encouraged it. 'These results are hugely important,' said Stevan Harnad, 'and will be highly influential. Currently only 15 per cent of articles are being self-archived worldwide, but we can see from the survey that the overwhelming majority of academic authors everywhere would willingly self-archive if they were asked to do so. The results are already confirmed by the 90% self-archiving rate at Southampton, the first institution to adopt a self-archiving mandate, and by CERN, the world's biggest institution to adopt a self-archiving mandate, with likewise over 90% self-archiving.


For more information and links go to the original post on SERIALST Archives.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Web Site On Risks of Importing Prescription Drugs...From the Drug Companies?

Here is a perfect example of how a web site's producer creates questions to its credibility. Would I trust the information in this site if it were from an health organization unaffiliated with drug companies or from the government? Perhaps.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) launched an online research clearinghouse so patients and consumers can learn from expert opinions on the dangers associated with importing medicines.

"This site will help people understand the wide scope and depth of information that demonstrates importing prescription drugs outside of the FDA delivery system puts patients at risk. It also points patients to safe, legal alternatives to importation if they need help with their prescription drugs," said Billy Tauzin, president and CEO of PhRMA.

The web site also points visitors to various federal and state assistance programs and the pharmaceutical industry's recently formed Partnership for Prescription Assistance ( or 1-888-4PPA-NOW), which matches those in need to programs that provide medicines for free or at reduced costs.

I have a real problem with this site. It is produced by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) who have a VERY BIG vested interest in keeping American prescription dollars in America. Just the relationship alone makes me seriously question the underlying motives of this site. Do they paint a true picture of the problems or are they only presenting one side? What also bothers me is that this site's URL ends with a .info. Will users know this is from a commercial entity that represents the drug companies despite the fact that this site's URL does not end with the typical .com? I hope.

I just feel that getting your information from this source is like getting information about contraindication and Vioxx from Merck.

HIPPA Legislation in Searchable Database

(Courtesy of ResourceShelf)

HIPPASource: askSam
Now Available: HIPAA Legislation in Searchable askSam Database
Another searchable database from askSam. Free. "The text from HIPAA is available in a searchable, hypertext-linked askSam database. The individual sections of the legislation are divided into separate documents in the database. This allows you to easily locate sections pertaining to specific topics."

Open Access Journals and Impact Factors

Librarians' Rx just posted regarding BioMed Central and the recent ISI impact factors for BMC journals.
According to the BioMed Central press release five BMC journals have impact factors that make them among the top five journals in their specialty. The impact factors, which are calculated by ISI, look at citations in 2004 of articles published in the journals in the period 2002-2003.

Some notable titles and impact factors:
  • BMC Bioinformatics - Launched in 2000, it has an impact factor 5.42 making it the second highest ranked bioinformatics journal. It already has an impact factor "comparable to that of Bioinformatics (5.74), the most established journal in the field, which has been publishing for more than two decades and is supported by a major society."
  • BMC Genomics - It has an impact factor of 3.25 ranking it in the top third of the genetics titles, and the top 20% of biotechnology journals.
  • Critical Care - The impact factor jumped from 1.9 to 3.21, is now third most cited journal (above the journal Intensive Care Medicine) in the Critical Care medicine field.
  • Breast Cancer Research - It increased it's impact factor from 2.93 to 2.98 and remains the second highest ranking breast cancer journal.
  • Arthritis Research & Therapy - It has an impact factor of 4.55 and maintains its rank of second in the rheumatology field.
  • Respiratory Research - It has an impact factor of 4.03, establishing it as the fifth most cited journal in the "highly competitive respirology field."

This affirms that open access journals can be high quality, widely read, cited, and respected by researchers as the place for authors to submit their research. According to Dr Matthew Cockerill, Director of Operations at BioMed Central, "These latest impact factors show that BioMed Central's Open Access journals have joined the mainstream of science publishing, and can compete with traditional journals on their own terms. The impact factors also demonstrate one of the key benefits that Open Access offers authors: high visibility and, as a result, a high rate of citation."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Consumer Health Web Sites Web Chat

Sadly I did not know about this until after the fact.

Internet columnist for the Washington Post, Leslie Walker, conducted an internet discussion on consumer health web sites.

It is a little disappointing that there was not a librarian with Walker to co-host the discussion.

However, there was one librarian out there who reminded Walker of MedlinePlus and to encourage patrons to use their libraries. Thank you Lincoln, R.I!

Link to the transcript: is a new portal for finding health information. It is the health component of the popular search engine called, "the mother of all search engines."

According to Brian Livingston, in Attack of the Health Portals (June 21, 2005) the site just launched yesterday and in the article, Nicole Festa, p.r. representative, says it "has harnessed the power of the Deep Web by hand-picking the most relevant medical sources for credible health information and crawling deep into the content these sites provide. You can simply type in the word diabetes and instantly get back credible information, not disorganized results leading you to sites trying to sell you pharmaceuticals or information from dubious sources."

Huh well a statement like that just begs me to try this thing out to see if it actually delivers what the public relations people say it will.

Well, I am not all that impressed. Yeah, If you type in "diabetes" you get a nice pretty page with some answers about what causes it, treatment, symptoms, and FAQs. But if you type in other terms such as "HIV", "SARS", or a somewhat technical term the results are less than stellar. In the article Conquering the deep Web? by Dan Farber on ZDNET, "search results for topics like 'poison oak,' 'acid reflux' or 'HIV' weren't that much more useful than what I got at Yahoo or Google, which index some of the same sites as However, Yahoo and Google present more content from drug companies." Farber also mentions that it is unclear as to what "deep web" sites is searching. One thing I notice is that there is no consistency between similar terms. For example I searched for "heart attack" and got a the familiar pretty info page that I got with diabetes. But, when I searched for "myocardial infarction" I got different results. There was no definition for "myocardial infarction" nor was there information for causes or symptoms. The search term "heart attack" also produced lovely illustrations (courtesy of Medline Plus) on the results page, however "myocardial infarction" had no pictures.

As you can see from the two examples, the search results were quite different.
See "heart attack" search example.
See "mycardial infarction" search example.

One might say that this is more of a consumer health search engine and consumers are not going to search for things using the same terms that medical professionals would use. I would say BAH!

So if you patients are looking for health information, is not the place to go.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Sirsi and Dynix Merge

According to Today's News in Library Journal (June 21, 2005), announced this morning that the two companies will merge. SirsiDynix will be the largest ILS vendor and will continue full development and support of both Sirsi’s Unicorn and Dynix’s Horizon 8.x/Corinthian. They are conducting a technology review and by the fourth quarter of 2005 they will have made all product decisions, including a clear migration path for all our customers on both platforms.

For more information from Library Journal:

SirsiDynix new site

User Indexing of Medical Articles...Tagging in HubMed

In two recent blogs Freestyle Tagging and Metadata for Masses I mentioned how the process of regular users tagging internet sites to categorize them for easier retrieval. Two sites and Flickr are popular tagging sites.

Well guess what. It was only a matter of time but regular users are now able to tag PubMed records through HubMed. HubMed's Tag Storage has incorporated tags for items of interest which can be shared in a folksonomy. According to the Library Clips blog it is "like having a version of specified and incorporated into a journal database."

According to Library Clips you can search by MeSH subject terms or by the folksonomy user-defined terms…take your pick.

Interesting, I would really like to see how this works and how users would use it. The strongest way to search for Medline records is to use the MeSH. There is a lot of potential for problems if your users abandon MeSH and just search using their own terms. Heck isn't that what a lot of them are already doing on PubMed. At least PubMed tries to out think them by automatically attempting to map it to the MeSH. However HubMed appears not to be that sophisticated in that it will automatically include possible MeSH terms with the folksonomy.

However, There are times when MeSH fails us (for new cutting edge terms, drugs, and procedures). NLM does a good job introducing new terms and freshening up or clarifying older ones, but there are times when you need to combine a key word search with your MeSH search. Looking on the bright side, perhaps this could be another way to find those unique articles for which the MeSH indexing doesn't quite always work. If HubMed Tag can search both the folksonomy and the MeSH simultaneosly or allow you to combine the two types of searches (comebine a folksonomy search with a MeSH search), then you could have a potentially powerful tool.

For more information on tagging in HubMed look at Library Clips.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Library Marketing

The June issue of Marketing Treasures, (free library marketing newsletter) has been published.

Slogans & Taglines. There is A Difference! -Defines the difference between the two and briefly explains how you can use them in your library.

What is a Clickthrough Rate? -Defining what a clickthrough rate is and how you would use it to evaluate your library's promotion links embedded in the web page.

RSS Feeds in the Promotion Mix - Breifly describes how RSS feeds can be used to keep your users aware of current events and library news.

MLA Library Marketing SIG Brief - Information from Library Marketin SIG at the MLA annual conference.

Ogden Farmer's Library Cards -Ogden Farmer's Library's experience with selling playing cards as a marketing and fundraising tool.

PR & Publicity Awards Deadline -July 22, 2005 is the deadline and more information.

Golden Opportunities -Upcoming workshops/presentations on marketing topics

Subject Specialist Wanted

(originally posted on Medlib) go to Medlib archives for complete email.

Doody Enterprises is seeking qualified collection development specialists OR subject specialists from the health sciences library community to serve as final selectors of essential titles for Doody's Core Titles in the Health Sciences 2005 (DCT 2005), the second edition of this collection development resource created in the wake of the discontinuation of the Brandon / Hill Select Lists.

More than 80 librarians worked on DCT 2004, selecting and scoring titles in 119 health sciences specialties, and most will work on DCT 2005. Doody Enterprises would like to recruit additional librarians for the new edition, to ensure maximum coverage of the specialties.

Interested? Please e-mail Anne Hennessy ([email protected]) with your contact information and the specialties in which you are interested.

Using Ebay to Weed

By now we are all familiar with theives stealing expensive medical books and selling on Ebay. There are countless anecdotes of these occurances. But there seems to be little on using Ebay to help your library. But I just read an article where public library volunteers began selling collectible books (weeded from the library collection) on ebay.

Volunteers aid library with eBay book sales
Of $62,500 donated in February by a support group, $3,500 came from online sales.
June 20, 2005

"The committee began selling books online in 2000, when McKinin noticed some of the donated books were worth much more than Friends were able to sell them for at their weekly, monthly and quarterly book sales.
'It occurred to me we might make more money on some of them, and eBay seemed the most viable agency,' she said."

If you library is anything like mine, you weed your books by either throwing them in the trash or setting them on the "Never Ending Book Sale" cart in hopes that somebody will want it for the bargain price of $1.

Here is an interesting way of possibly getting a little more bang for you buck.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Physician-Medical Librarian Collaboration Survey

Here is an interesting survey. I look forward to reading the results.

"Medical librarians have long provided information services to physicians: online searching, instruction, collection development and interlibrary loans. Today, these librarians often work out of the library in patient care areas, as integrated members of the educational, research or clinical care teams. There are numerous studies on the impact of information services; however, fewer investigations have examined the function of librarians in these new roles."

The survey is part of a multi-site study conducted by investigators from The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, University of Connecticut and New York University. They seek to assess collaborations and barriers to collaboration between physicians and medical librarians. The study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and your responses will be kept confidential and reported anonymously.

The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.

Google and Yahoo Search Engine News

This two items have been batted around the blogosphere and I thought it necessary to mention them and give my .2 cents.

Slashdot referneces and article from which looked at Google's recently filed a US patent which revealed a great deal about their mysterious page ranking system. Google does their best to eliminate spam from their search results. If a site is new (less than one year old) it will be ranked lower than sites who have been exsistance longer. This information is important on how legitamate sites fare in Google's ranking system.
I think this information is important to read for anybody doing Internet searching. As I learned in library school, if you can think like the indexers you have a better chance at retrieving your information. So, if you think like the Google, you have a better chance of discovering that hard to fine necessary site.

Yahoo is attempting to dive into the deep end, of the web that is. ZDNET has article on Yahoo's effort to allow users to search for information contained within subscription-based Web sites. All librarians know that there is a wealth of information available online that search engines just don't index. It is commonly called the deep web, and subscription based sites are a part of the deep web. Well Yahoo Search Subscriptions will allow searchers to access to seven different subscription Web sites simultaneously: the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal Online,,, The New England Journal of Medicine, Forrester Research, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Soon to be added are: LexisNexis, Factiva and the Association of Computing Machinery.

Don't jump grab your scuba outfit just yet. Before you dive in you must have a subscription to the above databases/sites to access the information.

Add Resources to MLA CORE and Win!

The recent MLA FOCUS (MAy 26, 2005) details an opportunity for librarains to add their resources to CORE and for a chance to win a free MLA Publication. You must add your materials to MLA's Center of Research and Education (CORE) before July 1 to be entered to win.
CORE is an electronic repository of educational materials developed by MLA members. Members can to easily share teaching materials and modules, to help support library instruction in all types of health sciences libraries, and to encourage collaboration.

Go to and select "Add a CORE Resource in the Toolkit" under CORE Content. For more information about CORE, contact Connie Schardt, AHIP.

Managing Electronic Resources Seminar -London

Librarians overseas might be interested to know of an Managing Electronic Resources Seminar in London September 9, 2005.

"Managing electronic resources is already a challenging issue for librarians, as it is for the other participants in the information chain – intermediaries and publishers. If solutions are to emerge that will enable e-resources to be used to their full potential, cut the administration costs and widen the market, then it is essential that all parties engage in open discussion to try and learn from current best practice so as to shape the services of tomorrow. This seminar brings together those with the experience and understanding of the issues and potential solutions to help disseminate best practice and to answer your specific questions."

Full details of the program:

PubChem and ACS...More News

The Chronical of Higher Education and MLA Focus both have articles regarding the ACS PubChem controversy.

American Chemical Society Lobbies Against a Free NIH Database That It Sees as a Competitor
Chronicle of higher Education
16 June 2005

Brief Excerpt:

A bitter squabble over alleged duplication has intensified in recent weeks, as Congress considers whether to cut money appropriated for PubChem. The possibility of such a cut alarms many scientists, who see PubChem as a valuable new resource.

The chemical society argues that PubChem contains at least eight or nine data fields that mimic those in its own database, including a number that the society assigns to each molecule as a unique identifier. "Our major concern has been that PubChem, from its initial launch, appeared to be moving in the direction of complete and total duplication of the CAS Registry," said Madeleine Jacobs, the society's executive director.

MLA Addresses PubChem Issue
(not free)

Breif Excerpt:

MLA expressed support for PubChem in its May 26 letter to Representative Ralph Regula (R-OH), chair of the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

MLA supports NIH's belief that PubChem and the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) databases are complementary and not duplicative and that CAS-a valuable resource for chemists-could be a valuable resource for biomedical researchers who currently do not focus on the information organized in CAS.

In a previous blog (June 13, 2005) I referenced an article that mentions the House does not ask the agency (NIH) to restrict the scope of the database (PubChem), but instead "urges NIH to work withprivate sector providers to avoid unnecessary duplication and competitionwith private sector chemical databases." According the article supporters of PubChem see the language in the House as a victory for NIH.
Even though it appears to be a victory, we all know how government officials can change their mind and I would be cautious and still continue to support PubChem.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Doody's Core Titles in the Health Sciences

I was looking at my blog stats and I noticed that I have recently been getting a lot of hits on my blog about Doody's Core Titles in the Health Sciences. I suspect that people are now looking for reviews or further information about it, not just information that it exists which is what I blogged about earlier.

Reviews of Doody's Core Titles in Health Sciences: (updated June 29, 2005)
Review of Doody's Core Titles in the Health Sciences 2004 (DCT 2004)
Mark A Spasser
Biomedical Digital Libraries 2005, 2:5 doi:10.1186/1742-5581-2-5

Two Medlib archived emails which summarize opinions on Doody's CT in Health Sciences.

I hope this helps some people.

Virtual Reference at Johns Hopkins

Peter Scott's Library Blog mentions that William H. Welch Medical Library, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has a newly-developed Virtual Reference Application which allows librarians and patrons to interact with one another in real time. Features include chatting, co-browsing, and document sharing. Welch Medical Library invites you to help beta test the product. Their goal is to develop a solid, open-source virtual reference application that can be freely distributed to other libraries.

I have provided virtual reference briefly at my previous position. I think of the problems I encountered most was the program had some issues with firewalls. The program worked but sometimes certain things like co-browing just never quite worked correctly. I look forward to Hopkins product, hopefully it will handle firewalls a little better.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

RSS Feed From PubMed...Information and How To

You can get your RSS Feeds from PubMed.

What is RSS? RSS is commonly used protocol for syndicating and sharing of content. It was originally developed to syndicate news articles, however it is now widely used to share the contents of websites such as blogs, news sites, journal publishers, etc. Think of the protocol for making the news ticker at the bottom of CSPAN go across the bottom of your screen.

People subscribe to feed readers/aggregators, to view their RSS feeds.

What is a feed reader/aggregator? It is a program (sometimes free or pay subscription) that you subscribe to. You subscribe to the reader and then add web sites such as blogs, news alerts, technology trends, medical news, etc. for that reader to monitor. Every time there is a new post or update to the monitored sites, your reader collects it and allows you to read the multiple updates/feeds from all of your monitored sights.

So unlike the CSPAN ticker it is not scrolling at the bottom of your screen, but the aggregator/reader allows you to do one stop monitoring/shopping of your important news and information sites.

You can now get feeds from PubMed. Why is this important? You can set up current awareness searches and new results will be displayed in your reader/aggregator. I think this might be a good way to monitor multiple journals for updates and table of contents. Many journals already offer table of content services to be emailed to you directly from their web site. However, if you are interested in monitoring more than one journal (as most of us are) then you have to go to each journal site and subscribe to them. Not only is this time consuming, but if you change emails you have to change it with multiple journals and distributing your email to multiple journal publishers just opens you up for more spam. So, using PubMed RSS feeds might be the solution to subscribing to multiple email updates.

I am currently testing PubMed's RSS feed service. I am testing to see how it does for Table of Content information. I have subscribed to NEJM's TOC service which will be emailed to me, and I created and RSS feed in PubMed to monitor NEJM. I will see soon enough how the two compare.
I have also set up a current awareness search as an RSS feed and I will see how that plays out as well.

So with all this talking about RSS feeds and PubMed, here is how you actually do it.

How to set up feeds from a particular journal:
  1. Go to PubMed
  2. Click the "Limits" tab
  3. In the "ALL Fields" drop-down menu, select "Journal"
  4. Type the name of the journal in the top PubMed search box
  5. Click "Go"
  6. Click on the "Send to" box and select "RSS feed"
  7. It will take you a preference page, select as the number of items in the feed, the default is 15 you might want it to be more.
  8. Click "Create Feed"
  9. Open a second browser session and go to your RSS aggregator
  10. Login to your aggregator and either drop add that feed to your aggregator

Each aggregator has their own unique ways to add feeds. Some aggregators you can drag and drop the XML button into the aggregator program. Others require you to click on the XML button copy the XML/RSS URL and paste it into your aggregator. I use Bloglines,
so I click on the PubMed XML button copy the URL. I go to Bloglines, so I go under the My Feeds tab and I click Add. I paste the XML/RSS URL into the "Blog or Feed URL" box and click subscribe. Voila it is added to my feeds.

As I said earlier, I have also added a current awareness search to my RSS feed. I have a current awareness search already in My NCBI which is emailed to me. So I didn't have create a search by scratch, I simply clicked on my search to display the results. From there I repeated steps 6-10.

I will see how my journal feeds and my current awareness search feeds compare with what is usually emailed to me. I will keep you informed. If this works nicely, it would be another alternative to receiving information.

HLS/MLA Professional Development Grant

The HLS/MLA Professional Development Grant,

Hospital and clinical librarians: Are you seeking funding to attend a meeting, further your professional education or conduct research? The HLS/MLA Professional Development Grant is intended to encourage participation in professional programs or to support reimbursement for expenses incurred in conducting scientific research; to aid librarians working in hospitals and other clinical care settings to develop and acquire knowledge and skills as described in Platform for Change (MLA's Educational Policy Statement) and Using Scientific Evidence to Improve Information Practice (MLA's Research Policy Statement).

The deadline for the next grant award is August 1, 2005.
For further information and an application, contact Lisa Fried at (312) 419-9094, Ext 28, or email at [email protected]

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Can Your Blog Talk?

Depending on the scope of your blog and your audience you may be seriously interested in getting your blog converted to audio. Autocast is a free open-sourced program that creates mp3 audio files from your blog.

Why on earth would this be helpful for medical librarians? Well are you a consumer health librarian who has a consumer health information blog? There are many seeing impared people (blind, elderly, macular degeneration, etc.) who need and seek access to health information. What about blind librarians? They would want to know the most current information and helpful resources.

Blind Chance: David Faucheux's Audio Web Log is a blind librarian who provides other librarians with an inside look at the world of the blind. All librarians, web designers, and accessiblity experts should take note and listen to Yahoo, Part I: An Audio Maze for Blind?, Yahoo, Part II: Beyond the Maze, Lesson for Librarians: 'You know about biology, I know about being blind', and 'Blind like me': Try Web surfing with accessibility software and a blindfold.

He is also a authored Is There a Place for Us? Toward the Full Inclusion of Blind and Other Librarians with Disabilities, Interface Magazine Volume 25, Number 1, 2003.

Register for the 2005 Midwest Chapter Medical Library Association Conference

Conference website:
Where: Fargo, North Dakota
When: September 16-20, 2005.

You can now register online for the conference or print out the PDF form and mail it in. The preliminary program will not be mailed. Instead the preliminary program is now available as a PDF which will allow information to be posted as conference plans develop.
The PDF preliminary program will be placed on the chapter conference website shortly.

A Legal Guide for Bloggers

As you may know there have been some very high profile bloggers who have lost their jobs as a result of their blogs. Mark Jen was fired from Google after blogging about life at the company, and a Delta Air Lines flight attendant was fired after posting photos of herself in uniform on her blog. While I don't know of any librarians who have been fired specifically for blogging, Cheryl LaGuardia and Ed Tallent in Interviewing: Beware Blogging Blunders writes how your public blog can hurt you in job interviews.

Blogger's rights is a controversial topic. We are not journalists so we are not afforded the same professional protection as they are. Clare Leibfarth forwarded a link to me, EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers. It is a "basic roadmap" to the legal issues you may confront as a blogger.

Google Scholar and Open URL Resolvers

Let's face it, many of our users use Google to do their research. Is it right? Not always. User education can help, but their is no physical way that we can reach all of our users needs 24/7. Linking through Google Scholar has some real potential at reaching those users that we miss, that is why I am always interested when people are talking about using open URL resolvers with Google Scholar.

The Library Web Chic has done some research and has written about some concerns and provided links to a couple of good blogs who have looked into linking in Google.

It is interesting to see what others are doing with various resolver products. This is a new and potentially exciting area. If done well I can see where our users might be more aware of our presence and resources than before.

Monday, June 13, 2005

U. S. House Subcommittee on PubChem

This was found from Liblicense and the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

House Approves 0.5% Raise for NIH
by Jocelyn Kaiser
Science Magazine, June 10, 2005 (not free).

"The House subcommittee also appears to have sided with NIH in its fight
with the American Chemical Society (ACS) over PubChem, a new NIH database
holding data on biologically active chemicals. ACS contends that PubChem
duplicates its own subscription-based chemical database. This spring, the
ACS attempted to persuade NIH to scale back its efforts (Science, 6 May
2005, p. 774) and took its case to subcommittee chair Ralph Regula (R-OH),
whose state is home to the headquarters of the ACS database.
In the end, a report accompanying the House bill does not ask the agency
to restrict the scope of the database, but instead 'urges NIH to work with
private sector providers to avoid unnecessary duplication and competition
with private sector chemical databases.' Supporters of PubChem see the
House language as a victory for NIH."

Full Text Journals...Convenience or Compromise

If you are subscribed to the Medlib listserv you have seen the recent chatter about shifting to only ejournals and print vs. online discussions.

Here is another article:
Electronic Full-Text Journal Articles: Convenience or Compromise
By Kathleen E. Joswick, Reference Librarian,
Leslie F. Malpass Library, Western Illinois University
T.H.E. Journal
June 2005 Web Exclusive

It is another article that looks at the promises and pitfalls of online articles. Not only are the issues of aggregators and permanence discussed, but so are patron searching patterns, the Internet, and the over abundance of information. It is not written from a medical library perspective, however it nicely illustrates all the same issue we face too.

IEEE Biomedical Library - Ovid's Resource of the Month

I had meant to blog about this earlier and it slipped my mind. Thankfully Peter Scott's Library Blog reminded me.

Ovid's resource of the month is IEEE Biomedical Library. You can use this database for FREE through the rest of June.

"The IEEE Biomedical Library is a unique offering of select full text biomedical engineering, biotechnology and biomedicine documents. Totaling over 40,000 documents from both IEEE and the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE), the content is drawn from 130+ journals and periodicals, more than 350 conferences, and standards published by the IEEE since 1988."

Try it now on Ovid!

Learn more about IEEE Biomedical Library from Ovid.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Elsevier Trying to Mend Fences with Libraries

Elsevier seeks to build bridges
New era of co-operation called for by STM publisher
Information World Review
By Mark Chillingworth--> 10 Jun 2005

Very short article about how the new director of library relations at Elsevier, Tony McSean, admitts they need to repair relations with librarians and is seeking to do that.

It is not much of an article but it is interesting that perhaps somebody in the publishing world is waking up.

End Results Part Two

I wanted to expand a little more on my previous blog about the determining what becomes of your research. I received an interesting email from somebody asking about the whole confidentiality issue. The MLA Code of ethics says, "the health sciences librarian respects the privacy of clients and protects the confidentiality of the client relationship."

So the question is: How does one find out and document what becomes of their research while maintaining your patron's confidentiality? How do you collect the data without attaching any identity to the information?

Just some questions to kick about.

DOCLINE Presentation from MLA 2005

Dragonfly posted that the DOCLINE presentation given during the NLM Online Users Update Sunrise Seminar at MLA 2005 is now available.
It highlights the past year accomplishments outlines future plans, including the ability to request more than one delivery method, to search serial holdings by delivery method, and routing by library group.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Open Access and Authors Self Archiving

(from Serialst)
Swan, Alma and Brown, Sheridan (2005)
Open access self-archiving: An author study.
Technical Report, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC),
UK FE and HE funding councils.

ISC's Scholarly Communications Group commissioned Key Perspectives Ltd
to undertake an author study on open access to determine the current
state of play with respect to author self-archiving behavior.

Excerpts from Executive Summary

"This, our second author international, cross-disciplinary
study on open access had 1296 respondents. Its focus was on

"Almost half (49%) of the respondent population have self-archived at
least one article during the last three years. Use of institutional
repositories for this purpose has doubled and usage has increased by
almost 60% for subject-based repositories. Self-archiving activity
is greatest amongst those who publish the largest number of papers."

"There is still a substantial proportion of authors unaware
of the possibility of providing open access to their work by
self-archiving. Of the authors who have not yet self-archived any
articles, 71% remain unaware of the option. With 49% of the author
population having self-archived in some way, this means that 36%
of the total author population (71% of the remaining 51%), has not
yet been appraised of this way of providing open access."

"Authors have frequently expressed reluctance to self-archive because
of the perceived time required and possible technical difficulties
in carrying out this activity, yet findings here show that only 20%
of authors found some degree of difficulty with the first act of
depositing an article in a repository, and that this dropped to 9%
for subsequent deposits."

"Another author worry is about infringing agreed copyright agreements
with publishers, yet only 10% of authors currently know of the
SHERPA/RoMEO list of publisher permissions policies with respect to
self-archiving, where clear guidance as to what a publisher permits
is provided. Where it is not known if permission is required, however,
authors are not seeking it and are self-archiving without it."

"Communicating their results to peers remains the primary reason for
scholars publishing their work; in other words, researchers publish
to have an impact on their field."

"The vast majority of authors (81%) would willingly comply with a
mandate from their employer or research funder to deposit copies of
their articles in an institutional or subject-based repository. A
further 13% would comply reluctantly; 5% would not comply with such
a mandate."

End Results

What becomes of your research? Yes we all know that it is used for journal articles, patient care, patient education, department guides, etc. But do you know specifically that you provided research that led to 10 journal articles, 5 departmental guidelines, 42 patient care treatments in one year? Probably not.

You see a non-library friend had mentioned that I should start tracking what actually becomes of my research and hard work. It got me thinking. Librarians track the number of articles they copy, they track the number of ILLs, the number of books that get check out, etc. While those are great examples of hard data, what does it mean to the library administrator? Not much. All those statistics show is that people are indeed using the library, but it doesn't show how that use can benefit the hospital.

So, I am attempting to develop a way to track what happens to my research, not only for my curiosity, but to use whenever I need to justify my library and its resources.

My question:
Do you track this information, if so how?

Academic Journals Open to Change

Academic Journals Open to Change
By Adam L. Penenberg
Story location:,1284,67797,00.html
02:00 AM Jun. 09, 2005 PT

An interesting article in Wired today about the Michael Eisen, co-founder of PLoS and his idea for an online system connecting raw data to existing research producing a multiplier effect to scientific progress and information. It was when he tried to create such a system that he discovered that the publisher's own the scientific articles, preventing him from using those articles. Thus began PLoS.

It is a quick read and kind of interesting for those interested in open access.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Health Education Assets Library (HEAL) and International Virtual Medical School (IVIMEDS)

I read on Medlib this morning:
"IVIMEDS and HEAL Collaborate to Improve Access to Digital Medical Education
The International Virtual Medical School (IVIMEDS) and the Health Education Assets Library (HEAL) have announced the start of a close collaboration. The two not-for-profit organizations will make portions of their holdings available to each other using Web Services with an interoperable metadata application profile. Once these Web Services are in place, HEAL users will be able to discover resources assembled or created by IVIMEDS, such as its collection of virtual patients and shareable content objects (SCOs). Conversely, IVIMEDS users can find and retrieve assets assembled by HEAL, including 20,000 images, animations, and videoclips."

I decided to check out HEAL and IVIMEDS.

Health Education Assets Library (HEAL)

HEAL is a digital library that provides freely accessible digital teaching resources (images, videoclips, audioclips, animations, web pages, presentations, PDFs). It was established in 2000 as a joint effort of three health sciences institutions in the United States: the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the University of Utah Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Heal is free, but users must register to use it. Currently there are over 19,000 resources within HEAL which you can conduct a search or browse by subject or by collection. Some areas covered are dermatology, ObGyn, neuroanatomy, neurology, pathology, biochemistry, cardiology, and multi language patient education information. Quick search or advanced search are probably the easiest and best ways to search the collection. Browse by subject allows the user to browse the database by MeSH terms. However, not all items in the database have MeSH terms assigned therefore these items are not reflected in their Browse view. Browse by collection allows users to browse by the collection contributor, however, browsing by affiliate collection does not reflect those items contributed by individuals.

"HEAL repository/referatory is licensed for free use, reproduction, and modification by registered users of HEAL according to the terms of the Creative Commons license associated with that resource. See the Detailed View for that resource, or refer to the XML manifest that is downloaded with the resource via the Download Folder. You do not need to request permission to use the resource in the licensed manner. To request additional uses for any resource, outside the bounds of the Creative Commons license, please contact the copyright holder(s) of the resource directly. The copyright holder(s) is/are listed on the Detailed View for each resource. Ownership of the resource remains with the copyright holder(s). "

The International Virtual Medical School (IVIMED)

The IVIMED "is a worldwide partnership of leading edge medical schools and institutions working to develop the full potential of e-learning across the continuum of medical education. The aim of the project is to provide an effective means of sharing digital learning resources among partner institutions."

It is based in Scotland and has 37 partner institutions, including medical schools, postgraduate organisations and other medical education organizations. Currently IVIMEDS partnership is only available to university medical schools and other medical organizations. Membership is not currently available to individual undergraduate students or qualified doctors.

Right now it appears to be still in the planning stages.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More PubChem and ACS

A Cauldron Bubbles: PubChem and the American Chemical Society
by Miriam A. Drake
Information Today Inc.

More happenining on the PubChem and ACS issue. Since ACS and NIH have not been able to resolve their problems, the ACS has decided to got to Congress. The ACS objects to the creation and availability of PubChem which provides information on the biological activities of small molecules.

"The issue likely will be decided in Congress. ACS is working with the governor of Ohio, Robert Taft, and Ralph Regula, R-Ohio. (CAS is based in Columbus, Ohio.) The appeal does not relate to making biomedical information available. ACS is claiming that PubChem will put CAS out of business, resulting in the loss of 1,300 jobs in Columbus. It is doubtful that members of Congress will understand the nature of the issues; it is likely that they will pass some sort of legislation removing PubChem from public access. "

Monday, June 06, 2005

Ovid and Elsevier Partner to Offer EMBiology

Ovid and Elsevier Announce Exclusive Partnership to Offer EMBiology - A New Resource Option for Bioscience Research
Monday June 6, 11:31 am ET

Ovid announced its partnership with Elsevier to offer EMBiology, a new bioscience full text bibliographic database.

EMBiology is going to be marketed as an "affordable resource for small-to-mid-sized academic institutions as well as all pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies interested in extending their biomedical coverage to pure and applied bioscience research."

The database provides coverage on biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology, genetics and biotechnology, cell and developmental biology, plant and animal science, agriculture, food science, ecology and environmental science, and toxicology. It is comprised of more than four million global bibliographic records from 1980-Present. Approximately 250,000 records are added annually, indexing of more than 2,800 active titles including peer-reviewed journals, trade publications and electronic-only journals. EMBiology includes nearly 1,800 unique titles not covered by EMBASE. The database uses two thesauri merged into a single file: EMTREE and a new Organism taxonomy. The Organism vocabulary is "based on the taxonomies of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), and supports searches for species names, genera and taxonomic terms at all levels, just as in EMTREE."

Office Goes XML

This just in from Information Week.
Office Goes XML
Microsoft's next version of application suite will save files in E-mail-friendly format
By Aaron Ricadela, InformationWeek
June 6, 2005

Starting in late 2006 with the release of Office 12, Microsoft Office will no longer use the default save of .doc, .ppt, .xls. Word documents will default save as XML fiels. Users can still save their documents as .doc however they will need to choose the "save as" command to create the old formats of .doc, .ppt, and .xls.

"Microsoft plans to ship a free tool that lets owners of some previous Office versions read Office 12 files and one that reformats large batches of documents." (Huh, I am thinking that this free tool is going to be a royal pain.)

Doctor Blogs

The LA Times has an article today on doctors who are blogging.
The doctor is logged in: What do physicians really think? A new wave of blogs gives the rest of us a glimpse into their world.
By Marianne Szegedy-Maszak
Special to The Times
June 6, 2005

It is an interesting article about how the patrons we serve are expressing themselves using blogs.

The author interviewed several doctor bloggers and provided links to their blog sites:, anonymous , Dr. Craig Hildreth, Dr. Craig Bradley, Dr. Gary Seto , Dr. Nicholas Genes

Friday, June 03, 2005

Innovative Interfaces June 2005 Newsletter

Thanks to The Shifted Librarian for posting a link to Innovative's June 2005 newsletter.

There are quite a few new features profiled in the newsletter, but I am just going to touch on a things that could be interesting for the medical libraries who have III.

Program Registration Module- This is profiled from the public library side of things. But it looks like it could possibly work for a medical or academic library that conducts classes or events. It might be particularly helpful for consumer health center library that host a lot of consumer health seminars and events.

Paying Fines with Ecommerce- There are just as many medical libraries that do charge fines as do not. For those libraries that do charge fines, this feature might help make the task of collecting fines a little quicker and more productive.

Online Digital Repository (Symposia) - Consumer health libraries or medical libraries that hold a lot of original "in house" documents, pamphlets, newsletters, etc. could benefit from Symposia. It is a web based system for collecting, distributing, managing, and preserving digital (electronic) information created by your institution.

Courseware Integration - III is developing product integration between Millennium and Blackboard Inc. courseware. The first aspect of the integration will be to provide links between Blackboard and the library's online catalog, course reserves, and library searching. It is currently in development and is scheduled for general release in late 2005. Many libraries associated with colleges and universities currently using Blackboard should be interested. It is not just medical school libraries, don't forget about nursing school libraries, and other libraries whose colleges offer degrees in health science fields.

AirPAC - A very brief paragraph in this newsletter references a two page article, Taking the OPAC Beyond the Desktop Browser. It details a product (AirPAC) that bring the library's OPAC to mobile phones and PDAs. Helloooo PDAs people! Any hospital library where physicians are using the electronic medical record and using their PDAs should be interested. At the very least this should be on the radar screen for any medical library who has III, because we all know the big EMR push and it will only be a matter of time before healthcare professionals are all toting their handhelds. Get the library into their products!

Innovative's RSS Development - This allows libraries to feed news data directly into news readers or webpages for users to read. The XML feed can them be converted to HTML which can be put into a library customizable page in the Web OPAC. III's 2006LE release will allow customers to convert the feeds to HTML without using third parties and it will allow libraries to generate their own feeds. Patrons will also be able to get RSS messages as part of their My Millennium suite of personalization features. Timely messages such as ‘Materials due tomorrow’ or ‘New item on hold shelf for you’ will let patrons know about their interactions with the library more quickly than ever before.”

So there you have it. I am still working on converting my card catalog to an online catalog so I am very envious off all you librarians who have these new toys available to you. For libraries who do not have III, this is still an interesting read. You can see what the competition is doing and possibly petition your vendor to work on something similar. Obviously there is a demand for it or else Innovative wouldn't be selling it or incorporating it into their product.

RefWorks New Release

Several new enhancements made to the RefWorks new update will include:

Mac Write-N-Cite
RefWorks now features a version of Write-N-Cite for Mac users.

Automated EndNote Library Import

Now you can seamlessly import your EndNote V8 records into RefWorks in a single step, streamlining the data conversion process between EndNote and RefWorks. This new utility reads your EndNote records and adds them to your personal RefWorks database, eliminating the need to export the records from EndNote.

New Reference Types

There are now eight new reference types, including several legal reference types, available in RefWorks: - Grant - Unpublished Material - Online Discussion Forum - Case/Court Decisions - Hearing - Laws/Statutes - Bills/Resolutions - Computer Program

Additional Fields for All Reference Types and Other Changes

In addition to the new types listed above, RefWorks has added the following fields to ALL reference types:
- Sponsoring Library
- Sponsoring Library Location
- Cited References
- Website Title
- Website Editor
- Website Version
- Date of Electronic Publication
Note: Many of these fields are used specifically in bibliographies generated in the MLA style.

Titles of certain reference types have been changed to more accurately reflect the types of data usually stored within them.
- "Book, Chapter" is now "Book, Section"
- "Chapter Title" is now "Section Title"
- "Chapter Number" is now "Section Number"

Health Coverage Database for Uninsured

The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) launched a new web site that provides
"state-by-state information on health coverage options for those who for whatever reason do not have coverage. "

The database contains information about private and public health insurance coverage, qualification criteria, compare state health care coverage reforms, investigate state and federal health care programs, and contact information for enrollment or more information.

The database is broken up in to four components:
  1. Employer-Based Health Insurance Coverage -"Designed for consumers who need more information about what requirements apply to group health insurance coverage, or need to know what their options are if they are about to lose access to their group coverage. It also provides contact information for the state and federal regulators who oversee private group health insurance in America, in case consumers have questions or need to report a problem."
  2. Individual Health Insurance Coverage - "Helps consumers understand how individual insurance is regulated in their area, and it also helps explain the state-specific options available to individual consumers who have serious medical conditions that may preclude them from obtaining traditional coverage. Furthermore, this section contains information about the entities that regulate the individual market, so that consumers can contact them if they have questions or concerns. "
  3. Assistance for Obtaining Health Coverage - "Provides comprehensive information about all of the major federal and state programs to provide coverage assistance to individuals age 65 and under. It includes specifics and contact information for large-scale programs like Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the federal Health Care Tax Credit Program. In addition, this section contains overviews and contacts for the hundreds of smaller state and federal-level and private programs that provide coverage assistance and services to specific populations. This section may be a particularly helpful resource to people with lower incomes who are either uninsured or under-insured, and to people who are looking for either primary care or preventive assistance or help with a serious medical condition, as many of these programs target those groups."
  4. Health Care Coverage Contacts -"Provides consumers with a quick reference list of important health coverage assistance contacts."

In addition there is another section that allows you to focus solely on a specific state, allowing you to see all of the above four information sections unique to that state.

To access the database:

I see this being particularily useful to public librarians and consumer health librarians. Another user population would be a hospital's patient billing and social workers. Healthcare social workers can help get uninsured patients signed up to Medicare or Medicaid.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Family Medicine Digital Resources Library

Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) was awarded a 3-year $400,000 grant by the National Library of Medicine to develop the Family Medicine Digital Resources Library (FMDRL).

It will provide an "administrative and technical framework for the dissemination, review, revision, archiving, and maintenance of presentations, learning modules, quizzes, examinations, simulated clinical cases, and other curricular materials. This library will include curricular materials from all levels of family medicine education. FMDRL is to be primary mechanism used by family medicine educators to share curricular materials—resulting in efficient, effective dissemination of curricular materials nationally and internationally. Efforts will be made to build and maintain a critical mass of content related to the core strategic goals of STFM. The library is being developed with an open standards-based infrastructure, permitting interaction with other digital libraries, such as the Health Education Assets Library. "

More Information:
From the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine

Loansome Doc Demo Video

Sorry this blog entry is a little late today. I am working from home while tending to a sick toddler.

Anyway, I found from the Dragonfly blog that there is a 9 minute Loansome Doc Demo Video at which will give you a peek at what the look and feel of the new Loansome Doc.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Loansome Doc Changes

June 5, 2005, NLM will unveil a totally redesigned Loansome Doc. The new version of Loansome Doc will have an updated appearance, new functionality, and an easier to use interface.

Some changes:
  • Login- The login screen will have a new design and users will be asked to login using their email address.
  • Ordering- The ordering screen will have a new design. Alerts messages will display if users tries to order a citation that is not yet in print or if the user has previously ordered the same citation within the last 40 days. Library holdings and online access column allow users to determine whether the article is available online or in their library.
  • Order Status- Users can check the status of their orders, sort their requests, and email their library with questions regarding their order.
  • My Account- Users can easily update their address and preferences, change libraries, and register with additional libraries.

For more information:

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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: