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 Flu.gov'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.