Jan 31

Three Must-Read Items for Aspiring Librarians

1. David Lee King has a great post from ALA Midwinter 2007 on Raising the Next-Gen Resource Sharing Librarian with insights from Mary Hollerich (National Library of Medicine), Audrey Huff (Northwestern University School of Law), Michael Porter (WebJunction), and Michael Stephens (Dominican University). All good stuff that I want to keep in mind as I proceed through coursework.

2. Speaking of Michael Stephens, he’s posted an interview with Michael Habib on ALA Techsource. If you haven’t read Habib on Library 2.0, you’re missing out. Habib just graduated from his program, and has absolutely earned all the attention his work gets from librarians I admire and respect.

3. T. Scott has some great advice for young librarians. I should probably qualify that: I don’t have the knowledge or experience to KNOW this is great advice, but I strongly suspect it. Perhaps someone who has been working in the field much longer than I have can confirm.

This ends today’s extra-curricular reading recommendations- we now return you to your regularly-scheduled coursework.

Jan 30

NHS adds DynaMed to CKS

I’ve mentioned previously that I really enjoyed my trial of DynaMed and wished I could get it into our library’s budget. It looks like the UK’s NHS likes it, too.

From today’s press release:

IPSWICH, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As the result of a procurement undertaken by the National Health Service (NHS) of England, DynaMed™ is now offered as a key component of the new Clinical Knowledge Summaries (CKS) Service for the NHS community. As such, this evidence-based reference product created by physicians and made available by EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO), is now accessible at the primary point of care, for use by every physician and other health care professional across England.

NHS is the renowned government agency that manages and coordinates all aspects of the health care system in the UK. It is the largest single health care organization in Europe and often a model for all of the national health systems throughout the continent. Providing NHS physicians with unlimited usage of DynaMed, including via PDA, greatly expands their access to evidence-based materials.

About the Clinical Knowledge Summaries (CKS)

Jan 30

A Lesson in Music Cataloging

From the creator, Jason Poole:

Final project for my cataloging class at Final project for my cataloging class at UB, as a part of the requirements for a Master’s in Library Science. It consists of the results of an informal survey I did regarding the classification systems used by librarians in Monroe County as well as a brief overview of the ANSCR classification system. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds!!

Jan 30

LibWorm tag cloud enhancements

Since we first announced LibWorm’s new tag clouds in December, Frankie and I have been talking about how they could be made more useful in helping to describe the zeitgeist of the biblioblogosphere.

One of the problems with the tag clouds was that they only represented tags from ALL items indexed by LibWorm. If they were really going to be useful in helping us understand what bibliobloggers are tagging about, the clouds would need to be date-sensitive to specific periods.


Now there are three time periods to choose from for each cloud: This Week (frequently-used tags from the previous seven days), This Month (frequently used tags from the last 31 days), and This Year (frequently used tags from the last 365 days).

(Note: The Alphabetical list does not have this function, but instead shows all tags from all time in alphabetical order, along with the number of times the tag has been indexed.)

Stay tuned, there’s much more to come.

Jan 29

Video: Why I Love My Library (Updated)

Update: The final version has been posted, and you’re invited to add your three reasons why you love your library.

This is great:

From http://www.njlibraries.org (Sponsored by the NJ State Library), the video appears to have been posted to YouTube by Nancy Dowd.

Jan 29

BioWizard Enhancements: ‘Digg for Medical Literature’ Part III (Edited)

I thought BioWizard was pretty cool the last time I wrote about it, but hadn’t been to see it in a couple months when I got an email from BioWizard’s Dr. Raju Raval:

“We have been fully redeveloping the site, and yes the new site has a completely different functionality, with usefulness and simplicity as our main aims. We incorporated many suggestions, and are truly excited about how quickly the site is taking off…”

Hardly surprising that it’s taking off- the redesign is really, really good.

For those new to BioWizard, here’s a brief overview of how it works:

BioWizard users submit relevant, timely research articles they have found to be useful and interesting to the BioWizard site. Just perform your usual PubMed search on BioWizard and submit your favorite research. The articles you submit are then read by the rest of the community who promote articles they feel are deserving of recognition. The best articles in a research field are brought to the top page for all to read and discuss. Think of it as a supercharged way to find and share the best research in your field.

The first thing I noticed about the redesign is that it looks a lot like Digg.

Here’s Digg:

Here’s the new BioWizard:

I should clarify here that I am not criticizing this emulation of Digg (I’m actually applauding it), and BioWizard doesn’t seem shy about admitting it. Dr. Raval told me “[w]e were definitely inspired by Digg and Netscape in creating our site…” The design works. It is efficient and easy for the eye to browse and skim. I really like BioWizard’s innovation of the colored horizontal line over each item that indicates the item’s category. (Edit: Thanks to Vikas Sah for letting me know that the colored lines indicating category are not original to BioWizard, but to Pligg. Pligg is a freeware CMS that’ll let anyone run a digg-like site, and is the architecture behind LISZEN: Trends.)

Last August, I wrote about BioWizard that I would “…like to see RSS integration.” While they haven’t done exactly what I wanted to see, they have added useful features. Feeds for “New Articles”, “On the Rise,” and “All” help keep the user appraised of new developments and trends, enhancing BioWizard’s utility as a current awareness tool.
I’d still like to see the sort of feeds I described previously and it seems to me that feeds based on categories wouldn’t be hard to provide and would be warmly welcomed by users, but this is a really great start.

Also last August, I wrote this about Biowizard:

“Also, it would be great if members of your community could “tag” articles. For instance, they might tag an article as “Policy:FPIN” to make an article they think should be considered when reviewing or rivising policy. This would require, though, that BioWizard make tags or comments searchable.”

As near as I can tell, BioWizard has done just this sort of thing. Users can now tag items, and BioWizard has a tag cloud, and clicking a tag in the cloud searches for all items marked in BioWizard with that tag.

On the whole, BioWizard’s redesign has resulted in a dramatic improvement of what was already a very decent application of a great idea.

I’d still like for groups of users to be able to form their own groups and take advantage of ratings within that group (an addition to ratings from the entire user base as a whole), but I have few other critiques to offer.

Dr. Raval’s email described BioWizard’s goals in an extremely appealing manner:

“…we hope BioWizard will become an integral tool in keeping up to date on the most important published literature in the scientific and medical fields. We also want great papers that might be otherwise overlooked to come to light, as many important papers come out in middle tier journals yet are deserving of recognition. In addition, we wanted to create a useful source of medical/scientific news, and to consolidate the table of contents from many of the major journals into one location. This allows scientists and physicians to save time, and to communicate with one another directly.”

This is one of those instances where I see the application of a “social software” model as potentially being a tremendous benefit to clinical users, and I am excited to see how it develops- both as a tool and as a community.

Previous related posts:

Jan 28

Presentation on EBM Databases

(Embedded slideshow presentation is above. If you are reading this in your feed aggregator, you may need to visit the blog in order to view the presentation)

By Lars Iselid, Librarian at the Medical Library, Umeå University Library, Sweden. Lars is pretty excited about SlideShare. Can’t say I blame him- I was pretty excited the first time I saw it, too.

Jan 26

PubDrug updates


B.U. Health Sciences Librarian Stewart Brower has some new information about his PubDrug project (previously mentioned here) including this presentation by Bill Loeffler and Amy Jo Michnik, 4th-year Pharm.D. students at U.B..

Stew posted other encouraging news on PubDrug today, too.

I really admire that as he pursues this enormously ambitious project, Stew seems to set and meet realistic goals along the way and acknowledge the significant hurdles the project has to face. If I could offer something other than my enthusiastic good wishes to PubDrug, I sure would. Until I can, I’ll keep watching for updates on new developments and cheering loudly when they appear.

The only concern that I have is that PubDrug isn’t locked down. On the front page of PubDrug, Stew writes:

“PubDrug is still relatively intrusion-free at this point. Only a handful of spammers have tried messing with our pages, and the longest any spam has gone uncorrected is a matter of only a few hours.”

I think the value of the Wiki platform (easy editing, easy administration, easy collaboration, low cost) would NOT be degraded by having careful controls over who can edit PubDrug…but PubDrug’s credibility will (rightly) suffer without such controls. Page 9 of the presentation brings up security, but doesn’t really address this problem, as the security measures it lists clearly won’t prevent vandalism. In the time that passes between a vandal’s alteration of a few characters and the reversion to accuracy, a clinician could check PubDrug and get bad, potentially dangerous information. What responsible clinician or medical librarian will use a resource that is vulnerable in this manner?

I’m sure Stew has plans in mind for dealing with this problem, and I’m looking forward to learning about them.

[Previous posts mentioning PubDrug]

Jan 26

Friday fun: Haikus About a Bad Librarian

A librarian with whom I have been acquainted for more than 10 years sent these haikus to me, and I enjoy the way they describe the attitude and behavior of a very bad librarian.

A public service!
We’ll keep it hidden from them!
Library koan.

If you can sneak in
I guess we’ll give you info.
Is that how this works?

Thank god it’s Friday.
I’m sure it’s tiring hiding
All week from patrons.

Thank you, anonymous author, for the chuckles. If you come up with more librarian poetry, please do send it my way. 🙂

Has anyone else seen any good and funny poetry about libraries or librarians? If so, please leave a comment and share it!

Posted in Fun
Jan 26

New JMLA Case Study posted

If you’re a medical librarian in training (or if you teach medical librarians in training), you can’t miss this.

Walden RR, Jerome RN, Miller RS. Utilizing case reports to build awareness of rare complications in critical care. J Med Libr Assoc 2007 Jan;95(1):3-8.

“As the second installment in the JMLA’s new case study column, this issue’s case considers the role of the librarian in addressing a complex clinical question that requires extracting relevant evidence when the literature is almost exclusively limited to case reports. This case study also tackles the challenge of identifying an effective strategy for organizing and presenting case report details to answer a clinical question.”

There’ll be additional notes and discussion at the column’s blog.

Jan 25

Librarians and IT Professionals

Via Tame the Web, a funny video about librarians and IT professionals in the model of the recent Apple Mac television advertisements:

I think the tensions between IT and libraries are much more pronounced in a hospital setting than in, for instance, a public library- don’t you? Systems security is a much more serious business when systems data includes PHI. Our CIO keeps our hospital’s systems locked down pretty tightly, and that makes browsing the web for information outside of the library very inconvenient for users…but I can’t generally find fault with his policies in this area. If our network goes down, that could threaten patient safety- so the stakes involved in network security are much higher than in a non-hospital setting.

Jan 25

LibWorm makes “Top 10” for 2007 list at LISNews (Edited)

LISNews has made a list of “10 Blogs To Read in 2007” with LibWorm coming in at #4!

4. LibWorm

If you were familiar with LISFeeds, then consider Libworm to be LISFeeds 2.0. It doesn’t (yet) have all the features I wrote for LISFeeds, but I think you’ll find it a great way to follow all the blogs you can possibly handle. It’s nice to have a tool that specializes in aggregating the biblioblogosphere, and I’m looking forward to seeing what LibWorm adds this year.

Although LibWorm isn’t itself a blog, we’re thrilled to mentioned in this way- thanks!

Questions for Blake, though:

Which features from LISFeeds do you most want to see implemented first, and why haven’t you emailed us or left a note in the form at LibWorm to suggest them?
EDIT: Frankie rightly points out in the comments that Blake has already offered us feedback. I just want more ’cause I’m greedy.

We’re really counting on users to let us know what enhancements they most want to see, so I hope that Blake won’t be the only one sharing his thoughts! Use the form at LibWorm (bottom of the page) or email me at david [AT] libworm [DOT] com.

Jan 25

Medstory: Not even close.


Well, a number of other bibliobloggers are pointing out MedStory, and I was going to avoid doing the same until I tried it.

I can’t take seriously any health information vortal that includes Wikipedia and returns a Wikipedia page as the top result for my search on pseudomembranous colitis AHEAD of MedlinePlus.


It is far from a complete analysis of a health vortal to run one search and draw assumptions based on the top few results, but including a wikipedia result as the first result indicates a critical failure of those who created to vortal to understand what is important in the selection of consumer healthcare information.

Jan 24

Follow-up: iPods for library training

Since I posted about the idea of a medical library offering iPods pre-loaded with library training materials for use while in the library, I’ve gotten three leads on such things.

Divine Instruction
Ratcatcher left a note to let me know that a comment at Michael Stephens’ Tame the Web from February of 2005 described the same idea being applied at the Duke Divinity School Library, where they placed “an iPod on Reserve checkout with library instruction, lectures, and chapel services.”

Since the librarians only work 8-5 M-F and the library is open additional hours, we decided to record some audio instructions for using a couple of our more popular (and complex) tools. We plan to add recordings of community lectures and services from our Divinity chapel services. One iPod feature that we’re excited about is the ability to speed up or slow down playback (when saved in Audiobook format) so that time-starved students can listen to a lecture at a faster rate. Conversely, our students who work with English as a second language can slow things down.

Medical Library InfoPods
Another medical librarian emailed to tell me about “InfoPod” audio tutorials offered at the Health Sciences Library at the University of Buffalo:

As a way to assist you with your information-seeking efforts, the HSL web team has developed MP3 files to deliver brief audio clips to help guide you through the HSL web site and electronic services and resources.

This service is similar to the kind of assistance the Reference Department provides routinely over the phone. Click on an “InfoPod” icon and the audio clip will “walk” you through the process.


It looks like EBSCO is starting to use Podcasting for marketing and promotion for medical information products and services.

They’ve got a couple of DynaMed podcasts up which are interesting. After a brief message describing DynaMed, they go over highlights from articles added to DynaMed in the previous week. (If you’re interested in these, here’s the feed to subscribe to.)

I asked a contact at EBSCO where their use of Podcasts was going, and was told:

Here’s what we’re planning for the immediate future:

  • Weekly DynaMed “new articles of interest”
  • Short interviews with key EBSCO Publishing executives on key industry topics
  • Information about upcoming interface changes
  • Possibly walk-through training sessions

Each of these could conceivably be very useful to libraryfolk, but I’m most enthusiastic about that last one: “walk-through training sessions.”

How cool would it be for the creator of the tool to provide compressed audio or video to walk the user through training in the use of the tool? (Hint: The answer is “very cool.”)

Jan 23

Libararians’ Rx wears the MedLib Badge!

Librarians’ Rx, “a blog featuring items of interest to librarians working in Canadian health sciences libraries,” is the latest blog to display the MedLib Blog badge.

Librarians' Rx medlib badge

Librarians’ Rx is maintained by Trish Chatterley, Academic Intern at the John W. Scott Health Sciences Library, University of Alberta.

Previously, I’ve noted the following blogs that display the MedLib Blog badge in their sidebars:

If I’ve missed the badge on your blog or if you’ve just added it, please let me know so I can link to you here.

What’s this all about?

The badge links back to the masterlist of MedLib blogs to indicate the blog’s membership in the growing community (and sense of community) of MedLib blogs(/bloggers).

To add this badge to your own blog, just copy and paste this code:

<a href="http://liswiki.org/wiki/Medlib_Blogs">
<img src="http://tinyurl.com/y32hh8/"></a>

Not sure how to do this with your particular blogging software? Email me at david[DOT]rothman[AT]gmail[DOT]com and we’ll figure it out together. :)

Jan 23

Paging Dr. Harry Potter

Reading from medical journals isn’t often this much fun.

CMAJ. 2006 Dec 5;175(12):1557-9.

Erle C.H. Lim, Amy M.L. Quek and Raymond C.S. Seet
Duty of care to the undiagnosed patient: Ethical imperative, or just a load of Hogwarts?


With the restoration of You-Know-Who to full corporeal form, the practice of the dark arts may lead to multitudes being charmed, befuddled and confounded. At present, muggle ethics dictate that aid may be rendered in a life-or limb-threatening situation, but the margins are blurred when neither is at stake. Muggle and wizard healers, fearful of being labelled ambulance chasers, may shy away from approaching those who remain blissfully unaware of their illnesses. We describe 4 case studies in which we intervened as muggle healers, to salutary effect. The afflicted were healed or helped, without bringing the weight of the Ministries of Magic or Magical Healing upon us. We advocate a spirit of cooperation between muggle and magical folk, mindful of the strengths that the healing arts from each community have to offer. As long as the intent is beneficent, healers or even the wizard or muggle on the street may intervene and render aid to the afflicted.

Contains notes on both Wizard and Muggle medicine as observed at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries:

While at St. Mungo’s, we were struck by the number of people (healers and lay-wizards alike) who suffered from hitherto undiagnosed conditions. Wizard healers, unaccustomed to muggle ailments such as Tourette’s syndrome, failed to identify it in 2 of their number, who spent much of their time fidgeting, writhing and grunting expostulations. One of them had attributed the ailment to having been cursed as a child with the Imperius curse by YKW. How simple it would have been for us to point the way to a neurology text book, but being cross-trained in both the muggle and magical healing arts rendered us uncertain of our moral stance, and thus mute.

Full text: [HTML] [PDF]

Thanks to the Canadian Medical Association Journal for the grins and to Becky for catching this and pointing it out. (Becky found it via this blog)

Jan 22

JTF (Online Manual for Interns)


This manual was originally written in June, 1991, by D. Schram, MD, Internal Medicine, for third-year medical students as they begin their medicine rotations at the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor VA Hospitals. It was modified for use by the interns in 1993 by L. Duren, MD, in 1995 by S. Chen, MD, in 1996-8 by E. White, MD, in 1999 by P. Gibb and T. Tsai, MD, and in 2001-2 by T. Tsai, MD and T. Tsai, MD, in 2003 by K. Yee, MD, and in 2005 by N. Foster, MD. This manual is only intended to be a basic guide to patient care and the author disclaims any patient mismanagement resulting from its use.

Clinical Cases and Images points out these links to YouTube videos of “[p]ractical tips and tricks for central line placement in the ED.”

(I first noticed JTF via OverMyMedBody!)