Monday, December 21, 2009

Soaring onward

Announcing, my new home

If you're already subscribed via RSS nothing should change for your feedreader after I transfer it Tuesday morning to the new domain. I'm not 100% sure if that's the case for email though.

I look forward to continuing the journey with you there!

My first post on March 22, 2008 was entitled A New Flight. This was after I had graduated from the University of North Texas with a Master of Science in Information Science, but I was still employed in payroll & human resources and not a Real Librarian yet.

Let's see some of what I had to say:

I still don't think of myself as a 'real' blogger because, for the time being, I don't have practical deep and profound brain things inside my head about the medical library profession since I'm not actually in it yet. I'm full of theory as any new graduate who is considered young by our profession's standards should be, but old enough to keep quiet and observe for now without expounding in public.

I didn't do a very good job about that keeping quiet part or expounding in public part for very long did I?

I'll likely continue to not do a good job at that and, quite honestly, I still don't think of myself as a 'real' blogger. I like investigating things and talking about them, and there's still so much to explore in the new year and decade ahead. Onward!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Foolery #64: Confidential to UW Health Sciences

Merry Christmas from my bubble-wrapped antique glass fish ornament.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

PubMed Alert

Edit from about another hour ago:

The problem with PubMed searching is resolved. The database is current as of yesterday 12/16/2009; it will be updated as soon as possible.


In my inbox about an hour ago, no sign of any RSS alerts in feed reader yet

The use of PubMed occasionally results in unexpected error messages. For example: when you search for a known pmid, you may get the message "Wrong UID 20011576". While we work to resolve this, you may not be able to use PubMed for some searching.


You are receiving this message as a subscribed member of PUBMED-ALERTS, an announcement service available from the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Do not reply to this message. To contact NLM, write to NLM Customer Service at or click "Write to the Help Desk" on any PubMed screen.

For LISTSERV commands and Frequently Asked Questions, see

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Clinical Reader: Ooops! but not forgotten

This is my intended final post of substance (maybe this week's Friday Foolery, we'll see) over here.

Do Not Panic.*

As this year and Blogger gig comes to a close there may be another ending to report as well. If you're not already familiar with the Clinical Reader saga you can see the bottom of the original post or this summary: I blogged to call out false endorsements and images weirdness, they threatened to sue me on Twitter unless I took down my post, all sorts of weirdness occurred, and librarians are a pack of rabid wolves.

Here's what things looked like on November 28, 2009 according to Google:

Since then, there's been this:

Some subpages are still publicly accessible but dropping off the Google radar like flies, which still holds 'clinical reader twitter' steady as a suggested search term and has since at least September.

Speaking of Clinical Reader Twitter, another related Twitter account has been deleted (@allan_marks) though the highly inactive @Clinical_Reader still references it as a last tweet:

What's the scoop?

I don't know.

According to a comment supposedly made by Clinical Reader staff over at David Rothman's post last month about their unauthorized use of a New England Journal of Medicine video, "We’re currently in the process of being taken over by a large publisher who intends to integrate our technology into their own systems."

If anyone sees the publisher press release about that or the latest Clinical Reader Twitter account/website incarnation, do let me know.

Even if this strange story is now over and done, it showed us how ephemeral and difficult it is to efficiently reference and archive social media discourse. This will live on as a case study submitted by Marcus Banks as part of his chapter for a grey literature book that will be published in early 2010. I agree with Marcus' point that

it [Twitter, Facebook, etc.] is also not meaningless, from both an evidentiary and anthropological standpoint. This is how many people are communicating today.

QuoteURL was of great assistance in capturing deleted tweets in June yet it is already broken, TwapperKeeper and related services are helping to archive hashtags today, but what will be the WayBackMachine of social media discourse tomorrow?

*Very soon you'll see what's in store thanks to the awesome (thanks Cynthia!) fabulous (thanks Joelle!) hard work (thanks Mel!) of, as my beloved husband put it, winning the Boobiethon. I can hardly wait to share it all with you!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Foolery #63: Ring it

As the bell brought in midwinter
I waited for a sign

A shadow of a wing

This has always been

The children know this,
That she will come to them

To them, to them

Snow angel, snow angel, snow angel
She'll make her way
and she'll stay
For a time, for a time

-Snow Angel, Tori Amos (help yourself, it's free from Amazon)

I had not seen nor heard the bells in the top picture for nearly, if not exactly, 20 years until last night. There are now conflicting stories between my mom & her sister (the one who sent them to me) as to their whereabouts during that time I won't get into. 'Tis the season for family drama!

I, my mom & her sisters, and my grandpa all grew up with them being rung for Christmas. The original owner was my great-grandmother, born in Thorold Ontario (Canadian, eh? Surprise!) in the 1870s. The story is she was the only girl in town to have her own horse & sleigh, which probably used up all the 'I want a pony!' karma in the family because none of us have had horses since.

I went poking around and realized these are properly called shaft chimes since they each have 3 clappers and are attached to the poles of the sleigh like this lady had. We all grew up calling them sleigh bells but it's not like we central Californians ever went riding around in a sleigh to know any better. We'll work on a video to share later because they sound absolutely nothing like jingle bells, more like handbells on crack that immediately get your attention.

The International Harvester toy truck our son is playing with in the second picture also belonged to my grandpa as a boy and is another steadfast family Christmas tradition. I have no idea what the light was doing that night because the little antique Stieff teddy bear driver is not holy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Foolery #62: Bacon is Good for Me

This gets a little naughty at 2:00-2:06 (and nothing that would trigger the not safe for work alarms compared to some of the crap people post on Facebook), just a warning. Otherwise this remix is obnoxiously catchy and medically compelling:

If YouTube is blocked at work, you'd rather not risk it, or you're a vegetarian full of love and passion I also bring you the Bacon=Freedom, Lettuce=Love, Tomato=Passion scented BLT Candles.

In my philosophic musings I asked myself what is better than a BLT? As much as I try, I can't eat a BLT at every meal and I can't grill bacon 24 hours a day. Then I asked myself: 'What is the meaning of Bacon? What is the meaning of Lettuce? What is the meaning of Tomato?' What is the meaning of life? Then the epiphany: BLT-scented votive candles! Isn't it obvious?

Really, I'm not making this up.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Manhunt: Google Wave for Community (Emergency?) Communication

What can I possibly write except that I am so sorry that 4 officers of the peace who were working on their laptops in a coffee shop just as thousands of us do daily were killed apparently because of the uniforms they wore yesterday? There are no words. My heart hurts for their families. May justice be served swiftly, safely, and very soon.

As of tonight the suspect is still on the loose (edit: he was killed early Dec. 1st), and for most of today many in Seattle were trying to figure out what exactly was going on as the police went from one neighborhood to another to check out tips. It's not too much of a stretch to use librarian jargon, this really is information seeking behavior in an emergent stressful situation.

How can we understand where users turn to fulfill these types of information needs? There are always the usual media sources; newspaper, television & radio in what I now think of as three forms - traditional, website & social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, etc) in addition to everyone else participating online as well in social media.

Then things went in an interesting direction when The Seattle Times proposed this on Twitter:

I was one of the first 25 there. It eventually ballooned up to over 500 individual Wave accounts and bots, then it appears the Wave has died & lost functionality as of this afternoon. Google Wave is only in preview mode and been pretty unwieldy once the numbers were over 100 in other waves I'm on so I can't say I'm too surprised.

It was an interesting ride while it lasted though. These are some brief points of observation from my perspective of how it was used that may be helpful as Google Wave further develops and others consider using it as a community or emergency communication channel. I welcome additional perspectives in comments (moderated due to spamalopes), if you were there what's your take on how it was used and progressed?

  1. People initially joined and created new blips (discussion threads) asking and replying to questions.
  2. People then self-organized, still creating new blips but turning one towards the top into a type of wiki functionality with general sections and links to information.
  3. People refined the wiki functionality by adding deletes, citations, timestamps and other identifiers to the information in addition to creating new blips.
  4. People then wondered if it was ok to delete outdated/extraneous blips, decided among themselves it was since the Playback feature would record them all, and did so.

This is a screenshot towards the end of the third stage, click to enlarge:

Where I went librarian with an undergrad communications/journalism background was picked up as updates number 1 and 5 at's coverage of this use of Google Wave.

The comments in Another Google Wave Use: Manhunt at TechCrunch are excellent thoughts to consider: What if people deliberately posted misleading information there? What about spam? Sure enough someone did put some rather annoying robots in the Wave and the ability to remove them is nonexistent at this point in Google Wave's development. The screenshot TechCrunch got is during the initial self-organization phase.

My hope is this entry is close to my normal blogging. I've sustained a minor head injury tonight and like the good medical librarian I am I'm neither panicking nor diagnosing myself but I keep mentally running down the head injury symptoms checklist to see if there's anything troublesome. So far there isn't!