Monday, August 31, 2009

Why libraries rock

On August 4th, I immediately blogged about the flood that hit the Louisville Free Public Library in Kentucky and encouraged donations to be sent to them at

The Library Foundation
301 York Street
Louisville, KY 40203

Today I am writing to encourage your support again as part of the blogathon, and to donate via the Library Society of the World's (LSW) campaign at Help LFPL. If you already know why the Cod of Ethics is not a typo, then thank you for already donating as I have.

If you know and haven't already, or have no idea what I'm talking about but can appreciate a Cod of Ethics, then please donate at least the cost of a latte to Help LFPL or the Foundation link above both take PayPal. I am also donating a shiny new Cod of Ethics coffee mug to be sent as an LSW award since I reviewed Clinical Reader in the name of the Cod. Steve Lawson was the first to blog in my support when Clinical Reader threatened to sue me, yet I would also be the first to blog if he in any way misappropriates the LFPL funds. There's a bigger chance of Cods raining down from the sky before that happens though.

It is a sad week in my fair city because every single Seattle Public Library branch is currently closed from today until opening on September 8th due to budget cuts. No books, no website resource guides, no online access to databases and journals, no public access to computers and the internet, nada.

I decided to pull some comments from the Seattle Times' article about the closure to illustrate why libraries rock. Some are straightforward, some are essentially the Muggles' perspective of what equates library operations and services, some are a bit incoherent, all (I think) are authentic opinions:

This is such a shame. In my opinion, libraries and parks are key to attract smart, educated and productive citizens to any city, otherwise we might as well be Spokane.

Why not take the library digital? That would same some money...

Why can't the library volunteers keep them open; they do everything anyways...for FREE!

I can afford to see the library buildings doors cllosed, but not the pages of the books.
Let all the books of knowledge as open as widely as you can, for that is where we can glean to drink the sweet water of wisdom by reading the contents of it wisely.
Abe Lincoln said, "My best friend is the one who gives me a book I have not read yet."

"What they would loose if public libraries weere not availble?
I, for one, would miss the dictionary. Because I would see more people that don't know how to spell "lose."

Libraries are important to our society for many reasons and everyone should be concerned when they are threatened. When societies do not have unfettered free access to books and information that is not controlled by the goverment, you end up with even more backward thinking people that seem to need to voice their ignorant opinions here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday No-Foolery #49: MedlinePlus on Twitter!

With thanks to Shamsha for the heads up, it is so cool to see MedlinePlus on Twitter as of today at @medlineplus4you!

Check out their new logo and colors, confirmed via a direct message from the Twitter account to me when I promoted the site and asked about it of 'You're right about the logo - it's part of our new branding and future site redesign.'

I can't think of a better time for quality consumer health information to be offered via Twitter directly from MedlinePlus than when North America is going back to school and concerned about the flu. Way to go and welcome!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Work Blog - Distance Learning Series

DEANZ Panel on the Future of Distance Education by Choconancy1 Apparently it's a tropical amoeba?

I don't like tooting my own horn but realize that not all readers of this blog read our group work blog, where I just finished a series of posts about distance learning for continuing education (CE) classes that you may be interested in.

These were somewhat hard for me to write because I had to keep a broad general audience in mind, not focus on any particular modality's features or quirks, and check my wacky sense of humor at the door with a few exceptions sprinkled in there.

Everyone should be thankful I left our vacation's campfire distance education epiphany out of the equation entirely. A brief glimpse at that trainwreck: Despite having all essential elements present (kindling, wood, fire & oxygen = well designed curriculum), sometimes the educator has to keep blowing gently in different areas to get a spark going... but not too hard or it'll kill the fire entirely... and sometimes you have to show up with a big stick and rudely poke the curriculum (maybe the students or educator?) around until the spark catches... but then do I really want to compare distance learning to blowing, beating, and a fiery inferno?

Yeah. I blame that on my brain decompressing since my last vacation was Snowpocalypse 2008 and wasn't exactly a stress-free experience.

Do you have a split work/personal blog personality too or am I the only one who struggles with this a bit?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Foolery #48: Unplugged

Scenic Beach State Park, Seabeck, WA. Click to embiggen.

I haven't totally disconnected from the world with my family for quite some time & finally did this week.

I wonder what took me so long.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Acting More Like a Librarian

I did not become a librarian because I love books.

This is a good thing because one of my childhood friends is much better than I with regularly reading and writing about books, and she let me do a guest entry review today for Girl in a Blue Dress.

I may give the book a re-read down the road but my guess is Diana Gabaldon has permanently wrecked my expectations for the historical fiction genre. I still have to smirk at the title of her upcoming novel (An Echo in the Bone) but it's not like I'm counting down the seconds until it's out next month.

OK maybe I am. Of course I'm hoping Amazon gets it to me before the release date!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Foolery #47: What else is in a name?


Eagle Dawg is WEDGE A LAG and my usual name is TAKE TRIM KIND. My husband, MILITANTLY WARM DEAR, is actually kind of skinny and our son is an INORDINATE SMARK ALECK.

Who are you?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

PubMed's Electronic Health Records Special Query

The August 7, 2009 National Library of Medicine Technical Bulletin caught my eye with the news of a new electronic health record (EHR) special query
... a PubMed search including subject terms and other keywords. Areas of coverage include implementation, attitudes, beliefs and use, data privacy, health data standards, and consumer access to the EHR and personal health records... [and] retrieves literature in many languages and from more than 27,000 PubMed citations, including research from many countries.
Cool! I took it for a 91 second test drive using Jing and I'm not too sure about the last part of the query. Take a look and feel free to use my internal audio of 'PEW-PEW-PEW-PEW!' as I minimize each of the fields in Advanced Search:

The snippet I cut was
AND (j ahima [ta]
OR j am med inform assoc [ta]
OR amia annu symp proc [ta]
OR health data manag [ta]
OR int j med inform [ta]
OR yearb med inform [ta]
OR telemed j e health [ta]
OR stud health technol inform [ta])

I'm not certain what the rationale is to construct such a comprehensive search then limit it to this handful of (admittedly great) sources. Are the 3,961 other articles about EHRs in different journals/sources less worthy? What do you think? I'll dig in to take a closer look later.

Do check out the EHR Information Resources below the query, there were links to other federal agencies and some associations & foundations I didn't know about.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Foolery #46: What's an Eagle Dawg?

This entry tells the story but it's at the bottom. The original reason for this blog was to participate in a continuing education class that required one, thus I had to come up with a name for it.


UNT EagleStatue by David@UNT

The eagle is the mascot of the University of North Texas, where I received my Master of Science in Information Science degree in December 2007. The Eagle not only sounds better first, but needs to be thanks to an overwhelmingly generous fellowship UNT awarded me for distance learning health informatics in conjunction with Texas A&M University (why I quoted the Aggie Honor Code on my Clinical Reader critique). I not only didn't pay a dime of my tuition but I received a stipend and funding to attend professional conferences. I was given so much that I am grateful for, and will give back the best I can to the field until I drop dead.


Husky statue, University of Washington by cronnc

The dawg is my Seattle home, the University of Washington Huskies (DAWGs). I have been a UW employee continuously for eleven and a half years now, almost completely unheard of for a thirtysomething, and UW is also where I (finally) received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences and Communication in 2005 thanks to the evening degree program. They believed in me to finish my undergraduate education when I did not fully believe in myself, yet the birth of our son made me realize I had to as an example for him even though I was scared out of my wits.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Health Information Technology Bibliography

The most beautiful combination of my interest in health information technology (HIT)/health informatics and librarianship I've seen for a while:

The Health IT Bibliography
from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has a list of broad subjects (Organizational Strategy, Technology, Evaluation, Operations, and Populations & Perspectives) with topics listed first and then the acronym, such as Health Information Exchange (HIE). Bookmark it now, the URL is very long and not memorable!

The first click in on a topic brings you to a page of peer-reviewed sources selected by subject experts (several were at Woods Hole!) that represent "the best known evidence on the benefits, challenges, and best practices" associated with it. They have also made an attempt to list freely accessible articles although some may need institutional/individual access permissions.

Scrolling down to the bottom of the subject page to the 'Click here for more' link leads to supplemental resources to the core listings on the subject page that may not be peer-reviewed but are still valuable contributions to the field. They welcome additional submissions and there are resources from 2008-2009 so it is actively maintained.

This resource has been live since February 2008 but I don't recall hearing about it either in the blogosphere or at Woods Hole. Have I been living under a HIT rock?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Revisiting Emergency Preparedness - Louisville Flooding

Back in February I wrote about emergency preparedness with scenario filters and mentioned
Including these as part of an emergency procedures binder (maybe even a wiki!) could be a very valuable and easy way to provide information to colleagues at other institutions who are often eager to help you after disaster strikes.
Disasters aren't neat and tidy when they strike though.

This gut-wrenching image from Greg Schwartz is what the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library in Kentucky looks like today. There is at least 1 million dollars worth of damage to at least 10,000 items in the collection (read on for the equipment and facilities damage) as the result of a flash flood this morning.

Servers for any internal staff wikis? Currently submerged in sewage backup. Emergency procedures binders? Probably floating around in there too. I'll keep an eye out for additional lessons to be learned during the 10 Steps to Service Continuity Planning webcasts.

You can help: Donations to a recovery fund can be sent to

The Library Foundation
301 York Street
Louisville, KY 40203

My thoughts are with the staff and community both now and in the months ahead with recovery.