Feb 28

LibWorm Server Upgrade

Just a heads-up:

LibWorm is being moved to a new server over the next couple of days. This should result in improved performance when you use LibWorm.

While the server migration is going on, you may notice a few records disappearing (and then reappearing) or feeds not working, but this is temporary and should last only a very short while.


Feb 27

First PubDrug Monographs Available

(Be sure to check out the List of Medical Wikis)

PubDrug logo

Great news from Stewart Brower:

Our first several completed and certified monographs are now up. Once a monograph completes the review process it is “locked down” to be protected from malicious edits. Our certified monographs are:

This progress would not have been possible without the amazing efforts of a handful of fourth-year professional Pharm.D. students at the University at Buffalo. Their user pages are linked from the above records and I encourage everyone to visit them.

More news to come soon.

Didja’ see it? Stew overcame the biggest problem with Wikis for health information:

Once a monograph completes the review process it is “locked down” to be protected from malicious edits.

And from the certification header on a monograph, evidence that despite this necessary lockdown of content, it still maintains some benefits of communal review and critique:

This document cannot be edited without being unlocked by the PubDrug admin. Edits or updates may be recommended under the Discussion tab for this document.

I am absolutely not qualified to comment on the content of these monographs, but this seems to me like an impressive start to the PubDrug project. Congratulations to all involved. 🙂

Other posts on Wikis for health information

PubDrug Updates

OVER!MY!MED!BODY! on Medical Wikis

Lots More Medical Wikis

Medical Wikis


Nursing Wiki

Alternately, you might like to see the list of ALL posts about Wikis

Feb 27

Books I Must Have

I’m not the first to blog about these and I certainly won’t be the last, but I wanted to say a few brief “me too’s”:

I’m going to order Social Software in Libraries

…and not just because Meredith mentions LibWorm in Chapter Three, either! I’m going to order it because Meredith’s writings on technology (at both her own blog and at TechEssence) are smart, clear and practical- and they don’t leave out the human element. I expect her book will have similar qualities.

I won’t go so far as to recommend that others purchase a book that I haven’t myself yet read, but I will say that I am definitely ordering my copy the instant I can.[1]. [Other biblioblog chatter about this book]

I will also need to buy a copy of Phil Bradley’s new book, How to Use Web 2.0 in Your Library[2]:

Like Meredith’s book, Phil’s has a companion Web site, and also mentions LibWorm (curiously, also in Chapter Three). I subscribe to Phil’s blog and routinely learn new things from him, so I can’t be without this book. I just hope it gets published in the States, too- the exchange rates from Pound to Dollar and shipping from the U.K. are probably going to be painful.

Lastly, I’m going to order a copy of this book [3]:

While I don’t yet have any indication that it mentions LibWorm ( 😉 ) and I’m still not yet wholly comfortable with the term “Library 2.0”, everything I’ve read that Casey and/or Savastinuk have written on the topic has been thought-provoking, required reading. I wouldn’t miss getting my own copy for any reason. [Other biblioblog chatter about this book]

If I read German, I’d also want a copy of this book by Oliver Obst.

[1] – It goes without saying that if Meredith wants to send me a copy, I will of course devour it and write a detailed review.

[2] – Naturally, the same offer is extended to Phil.

[3] – Ditto for Michael and Laura.

I’d also be willing to write a review for a publication if it means I get to keep a copy of any of these.

(I’m subtle, huh? My subtlety is inversely proportionate to my budget for discretionary spending.)

Feb 26

Microsoft to Acquire Medstory

Medstory logo
Microsoft logo

I’m clearly no fan of Medstory, but it still caught my attention to hear (via Resource Shelf) that Medstory will be acquired by Microsoft.

It isn’t the first time Microsoft has acquired a health care information technology company.

If Microsoft is getting into the health vortal business, lets hope they dramatically improve Medstory and make something really useful.

See Also:

Medstory: Not even close.

Feb 26

Health Literacy and User-Generated Content

Health Literacy is appallingly low in the U.S.
The Birmingham News reports on the “silent health epidemic” created by low health literacy, and mentions the Joint Commission white paper, ’What Did the Doctor Say?:’ Improving Health Literacy to Protect Patient Safety.

Wikipedia appallingly popular for health information
In a study from Envision Solutions titled Diving Deeper Into Online Health Search, 87.5% of searches for health information via Google or Yahoo displayed user-generated content on the first page of results.

“Of UGM indexed by search engines, Wikipedia was the most frequently cited resource. This wiki was referenced on the first page in 63% of searches”


I’d never recommend Wikipedia to a medical professional or for consumer healthcare information, but I’m genuinely urcertain if use of Wikipedia helps or hurts health literacy. My first guess is that the very act of attempting to look up information is an okay first step, even if I’d rather that the consumer click over to MedlinePlus than to Wikipedia. The trick is that it can’t the consumer’s last step.

Any thoughts?

The report from Envision Solutions is all about searching for health information online and “User-Generated Media” (UGM).

UGM was defined as:

o Weblogs

o Online bulletin boards (either links directly to bulletin board content or Websites where they were prominently displayed)

o Wikis

o Podcasts

o Other UGM (i.e., Websites with content developed by individuals such as patients and medical professionals)

I’m not confortable with this definition. Look at Women’s Health News. Here’s a blog that examines news on women’s health topics and summarizes or points readers towards information. But the blog is written by a health information professional, a degreed medical librarian employed by a reputable academic medical library. She is legitimately expert at finding and processing this sort of information. What makes her a “user” and not a “publisher”? The fact that she’s not motivated by profit and isn’t government-sponsored? Couldn’t one say the same about Open Access journals? Are OA journals “User-Generated Media,” or are they disqualified from this label by virtue of their peer reviewe processes?

(Please note: I’m not being a smart-alec, I’m really asking and hoping someone has a good answer for this question.)

Maybe I’m just annoyed by this definition because it fails to recognize that tools like blogs and other “social software” are blurring the line between creator and consumer, developer and user or publisher and reader. Also, traditional media producers and corporations now own and run blogs.

It is as though Envision is saying “blog” equals “amateur”. Sure, that’s often the case, but not always.

[Both items via Kevin MD]

Feb 26

Dissect Medicine: Spanish and German Editions

I just learned today that Dissect Medicine is now available in both German and Spanish, and is working on a Japanese edition.

Dissect Medicine

Dissect Medicine is currently available in English and German editions. It will soon be available in Spanish and Japanese. Each site is designed for the tagging and uploading of articles in the edition’s specific language, but registered users are free to access and use all sites.

See Also:

Dissect Medicine: ‘Digg for Medical Literature’, Part II

Feb 25

Following the ongoing “scrotum” discussion

I have nothing new to add on the story of school media librarians expressing hesitation about the inclusion of The Higher Power of Lucky in their libraries, but I’m using LibWorm to keep up with the ongoing (and often funny) discussion.

LibWorm Query: +(scrotum* scrota) +lucky

LibWorm RSS Feed

Feb 23

Web 2.0 and Publishing (edited)

Interesting article from Information World Review.

Some excerpts:

Tom Coates, a technologist from Yahoo Technology Development, kicks off by summing up the disruption in attitude that is affecting information providers. “It’s in your interests as an author, researcher or scientist to get your work read, so you slap it on the internet, but that is not in the interests of your publisher,” he points out.

[My emphasis]


Coates divides Web 2.0 usage into two areas: “Collective intelligence and social software is one clump; the reuse and openness with data is a second theme of Web 2.0.”

Put another way, the first clump he’s talking about contains things like del.icio.us and Wikis. The “second theme” is exemplified by RSS and mashups.

Paul Miller, technology evangelist at library automation supplier Talis , adds: “The debate is how do publishers and scholars share data, yet formulate a business model?” For Talis, Web 2.0 is anything but disruptive. “The library market is not growing,” Miller says. “We were looking at taking our information management knowledge out to new markets.”

[My emphasis]

Miller also says “[b]logs and wikis are buzz – they will go away.”

While I agree that they are subjects of a lot of buzz, they’re not going away. The buzz will die down as they (and/or their descendent technologies) become commonplace, but I don’t believe they will go away.

(EDIT: Please see Paul’s clarification of this point.)

I was also tickled to see these buttons at the bottom of such an article:

There’s the “first clump” at work.

Go read it.

(Thank you, InfoBunny!)

Feb 23

Pain Treatment Topics

The mission of Pain Treatment Topics is to provide access to news, information, research, and education relating to the causes and effective management of pain. Along with that, we are dedicated to offering contents that are evidence-based, unbiased, non-commercial, and comply with the highest standards and principles of accrediting and other oversight organizations.


(Thanks, Hope!)

Feb 22

Ask a Librarian…and get an answer via YouTube

Sophia is going to answer questions sent to her by email about information resources and research. She introduces the idea in a video here.

(Embedding of the video, to my disappointment, is disallowed)

Sophia has also set up a blog for the project.

It is an interesting idea. It would be especially neat if Sophia were to reinforce answers given verbally with text appearing on-screen, or if answers included screen captures.

Sophia’s YouTube channel


Feb 22



HEALTHMap Press Release


HEALTHmap is really neat, though it reminds me a lot of a similar mashup, EpiSPIDER.


I don’t know nearly enough about epidemiology/infectious diseases to make a useful comparison, but I did notice that the data sources are similar.

EpiSPIDER gets its data from:

HEALTHmap gets its data from:

Feb 22

Screencast: Using RSS to Add Currency to the Library Web Site

As a part of the 5 Weeks to a Social Library course, Melissa L. Rethlefsen prepared this great screencast to demonstrate some of the nifty things one can do with RSS for a Library’s Web site.


Melissa is the Education Technology Librarian at the Learning Resource Center of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in my home town, Rochester, MN.

Melissa’s related syndication resources and tools page

Nicely done, Melissa!

Previous posts about Melissa’s work:

MN Medicine: Google, RSS, Podcasts, Oh My!

I’m in Library Journal