Feb 13

Big Pharma in your iPhone and Nintendo

From The Independant: Medicines not working? There’s an app for that

(Is anyone else completely done with the “There’s an app for that” meme?)

Novartis, for example, signed a $24 million (£15.3 million) deal last month with US-based Proteus Biomedical to create “smart pills” that can transmit data from inside the body to monitor patients’ vital signs and check they have taken medicines as prescribed.

Bayer is connecting its glucometer for diabetic children to Nintendo’s video-gaming consoles to promote consistent blood sugar testing.

And Johnson & Johnson’s Lifescan unit has an iPhone application that lets users upload readings from their connected blood glucose monitors to their Apple phone.

Feb 10

Yet Another Reason to Love the NLM: Emergency Access Initiative

I just caught up and noticed this…and think it is brilliant.


The Emergency Access Initiative (EAI) is a partnership of the National Library of Medicine, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers. EAI provides free access to full text articles from major biomedicine titles to healthcare professionals, librarians, and the public in the United States affected by disasters.

Of course, I won’t be using this because I’m not doing anything related to the disaster in Haiti- but the NLM deserves all kinds of attention and praise for doing this, as do contributing publishers:

American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American College of Physicians, American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists, ASM Press, B.C. Decker, BMJ, Elsevier, FA Davis, Mary Ann Liebert, Massachusetts Medical Society, McGraw-Hill, Merck Publishing, Oxford University Press, People’s Medical Publishing House, Springer, University of Chicago Press, Wiley, and Wolters Kluwer.

Feb 09

USDA and Social Media

In my previous post about social media endeavors at the CDC and HHS, I should also have mentioned the United States Department of Agriculture.Full disclosure: My friend Craig Stoltz is working on USDA social media projects, and they’re very lucky to have him. There are a lot of social media “experts” who are not actually all that expert- but Craig really knows his stuff.

Are there other government agencies (related to health and/or healthcare) with social media projects I haven’t noticed yet? Please let me know in the comments?

Feb 08

CDC and HHS Guidelines/Policies on Social Media

Does it say something that these .gov agencies have formal social media operations and policies?

Centers for Disease Control
CDC Social Media Tools Guidelines & Best Practices

Front page for social media at the CDC:

Health and Human Services
The HHS Center for New Media, Standards and Policies

Front page for HHS Center for New Media:

Brief “interview” from AdAge with Andrew P. Wilson, web manager for HHS:


Pblackshaw: So Andrew, does the Health and Human Services Department really have a social-media team?

AndrewPWilson: Yes. See http://tinyurl.com/accz97. The social-media outreach effort is being directed by the department’s new Social Media Center.

Pblackshaw: What does that mean — Social Media Center? Just you? A full team? A body of activity?

AndrewPWilson: People in the department have been working with social media for some time, e.g., http://tinyurl.com/bsrtt8 (and others). Now we’re starting broader initiatives.

Pblackshaw: But just you? What’s your role?

AndrewPWilson: It’s still evolving but much more than just me. To start, developing resources and expertise in the dept to help HHS understand and use new tools.

Feb 07

“Information Overload” vs. “Filter Failure”

on 1/10/2008, I wrote:

I’m sincerely flabbergasted to hear a librarian (or any information professional) complain that there is “too much data” or “too many RSS feeds.”

“Web 2.0” doesn’t cause an information glut. What causes an information glut is being an information glutton, taking on more than anyone can reasonably manage. There aren’t too many RSS feeds. Rather, there are users who subscribe to too many RSS feeds. The solution isn’t for less data to exist, the solution is smarter, more selective use of the data. The tools that help us filter and manage the information that we care most about are continuing to improve in power and sophistication.

Nice to see Clay Shirky agree:

Feb 03

Making “David Pogue Direct”

So a reader writes to NYT technology columnist David Pogue, saying he wishes there was one button he could push to receive all Pogue’s writings and videos. The reader even suggests a name for this: “David Pogue Direct.” It’s a great idea.

But David Pogue says there’s no “one-click Pogue subscription” and that to catch all his content online, one has to subscribe to multiple sources in multiple formats.

I think that stinks. I think there should be a one-click way to keep up with Pogue. After all, he’s one of my favorite writers on technology.

So…let’s see if we CAN make a one-click Pogue Subscription.

We already have an RSS feed for Pogue’s Posts (his NYT blog):

To get his columns, Pogue suggests an email subscription (bleah!).

Here’s the feed for his NYT columns:

Pogue only has one solution to get his videos syndicated, and one to get them sans syndication:

* VIDEOS: Subscribe through iTunes . This is better than finding them on the Web, because (a) you’ll never miss one, (b) no ads, (c) higher quality, (d) iPhone/iPod compatibility, and (e) they’re downloaded files, so you can play them at will.

[UPDATE: If you’re not into iTunes, you can also get the videos on nytimes.com, from my video channel here. Unfortunately, I don’t see a way to subscribe to it automatically.]

We can do better than that.

Want to subscribe to Pogue videos without having to use iTunes?

Subscribe to one of these feeds in your favorite aggregator:
http://nytsynvideo.com/itunes/5 (.mp4, no advertisements)
http://video.nytimes.com/video/playlist/technology/david-pogue/1194811622273/index.html?rss=1 (Links to each new Flash video on the NYT Web site, has advertisements)

Pogue gives his Twitter user ID, but that isn’t suitable for a one-click “Pogue Direct” solution, so we’ll grab the RSS feed for his Twitter stream:

So, let’s use Yahoo! Pipes to slap ’em all together. While in Pipes, we’ll even add a word to the front of each title so you know which feed the item is coming from.

Want a single RSS feed? Here you go:

Prefer to get that via email? (I don’t recommend it. Who wants an email every time David Pogue Tweets?)

Enter your email address:

Preview of David Pogue Direct:

I did this for fun and to see if I could. If Mr. Pogue objects, I will of course disable all of this. I’m a fan, after all.

Still, wouldn’t it be smart of the NYT to offer a convenient, one-click channel for David Pogue’s content? Slapping this together took me 20 minutes. Imagine how cool it could be if the NYT did it.

Feb 01

Notes on the Motorola DROID and #androidapps (#mlamobile)

I finally broke down and bought a Motorola DROID from Verizon several weeks ago- that’s the new phone that runs Google’s Android 2.0.1 Operating System.

Thus far, I don’t regret the decision.

AT&T’s coverage where I live stinks, so as much as I like the iPhone, it just wasn’t an option for me. Fortunately, the DROID does most things as well as the iPhone, and does some things much better than the iPhone.

I agree with most of the accolades and criticisms you’ve probably already read about the DROID.

Things I Like:

The touchscreen is large, responsive, and looks terrific.

Syncing of my Gmail contacts, my work contacts, and my Facebook contacts is pretty darn great. I always have ALL my contact information on me- and it is updated whenever Facebook, my Gmail contacts, or the Address Books at my place of work are updated.

The “open” model is appealing. Even without having a rooted phone, I have *much* more control over the device than with an iPhone. If there’s any file I want on my Droid, I can put it there without jumping through any hoops. I have complete control over the file structure. iPhone/iTouch users has undoubtedly been annoyed by how strictly Apple controls what can (and cannot) be moved over the device’s USB cable and have to use third party applications to move data from an iPod/iTouch to a new computer- even if that data has no DCM.

Customization-I can tweak so much about the DROID’s interface that it took me several days to explore a lot of options and make some decisions about how I wanted it laid out. As my continued use of it reveals new/different/unexpected needs, I can quickly and easily make changes.

Navigation design is good- getting around the DROID takesa bit of getting used to, but it makes sense and I can customize shortcuts to almost any application, document, directory, etc- so common tasks are accomplished quickly.

The Notification Panel is GREAT. I’m never interrupted, just notified.

MPOW supported my access to my (Exchange) work email and work calendar immediately- cleverly, it interfaces through Outlook Web Access, which makes supporting the device’s access to Exchange a very easy decision for the Information Systems department. I win, they win. Everyone is happy with no additional work. (Our IS department has some security concerns about iPhone access to our Exchange server and Blackberries require an enterprise server to make Blackberries play nice with Exchange.)

It is a good TELEPHONE. The sound quality is about as good as can be expected from a mobile phone.

There’s a nifty little app called Call Filter that blocks calls from unknown numbers (i.e. telemarketers) or any number you tell it to block. This is especially useful if you keep getting “wrong number” calls from one particular source.

Other useful telephony apps include Phonalyzr, which analyzes your phone usage:

Dial Zero is useful little utility that lists companies alphabetically. Choose the company and it’ll give you a number to click (which the Droid will dial), then tell you how to game the voicemail system to get to a human being as fast as possible.

Awesome Apps for Android
All of these are available from the Android Market.

SugarSync may remind some of Dropbox (mentioned during the #mlamobile Webcast for the iPhone/iTouch), but actually does a good deal MORE than just synch files between my DROID and folders on other computers. I can stream media files from my home computer to my DROID, if I want. More here: https://www.sugarsync.com/downloads/android.html

Locale is incredibly cool.

I have it set up to send status messages to Twitter when I get to work or when I go to my Mother-in-law’s house. I’d eventually like to set up a simple status board for Liz and I so each would always be able to quickly check where the other is. Imagine that I could tap my phone and see quickly if Liz is on campus, at her mom’s, or somewhere else. I also have Locale (with a WOL plugin) set up to wake up my home computer as I approach our house after work.

I also have it set up to prevent my phone from ringing when my calendar says I’m in a meeting. (Can your iPhone do that?) It also stops notifying me of new work email between 5:00 PM and 8:00 AM.

I also have it set up so if my battery falls below 30% of capacity it alerts me to plug in and shuts down all non-essential functions (don’t want to miss a call from my wife because I was using it for something power-intensive, right?)

abcOrganizer is a great way to be able to manage and access a great number of applications, shortcuts, contacts, or any other objects in Android in a compressed, organized fashion. Click on the category icon and a window of the apps in that category pops up. Yes, you could do this just by using Android’s native folders, too- but I like AbcOrganizer better. I get to choose my own icons. 🙂

For those who like reading comics in .cbr or .cbz format, check out ACV:

For books, I’ve use mostly FBreader and have read a few novels in it now. No eye strain for me, and the night display (black background, white text of adjustable brightness) keeps it from annoying my wife.

AndFTP is an awesome file explorer and FTP client for your Android device. Soooooo convenient to access my FTP server this way. Also supports SFTP and FTPS. The Estrongs File Explorer is another good client for managing media files via LAN or FTP.

ES File Explorer is also great.

Barcode Scanner is really neat. It’ll scan the barcode on an item and try to find prices for you elsewhere. Even cooler for those of us who like books: If the book is scanned by Google Books, you can scan the barcode and search within that book. We live in the future.

Medical/Health Info:

PubMed Mobile is okay:

It is at least better than AgileMedsearch:

So, thus far there aren’t a ton of health info apps for Android that I find exciting.

In the meanwhile, my favorite health info destinations on my DROID are the new MedlinePlus Mobile and Unbound MEDLINE, both of which run in the browser.

Jan 29

MLGSCA/NCNMLG 2010 Slides (#jm2010az)

Perhaps I can write a bit more about my trip to Arizona soon, but for now I wanted to get the slides posted for those who attended.

It was lots of fun and a treat for me to get to leave Syracuse in January and gape at palm trees for a couple of days. 🙂

Dec 26

A Lovely Use of RSS

My brother, Andrew, a Web developer, is a very clever guy and a fan of woot.com.

Recently, he bought a digital picture frame from Woot that can be fed photos via RSS- as a gift to my parents.

The clever bit is where each of my siblings created a Flickr or Photobucket account in which to post photos of grandchildren. The feeds from each of these accounts was combined in Yahoo Pipes so that, once the frame is set up on my folks’ WiFi network, any new photos posted appear in their digital photo frame.

What a great way for a geographically dispersed family to keep grandparents updated.

My mom called to tell me how much she liked it, and I made a point of noting it was Andrew’s clever idea. All I did was mash the feed together in Yahoo Pipes.

I love technology when it is used intelligently.

Nov 19

Notes on the #mlamobile Webcast (Questions and Comments)

So, we had just decided that we should encourage people to tweet about the Webcast using a hashtag and we jumped online to announce it…and discovered Nikki Dettmar had beaten us to it by a few minutes.

GMTA, Nikki.  🙂

Anyway, it has been a lot of fun reading the tweets and I’m so grateful to those who participated for providing such useful, fun, fast feedback.

Some tweets I found interesting:

BerrymanD Great content today. Would recommend that, in the future, we skip the history lesson and go directly to the current content. #mlamobile

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 21:00:38 +0000 – tweet id 5837056058 – 552

Donna, I could not disagree more.  The history provides context showing that technological change isn’t new, but is happening faster and faster. Without context, we’d just be talking about this week’s information instead of shedding a little light on longer-term trends.  Also, Max rules and I learned a whole lot from his history lesson.

ericrumsey RT @joepemberton Android vs iPhone Debate Looks Like Windows vs Mac Debate #MLAmobile (Wired) http://bit.ly/11iy2G (via @jmk)

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 20:57:48 +0000 – tweet id 5836982620 – 540

I think of it as more analogous to “Windows vs. Linux.”

bohyunkim App development requires a web developer, says Rothman. Excellent point – mobilization requires resources + staff. #mlamobile

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 20:55:54 +0000 – tweet id 5836934904 – 532

App development requires, I believe, a developer.  Simple iPhone-optimized Web sites seem within the reach of people who are already comfortable with XHTML and CSS …and those people aren’t necessarily programmers/developers.

jopomojo #mlamobile nice image of Google’s modus operandi: throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. Was that Rothman who said that?

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 20:52:21 +0000 – tweet id 5836846201 – 518

Nope. That was Bart.  Bart was, I believe, the most consistently funny presenter.

ilyse324 #mlamobile so glad to see how happy Bart and David are to be there and talk about these technologies 🙂

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 20:48:18 +0000 – tweet id 5836744716 – 503

Well, I’m more accustomed to being asked to STOP talking about the stuff that interests me…so this was a nice change of pace.

dial_m #mlamobile google conversion util good to way to preview how ur current website displays on a mobile phone http://www.google.com/gwt/n

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 20:44:47 +0000 – tweet id 5836655564 – 490

I don’t think I agree. The Google mobile conversion tool isn’t an emulator that shows you what a page will look like on a mobile browser.  Its purpose is to take pages that are NOT mobile-friendly and present them in such a way that they are easier to view in a mobile browser.

greeneyed_ives Does anyone have current patrons using PubGet? Especially practicing clinicians? Curious if it as popular as Rothman says. #mlamobile

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 20:04:55 +0000 – tweet id 5835687873 – 338

Did I say PubGet was popular?  I don’t think it is yet…but I don’t understand why not.  Besides, PubGet is only REALLY useful to patrons if their library implements it.  It is free and and easy to try- why not get in touch with the folks at PubGet, set it up, and see if patrons like it?  If you’d like an introduction to Ian at PubGet, let me know.  He seems an awfully sharp, very nice guy who really likes libraries and librarians.

gabinator says @davidlrothman says Palm Pre’s problem is poor marketing #mlamobile

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 19:41:35 +0000 – tweet id 5835110236 – 214

Well, that’s one of its problems.  iPhone marketing is everywhere and excellent.  The marketing pushes for the T-Mobile MyTouch and the Verizon Droid have been strong.  The other important problem Palm has with the Pre is that it is the only device using its operating system…so development for it is going to be pretty limited.

Other dangling queries:

Someone asked about an Android phone called the “Hero.”

HTC makes a phone called the “Hero” which runs on Android 1.5 and a user interface that HTC made themselves. It looks purty.

Another viewer emailed to ask: “What are the health risks in using these devices?”

Dependency?  Max, Emily, and Bart seem a little addicted to their iPhones.  Maybe accidents caused by walking and texting? [PubMed search]

Any other questions you feel haven’t been answered yet?

Leave a comment here and we’ll try to answer it.

Still to come:

More behind-the-scenes photos and video.

Nov 17

Webcast Tomorrow on Twitter: #mlamobile

So we’re in Chicago getting ready for the Webcast tomorrow.

We just figured out that we want people to be able to submit questions or discuss the Webcast on Twitter, so use the hashtag #mlamobile to do so.


-David, Bart, Max, and Emily

(Nikki set up an archive for these tweets at Twapper Keeper.)

Oct 09

Harvard Medical School’s HMS Mobile | iPhone Apps for Public Health

Harvard Medical School Presents HMS Mobile and Announces Plans to Launch iPhone Applications Aimed at Promoting Public Health

Boston, MA, October 09, 2009 –(PR.com)– The Harvard Health Publications Division of Harvard Medical School announced today that it will launch a new program called HMS Mobile to deliver a series of iPhone Applications aimed at promoting public health. The first such application will focus on the H1N1 flu pandemic and is scheduled for release to the public in early October. These applications will leverage Harvard Medical School’s extensive knowledge along with its long-standing expertise in publishing health information for the general public. The School’s goal is to provide the public with the best available information on public health-related issues, including practical advice on how to reduce risks and how to respond in the event of a public health threat.

No indication of the anticipated price to download such apps…?

Oct 06

New PubMed Handouts from the NNLM

Oh, thank goodness.

I’ve been fretting about how my library’s patrons will react to the PubMed redesign, so I’m grateful for the revised tri-fold handouts from the NNLM- they’ll probably help ease a few concerns.

The new handouts are available in .doc and .pdf formats and include:

  • Full Text and PubMed
  • PubMed Basics
  • PubMed My NCBI
  • Searching PubMed with MeSH

[via The Cornflower]

If you’ve prepared any materials to help your patrons (or your staff) use the new PubMed and you’d like to share them with others, please let me know in the comments?

Oct 01


In a recent comment, Creaky (Kathleen Crea) made me aware of LigerCat, a 3rd-Party PubMed/MEDLINE tool that is new to me. I’m really enjoying working with it.Just a reminder that I don’t consider myself an expert searcher. I figure I’m basically competent, but sometimes need to get advice from more experienced searchers (right, Melissa?) for help on more challenging literature searches- so any tool that helps me do more (or miss less) is gold to me.

I’m sure that more experienced Medical Libraryfolk don’t have to do this, but as I start putting together a lit search, I often start by going to the MeSH Browser http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/MBrowser.html to begin working out what MeSH terms I might be working with. Alternately, I might go to Novo|Seek or GoPubMed with a few key words to get a frequency analysis of MeSH terms. In these examples, I’m doing some preliminary searching on Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis.

LigerCat isn’t necessarily *better* at this, but its presentation is simpler. Rather than putting the frequency analysis of MeSH terms in a left sidebar, it gives a cloud of MeSH terms:

Seeing the biggest, most obvious tag item in the cloud (see above) is delightful. If one clicks on the tags in the MeSH cloud, they’re added to the search. When you’re done adding terms, you can click “Go to PubMed” to run the search there.

In this example, the query run in PubMed is:
(“encephalomyelitis, acute disseminated”[MeSH Terms] OR (“encephalomyelitis”[All Fields] AND “acute”[All Fields] AND “disseminated”[All Fields]) OR “acute disseminated encephalomyelitis”[All Fields] OR (“acute”[All Fields] AND “disseminated”[All Fields] AND “encephalomyelitis”[All Fields])) AND (“Encephalomyelitis, Acute Disseminated”[mh] AND “Humans”[mh] AND “Treatment Outcome”[mh])

…and the results aren’t bad.

If I was caught up in Google Reader (I’m not, and haven’t been for about 15 months), I would have noticed Creaky’s post on LigerCat a couple of days ago. This reminds me to move Kathleen’s feed into my “High Priorities” folder. You may want to do the same.

Sep 17

CiteSmart (3rd-Party PubMed/MEDLINE Tool)


CiteSmart is a citation software specifically developed for PubMed users to faciliate the writing of manuscripts and other academic documents. With CiteSmart, retrieving references from PubMed is just a click away. This revolutionary software has many new features not found anywhere else. You will be able to:

* Search PubMed from your Word document.
* Insert a citation directly into your document from Internet Explorer.

These two features will save an enormous amount of time. It reduces extraneous clicking and the need to create a database of references. CiteSmart handles it all!

Anyone care to try it and write up a proper review? Perhaps for the JMLA?