Welcome to the first edition of MedLib’s Round, a blog carnival of the “best blog posts in the field of medical librarianship”.
Starting a new blog carnival is often difficult. You have to recruit bloggers, who want to participate by submitting blogposts and/or hosting future editions. (see this older post on Scienceroll – Thanks @hleman).
I didn’t sound out people to find if they were interested, but just gave it a try. — Therefore, I was very pleased that the idea was so enthusiastically received by many medical librarians ànd physicians from all over the world. Emergency physician Mike Cadogan (@sandnsurf) of Life in the First Lane already added the MedLib’s Round to his listing of Blogs Rankings and Rounds before it had even started.
Blog carnivals are meant to spread the word not only about established, but also about new bloggers. I’m therefore delighted that several librarians were inspired to (re)start blogging.
Shamsha Damani (@shamsha) accepted the invitation to become a guest writer on this blog to be able to submit a post (see below).
Alisha Miles (@alisha764) who start tweeting in Januari started her own blog Alisha 764 with the post “I am a Tree” saying: “I am no longer a mushroom, I am now a tree. Thank you to all of the other librarians’ posts & tweets that inspired me to start this blog.” Which clearly refers to the comment of @sandnsurf to the blogpost “What I learned in 2008 (about Web 2.0)“: “the most important thing is that you are actually a tree in this ecosystem, you are out there experimenting, thinking and trying to drive the revolution further…Most of my colleagues are still mushrooms…“
The Pilgrimthinkera librarian explores health literacy, patient education and consumer health issues) even wrote a blogpost entitled “Thank you, Laika, for taking the initiative to start up a MedLib Blog Carnival. It was just the kick in the pants I needed to get back to blogging, with the added promise of some increased interest and posting from everyone.”
Thus apart from being a post-aggregator, a blog carnival can also inspire people with similar interests and connect them. From my own experience I know you can feel lonely as a blogger. So please take a look at the above mentioned blogs/twitter accounts and help them to flourish into full grown trees, so we can all enjoy their fruits (and vice versa).
AND NOW FOR…..THE FIRST MEDLIB’S ROUND
The MedLib’s Round is about medical librarian stuff. This field is much broader than searching PubMed or interlibrary loaning; it is related to all stages in the publication and medical information cycles (searching, citing, managing, writing, publishing, social networking).
This carnival covers many facets of that cycle.
SEARCHING THE WEB
For medical librarians searching is an important facet of their job. There are different sources to search, including “the World Wide Web” and bibliographic databases like PubMed.
Hope Leman of AltSearchEngines has compiled a list of Top 10 Health Search Engines of 2008. She urges all those interested in medical search to give these tools a spin. Her Top 10 bares great resemblance to the Top 8 Bedside Health Search Engines 2008 of @sandnsurf (Mike Cadogan), indicating that the same engines are appreciated and used by physicians as well.
GoPubMed ranks 2 in both lists. According to Hope “GoPubMed is a useful complement to PubMed proper, particularly to determine who the leading authorities are on particular topics.
For further details on how to use GoPubMed see an earlier post of Mike and several posts of David Rothman (here and here).
On first position in both lists is the federated search engine Mednar. Hope submitted a second post merely devoted to this health search engine: Mednar Search…and Hope said, “It is good.” Well, if Hope, an expert in search engines, recommends Mednar it must be good. According to Hope Mednar is useful for (medical) librarians, as well as busy front-line clinicians and clinical researchers. Its main advantages are its ease of use, its elegant interface and “the access to an array of databases that are simply not mined by other health search engines, also called “The Invisible Web” (gray literature and similar hard-to find content)“. It is an useful complement to PubMed in that there is a shorter lag time before the very latest articles can be found.
Recently others have also reviewed Mednar, including (of course) @sandnsurf , as well as Creaky of EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC who concluded “I liked the results well-enough, but won’t give up using the precise technical limits and search filters available in PubMed, or the comprehensive, deep searches available by using the 15,000 journals indexed in Scopus”.
SEARCHING PUBMED (and Widgets)
Guus van den Brekel of DigiCMB , who just won the Alliance Virtual Library Golden Leaf Awards 2009 (Second Life), told me that PubMed is by far the most frequently used search database by the hospital staff and students of the University Medical Center Groningen, where he works. In 2007, EVERY 2 MINS somebody used the Pubmed link, and every 30 seconds somebody clicked the SFX-link resolver in PubMed. Guus believes that such a tool needs to be published to as many platforms as possible, and in any format the patrons would like them. So far a Toolbar, Widget, HTML-box, OpenSearch pretty much covers that wish. The Widgets can be found at PubMed Search & News Widget
PubMed has introduced (or rather continuously introduces) several changes, that have been amply discussed here. Major changes include the Advanced Search, the citation sensor and the way terms typed in the search bar are translated. Non-librarians often don’t know that PubMed automatically maps the words, but the way this is done has changed, i.e. multi-term words are split. In her post Mapping door PubMed, written in Dutch and English, de Bibliotheker shows that this altered mapping can have both unexpected positive and negative effects, and that it is always important to check the Details Tab.
Among the things that Nicole Dettmar (Eagle Dawg) of the Eagle Dawg Blog addresses at her post Eagle Dawg Blog: Hidden in the Bookshelf: PubMed & Discovery Initiative is the new Discovery Initiative of the NCBI, which is an effort to make the full potential of the NCBI Web services and underlying databases more available to users. Nicole gives various interesting links, which will tell you more about the upcoming changes.
MANAGING INFORMATION AND REFERENCES
Like many of her colleagues medical librarian Anne Welsh First Person Narrative noticed clinicians prefer to perform one word Google-style searches (hé, does that sound familiar!). However, realizing that her medical library “expert opinion” was based on nothing more than a series of anecdotes, Anne decided to have a fish around for research on clinicians’ search strategies and information needs. Curious about the outcome? Then read the summary of the evidence in her well written research blogging post “Limiting the Dataset“.
Indeed it is hard to keep up with the literature. Apart from specific (often Google-style searches), most clinicians also try to read a few interesting journals, for instance the BMJ and the Lancet. Instead of going to the library it is also possible to take an email alert or a RSS feed to the journals of your choice. You can generate custom RSS feeds in PubMed for you favorite search and/or Journal, but this is a kind of cumbersome procedure for most people not used to it (see for instance my earlier post in Dutch and this post of David Rothman – a must-read for people not acquainted with the use of RSS for this purpose).
Physician and medicine2.0 pioneer Ves Dimov of the Clinical Cases and Images – Blog has another solution to set up a RSS feed to journals, which I found astonishing simple and pretty awesome, because of the conveniently arrangement of the results. All you need is a free Google account to create Your Own “Medical Journal” with iGoogle Personalized Page. Want to know how it works, then please read his easy-to-follow post, which he has specially updated for this occasion. Ves has also included some ready made RSS feeds of the “Big Five” medical journals (NEJM, JAMA, BMJ, Lancet and Annals) plus 2-3 subspecialty journals as well as several podcasts in iGoogle.
Now, once you have the PDF’s of the papers you like you would like to store them in a handy way. Another physician, the Dutch psychiatrist Dr Shock MD PhD with a very eloguent blog of the same name, explores the use of Mendeley, a free social software for managing and sharing research papers and a Web 2.0 site for discovering research trends and connecting to like-minded academics (see Mendeley Manage Share and Discover Research Papers). Dr. Shock didn’t make up his mind yet whether he prefers Mendeley or Labmeeting (described in another post) as an online library. But offline he uses Sente, which he finds absolutely perfect. A chimera between Sente and one of the other tools would be his ideal management system.
Michelle Kraft of The Krafty Librarian was totally blown away by a presentation on Interactive Science Publishing at PSP 2009 Annual Conference (where she also gave a presentation herself). I didn’t know what interactive science publishing really meant, but Michelle can illustrate things so well, that you can readily imagine it all. This was needed as I could not access the examples she referred to without the risk of my computer becoming too slow or worse. But I understand from Michelle that it is a revolutionary new method of viewing online journals, although there are some answers to be addressed as well (see her post)
Imagine having the “PDF” of an article on congenital heart defects and be able to hear the heart sounds plus the video recording of the heart. The video would be more than just a snippet, it would be the entire video sectioned into “chapters” referenced within the various areas of the article. So while you are reading the article you can click on the link within the text referencing the image, sound, etc. and the image immediately jumps to that section the video. Imagine the data behind a large randomized controlled trial available in its entirety to all readers to be manipulated, reused, and viewed.
Another new publishing format is discussed by Shamsha Damani (@shamsha) on this blog (see: “How to make EBM easy to swallow“). Shamsha informs us that the BMJ will be publishing two summaries for each research article published. One called BMJ PICO, prepared by the authors, breaks down the article into the different EBM elements. The other called Short Cuts is written by BMJ itself. Here she hopes BMJ will shine, providing an easy to follow unbiased view of the article. Indeed, it would be very welcomed if more papers were in the ready-appraised-format, similar as found in the ACP-Journal Club. However, in the BMJ, it is the PICO-format written by the authors themselves which has the EBM structure, and is most preferred by the readers. According to some (including me) the Short Cuts are a bit woolly. Or as Shamsha says: “Personally I think it would have been better to have the BMJ reviewers write the PICO format, and do a bit more thorough critiquing”.
SOCIAL MEDIA & NLM, GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND MEDICAL LIBRARIANS
In the same blogpost as mentioned above @Eagledawg mentions that the recent introduction of the #pubmed tag in Twitter (with the aim that you can later search for messages with this tag, see real time results here) led to various responses, which are not really appreciated as useful by the NLM because of the extreme short length of the tweets (140 characters including tag). It strikes Nicole that the NLM is not present on twitter (in contrast to the FDA and the CDC, also see a post of David Rothman). A good example of how the government could use using social media to respond to citizens is given by Andrew Wilson, a member of the recently introduced social-media team of the Department of Health and Human Service, who responded to the peanut-butter-and-salmonella recall issue on Twitter.
Health 2.0 people are well represented on Twitter. See for instance this list of Twitter Doctors, Medical Students and Medicine-related. made by @medicalstudent There is also a great slideshare presentation of @PhilBaumann on 140 health care uses for Twitter.
But how is Twitter used by medical librarians? David Rothman is not a huge fan of Twitter (he prefers friendfeed), but he does refer to a list of Great & growing resource for libraries/librarians on Twitter!
Dean Giustini of UBC Academic Search – Google Scholar Blog wonders why there aren’t More Canadian (mapple Leaf) Librarians on Twitter? Well, I don’t know whether this is typical for Canadians, I don’t see many Dutch medical librarians either.
Dean plans to write something for an upcoming issue of a health library journal about Twitter. Want to have an idea what Twitter is about, please read his short post on Twitter. Already on twitter but looking for twitterers in all the wrong places” than forget one bad idea and follow the half dozen good ideas Patricia gives in her excellent post on Twitter.
And what about the presence of the abovementioned contributors to this first Grand Round? Without exception they are all on Twitter and all but one use it on a regular basis. Now, assuming that most medical librarians aren’t on Twitter, doesn’t tell that something about this group? I wonder if Twitter presence is not the main reason for the swift start of this First MedLib’s Round.
That’s it for this edition.
The next round will be hosted by Dragonfly, March 10.
Please submit your favorite blog article to the next edition of medlib’s round before March 8 by using the carnival submission form (here) (!). Submission to the form makes it easier for the host to summarize the articles.
p.s. Perhaps you would like to host a future edition as well. If so, please inform me which edition (off May) you would like to host.
Photo credits (Flickr-CC)