Nov 20

Video: Meredith Farkas at Academic Library 2.0

I’ve never been fortunate enough to see Meredith Farkas speak- but thanks to UC Berkeley, now I can! Below, Meredith’s talk from 11/2/2007 at the Academic Library 2.0 Conference.

(Above: Embdedded flash video. If you’re reading this in your agregator, you may need to visit the site to view the video)

(Meredith starts speaking about 13 minutes in.)

Nov 20

More on Social Bookmarking for Medical Libraryfolk

Melissa Rethlefsen, Assistant Professor of Medical Education and the Education Technology Librarian for the Mayo Medical School, wrote an article for the MLA Midwest Chapter’s MIDLINE on Social Bookmarking that’d be really useful when trying to give someone new to the idea a good introduction to the topic and tools.

Also be sure to check out Melissa’s Library Journal article on the same topic.

Nov 20

ANANurseSpace (Online Social Network for Nurses)

It looks like the ANA is working on launching an online social network for nurses at

I wonder how it’ll compare to NurseConnect or NurseLinkUp.

So the AMA has a partnership with Sermo and the ANA is building its own social network. I wonder if there will soon be a online social network or two for most specialties and allied healthcare professions. I don’t find it difficult to imagine a time where most professional associations include (as a membership benefit) access to an online social network. Perhaps they’ll become as common as listservs are now.

More posts about online social networks for clinicians

Nov 20

The Visible Body

The Visible Body looks really neat and claims it will be released with free access (requiring registration) any day now.

(Above: Embedded video. If you are reading this in your feed aggregator, you may need to visit the site to view the video)

The Visible Body features a 360 degree, whole-body, 3D model that allows unparalleled investigation and study of human anatomy and physiology. Available on the Web, the Visible Body runs in Internet Explorer on any PC* connected to the Internet. A free, fully interactive release is scheduled for mid-November 2007.

With the Visible Body, users can:

• View highly detailed models of all body systems.
• Search for and locate anatomical structures by name.
• Click on anatomical structures to reveal names.
• Rotate and explore anatomy in a virtual space.
• Peel away layers to view relative placement of the components of all body systems.
• See placement of specific organs relative to other anatomical structures.
• View anatomical structures with or without surrounding anatomy.
• Investigate anatomy virtually, without the costly cadaver lab.

*System Requirements: Windows XP/2000/Vista, Internet Explorer 6.0 or above, Flash Player 8.0+.

I can imagine a lot of uses for such a tool…but if the free tool is everything the video claims, I can’t help but wonder why it is free. Is it just a very expensive (and cool) way to publicize what Argosy can do?

Nov 19

PubMed Citations (Greasemonkey Script)

(If you’re not using Firefox yet, start.

If you’re using Firefox but haven’t installed Greasemonkey yet, do that now.)

Just stumbled across a neat Greasemonkey script called PubMed Citations.

This script takes each result in a PubMed search and then queries Google Scholar to get the number of times it has been cited. Then it places a link with this info next to each search result, linking to the citations in Google Scholar.

See example in image below

The author notes:

This script may stop working after a while and that’s because Google thinks you are a virus or malware and will shut you out. PubMed will still work fine, but you will stop getting citation links next to your results. If that happens, I’ve found this to work (in Firefox):

1. Go to Tools -> Options… -> Show Cookies…,
2. Find the cookie and delete it.
3. Then go to Google Scholar and try a search. You should get a screen telling you that you were blocked and to enter a sequence of letters from an image. That should do the trick.
4. Go back to PubMed and continue searching!

Nov 18

TRIP Database Enhancements

The new TRIP enhancements rolled out last week and Jon Brassey lists off the major improvements here.

The specialist search engines look interesting:

26 specialist search engines. 26 today and more in the near future. These specialist search engines allow users to simultaneously search the core TRIP content plus the top 10-15 journals specific to that area. I see it as a bridge between users having to go from TRIP to the full, difficult to use Medline.

Nov 18

The Entertaining Health Problems of Historical Figures

So it turns out that Hitler was a great big fartypants.

His private physician, Dr. Theo Morell, recorded in his diary that after Hitler downed a typical vegetable platter, “constipation and colossal flatulence occurred on a scale I have seldom encountered before.”

I wish I understood why the thought of Adolf Hitler with “colossal…agonizing flatulence” entertains me so much.

Unfortunately, I missed the History Channel’s program on the topic of Hitler’s healthcare, High Hitler, but there’s a list of books on the topic of Hitler’s health here.

Also in recent news, many of Karl Marx’s health complaints would be explained as resulting from hidradenitis suppurativa, says Sam Shuster, professor of dermatology at the University of East Anglia.

“The bourgeoisie will remember my carbuncles until their dying day,” Marx told Friedrich Engels in a letter from 1867.

Dermatological ailment as political metaphor. Heh.

Nov 16

MedLib Blog Badge at Info Long-Term Care

Laurie Blanchard, B.A., MLS, a librarian at the University of Manitoba’s J.W. Crane Memorial Library, writes Info Long-Term Care, a “Current Awareness Service for health care practitioners in long-term and geriatric care.”

While you’re checking out her blog, take Laurie’s Google CSE for a test drive and Search geriatrics, gerontology and long-term care websites.

Why is David always on about this badgey stuff? Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

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:

<a href="">
<img src=""></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. :)

Nov 14

Elsevier’s WiserWiki

Elsevier's new medical wiki, WiserWiki is now live and "in Beta." 

I hadn't realized until now exactly how worried publishers might be about tools like AskDrWiki and Ganfyd. I always thought that AskDrWiki or Ganfyd, if developed and maintained well, might threaten to take business away from UpToDate, DynaMed, MDConsult or other similar products- but it would appear that Elsevier sees them as a bigger threat than I have. Why else start a brand-new medical wiki and seed it with content they own from John Noble’s “Textbook of Primary Care Medicine”? In doing this, Elsevier probably hopes to gather the users that would otherwise use Ganfyd or AskDrWiki (or Wikipedia). This way, they can sell advertising and promote their own offerings. Brilliant.

Still, I think it'll bomb. Sure, people will be happy to make use of the free content that Elsevier seeded it with, but I think that Physicians inclined to contribute to a wiki will prefer to contribute to AskDrWiki or Ganfyd.

WiserWiki's Terms and Conditions say:

All content in this Site, including site layout, design, images, programs, text and other information (collectively, the “Content”) is the property of Elsevier and its affiliated companies or licensors and is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. You may not copy, display, distribute, modify, publish, reproduce, store, transmit, create derivative works from, or sell or license all or any part of the Content, products or services obtained from this Site in any medium to anyone, except as otherwise expressly permitted under applicable law or as described in these Terms and Conditions or relevant license or subscriber agreement.

Really? Even the stuff that contributors write?

We do not claim ownership of any material that you provide to us (including feedback and suggestions) or post, upload, input or submit on or through this Site, including our blog pages, message boards, chat rooms and forums, for review by the general public or by the members of any public or private community (“Submission”) and we are not responsible for its content or accuracy.


Okay, I guess that's good…

…However, by posting, uploading, inputting, providing or submitting (“Posting”) your Submission you grant us, our affiliated companies and sublicensees permission to display, publish and otherwise use your Submission in any format in connection with the operation of our respective businesses (including, without limitation, the Site). No compensation will be paid with respect to the use of your Submission. We are under no obligation to display or otherwise use any Submission you may provide, and we may remove any Submission at any time in our sole discretion.


So…Elsevier provides the server and hosting…and physicians write the content…but Elsevier can leverage the content for profit? I think that if a physician is the sort of community-minded sharer who gives her/his time and expertise for free (hint: these are the sorts of physicians who contribute to Wikipedia or medical wikis), he/she will probably prefer to give it to a non-profit than to let Elsevier make money off of it.

 And what about this:

Q: Who holds the copyright to the information submitted on this site?
A: Contributors retain the copyright to information they contribute to WiserWiki. Please read our Terms & Conditions.

How do you simultaneously have authors retain copyright…and have documents editable by registered users? Perhaps Elsevier intends for contributors to only submit full, complete articles for consideration of inclusion…but wouldn't that defeat about half the purpose of making the site a wiki instead of a digital book?

(Added to the List of Medical Wikis)

Nov 14 (Digg for Medical Literature, Part XI)

What is is a Web 2.0 Health Information Platform. The objective is to provide information about Healthcare relevant stories found around the internet. whishes to establish a social web (web 2.0) about Healthcare on different health interests groups (management, technology, public health, etc.), where there is a lot of knowledgement and big ideas but mostly of them are dispersed all around. is NOT a scientifical magazine or publication; it’s simply a self generation content platform based on news and founds on the internet related to Healthcare. is not responsible on the contents and opinions from the users that freely participate into the portal.

It’s an internet site that allows to move news that will be reviewed by all the community and rest of users and will be, or not, promoted to main page. When a user send a new or story, this will remain in a pendent queue until it gets enough votes (or prescriptions) to be moved to the home page.

Built on the Meneame platform (with what appears, given how much it looks like, to be the default template), I don’t see a lot to differentiate this offering from the others I’ve previously noted (see below).

Related Posts

Nov 13

Veritable Cornucopia of Custom Search Engines for Health Information

Neat! Google Operating System shows us that one can use this tool to search for Google Custom Search Engines (“CSEs”). Just by poking around for a few minutes, I found a bunch of CSEs of potential interest to medical libraryfolk. Here’s a small selection:

  • Paediatrics Search Engine

    Paediatrics Search Engine searches 35 sites, including:,,,,

  • Consumer Health Resources In Spanish

    Patient handouts and pamphlets on various health topics for Spanish speaking people
    Consumer Health Resources In Spanish searches 22 sites, including:,,,,

  • Women’s Health

    A search engine for information about women’s health issues
    Searches 4776 sites, including:,,,,

  • Evidence-based Medicine Search Engine for Healthcare Professionals

    Evidence-based Medicine Search Engine for Healthcare Professionals searches 251 sites, including:,,,,

  • Google Only For Medical Transcriptionists!

    Yes you got that right! This is Google exclusively for MTs. Search whatever fancies you – medical words, surgical equipment words, nurses’ names, doctors’ names, addresses, zip codes – you’ll find all of that here.
    Searches 246 sites, including:,,,,


    Searches 684 sites, including:,,,,

  • The Diabetes Search Engine

    Search 750+ sites about diabetes. These include: research; diabetes treatments; diabetes technology; more than 280 diabetes blogs; diabetes organizations; and more. If you have any questions about diabetes you’ll get the answers here.
    Searches 778 sites, including:,,,,

  • For health professionals (HON Search Engine)

    Verify or search HONcode accredited Web sites
    For health professionals searches 1988 sites, including:*,*,*,*,*

  • AZHealthInfo

    Arizona Health Resources from Arizona Health Sciences Library
    AZHealthInfo searches 4281 sites, including:,,,,

Does seeing these give you any ideas for a CSE you or your patrons might enjoy having? Take a stab at making one or share your idea here and see if someone else would like to build it. Google makes it easy to build them- the hard parts are coming up with the specialized need to fill and creating the list of URLs the CSE should search.

Sampling of previous posts about Google Custom Search Engines

Looking for more on CSE’s from Find it using this CSE!

Nov 12

Taskforce Blog Comment Spam

I love that the MLA has a Taskforce for exploring the potential uses of social software. I love that the Taskforce has a blog. The blog is always worth reading, so I subscribe to its feed. Because I don’t want to miss any part of the conversation, I also subscribe to the comments feed.

Of the last fourteen comments to appear in my aggregator from the comments feed, nine were spam. That’s more than 60%.

To illustrate this, here’s a screen capture from my aggregator where I’ve marked the comment spam:

These spam comments don’t appear to be on the taskforce site itself, so it appears that the taskforce does a good job of deleting these soon after they appear- but anyone subscribed to the comments feed still has to deal with them.

Here’s how the taskforce can eliminate comment spam from being left in the first place:

  1. Log in to WordPress as an administrator and go to Options > Discussion. Select these two options:
  2. If it isn’t already turned on, turn on Akismet (free, easy-to-use, comes built-in to newer versions of WordPress).

That’s it. Moderating comments is quick and easy, especially if the taskforce sets up the blog to have multiple administrators who can approve the comments of legitimate first-time commenters in timely manner.

Nov 11

When the Patient is a Googler

From the title of this Time Magazine story you’d think it was about patients seeking information online and how this impacts the relationship between the patient and his/her healthcare provider(s).

It isn’t.

This short opinion piece is instead a physician’s rationalization for getting rid of a patient who annoys him.

Susan had chosen me because she had researched my education, read a paper I had written, determined my university affiliation and knew where I lived. It was a little too much — as if she knew how stinky and snorey I was last Sunday morning. Yes, she was simply researching important aspects of her own health care. Yes, who your surgeon is certainly affects what your surgeon does. But I was unnerved by how she brandished her information, too personal and just too rude on our first meeting.

Every doctor knows patients like this. They’re called “brainsuckers.” By the time they come in, they’ve visited many other docs already — somehow unable to stick with any of them. They have many complaints, which rarely translate to hard findings on any objective tests. They talk a lot. I often wonder, while waiting for them to pause, if there are patients like this in poor, war-torn countries where the need for doctors is more dire.

Not being a physician, I don’t feel comfortable commenting on the ethical issues raised by this piece and by Dr. Haig’s decision to “punt.” That being said, I’d like to recontextualize some of the issues it raises by putting this question to readers who work in medical libraries:

If a medical librarian working in a library that served consumer healthcare information needs decided to “punt” (to get rid of the patron) instead of helping a patron because the librarian found the patron to annoying and selfish, then published an article rationalizing this behavior, what would you think of the punting librarian?

Nov 09

Ayúdeme por favor? (Wiki en Español)

I recently discovered a health information wiki I’d like to add to the list, but my Spanish is very, very limited.

If you’re a Spanish-speaker who would be willing to gather the necessary information from this site as Barbara Braun (a native speaker of German) did for DocCheck Flexikon, I’d be most grateful.

Information needed follows:

Intended Audience/Users:
Editorial Policies:

You can see examples here.

Thank you!

Nov 08

The JEAHIL says I’m indefatigable: I’m too tired to argue

I’m not ashamed to admit that I get a kick out of seeing my name or work in published books or journals.

But the most recent issue of the Journal of the European Association for Health Information and Libraries (2007, Vol 3, Issue 4) caught me by surprise. Oliver Obst’s “Web 2.0” column, Notes from the Blogosphere (Page 60-61) included the following:

David Rothman is one of the most indefatigable bloggers around, and as a result his blog: – Exploring Medical Librarianship and Web Geekery is the only one which is ranked in the top 10 healthcare blogs worldwide.(12) Congratulations! However, David recently suffered a spontaneous pneumothorax(13) and had to slow down blogging for some time. Now – back again at his job – he felt seriously pooped.(14) Nevertheless, his personal experience taught us much about thoracic surgery and NEJM videos on chest-tube insertion(15) as well as the benefits of the generous use of anaesthesia and conscious sedation.

Oliver is very kind and I’m grateful for the chuckle.

…Now I just need to find a way to work the word “indefatigable” into my résumé…

Nov 07

Awesome Dean Giustini quote in University Affairs

Dean Giustini just keeps making his profession look good from the outside, doesn’t he?

University Affairs (“Canada’s magazine on higher education”) features an article on The New Librarians in which Dean is mentioned and quoted.

University of British Columbia’s libraries have also seen dramatic changes. When biomedical branch librarian Dean Giustini joined the UBC library staff 10 years ago, the biomedical library offered just three electronic journals. It now offers 40,000. Mr. Giustini, named Canadian Hospital Librarian of the Year for 2007, is a well-read and popular blogger. He maintains the Google Scholar Blog (with the stated purpose “to observe, document and comment on the evolution of academic-scholarly searching”) and is the blogger for Open Medicine, a peer-reviewed, open-access online journal that aims to provide high-quality health information. In 2005, he kicked off a lengthy debate among experts with a British Medical Journal editorial entitled “How Google is changing medicine.”

Mr. Giustini doesn’t believe that the librarian’s role is diminished by today’s ready availability of information. “I think our role will be helping people to teach each other how to find information, but also how to critically evaluate information,” he says. “People need to see us as knowledgeable about knowledge, in all its forms.”

…and later in the article:

Tim Mark, executive director of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, says that some older, more traditional academic librarians have found the new technology a bit daunting, and the new approach to library space, challenging. This has sometimes led to generational tensions, ones which Dean Giustini at UBC says he has felt first-hand.

“Some people just don’t get it,” says Mr. Giustini bluntly. “But I’ve got tenure, and I’m going to continue to push the envelope as much as I can. … Librarians need to be seen to be part of this revolution. And if you don’t want to stay in the profession because of it, there are lots of young, fresh, smart librarians who will take your place.”

Let’s just repeat that last part in bold:

“…Librarians need to be seen to be part of this revolution. And if you don’t want to stay in the profession because of it, there are lots of young, fresh, smart librarians who will take your place.”

Nov 05

Anatomia 1522 to 1867 – Anatomical Plates

Anatomia 1522 to 1867 – Anatomical Plates from the (University of Toronto) Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

This collection features approximately 4500 full page plates and other significant illustrations of human anatomy selected from the Jason A. Hannah and Academy of Medicine collections in the history of medicine at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Each illustration has been fully indexed using medical subject headings (MeSH), and techniques of illustration, artists, and engravers have been identified whenever possible. There are ninety-five individual titles represented, ranging in date from 1522 to 1867.