Webicina Presents: PeRSSonalized Medical Librarianship: Selected Blogs, News, Journals and More

13 08 2010

One and a half-year ago I wrote about PeRSSonalized Medicine, developed by Bertalan Mesko or Berci. It is part of Webicina, which “aims to help physicians and other healthcare people to enter the web 2.0 era with quality medical information and selected online medical resources”.

The RSS in PeRSSonalized Medicine stands for Real Simple Syndication, which is a format for delivering regularly changing web content, i.e. from Journals. However, if you use PeRSSonalized Medicine, you don’t need to have a clue what RSS is all about. It is easy to use and you can personalize it (hence the name)

In the previous post I discussed several alternatives of PeRSSonalized Medicine. You can never tell how a new idea, or project or a new business will develop. We have seen Clinical Reader come and disappear. PeRSSonalized Medicine however really boomed. Why? Because it is free, because it has an altruistic goal (facilitate instead of earning money), because users are involved in the development and because it keeps evolving on basis of feedback.

PeRSSonalized Medicine develops fast. There is not a week that I don’t see a new section: Nephrology, Genetics, Diabetes whatever.

And this week tada tada tada … it is the turn of the Medical Librarianship, with Journals, Blogs, News and Web 2.0 tools. Please have a look yourself. You can personalize it at wish, and if you miss something, please mail to Webicina.

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Beware of Top 50 “Great Tools to Double Check your Doctor” or whatever Lists.

1 09 2009

Just the other week I wrote a post “Vanity is the Quicksand of Reasoning: Beware of Top 100 and 50 lists!”

In short this post describes that (some) Top 100 etc lists may not be as useful or innocent as they seem. Some of these lists are created by real scam-sites, who’s only goal is to make money via click-troughs and to get as much traffic as possible, via YOU (and me)!

The scam appears in many guises.

  1. As submissions for a  blog carnival, i.e. 100-weight-loss-tips-tricks.
  2. An offer of a health care student who asks you to do a guest post (you only have to link back to his/her site).
  3. In the form of a mail, dropping you a quick line that you’re included in a top 100 list, possibly worth mentioning to your audience.
  4. You just noticed a top 100 list with excellent sites, worth mentioning on Twitter or Friendfeed, so your followers become aware of the sites and pass the message.

The first two are pretty obvious scam. The latter two are more difficult to see through.

Why do I write another post? Because it happened again, today. And I think I should bring the message home more clearly.

Below you see what happens. Berci has found a list with 50 great tools to “Double check your Doctor”. He tweets the link to what he considers a great resource list, and in no time the message and the link are tweeted several times. Some people also post a link on their blog.

  1. Bertalan Meskó
    Berci 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  2. Liza Sisler
    lizasisler Good resource list RT @Berci 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  3. Bart Collet
    bart RT @Berci: 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  4. Guy Therrien
    gtherrien RT @bart: 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor – Online Nursing Classes http://ff.im/-7q9pK
  5. zorgbeheer
    zorgbeheer DELI 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor – Online Nursing Classes: You probably know that Googling yo.. http://bit.ly/n1NXc
  6. ekettell
    ekettell RT@Berci 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  7. Robert L. Oakes
    RobertLOakes RT @Berci: 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA (via @ahier)
  8. dr. Horváth Tamás
    ENTHouse RT @Berci 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  9. Sagar Satapathy
    sagar13d 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor. URL: http://tinyurl.com/mlmf47

this quote was brought to you by quoteurl

Finally this will result in more traffic to the website onlinenursingclasses and a higher rank in Google.

Indeed 12 hours after Berci’s tweet, searching for “50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor” (between quotes) gives just 21 hits (similar hits not shown), many of which can be traced back to the twitter posts.
All but one are positive: the last hit is my warning, which was only received by ahier and TheSofa. Ahier deleted his original positive tweet from Twitter.

Also worrying is that the spam site was bookmarked by various Stumble upon visitors. And that the one person that made the Stumble upon review also “liked” similar sites, like Online Classes and Learn Gasms. So probably a whole team takes care that the site is socially bookmarked. When several people “like” a site others may be attracted to the site as well. That is the principle of social bookmarking sites. And you and I do the rest….

1-9-2009 0-55-13 Google results 50 great tools

Why is this bad? You can read more in my previous post or in the post “Affiliate sites” at Ellie ❤ Libraries.
In addition, Shamsha brought another post to my attention, again from a librarian:

Top 100 Librarian Friendfeeds to follow at cheapie online degrees com at Tame the Web.com.

which refers to

http://www.librarian.net/stax/2970/why-i-dont-accept-guest-posts-from-spammers-or-link-to-them/

Tame the web gives some very good advice

I sometimes see other libloggers linking to sites like these and I have a word of advice: don’t. When we link to low-content sites from our high-content sites, we are telling Google and everyone that we think that the site we are linking to is in some way authoritative, even if we’re saying they’re dirty scammers. We’re helping their page rank and we’re slowly, infinitesimally almost, decreasing the value of Google and polluting the Internet pool in which we frequently swim. Don’t link to spammers.

How do you know that you can’t trust that particular site?

Well here are some features I’ve noticed (for the spam sites in “my”field)

  • All the sites that publicized such list were educational, mostly directed at nurses or other health practitioners. Some even end at org. Examples:
    • nursingschools.net
    • associatedegree.org
    • rncentral.com
    • Learn-gasm
    • onlineclasses.org
    • onlinenursepractitionerschools.com
    • searchenginecollege.com
    • collegedegree.com
    • ultrasoundtechnicianschools.org
    • phlebotomytechnicianschools.com
    • MiracleFruitPlus.com.
  • All sites have a Quick-degree, nursing degree, technician school etc finder. Mostly it is the only information at the ABOUT-section (?!)
  • The home page often contains prominent links (clicks) to Kaplan University, University of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University, and/or others.
  • People behind the site often approach you actively (below are some examples) to gain your interest.
  • It is unclear how the lists are made and who is behind it.
  • There is no real information, only lists and degree finders.

So spread the word! Be careful with those list. DON’T LINK TO THEM! And if you see a possible interesting list, first CHECK the site: WHO, WHY, WHAT, WHERE AND WHEN. Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all!

31-8-2009 21-23-07 online nursing

The degree finder at the about page

1-9-2009 1-32-11 about 100 list

Prominent links to some Universities

1-9-2009 2-30-23 universities online nursing

An example of a letter drawing your attention to a list

1-9-2009 2-56-49 hi we just posted an articleAn example of a letter asking to write a guest post.

31-8-2009 23-56-03 guest post

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Vanity is the Quicksand of Reasoning: Beware of Top 100 and 50 lists!

26 08 2009

During the weekend I added some links to sites referring to this blog in the sidebar. There was the 3rd place in the Medgadget competition for the Best New Medical Weblog in 2008,  a nice critique by Danielle Worster (the Health Informaticist) in the “Library + Information Gazette”, the inclusion in the Dutch Twitterguide and a place in the Top 50 Health 2.0 Blogs list of RNCentral (”the place to learn about nursing online”) in 2008.

And recently I was included in another ranking lists, to which I was alerted by a personal email of Amber, saying:

Hi,

We just posted an article, “100 Useful Websites for Medical Librarians” (http://http://www.nursingschools.net/blog/2009/100-useful-websites-for-medical-librarians/). I thought I’d drop a quick line and let you know in case you thought it was something you’re audience would be interested in reading. Thanks!

Both the RNCentral and the nursingschools.net lists are subjective ranking list of useful sites on nurses-oriented webpages. And although subjective, they contain numerous excellent and trustworthy sites. I was honored and pleased that I was included in those lists together with the Krafty Librarian, David Rothman, the MLA, the NIH, and NLM.

In all fairness, there are also many list (in fact far more such lists) that do not include me. I remember that there was a list of 100 top librarians with quite a number of Australians and no @laikas. I found one post at Lucacept – intercepting the web saying:

BestCollegesonline.com has posted a list of the Top 100 Librarian Tweeters and I’m honoured to say I appear on the list. In fact, there are five Australian Librarians who made it on the list. The other four were heyjudeonline, neerav, bookjewel, gonty.

Unfortunately, they didn’t include Kathryn Greenhill, an amazing librarian who is currently in the US and putting out some very helpful tweets from conferences she is attending while there. She is sirexkathryn on Twitter.

Other great Teacher-Librarians to follow include …..

Check out the list and see who else is there you might like to follow. I know that my professional learning has benefited from the generous nature of Librarians who are active on Twitter.

This shows that people are pretty serious about those lists and sensitive to who is included or not.
There were some mild protests from a few people on Twitter, i.e. from Shamsha here (RT means you repost a tweet, so @shamsha retweets my retweet of @philbradley‘s tweet of the bestcollegesonline list) and from @BiteTheDust (here) regarding @laikas’  omission from the list. However, I’m sure there were many others studying the top 25, 50 or 100 lists with a frown. But wouldn’t any list look different?

25-8-2009 13-32-32 shamsha

25-8-2009 17-40-09 bitethedust

Apparently it concerns the same bestcollegesonline.com-list as referred to by Lucacept.

Back in April there was also a Top 50 Librarian Blogs- list published at the getdegrees.com. This provoked a blogpost from the UK-blog Cultural Heritage ” Top 50 (insert topic of choice here). Quote:

The colleague who alerted me to this noted that all of the blogs listed were published by librarians in the US and wondered whether we should be doing our own list of top UK librarian blogs. Further, she wondered, if we did, who would we be putting at the top and why?

Who (are on the list)? and Why? Those are good questions!

This reminded me of a recent remark of @aarontay on Twitter, He sighed something like. “Now I’ve seen 3 of those list. Who makes those lists anyway?” That is a 3rd relevant question.

I couldn’t find @aarontay’s original Tweet (Booh!, these are not archived), but here is a message I found on FriendFeed:

25-8-2009 14-31-57 aarontay 3 lists

Friendfeed not only keeps the messages but also shows the comments. Apparently Ellie (from Ellie ❤ Libraries) found evidence that such sites were dodgy as @aarontay had suggested. Some quotes from her post:

Both this site (http://associatedegree.org) and Learn-gasm – who has the top 100 blogs post going around currently (www. bachelorsdegreeonline. com) are sites designed solely to earn revenue through click-throughs.

The “bachelorsdegreeonline” at the end is a tracking mechanism to allow collegedegrees.com to reward sites that send them visitors.
While all the schools linked to are legitimate schools, both are misleading sites since they only link to schools that offer an affiliate kickback. They also only link to forms to enter your contact information at third party sites, not to the actual school websites.

While the content of the top 100 blogs and 25 predictions lists is completely non-objectionable, the fact that librarians are taking these sites seriously is.

What the author is doing is trying to increase his traffic and SEO. He likely does some minimal investigation to determine what sites would have the biggest impact – so in that sense, the lists are probably somewhat representational of influential sites – like I said, the content isn’t the objectional part. He creates the page with the links to the 100 top whatever, then emails all of them to let them know they’re on the list. Every one of them that posts that they’ve made a top 100 list and links back to him increases his site’s page ranking. The more important your site is, the more it helps him, both in search engine algorithm terms (being linked to by someplace important counts for more than being linked to from less popular sites) and because it brings him more incoming traffic. Which also increases his site’s page ranking (and the chance of someone clicking through in a way that gets him paid).

…But, this particular little batch of sites that is currently targeting higher education – they are ones that are ostensibly trying to help people find colleges, choose degrees, etc., when in fact they are only linking to forms to enter your contact information for a small subset of online only colleges that offer affiliate linking programs.

…on the surface they seem related to education, some have .org addresses, but when we start looking at them critically they fail every test easily – no about page (or at least nothing informative on it), unauthored posts,  little to no original content. One of the main components of being a librarian is teaching people to think critically about information, so when we fail to do so ourselves I find it incredibly frustrating.

O.k. that hit the mark.

A good look at the sites that linked to my blog showed they were essentially the same as those mentioned by @aarontay and Ellie. With links to the same schools.

Vanity or naivety, I don’t know. I didn’t pay much attention, but I still (wanted to) quot(ed) them and didn’t doubt their intentions. Nor did I question Clinical Reader’s intentions at first (see previous post).
In some respect I really dislike to be so suspicious. But apparently you have to.
So, I hope you learned from this as well. Please be careful. Don’t link to such sites and/or remove the links from your blog.

Vanity is the quicksand of reason George Sand quotes (French Romantic writer, 1804-1876)


Top 50 Health 2.0 Blogs list
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Stories 3. Science or Library Work: what is more rewarding?

20 04 2009

2267526122_f4376fc6bfAmy Tenderich of Diabetesmine, will celebrate her birthday at the very same day as she hosts the next Grand Round. She has therefore chosen a very appropriate theme (see announcement):

I’m favoring any and all posts having to do with birthdays and special occasions – or anything that smacks of serendipity, perks, or gifts related to the work you all do.

First of all I would like to congratulate Amy on her birthday.

I have been hesitating whether I should contribute to this round. It is not an easy subject and a bit out of scope. However, thinking about it, many ideas came up and it even became difficult to choose one. But here it is. It is even the first post in a series: STORIES, a selection of personal stories.

Most of you will know that I’m a medical librarian by profession, but a medical biologist by education. Many years I worked as a scientist, with mice, patients, cells, DNA and proteins.3419163183_91968b96d6

I was an avid scientist. My motivation was to unravel mechanisms and understand life. I liked to ask questions: “why is this? why do I find that? how does it work?” The greatest reward you can get is: looking for explanations and finding the answer to a question. Thinking about it and discussing it with others is exciting.The more difficult a question is, the more rewarding it is to find the answer. The gift that science gives you is science itself.

In those twenty years I did have my little successes. I had a press conference at a congress (1) (because it was the only subject that was understandable for the public) and I had two papers that were frequently cited (2).

The finding that gave rise to those two publications was very serendipitous. We found a very tiny band in B cells that were used as a negative (!) control for follicular lymphoma in a PCR for the t(14;18) chromosomal translocation. This translocation is considered the hallmark of this type of B-cell cancer. If this was true, it would mean that the lymphoma-associated t(14;18) involving the BCL2 oncogene could also occur outside the context of malignancy. My task was to prove that this was true. This was not an easy task, because we had to exclude that the tiny bands in the tonsils were due to contamination with exponentially amplified tumor DNA. A lot of tricks were needed to enable direct sequencing of the tonsil DNA to show that each chromosomal breakpoint was unique. To be honest, there were quite some moments of despair and most of the time I believed I was hunting ghosts. Certainly when the first band I sequenced was from a contaminating tumor. But finally we succeeded.

And although science can be very rewarding:

  • Most ideas aren’t that new.
  • There are many dead leads and negative results (see cartoon).
  • Experiments can fail.
  • There is a lot of competition
  • It takes very long before you get results (depending on the type of experiment)
  • It takes even longer before you get enough results to publish
  • It takes still longer before you have written down the first version of the paper
  • … and to wait for the first comments of the co-authors (see cartoon)
  • … and to rewrite the paper and to wait …
  • … and to submit to the journal and wait..
  • … to get the first rejection, because your paper didn’t get a high enough priority
  • and to rewrite, wait for the comments of the co-authors, adapt and submit
  • to be rejected for the second time by referees that don’t understand a bit of your subject or are competitors
  • to rewrite etcetera, till it is accepted…and published
  • to wait till somebody other than you or your co-authors find the paper relevant enough to cite.
  • but most importantly even with very good results that make you feel very happy and content:
    • each answer raises more questions
    • most research, whatever brilliant, is just a drop in the ocean or worse:
    • it gets invalidated

I loved to do research and I loved to be a researcher. However, it is difficult for post-doc to keep finding a job and wait for the contract renewals each year. So almost 4 years ago, just before another renewal of the contract, I was happy to get the opportunity to become a medical librarian at a place not far from where I lived. In fact, after all these years it is my first permanent job.

And it is a far more rewarding job than I ever had before, although perhaps not as challenging as research.

  • Results are more immediate.
  • Answers are clearcut (well mostly)
  • People (doctors, nurses, students) are very happy when you learn them how to search (well generally)
  • they are also happy when you do the search for them
  • or when you help them doing it
  • It is very rewarding to develop courses, to teach, to educate
  • the job has many facets

The rewards can vary from a happy smile, a hand shake and “a thank you” to acknowledgments and even co-authorships in papers. Sometimes I even get tangible presents, like chocolates, cookies, wine or gift tokens.

Last week a patron suddenly said when seeing the presents gathered: “Is it your birthday?”
Presumably it is about time to drink the wine I got.Cheers!

2717145005_0546fa0755

Photo credits (Flickr-CC):





A New Blog Carnival: Medlib’s Round

13 01 2009

I’ve participated in several Blog Carnivals in the field of Medicine (and hence called Grand Round). i.e. The Grand Round, the Dutch Grand Round (i.e. see here), and SurgeXperiences. Blog Carnivals are a regular compilation of the “best blogs in a certain area”, hosted by a different blogger each time.

I enjoy participating in a Grand Round, either as submitter or as hosts, and being a medical librarian, I asked myself, why aren’t there any medical blog carnivals around?

Participating in a blog carnival is easy and informative. Why should medical librarians do this? Because you get a quick overview of the best posts in the field of medical librarianship, you learn to know other librarians, you keep well informed about what is going on and you generate traffic to your site (both as a host and a submitter).

Finally librarians not having a blog or people not being medical librarians (health 2.0, web 2.0 people, doctors) might also be interested in getting a quick overview of a field that has their interest.

These are the facts/rules:

  • The Blog Carnival’s name is Medlib’s Round. Please let me now if you have a more original carnival title.
  • For the time being it is a once-monthly Grand Round. The publications are on Tuesday, the submissions are due at Saturdays 00.00 (Dutch Time), or 18.00 EST.
  • All submissions and the Grand Round itself should be written (at least partially) in English.
  • Whether there is a theme or not is up to the host. The advice though is not to be too strict and give a nice compilation.
  • The host posts a call for submissions as early as possible at his or her blog.
  • The schedule and the archive are listed on Laika’s Medliblog on a separate page here.
  • You can submit your post (the permalink) to the blog carnival here or mail the next host before the deadline
    .
  • The first Grand Round (deadline February 7th) is at my place: Laika’s MedLibLog. The theme is rather loose: write about a subject that is close to your heart, whether it is about your patrons, education, PubMed, twitter …. whatever you find important.

What should you do now?

  • Tell me whether you like the idea or not and whether you want to join.
  • Write a post and submit it here (preferred) or mail me at laika dot spoetnik at gmail dot com. laika.spoetnik@gmail.com
  • Tell me whether you want to host a next edition: March*, April, May or June. (comment, mail,twitter)!!
  • Inform others that a Medlibrarian Grand Round is in the making.

Added:

We have a host for the March edition: Dragonfly. Thanks @aldricham

** For schedule see: medlibs-archive

*** Several librarians asked for a more extensive description. I will post this soon.







MLA 2008 – Poster Session I – Tour

22 05 2008

A singing and swinging start of the MLA-2008.

Take a tour of the 5/18/2008 poster session……

See many interesting posters, subjects, people … at a glance.

Tastes like more…. Hawaii, next year?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “MLA 2008 – Poster Session I – Tour“, posted with vodpod

Video made by one of the official MLA bloggers, David Rothman (http://davidrothman.net/)

Directly posted to my blog via Vodpod, a new button I installed last night (hope it works, if not, try the original video on David Rothman’s blog-post or on vimeo.