PubMed Notes 2010

The December 8, 2009 issue  of the NLM Technical Bulletin is out and librarians will be interested to know that Webcasts is one of the two other terms (Research Support and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) will be added to the “Type of Article” menu in Advanced Search. 

I love the idea that NLM is finally looking at indexing things that were/are webcasts.  Now the only problem is making sure these webcasts are permanently available or archived somewhere.  I guess if the webcast is associated with NLM or with a journal such as NEJM or JAMA then we librarians and the public have a better chance that the webcast is  somewhere not lost on web or deleted.  Now if the webcast is not associated with a publisher or an organization with a vested interest in archiving and keeping their content, then we have might have problems retrieving it in the future.  It will be interesting to see how webcast items will be handled. 

The Bulletin lists some other things you might want to know that are happening with the 2010 PubMed.  Young Adult: 19-24 will be added to the Ages menu in Advanced Search and linking ISSN numbers will appear in the MEDLINE format in the ISSN field.

Those of you who use XML data (you know who you are) should check out “XML Changes for the NLM 2010 Production Year” and you can be kept up to date with changes by subscribing to the NLM’s anouncement mailing list

As Nikki Detmar first stated on Twitter, PubMed Advanced Search is still a work in progress, so stay tuned to the Bulletin as NLM “re-works”  Advanced Search to “improve search capabilities.”

EMBASE Classic is Ovid’s Resource of the Month

A few years ago I used to regularly post about Ovid’s resource of the month.  I always thought it was a good way to test drive a new/different database and it was nice to know that it was available (free for that month) just in case I got  an odd search question that could be answered using it.  However, things changed a little bit and Ovid began profiling certain journals as resources of the month.  I can understand how a company wants to drive interest to their other products, but I was more interested in the databases not the journals.   As a result I had decided to stop posting about the resources of the month. 

Yesterday while checking my news feeds and updates I noticed that Ovid’s December Resource of the Month is EMBASE Classic and I just couldn’t pass up chance to let other medical librarians know about the opportunity to search another medical database for free. 

If you are looking for old research articles, and have already done an exhaustive search in MEDLINE, you might want to check out EMBASE Classic.  It indexes biomedical research articles from 1947-1973, 90% of which have abstracts.  The information covers over 3000 journal source titles. 

Try it now for free in December at Ovid
Learn more about EMBASE Classic from Ovid

I will continue to watch for future Resources of the Month and if there are databases listed that might be of interest to medical and health librarians I will post about them.  Depending on what is profiled it may not be every month, but as I mentioned earlier, I cannot watch a good medical database go unused when it is available for free (even if for a limited time).

Beware of Phishing Scam Using CDC Name

Earlier this week the CDC issued this press release  regarding a phishing scam referncey the CDC vaccination program.  The message states that users must create a personal H1N1 vaccination profile on CDC website.

DO NOT CLICK ON THE EMAIL LINK!  The CDC has NOT implemented a state vaccination program requiring registration on  It is a phishing scam, when users click on the email link (which is not the CDC’s) a malicious code is installed on their computer.

Please go to the CDC’s press release  to view an example of the scam email.

I can see where this can easily get some people because there are state and local healthcare boards that are requiring people to register to get the H1N1 shot.  Ohio is one of them.  Important thing to remember if you are in doubt, don’t click on the link in the email and just go straight to the site by typing it into your browser.  The state or local website should have the information on their website if they are doing it.

What is Google Wave and Why Should I Care?

I hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving weekend.  In between opening boxes in my new house, eating lots of turkey, and watching football I started playing around with Google Wave.  Melissa R. kindly gave me an invite and I have a few invites available for tech playing medical librarians. 

So what is this Google Wave thing? 

Good question.  Google Wave is a “personal communication and collaboration tool” developed by Lars and Jens Rasmussen the creaters of Google Maps.  The Wave started in September 2009 with 100,000 users who were each allowed to invite other users to the system.  Google Wave is supposed to easily hook up users with real-time communication and facilitate collaboration.  A “wave” can be a conversation or a document where people can discuss and work together.  A wave is shared and participants can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants into the process at any point.  Waves are live, as you type participants see it. 

Ok so why should I care about Google Wave?

Lars, Jens and Google think Wave is the next “big” communication thing.  The way Google Maps reinvented maping, only more so.  They think of it as an email killer.  Which personally I think is an extremely bold statement and lofty goal. 

So why on earth would I use Google Wave?

According to the folks at Google (who as you know have some interest in seeing Wave take off) you can use Wave for organizing events, group projects, photo sharing, meeting notes, brainstorming, and interactive games.  There are ton of other established ways people already do these things like Evite, flickr, GoogleDocs, etc.  I am not sure why Google Wave is better at doing these things rather than the traditional methods and online applications.  I think the Google Wave people would say that it is better because everything is done in real time.  My answer is, yeah so. 

Google Wave is extremely new, and I only know of three examples of librarian usage (please comment if you have other examples).  Bart Ragon, chair of the MLA Social Networking Task Force is experimenting with Google Wave discussing the new PubMed design.  Nikki Detmar has created a medlibs wave and a group of librarians within LITA have a LITA wave.  So far I have only briefly played around in the New PubMed wave created by Bart.  I plan on playing in the medlib wave soon.

Nikki Detmar just blogged  about the possible use of Google Wave for community and emergency information.  She discussed the Seattle Times experiment of using Wave (interesting they advertised the Wave experiment first on Twitter)  for the emerging Lakewood shootings news story.  It is interesting to see how the Wave worked (and how it was quickly overloaded). 

So what is the future of Wave?

Right now I am totally unimpressed with Wave.  It is not out of the box user friendly.  Perhaps I was expecting too much.  I wanted something like Facebook where you can EASILY search for friends and add them to your wave.  I don’t want to have to use my Gmail account, that account is my one true non spam account and I don’t want to open it up.  I already get too much junk in my other accounts.  I wish I could use an email account that is already associated with a social networking application.  I think it needs to be able to grab your friends from Facebook or other sites to be truly useful. 

Searching is yucky.  It is a far departure from your typical Google searching strategy.  If you have to search for a public wave you have to use :public and then put your search term in. 

For example: :public LITA Google Wave Group

That is annoying not intuitive, and a barrier to regular people adopting it.  Another usage barrier is browser compatibility.  Google Wave appears to work best on Chrome (Google’s browser, go figure) but who on earth really uses Chrome other than G1 phone users?  According to Browser Watch, Internet Explorers market share is 67.51%, Firefox is 21.73%, and Google Chrome is 1.15%.  People can use Wave with Firefox and IE, but IE users must first install the Google Chrome Frame browser plugin.  Again another pain.  I chose to use Firefox to play around.  Designing a product that works best only on their Chrome platform can work one of two ways.  It could be a stroke of genius, getting more people to use Chrome.  It also could be a very very bad idea.  IE is dominant in the browser business and is the 800 lbs gorilla that most people use because it is there.  People are entrenched in their browser choice and they don’t move unless there is sufficient reason.  Firefox which is way more flexible and adaptable (and some would say better) than IE only has 21% of the market share. 

Right now I don’t see Google Wave replacing my email or my Twitter.  I think it is a pain to use and really doesn’t connect people as easily as I think it should.  Perhaps it will develop to be the email killer, I don’t know.  I will still keep playing with it for a little while just to see what all it can do and see what (if any) applications it can have in medical libraries.  Who knows maybe it will be great for libraries.  I don’t know.  Just look at Twitter.  A year ago I couldn’t find a good reason for medical librarians to be using Twitter for library purposes.  I was wrong about that, but it took some time and some creative individuals for that to happen.  So I welcome any creative medical librarians to play with Google Wave, maybe it will be helpful in the future.

Annual Medline Reload

I am a little late on this, I appologize.

As of November 18, 2009, the National Library of Medicine stopped distributing their updates so that they can transistion to the 2010 version of MeSH.  For those of you using Ovid, the November Week 3 2009 is most latest update.  So if you want to most recent citations you either need to run them in the new PubMed or in Ovid’s MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations database.  Ovid’s In-Process etc. database will continue to be updated through the full reload process.  However, don’t forget these citations are not MeSHed and your searching will be slightly different.

NLM expects to complete the reload by mid-December.  I will try to be more on the ball and let you know when things are up and running as normal with the 2010 MeSH. 

Those of you who have AutoAlerts saved on Ovid please be aware that AutoAlerts will not be generated because there are no updates from NLM.  Take this opportunity to check your AutoAlerts or your MyNCBI searches against the 2010 MeSH  to see if you need to adjust your strategy and update new our outdated terms accordingly.

Social Networking Changes Blogging

Those of you on Facebook or Twitter can attest that many of us are now sharing links to news and blogs and commenting on them to our own “friends” on Facebook and Twitter.   conducted a study and found something interesting, most of the blog post awareness and commenting is now happening “off site,” (not on the blog itself).  People are increasingly being driven to blog posts by social networking, according to their study Facebook, Twitter and Digg were the top 3 traffic drivers to blogs. 

Since 2007 PostRank has been looking at the top 1000 most engaging feeds and found they experienced a 30% growth in engagement, despite onsite engagement (commenting on the blogsite) falling by 50%.  Previously people followed a blog post through RSS feeds on their feed reader and through links (trackbacks) sent to them by other people or within body of another blog post.  PostRank’s study found that engagement from trackbacks has fallen from 19% to 3%.  So how are people finding blog posts?  Referrals from Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook and other sites have gone up from 1% to over 29%. 

You would think that with everybody sharing stories on social networking sites would cause an cause engagement in stories to increase and make it even more necessary to have timely posts.  Yet according to PostRank’s study there is a steady increase in the lifespan of a story.  In 2007 PostRank observed that the over 94% of all engagement occurred within the first day publishing and 98% of that all occurred within the first hour.  In 2008 and 2009 a story’s lifespan increased.  In 2008, engagement with in the first hour was 83% and in 2009 it was 64%. 

Of course all of this information from this study comes from PostRanks, a company that has a dog in the fight with its own “social engagement” analytical software.  So I can understand why one might initially question the data.  Those of us in the medical world are trained to scruitinize data from drug companies and their products. 

Yet while I may not have numbers like PostRank and I am sure other companies might have other statistics, my general observations from my own blog and from my own forays on Twitter and Facebook have led me to believe that their is an increase in traffic driven to blogs from social sites and commenting from within the social site.   Unfortunately a lot of that discussion on the social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Friendfeed are disjointed from the blog.  One person commenting on the post on Twitter may not see another person’s comment on Facebook and neither of those comments are found on the comment section of the blog.

So what does this mean for libraries with blogs, Twitter, and Facebook?  It means we need to do a better job of tying them all together or at least monitoring them.  Many of the library Twitter feeds have no link back to the library home page nor have Twitter badge on their site referring to their feed.  Blog posts can easily be fed into Twitter and Facebook yet very few libraries seem to be doing that.  Since many people are using Twitter and Facebook to communicate it seems we are missing an opportunity by not linking the blog post through those sites. 

Should everything revolve through every social application and site?  No but these applications (Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, etc) have changed the landscape.  IT is time we looked at how we blog and send out news items and see whether we need to adapt our strategies.

Finding Our Little Black Dress in the Online World

Monday was spent attending the New England Journal of Medicine’s Library Advisory Board meeting.  This is only my first full year on the board and my second meeting but I have to say I have learned a lot about things that impact the publishing world and the medical library world.  As different as our two groups are, there are also quite a lot of similarities.  

Of course we talked about the economy and its impact on libraries and publishing in general.  We also talked about what we saw in the future for libraries (everything from online expansion, smaller physical spaces, different librarian roles and services) and the future for STM publishers (enhanced online articles, different roles for the publishers, and licensing issues). 

I found our discussion on social applications in medicine, libraries, and publishers to be extremely interesting (naturally).  When we met in the Spring, this topic was hardly discussed, but now 8 months later social media has exploded all over the Internet for the medical community.  Funny, we talked about what the future held for libraries and publishers at that Spring meeting, but honestly I don’t think anybody mentioned Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or any other social platform.   Yet it is now the must have PR and marketing tool. I think it is the little black dress, of the healthcare world. 

A year ago if you asked me about hospitals getting on Twitter or Facebook I would have laughed.  Hospital IT networks are notorious for locking things tight, I still know of hospitals where the network is so closed the medical professionals can’t use the clinical workstations to access MedlinePlus to give consumer health information to  patients.  So to have hospitals actively using something as “frivolous” as Twitter in public relations, marketing and consumer health information, is quite a departure from the tradition and honestly completely unexpected to me. 

But change is constant and we are not where we were 8 months ago and everybody in the medical world is hitting the social networking world big time.  Just like women searching for that perfect little black dress, hospitals, libraries, publishers, societies are all hitting the Internet looking for the social media application that is the right fit and style for them.  Just because they are little and black does not mean that all little black dresses are the same, au contraire.  One dress maybe too frilly and over the top to work for one woman, but it may just the right length and style for another who finds a simple sheath too plain.  The same can be said for social media applications.  Facebook might work for one organization but may not yield good results with another. 

So it was interesting to learn how in just the 8 short months the folks over at NEJM have also been trying on their little black dresses of social networking.  Many things were discussed but the  things that stuck in my head were NEJM’s H1N1 site, health care reform Twitter feedFacebook page, Interactive Medical Cases, and CardioExchange

The  H1N1 site was established by The New England Journal of Medicine in conjunction with Journal Watch to help monitor the outbreak.  The site contains research reports, commentary, news, updates, and a map of H1N1 cases through out the world.  Also included are articles from NEJM’s Archive about the epidemics in 1837, 1918, and 1976 as well as review articles on the management of seasonal influenza.

The H1N1 site is a great flu resource, but what I found most interesting is the neat way NEJM used blogging software to host the site.  Most people still think of using blogging software to run blogs such as the Krafty Librarian.  NEJM’s site while technically a blog offers so much more than just a regular old blog.

NEJM’s Twitter account is link to their Health Care Reform site.  You can find the feed if you search Twitter for NEJM or go directly to the Health Care Reform site ( link to the feed is located on the left side toward the bottom).  The NEJM Twitter account just focuses on information and stories pertaining to issues of health care reform in the United States. 

Important to note the content on both the H1N1 site and the Health Care Reform site is free.

The New England Journal of Medicine’s Facebook page is aimed at a different set of users than their Twitter feed.  The Facebook site has over 25,000 fans many of which are from the United States and Asia.  Most of their fans are very interested in NEJM’s Image of the Week  and their Interactive Medical Cases.  Both of these things as well as other topics are posted on their wall for people to read and comment on.

NEJM’s Interactive Medical Cases site is new and offers CME.  To mistake it as another CME site would be an unfortunate error.  Each case is presented in a way where the patients’ history and information evolves and the doctor taking the Interactive Medical Cases is presented with a series of questions and exercises to test their skills.  Through the use of video, animation, and other interactive content, doctors are given immediate feedback on their answers and treatment choices.  At the end of the case doctors are given the opportunity to compare their final scores with their peers. It still is in a limited time pilot phase and is currently free.

Last but not least is CardioExchange which was just unveiled last week at the 2009 AHA Scientific Sessions.   It is an online community for medical professionals dedicated to improving cardiac patient care.  Just from the brief view I got of it on Monday the design is way more professional than Facebook and more robust than LinkedIn.  It has the look and professional feel of LinkedIn but it is way more interactive than LinkedIn’s glorified rolodex feel.  There a slew of online communities vying for medical professionals to populate their virtual spaces, Sermo just being one of the many.  Unlike Sermo, CardioExchange is for medical professionals engaged in the delivery of cardiac patient care, it is not limited to physicians.  It is limited to subject matter not specifically job description.  (Personally I like this, physicians do not practice in a void, but within a health care team. So it makes sense that it would be open to the members involved in the cardiac patient care team, not just doctors.)  Unlike many online communities, members profiles are their real names, they are NOT anonymous and members are expected to be forthright about potential conflicts of interest.  Unlike Sermo, personal information is not shared with third parties.  (I think this is also important.  I have always been a little disconcerted by Sermo’s ties with drug and medical device industry.)  As I mentioned there are a lot of professional communities out there, it will be interesting to see how CardioExchange evolves and whether it is successful, it is too early to tell right now but it looks like it is on the right track. 

The New England Journal of Medicine is not the only publisher or medically related company to be hitting the racks of little black dresses in the social networking mall, nor will they be the last.  What is interesting is that they are trying on their dresses just like the rest of us.  They are evaluating what is too frilly what is too plain and what works best for each occasion.  As you or your library starts to peruse the racks as well, remember to have a critical eye in the dressing room, because not everything works for every body type.  What works well in one library and institution may not work at another.  It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it out, it just means that when you are trying things out be prepared to evaluate it to see how it is being used, who is using it, and its usage statistics (if possible).  For example there are a lot of applications and sites that help you monitor your Twitter account, Facebook’s Fan Page provides lots statistical information as well.  Most importantly if it isn’t working don’t be afraid to try something different that matches your needs.  That might mean a different social networking tool, it also might be mean something entirely different and not related to social networking.

Posts Resume Wednesday November 18th

Last weekend was a beautiful 60-70 degrees and I spent it moving out of our temporary apartment and into our new home.  Technically we are all moved in but I am living out of boxes because we now have everything that once was in storage. I just got my Internet up on Monday.  My online presence has taken a nose dive as a result.

My family and I leave tomorrow for Dallas to attend my brother’s wedding. While my husband flies back to Cleveland with two small boys, I fly to Boston for the New England Journal of Medicine’s Library Advisory Board meeting. 

November has been a hectic month.  I hope to resume posting when I get back next week because I am sure I will learn something new and interesting while I am in Boston.  In the mean time I want to thank you for your patience and reassure you that I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  I am just up to my neck in boxes.

New PubMed Webinar Recordings

This week Holly Ann Burt at the GMR conducted several webinars on the new PubMed and its changes.  I found the information to be extremely helpful so I ask her if it was ok to publish the links to the webinars on the blog so that others not in the GMR or who were unable to attend the webinars could benefit from them.

Thankfully she agreed.  :)

The webinars are all very similar and Holly covers approximately the same information in each one. So why did I include links to different recordings when she covers the same information?  The reason I did this is that each one is slightly different because different people attending asked different questions. 

I will be listening to each recording and I will list the questions people ask for each section so that if you are concerned about a specific item, you can click on the link where somebody asked that question.   Additionally as I listen to the recordings I will have more information to list (below) about what I have learned about the new PubMed.

(This will take me some time so please be patient as I get the information up. Usually I don’t publish a post until it is totally done, but I felt it was more important to list the recordings so people can listen to them rather than wait until I have listened to each one and summarized the questions.) 

Briefly here are things that I learned:

Want to email suggestions about the design or function of New PubMed?  You must use HelpDesk email link. (located bottom right hand corner of front page). That is the group that is dealing with the redesign.  So if you think PubMed is missing something, (such as easy access to Lonesome Doc, MedlinePlus, LinkOut, etc.) email them to request it to be added.

To get to Lonesome Doc: Located Using PubMed, Go to Full Text Articles, scroll to where it says Local library.  There is a brief paragraph with a link to Loansome Doc.  (Krafty note: Totally hidden and unhelpful)

Special Queries:  The special queries search that we all knew in the old PubMed is now called Topic-Specific Queries.

LinkOut: Not easy to find.  Up at the top above the PubMed logo their is a pull-down menu for Resources.  Click it and select All Resourcesthen scroll to LinkOut.  What is totally confusing is that there are two spots labeled Resources.  One link is upper left above PubMed logo and the other more prominent (and first place you notice) is the More Resources which located on the right side of the page midway down the page.

Auto suggest: The auto suggest in the search box is NOT MeSH, it is just an auto suggest of what others have searched for.  (Krafty note: very misleading).

Publication Date in Advanced Search:  Adding the publication date in advanced search is NOT a limiter! 

Search Results Screen:  Citation and Abstract Plus are gone and now there is just Abstract.  IF you are in the Abstract view you can’t easily get to the full text of the article.  (Krafty note:  Why would they do that? I noticed that if your library uses Outside Tool your Outside Tool icon does display in the Abstract display and your users can get the full text if they click on that icon.)

Details Box: The details box will be leaving!  There will be a link in Advanced Search but the box will be disappearing soon.  If you want the box you will have to be signed into MyNCBI to keep it.  If you are plain ol’ user who doesn’t use MyNCBI then you won’t see the box.

Recent Activity: Recent Activity is NOT history!  This is important.  They do different things. 

MyNCBI: Lots of changes, share citations, filters, etc.

MLA Members Don’t Forget To Vote!

I Voted



Ballots were sent out today to current MLA members to vote on the future President, two Board Members, and next year’s Nominating Committee.  The ballot and MLANet both have links to each candidates MLA activity and credentials, and for the positions of President and Board Member each candidate answered a question posed by this year’s Nominating Committee.  New this year, video clipson MLANet featuring the Presidential candidates responses to the Nominating Committee questions are available to watch.

I encourage everyone to check out the candidates who will be representing you within the organization.  Then, click that mouse and vote! You have until December 8, 2009 to do so.