Odds & Ends of possible interest

Useful FireFox extensions :

  • Distill

This allows you to monitor a web page  for any changes. You can highlight just part of the page (handy as some pages  change a lot  with tweets or whatever so you want to avoid that) and it will track changes only in that section – useful if looking for a report to appear, update to a publication. The only tricky thing with it is that  when you highlight a section the Save changes icon you want is bottom right (took a while to find that)

  • Lightshot and Awesome Screenshot  Plus

Both of these make capturing and annotating screenshots  very easy which is useful for training  materials, highlighting problems  via emails etc

  • Copy as plain text

Just a little  thing but find it useful. Adds a  right click option to a highlighted  items in the browser  such that  you can copy as  plain text and don’t have formatting carried over  into whatever you are  copying into

  • Vimperator

Essentially it converts links into numbers and you can “click on the link” by typing the relevant number so in a sense  creates  keyboard shortcuts  for websites. Could be useful with any web interface used frequently.

  • Lastpass

Oldie but a very goodie – only ever have to remember one password.


Other bits and pieces:

PubMed for Nurses  tutorial

UpToDate now more useful  for those that subscribe

There is now a specific ClinicalKey app (rather than just a mobile optimised site) but apparently only available in the US for the moment

Booko price alert. Booko is useful for finding the best prices for books (including delivery). It now has a feature where for a given item you can set a price target and be alerted when price drops below your nominated figure. This feature is below the book cover image.

Move between browser tabs. It is quite easy to get caught out using alt-tab when all you actually want to do is move between tabs of the browser. Ctrl-tab works for most browsers so you just have to think ctrl instead of alt

On the Wards. This is a website for junior docs containing podcasts, blogs and videos. The podcasts are interviews with senior clinicians that discuss common questions and case based scenarios that junior doctors will face on the wards etc

A few new useful(?) MeSH headings for 2015 – Legendary creatures, Long term adverse effects, Smartphone, Spirit possession, Giraffes, Hoarding disorder

Continuing with MeSH. MeSH On Demand identifies candidate subject headings from text pasted into the search box

Two newish PubMed alerting services – Medumail and MedSubscriber

Papers, the reference manager, for iPhone and iPad is now free

British Medical Library Association book prize winners 2015 for possible book purchases

WriteCite Builds citation as student enters details so they can learn the structure

The Cloud Catalog: One Catalog to Serve Them All

And with that it is time now for a coffee

“85% of biomedical research is wasted” and librarians

First to the rather disturbing 85% figure. This originates from a 2009 Lancet article that suggests much research is wasted due to asking the wrong questions, being badly designed, being not published, being poorly reported and more. The paper has been cited some 400 times in Google Scholar which indicates that it is an area of interest and concern.

So where where do librarians fit in? A recent paper (“Impactful librarians : identifying opportunities to increase your impact”) suggests that they can play a very important role in improving research quality in their organisations. At the same time, this will help raise the profile and value of clinical librarians, which is increasingly important in the current economic climate.

Shona Kirtley, from the University of Oxford in the UK, outlines a number of steps that librarians can pro actively take to achieve some of these desirable outcomes. 16 possible actions are handily summarised in the article, and no doubt there are other approaches which can be adopted.

To highlight just one area as an example, one aspect of research inefficiency is in the reporting of research methods and results. Reporting guidelines, which often take the form of check-lists or flow diagrams, have been developed to improve reporting of various study types, such as randomised controlled trials (CONSORT), systematic reviews (PRISMA), observational studies (STROBE), case reports (CASE) and so on. As clinical librarians are often in contact with researchers, they are ideally placed to promote awareness of guidelines such as these. For instance, this could be when a clinician requests a search for research, during training classes, on the library website etc.

It is valuable to have a look at the EQUATOR Network site which provides online access to numerous reporting guidelines; searchable by study type and/or clinical speciality. Just making researchers aware of this site alone would significantly contribute to research quality.

My own country Australia has just become the fourth member of the network worldwide, following the United Kingdom, Canada and France. There is a Librarian section of the EQUATOR Network if you would like to be involved in establishing it in your own country or contributing generally. Another site focussed on preventing research waste is The Reward Alliance.

In short, the Kirtley paper is well worth printing off and reading, giving as it does much food for thought and outlining potential opportunities for librarians to have a positive and valued impact on biomedical research.

Comments, suggestions, tips, anecdotes etc welcome below,

– Rob

InTOCicated by eTOCs

As you might gather from the post title, I love journal alerts (aka eTOCs) and here’s why:

  • They increase use of our expensive ejournals
  • They help keep clinicians up to date in their specialty
  • They repeatedly remind clinicians that the medical library exists; no small thing in these Googlesque days
  • They can be used to cross promote other library resources, services and news

We are a relatively small hospital library (two staff) which services around 5000 clients. Over the years, our ejournal alert service has grown to around 700 journal alerts, and is probably our most popular service.

The way it works is that all journal eTOCs come through one email and are forwarded to alert groups automatically via rules.

Our organisation used to have Groupwise for its email system and rules worked well with it. However on switching to Outlook, we quickly found that we could only create half a dozen or so rules before memory limitations were reached. After some searching, we found an Outlook add-in called Auto-Mate from Pergenex which came to the rescue. It’s an easy to use but powerful add-in, and it’s strangely gratifying to watch it automatically forward dozens of eTOCs each morning.

While signing up for eTOCs is a one off task, and forwarding of emails is automatic once rules have been set up, creating and modifying ejournal email groups is the most labor intensive part of the service. If I was to start the service again, I’d probably do it at the subject level (eg cardiology) rather than the title level (eg BMJ) as this would reduce the workload involved in adding and removing users from groups.

With a previous post – exporting Google Scholar citations to reference managers – I Kraftily used it as a Trojan horse to seek an answer to issue. Thanks to responders Farhad, Christine and especially Karen who provided the solution.

In a similar vein, I’m hoping a clever commenter out there can shed light on the following question:

Is there a way to have an online web form such that a user can make multiple selections (for the various eTOCs they are interested in) and which on submission updates multiple email groups (corresponding to the eTOCs they have selected/deselected). The email system doesn’t necessarily need to be Outlook. I thought this would be relatively straightforward process but as yet haven’t been able to find any offerings like this, despite playing around with the likes of MailChimp.

The JournalTOCs service has something like this available but our resolver wouldn’t work with their system alas alack alay

In any case, I remain a big fan of eTOCs and would be interested to hear if any other libraries have any comments, are using them in interesting ways or have any technology (not RSS ) that streamlines the process and so on

Thanks Rob

Exporting multiple Google Scholar citations to reference managers like Endnote

Google Scholar (GS) is a very useful addition to the searchers arsenal; following a “cited by” trail nicely complements results retrieved by keyword/subject heading searches in databases such as Embase and Medline.

One area where GS is less useful is exporting records to reference management software. Using the settings,  you can set up an export to BibTex, Endnote, RefMan and RefWorks. However, there are two limitation:

  1. You can only export a single record at a time
  2. You don’t get the abstract included

GS, after a little fiddling about, does allow you to save citations to a list (My library) but citations in this list can still only be exported one at a time so this produces no benefit at all. Then I read an interesting pager by Bramer and de Jonge – Improving efficiency and confidence in systematic literature searching* – which mentioned that Harzing’s Publish or Perish can be used to download 1000 references from GS into reference managers such as Endnote.

Could this speed up my click by click populating of Endnote libraries with GS citations (and maybe throw abstracts in as well for good measure)?

Publish or Perish, ” designed to help individual academics to present their case for research impact to its best advantage”, is a small bibliometrics program (approx 1 MB) that can be installed without admin privileges.  You can indeed export multiple GS (and Microsoft Academic Search) results but – alas, alack, alay – it is not the solution to problems 1 and 2 above. Abstracts – not totally surprising as GS doesn’t provide them – aren’t included.  And while you can search the Publish or Perish program in various ways (author, journal, all words etc), it just doesn’t match the way you search GS which is generally a mixture of keyword and cited by searching so you cannot easily replicate a set of results.

The subject line of this post implied a solution to the multiple GS export problem. Actually it is more a request to see if anyone else has found a fix – sorry about leading you on like that. But this issue is one of those not-so-large-but-there-must-be-a-better-way ones so I’m hoping someone can suggest a workaround.

The easiest solution would be for Google to make the My library list bulk exportable. While holding my breath and waiting for that, I wonder if anyone out there has found a clever way around this problem? Perhaps a search from Endnote GS citations to an external database such as PubMed to grab the abstracts in some fiendishly clever way?


* The systematic searching paper mentioned about can be found in PDF format and Word format, with the latter incorporating a couple of corrections as detailed at the end of this post. The paper itself is interesting for giving all sort of search tips as well as providing a framework (including online macros) for translating search queries from one database platform to another (Embase into Ovid Medline etc). It also has some nifty GS search tips and a table giving a useful search syntax summary across various platforms; the PDF version is good for printing this out. Indeed it is a paper that you need to print out and read at your leisure as not really one you can just scan through online so well.

***Note from Krafty*** 10/28/15
This post seems to generate a lot of spam mail in the comments despite anti spam measures.  As a result I have disabled comments from this post. If you want to comment you must email krafty(atsign)kraftylibrarian(dot)com and if the comment is related to the post I will post it manually in the comments.  Sorry for the inconvenience. Thank you.

Another Kraft Worker

It’s an interesting idea to have a communal blog.

My name is Rob Penfold and like one of the other posters (Tobin), I also have a PhD in microbiology and genetics and funnily enough also worked in the malaria area.

I now work in a hospital library setting and hail from Down Under so perhaps can provide a different perspective.

Once, at the forensic library where I worked, we had a Crappy Craft day. My contribution was Krappy Koasters made out of Kraft cheese slices. This rather bemused the lucky recipient. This is my passport for being able to post to the Krafty Librarian blog.