UpToDate or Dynamed?

5 07 2009

Guest author: Shamsha Damani (@shamsha) ;
Submission for the July Medlib’s Round

Doctors and other healthcare providers are busy folks. They often don’t have time to go through all the primary literature, find the best evidence, critique it and apply it to their patients in real-time. This is where point-of-care resources shine and make life a bit easier. There are several such tools out there, but the two that I use on a regular basis are UpToDate and DynaMed. There are others like InfoPoems, ACP’s PIER, MD Consult and BMJ’s Point of Care. I often get asked which ones are the best to use and why. The librarian answer to this question: depends on what you are looking for! Not a fair answer I admit, so I wanted to highlight some pros and cons of UpToDate and DynaMed to help you better determine what route to take the next time you find yourself in need of a quick answer to a clinical question.

UpToDate

Pros:

  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Easy-to-read writing style
  • The introduction of grading the evidence is certainly very welcome!

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Conflict of interest policy a bit perplexing
  • Search feature could use a makeover
  • Remote access at a high premium
  • Not accessible via smart phones
  • They didn’t come to MLA’09 this year and medical librarians felt snubbed (ok, that is not a con, just an observation!)

DynaMed

Pros:

  • Bulleted format is easy to read
  • Remote access part of subscription
  • No conflict of interest with authors
  • A lot of the evidence is graded
  • Accessible on PDAs (iPhones and Blackberries included!)

Cons:

  • The user interface is a bit 1990s and could use a makeover
  • The coverage is not as extensive yet, though they keep adding more topics

A lot has been written about UpToDate and DynaMed, both in PubMed as well as on various blogs. Jacqueline also did a fabulous post of the evidence-based-ness of UpToDate not too long ago. I used to think that I should pick one and stick to it, but have recently found myself re-thinking this attitude. I think that we need to keep in mind that these are point-of-care tools and should not be utilized as one’s only source of information. Use the tool to get an idea about current evidence and combine it with your own clinical judgment when needed at point-of-care. If suspicious, look up the primary literature the good old way by using MEDLINE or other such databases. A point-of-care database will get you started; however, it is not meant to be a one-stop-shop.

I can almost hear people saying: so which one do you prefer anyways? That’s like asking me if I prefer Coke or Pepsi. My honest answer: both! (databases as well as beverages!). So what is a busy clinician to do? If you have access to both (or more), spend some time playing with them and see which one you like. Everyone has a different searching and learning style and it is sometimes a matter of preference. DynaMed’s concise structure may be appealing to newbies, whereas seasoned clinicians may prefer UpToDate’s narrative approach. Based on my very unscientific observation of Twitter conversations, it appears that clinicians in general prefer UpToDate whereas librarians prefer DynaMed. Could this be because UpToDate markets heavily to clinicians and snubs librarians? Or could it be the price? Or could it be the age-old debate on what is evidence? I don’t know the answer, partly because I find it all a bit too political. I’ve seen healthcare providers often use Google or Wikipedia for medical answers, which is quite sad. If you are using either UpToDate or DynaMed (or another similar product), you have already graduated to the big leagues and are a true EBM player! So relax and don’t feel like you have to pick a side. I find myself using both on a regular basis; the degree of success I have with each can be gauged by my daily Twitter feed!

Shamsha Damani

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MedLib’s Round, First Edition

13 02 2009

Welcome to the first edition of MedLib’s Round, a blog carnival of the “best blog posts in the field of medical librarianship”.

shht-librarian-costume1Starting 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)

3262152119_a1cc3c28a4-sl-award-guusGuus 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.

PUBLISHING

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.

An interview with Andrew Wilson can be found here.
And, by the way The Library of Congres (see Dean Giustini’s blog) and the Cochrane Collaboration have also joined 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.

741879088_29d01c359b_m-another-dead-librarian
I hope you enjoyed this first MedLib’s Round.
I surely enjoyed reading the many interesting and good quality posts that were submitted.

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.

Jacqueline (“Laika”)


Photo credits (Flickr-CC)

Librarian’s Costume by Librarian Avenger

Namro Orman, SL

Another Dead Librarian by Doug!





Blog Spam and Spam Blogs (2)

14 09 2008

In a previous post I gave two examples of Health Blogs that are really pills-selling-sites. In this post I will show two examples of real Spam Blogs.

Spam blogs or splogs are usely fake weblogs where content is often either inauthentic text or merely stolen (scraped) from other websites. All spam artificially increases the site’s search engine ranking, increasing the number of potential visitors.

Database-management blog: no longer exists

Original post at this blog above and comment below.

One Spam blog that I wanted to show you, is no longer available. It is called Database Management.

Technorati-profile (authority=51)

This blog had no own content, but scraped it from blogposts having the (WordPress?) tag “database”. Although the post does link to the original site, it doesn’t refer to the author’s proper name, but some automatically generated fake name. For instance Shamisos instead of Laikaspoetnik (see Fig).

When I tried to place a comment on their site I had to login into the WordPress-account (although I was already logged in into mine). That’s when I began to really distrust it.

It’s technorati profile still exists (see Fig.). It is clear that the blog has rapidly increased it’s “authority” in the few months it existed. From zero to 51.
Many blogs linking to this blog are also gone or peculiar. Other blogs might have just linked to the spam blog because they assumed that this was the original post, not the copy. Presumably by having so much content on ‘database management’ the splog gets more traffic (of the preferred kind). This might be an example of a splog that backlinks to a portfolio of affiliate websites, to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors, and/or as a link outlet to get new sites indexed (Wikipedia).

The second example of a spamblog is a very interesting site for Medical Librarians: Generic Pub, with the webadress: http://genericpubmed.com/pub/ with posts about PubMed. Really high quality information. Why? Because the posts derive from elsewhere. All of my posts about PubMed are in there, as are those of my colleagues, and perhaps your posts as well. There is no clue as to where the post really came from. You don’t get any pingbacks, unless the (original) post linked to you. That’s how I found out. As with the other spamblogs you cannot comment. Comments are always closed.

one of my posts on Generic Pub

The blogroll of Generic Pub

Blogroll of Generic Pub

Generic PubMed homepage

Generic PubMed homepage

The site does not hide its real intentions. To the left is a huge pill “cialis” and the blogroll consists of only pills, as well as PubMed tag feeds of Technorati and WordPress.

If you strip of the web adress to: http://genericpubmed.com you arive at the homepage, which is unmistakingly a pharmaceutical e-commerce website. Why is this done? Perhaps the sites looks more reliable whith all those PubMed posts or perhaps the site might be easier to find.

One way or another, these two sites steal posts from other sites. Tags used by Technorati or by WordPress, that can be easily transformed into a feed make it very easy for these spambloggers to automatically import blogposts with a certain tag.
By the way, did you find your post in there?

Previous post, see here.

————————————————————————–

Database-management blog: no longer exists

In een eerder post heb ik 2 voorbeelden gegeven van blogs die eigenlijk tot doel hebben pillen te verkopen.

Nu 2 voorbeelden van echte Spam Blogs.

Volgens Wikipedia: Spam blogs of splogs zijn doorgaans nep-weblogs, waarvan de inhoud vaak min of meer gestolen wordt (“scraped”) van andere websites. Dit verhoogt de ranking door zoekmachines en zorgt ervoor dat het aantal bezoekers toeneemt.

Een Spam blog dat ik jullie wilde laten zien, is niet langer beschikbaar, tw. Database Management.

Dit blog had alle inhoud gepikt van posts met de (WordPress?) tag “database”. Er wordt wel gelinkt naar de originele site, maar de naam van de auteur wordt vervangen door een of andere automatisch gegenereerde naam, bijv. Shamisos in plaats van Laikaspoetnik (see Fig in engelstalig gedeelte).

Toen ik een commentaar wilde plaatsen op deze site, werd ik gedwongen in te loggen in WordPress, terwijl ik nota bene al ingelogd was. Vanaf dat moment vertrouwde ik het echt niet meer.

Het technorati profiel van deze site bestaat nog steeds (zie fig in engelstalig gedeelte). Het blog is in enkele maanden tijd van 0,0 tot 51 gestegen in “authoriteit”.
Veel blogs die naar dit blog linken zijn ook opgeheven of zijn verdacht. Andere blogs hebben misschien slechts per ongeluk naar deze splog gelinked, omdat men dacht met de originele post van doen te hebben, niet de kopie. Waarschijnlijk krijgt de splog zo meer verkeer van mensen die juist in database management geinteresseerd zijn. Mogelijk is dit een splog die teruglinkt naar een aantal klonen en vice versa. (Wikipedia).

Het 2e voorbeeld van een splog is een erg interessante site voor medisch informatiespecialisten, nl Generic Pub met het webadres: genericpubmed.com/pub. Allemaal kwalitatief zeer goede posts over PubMed. Maar ze zijn wel gejat. Al mijn berichten met de tag PubMed zijn er te vinden, evenals die van mijn collega’s en misschien uw berichten ook wel.
Nergens is de ware herkomst van de berichten te herleiden. De echte auteurs krijgen normaal geen pingback, alleen als de oorspronkelijke post een link naar hen bevat. Zo kwam ik er eigenlijk achter. Evenals de andere splogs, kun je geen commentaar plaatsen.

De website verhult zijn werkelijke bedoelingen niet. Links staat een reuzachtige pil “cialis” en de blogroll bevat alleen namen van pillen alsmede de feeds van de PubMed tags van Technorati en WordPress.
Als je het webadres stript tot: genericpubmed.com kom je op de homepage, onmiskenbaar een e-commerce site. Waarom verschuilt men zich achter zo’n blog? Lijkt de site er betrouwbaarder door of vinden potentiele klanten de site makkelijker?

Hoe dan ook deze 2 sites stelen van andere websites. Een feed nemen op Technorati- of WordPress-tags is een eitje, en dit maakt het deze spambloggers erg makkelijk om automatisch blogposts met een bepaalde tag te importeren.
Tussen 2 haakjes, heeft u uw post al getraceerd?

Vorig bericht in deze serie, zie hier.





New OvidSP-release, Version 2 – Part I

21 08 2008

Thursday August 14th, the new OVID-release went live.

It seems that the release comes in two phases, the first focusing on workflow improvement and the second on new features (My Projects, a workspace area for saving and managing files, and Ovid Universal SearchTM, a cross-platform search) (see OVID-SP latest news ; OVID-SP-screenshots and blogpost of Michelle Kraft; follow this link to register for a webex course).

The following changes have now been implemented: (Note that I avoid the word ‘enhancements’, because I’ developed an allergy against the recent abuse of this term, although in this particular case “enhancement” may be justified)

* A new Multi-Field Search tab.
Makes me think of advanced search beta in PubMed, or searching in the Cochrane Library, just as it reminds Michelle Kraft of EBSCO-searching. Like Michelle says, this tab basically allows you to easily search for multiple things within multiple fields all at one time. Perhaps useful for the beginner, but not of much use to the advanced searcher, who knows the field codes by head.

* New and Improved User Workflow Tools

  1. Collapsible Search Aid box
  2. Results Manager is collapsible and available above and below the main search box
  3. Ability to move the Search History above the main search box, sort searches in ascending or descending order, and identify each search by search type
  4. Customize common limits on the main search page
  5. Ability to create, edit, and add multiple annotations to a citation
  6. Browse Books and Browse Journals links are now on the Select a Database page
  7. Browser support for adjusting font size
  8. When logged into their personal accounts, users will see their name and institution.

To begin with the last point, I was unpleasantly surprised that I had to fill in a whole list of details (name, address, institution) when I assessed one of my saved searches. With the emphasis on one. I’ve literally a few dozens of accounts, at least one for each patron. Should I fill in the patron’s name or mine?…each time? Dee (on twitter) said she just filled in 0 in most boxes. You can also press the back button.
OVID apparently requires this personally identifiable information for My Projects so you can create a community to collaborate with others later on.

But what an improvements! 🙂 This is really what I had hoped for (see this post on the new OVID SP; and a previous one about Ovid causing RSI). ‘All’ boxes collapsible, and movable… Although I first didn’t succeed in moving the Search History, but via the OVID-SP-screenshots I found out that it was just a little grey square you had to press (with a pop-up if you move your mouse over it, see figure above). No more endless scrolling, no more pain in my wrists after a whole day searching. Almost, almost ideal… If..If …the Search Tip wasn’t so prominent. 😦 As I said before, the Tip (that never gave me any useful information) fills 1/3 of the search screen. Because of this, the unnecessary addition of the field “Search Type” and the broad columns, the search history itself comprises less than 1/4th of the screen. Thus it is difficult to keep a good overview over large searches (see for instance the screenshot and the video below )

Compare the “usual view”

with the search in “print” format

And see the original search in this ultrashort video:

I’m not the only one that dislikes the Tipbox. According to a recently finished survey on the original OvidSP-version redesign earlier this year the number one thing people wanted to change was to remove or hide the Ovid Tips (see PDF of Danielle Worster’s and Debbie Pledge’s poster here). Overall one of the main concerns was the usage of screen space by the new design including features- including the Tips on the right hand side and the new placement of Results Manager.

But, as Danielle points out at her (shared) blog The healthinformaticist, the response was quite heterogenous, what was “annoying” to one person was “fine” to another! And vice versa!

With Danielle I wonder how the recent changes will be perceived. Will the people who complained about the new interface be pleased with the new arrangements? And what about the people that just thought it was fine? And those who’s main frustration was the adaptation to the new interface? One librarian sighed at the MEDLIB-list: “what is the credibitiy of the library in promoting the 3rd Ovid advanced search version in less than a year over the relatively consistent PubMed interface?” It is interesting how perceptions can differ. Personally I find it much harder to explain why functionalities (like ATM!) change radically while the interface looks the same (and are therefore not noticed).

Isn’t it most important that adaptations represent (1) improvements, (2) preferably easy to understand? Of course there is a limit to the number of substantial changes and their frequency. We know that the second update of OvidSP version 2 lies ahead and I sure wish that it will be soon followed by a third one that brings us an optional TIP-box. I don’t hope that the suggestion raised at Danielle’s blog, that “the Tip-box was created for advertising (commercials?) to recover the cost of all these (unnecessary) changes” is true.
More basic changes concerning Reference Manager as discussed by Krafty are also welcomed, at least by me.

——————–

Afgelopen week, op donderdag 14 augustus, “ging de nieuwe OVID release in de lucht”.
De release gaat in 2 stappen. Deze eerste stap dient om het zoekproces te versoepelen, bij de 2e komen er nieuwe functionaliteiten bij (My Projects en Ovid Universal SearchTM) (zie OVID-SP nieuws ; OVID-SP-screenshots, blogpost van Michelle Kraft; en volg evt. deze link om u op te geven voor een webex instructie).

Dit zijn in grote lijnen de veranderingen:

* Multi-Field Search tab.
Een manier om tegelijk op verschillende termen in verschillende velden te zoeken. Misschien handig voor de beginner, maar voor een gevorderde die de commando’s kent werkt advanced search veel sneller.

* Nieuwe Tools

  1. Inklapbare Search Aid (nooit gebruikt)
  2. Results Manager inklapbaar; zowel boven als onder het zoekvak aanwezig.
  3. Zoekgeschiedenis verplaatsbaar, sorteren in op- of aflopende volgorde. Elk zoektype aangeduid.
  4. Algemene limieten op de hoofdpagina zijn aangepast .
  5. Mogelijkheid tot het maken van notitities bij een record.
  6. Browse Books and Browse Journals links zijn nu aanwezig op de “Select a Database” pagina.
  7. Grootte van het lettertype kan aangepast
  8. Na inloggen (op persoonlijk account) verschijnt naam en instituut.

Om met dat laatste te beginnen, ik werd nogal onaangenaam verrast dat ik een hele waslijst met gegevens moest invullen (naam, adres instituut, titel, beroep etc) toen ik één van mijn opgeslagen searches wilde openen. Met de nadruk op één. Ik heb namelijk tientallen accounts, tenminste 1 voor elke klant. Moet ik mijn of zijn/haar naam invullen? Elke keer opnieuw? Dee (op twitter) zei dat ze gewoon 0 in alle vakjes invulde. Je kunt ook ‘n pagina terug gaan in je browser.
OVID heeft kennelijk deze persoonlijke gegevens nodig voor ‘My Projects’ zodat je later een eigen samenwerkingsgroep kunt creeeren.

Maar wat een verbetering zeg, deze versie, geweldig! 🙂 Hier had ik aan het begin van het jaar niet op durven hopen (zie bijv. dit bericht over OVID en RSI). Bijna alle vakjes inklapbaar, of verplaatsbaar… Hoewel het wel even duurde voordat ik door had hoe je de Zoekgeschiedenis nu kon verplaatsen (niet dat ik dat wilde, maar om ff te checku)… maar de OVID-SP-screenshots brachten uitkomst: je moest gewoon op een klein grijs blokje rechtsboven klikken (zie Figuur hierboven). De toelichting verschijnt als je er met de muis overgaat, maar dat moet je maar net weten.
Geen eindeloos gescroll meer, geen pijn meer in mijn polsen na een-hele-dag-Ovid-zoeken. Haast ideaal, ware het niet … dat de zoektip nog steeds zo prominent in beeld staat. Zoals ik al eerder heb gezegd neemt de (voor mij nutteloze) TIP 1/3 van het zoekscherm in horizontale richting in beslag. Daarnaast is in de zoekgeschiedenis ook nog een extra kolom toegevoegd (zoektype) en zijn veel kolommen onnodig breed. Resultaat: zoekactie wordt gecomprimeerd tot 1/4e van het scherm. Het is dan moeilijk om overzicht te behouden, het leest naar en je moet alsnog scrollen (zie fig en video hierboven).

Gelukkig sta ik niet alleen. Uit een recent onderzoek naar de tevredenheid van ervaren informatiespecialisten over de OvidSP-makeover begin dit jaar, bleek dat het verwijderen of verbergen van de OvidSP Tip met stip op nummer 1 van het wensenlijstje stond (zie hier voor poster van Danielle Worster en Debbie Pledge). In het algemeen was de ruimte-inname door het nieuwe design een veelgehoorde klacht.

Maar zoals Danielle op haar (gedeelde) blog The healthinformaticist vermeld, was de respons nogal uiteenlopend. Wat de een vervelend vond, vond de andere wel best!

Ik ben, met Danielle, benieuwd hoe men tegen de huidige veranderingen aankijkt. Zullen de mensen die klaagden over de nieuwe interface nu wel tevreden zijn? En de mensen die het allemaal juist prima vonden? Of diegenen wier grootste frustatie het steeds weer wennen aan de nieuwe interface was? Een informatiespecialist verzuchtte hoe je als bibliotheek nog geloofwaardig kunt zijn als je in minder dan een jaar 3x een nieuwe Ovid advanced search moet promoten terwijl PubMed redelijk hetzelfde blijft” Grappig hoe verschillend mensen tegen iets aan kunnen kijken. Zelf vind ik het veel moeilijker uit te leggen waarom een ogenschijnlijk identiek Pubmed achter de schermen toch de zoekactie anders uitvoert (ATM).

Is het niet het belangrijkste dat de veranderingen die doorgevoerd worden ook verbeteringen zijn en niet te moeilijk op te pakken? Natuurlijk is er een grens aan hoe veel en hoe vaak je een interface verandert. We weten dat er een 2e update van OvidSP version 2 in het verschiet ligt en ik mag hopen dat de 3e ons een optionele OvidSP-TIP brengt. Meer fundamentele veranderingen bijv. voor wat betreft Reference Manager (zoals gesuggereerd door Krafty zijn ook zeer welkom, zeker wat mij betreft.





New OvidSP version 2.0 postponed

6 08 2008

The new OvidSP version 2.0 scheduled to be launched August 5th and announced on my blog yesterday (see here) is postponed a few days.

According to OvidSP:

“Some last minute adjustments are being carried out at present to ensure the absolute excellence of the platform. Unfortunately this means that the release date has been postponed with no new date available yet.”

As a result, my training schedule on August 8th will be cancelled (so that’s how I found out). It is advised to register for any training session on “what’s new in OvidSP” (click here) once the release date is announced.

Thus we have to wait a few days for the much-desired new OvidSP version.
That’s regretful, because my coming days are fully planned with OVID searches and I’m really looking forward to this new flexible platform…. But changes are on their way… And I’m looking forward to them

——–

In mijn vorige bericht kondigde ik aan dat de nieuwe OvidSP versie 2.0 gisteren in de lucht zou zijn, maar deze deadline is kennelijk niet gehaald. Er moet toch nog het e.e.a. aan versie 2.0 gesleuteld worden, voordat deze perfect werkt.

Ook de trainingssessies zijn tot nader order uitgesteld. Aangeraden wordt om je pas op te geven als OvidSP werkelijk draait.

Ik vind het jammer, want ik keek er echt naar uit. Juist nu, want de komende dagen zijn gevuld met lange OVID searches (voor systematische reviews en een richtlijn). Maar, ja, wat in het vat zit verzuurt niet…





New OvidSP release (planned August 5th 2008) will allow more flexible searching

5 08 2008

Update 2010-08-14: I see many people going to this post because of recent changes to OVID SP. This post is NOT about the 2010 changes. Thus I added 2008 in the title.

I wrote before (see here) that ‘OVID-SP gave me RSI’, because I had to scroll too much between last search and new command. A huge TIP-box is in the way and the last search and command bar are too far apart.

Friday, I finally decided to write to OVID’s customer service, asking them if they could do something about the TIP-box and the way the search box and search history are placed relative to each other.

The same day I got an answer from a very kind Technical Support Engineer writing:

“I am really sorry but we can not remove the Tip box. However the interface is going to change next week, the search history box will be more customizable.”

YES!
Never mind the TIP-box (for the moment).
I’m very happy that OVID does take his users seriously. This means a real step ahead for heavy OVID-users. Thanks!

He also gave me the official communication about the new release, shown below (or follow this link)

By the way the new OvidSP version 2.0 is scheduled to be launched TODAY instead of July 31st.

Want to become acquainted with the new features and functionality in the latest version of OvidSP than follow this link to register for a (webex) course (choice from 20 dates!)

Transforming the Way You Search with More Flexibility and Customization of OvidSP Workflow Tools

Dear Ovid Customer:

The next release of OvidSP on July 31st is all about flexibility and enabling users to search the way they want to search. In our third weekly email introducing what you and your users will see on July 31st, learn more about new user-configurable customization enhancements to OvidSP’s workflow tools that further deepen the search experience and help users get to the results they need quickly.

  • Search Aid – Now users can expand or collapse this search refinement feature based on their preferences for managing the results screen.
  • Search History Many users perform complex searches, some involving as many as 60-80 lines of search. Now, the Search History can be placed above or below the main search box, so there’s no need to spend time scrolling up the page to review search strategies. Plus, you can sort all your searches in either ascending or descending order so that the last search statement is always viewable.
  • Results Manager – To accommodate for a wide variety of user behavior and to minimize scrolling when it comes to managing results, the Results Manager is now located in two places, above and below the results set. You can minimize it in both places to save valuable screen real estate.

Plus, now you can customize the “common” limits—those available on the main search page. These settings will act as defaults for users who are able to login via a personal account.

Like all of the upcoming enhancements and new features, those illustrated above are based on extensive feedback from and interviews with customers and users.

Coming soon to the OvidSP Resource Center will be screenshots, an updated training schedule, Frequently Asked Questions, and more. Be sure to contact your Ovid Account Representative or support@ovid.com with any questions.

Regards,

Wolters Kluwer Health – Ovid


©2008 Ovid Technologies

Eerder schreef ik dat OVID mij RSI bezorgde, omdat ik teveel moest scrollen bij langdurige searches. Er staat een enorme “OVIDSP TIP” hinderlijk in de weg en de zoekregel staat te ver van de laatste search.

Vrijdag besloot ik eindelijk om OVID’s klantenservice te mailen. Of ze niet de tip weg konden halen en iets aan de plaatsing van zoekgeschiedenis en de zoekregel konden doen (ik verwees daarbij naar mijn blog).

Diezelfde dag nog kreeg ik antwoord van een zeer attente mijnheer van de helpdesk (die getuige latere correspondentie ook inhoudelijk het een en ander weet). Hij schreef:

“I am really sorry but we can not remove the Tip box. However the interface is going to change next week, the search history box will be more customizable.”

YES!
Laat de OVIDsp-TIP maar even zitten (voor nu).
Erg goed dat OVID zijn gebruikers serieus neemt. Ze doen tenminste wat met de feedback! De aanpassingen zijn echt een stap vooruit. Bedankt, OVID!

De officiele aankondiging van OVID staat hierboven. U kunt ook deze link volgen.

Belangrijkste punten:

  • Je kunt naar wens de zoekgeschiedenis boven of onder de zoekbalk plaatsen en de searches in opklimmende of dalende volgorde plaatsen. Deze flexibiliteit lost mijn probleem dus al grotendeels op!
  • Je kunt de “Search Aid” in- of uitklappen.
  • De “Results Manager” staat nu zowel boven als onder de zoekresultaten en kunnen ook weer ingeklapt worden. Hierdoor hoef je ook weer minder te scrollen als je iets met de resultaten wilt doen.

Tussen 2 haakjes: De nieuwe OvidSP version 2.0 staat VANDAAG op de planning, niet 31 juli

Wil je vertrouwd raken met de laatste versie van OvidSP dan kun je je opgeven voor 1 van de 20 (!) online (webex) trainingen via deze link.





PubMed Search Clinic on ATM, Citation Sensor, Advanced Search: Video available.

21 07 2008

The video from the online Search clinic on recent PubMed changes, announced in a previous post is now available at: nlm.nih.gov (pmupdate08): click here.

Direct link to the video only: https://webmeeting.nih.gov/p91519064/

A good coverage is given by Michelle Kraft (Krafty Librarian) at her site (click here).

The clinic, presented by Katherine Majewski, updated recent changes to PubMed, earlier described at the NLM information bulletins on the new ATM and the Beta Advanced Search page.
Recent changes have also been amply described (and discussed) at several of my previous posts, most notably this one.

Here is an overview, with emphasis on new aspects (at least to me).

Citation Sensor:

In the clinic the citation sensor was defined as: “a new feature designed for users seeking specific citations”. However it is not a separate search box. The citation sensor works automatically when you type words into the general search bar. If combination of words are recognized as representing citations (e.g. volume numbers, author names, journal titles) the matches are displayed in a yellow box above the retrieval.

In my previous post I already discussed that the sensor doesn’t always work perfectly and like Krafty, I think that the Single Citation Matcher (in the blue side bar) performs better. It suggests author and journal titles as you write them. Furthermore, you can just fill in the specific information you know in specific fields, i.e. if the author name is misspelled/wrong, it often suffices to fill in year, page number and title word(s), to name just one possible combination. In response to a question, Majewski said the sensor is not an advantage per se as opposed to the Single Citation Matcher. Probably it is just handy for people used to a Google-like way of searching.

One thing new to me was that there are two “Details” when performing a search.

When you type: choi blood 2008, the citation sensor finds 6 hits, 3 of them shown in the yellow box.
The Details button shows: choi[All Fields] AND (“blood”[Subheading] OR “blood”[All Fields] OR “blood”[MeSH Terms]) AND 2008[All Fields].

However when you click 6 articles to see them all, the Details button shows how the citation sensor has translated the search in: choi[Author] AND (blood[Author] OR “Blood”[Journal]) AND 2008[Publication Date]

Thus in fact the search is translated twice (although the citation sensor-results are always a subset of the full results). If you click on 6 articles, the 2nd translation appears as a 2nd search in the Search History.

ATM – Automatic Term Mapping.

ATM has been changed in conjunction with the citation sensor in order to identify queries that contain citation-type information. The old ATM mapped search terms to subject, journal, and author tables in that order. If a MeSH-match was found, PubMed would search for that MeSH as well the user-input as a textword (title, abstract). Automatic term mapping would then stop because it found a match with MeSH. Thus terms that are not only in the MeSH but also in the author or journal table would have been missed, such as in Burns Laryngoscope 2005. The old ATM would map Burns and Laryngoscope as MeSH (subject-search), but the new ATM also searches these terms in ‘all fields’, thus enabling the retrieval of the paper of Burns in Laryngoscope.
In the Q & A part of the session Majewski advised to use qualifiers as MeSH when Burns is searched just as a topic. I only wonder if/how most of the untrained people would find this out.

Another consequence, not really addressed here, is that multi-term words are split and searched individually. With the new ATM, gene therapy is not only searched as the phrase gene therapy (as MeSH-term and textword) but also as ”gene”[All Fields] AND “therapy”[All Fields], which leads to a far greater retrieval (almost 250%). Few of these extra hits are relevant. (see previous post)

Statistics, however, show that the thousands (‘real’) queries performed returned only 10% extra hits on average (see ATM-FAQ for more information). According to NLM, the enhanced ATM and citation sensor have considerably improved searching PubMed. Probably because most people just come to PubMed to search a specific paper or subject (running one or two search commands). The new features enhance citation searches, while subject searches do not suffer too much as long as multiple terms (concepts) are used, as this will filter much of the noise seen with one term (because the term is searched within the context of the other word).

My remark that most of my patrons do do subject searches was interpreted as “do do broad searches“. Which in effect they do (i.e. searches for systematic reviews), but I do not think the suggested NCBI books might be very helpful to them, although it might indeed serve those people (patients?) that want information about broad subjects like “burns”. Perhaps PubMed/NCBI can offer subject searchers other tools as well.

Notably, based on user input there are now (as of July 2nd) some exceptions to the new ATM-rule:
Substance names (such as ferrous glucanate) and
MeSH with stand alone letters or numbers (like complement factor B) will not be broken apart, but searched as a phrase.

Advanced Search (Beta-version)
Advanced Search is amply discussed in a previous post. However, I didn’t mention that the page consists of 4 collapsible boxes beneath the Search Bar (I missed this: you have to click a small minus sign at the upper left of each box in order to collapse.) In essence you can search by many fields, the default fields displayed being Author, Journal, and Publication Date (box2) and all fields (box 4). There is an index for each selected field available (little buttons right of the search boxes). I see no other difference between box 2 and 4 than the defaulted field and the fact that you can only make multiple choices from the index in box 4. Answering a question in the audience Majewski said they might consider allowing multiple choices in box 2 as well.
Box 3 shows limit-options, much the same as the Limit-tab in the usual frontpage, except that you can unlock your limits to future searches using the lock icon (by defaulted limits are carried to future searches).

Thus again this new ‘enhancement’ mainly facilitates citation searches, not subject searches. Clinical Queries are absent and it is for instance not possible to look up any MeSH other than by index, and even this often goes wrong with multi-word terms. The question why MeSH-trees were unavailable in the beta-version remained unanswered at the clinic.
It was a relief though to hear that there were no intentions to replace the normal PubMed frontpage by this advanced search page in due course.

Katherine Majewski ended the clinic by saying that answers to the questions posed during the clinic would be shown at this NLM-page later. She also encouraged to give positive and negative feecback by writing to the NLM customer service and to be as specific as possible if your search was negatively affected by the recent PubMed changes.

——————————-

NL flag NL vlag

De video van de PubMed Search Clinic, die ik in een eerder bericht aankondigde is nu te zien op: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/disted/clinics/pmupdate08.html.

Directe link naar de video: klik hier

Michelle Kraft (Krafty Librarian) heeft de clinic al goed op haar blog samengevat.

De webpresentatie, gegeven door Katherine Majewski, behandelde de recente PubMed-veranderingen, zoals aangekondigd in de NLM informatiebulletins (gewijzigde ATM-mapping resp. Beta Advanced Search)
Eerder heb ik deze veranderingen ook al uitgebreid beschreven en becommentarieerd. (zie bijv. hier).

Hier een samenvatting, met nadruk op nieuwe aspecten

Citation Sensor:

In de webpresentatie werd de “citation sensor” omschreven als: “a new feature designed for users seeking specific citations”. Het is echter geen aparte zoekoptie. De citation sensor doet zijn werk automatisch als je woorden in de algemene zoekbalk typt. De als citaties herkende hits worden apart op een gele achtergrond getoond.

Eerder heb ik al opgemerkt dat de sensor niet altijd goed werkt en evenals Krafty denk ik dat de Single Citation Matcher (in the blauwe balk) veel beter werkt. Deze geeft nl. woordsuggesties terwijl je typt en je kunt elke mogelijke informatie specifiek invullen. Weet je een auteur niet dan kun je vaak volstaan met jaar, paginanummer en titelwoorden, om maar één combinatie te noemen. Volgens Majewski is de sensor ook niet perse beter. Waarschijnlijk is het vooral handig voor mensen die gewend zijn aan een Google-zoekwijze en die verder weinig weten van PubMed. Zelf zou ik toch wel graag willen dat je de citation sensor naar believen aan of uit kon zetten.

Ik zag nu pas voor het eerst dat je 2 “Details” hebt, als de citatie-sensor iets mapt.

Typ je: choi blood 2008, dan vindt de sensor 6 hits en toont er 3.
Onder Details is te zien dat Pubmed de search vertaald als: choi[All Fields] AND (“blood”[Subheading] OR “blood”[All Fields] OR “blood”[MeSH Terms]) AND 2008[All Fields].

Als je op 6 articles klikt om ze allemaal te zien, staat onder Details hoe de citatie-sensor de search vertaald heeft: choi[Author] AND (blood[Author] OR “Blood”[Journal]) AND 2008[Publication Date]

Dus, er zijn eigenlijk 2 ‘vertaalslagen’ Als je op 6 articles klikt dan verschijnt de 2e mapping als een zoekset in the zoekgeschiedenis.


ATM – Automatic Term Mapping.

ATM is evenals de citatie-sensor ontwikkeld aangepast om zoekacties gericht op het vinden van artikelen te vergemakkelijken. De oude ATM stopte met het zoeken van termen in de MeSH-, auteurs- en tijdschriftenlijst als een passende MeSH was gevonden. Tevens werd het ingetypte woord als tekstwoord gezocht. Met als gevolg dat termen die zowel in de MeSH- als in de auteurs- of tijdschriftenlijst voorkwamen nooit anders dan als MeSH (en tekstwoord) werden gezocht. Met Burns Laryngoscope 2005 zou dus nooit het artikel van Burns in Laryngoscope zijn gevonden. Met de nieuwe ATM lukt dat wel.
Majewski adviseerde om veldenaanduidingen (qualifiers). zoals MeSH te gebruikenals je op een onder onderwerp zoals ‘Burns’ wilt zoeken. Dan vraag je je wel af in hoeverre de gemiddelde Pubmed -gebruiker dit weet.

Tijdens de sessie werd niet echt aangekaart dat termen die uit meerdere woorden bestaan worden opgesplitst en in alle velden worden gezocht. Eerder heb ik al laten zien dat bij de nieuwe ATM 2,5 x meer hits oplevert met een term als gen therapie en dat de meeste van deze hits weinig relevant zijn.

Volgens de NLM statistieken leiden echte zoekacties gemiddels slechts to 10% extra hits (zie ATM-FAQ voor meer info) en zijn zoekacties door de vernieuwingen aanzienlijk verbeterd . Waarschijnlijk omdat de meeste mensen alleen maar snel even iets opzoeken (1-2 zoekopdrachten) en vooral geinteresseerd zijn in specifieke artikelen. Wat dat levert het intypen van wat termen in de zoekbalk nu eerder wat op, en zolang je veel termen met elkaar combineert heb ik ook niet veel last van veel ruis bij het zoeken op onderwerp. Maar ik ben zeker niet overtuigd dat dit het zoeken op onderwerp verbetert.

Mijn opmerking dat mijn klanten vooral op onderwerp zoeken werd opgevat als dat ze vooral breed zoeken. Nu is dat wel zo, maar ik denk niet dat zij veel aan suggesties hebben als NCBI-books. Dit lijkt me wel geschikt voor mensen die zich globaal willen inlezen in een onderwerp als brandwonden (burns), patienten bijvoorbeeld. Misschien heeft PubMed/NCBI wel nog andere tools voor uitputtende searches in het verschiet….

Op basis van gebruikersfeedback zijn er vanaf 2 Juli wel enkele uitzonderingen op de nieuwe ATM-regel, t.w.:
Substance names (zoals ferrous glucanate) en
MeSH with losstaande letters en cijfers worden niet langer opgesplitst, maar als phrase gezocht.

Advanced Search (Beta-versie)
Advanced Search heb ik ook eerder uitgebreid besproken (zie hier). Wat ik nu pas bemerk, is dat de velden onder de zoekregel in-en uitklapbaar zijn. Er is een miniscuul min tekentje helemaal linksboven elk veld, waar je op moet klikken om het veld te verkleinen.

De essentie van advanced search is dat je veel verschillende velden kunt doorzoeken, maar dat de standaard velden weer citatie-gericht zijn, dus: Author, Journal, and Publication Date (veld 2) en All Fields (veld 4). Je kunt termen voor elk gekozen veld opzoeken in een index (klein knopje rechts). Ik zie eigenlijk geen verschil tussen veld 2 en 4, behalve dan het standaard veld en het feit dat je in het 4e veld verschillende termen tegelijk kunt aanklikken. Mogelijk komt deze optie ook voor veld 2.
In veld 3 kun je limieten aanklikken, eigenlijk erg vergelijkbaar met de Limit-Tab op de PubMed openingspagina. Wel prettig dat je een limiet desgewenst alleen gedurende één zoekactie kunt toepassen (default: blijft alle zoekacties aanstaan).

Dus ook advanced search beta is vooral ten dienste van degene die bepaalde artikelen zoekt. Je kunt bijvoorbeeld alleen maar de MeSH in de index opzoeken en er zijn geen Clinical Queries. De vraag waarom De MeSH-hierarchie niet geraagdpleegd kon worden vanuit bleef onbeantwoord.
Het was wel een pak van mijn hart, dat het volgens Majewski niet de bedoeling was dat de Advanced Search de normale openingspagina op termijn zou vervangen.

Katherine Majewski beeindigde de sessie met de mededeling dat antwoorden op gestelde vragen later op deze pagina zou verschijnen.

Ze verzocht iedereen ook hun eventuele problemen met de veranderingen zo specifiek mogelijk aan de help desk door te geven.