Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Medical Applications on Mobile Devices

Alison Aldrich on the Dragonfly blog published and interesting post on medical applications on mobile devices. She notes a report stating, "54% of U.S. physicians own a PDA or a smartphone, and more than half of them consider the device to be an integral part of their practice.

As these devices become more common, more of our patrons will be using them in the medical lives as well as their personal lives. Alison directs us to a newly recorded presentation by Shikun “KK” Jiang, Medical Applications on Mobile Devices, reviewing several free and fee-based applications for health professionals.

I thought I would add to the list:

  • I just received an email from McGraw Hill stating that AccessEmergency Medicine is available for mobile devices. Users can go to to use it. You need to use your MyAccessEM to login even if you are on their institution's wifi.
  • HeartIT Physicians can simply click on a web link sent via email by one of their colleagues, enter their password, and, for example, instantly view movies of a patient’s beating heart halfway around the world. They can even put their colleagues on speakerphone and carry on a medical consultation while simultaneously browsing through the imaging results.
  • Pubget allows you to search PubMed and get the PDF right away (if possible), works with institutional subscriptions to get the PDF.
  • MIMvista provides mobile medical imaging applications and software for radiologists and oncologists.
Libraries interested in providing a list of mobile medical applications should check out LSU Health Science Center New Orleans Ische Library. Their web PDA Resources web page is very extensive listing databases and software available on mobile devices. They also list which devices are compatible with each resource and whether it is free, paid or institutional resource.

There is so much out there, it is always nice to learn about new resources for the smart phone.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

MLA 2009 Call For Bloggers

Are you going to Honolulu for MLA’s 2009 Annual Meeting? If so then consider becoming an Official Blogger for the 2009 meeting. While we can’t offer an “Official Blogger” t-shirt you will receive 3 AHIP points for officially blogging on the annual meeting.
In order to provide the most coverage MLA is looking for all types of people interested in writing about the events and activities occurring at the MLA. Potential bloggers do not need to be current authors of a blog, but must have experience using and posting with blogging software such as WordPress. Those selected as Official Bloggers will be asked to commit to authoring a specific number of posts per day.
MLA members traveling with laptops can apply to be an Official “Wireless” Blogger. Official “Wireless” Bloggers will be given a wireless card which will enable them to receive wireless access for the duration of the conference. There are eleven openings to be an Official “Wireless” Blogger. Bloggers with laptops and MLA sponsored wireless cards will be asked to author at least two posts per day. Since the number of wireless cards is limited the process will be competitive. A panel of judges will consider the blogger’s experience and previous online writing work (blog posts, newsletters, wiki entries, etc.).
Those who are traveling light and are not taking a laptop to the convention or those who already have a laptop and have their own wifi solution can also be Official Bloggers. These Official Bloggers may post their entries in the Internet Café or by other means such as by cell phone or by using their own wifi provider. These bloggers will be asked to author at least one post per day.
Both types of bloggers are eligible for 3 AHIP points. Bloggers will be posting to the central MLA 2009 Blog site Bloggers will have the opportunity to sign up on a calendar to blog about specific activities. This will serve as an aid to help bloggers and members know who plans on covering what aspects of the meeting and what areas might need additional coverage. Multiple people can blog about the same event (different perspectives are always welcome) but bloggers can use the calendar to view opportunities to post on something else. Bloggers are encouraged to post on items and events related to the meeting. This can be information from vendors in the exhibit hall, a new product, poster and paper sessions, section programs, lectures, continuing education, dinners and parties, discussions, etc.

Deadline is April 24, 2009. Results will be announced May 1, 2009.

Application to be an Official Blogger can be found at, for more information please or questions please contact Michelle Kraft at kraftm[at]ccf[dot]org.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

MLA '09 Call for Posters for Late-breaking Poster Session

The 2009 National Program Committee (NPC) invites submission of abstracts for a special late-breaking poster session at MLA '09. Submissions sought include new technology trends that have recently emerged, innovative library programs, and notable projects or research that has taken place (or been completed) since the original October poster submission deadline.

Priority will be given to original submissions. Previously submitted abstracts should only be resubmitted if they include new information or results.

Authors are encouraged to submit a structured abstract and should use the late-breaking poster submission form to submit your abstract by Monday, March 16, 2009.

Twenty-five posters will be selected. Posters will be presented during the regularly scheduled poster sessions. The primary author will be notified of acceptance by email the week of March 23, 2009. The lead or presenting author must be identified at the time of submission and is expected to pay for that day's registration. Presenters will be required to staff their posters at their assigned poster session time.

Posters will be available for viewing during MLA '09. Posters and related handouts will be posted to MLANET prior to the meeting.

See the original Call for Participation (PDF) for additional information about poster boards and other information about the exhibition space. For more information about posters, see the frequently asked questions on the MLA '09 website.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

2009 MLA Awards

It is award week. Well yes, the Academy Awards presentation will take place this Sunday, but more importantly the winners of the 2009 MLA Awards have been announced.

Congratulations to those who won an Award, Fellowship, Grant, Scholarship, or became an Honorary Member.

Medical librarians are also some pretty creative people. The National Medical Librarians Month Creative Promotions Award Winners were announced as well. Congratulations to Debra Miler, Rosa Edwards, Loretta Merlo, and Jennifer Lloyd. You can read more about the 2008 winners in the March 2009 MLA News.

Finally, there is a call for nominations for the Friends of the National Library of Medicine: Michael E. DeBakey Award and a call for the Grace and Harold Sewell Memorial Fund grant award.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Creating Survey Forms Using Google Docs

I needed to make a simple online form that could be easily linked to online and I could easily share with others. I have used SurveyMonkey and a couple of other products before, however this time I don't think they were going to work for me. As I mentioned I wanted something that I could easily share with others. Enter Google Docs yet again. I must have been snoozing in September 2008 when they added the ability to create, share, and store online forms, because I had no idea they did that too.

If you already have a Google Docs account it is very easy to create a form. Just click New and highlight form. It is a simple form, but it can serve many purposes. Janetta at Fusion Finds has created a very nice Camtasia video on how to use Google Forms. She published 2 screencasts on using this tool. The first one shows you how to create a form. The second screencast shows how to share the form, access the data, and edit the form (sometimes you have to hit the refresh button if it doesn't start right away).

If you are looking quick and simple form you can share that will also import the data into a spreadsheet, you might check out Google Docs Forms.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Going Retro With RSS

Last week Alison Aldrich at the Dragonfly posted a really helpful article on RSS and different delivery methods. She mentions how you can use RSS feeds to assemble PDF newsletters, email alerts, and to listen from podcasts on your regular cell phone.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

MedLib's Round First Edition

The first edition of MedLib's blog carnival is available at Laika's MedLibLog. For those of you unfamiliar with blog carnivals, a blog carnival is is a type of blog event where a variety of blog posts (usually on a specific subject area) are collected and posted on a host site. Usually items are collected and published on a regular schedule (weekly or month) and hosted at another blogger's site.

MedLib's Round is a blog carnival of the "best blog posts in the field of medical librarianship." This first edition is quite interesting and has submissions from librarians and doctors discussing search engines, physician searching patterns, using Google for RSS journal feeds, and organizing research.

The next round will be hosted by Dragonfly, March 10. Bloggers or readers wishing to participate can submit a favorite blog article to the next edition. Deadline for the next edition is March 8. Use the carnival submission form. Submission to the form makes it easier for the host to summarize the articles.

Those interested in hosting a future edition should contact Laika and inform her which edition they would like to host.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cochrane Collaboration on Twitter

According to Alan at (the) health informaticist, "The Cochrane Colloboration have had a sudden rush of blood to the head - they are now on Twitter." They just started on Feb. 9th and already they have 55 followers. It appears some of their tweets are actually from their news feed which displays at the top of their web page. Interesting method for getting news out to people, I never quite thought of that.

This has me wondering about what other medical/health organizations or groups are using Twitter. I did a very unscientific and quick search on Twitter for anything with hospital. Here are the results. There are 26 Twitter accounts with hospital in the name, and some have quite a following.

  • HospitalGroup / Hospital Group This list is managed by Ed Bennett of @ummc and follows all official U.S. Hospital accounts - 363 followers
  • erlangerhealth / Erlanger Hospital Erlanger is a non-profit, academic teaching center affiliated with the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. -272 followers
  • MHA / MS Hospital Assoc. Serving those who serve us all - Mississippi hospital employees. - 205 followers
  • stmarysmadison / St. Mary's Hospital Tertiary care hospital located in Madison, Wis. -155 followers
  • Doctors Hosptial in Columbus has two Twitter accounts OH_Doctors - 105 followers and doctorshospital - 96 followers
  • LakewoodHosp / Lakewood Hospital Lakewood Hospital is a community-oriented hospital located in the city of Lakewood on Cleveland's west side. -23 followers

Typing medical into the search produces 66 accounts, including medlibs - 178 followers.

I am not sure what to do with this sort of information or what it means for the future of medicine, libraries, and Twitter. I just find it interesting and something that I like to keep an eye on in case the future does produce something. The one bummer thing about Twitter is you kind of have to know the name of a person or group to find them and follow them. So unless you know an organization like the Cochrane Collaboration is on Twitter (and frankly I would have never guessed that they were) then you aren't going to find them very easily if at all.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

ticTocs Journal Table of Contents Service

Finding a table of contents alert service as been a small ongoing personal project of mine. I still have yet to find a product on the market that does a good job. The most recent to hit the Internet is ticTocs. ticTocs is a free, easy to use site that researchers can use to keep up to date with their favorite journals' table of contents. There are 12,272 TOCs from 436 publishers linking to 333,977 articles. The TOC feeds can be read in your favorite feed reader.

Sounds great right? I decided to give it a try. ticTocs mentions that in order to get the full text of an article users must either have a personal or institutional subscription. I wanted to see how it handled accessing the full text of an article using an institutional subscription. Why did I do this? Most researchers subscribe to a few core journals, but they want the table of contents to more than just those few that they personally subscribe to. They want the table of contents and the full text to those articles. So any table of contents program really needs to figure out how to address people accessing the full text through an institutional subscription. ticTocs does not do this. They just link to the publishers' site. This works well for some journals, but for journals that have publishers like Lippincott Williams and Wilkins this is a problem. LWW titles are only available to institutions through Ovid, not through the the Lippincott site. Linking only to the publisher's site also does not address the myriad other ways institutions access full text articles, such as institutionally subscribed databases.

If a majority of a user's institutional online journal subscriptions come directly from the publishers' sites then they will be pleased with ticTocs. (Unless they are trying to access Lippincott titles. Come on Lippincott get with the program. Forcing institutions to access the full text through Ovid is inefficient and reflects poorly on your product.) However, if a user wants the TOC to one of the many other medical journals that are available through the institutions full text databases, then they are going to be dissatisfied.

I keep telling people that this is an area for some database company like EBSCO or Ovid to hit upon. All they have to do is create a method to see the current TOCs for journals indexed in MEDLINE, a library's link resolver would direct the users to the correct method of full text access. Just because I mentioned database companies doesn't mean the link resolver companies couldn't do this as well. Who knows perhaps a programming librarian could create a neat little customizable mashup that would work effectively.

Until then I will just keep looking for an easy method of accessing the TOCs and the full text articles.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

New PubMed Tutorial

(courtesy of the NLM Technical Bulletin)
The National Library of Medicine is pleased to announce a new look for the PubMed Tutorial. The tutorial was reorganized to give searchers a better understanding of what is in PubMed and the controlled vocabulary before going on to build a search and manage the results. The tutorial is available from the PubMed homepage sidebar from the Tutorials link.
The tutorial update includes changes to PubMed through October 2008 including the My NCBI redesign released in September. A version incorporating the latest changes including the Advanced Search page and revised Summary display is in process

Friday, February 06, 2009

Interactive Science Publishing

Wednesday I co-presented with Allan Cho on mashups in the biomedical library communities at the Association of American Publishers 2009 PSP Pre-Conference. I also had the fortune to sit in and listen to a variety of interesting other presentations. One of the neatest presentations I listened to was on Interactive Science Publishing.
What is Interactive Science Publishing? Think of it as the PDF on steroids. Currently traditional PDF articles aren't that different from the print. It may have links within the article (example: links to articles in the refrence section) but in general it is the same ol' article.

Enter the interactive article.
Imagine having the "PDF" of an article on congenital heart defects and be able to hear the heart sounds plus the video recording of the heart. The video would be more than just a snippet, it would be the entire video sectioned into "chapters" refrenced within the various areas of the article. So while you are reading the article you can click on the link within the text referencing the image, sound, etc. and the image immediately jumps to that section the video. Imagine the data behind a large randomized control trial available in its entirety to all readers to be manpulated, reused, and viewed.

Two different people presented on this new online journal structure. The first person, George Thoma, described the program they created which was one of ten semi-finalists in Elsevier's Article 2.0 contest. The second person John Childs, spoke of OSA's product which was developed in cooperation with the National Library of Medicine. Both products were very similar and very impressive. Currently you must download OSA's free software to view their interactive journals. The have already published several articles in this fashion in OSA journals currently indexed in MEDLINE. If you can't download and install software at your work computer, it is definitely worth trying at home just to get an idea of the all the possibilities and ways an article (and all the data, video, images, etc. behind it) can be viewed and used by readers.

While this type of interactive article is still a little ways away, it is jaw dropping at how the simple paper article can and will become so much more in the future. With all of the possibilities and opportunities this type of article presents, there still some questions to be answered.

There probably needs to be one standard for this new technology to become adopted. Readers are not going to want to download one type of reader to view one publisher's articles and another reader for a different publisher's articles. This is equally true for the submission of articles. Authors are not going to want to try and use multiple programs to submit their articles, data, and images. Changes regarding data sharing also must occur within the biomedical community. In the physics and mathmatical science world, researchers frequently share their data and use other people's data. Not so in the biomedical world, researchers closely guard their data because it is the ticket to their next grant funding. Sharing of biomedical research data would not only help research to grow at a faster and more productive pace, it will also help find those fraudulent researchers who expertly fake their data and publish their results in well know journals like Lancet. Having the data available for the world to look at and go through opens the research to another level of vetting that the actual peer reviewers might not catch.

Libraries and library vendors also have quite a few issues to think about and deal with regarding these new interactive articles. First, how will interlibrary loan work? There will be so much important information within the article that is digital and not available by traditional PDF means, how will that information be shared. A researchers getting just the PDF without the data behind the article would be like getting an article with a few pages missing. How will full text database providers deal with the interactive article within their database? Will they have rights to the videos and data sets? How will they build whatever interactive article software viewer that becomes the standard into their database? Would they need to?

Another big question (one many librarians don't like to talk about) is, what are the implications to the printed journal? I used to think that the printed journal would still be around in some way and the libraries would always get the printed journal. That trend is already beginning to change with just the average vanilla electronic journal. Libraries more and more are dumping printed journals in favor of online access and online repositories. The interactive journal article would speed this process up considerably. A related question would be what would be the institutional subscription vs. personal subscription access implications. There are publishers who give personal subscribers different and more inclusive access to information compared to what institutional subscribers are allowed to access. Would things like all of the research data in the interactive article be only available to personal subscribers?

The interactive article is still too far in the future for any immediate answers, but these questions and others are ones that will need to be addressed, because technology has made it possible for this kind of journal article to exist. It is only a matter of time before it or something like it becomes a reality.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Deadline for Hospital Library Travel Grant is Fast Approaching

The deadline for the Hospital Library Section (HLS) Travel Award Grant is February 16, 2009!

If you are a member of the HLS and planning or considering going to the MLA meeting in Hawaii you should really take advantage of this opportunity. According to a recent email on the HLS-list the committee has received very few applicants.
The committee will provide 4 grants of $500 to winners. Grants will be awarded to HLS members based on the benefit to the section and financial need.

For more information and criteria go to: the HLS web site and see Travel Award announcement:

Personally, I think this is a great opportunity for any HLS member who is thinking about going to MLA. In previous blog posts I have lamented about the lack of funding for regular mid career librarians who have gone to at least one annual meeting. Until recently there just weren't a lot of grants out there to help fund those sort of medical librarians. With the economy and with the meeting located outside of the continental U.S. various MLA sections are really trying to provide many opportunities for librarians to get travel grants. I don't know whether other sections have had a lot of applicants, but I think it is sad that a section with 1043 members (statistics from HLS 2007-2008 Annual Report) has few applicants for the travel grant. One would hope this is because a lot of the members' institutions are paying for it. However, from the stories I have heard among various colleagues (academic, hospital, special, etc.) institutions are cutting back on travel not funding more of it.

There are still those librarians out there howling about how expensive it is to attend MLA (regardless of where it is held). Yet where are these people when there are more grants available?! I am extremely fortunate that my institution decided to fund my trip. Had they not done so or only funded it partially I would be applying for every travel grant I qualified for.

Not everybody can go every year nor afford to go every year but out of 1000+ members you would expect you would have a consistently large group of people wanting to go and wanting to get funding. We all have financial obligations but we also have a professional responsibilities and obligation to stay up to date and expand relevant skills in today's economy. MLA and its sections can help us achieve those professional responsibilities, but the individual must make a commitment too.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Changes to Journal Citation Reports

ISI Web of Knowledge just released a statement detailing several new changes that will occur to Journal Citation Reports. Coming in February 2009 the latest release of JCR Web will have new metrics and functionality that "solves the problem of inappropriate use of Impact Factor."

What's New:
  • Five-Year Impact Factor: Gives a broader range of citation activity for a more informative snapshot over time. For journals in subjects where citation activity continues to rise through several years, this allows more of their total citation activity to be included in a critical performance metric.
  • Eigenfactor: Is also a five-year metric, is designed to reflect the prestige and citation influence of journals by considering scholarly literature as a network of journal-to-journal relationships.
  • Graphic Displays of Impact Factor "Box Plots": A graphic interpretation of how a journal ranks in different categories.
  • Rank-in-Category Tables for Journals Covering Multiple Disciplines: Allows a journal to be seen in the context of multiple categories at a glance rather than only a single one.
  • Journal "Self Citations": An analysis of journal self citations and their contribution to the Journal Impact Factor calculation

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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: