NLM Georgia Biomedical Informatics Course

I recently attended the NLM Georgia Biomedical Informatics Course at the lovely Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris, GA. This week-long semiannual course is hosted by the Robert B. Greenblatt, M.D. Library, Georgia Regents University and funded by the National Library of Medicine. If you’ve ever heard library colleagues talk about the Woodshole course, this is the current version of that course. The content changes every session, which is necessary in such a fast moving field.

Attendees were a nice mix of librarians, clinicians, researchers and others involved in medical information technology. Instructors who are in the forefront of their field came from around the country to teach in this prestigious course. I found it to be a great overview of current important topics in informatics, and I learned so much about the breadth of this essential field from both the instructors and the other attendees. We also did some networking and shooting pool at the local watering hole, Brassies.

Read more to see what was covered (and some cool pictures from a field trip we took)

Continue reading NLM Georgia Biomedical Informatics Course

Evidence Based Practice Workshop: Two (Very Different) Perspectives

Summer is a busy time for medical librarians but it can also be a time to hone skills that have been lying dormant. This summer, as I continued to transition into a new position I realized that my evidence based practice (EBP) skills were a little rusty. What’s more, I realized that clinicians wanted more from librarians in the area of qualitative analysis than I had training in.

My library supported my attendance in the Supporting Clinical Care: An Institute in Evidence-Based Practice for Medical Librarians workshop held at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Library in Aurora, Colorado. The intensive three day course is led by faculty including Pamela Bagley, Jeff Mason, Angela Myatt, Connie Schardt, Lisa Traditi and many others. Sponsored by BMJ Best Practice and EBSCO Health the intensive workshop provides both small and large group learning on topics essential to EBP.

Overall course content is designed to be introductory which makes this workshop a good opportunity to get started in EBP or brush up on skills. The content for the course was impressive, yes homework was involved. The workshop is designed to be challenging as well as informative and fun, there is even a bit of competition in the form of an EBP Jeopardy challenge.

One of the major topic areas that I had little training in what searching for and evaluation qualitative research. The agenda for this workshop included a large group introduction to qualitative research and small group work. The small group session on qualitative research was informative as it included a review of qualitative search techniques, modified question framing tools, and practice in assessing qualitative studies. The skilled faculty led both large and small group in informative discussions about all the topics covered.

During this summer’s session I was lucky enough to meet librarian and co-author Tobin Magle. An unexpected aspect of this workshop is the community that is created so quickly. From small group to large group, participants share their expertise and skills. Networking and teamwork are encouraged throughout the workshop. It was from discussions in small group was as well as some of the team based activities that I feel I learned the most. Not only about EBP but also about ways to apply what I have learned into other aspects of librarianship.

If you are unable to make the 2016 workshop but are still interested in getting training in EBP or qualitative research, workshop instructor Connie Schardt presented two excellent MLA webinars this summer that cover the topics and provide useful information for librarians and clinicians alike.

—–

Thanks, Emily, for summarizing your experience so well! I’ve only been in health science librarianship for about a year now so I have a lot to learn. Though my primary duties at the library involve working with basic scientists, the EBP workshop was essential to my professional development at the Health Science Library because it allows me to integrate better with the rest of the staff and put our work in a broader context.

My background is in basic science research. One difference between basic and clinical research that has always struck me is the well-defined structure of clinical research. Many of the concepts are the same (5 section paper format, controls, statistics, etc.), but the way clinical research can be divided into distinct study types is very different. I enjoyed learning about study design and hope to use these skills in my work at the library.

I had already been teaching part of a research methods class (DSAD 5502) in the School of Dental Medicine curriculum using my previous research knowledge, but going to the EBP workshop gave me a framework to hang these similarities on and present the material in a way that is more engaging to future dental professionals. For example, instead of taking the time to explain how to calculate a Chi Squared test, I emphasized how to interpret the result to improve patient care. It has also helped me to work on PICO questions during literature search consultations with College of Nursing students.

I am very grateful that the Health Sciences Library supported my participation in the workshop. This type of cross training helps me feel more engaged with our organization’s mission.

– Tobin

Join an MLA Committee….NOW!

These last few weeks I have been traveling to the chapter meetings (and participating in the virtual chapter meeting) and during my MLA Update I remind people that engagement within MLA is important to members building their own value within the organization. One of the best ways to be engaged is to join an MLA Committee.

Time is running out, you must submit an application to join a committee by October 31, 2015.

Over the years I’ve written several posts about joining an MLA Committee,  here is a “Behind the Scenes” post which gives a detailed account of the process.

Primary things to remember when joining a committee:

  1. The process is kind of similar to the Match for medical students.  The MLA President elect officially assigns members to committees. However, we go by the requests and input from the committee chairs and the member application requests.
  2. When applying for a committee pleas list your interests or experience for the committee you wish to join.  This helps the committee chairs who are looking for people and it helps the President elect.
  3. Apply for more than one committee. Some committees are very popular and there may be several people for 2 spots. Applying for more than one committee increases your chances of being on a committee you want.
  4. Seriously consider selecting “Any Committee”. This is very helpful to chairs and the President Elect. This also increases your chances of being on a committee.

We try very hard to make sure everyone is assigned to a committee but if you don’t fill everything out or list only one committee it makes things very difficult.

Last year when I assigned committee members I worked with a giant spread sheet of member requests, a giant spread sheet of chair requests, and a spreadsheet listing every committee applicant so I could check off that they got assigned to at least one committee. Thankfully I have 2 computer monitors so I could keep track of it all.

So please apply to join a committee it is a great way to get involved.

 

First ever all-virtual conference

I love conferences: meeting other librarians, learning about new products and services, and getting great ideas from others’ innovative projects. However, it is always hard to get away to go to conferences. Both the time and funds can be hard to find. This is why I was so excited for the first-ever virtual conference by the Midcontinental Chapter of the Medical Library Association (MCMLA). This was also the first ever all-virtual meeting of any MLA chapter in the history of the organization. I did not have to find money in my budget or time in my schedule, but still was able to attend many informative conference sessions. And, I got to attend the conference while wrapped in my fleece blanket.

I know the virtual conference has been years in the making from many dedicated librarians, but they made it look easy. Also, Elsevier, McGraw-Hill, Wolters Kluwer, and Rittenhouse agreed to participate in this experiment and gave presentations about their new products. Overall, the conference had great presenters, engaged participants, and moved smoothly past the few, small technical glitches that occurred.

Check out #MCMLA2015 to see the Twitter discussions during the conference and go to the MCMLA conference page for more details about the meeting and the poster that was presented at MLA 2015 about the virtual conference. I hope this is only the beginning of associations experimenting with virtual conferences and exploring alternative ways of sharing ideas and research with each other.

Going down the one person library rabbit hole

My only other co-worker is transferring to another hospital at the end of the month so I will soon becoming a truly one person library, hopefully only temporary but it could be permanent. In any case, at least for a few months I’ll be on my own.

Now I need to figure out how to organize my workday to cover two set of job duties. I have so many questions. Do I sit at the reference desk every day, or do I split my day between the reference desk and my office? I’m not full time. Do I work 4 8 hours days and one 4 hour day, or do I spread my hours evenly over 5 days?

Then comes the fun stuff – prioritizing my work. Figuring out how to balance ILLs, searches, technical issues, renewals and other library administrative tasks. Oh, and I forgot to mention the library is moving. Every task is a priority but some have more visible results than others.

Hopefully this will be a temporary situation but on the off chance it isn’t I’ll be documenting my journeys down this rabbit hole. Any comments or thoughts are more than welcome!

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?

RP

* 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.

Brief Intro: Emily Hurst

Emily HurstHello all! Another guest librarian blogger, happy to be joining in to post while Michelle is engaged with MLA Presidential duties. Update: Apparently my scheduled post of this did not go out as expected over an month ago.

My name is Emily Hurst and just as Irene, I too work at the Virginia Commonwealth University Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences. I currently serve as the Head of Research and Education. While I only joined VCU Libraries in December I have been a medical librarian for several years. I previously worked with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region.

I am currently active in both the Mid-Atlantic Chapter and South Central Chapters of MLA. This summer turned out to be a busy one. I’ve completed two web migration projects for MLA, worked on recruiting for a new librarian, and learned a whole heck of a lot along the way!

My interests are varied, while I am focused on management and leadership topics I have an extensive history with teaching, training, and technology.

For more about me visit me online or follow me on Twitter.

Preparing for National Medical Librarians Month

Several years ago, the Medical Library Association declared October National Medical Librarians Month. The theme for this year is “Are you a Risk Taker? When you need to be right, ask your medical librarian.” Check out the free available materials at http://www.mlanet.org/p/cm/ld/fid=320.
Will you use those materials or design your own using your library logo and colors? Will the library logo show up on your giveaway pencils, pens, totes, flashlights, caps, magnet, or drinking bottles? Will there be a contest to guess the number of gummy worms in a jar or a contest to guess the number of your institution’s authors displayed on a table trifold? Have you put together quick facts about the Library? Have you designed a special banner for your website?Have you scheduled product demos, a book signing, guest speaker or an art show reception? Will you introduce a new service, a new product or your staff members?

Take advantage of this opportunity to promote and celebrate your Library.

Happy National Medical Librarians Month!

Join this conversation and share your plans with your colleagues.

Helen-Ann Brown Epstein

The Incidental Informationist is officially an informationist!

I recently found out that the NLM Administrative Supplement for Informationist Services that I am included on received funding! This opportunity is very exciting to me because I will be working on an interesting project with a great group of people.

I will be providing data curation services for an R01 project by Dr. Katerina Kechris that generated a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) dataset from an inbred mouse panel. The mice are closely related, but have known genetic differences. They also exhibit an array of behavioral traits that relate to alcohol use disorders, such as ethanol sensitivity, tolerance and consumption. The NGS dataset is limited to a small RNA molecules known as micro RNAs (miRNAs). These molecules typically regulate gene expression rather than getting read by ribosomes to make protein, as the central dogma dictates. The goal of this project is to discern whether expression any of these miRNAs correlates with the alcohol use phenotypes mentioned above. Additionally, these miRNAs are closely related to those in humans, which could give clues to the mechanisms of alcohol use disorders in humans.

The mouse panel that the NGS samples came from can be used for much more than this alcohol use disorder study, and Dr. Kechris had already written in her R01 proposal that she wanted to share this resource with the research community in the PhenoGen database. Thus, we proposed the following Aims to increase the usability of this dataset by other research groups:

Aim 1 Make the NGS data, appropriate metadata, and code publicly available.

I will deposit the raw data in the NCBI databases along with appropriate metadata, or data that describes their data, to give it context and reusability. I will also deposit the code that they have used to clean and analyze their data to GitHub, so other people can repeat their analyses. This aim also supports a web programmer who will add functionality to the PhenoGen database to support this new dataset. We are also creating an entry for our institutional repository to link all this information together and to our campus.

Aim 2 Create tutorials to show other researchers how to use these data.

All the information is on the web, so it should be usable, right? Well we’re going to make it even easier to use these data by making tutorials in a variety of formats: video, text/static images, and Guide on the Side. These resources will also be referenced on the repository entry.

Aim 3 Evaluate the efficacy of Aims 1 and 2.

Finally, we will evaluate whether the first 2 aims are effective. I will do this by tracking data download and citation statistics, and by including assessments within the tutorials to evaluate their efficacy.

I’m so excited about this project! I can’t wait to get started. Now I just need to figure out how grant funding works here.

Questions and feedback are, of course, welcome.

– Tobin

Demo-ing Apps in the Classroom

Does anyone have any handy tips they use for demo-ing mobile resources in their workshops and presentations to students, residents, nurses etc? I just happened upon a very neat new (at least to me) feature in Chrome that I had not noticed in the “inspect element” development tool, which I occasionally use to look at source code for troubleshooting purposes. If you’re not confident about, responsible for, or interested in coding intricacies, you may not have ever explored this set of tools, and while there are a number of interesting and useful features for the non-techie person, this trick really jumped out at me as being something that I could immediately incorporate into my everyday work.

Apologies in advance for the many readers who are in institutions that don’t support Chrome. I weep for you daily. For the rest, here are the instructions:

When you right-click on a page in chrome, or CTRL-shift-I, you’ll see an option at the bottom of the list to “inspect element”. There’s an icon in the lower panel of the display, which shows the code, that represents a mobile/tablet device, and which, if clicked, resets the page to display as if it were on such a device. At the top of the page, there is also a drop-down menu with options for specific devices, so you can display a page which emulates the display of different iPhone models, iPads, Android devices- even BlackBerry (in case you are going back in time to do an instruction session.)

While, obviously, the display on-screen in the classroom will be small, if one is discussing mobile resources, there’s something to be said about showing them in their native habitat. Does anyone have a favorite tip or tool that they like to use? I’ve struggled with this in the past and basically given up, because the various emulators that were on-line for this kind of use were not especially reliable and certainly weren’t integrated into the instructional process in the same way. Comment away.