Aug 31

CureHunter Visual Medical “Dictionary” (MeSH Browser)

Dangit!

I finished writing this post last night, but hadn’t posted it yet. Since Berci has beat me to it, I’ll go ahead and post it now.

————–

Curehunter.com has a “visual medical dictionary” that I’m having lots of fun playing with, even though I’m not sure that it is best described as a “dictionary.”

Really, it’s a nifty third-party PubMed/MEDLNE tool to visually browse MeSH (as an alternative to the NLM’s MeSH browser). As shown in the screen capture below, it gives the MeSH scope note for “colitis, ulcereative” as the definition for “ulcerative colitis.”

Then it grabs related terms from the MeSH Tree Structures and counts the number of citation hits for each:

Lastly, it gives you a visual, color-coded representation of related strongly related terms from the literature…

…and it does this all in three side-by-side frames:

Neat!

Other posts about Third-Party PubMed/MEDLINE Tools

Aug 31

History of Medicine Search Engine

It occurred to me out of nowhere in particular that a search engine for free Web resources on the History of Medicine might be awfully useful to some, so I scraped about 500 URLs from the History of the Health Sciences Section of the Medical Library Association and slapped together this History of Medicine Custom Search Engine.

Try it and let me know what you think.

If you’re interested in helping to grow or refinine this CSE, please let me know. I’d love to hand it off to someone who knows a LOT more about the History of Medicine than I do.

What other CSEs would be useful to medical libraryfok?

Aug 31

Blog Day 2007

So on Blog Day, a blogger is supposed to recommend 5 blogs to his or her readers. In order to make sure I’d stop at five, I decided to restrict myself to MedLib blogs that have come into existence only since the last Blog Day.

Among the MedLib blogs that have come into existence in the last year:

  1. OMG Tuna is Kewl just started in April, and is alway worth reading. Ratcatcher, the blog’s pseudonymous author, is smart and insightful, routinely catching stuff I’d otherwise miss.
  2. Mark Rabnett’s Shelved in the W’s is off to a brilliant start. Mark makes me laugh and makes me think….and makes me jealous of the way that he writes.
  3. I’m very much enjoying Susan Mayer’s blog about consumer health information needs, Learn to Live. Susan strikes me as someone who feels that if she can do more, she should do more. If I were a patient in need of health information, that’s the sort of librarian I’d want helping me. I don’t read as much on serving consumer health information needs as I’d like, and I’m grateful that Susan’s blog can help me stay caught up on the essentials.
  4. Mark Funk impressed by becoming the first MLA President to have a blog, Only Connect!. I’m subscribed to it and looking forward to seeing what else he uses his blog to talk about.
  5. Pat Erwin’s What Interests Me has featured short, smart posts from a thoughtful and experienced medical librarian
Aug 30

MEDLIB Blog badge at EBM & CSL @ UCHC

See, I had to abbreviate the name of the blog in post title because the blog’s real name, EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC, just wouldn’t fit properly in the title field.

Kathleen Crea’s new blogging effort for the Lyman Maynard Stowe Library at the University of Connecticut Health Center is off to a great start in its first month and I haven’t missed a single post because I’m subscribed to its feed.

Why is David always on about this badgey stuff?

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

These blogs are:

  1. about medical / health / health sciences / biomedical librarianship;
  2. written by (a) medical librarian(s) or medical library paraprofessional(s);
  3. maintained by a medical library; or
  4. maintained by professional association of medical librarians and/or medical library paraprofessionals.

Hey! My blog has the MedLib Blog badge and you haven’t featured it here!

Sorry! I do TRY for omniscience, but frequently fall short of this goal. 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 it from here.

Why would I want to add the badge to my blog?

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). (This should serve also as a reminder to add your blog to this masterlist, if appropriate.)

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


&#60a href="http://liswiki.org/wiki/Medlib_Blogs"&#62
&#60img src="http://tinyurl.com/y32hh8/"&#62&#60/a&#62

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. :)

Aug 30

Facebook for Scientists?

BMJ on Nature Network:

BMJ 2007;335:401 (25 August), doi:10.1136/bmj.39304.603148.59
Facebook for scientists?
Deborah Cohen, features editor, BMJ

[HTML] | [PDF]

Excerpt:

“So come on, people, pimp my coat! I’m tired of putting on the same old stained, shapeless one every morning,” writes cell biologist Jenny Rohn in her call out to potential collaborators on Nature Network.

Rohn, a cell biologist at University College London and editor of the online cult science magazine LabLit.com, met former scientist Wynn Abbott, director of the science art agency SciCult, through Nature Network, a free online networking site for scientists. They started chatting at a Nature Network drinking session and realised that they were both deeply perplexed that the basic design of the white coat has remained unchanged for more than a century. They turned to Nature Network users to look for ideas.

Thanks for the heads-up, Iskandar!

Previous posts about online social networks for clinicians

Aug 29

Wiki-based Biology Dictionary

I’ve previously mentioned socially-created dictionaries WordSource and Wiktionary, but the dictionary at Biology-Online.org is a little more interesting because it is a biology dictionary which functions on the same principles.

Since it isn’t strictly medical, I won’t be adding it to the list of medical wikis.

Aug 29

WhoNamedIt.com: Medical Eponym Lookup

Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person. Eventually, this will include more than 15.000 eponyms and more than 6.000 persons.

As I wrote this post, whonamedit.com contains:

“7988 eponyms described in 3938 main entries. These eponyms are linked to 3152 persons: 110 female and 3042 male.”

For instance, say you want to know for whom the Foley Catheter is named. Just search for “Foley” and learn:

Foley’s catheter (Frederic Eugene Basil Foley)

Associated persons:
Frederic Eugene Basil Foley

Description:
Urethral catheter which is retained by inflating a balloon with air or liquid, used to provide continuous urinary drainage.

Aug 28

Sermo in the WSJ

Article in today’s Wall Street Journal:

Social Networking Goes Professional
Doctors, Salesmen, Executives Turn to New Sites to Consult, Commiserate With Peers; Weeding Out Impostors
By JESSICA E. VASCELLARO
August 28, 2007; Page D1

Excerpt:

“When radiation oncologist Michael Tomblyn recently saw a 21-year-old patient whose eye was protruding from its socket, he turned to his fellow physicians for help. Dozens of doctors offered suggestions, including fungal infection, HIV-associated lymphoma or a cocaine-associated sinus problem, eventually steering him toward the correct answer: rhabdomyosarcoma, a fast-growing cancer most often observed in young children.

The diagnosis didn’t take place in a doctor’s lounge. It happened on Sermo.com, a social-networking site for licensed physicians, which Dr. Tomblyn and 25,000 doctors like him visit regularly to consult with colleagues specializing in areas from dermatology to psychiatry.”

Read the whole thing.

Previous posts about online social networks for clinicians

Aug 28

Screencast-O-Matic: Easy way to make free screencasts

The screencast below (made with Screencast-O-Matic) shows how to make a screencast…with Screencast-O-Matic.

Viewing the embedded screencast below (and recording new ones) requires Java.

Why should libraryfolk care about screencasting? Let Paul Pival help answer that question.

Aug 27

Article about RadiologyWiki.org in RadioGraphics

RadiologyWiki.org (previously mentioned here and here) is the topic of an article appearing in the most recent RadioGraphics:

Informatics in radiology: RadiologyWiki.org: the free radiology resource that anyone can edit.
Radiographics. 2007 Jul-Aug;27(4):1193-200.

Recent developments in online collaborative technologies such as Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org) have demonstrated the potential usefulness of an online reference resource produced as the collective effort of many users. Although this type of resource has enjoyed success in the public arena, however, its value remains unproved in the academic community. RadiologyWiki (www.RadiologyWiki.org) was created to apply the technology and methods of collaborative authorship to create a dynamic online radiology educational resource. The World Wide Web site capitalizes on the core technology of Wikipedia, allowing individuals with little technical experience to easily create, categorize, and search for articles by using a standard Web browser. RadiologyWiki shows promise for applications in the field of radiology, although issues pertaining to copyright, peer review, and academic motivation must be overcome if it is to make a meaningful contribution in this context. Nevertheless, it is hoped that RadiologyWiki will develop into a free, simple, and rapid collaborative authorship tool for communication and education in radiology.

PubMed citation
Abstract

If anyone would like to send me a copy of this article, I’d love to read it. Thanks! :)

Before I hear about it in the comments, I’ll go ahead and mention that there are a handful of other wikis focusing on radiology, including:

Are there any others that I need to add to the List of Medical Wikis?

Aug 27

Handout: Introduction to Wikipedia

London-based medical librarian Reinhard Wentz (previously mentioned here) and medical student Vipul Sharma have produced a a great handout to help introduce users to Wikipedia as a potential resource. The handout includes links for additional readings on background and issues such as bias, currency, reliability, and plagiarism.

I thought it was excellent and was very pleased when Reinhard agreed to have it posted here. I like that it succinctly covers all the most important points and issues in only two digestible pages.

Got feedback? Leave it here and we’ll make sure Reinhard and Vipul see it.

[Click here to download]

Aug 25

More Tweaks for Google Reader

It isn’t any secret that I’m a big fan of Google Reader, but Firefox and Greasemonkey can make it even better as they tailor it precisely for your preferences and needs.

Mashable has posted a list of 50+ Google Reader Extensions & Scripts for Firefox that is worth checking out. There are several here that I use and enjoy:

Because my list of feeds and folders is large, I really like Google Reader Optimized because it makes better use of screen space than the default display. (Requires Stylish or Greasemonkey)

Smart Google Reader Subscribe is awesome. A small button in the corner of the screen notes that a page has a feed and will subscribe to that feed in your Google Reader account if you click on it. Even better, it indicates visually whether or not you’ve already subscribed to that feed in Google Reader.

I don’t use the iGoogle (formerly known as the Google Personalized home page) because I find it sort of annoying and slow. So when I click a “Subscribe with Google” link somewhere, it is also annoying and slow to have to keep specifying that I want to subscribe in Google Reader, not iGoogle. Auto add to Google Reader solved that problem- it bypasses that screen and just subscribes using Google Reader every time.

But I’m not satisfied yet. My biggest complaint with Google Reader is that I want the left panel to have adjustable width so I can see the full names of feeds and folders. Has anyone come across a solution for that problem yet?

Aug 24

HTML-to-Wiki converter

Not new, but new to me:

Have an existing Web page you want to add to a Wiki, but not looking forward to re-working it into wiki markup? HTML::WikiConverter to the rescue!

Paste in some HTML or specify a URL and HTML::WikiConverter will convert the HTML to the wiki markup used by your wiki platform.

It’ll even format to whatever flavor of wiki you prefer:

Aug 23

Reason vs. Superstition in Medicine (Richard Dawkins)

Although he is best-known as an outspoken atheist, Richard Dawkins is a respected biologist.

Really, if you read his work or hear him speak, you get the sense that he isn’t actually hostile towards religious people, he’s hostile towards attacks on reason. So it isn’t really surprising that in his Channel 4 special, The Enemies of Reason, he expresses strong views about superstition and the way it can impact medicine in the form of some “alternative” health therapies in the episode entitled The Irrational Health Service.

You can watch it in the embedded video below:

I particularly enjoy how Dawkins takes apart homeopathy.

Thanks for the heads-up, Graham!

Aug 23

MedLib Badge at Learn to Live

Susan Mayer has a great (and relatively new) MedLib blog focusing on “health literacy, patient education and consumer health issues.” As a full-time patient education librarian at an outstanding institution, Susan is an ideal person to write such a blog.

Check out Learn to Live at your soonest opportunity.

Why is David so into this badgey stuff?
Previously, I’ve noted the following blogs that display the MedLib Blog badge in their sidebars:

Hey! My blog has the MedLib Blog badge and you haven’t featured it here!
Sorry! I do TRY for omniscience, but frequently fall short of this goal. 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 it from here.

Why would I want to add the badge to my blog?

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). (This should serve also as a reminder to add your blog to this masterlist, if appropriate.)

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


&#60a href="http://liswiki.org/wiki/Medlib_Blogs"&#62
&#60img src="http://tinyurl.com/y32hh8/"&#62&#60/a&#62

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. :)

Aug 22

Andrew Keen Removes All Doubt

When I first heard about Andrew Keen’s book (The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture), I assumed he was just looking to make a new career as contrarian pundit.

I mean, he came across as wrong in print “debates” (David Weinberger thoroughly and politely kicks Keen’s butt in the Wall Street Journal) but not actually stupid.

Then I saw his interview with Stephen Colbert:

I was going to borrow Keen’s book from my local public library, but after seeing this interview and hearing such appallingly moronic things come out of his mouth (e.g. “Even the Nazis didn’t put artists out of work” or suggesting that something isn’t art unless it is paid for), I can’t do it.

Please- watch the video and read the “debate” with Weinberger before wasting time or money on Keen’s book.

Aug 22

NurseConnect (Online Social Network for Nurses)

NurseConnect is an online nursing community and networking site for nurses and other healthcare professionals interested in advancing their education, careers and personal lives by sharing experiences and knowledge with others. NurseConnect is owned and operated by AMN Healthcare, Inc.

The only other online social network specifically for nurses that I’m aware of is NurseLinkUp.

Previous posts about online social networks for clinicians