Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Health Statistics, GlobalHealthFact.org

(from ResourceShelf)
"GlobalHealthFacts.org GlobalHealthFacts.org, a project of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, provides free, up-to-date and easy-to-access data by country on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other key health and socio-economic indicators. The data are displayed in tables, charts, and color-coded maps and can be downloaded for custom analyses. GlobalHealthFacts.org is a companion site to GlobalHealthReporting.org, (April 5, 2005 blog post) a project operated by the Foundation with major support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation."

ProQuest's Evidence Matters

ProQuest announced it is now the exclusive global distributor of Evidence Matters to academic and hospital markets. Evidence Matters is an online subscription service that accesses and synthesizes relevant content and allows clinicians to compare therapies for their patients based on peer-reviewed medical research.

Evidence Matters is available as a stand-alone version accessible via a Web browser and it can also be integrated into an institution’s electronic medical records as a custom project. The price for medical schools it would be based on FTEs, number of affiliated physicians, and funding.

For more information:

or go to ProQuest:

Monday, January 30, 2006

Medical Wiki

By now you are all pretty familiar with wikipedia, well now there is medical wiki site, ganfyd.org. It is a "free medical knowledge base that anyone can read and any registered medical practitioner may edit. Ganfyd is a collaborative medical reference by medical professionals and invited non-medical experts. The site is based around the wiki format, enabling true sharing of knowledge."

GANFYD was initiated by a group of doctors and medical students who use Doctors.net.uk (AKA Ausdoctors.net) to contribute their knowledge and experience to the commonwealth.
Those associated with the site are:

The site appears to be very new, so it is too early to determine what its impact is and how it will be received and used within the medical community. As I mentioned in a previous post (Oct. 3, 2005), "I have serious reservations of a Wiki being a source of medical information. It would be interesting to find a medical wiki site which was organized by reputable health care professionals and see how that works. " Well, here is a wiki organized by health care professionals, and I look forward to see how it plays out. Ganfyd is completely transparent as to who is associated with their site, and posts their disclaimer right at the top of their page. Since many of the things that are learned and discovered in science and medicine are done through collaboration and communication, it will be interesting to see how this site evolves.


OpenDOAR -the Directory of Open Access Respositories- is a "project to list and categorise academic open access research repositories. The aim is to provide a comprehensive and authoritative list of such repositories for end-users who wish to find particular archives or who wish to break down repositories by locale, content or other measures."

There is no single list of open access repositories, OpenDOAR seeks to be a descriptive list of open access respositories, listing and describing their collecitons. However, it is important to remember that OpenDOAR is not search engine to find individual articles held within the repositories. Users are to use OpenDOAR to find the respositories for their particular needs and search within that repository.

OpenDOAR allows the user to search for a specific collection by name or browse by alphabetic listing or subject listing. Currently there are 117 collections listed in OpenDOAR under the Health Sciences subject.

OpenDOAR is a joing collaboration between the University of Nottingham in the UK and Lund University in Sweden. Both institutions are active in open access. Nottingham leads SHERPA which helped establish archives in 20 leading UK research universities and Lund operates the Directory of Open Access Journals (DAOJ)

Open Access to the Digital Medical Athenum

The OA Librarian directs our attention the post, Open Access to the Digital Medical Atheneum -Work in Progress, on the UBC Google Scholar Blog, by Dean Guistini. Guistini says open access to high-quality, digitized versions of the most influential medical books in history is improving, all the time and provides a list to some of these historical medical texts.

New Status Tag for PubMed Citations

(Reprinted from the Jan. 27, 2006 NLM Technical Notes Bulletin)

Author manuscripts for published articles were added to PubMed Central, NIH digital archive of life sciences journal literature, beginning in July 2005 (see article: PubMed® Links to Author Manuscripts in PMC®. NLM Tech Bull. 2005 Jul-Aug;(345):e3.).
A new status tag, [PubMed - author manuscript in PMC], will appear on PubMed citations for articles that would not normally be cited in PubMed because they are from journals that are:
a) not indexed for MEDLINE
b) do not participate in PMC.

This small number of citations can be retrieved using the search: pubstatusnihms. As these citations are processed, the status tag will change as appropriate, with a final designation of [PubMed]. To retrieve all citations in PubMed for which author manuscripts are available in PMC, use the search: author manuscript [sb].

Friday, January 27, 2006

Best Intranets

The Librarian In Black directed me to Nielsen's top ten intranets for 2006. Nielsen lists the companies and the reasons why their intranets are the best.

Medical librarians notice, there is no hospital or healthcare facility listed. :(

Some of the trends for this year's top intrantets were the use of multimedia, e-learning, internal blogs, and mobile access. Most of the winners did not rely on one content management system to create their entire intranet. "Across the ten winning companies, the teams used a total of 54 different products. Clearly, we're far from a consolidated market in which one or two dominant providers offer everything you need. Instead, intranet teams must stitch together their own solutions with multiple parts from multiple vendors. In fact, 40% of the winners had to custom build their own content management systems (CMS)."

Sigh... if only I could have a search box on my library's intranet pages and some customization abilities. Currently I have a better chance winning the lottery than having an internal library blog or multimedia e-learning on my library's intranet

The full report (287-page Intranet Design Annual with 193 screenshots) available for download.

The Last Refuge of the Damned

Whitney of the :31 Librarian is looking at various library scenarios as she begins to look at the future of digital resources. Based off a management planning course, she is creating three scenarios (best, worst, and middle of the road), presenting them on her blog. She has already created the worst case scenario and she is seeking comments and thoughts about it.

It is an interesting excercise and the worst case scenario certainly is grim. I look forward reading others comments and the other scenarios.

Directory of Open Access Journals Hits 2000

(reposted from OA Librarian)
As of January 13, 2006, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) (http://www.doaj.org/) reached a notable milestone, containing 2000 OA journals ("quality controlled scientific and scholarly electronic journals that are freely available on the web"). The growth continues; as of today (January 26, 2006), the DOAJ contains 2009 OA journals, an addition of 9 titles in 13 days.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

New LinkOut Information

(forwarded from GMRLIST)
The new LinkOut homepage provides an easy to use framework to access LinkOut Help, the help manual for LinkOut. The new homepage also contains frequently updated information, like FAQs and provider and journal lists, links to Tutorials, and, for librarians, direct links to tasks in the Library Submission Utility.
LinkOut Help http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=helplinkout.TOC compiles information about using and participating in LinkOut for all user groups in a single, searchable manual. Users can browse LinkOut Help using the tables of contents or search LinkOut Help for a specific topic. The manual is also available in PDF for easy printing.

iTunes U Released

Apple has released iTunes U, which will allow any college or university to set up a customized portion of the iTunes Music Store to distribute course content and other audio and video material. The free service will let institutions limit use of some materials to certain people and make other content available to all.

Universities and colleges must enter into an iTunes U service agreement to be eligible to participate. Participating colleges and Universities will be given software tools that will make it easy for professors or students to upload content to iTunes. The files will be stored on servers run by Apple. University and college administrators will have control over who can see the files and they will be able to integrate the system with their existing network software so that students can log into the iTunes store using their campus user ID's and passwords.

This past year six institutions have worked with Apple testing this service: Brown, Duke, Stanford Universities, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, University of Missouri School of Journalism and University of Wisconsin at Madison.

"Coursecasting" has become very popular in the academic world, students are able to listen to recordings of class lectures on their portable music players.

Michigan's dentistry school uses the iTunes service to deliver recordings of most of the school's courses.

Lynn Johnson, associate professor of dentistry and director of dental informatics, says the idea to offer recordings of lectures came from the students, who volunteered to help make the recordings. At first, the dental school set up its own Web site to distribute the recordings, but it recently switched to the iTunes service instead, says Ms. Johnson. "They really needed and wanted the audio because they could be mobile with it," she says. She says that the project is a success, and that many students use it. Student volunteers are in charge of starting and stopping the recording process for each lecture, using a Macintosh computer that is tied into the classroom's sound system. "The fact that they keep recording more lectures -- that just speaks for itself," she says.

It is important to know schools that subscribe to the iTunes U service will be essentially "choosing" the MP3 player their students must use. While podcasts can be listened to by anybody with a MP3 playing devices, iTunes only works with iPods.

This could be very exciting for medical schools and medical libraries within the medical schools. Eventually will iTunes U be a linked on the subscribing institution's library page? In cases like Michigan's dentistry school where students are recording class lectures, why not?! After all campus libraries used to be the repository for class lectures on tape, why not link to the class lectures online? One could take it a step further, list the current day or weeks worth of podcasts on an RSS feed on the library website (depends on how many podcasts you have) . Or perhaps have a website with the course lectures and a list additional resources (books, journals, articles, presentations, websites).

Librarians, think and be creative. iTunes U and podcasting may be a little bumpy and still futuristic, but it is gaining popularity and momentum. I am not telling you when and where you should get on the train, just do not let it pass you by.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

MLA Local Arrangements Committee Blog

If you are going to MLA in Phoenix this year you might be interested in this blog from the MLA Local Arrangements Committee.

I am planning on attending, I am just dotting my i's and crossing my t's so that my hospital will allow and (hopefully) pay for me to go. I hope to see you all there :)

Scopus Empowers Researchers With New Citation Tracker

Scopus announced the Scopus Citation Tracker, a new feature available to all subscribers that enables researchers to evaluate research using citation data. The Scopus Citation Tracker provides users with a way to more easily and efficiently check and track citation data for the purposes of gaining intelligence about articles, authors, their own published work and research trends.

Using Scopus Citation Tracker, users can can spot trends over time to gauge the influence of a set of articles, an author or group of authors. Users can control the specific articles and date ranges they want to evaluate and easily navigate through the cited and citing literature using a visual table of citations broken down by article and chronology.

According to Elsevier, the Scopus Citation Tracker is the first and only product to give an on-the-spot overview of citation data for any set of articles over a date range selected by the user.

The Scopus Citation Tracker makes it quick and easy for users to:
  • Find the most highly cited authors in a field
  • Find and track hot topics in specific subject areas
  • Check the most up-to-date citation data on specific authors and articles
  • Track and evaluate research trends

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

How Does Google Determine Which Web Sites Are the Most "Trusted"?

"In the debut issue of the Google Librarian newsletter, we published an article by quality engineer Matt Cutts explaining how Google collects and ranks search results. The most common question we heard in response was 'How does Google determine which web sites are the most 'trusted'?' Here, his reply:"

It is a nice little article but it doesn't reveal anything earth shattering, Google's "secret sauce" is still a secret. Frankly for medical librarians who are always looking for good medical sites it is kind of disappointing. Yes, the big government and medical organizational sites are going to be trusted, and work well with Cutts linking explanation. But what about those smaller sites for lesser known diseases, procedures, and drugs?

What about Google Scholar? We would love to know what is in Google Scholar and what they consider "scholarly." I realize Google is behind PubMed in indexing the medical literature, but I would love to know just what journals, literature, conference proceedings, etc. that Scholar does cover. I certainly wouldn't look for an article in the Journal of Hospital Librarianship in PubMed, because it isn't indexed in MEDLINE. So what is the point of looking for an obscure reference from a journal in Scholar if Scholar doesn't cover it? There isn't. But because I don't know what is in Scholar I don't know whether the bit of information I am searching for is wrong or nonexistant, or whether Scholar failed to pick up that reference.

Do I expect Google to give up the recipe to their "secret sauce?" Nope, but I would like to know a few more ingredients and what kind of meat is called for in the recipe.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Norwegian Doctor Faked More Articles

Recently (Jan 19, 2006) I posted about Dr. Jon Sudbo who was discovered to have faked the research on an October 2005 Lancet article.

Well it looks like Sudbo faked the research in more published journal articles. Sudbo admitted making up data for an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in April 2004 and another in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in March 2005.

The New England Journal of Medicine issued an expression of concern January 20, 2006 regarding two articles (N Engl J Med 2001;344:1270-8 and N Engl J Med 2004;350:1405-13). The editors of NEJM contend that Sudbo may have doctored a photograph to represent different stages of his oral cancer research for findings that were published by the journal in 2001. Since the same people and database from the 2001 study were used for another study published in the journal in 2004 on a new biopsy technique for oral cancer, the NEJM editors are now questioning that study's validity as well.

Saman Warnakulasuriya of King’s College London, UK, who specialises in oral medicine, is concerned about his earlier papers effecting patient care. According to Warnakulasuriya Sudbo’s earlier papers carried greater influence on current practice than the 2005 Lancet paper under particular scrutiny. Eventhough the Lancet paper reported NSAIDs could reduce the incidence of oral cancer, many physicians were hesitant to prescribe them as a preventative agent to cancer because of their cardiovascular risks. In the earlier papers Sudbo described treatment and long-term survival of 150 patients diagnosed with pre-cancerous oral leukoplakia, and showed that those who eventually died from the disease had tested positive on the biopsy for a particular cellular aberration called "aneuploidy," in which cells look disordered, with an overabundance of DNA.

Oncologists typically recommend that all patients with leukoplakia -- pre-cancerous white patches on the tongue or mouth -- have surgery to remove the suspicious area if a biopsy shows pre-cancerous cell changes called dysplasia. Sudbo's finding was touted at the time as a way to shift the focus of treatment for individuals with aneuploid leukoplakias away from surgery and toward new drug therapies.

For more information on this topic:

Disgraced Norway doctor admits to more cheating
by Alister Doyle

Medical Journal Casts Doubt on Oral Cancer Research
by E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter

Cancer specialist's research thrown into doubt
by Roxanne Khamsi
NewScientist.com news service

Elsevier: Accepted Manuscripts

Peter Scott's Library Blog reports that access to Elsevier's full-text, peer-reviewed journal and book content on ScienceDirect, will be significantly enhanced with several new features. In an effort to provide the latest scientific research as soon as possible online, ScienceDirect will introduce a new type of Article in Press in February, 2006: Accepted Manuscripts. These are manuscripts which have been peer-reviewed and selected for publication by the journal editor but have yet to be edited by Elsevier's production staff.

Accepted Manuscripts will be available for around 200 journals from February 2006, with further titles to be added throughout the year. The new manuscripts will be available on average five days after acceptance; four-to-six weeks earlier than is currently the case. Additionally, the PDF articles will be citable using DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and searchable on title, author name and full text.

Other access enhancements include:
February 2006, users will be able to export selected data directly to RefWorks, which opens a web browser interface immediately on clicking the “Export” link.

A new software upgrade released by Ex Libris, which extends MetaLib’s MetaSearch functionality, allows users to search through MetaLib’s integrated library portal.

Branching Out: The MeSH Vocabulary

Break out the popcorn and soda, NLM has produced a 12-minute video on MeSH. It features the introduction to the development, structure and use of the MeSH vocabulary. Target viewsers are searchers of MEDLINE PubMed and is same video used in the PubMed classes offered by NLM and the National Training Center and Clearinghouse.

The video is available on the NLM Web site in three formats: Macromedia Flash, Apple QuickTime, and Windows Media formats.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Medical Video Podcasts

I am currently in the process of updating my list of medical podcasts and I ran accross this new release about the Arizona Heart Institute and Arizona Heart Hospital offering video podcasts for the public on healthy heart living.
At http://www.cvmd.org/ they offer podcast for both the health care professional and the public. Individuals can get unrestricted access to information and research relating to cardiovascular health, heart disease, prevention and treatment.
According to the press release, the "Arizona Heart becomes the first medical institute to utilize the new videopod casting capabilities to better educate and inform physicians, healthcare professionals and patients worldwide about the latest-breaking medical advancements, events, educational segments, documentaries, interviews, lectures and LIVE cases happening daily."

So far it looks like the only video podcasts available on their site are currently targeted to the general public, but I would guess that they will soon include video podcasts to their professional sections. Dr. Grayson Wheatley, cardiovascular surgeonand creator of Arizona Heart's cvmd.org website said, "The video iPod is the TiVo of the internet. It's news and educationon-the-go and on-demand. People can download ontheir iPod a program on how to recognize their risk factors for heartdisease and how to modify those risk factors to better their health."

What a great statement....the TiVo of the Internet.
For more information on Dr. Wheatley and the video podcasts go to:

Elsevier Announces iCONSULT to be Offered as Part of Epic Electronic Health Record

Elsevier announced today a partnership with Epic Systems to deliver iCONSULT within Epic's electronic health record. This will allow hospital and group medical practices who use Epic to have iCONSULT deliver real-time clinical decision support by putting evidence-based, point-of-care clinical reference content directly into the EHR.

In April 8, 2005, I blogged about a demonstration I saw of iConsult and their plans to integrate into the EHR. It seems as if they have been successful and are now partnering with major EHR software companies. This is the way to go for seamless access to medical information, having the ability to access important medical information and answer questions while in EHR. No more seeing the patient and then going to a computer terminal (usually not in the patients room) or the library to look up information.

As I mentioned earlier, This is huge and it involves other hospital departments including and beyond the library. Since it involves other departments, think out of the box. Perhaps get the institution as a whole to support and finance MDConsult, FirstConsult, and iConsult. The products have now transcended from being a library product for the institution and become an institutional wide product for library/information resources.

One of the questions that keeps lurking in the back of mind is; What does this mean for companies like UpToDate who have been experimenting with electronic medical records? Does that mean other companies like UpToDate will not be able to integrate their product with Epic's EHR now that they have a partnership with Elsevier? If so, then I foresee the product (UpToDate, iConsult, etc.) that a hospital uses is dependent on what EHR software they use.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Lancet Warns Published Study on Painkillers May Be Fake

The Lancet warned that a study published last year (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of oral cancer: a nested case-control study. Lancet. 2005 Oct 15-21;366(9494):1359-66) may have been fake. The study said long term use common painkillers such as ibuprofen could reduce the risk of oral cancer, including in smokers, but could also bring higher risks of death from heart disease.

*Note* It has since been discovered that Sudbo may have faked 3 other articles, since this blog post.

Officials at the Radium Hospital in Oslo, Norway, told the Lancet they had information suggesting the study was "complete fabrication,'' and lead author, Jon Sudbo, made a verbal confession. Lancet is currently conducting an investigation into the article. Because hospital officials only have a verbal admission to fraud and nothing in writing the journal is contacting co-authors on the paper to inform them that, pending the investigation, The Lancet would issue an expression of concern.

According to Stein Vaaler, director of strategy at Oslo's Radium hospital, in an article from The Guardian, "He faked everything: names, diagnosis, gender, weight, age, drug use, there is no real data whatsoever, just figures he made up himself. Every patient in this paper is a fake." Of the 908 sample people in the study, 250 people had the same birthday. The scandal broke when the Norwegian prime minister's sister recently read the Lancet article. She noted that Dr Sudbo claimed to have gathered information from a national database which had not been available at the time.

The hospital is now conducting as to why Sudbo falsified data and how it was able to pass review by other experts. The hospital and an external commission will conduct an investigating into all research involving Dr Sudbo. They will examine 38 articles Dr Sudbo has published since 1997, including two articles in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Radium Hospital has halted Dr Sudbo's research at the department of Medical Oncology and Radiotherapy and hospital chiefs discussing whether he can continue treating patients.

***Krafty note: The doctor spells his name Jon Sudbo (where the o has a line through the middle of it) . However it is reported as Sudboe and Sudbo depending on the news articles. In PubMed it is Sudbo J.

Lancet Study Fake
The Scientist

Respected Norwegian scientist faked study on oral cancer
The Guardian

Cancer study patients 'made up'
BBC News

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

2007 Copyright Date Already

A little bit of a discussion has been going on Medlib-l regarding the Bates' guide to physical examination and history taking. 9th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Although the book and accompanying CD ROM was published in December 2005, the publisher lists the copyright date as 2007.

The discussion started as a Medlib post from Marlene Englander and if you know Marlene you know this is (and has been) one her pet peeves. The response she got from the publisher is that they apply the copyright a year after the text publishes to extend the life of the copyright.

Huh?! Really does this make a whole lot of sense?

Some librarians wondered whether this might have an effect on attourneys and malpractice claims, while other librarians on the list questioned whether it was ok to now copy the book and CD in 2006 since the copyright doesn't start until 2007. However, Scott Plutchack mentioned, "the copyright clock starts automatically when the thing is actually published, regardless of what date they print the item. Registering with the copyright office gets you some additional legal remedies, but it doesn't change the effective date of the copyright." Mark Funk then probably hit the nail on the head with the comment that it basically it all comes down to sales and money for the publishers.
"This makes the book 'current' for a longer period of time. Most potential scientific book purchasers want current information. When comparing two apparently equal texts, the most current is perceived as being "better." In this case, a book published in January 2006 with a copyright date of 2007 will be perceived as being "current" for two full years. A similar book from another publisher, published in June 2006 with a copyright date of 2006 will be perceived as being current for only seven months."

Really, deep down we all know it had to do with money, but is it really ethical? I don't understand how this type of practice is appropriate with medical information. I wonder if this practice extends to other types of information resources?

Ovid Announces ClinicalResource@Ovid

Ovid Technologies has launched ClinicalResource@Ovid, a new point-of-care tool providing peer-reviewed, evidence-based information to aid medical professionals as the make clinical decisions.

ClinicalResource@Ovid integrates diagnosis and treatment guidelines provided by Clin-eguide; disease monographs from the 5-Minute Consult Database; up-to-date drug, pharmaceutical, and natural product information from Facts & Comparisons; bibliographic data from MEDLINE; and detailed patient handouts (covering 4,000+ adult, pediatric, senior, and women's health topics). ClinicalResource@Ovid also provides current Ovid customers with one-click access to their subscribed Ovid book, journal, and EBMR resources.

It is available as a site license or on a concurrent user basis, ClinicalResource@Ovid is targeted to information managers and health care professionals at hospitals, treatment facilities, and medical education and research facilities.
For more information: http://www.ovid.com/clinicalresource

I have not tried this product but it seems like this product is similiar to MDConult's First Consult. Perhaps those who have First Consult or those who have tried ClinicalResource@Ovid could comment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Virtual Hospital Ceased Operations

Due to lack of funding Virtual Hsoptial / Virtual Children's Hospital has ceased operations. Virtual Hospital served over 80 million users in 13 years, archived versions of Virtual Hospital / Virtual Children's Hospital may be found at the Internet Archive (last archival copy from April 1, 2005).

New Content Deals With Ovid

Blackwell, OUP, Nature, McGraw-Hill and Elsevier have new content provision deals with Ovid further continuing electronic book and journal content withing Ovid databases. Additionally, Ovid has also agreed to distribute 3D anatomy images from London based Primal Pictures on their platform.

Library of Trinity College, Dublin Books in Danger Due to Construction Boom

Peter Scott's Library Blog directed my attention to this article, Dublin's building boom puts priceless books in danger. Some the oldest and rarest books within the library of Trinity College, Dublin have been damaged by building dust. The dust was analyzed to be mainly comprised of stone fragments thought to coming from the construction boom in Dublin. The Long Room, home to some of the oldest books, is a beautiful 18th century building that is unable to adequately keep the construction dust out.
"It's an 18th-century building so it's not designed to keep out a modern city. Dust will come through the doors and it will come through the windows, even if they're not open. They're not sealed - they're the original old-fashioned sash windows."

Heck, I live in a century home with gorgeous woodwork and not so wonderful original windows leaking cold air, I can only imagine what gets through 300-400 year old windows.

A team of four conservation assistants have already cleaned and stabilized more than 10,000 books, but a quarter of a million books still must be cleaned to prevent any further damage. The project is anticipated to cost approximately 2 million euro ($2.4 million U.S.) and 20 years to complete, because each book must be delicately vacuumed before dust and is removed from covers and pages with brushes and dry sponges.

While on my honeymoon in Ireland I had the opportunity to visit The Long Room and of course I was awe struck at the beauty of the building. However, what really moved me was the vast collection old books on the shelves spanning from almost floor to ceiling. It was almost as if each leather-clad tome held secrets from a past long ago. When I visited I had wished that I could have spoken with a librarian there to learn more about the collection and the library. Of course as a humble medical librarian who pitches almost everything older than 5 years old, I just stuck with the self guided leaflet.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Consumers Finding Medical Information

The article Don't Google; librarians have the health facts by Jennifer Gish is a nice little artcle showing how one public library (using consumer health librarians) have a successful program helping patrons find health and medical information.

Two consumer health librarians (Maria Buhl and Eileen Williams) at Guilderland Public Library run the library's Consumer Health Information program. Where they handle patrons' health questions, maintain up to date medical books, organize community programs on topics such as managing attention deficit disorder and navigating the new Medicare prescription drug plan.

The librarians are able to maintain privacy by talking in private rooms and they mail information to those who can not come to the library. The Guilderland librarians have a partnership with medical librarian Chris Szczerba at Seton Hall where they can get journal literature.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Librarian Career, Excellent or Stressful?

Two articles are currently being talked about in the email lists, Career Center: Excellent careers for 2006 (USNews.com) and Stress? Shhhhh . . . (Times Online) and people are voicing their opinions.

In USNews.com article, it lists Librarian as one of the Excellent Careers of 2006. Unfortunately their brief paragraph about librarians is a little sparse and isn't really written like an excellent career.

Librarian: This is an underrated career. Most librarians enjoy helping patrons
dig up information. They learn in the process and keep up to date on the latest
books and online resources. The need for librarians, unfortunately, may decline
because search engines make it easy for patrons to find information without a
librarian's help. The job growth for librarians will be in nontraditional
settings: corporations, nonprofit organizations, and consulting
See what I mean, not very "excellent" sounding. I just don't see Bill and Ted screaming "EXCELLENT" and doing a little air guitar about this job description. But hey, at least librarian's are listed as an excellent profession for 2006. It could be worse we could be listed as one of the poor careers for for 2006.

Which brings me to the article in the Times Online which states that librarians have one of the most stressful jobs. "Whoa...No Way, Ted."
According to the article, many library respondents said the library was a dull and uninspiring place in which to pursue a career. They also stated there was not enough variety in their work, they did not have enough control over their careers, and they were not allowed to put their skills to full use. In other words, librarian's stress woes are a result of boredom, according the article.

So is being a librarian and excellent career or a stressful career? Or both? Of course I am biased, I am a librarian. I think it is an excellent career with drawbacks and opportunities. I also think it can be a very stressful career as well, depending on your work environment. However, I think Alan Hamilton (author of Times Online article) missunderstand that the stress that some librarians have with being underutilized and a lack of authority or autonomy is not from boredom but from frustration. Doing the same thing day in and day out when you KNOW there is a better way of doing it yet you are prevented from doing it, is frustrating not boring.

  • I know it would be better for patrons if I were allowed to install library programs or update the library computers. However, since I am not in the IT department and it is strictly verboten to do such a thing. So the DVD burners that I purchased two months ago to be installed on every library computer are still sitting in my office waiting for an IT guy and I am left constantly repeating to my patrons the DVD burners are not yet installed.
  • I know it would be better for hospital patients if they were allowed to use web email (hotmail, yahoo mail, aol, etc.) so that they may be able to keep family and friends updated on their progress. However, the IT powers that be (in my hospital) blocks web mail claiming it is too great a virus risk DESPITE the fact the main hospital in the system (the Mothership if you will) allows web mail access. So, I yet again repete the task of telling patients, sorry there is no place in this hospital where you can email your friends and family.

Those are just a few examples of how underutilization, lack of authority, and lack of autonomy can lead to stress in the librarian workplace. I am not bored by the repetition I am frustrated. The IT department is not the only culprit for causing our stress, depending on what library you work, it could be managers, library boards, finances, etc.

The key to making this job still one of the "most excellent" careers is embracing your opportunities and minimizing the drawbacks. If you need a change in libraries scenes to increase your opportunities then so be it. Change is scary but it is also a good thing. Any job could be classified as boring. Any job is what you make of it

Open Access Primer

(courtesy of MLA News 1/12/2006)
Mark E. Funk, AHIP, has developed a beginner's guide to open access (PDF, 112KB). "Open Access - A Primer" provides a broad overview, including the history, philosophy, ethics, and economics of open access and several national and international initiatives such as the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the Bethesda Principles, and DC Principles.

MLA Election Results

(courtesy of MLA Focus 1/12/2006)
The MLA Election results are in. There were 1,354 valid returned ballots (1,354 via Web voting and 38 paper ballots) from 3,301 eligible members for a participation rate of 41%, an increase of 3.7% over last year's rate of 37.6%.

The elected candidates will assume office at the conclusion of MLA '06 in Phoenix.

President-elect: Mark E. Funk, AHIP

Board of Directors (2006-2009): T. Scott Plutchak, AHIP, and Linda Walton

Nominating Committee: Margaret (Peg) Allen, AHIP; Rosalind Dudden, AHIP, FMLA; Gary Freiburger, AHIP; Janice Kelly; Terry Ann Jankowski, AHIP; Mary Fran Prottsman, AHIP; Jett McCann, AHIP; Diana J. Cunningham, AHIP; and Gale Dutcher.

Joanne Marshall, AHIP, FMLA, MLA's 2005/06 immediate past president, will chair the Nominating Committee.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Early-morning bleariness worse than sleep deprivation

Here is something to think about in the hospital or on your morning commute.

According the news article, Early-morning bleariness worse than sleep deprivation, in Nature, researchers have found that people are as "woozy" when they first wake up as they are after drinking several beers. In fact your brain is at its worst in the first few awake minutes than it is after a whole night of sleep deprivation. The loss of brain power is equivalent to that caused by a 0.08% blood alcohol level. It can take anywhere between one and twenty minutes for the brain to power up and recover.

As the Nature article says, "The study has implications for people who have to wake up and react immediately, such as doctors on call or resting aeroplane pilots roused in an emergency. These people should be made aware that they are operating severely below par, Wright says, so that they can wait a few minutes before making life-or-death decisions."

Thankfully running a library is not life or death, because I have a feeling I am one of those people it takes 20 minutes to charge their brain.

USMLE Step 123 on Elsevier

Elsevier has developed USMLE Steps 123 for medical students and residents to study for the USMLE online. Students can customize their exam to either practice mode or a timed-test mode. While in practice mode, students receive explanations regarding their answers as to why they were right or wrong.
Individuals can purchase one-week, one-month or three-month access packages for Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 3, Step 3 CCS cases, or Step 3 Combined (Price List). I could not find anything on institutional pricing. Considering how much my USMLE books get used at my small hospital, I would think larget hospitals and medical schools might be interested in this product.

From more information go to: www.usmlesteps123.com.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More on Google Scholar

In the January 2006 Journal of Medical Library Association (free online), Rita Vine's electronic resource review, Google Scholar, briefly looks at the draw backs and other aspects of Google Scholar and other web engines.
In Vine's blog post, Google Scholar gets better at indexing PubMed content, but it's still several months behind, she notes that Google Scholar is improving but is still almost 5 months behind PubMed in retreiving medical literature.
However, Vine notes in her JMLA review that Google Scholar is a "worthwhile and useful search tool." Although Scholar has its problems, it can be an appropriate resource tool in medical libraries. "It is a perfectly decent search tool for those who are looking for quick answers and for questions where the outcome has little or no impact on clinical excellence. Google knows what libraries have been reluctant to admit: that users love search appliances that are fast, easy, and deliver the goods—or at least enough of them to satisfy their current information need. Plenty of information needs do not require powerhouse tools like MEDLINE."

Professional Grant for Hospital and Clinical Librarians

HLS/MLA Professional Development Grant for Hospital and Clinical Librarians
Application due by February 1, 2006.

Are you looking for financial support to:
-advance your professional education?
-attend a meeting?
-conduct research?

The Hospital Libraries Section/MLA Professional Development Grant helps librarians in hospitals and other clinical care settings to acquire knowledge and skills through educational or research activities.

For information and an application, please check the MLA web site:

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Epocrates SxDx

Epocrates announced the launch of Epocrates SxDx, developed in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital's Laboratory of Computer Science and Griffith's 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Epocrates SxDx is a disease diagnosis and treatment reference and symptom assessment tool aiding in decision support to clinicians throughout the diagnosis process. Epocrates SxDx is intended for mobile devices, and allows clinicians to enter an unlimited number of symptoms and findings (such as lab results) generating a list of the plausible diagnoses in the Epocrates disease reference. According to Epocrates, "a key differentiating feature of Epocrates SxDx, is the ability of the application to prompt clinicians to refine their input list based on the prevalence and likelihood of patient symptoms and findings. Potential diagnoses are then seamlessly integrated with more than 1,200 disease topics and 3,300 continually updated drug monographs."

According to Epocrates website:

Epocrates Dx disease reference has:
  • More than 1,200 diseases, conditions, and clinical topics sourced from Griffith’s 5-Minute Clinical Consult
  • Ability to look up disease topics by diagnosis or body system
  • Diagnosis (inc. differential diagnosis, diagnostic procedures and tests)
  • Recommended medications (tap on a drug to go to our proprietary drug monograph – Epocrates SxDx comes with the free Epocrates Rx drug reference)
  • Treatment information (e.g., surgical measures, activity/diet, patient monitoring)
  • Disease Basics (e.g., description, epidemiology, risk factors) and synonyms
  • Signs/Symptoms
  • Causes
  • ICD-9-CM codes
  • Patient education (inc. helpful associations), pregnancy issues
  • Ability to customize the application to suit your needs
  • Notes section for your personal notes

Epocrates Sx symptom assessment tool can:

  • Enter your patient's symptoms, physical findings, lab results, and history
  • Generate a diagnosis index organized by likelihood (based on a unique set of algorithms)
  • Refine your index with our decision support tool
  • Link directly to Epocrates Dx disease information

It is available for one and two year individual subscriptions ($69.99 and $109.99). I could not find any information on site licenses for Epocrates SxDx but they do offer site licenses for Epocrates Rx, I would assume you could contact them for a quote for SxDx.

For more information go to: http://www2.epocrates.com/index.html

Monday, January 09, 2006

Searching for Medical Literature

As I mentioned in my December 30, 2005 post, Podcast May Be the Word of the Year, But Google Has Changed Medicine, people are turning to Google to do medical research. The New England Journal of Medicine published a perspective article, Searching for the Right Search - Reaching the Medical Literature (Jan. 5, 2005, v. 354: 4-7 not free online). In this article Robert Steinbrook discusses how rapidly Google has become the primary research source for finding medical articles. Steinbrook points to data compiled by High Wire Press, that Google provided the majority of referrals to articles in HighWire (56.4%). In fact, PubMed only accounted for 8.7% of the referrals to HighWire articles.

While the number of searches conducted in PubMed has increaded to about 70 million/month, there is also an increase in number of people who are referred to PubMed citations and abstracts through Google searches.

So, like it or not, we are in a Google searching world.

Friday, January 06, 2006

iPod 101

So you got a very cool new iPod for the holidays (I am jealous) and you want to figure it out and get the most out of it. If you are like my husband you might dive head first into the rapids. You might surface and shoot down between the rocks perfectly, or you might (like he did) sputter, swallow a little water, and bump into a few rocks along the way. iPods are realitively easy to use and master, but there can little bit of a learning curve for some who have never used one. ResourceShelf directed me to iPod 101 on Apple's Support pages and I realized since this blog has been looking at medical podcasts it might be a good idea to post a link to on using iPods.

After reading it hopefully you will be shooting down the iPod rapids like the rest of us podheads.

Call for Authors for MLA News Technology Section

(reposted from Medlib)
The MLA News technology section seeks authors for upcoming issues in 2006.
Submissions can be in either of two formats:

1. INTERNET RESOURCES columns are annotated subject lists of Web resources on topics of interest to health science librarians and patrons. These can be health-, technology-, or information science-related. Columns generally contain six to 10 URLs, with one- to three- sentence annotations each. Total length: 400-500 words.
Examples of Internet Resources topics recently published or currently in development include:
- Toxicology
- Health technology assessment
- Health literacy for seniors
- Bariatrics

2. TECHNOLOGY articles can be written as case studies, reviews, or "state of the technology" pieces. Total length: 450-500 words.
Recent and upcoming topics include:
- Digital object identifiers (DOIDs)
- ASP scripts/E-journals
- RSS feeds
- Federated searching

Technology topics of interest include:
- Interactive online modules for bibliographic instruction
- Virtual reference update
- Folksonomy (socially-created metadata)
- Internet2 and libraries

These are suggestions; all topics are welcome and will be seriously considered. Please contact me if you know of great resources you'd like to share with your colleagues, or if you have a topic in mind that you'd enjoy investigating. MLA News is published 10 times a year, so there are lots of
opportunities for participation. Earn AHIP points, too!

Thanks so much for your consideration.
Pat Weiss
Technology Co-Editor
MLA News

Thursday, January 05, 2006

PsycINFO... Ovid's Database of the Month

"The American Psychological Association's PsycINFO database is the comprehensive international bibliographic database of psychology. It contains citations and summaries of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, books, dissertations, and technical reports, all in the field of psychology and the psychological aspects of related disciplines, such as medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, education, pharmacology, physiology, linguistics, anthropology, business, and law. Journal coverage, spanning 1872 to present, includes international material selected from more than 1,900 periodicals written in over 35 languages. Current chapter and book coverage includes worldwide English-language material published from 1987 to present. Over 80,000 records are added annually through weekly updates. Approximately 7.7 million cited references are found in citations to 156,000 journal articles, books, and book chapters."

To learn more about PsychINFO or to try it for free during the month of January go to:

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What To Do With The Old Card Catalog

A couple of months ago I finished converting my entire book and journal collection from the card catalog to an online catalog. Yippie!!!!! I am happy and my users are happy.
Now comes the fun part.

What do I do with the old card catalog? It isn't one of those really nice antique catalogs, it looks to be from the 60's. It is about 3 feet wide, 3'6" tall, 20 inches deep, and has 30 drawers.
  • I could take the path of least resistance, call facility services and wait several weeks for them lug it out to the trash.
  • Perhaps some other libraries are interested in getting a used card catalog, but how on earth does one get it to the requesting library?
  • Diane Rourke at Baptist Health South Florida sold her catalog off drawer by drawer selling it as a planter with flowers.
  • It might make someone a nice sort of furniture for nic nac storage or baseball card collections.
  • Perhaps it could be a funky wine rack? I don't know I am not really a wine connoseur.

Ideas anyone? Once I get rid of the catalog I can figure out what I am supposed to do with an old microfiche reader that I found in a storage room located 4 floors above me that I had no idea the library was using.

Wikipedia vs Britannica Revisited

In my December 16, 2005 post, Wikipedia as accurate as Britannica, I mentioned how CNN reported that according to a recent study in Nature, "Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that relies on volunteers to pen nearly 4 million articles, is about as accurate in covering scientific topics as Encyclopedia Britannica." Well, the New York Times is revisiting the controversy.

In The Nitpicking of the Masses vs. the Authority of the Experts, By George Johnson (New York Times, January 3, 2006) looks at some of the errors found in the study and general commentary.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

NLM Technical Bulletin

The November/December issof the NLM Technical Bulletin is available at:

Here are a list of the articles:

Parasites Database

Yummy, what a way to start off the new year. A MEDLIB post directed my attention to the Parasites and Parasitological Resources site. This site is hosted and maintained by Ohio State University and it contains over 550 images of more than 180 species and information on many of these wonderful little creatures.

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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: