First I have to apologize for the postponement in publication. There were so few submissions (5, including one on this blog), that I needed more time to find some material myself. Time that I didn’t have at that moment.
After a flying start with many volunteering hosts and submissions the enthusiasm for the Medlib’s Round seems to have faded somewhat. There are far less submissions. Luckily there is a core of enthusiastic people regularly submitting to the Medlib’s Round and I’m very grateful for that. However, there are many more bloggers out there, who also write very useful MedLib stuff. Why aren’t they contributing? Are they not aware of the round, do they lack time, don’t they like blog carnivals? Should the rounds be better promoted or differently organized? I know that postponement does the round no good, but it is a bit the chicken-and-egg problem. Anyway, I would like to hear your thoughts on this.
But lets start…..
A previous host and regular contributor to the round, Nikki Dettmar (@eagledagw) of the Eagle Dawg Blog makes a good point in “Social Media & Emergency Preparedness: Can Your Family Text?”: “Does your family know to text when there is an emergency? Traditional phone lines may be down and traditional methods of communication may not be working.” Learn 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. And don’t forget to instruct your mother. By the way, the use of Twitter is included in the advise.
Another regular contributor to the Medlib’s round is Ves Dimov (@DrVes). Dr. Dimov is an Allergy and Immunology Fellow at Creighton University and the author of the Clinical Cases and Images – Blog. Blogging for several years and with more than 7000 RSS readers we can trust him for some good advice on blogging In “What makes a blogger go on in a field where so many others stop, fail and disappear?” Dr Ves shortly gives 4 reasons and several tips from his own experience.
Speaking about blogging, it is only a half year ago that Alisha Miles (@alisha764) started with her blog Alisha 764 , saying: “I am no longer a mushroom, I am now a tree.” Which refers to @sandnsurf‘s post: Is Twitter the essential blogging nutrient and his comment on my blog: “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….
Alisha, who is a contributor to this round from the start, has definitely developed into a full blossoming tree, a top librarian blogger and tweeter, She is featured, for instance, in Novoseek’s top 10 medical librarian list (as all current librarian submitters with a public blog).
Her submitted post is a classical post already. It is quite long (hear, hear who is saying) but offers good information. In “Google Health® Information: Surprising Facts” she describes the pros and cons of Google Health®, concluding:
“It is a good product; however, it should be used with caution. Remember Google Health® is not bound by HIPPA, resources should always be double or triple checked, the Google® Health Drug Interaction program is missing some key interactions, and the Google Health® Topics are missing the reference section, reviewer information, and date stamp.
Again, I applaud Google® for its efforts and for including links to MedlinePlus® as a trusted resource. As with any information source, even MedlinePlus®, all information should be checked against at least 1 other source.”
With regard to MedlinePlus and Google, Rachel Walden wrote a post: “Where is MedlinePlus in Google Drug Search Results?” where she notices that Google searches for drug information no longer seem to return results from MedlinePlus and FDA pages.
PubMed, MeSH and the like
Rachel Walden (@rachel_w on Twitter) is the woman behind the successful blog Women’s Health News and writer for Our bodies ourselves. She not only knows a lot about women’s health and medical information, but she is always ready to reach a helping hand or join a discussion on Twitter, which is actually a quality of all MEDLIB round contributors. In “Improving the Findability of Evidence & Literature on Doulas” Rachel describes the lack of a specific MeSH for “Doula” in PubMed. A doula is an assistant who provides various forms of non-medical and non-midwifery support (physical and emotional) in the childbirth process. MeSH (or Medical Subject Headings) are controlled terms in MEDLINE, or as explained by Rachel:
“MeSH are “right” terms to use to conduct a literature search in PubMed, it can really help to start with the MeSH term database, because you know those are the official subject terms being assigned to the articles. MeSH is a hierarchy, and it can help you focus a search, or expand it when needed, by moving up and down the list of subject words. It’s a nice tool to have, when it works.
As highlighted by Rachel, this gap in the MeSH makes searching less efficient and less precise: for instance, nursing and midwivery are too broad terms. But instead of whining, Rachel decided to do something about it. Via this form she send the National Library of Medicine a request to add the “doula” concept to the MeSH terms. I would recommend others to do the same when terms they search for are not (appropriately) covered by the MESH.
Librarian Mark Rabnett agrees hartfully with Rachel as he has encountered exactly the problems and yes, “there is no question that this is a satisfactorily distinct and widely accepted term, and its entry into the MeSH pantheon is long overdue.”
On his blog Gossypobima Mark had earlier posted the “Top 5 results to improve PubMed” from the brainstorming suggestions during the Canadian Health Libraries Association conference. These include “Adding adjacency and real string searching” (YES!) and “Improval of the MeSH database”. His group found “The MeSH database stiff and laboured , and the visual display of the thesaurus and subheadings not intuitive, the ‘Add To’ feature for inserting MeSH terms to a search box kludgy, and the searching for MeSH headings difficult and unpredictable. [..] So he concludes with: “We need a MeSH mashup.”
Wouldn’t that be wonderful indeed? Rather than the current “enhancements”, why not introduce some web 2.0 tools in PubMed? As Patricia Anderson tweeted a long time ago:
“It would be so cool to do a #pubmed search, then display word cloud of top major MESH terms in results.”
Yes I would like a visual MeSH, but even better, one that would show up in the sidebar and that you would be able to “walk up and down (and sideways) and with “drag and drop to your search possibilities”. That would be cool. My imagination runs away with me when I think of it.
Not having a public blog @shamsha has contributed to this round by writing a guest post on this blog. This interesting post is about grey literature: what is grey literature, why do you need it and why not have guidelines for searching grey literature? She gives many tips and a wealth of references, including links to her own delicious page and a wonderful resource from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.
This concludes the official part of this MEDLIB’s September round.
The next round is hosted by Alisha Miles on her blog Alisha 764.
Officially the deadline is next Saturday. (But it may be postponed a little. If so I will post the new deadline here)
Anyway, Alisha is looking forward to your posts. So send them in as soon as possible HERE at the Blog Carnival form. (registration required; see the medlibs-archive for more information.)
Would you like to host the Medlibs round in 2010? It is never to early! Please dm me at twitter, comment on this post or write an email to .
Dr Mike Cadogan (@Sandnsurf) writes frequently about medical information on his blog Life in the fast Lane (his blog has moved to http://lifeinthefastlane.com, so check out old links that you may have). One of the co-authors of the blog, Chris Nickson (precordialthump) gives emergency physicians advise how to deal with “information-overload”. Needless to say the tips are useful to all people dealing with medical information-overload.
Dr Shock also writes a lot about medical information and web 2.0 tools. Here a video he posted about iPhone and iPod Touch as a Medical Tool.
I don’t have a palm or sophisticated phone, nor does our library supports its use, so I choose some other posts from these excellent bloggers.
From the KraftyLibrarian Michelle: Rapid Research about Rapid Research Notes , a new resource developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) to quickly disseminate the research results to the public in an open access archive. Michelle wonders why only PLOS-articles are included and not other quality information from for instance EBSCO and Cochrane.
From palmdoc : Evernote as your peripheral brain (Evernote is a note taking application)
David Rothman ‘s paternity leave seems over since he posts several interesting posts per week on his blog Davidrothman.net. Typically he shortly refers to a new tool or a post he encountered, like:
- The free MedlineRanker webserver, which allows a flexible ranking of Medline for a topic of interest without expert knowledge.
- Quertle®: for a More Semantic MEDLINE Search
- Pubmed-ex, a browser extension that marks up PubMed search results with additional information. Yeah, but installing it as a firefox add-on crashed my browser, so no more PubMed is really ex here.
- “All your healthbase are belong to us (want em back) is about Healthbase, that TechCrunch called “The Ultimate Medical Content Search Engine.” this evoked some deadly critiques not only directed at Healthbase but also at Techcrunch. My number one fail was the search for the 1st cause of insanity?(wonder what the outcome is, see my tweet)
- I specifically liked Awesome medlib blog pubmed search strategies, about PubMed Search Strategies, a blog created by Cindy to share PubMed search strategies. I will come back to this another time.
Patricia Anderson of Emerging Technologies Librarian is been very active lately with posts on social media, like “Conversation and Context in Social Media (Cautionary Tales)“, with four scenarios, including the Clinical Reader fiasco. And as always she has a lot of tips on web 2.0 tools. There is for instance a post on Listening Tools to track what your community is saying about you or to you and about Social Media Metrics
Another techy librarian working at the National University of Singapore is Aaron Tay. Aaron Tay (@aarontay) is not working in the field of medicine, but his web 2.0 tips are useful for anyone, and his blog Musings about Librarianship is certainly a must for libraries that want to use web 2.0 tools to the benefit of their users. Personally, I found the tips onViewing research alerts – full text within Google reader very useful.
Alan from The health Informaticist discusses in “NHS Evidence boo vs guidelinesfinder hurrah” that a simple search for backpain in NHS Evidence yielded 1320 hits (!) of which only a handful are useful guidelines, whereas the good old Guidelines Finder (now a ’specialist collection’), yields 47 mostly useful and relevant hits. He ends this discussion with a request to NICE: please keep the specialist collections. And I agree.
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