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!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Foolery #61: Give Thanks for Shopping

Strange Floridian photographer reindeer in front of the Victoria's Secret Outlet, International Drive, Orlando

'Nuff said.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pink Glove Dance - Over a Million Strong, but...

“I think a lot of people didn’t know they had it in them.” from the Beaverton Valley Times

What beautiful people, and yes this is an authorized use of the song from singer Jay Sean.

Unfortunately I'm disappointed to learn information that came across what I thought was a reliable listserv was false about Medline (the glove company, not from the National Library of Medicine) making a donation beyond their normal sales contribution if the video reached 1,000,000 views according to snopes.

I really hate it when that happens :(

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In remembrance year 2: Know the signs

Dorothy Irene 4/26/24 - 11/24/98
(yours truly as the not-politically-correct blonde Indian in 1970s attire)

My yearly Thanksgiving post to increase awareness of the signs of a heart attack, still the #1 killer for women. Here's why, and here's the source for the information below.

Here are some signs a heart attack may be happening:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This feeling may occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs of discomfort. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you or someone you are with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don't wait longer than five minutes before calling 9-1-1 for help.

Please, please don't wait. It is far better to have a family member's chest pain and discomfort turn out to be pneumonia in an ambulance than to inherit your grandma's car knowing her last time driving it was to the hospital where she died within hours. Trust me.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Crashing the #hcsm party

I can never attend the designated Healthcare Communication Social Media (abbreviated hcsm, affix a hashtag and you get #hcsm) community chat on Twitter in real time on Sunday nights, but have usually seen several medical librarians actively engaged and I enjoy catching up on the conversation when I can.

Tonight I also noticed mention of a blog entry entitled The Pew Internet/Health FAQ by Susannah Fox on about how people search for quality health information that contained a shoutout to the Medical Library Association (MLA), a comment from medical librarian Luke Rosenberger with an explanation about how the 'Google as diagnostician' article isn't necessarily accurate, and offered a comment of my own with more quality health information evaluation resources.

Part of the #hcsm discussion?

Bring it on!

While I'm happy about steps that MLA is taking to advocate for the role of hospital librarians, such as the recent Vital pathways for hospital librarians: present and future article and others from the October 2009 Journal of the Medical Library Association, I'd love to see the profession take a more active role for medical librarian advocacy in non-traditional settings as well. There are plenty of us there already at @medlibs on Twitter and elsewhere.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Foolery #60: Half Hour Late and a Monkey Short

Yesterday was the happy conjunction of World Toilet Day AND the Great American Smokeout. What an amazing day for the United States to extinguish their butts!

Unfortunately, all of yesterday did not go so well. I know you will be as crestfallen as I am that I heard about too late to secure my very own Screaming Monkey with Hippie Rainbow Smiley Cape to share with you.

I believe this is karma paying me back for usurping the MLA webcast hashtag by six minutes on Wednesday because I missed the monkey sellout point by under a half hour.

Imagine the possbilities of "slingshot rubber arms" and a "professed 50-foot flight range"! This is devastating.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hashtags in Pwaise of the Twapper Keeper

It all started last month when I realized QuoteURL was (sadly) no longer functional, I had a small conference worth of tweets I didn't want to lose after the two week Twitter search grace period, and began scrambling frantically for free web-based Twitter archiving alternatives.


Seriously, how can you resist ripped Velcro school nostalgia combined with Twitter?

Initially I thought Twapper Keeper wouldn't work retroactively to capture the search results but it did much to my relief. Trust an 80s-inspired product to go retro appropriately! All 469 small conference tweets (#pncmla09) are there in the 500 limit view and I also set up Twapper Keeper for an enormous conference with low Twitter participation from last week (#eval09)

Then I went and subverted the presenters of today's webcast from the Medical Library Association (MLA, Cut the Cord: Connecting to our Mobile Users) by about six minutes when I set up a Twapper Keeper for a 2 hour presentation that has over 500 tweets thus far (#mlamobile). That was one great presentation by the way, check out the archive and the DVD when it's available later if you missed it.

In retrospect a unique hashtag may be better because the original plan of #mlawebcast & reusing it might result in a massive archive of confusion: which #mlawebcast when? We are librarians after all, I'm sure we'll start referencing points from previous MLA webcast hashtags along with future tweets or whatever incarnation social media takes by the Spring 2010 webcast. looks pretty cool as well (#mlamobile) with the ability to add a comprehensive definition of the hashtag, generate statistics and a transcript. I'm concerned about the number discrepancy (546 to Twapper Keeper's 566 currently) and I'm not sure how long the results hang around for reference.

I still miss QuoteURL for its ability to create Twitter conversation threads though and am glad the original reason why still works (one, two, three, and four) although I'll back that up right now.

Friday, November 13, 2009

AEA - Evaluation of Second Life EP, Evaluation enhancement using web tools

Enhancing Evaluation and Evaluation Practice Using Web 2.0

One of the sessions this morning from the American Evaluation Association conference is a veritable meta-hot topic for my National Network of Library of Medicine (NN/LM) and medical librarian colleagues: Using Adobe Connect for evaluation, and evaluating a Second Life class for health administrators who used it for an emergency preparedness (EP) training scenario.

Some highlights and fun

  • What was life like BT (Before Twitter)?
  • President Obama uses Adobe Connect for meetings to cut travel costs
  • Great collaboration possibilities in Adobe Connect I never even thought of before
  • Traditional eval areas: Knowledge, skills, application, decision making
  • Newish eval areas: Participation, interactivity, constructivism, situativity, visualization, collaboration
  • Challenge: Recognizing that learning will be made of immersive experiences rather than knowledge transfer between teacher and student.

I was quite disappointed that one of the presentations I was looking forward to about the use of wikis to engage stakeholders in meaningful discussions about their program and its evaluation was not offered due to the presenter's change of jobs. That's always a risk with the time lag between proposals and conferences but the first time I've had it happen with something I really wanted to learn more about!

AEA - Evaluation of (Distance) Learning

The Evaluation of Distributed Learning and Computer-Enabled Environments to Support Instruction

I'm highlighting this session from the American Evaluation Association conference since it's not only of high interest to me but many other information professionals who are offering instructional resources and training via web-based and other distance learning modalities.

The session (my notes available in title link) refers to distributed learning (what's that?) and this is honestly the first time I've come across that term although it's been around for a while. My guess is it may be in more frequent use within the evaluation and education fields instead of the terms 'distance' or 'hybrid' that I'm used to in order to describe education settings exclusive of face-to-face instruction or including some along with distance modalities. It's good to get out of my library & medical terminology areas once in a while to take a look at other fields', but for the purpose of my own I'm using mine in my blog so I sound like me.

The three paper presentations were about

  • The role of computer-assisted instruction in the field of statistics (a strongly positive indicator was found for face to face instruction along with a strongly negative one in distance learning, but observe the caveat in my notes)
  • The role of collaborative communication in a hybrid engineering course (Communication? Engineering? Surprise, these two things aren't mutually exclusive after all and those who exhibit that are more engaged with exploring education tools)
  • The role of discussion board quality in online professional development (Dive in and D'OH with Homer Simpson about the structure and importance of the instructor's own posts. I didn't make D'OH up, the presenters said it!)

We had quite a discussion afterward until we were kicked out of the room due to time. I hope this information is beneficial to others working in distance education and the challenges of effective discussion boards in their classes, and I'm looking forward to seeing more research along these lines.

Friday Foolery #59: Get ready for World Toilet Day!!


Yes, World Toilet Day is for real next week on Thursday, November 19th.

Need a celebration activity?

Squat at noon.

Why World Toilet Day?

This strange but legitimate high school teacher singing on the can puts it far better than I could ever hope to.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

AEA 2009 Orlando FL Day 2 - Afternoon

Unfortunately I cut out of the first workshop a bit early through no fault of the facilitators; I lost all the time I had planned to edit & post about the morning sessions in an insanely long line for lunch. I plan to remedy this tomorrow by brown bagging it from the grocery store!

How To Do Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis

by Boru Douthwaite and Sophie Alvarez

Abstract: In this workshop, participants will be introduced to Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis (PIPA) and develop impact pathways for their own program. PIPA is a practical planning and evaluation approach fast being adopted for use with complex programs in the water and food sectors (see PIPA begins with a participatory workshop where stakeholders make explicit their assumptions about how their program will achieve impact. Participants construct problem trees, carry out a visioning exercise and draw network maps to help them clarify their program theory in the form of 'impact pathways'. Impact pathways describe which actors need to change to achieve the program vision, what are those changes and which strategies are needed to make them happen. PIPA goes beyond the traditional use of logic models and logframes by engaging stakeholders in a structured participatory process, promoting learning and providing a framework for 'action research' on processes of change.

Next up were some interesting applications of a Key Evaluation Checklist (KEC) in the role of strategic planning management (apparently the term 'strategic planning' is used more often in the corporate world and 'strategic management' for academia) that I'm looking forward to exploring more when I return since I was part of an environmental scan for strategic planning (even though I'm an academic) & want to learn more about it.

Enhancing the Strategic Management Process Through the Use of Evaluation Measures

(Chair Michael Scriven unable to attend, Michelle Woodhouse-Jackson & Nadini Persaud presenting)

Abstract: Research has shown that companies (both for profit and non-profit) that engage in formal strategic planning tend to be more successful than companies that do not. Therefore, the strategic management process should be an integral part of every company or organization. Strategy evaluation is identified as one of the three phases of this process; however, the evaluative nature of this process has limitations which could be revamped using principles from evaluation methodology. This multi-paper session will focus on the evaluative nature of the strategic management process, with special emphasis on the widely-used Fred David strategic model, and will also highlight the similarities and differences between this model and the KEC (Key Evaluation checklist), a practical tool which can be used to conduct evaluations. The session will end with suggestions on how evaluation methods could potentially improve the strategic management process.

I'll cover the third session tomorrow morning in a post of its own, I'm still thinking about our great group discussion afterward that continued past the ending time until we were kicked out of our meeting room!

AEA 2009 Orlando FL Day 2 - Morning

I began the day not at the plenary session (sorry, just couldn't get going early enough after visiting with friends the night before and a 3 hour jetlag in full force!) but at a workshop with James Altschuld from The Ohio State University (why is it so important to include the The?) whom I remembered from last year in Denver as being a particularly engaging and thoughtful speaker.

I was pleased to discover that was the case again today and we dove into a great discussion of

Setting Those Needs-Based Priorities

Abstract: Many evaluators, while familiar with what needs are and procedures for assessing them, are much less knowledgeable about ways to formally establish priorities in situations where many needs exist. This short workshop will begin with questions asked of participants as to how they work with organizations to select priority needs. From that starting point a short overview will be given of criteria commonly used to prioritize needs (importance, feasibility, risk factors, etc.) and methods (weighting criteria, screening needs candidates, variations of rank ordering techniques, and so forth) employed. Participants will apply some of the methods on typical scenarios that might occur in needs assessments. The workshop concludes with a group discussion of perceptions of the prioritizing process and what might work best in different settings and why it is important to fully consider the nature of how final needs are chosen.

No Google doc of notes as his slides were very text heavy and I want to digest their content when I receive them later. The terms 'needs' and 'needs assessment' are tossed around a lot though and it is helpful to keep in mind for the context of evaluation that need is defined as the measurable discrepancy between what is and what should be, not about projecting solutions as part of them but using verbs (desired, likely to occur, etc) to describe them. Needs assessment is a systematic way of setting and making decisions about needs-based priorities. (both terms Witkin & Altschuld, 1995)

As a medical librarian, I briefly wondered what (if any) needs assessment work was done regarding the new PubMed layout.... but I won't get into that here!

Next up was a deviation from the title and abstract that made for a great presentation and discussion with the group. The deviation? There Is No Checklist :) The title is also a link to the Google doc of my notes.

Establishing Effective Relationships: Presentation of a New Checklist to Help Evaluators Understand and Work With Diverse Clients
with Gary Mikron and Nakia James, Western Michigan University

Abstract: This skill-building session will introduce a new checklist that is designed to help evaluators establish relationships and work effectively with their clients. Broadly speaking, the checklist covers a list of issues and common obstacles that evaluators face when working with diverse clients. Checkpoints will highlight strategies and practices that will help ensure effective relationships are built and maintained. The checklist draws upon three key sources of information: (i) relevant literature, (iii) interviews with experienced evaluators and program officers that oversee evaluation contracts, and (ii) the national and international experience of the presenters. While the checklist is intended to be concise and provide only prompts for evaluators, the presentation and paper will allow a more in-depth description of the do's and don'ts when it comes to working with evaluation clients.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

AEA 2009 Orlando FL Day 1 Coverage

For the next few days I am attending the American Evaluation Association (AEA) conference in Orlando FL, which is just about as far as you can get from Seattle in everything from geographic distance to climate. I had to find my summer stash of clothing which I had packed away until next year when I was packing for here, with temperatures in the 80s... about as hot as it normally gets in Seattle during the summer!

The opening plenary began with a polite inquiry from a passerby in the aisle as I was booting up my computer: "Excuse me, is that Office 07 on your computer?"

When the answer was affirmative, he then asked if he could borrow my laptop (!)

It turns out that the passerby was Leonard Bickman, one of the plenary panel members. The panel had saved their Powerpoint in 2007 and it was incompatible with the 2003 version the presentation computer had. I suggested getting a flash drive of the presentation that I'd be happy to convert for them, did so, and on they went.

The hyperlink of the title leads to a Google document of my notes from the plenary& below that is a paraphrased abstract.

The Impact of Context on Evaluation Choices: Lessons for Three cases

Jody Fitzpatrick moderated a discussion with Leonard Bickman, Ross Conner, and Katrina Bledsoe about specific evaluations they conducted. The discussion focused on ways in which the contexts of those evaluations influenced the choices they made about the questions to be addressed in the evaluation, the methods used, the role of stakeholders, and their efforts regarding use.

Enhancing Organizational Learning with Technology: Implications of Diversity, Improving Response Rates, and Increasing Evaluation Capacity

A multipaper session sponsored by the Integrating Technology into Evaluation topic interest group.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Foolery #58: Bacon hats

Being a proper grammarian about How To Use An Apostrophe AND involving bacon! What better way to lead more people away from the sadly prevalent trend of writing 'it's' when 'its' is called for?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Do you have what it takes to SWIM with Eagles?

As a recent Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) scholarship University of North Texas (UNT, the Eagle of Eagle Dawg) distance learning degree graduate myself, I am thrilled to help promote the South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana (SWIM) Regional Collaborative Library Education Project at

The program is for 50 residents of these four states who want to become librarians but not relocate in order to earn a professional degree (see how there are no American Library Association accredited resident programs there), and who will continue to serve their communities as professional librarians after earning their distance learning degrees. The scholarships pay up to 80% of the tuition and fees for the degree (almost $13,000).

I particularly love this concise yet dead-on accurate assessment to help determine if a professional distance learning degree is right for you from the Ask Yourself page:

The combination of the reality of distance learning (critical to have support for your learning and how much time it takes) with active participation in local professional organizations does lead to the best chance for success as a new graduate.

Applications are being accepted now, good luck!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Foolery #57*: It's Not All About Bacon

A wonderful person at the National Library of Medicine wrote me after last week's post asking if I knew about, which I had covered for the New Year. I was hopeful they would deck out the bacon in a costume by now for Halloween but that appears not to be the case.

Are you sick of society's (and my own ) bacon obsession in the first place?

Then is just the thing for your website viewing pleasure with an abundance of fresh broccoli!

In my opinion broccoli and bacon should coexist as Broccoli Salad with Raisins and Bacon, but that might be way too much for some people to handle.

Here is the soundtrack for your broccoli website viewing pleasure....

*Yes last week was also #57, because the week before that while I had probable You Know What 1 flu-like illness I called it #56 when it should have been #55. I've gone back and corrected the sequence now. My bad.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pew Internet presentation... for medical librarians?

Trends in medical searches online: How e-patients use the internet was rather general despite the "new trend charts" and has left me puzzled. The only Medical Library Association chapter meeting that was happening yesterday didn't have Pew on the program.

What's the context of this presentation? Were you one of these medical librarians? How was the discussion? Or was the crowd in shock about PubMed launching forward for good and that's why I haven't heard anything about it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

PubMed: How Soon Is Now?

10/29 Edit: Yep, we all know it's changed now! In addition to the stuff below,

Need a SlideShare Presentation?

Sorry, couldn't resist. Unexpected exclamation points do that to me.

At approximately 10:00 am Pacific time today the PubMed Preview transitioned to the main page, held steady for a little bit, then died. After a while the prior version was put back into place with notice via a listserv (more on that below) that the switch would happen in a few days.

That's normal enough, we've all had databases go down for much longer than a few hours, but this is also your wakeup call: Get familiar with the new redesign now if you haven't already! Don't make me resurrect this post :)

Need quick help and handouts?

Redesigned PubMed QuickTours - by author, author & subject, simple subject, journal
Updated Trifolds - PubMed Basics, Searching PubMed with MeSH, MyNCBI
Where Has It Gone? - comparison resource from University of Washington Health Sciences

Need National Library of Medicine PubMed webinars with questions & answers?

October 2009 webcast - most recent updated information
August 2009 Western regions - please ignore my voice and pay attention to the Q&As
August 2009 Midwest/Southern regions -more written Q&As
August 2009 Eastern regions - no written Q&As

Need a WordPress video tutorial?

MyNCBI -Custom Filters by Melissa Rethlefsen at Mayo Clinics

Need YouTube?

PubMed - New Interface Demonstration by U Manitoba

While the announcement of the transition on the PUBMED-ALERTS listserv was at the same time the PubMed New and Noteworthy RSS feed broadcast (albeit with a broken website link) this morning, notice of the reinstatement (as of 9:45 pm Pacific) still has not appeared on the RSS feed. I consider it noteworthy that a transition had to go in reverse.

I don't like having to second guess which communication channel regarding PubMed is most accurate and reliable. The RSS feed is prominently promoted from the redesigned PubMed front page and there's no mention of the listserv. Communication about PubMed, unlike making sure the entire database platform is stable, should be simple and not require digging nor duplication.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Foolery #56: Unshelved Bacon!

Me with Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum, creators of Unshelved

Does it get any better than hanging out with our local hometown heroes of the library comic strip world and receiving an autographed copy of their latest book for free as a thank you present for helping out? As a bonus I can add that I know how to operate those credit/debit card swipe machines to my CV!

The truth about the bacon bookmark: Pretty much every library meeting and conference Unshelved goes to (including ours) has someone in attendance who has experienced this strange user phenomenon in their returned books. It's about 50/50 whether the bacon is raw or cooked. Have you had this happen at your library?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Health Care Reform & Medical Librarianship

Me in front of my first poster!

I had a great but tiring time at the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association (PNC/MLA) annual meeting earlier this week in downtown Seattle.

I wrote a few entries for our conference blog about two of the dynamic speakers we had and wanted to share them with you since they are very timely topics about health care reform:

One drawback to a conference being local is that in addition to the wonderful networking and learning, you don't get to detach from the family routine... lunches still need to be packed and school buses caught by 7:30 am, and there were no late nights over drinks with colleagues for me. Nonetheless, for as much as I enjoy online social networking I truly love face to face connections at conferences and already can't wait for our meeting next year in Portland, OR!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Foolery #55: Oink?

Getting my first-ever poster done (this is me with the proof) was a minor miracle because I have felt like utter crap for the majority of this week.

It kicked off with our son vomiting (an extreme rarity) after midnight on Monday. He had a high fever, worsened to the point where we had to carry him back & forth to the bathroom because he was too weak and dizzy to stand, but then he suddenly recovered. He was begging to go to school on Tuesday morning, able to do so on Wednesday, and you'd never know he was really ill this week by the rate he's playing kickball with his friends after school now.

On Tuesday the fever hit me and malingered around through Wednesday, and I still feel like I've been hit by a truck. Playing kickball is entirely out of the question. I'm still not all that sure how I'll haul myself out of here and go to work this morning!

I don't know if we have different bugs or if either is H1N1, but the fever is definitely gone and I'm not coughing at all so I promise I won't contaminate anyone at our meeting next week. I'll even bring my own personal hand sanitizer. Come say hi!

Friday, October 9, 2009

H1N1 Resources For Children

There is a wealth of information at for parents about how to prevent H1N1 and other types of flu or take care of their children who are ill , but what about resources the children can actually read or watch themselves to understand just what this thing their parents and communities seem so freaked out about?

For the youngest children I love the Sesame Street public service announcements in English and Spanish. The old ones with Elmo and Gordon are ok, but he and Luis rock in Stay Home From School. Check them all out on PBS.

What so important about washing your hands when they look clean? Check out this video for Kindergarten- 3rd graders from BrainPopJr at Washing Hands.

The best video specifically about H1N1 for children I've found so far is appropriate for 2nd grade and older (I shared it with my 7 year old son) and includes... bacon! My assumption is the same age range applies to their H1N1 for children in Spanish video too but I don't know enough Spanish to know for certain.

This is the link to the embed code source for the English H1N1 for children:

Keep in mind normally BrainPop charges for access to their videos, but my understanding is these particular ones are free for everyone in the name of public education. Kids deserve their own information, please share with them and let me know about other resources to update the medical librarians H1N1 wiki page. Thank you!

Friday You Have GOT To Be Fooling Me #55: Jackpot

I did it.

I finally won a MAJOR AWARD (not fra-gee-lay)

I reacted to the news as any rational, calm, sane librarian would.

That, of course, after the generous people who awarded me the MAJOR AWARD asked me NOT to post on Twitter about it towards the bottom of the email I hadn't read in full.

I'm still embarrassed and apologized; they still gave it to me anyway.

What is this MAJOR AWARD and how did I win it?

I donated to Komen for the (safe for work page) Boobiethon, originally founded by my friend Robyn 8 years ago and raised over $13,000 this year alone, and entered the Get Moxie! contest.

In the next few months I will have a brand spanking new custom designed blog by Moxie Design Studios™ complete with my own custom designed illustration by Green Couch Designs AND an autographed copy of The IT Girl's Guide to Blogging with Moxie AND possibly something else rather generous too that wasn't part of the original deal.

To say I am totally gobsmacked, floored, blown away and excited would be a MAJOR UNDERSTATEMENT. I am so thankful. My brain is reeling with ideas.

Now, please help me out in brainstorming this weekend: What images come to your mind when you're reading entries here? I know what I am (a lunatic), but what's your picture of me besides the blue tongue version?

Comment or otherwise let me know!

Monday, October 5, 2009

PubMed: All in the Attitude

During a delightful visit at the Riverpoint Campus Library in Spokane last week, I saw the juxtaposition of an MS6000 MK II Microfilm Converter and a humble mousepad for Internet Grateful Med and could not pass up documenting it.

Channels for information access always have been and always will continue changing in response to available technology, usability, audiences, and a myriad of other factors.

There are plenty of medical librarian perspectives of the current PubMed redesign, mostly negative and often rather whiny on our not-so-private international listserv. There is a public web interface to search the archives and institutional signature lines are included as part of them.

Have medical librarians looked beyond themselves to see what others are saying since the PubMed redesign preview launched/leaked? A for PubMed brought up the following from non-librarian tweets:

A thread from the Science 2.0 & Life Scientists FriendFeed community includes
  • they didn't take away any functionality - actually, i think the advanced stuff might be easier to use now. i like it so far.

  • I like it. I could easily find all the things I usually use and it highlighted the filters option that I had actually missed in the previous version.

  • Just glanced at it, but I like the look. I've always found PubMed and NCBI in general just fine. It's not the place for radical reform - it's a simple, stable site, nothing fancy.
A freelance science writer, Loving the new tab in Pubmed that shows all the papers that have free full text!!

A PhD scientist, Trying out the "new" PubMed search going live in 2 weeks. Like to think I had a small hand in renaming limits to filters (do tell how..?)

A student in Northern Ireland, Oh, the new PubMed is pretty.

A genetics grad student, oooohh....pubmed just got prettier

A VP working on a chemistry semantic web, Pubmed has changed since I last visited. New interface - easier to navigate now for the generalist

A genomics researcher, Trying the redesigned Pubmed preview: seems better but still playing

A French bioinformatician's FriendFeed thread, including a comment
The sad thing is that design has probably been in the making since 1998. So much administrative red tape to go through in an institution like that. Just hope redesigns to subpages come quickly too. It'd be dumb if that was the only spot that gets a facelift.

One of my favorites from a librarian,

Is it any wonder that medical librar*'s continued existence is threatened when their public response to a change that other users are excited about seems to first be negativity and then exploration?

Remember the Discovery Initiative? Scientific and medical research involve a curious ooooh in the first place to develop a hypothesis. It would do our field well to remember this and who we serve. Why would any student, scientist, professor, doctor or other user be interested in learning more about PubMed from you beyond their own exploration if you're whining about it for all to see? Would you rather quash their enthusiasm & curiosity about the new interface and have them continue using Google and Wikipedia first?

Never doubt the power of your own attitude coming across loud and clear in your work and save your constructive, angst-free criticism for providing direct feedback to the developers at PubMed. I did for my own public opinion. I know I don't want to be thought of as a medical bitchbrarian based on how I communicate about change in public, do you?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Foolery #54: Zen and the Art of Spray Paint

Interpretation of Marilyn vos Savant's quote on the Zen Stairway of the Washington State University campus, Pullman WA

I love that this has been in existence since the year I was born. It was amazing to walk up the entire staircase and see all the different types of art literally covering every square inch during an extensive campus tour graciously given by the boyfriend of a colleague we were visiting in Pullman yesterday.

What stories are buried beneath the layers?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

PubMed Preview Goes Stampeding

Circus elephants need to eat too via c.a.muller

Like retweets through the Twitterverse, so is the elephant stampeding through the information silos of our lives
- my current Facebook status.

Edit: I've since learned an entirely different webcast was the source for this information, but it was offered by staff at NCBI. The one I mentioned below was publicly available for a time as well. None of this changes the fact that a streamlined and effective communication policy is needed!

I shouldn't be surprised that the PubMed preview was leaked before the National Library of Medicine (NLM) was ready for the public to know about it via a link from the main PubMed website.

The discussion first began on Twitter this afternoon with the beginning and a sample of how it quickly spread.

Then it popped up in Facebook links.

Then the blogs from Emerging Technologies Librarian, NLM Toolbars and David Rothman, with many more to come I'm sure.

MEDLIB-L should catch up either sometime tonight or tomorrow.

There is one important point of clarification that needs to be made regarding the source though.

The preview website was not disclosed via any public webinar from NLM. I will always share any public information possible as fast as I can, especially when it comes to something we've been waiting for since May.

That 'webinar' was an internal, private staff meeting via web conference last week that was recorded for other staff members to watch if they weren't able to attend. Someone, in my not so humble opinion, made a very serious error in sharing that recording with everyone and to be honest I'm angry about it.

Why? I was the one on the web conference who asked about the preview URL being live and whether or not it should be promoted. The answer was no because bugs are still being worked out with it. What you see may not be what you eventually get. Confidentiality and integrity are at the core of librarianship and business; of course I wanted to share this with the world but I didn't. I still haven't linked directly to the preview site here.

Public URLs want to be free as does information. I keep trying to advocate for clear communication and social media presence. To be fair, @NLM_SIS and @medlineplus4you are on board which is great. The elephant in the medical librarian world is PubMed though, and today we've seen how important it is for things to remain on the development server until they're ready for the world and the need for information to be shared from an authoritative source in social media right from the start.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Foolery #53: The Swinery

Introducing The Swinery, Seattle's first sustainable butcher, which just opened this week. It's not just about the pork though, check out September's cheeses!

The Swinery Opens from christopher boffoli on Vimeo.

I am so there as soon as I can, possibly later today. West Seattle is nowhere near my neighborhood but the double-listed bacon burgers are calling me.

In the spirit of the Cod of Ethics I particularly appreciate the clear exceptions (at the bottom) to their vow of sustainable local meat products. My favorite is bolded:

EXCEPTIONS: No philosophy is ever perfect and here are our exceptions. Call us hypocrites if you want, but we are striving for greatness and here are the reasons for our decisions:

BACON: Due to the wonderfully high demand for our bacon we are forced to buy local pork bellies by the box. Small Washington farmers can't keep up with our demand, nor can we effectively utilize all of the meat from the hogs that the bellies come from.

FOIE GRAS: We carry it. It isn't local, it is from Hudson Valley, NY. Why? Because we love it and believe in it. And we are giving the finger to those who don't. By focusing hate on foie gras producers and chefs who serve it, protestors have effectively given permission for the cruelty that takes place in the rest of the meat industry. Our products are cruelty free... and we say this with a strait face. Hudson Valley is humane and sane way to raise ducks. We have been there, and seen it with our own eyes. When someone opens a local foie gras farm, we will switch, but we will always carry foie gras. Protestors are welcome to come any time, but we recommend Fridays... nothing sells the foie like some idiot with a bullhorn spouting things they have read on the internet. Anytime there are protestors, we start sampling free foie and sauternes...bring it.

I can't wait! The only thing that would make The Swinery more perfect is if there could be wine to go with the swine without protestors....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Free Webinar: Social Media Communication for H1N1/Flu Outbreaks

What: FREE webinar from social media, technology, crisis communications and health experts on quick, proven and cost-effective ways to communicate with the public, your emergency response team and government officials for seasonal flu and a potential H1N1 outbreak.

When: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 3-4pm Eastern Time (what time is that for me?)

Who for: Public health officials, healthcare practitioners (physicians, nurses, emergency medical services), public safety responders (fire and police), emergency managers, and government communicators.

Presented by: Dr. Marsha Vanderford, Director of Emergency Communication Systems, CDC; David Stephenson, Principal, Stephenson Strategies; Nigel Snoad, Lead Capabilities Researcher, Microsoft Humanitarian Systems; and Phil Dixon, Business Product Manager, Google.

Register here

Courtesy of In Case of Emergency, Read Blog

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Foolery #52: Int J Braz Urol

With gratitude to my Eastern Washington colleague Jonathan Potter, I can continue my odd things about urology coverage with:

International Braz J Urol.

No, that's not an abbreviation. The appropriate abbreviation is Int Braz J Urol according to PubMed.

Who are the organizations represented behind this international journal that does not call itself a journal?

I'm convinced there has to be a really interesting story behind the collaboration between Brazilian Society of Urology and the Thai Urological Association. They do have similar images for their organizations although Brazil's looks more like a weightlifter while Thailand's is more realistic.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Librarians' H1N1 Resources Wiki and Business Plans

A long time ago (or at least that's how April 2009 seems) as I saw various listserv emails, tweets on Twitter, Facebook posts, blog entries & other disparate resources flying about, I launched what was then called the Swine Flu April 2009 medlibs wiki page. I want to thank those who have pitched in to help, particularly CJ Bryant.

The wiki has been revived as the Novel H1N1 Influenza page and there's certainly been an uptick of resources flying around again and added in the past few weeks. Do you want to help? Let me know, and please include a way for me to verify your identity as a librarian/information professional (URL to a staff page matching your email, Twitter/LinkedIn ID, etc.) in the message.

I may shout out various resources that I'm not already seeing well-covered in other blogs or listservs here in my blog, and today wanted to highlight's H1N1 Preparedness Guide for Small Businesses which the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Emergency Preparedness (NN/LM EP) blog led me to:

The “Small Business” information, however, can apply very well to libraries, which are anticipating staff shortages and some impact to their day-to-day operations. In the section on “How to Write Your Plan,” there is some excellent guidance to help prepare for personnel issues that may arise when staff are ill or are caring for family members who are ill. The CDC recommends that anyone who has had any type of flu stay home for at least 24 hours after body temperature has returned to normal without the aid of fever-reducing medications, and they are anticipating that most people who become ill will be absent from work or school for 7 to 10 days. Something to think about!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Absolutely No Foolery #51: In Memory of 9/11

Unexpectedly at the grave of a 9/11 victim, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

I wander around in cemeteries (and public libraries) wherever I travel if I get a chance to. You'd be amazed at what you can learn about a community from them.

On the last day of my MBL/NLM Biomedical Informatics fellowship I walked past a church that was clearly having a wedding inside but saw a cemetery tucked around the back. I realized I would not be a disturbance to anyone at the ceremony or during a departure for the reception so I went to visit.

My heart fell when I read the inscription for Jeffrey Coombs, who was on Flight 11 on September 11, 2001... the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center.

Back in those child-free days I used to get up at 5:50 am (Pacific time) and go work out to a Pilates DVD. On that particular day I was getting ready to head off to my second day of jury duty. My husband was just under 2 months unemployed (it would stretch to 15), the dotcom bust gripping Seattle tech jobs hard.

I switched on the TV and saw the coverage of Flight 11 & the World Trade Center, thinking it was a sad but explainable accident of maybe about a Cessna-sized plane... equipment malfunction, navigational error, etc. Obviously it wasn't weather related since there wasn't a cloud in the sky in New York.

Then I and the rest of America awake at the time watched the live TV coverage of Flight 175 hitting the other tower of the World Trade Center at 6:03 am (Pacific time again).

The local news anchors were silent. I was silent. Then my mind, in a voice similar to our seven-year-old son's when a friend has bonked him & he's running to tell me about it, said 'But... but... that was on PURPOSE!!'

I bowed my head and paid my respects at the grave then looked closer. See how his family chose his gravestone to match the inscription style of the established family one that has run out of room for additional members and been there since the 1920s?

Who is Jeffrey Coombs? A father of three from Abington, MA whose friends and family chose to take the pain from their quite public loss and work for a better good through the Jeffrey Coombs Foundation. Their accomplishments are many. From their website,
The Jeff Coombs Foundation was formed to assist families who are in financial need because of a death, illness or other situation that challenges the family budget. It also provides emotional support to families by funding special outings and fun events. Committed to education, the foundation helps fund enrichment programs in the Abington Schools, and awards scholarships to graduating college-bound seniors and students in private high schools.

My thoughts are with all who lost loved ones on this day 8 years ago.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

H1N1 Comic: Keeping Children & Teens Home With Flu

I have been a fan of my (King County) Public Health department for a while, but particularly enjoy their public education resources for H1N1 which are always in plain English, often multilingual, and usually include helpful illustration for those with low literacy. Even if you're a medical librarian, don't your eyes glaze over when reading yet another symptoms checklist full of bullet points? Mine do.

Their latest offering, Home With Flu, is a 2-page PDF comic aimed towards parents who are now facing a new school year with the likelihood that flu will be a part of it. It provides practical and helpful advice on planning for backup childcare in a responsible way, when exactly to keep kids home, and calling the doctor. Here's one of the panels:

I hope to see this translated in multiple languages soon although it is (mostly) helpful as is due to the graphic design.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Foolery #50: Here, Kitty Kitty

How do you catch a cougar that's running around Seattle? Let's see...

Fish and elk liver? Shouldn't they use Cougar Gold®?

I'm a Husky who has not yet been to Cougar territory but I'd probably fall for a trap of that cheese.

My pioneer ancestors ditched Eastern Washington sometime after 1860 since "William D. was not so well pleased with Walla Walla as he expected" according to his son, my great-great grandfather.

It's taken over 145 years and a work assignment to get this branch of the family to Spokane & Pullman later this month but I honestly can't wait!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Social Media & Emergency Preparedness: Can Your Family Text?

Thanks to a news release at NextGov I learned about an upcoming drill conducted by a national safety foundation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over the next few months to use texting and social media channels for emergency communication.

"In an emergency traditional phone lines may be down and traditional methods of communication may not be working," said spokeswoman Carla Shaw. "We want people to rehearse what would you do, and what other forms of communication would you have at your disposal."

She said drill participants should pre-load emergency messages onto their cell phones and pre-load useful communication Web sites, making these tools accessible in an emergency. Families should also discuss how they plan to use these tools and let each other know what types of signals to look for during a disaster, she added.

The agency, SafeAmerica Foundation, has a page about emergency texting and references a video podcast that I couldn't find so I looked for them on YouTube.

The texting video there is a bit cheesy but makes a valid point. How many of us have families that include Uncle Joel? Would your family & friends who don't normally text on their cell phones have a clue how to send one in an emergency?

I'm teaching my mom how to text when I next see her. We've had a family communication emergency phone plan with our out-of-state family for years (and put it into action once) but not once have we talked about texting and we need to.

In September 2008 I mentioned texting as a disaster communication method for the Red Cross Safe & Well list (I still don't see it as a viable option) and the use of Flickr to share photos after a disaster, and am looking forward to hearing about how the drills go.