Mar 18

Make IE7 more like Firefox

Here are some Internet Explorer 7 add-ons that mimic some useful features from Firefox that aren’t available in Microsoft’s browser (and sometimes add more features).

Inline search – search the current page as you type. It only works with Ctrl+F.

ieSpell – spell checker. Unlike the spell checker from Firefox, you need to press a button before seeing the misspellings.

IE7Pro – adds many features available in popular Firefox extensions. You get crash recovery, ads filter (with a dumb predefined list), mouse gestures, an option to change the user agent plus some tweaks like moving the menu on top and removing the search box.

Feed Folder – similar to the Live Bookmarks from Firefox.

Developer toolbar – explore the DOM of a web page, locate and outline some elements in a page.


Mar 17

WSJ Health Blog

The Wall Street Journal has started a Health Blog.

WSJ’s Health Blog offers news and analysis on health and the business of health. The lead writer is Jacob Goldstein. He came to The Wall Street Journal from the Miami Herald, where he was a medical writer. Scott Hensley, who covered the drug industry as a reporter for the Journal for seven years, is the editor and also a contributor. The blog also includes contributions from other staffers at the Journal, and Dow Jones Newswires.

Mar 16

Medscape interview w/ Bertalan Meskó (Medical Wikis)

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

You might remember Bertalan Meskó from the recent article from Nature Medicine on Medical Wikis. He’s a 22-year-old medical student at the University of Debrecen, Hungary who writes a whole lot of medical articles for Wikipedia and is the administrator of the Medicine WikiProject. He is interviewed in MedScape this week:

Med Student Helping Shape Medicine on the ‘Net
(Free subscription may be required to view).

An excerpt:

Dr. Genes: Do you think it’s safe for doctors to use Wikipedia? Some say that it’s dangerous, since the editing is open to anyone. It’s okay if a term paper has a mistake, but not drug dosage information. Are some medical entries in Wikipedia “locked” to prevent tampering?

Bertalan Meskó: Of course it’s safe. Wiki entries are made for laymen, not doctors. If you want to know more about doses, you have to go to PubMed or Ask Dr. Wiki. That’s why I’m not worried about it.

Among the things that trouble me about Meskó’s response:

  • “Wiki entries” aren’t meant for anyone generally. Wikipedia entries might be intended for laypeople, but to suggest that all Wikis are intended for laypeople is not only incorrect, but contradicted by the second part of Meskó’s response. (Tangentally, I’m becoming a litle frustrated with the popular misconception that a Wiki isn’t really a Wiki unless it is a completely open endeavor and intended for popular use. Wiki is a kind of Web site platform that allows multiple users to collaborate without the need for knowledge of Web markup languages.)
  • I don’t follow Meskó’s logic that health information in Wikipedia is harmless, even if inaccurate, because it is written for laypeople.
  • Meskó is right in saying that if the information seeker is looking for information about dosage, PubMed is a good place to start looking- but AskDrWiiki, until recently, had no restrictions on who could edit it, making it hardly more authoritative than Wikipedia. Would Meskó actually look to AskDrWiki for dosage information without confirming it elsewhere?

I don’t intend to disparage Meskó’s work on Wikipedia (which has been impressively voluminous and probably quite good), but his attitude towards the need for authoritative sources worries me.

There’s nothing wrong with looking to Wikipedia for an initial overview of a topic, and I routinely use it for that purpose. It can be a wonderfully handy way to start making notes for more involved research. It worries me, though, to think that anyone would STOP their research of a medical topic at Wikipedia.

I know that a handful of physicians, nurses and other clinical professionals stop by this blog now and then. If any are reading, please share your opinion: Would you recommend that your patients seek answers to their health questions with Wikipedia? Given the choice between Wikipedia and MedlinePlus, which would you sooner direct patients to (and why)? Would you think it appropriate if a colleague decided on a dosage based solely on a Wiki article editable by anyone who registered?

To readers who are not clinical professionals: How would you feel if your doctor decided on your medication dosage based on an article from a Wiki editable by anyone without checking it elsewhere?

Mar 15

Online Anatomy and Medical Illustration Resources

A request from a patron resulted in my collecting a list of anatomy and medical illustration resources:

The Visible Human

The Visible Human Project® is an outgrowth of the NLM’s 1986 Long-Range Plan. It is the creation of complete, anatomically detailed, three-dimensional representations of the normal male and female human bodies. Acquisition of transverse CT, MR and cryosection images of representative male and female cadavers has been completed. The male was sectioned at one millimeter intervals, the female at one-third of a millimeter intervals.

This page is a gold mine of neat stuff.

NetAnatomy Home Page
Created by physicians and Ph.D.s at George Washington University and the American University of Beirut, NetAnatomy contains sections on radiographic, cross-sectional, and gross anatomy.

NetAnatomy is designed to teach human anatomy to students of the health professions, including undergraduate medical, health sciences, and nursing students. NetAnatomy also serves as a place to review anatomy after one’s initial exposure to the subject, e.g. students beginning a clinical rotation, USMLE (National Board) preparation, etc. View how anatomical content is selected for inclusion for information on the factors that govern anatomical content at this website.

WebAnatomy (University of MN)

“A collection of study aids for entry-level anatomy and physiology students”

Instant Anatomy

Created by Robert Whitaker, retired pediatric urological surgeon. Dr. Whitaker teaches clinically applied topographical anatomy at Cambridge University, and is an examiner for the MRCS at the English and Edinburgh Colleges of Surgeons.

Human Anatomy Online


Welcome to inner exploration of Human Anatomy. Each topic has animations, 100’s of graphics, and thousands of descriptive links. Study the anatomy of the human body. It’s fun, interactive, and an ideal reference site for students or those who just want to know more about the medical descriptions used by doctors and nurses.

Anatomy Atlases

List of anatomy links collected by Dr. Ronald Bergman, PhD.

Dr. Bergman has taught anatomy for nearly half a century. He holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois and was a fellow at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. He has held faculty appointments at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School and the American University of Beirut. He joined the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine faculty in 1980, and retired from there in 1997. Always the teacher, Dr. Bergman continues to reach new generations of students through Anatomy Atlases.

AMA Atlas of the Body


Dream Anatomy


The interior of our bodies is hidden to us. What happens beneath the skin is mysterious, fearful, amazing. In antiquity, the body’s internal structure was the subject of speculation, fantasy, and some study, but there were few efforts to represent it in pictures. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century-and the cascade of print technologies that followed-helped to inspire a new spectacular science of anatomy, and new spectacular visions of the body. Anatomical imagery proliferated, detailed and informative but also whimsical, surreal, beautiful, and grotesque — a dream anatomy that reveals as much about the outer world as it does the inner self.

Medical Animation Library (University of Pennsylvania)

Flash and Quicktime animations by A.D.A.M.

Street Anatomy (via)

Vanessa Ruiz, a graduate student in Biomedical Visualization at the University of Illinois at Chicago, blogs about Medical Illustration. Fascinating and fun.

Mar 14

MusicTonic: Cool Music Search Mashup


MusicTonic lets you browse through music artists by genre or directly search, returning related images, videos, blog posts, and a list of “Related Artists”- all in one interface.

Screencap of MusicTonic

Just to put it to the test, I thought I’d try searches on musicians not quite as well known as the Beatles, and was fairly impressed with the results.

Richard Thompson
The Wood Brothers
Jurassic 5
Youngblood Brass Band
Paul Pena

Data is mashed up from YouTube,,Yahoo Search, Amazon, Technorati, and OpenStrands– but I’d love to see it use news from Topix or Google News, too.


For a different sort of musician searching, check out LivePlasma (does movies and actors too).

Mar 13

MLA-HLS Wiki and Radiation Event Medical Management

Regular readers know that I try to avoid posting about topics that other medical library bloggers have covered, but these are both exciting resources that really shouldn’t be missed.


Welcome to the hospital librarians’ wiki. The wiki is sponsored by the Hospital Libraries Section of the Medical Library Association, an organization of 1,200 members who promote the role of libraries in the healthcare setting. The purpose is to provide a sandbox in which we can share best practices in the true spirit of knowledge management in a forum that is easily accessed, archived, searched, and modified. Please feel free to add your content. The search engine is excellent; try it, the dialog box on the left.

It is a great idea. Now along with the UBC HealthLib-Wiki, there are now TWO Wikis for medical libraries- and that’s great.

Radiation Event Medical Management

  • Provide guidance for health care providers, primarily physicians, about clinical diagnosis and treatment during mass casualty radiological/nuclear (rad/nuc) events
  • Provide just-in-time, evidence-based, usable information with sufficient background and context to make complex issues understandable to those without formal radiation medicine expertise
  • Provide web-based information that is also downloadable in advance, so that it would be available during an event if the internet is not accessible
Mar 13


MeshPubMed is a (new?) third-party search tool for PubMed.


  • retrieves PubMed abstracts for your keywords,
  • detects Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) in the abstracts,
  • displays a subset of MeSH relevant to your search, and
  • allows you to browse the ontology and display only papers containing specific MeSH terms.

After performing a search, the resulting abstracts are annotated with your query keywords and MeSH terms. The abstracts are grouped using the MeSH terms, which appear in the text. You can use the MeSH hierarchy to systematically explore your search results.

Note that only a subset of all terms may be relevant to your query. This subset – the hierarchy of relevant terms – is presented on the left hand side. Sorting documents to a highly organised network facilitates the finding of relevant documents significantly.

Click thumbnail for larger image

MeshPubMed instructions

More info here

[via Oliver]

Mar 12

Round-Up: Finding Libraries

A recent thread on the Web4Lib listserv explored various Web tools for locating libraries geographically. Here’s a review of those plus a few more.

(Click thumbnails for larger images)

National Center for Education Statistics: Library Statistics Program*

Public Library Geographic Database (PLGDB) Mapping

MapMuse: Public Libraries*

WebJunction: Online Directory of Public Library Statistics*
“Here’s a directory of public library statistics available online, organized by state.”

WebJunction: LIBWEB

Library Research Service

Libraries in Yahoo Directory
Libraries in Yahoo Directory

Canadian Library Gateway
Find Canadian libraries
Canadian Library Gateway

(Find medical libraries in the U.S. and Canada)

Let me know which resources I’ve missed and I’ll add ’em.

*via Web4Lib

Mar 11

Still baffled about Twitter

A couple of days ago, I asked why libraryfolk should care about Twitter. Iris asked a very similar question.

I really appreciated how much time and effort David Lee King put into answering this question, but I find his answers make me even more confused. I apologize in advance for the fisking.

With emerging trends, you really should play with the stuff you’re interested in, and let others mess with things that don’t interest you. But then – and this is important – SHARE. So with Twitter, I’ll watch twitter and tell you if I find something useful for libraries. You go watch something else, and report back, too – that’s how the blogosphere works! Make sense?

But…I am interested in Twitter. I have played around with it, and don’t see what use it can be in libraries.

3. keeping up-to-date with emerging tools (remember – Flickr started out as a silly web photography game, not the amazing social tool it’s turned into)
4. News updates – CNN and BBC both have twitter feeds (ooh – a library use!)

How will I be kept up to date on complex new technologies or news with a tool that only allows posts of 140 characters or less? Aren’t feeds a more powerful and flexible tool for this? What value is added for libraries to CNN or BBC news for via Twitter that isn’t dramatically surpassed by RSS or email alerts?

5. loosely following a well-wifi’d geek/techie conference

6. Following the thought processes of emerging tech trend thinkers…

Sure, if you don’t mind a very loose following and very small thoughtlets (again, 140 characters).

8. Check out a potential colleague’s twitter feed to see if you’d personally like them or not

I hope I’m never judged by a series of 140-character thoughtlets.

9. twitter as a personal note bucket – send yourself random thoughts that you don’t want to lose. They’re stored in your account’s history!

Can’t this can be done by email with much greater flexibility?

10. Current awareness search tool. For this to work, Twitter would need a search engine (which I don’t think it has) or something like Google would need to be used. SO a bit of a dream here…BUT stay with me here for a sec. With Flickr, you can troll the popular tags feature and see what’s going on in the world. I’m assuming that with Twitter, if something BIG happens, people using Twitter would be texting about it. That could be an amazing resource to get the “feel of the streets” during a major event (cool, another library use).

As DLK notes, the search feature doesn’t exist- so I don’t think that can count as a useful application. Second, I can’t imagine that anyone would effectively use Flickr to see what’s going on the world. Flickr is a great tool for sharing images, but as a way to keep up with current events, it…well, it stinks. It isn’t designed for that sort of thing. Also, if something BIG happens, you won’t need Flickr or Twitter to become aware of it.

Again, I’m really grateful that David Lee King made these suggestions, but I think Steve Lawson’s answer seems right on to me:

I don’t see a library application to Twitter, but it makes sense to me that a geographically dispersed group of acquaintances (like library bloggers) might find it a fun thing to use to keep tabs on each other.

When and if someone comes up with a way Twitter can be useful to libraries- please let me know!

Mar 10

The One-Person Library Newsletter

Back in October, I wrote what I thought was a sort of rambling post about problems with technology jargon in educating clinical users.

Undaunted by my iffy writing, Judy Siess edited it down to something more coherent and published her improved version in the latest One-Person Library newsletter.

I’m flattered that Judy thought it was worth adding to the newsletter, and I was tickled to receive my copy of the issue in the mail yesterday. If you don’t already subscribe to the OPL Plus Blog, do check it out. Judy provides bite-sized nuggets of good stuff from a wide variety of sources.

Mar 09

Why should we care about Twitter?

I keep seeing mentions of Twitter on biblioblogs.

I have no problem with people enjoying whatever new social toy floats their boats, but why should libraryfolk care about Twitter? How can it be applied to our work? Are bibliobloggers just going on about it because it is a neat new social toy?

I’m not finding answers to these questions.

Got any? I’d love to hear them.

Mar 08

An introduction to mashups for health librarians

A librarian-in-training at UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, Allan Cho has published an article in the Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association called An introduction to mashups for health librarians. A very quick skim indicates that is definitely worth reading, especially for those who need an introduction to the concepts. I’ll be giving it a slower read this evening.

Allan Cho

Snag yourself the free full text here.

(Thanks for the heads-up, Dean!)

Click here for other posts about Mashups.

Mar 08

“What is RSS?”

Randy Morin points out this interesting video in which people are stopped on the street and asked “What is RSS?”

While this illustrates very clearly the fact that most do not know what RSS is, Randy points out that this doesn’t really matter.

Randy says that if you ask the very same people what TCP/IP is, “’ll get the same response. But they use it everyday. It’s the protocol of the Internet. Or for that matter, what is HTTP? It’s the protocol of the Web. The average person doesn’t need to know what RSS is, they only need to know what My Yahoo! is.”

Mar 07

Applause for AskDrWiki

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

From the Doctor Wiki blog:

Ask Dr Wiki Will Now Require Proof of Credentials

Since Brandon Keim published his article in Nature Medicine titled WikiMedia, the subject of crendentialing has been a topic that has been discussed on and[*]. After hearing their arguments we have decided that they are correct. In order to create an expert medical wiki we need to prove that future users have real medical credentials. We will now require users to submit their real names, degree, and hospital or medical school and will then confirm their credentials before we allow them to create or edit articles. The comments and suggestions from everyone who weighed in are appreciated!

Brandon Keim: WikiMedia; News@Nature 13, 231-233

Posted by Dr. Wiki at 4:43 PM

I still have the same concerns that I have about Ganfyd, but this is a huge step in the right direction. Kudos to the editors of AskDrWiki.

*They’re referring to this post of mine and this post of Meredith’s (be sure to read the comments on both).

Mar 07

BBC: ‘Personal’ health websites sought

A study funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council “…examined the internet search strategies of people who wanted to find specific health information on topics such as high blood pressure, the menopause and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). ”

Among the interesting findings:

“Often [NHS Web sites] were rejected because the first page participants were directed to was a portal or they had too much background or generic content.”

“…even if a site made a favourable first impression, it was unlikely to keep the attention if it did not include personal stories to which the reader could relate.

Many were specifically drawn to sites where they could read about the experiences of other people who have the same problems and concerns. “

I suppose none of this is really surprising, but it is an excellent reminder that consumers do not search for or evaluate information on the Web the way health car professionals do (or at least should).

This all makes me think of Women’s Health News, a consumer health news blog written by Rachel Walden, a medical librarian. I think a great part of Rachel’s success as a blogger is that her blog really does have this personal voice. Rachel comes across as a likeable, funny, real person to whom readers can relate, while at the same time offering lots of expertly-filtered, reliable information about women’s health issues.

Perhaps medical libraries with Web pages devoted to consumer health information can take a lesson from the BBC article and Rachel’s example to better reach and assist health care consumers.

[BBC article]