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Archive for 2014

Evolution of a Search: The Use of Dynamic Twitter Searches During Superstorm Sandy

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

PLOS: Currents: Disasters, September 26, 2014

This research article, co-authored by National Institutes of Health librarian Alicia Livinski, is an example of collaboration between a library and public health agency developing search strategies to organize and monitor the vast array of information sent out via Twitter during a disaster.

Elegantly Simple Evaluation: Talking to Health Care Providers about Patient Health Literacy

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

By Yawar Ali and Cindy Olney

As the child of a physician living in South Texas, I’ve witnessed a deficiency of health literacy in patients. I volunteered in my dad’s clinic over spring break. I also participated on a medical relief trip with my father to a nonprofit charitable hospital in Pakistan. At both places, I witnessed difficulty in patient health literacy. – Yawar Ali

 In June 2014, Yawar Ali, a rising junior from the South Texas High School for Health Professions, taught physicians and physician assistants in his father’s medical clinics about patient health literacy. He also introduced them to MedlinePlus as an important tool for their patients. Yawar evaluated his project and discovered valuable insight that helped him improve the impact of his project.

Yawar conducted this health information outreach project as an internship offered through the  ¡VIVA! (Vital Information for a Virtual Age) project.  ¡VIVA! is a high school-based initiative in which students are trained to promote MedlinePlus to their classmates, teachers, families, and community members.  It is a student organization led by librarians of the South Texas Independent School District, located in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) funds the project.

He developed his presentation using health literacy materials available through the Medical Library Association and presented to three doctors and three PAs.  He taught them seven steps for addressing low patient health literacy and introduced them to MedlinePlus.

Yawar incorporated elegantly simple evaluation techniques into his project. Right after the presentation, he asked participants to complete a short evaluation form, asking them how likely they were to use the steps and promote MedlinePlus to patients.  They all responded positively, indicating good intentions.

Two weeks after the training, Yawar visited all of the health care providers to conduct brief semi-structured interviews. He asked if they had tried the steps and collected their feedback on the techniques. He also checked to see if they had promoted MedlinePlus to their patients. With some persistence, he was able to conduct a complete interview with each participant.

The feedback he received is of interest to anyone hoping to initiate health information outreach in partnership with primary care clinics, particularly in medically underserved areas:

  • The majority of Yawar’s participants tried teach-back, open-ended questions, and other techniques with their patients; but they were conflicted because such techniques added time to patient appointments. This interfered with their ability to stick to their busy schedules.
  • The health care providers were impressed with MedlinePlus, but they had convenient access to print materials from a database (Healthwise) that was integrated with the clinic’s Electronic Health Records (EHR) system. Furthermore, it was easier to document that they were adhering to the meaningful use requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs when they got patient information from Healthwise.
  • While the Healthwise database was more convenient for the providers, they recognized that the print information they were providing was limited. They believed their patients could get more comprehensive information from MedlinePlus, but the clinicians did not have a convenient way to promote the resource.

Their feedback prompted a speedy response. The project team secured MedlinePlus brochures from NLM that Yawar delivered to the clinics. The fix was relatively simple, but critical. The team may have never known about this necessary adjustment without Yawar’s elegantly simple evaluation.

Credit:  Yawar and Cindy would like to thank ¡VIVA! project team members Lucy Hansen, Sara Reibman, and Ann Vickman, for their help on this project.

The ¡VIVA! project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, under Contract No. HHSN-276-2011-0007-C with the Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library.

EFTS Tip of the Week

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Did you know that EFTS can be used for charges other than Docline billing? You may want to collect fees for an overdue book or make payment for a subscription or any other fee based activity. As long as both libraries are in agreement that billing will be made via EFTS, you can enter data via the BUILD AN ONLINE TRANSACTION FILE and secure payment. Call our office for details… 866-561-5045.

Jola Sliwinski, EFTS Program Coordinator

866-561-5045 toll free

860-679-4561 direct

Job Ad: Knowledge Management Librarian, New York, NY

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

NYU Health Sciences Library welcomes applicants for the position of Knowledge Management Librarian, a faculty appointment in the NYU School of Medicine reporting to the library’s Associate Director for Research, Education, and Clinical Support.


The Knowledge Management Librarian will focus on research data management and knowledge support services throughout the NYU Langone Medical Center and with colleagues in allied areas across the university.


Data Management/Curation

  • Develop services and tools to promote and support research data management, access, and sharing
  • Develop outlets for and provide instruction on data management best practices through online modules, group, and individual instruction
  • Contribute as an integral part of a team in varied research data management activities and services

Liaison/Informationist Services

  • Provide dedicated knowledge support services to particular department(s)/unit(s) (to be determined) through the Library Liaison Program
  • Provide expert-level knowledge management assistance through Library online user support systems
  • Develop and curate subject- and discipline-specific research guides, as needed


  • Serve as key communication link between library users needs and IT/technical teams in the development and implementation of data and knowledge management solutions.
  • Serve on library teams, committees and/or task forces as appropriate
  • Serve on Medical Center committees and/or task forces as appropriate
  • Conduct and present appropriate library- and informatics-related research

Required Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in library/information science, informatics, computer science, or related fields
  • Working knowledge of and aptitude for technologies relevant to research, knowledge management, or other relevant biomedical areas
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, presentation, and instruction skills
  • Enthusiasm for working closely with varied users in a dynamic academic medical center environment
  • Adept at working in a highly collaboratively team environment
  • Flexible, intellectually curious, and willing and able to take initiative
  • Commitment to professional development and contributing to library/information science and biomedical informatics research

Preferred Qualifications

  • Advanced knowledge and skills in research data management
  • Experience analyzing, manipulating, or repurposing data with at least one programming language
  • Knowledge of metadata standards, ontologies, and common data elements
  • Experience with at least one of the following: Fedora repository, Drupal, UNIX environments, PHP/Perl programming, MySQL

How to Apply

Applicants should send a resume and letter of application to
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Job Ad: Science Data Librarian, State College, PA

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Science Data Librarian
The Pennsylvania State University Libraries

The Pennsylvania State University Libraries seek an innovative and enthusiastic librarian who is interested in providing informatics and data services across the science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields and who, together with their colleagues, will shape the future of library services in the STEM disciplines. This is a 12-month tenure-track position reporting to the Head of the Physical and Mathematical Sciences Library.  The Prystowsky Early Career Endowment accompanies the position for an initial three year period (with possibility of renewal for an additional three years) for those candidates within the first 10 years of their academic career. Funds from the endowment will be available to the successful candidate to support their research, teaching, professional travel expenses and other needs.

Successful candidates will benefit from the mentoring program developed by the University Libraries to support faculty in tenure-track appointments in fulfilling expectations in the areas of librarianship, research, and service.

Responsibilities: The Science Data Librarian will work collaboratively with their colleagues across the Libraries and in particular the other science libraries, centers, and institutes with the Eberly College of Science. For example, the Huck Institutes of Life Sciences, Statistical Consulting Center, Center for AstroStatistics. A complete list can be viewed at

  • Informatics and Data Services: Provide leadership and direction around data access and management in the sciences; Deliver expert data information advice and guidance to researchers and collaborate on the creation a suite of information services.
  • Liaison activities with assigned academic units: Develop collaborative partnerships with informatics researchers across disciplines, contributing expertise in information science and linked open data to research projects that leverage, mine and integrate bibliographic data and information systems.
  • Teaching, learning, and literacies: Create educational support systems for informatics and contribute to the science informatics curriculum; Design, deliver, and assess library-instructions programs to educate and inform faculty and students on scholarly communication issues such as open-access initiatives and digital publishing; Develop instructional programs and learning materials in a variety of formats, using instructional-design principles.
  • Reference and research: Provide reference assistance and research consulting for data access and management at all levels in person and in locations across Penn State.
  • Collections content and access: Develop and manage collections to support research and curricular needs of informatics researchers across the University; Collaborate with librarians in related subject areas and libraries/departments.
  • Research and Service:  Engage in research, scholarly publication, and professional service activities in areas appropriate to academic librarianship and the disciplines served.

Required Qualifications: Requires a Master of Library Science degree from an ALA-accredited institution (or equivalent); undergraduate degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) discipline; ability to work independently and collaboratively; potential to achieve the requirement for tenure and promotion in the areas of librarianship, research, and service; excellent oral and written communication and interpersonal skills; and be in the first ten years of an academic library career. Please visit to learn more about the University Libraries Promotion and Tenure Guidelines.
Preferred Qualifications: Advanced degree in a STEM discipline; certificate or equivalent in informatics; data curation experience, with a demonstrated understanding of issues and technical challenges, including format migration, preservation, metadata and data retrieval and use.

Environment: Penn State, a land-grant institution is a member of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a consortium of the Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago. Based on current Association for Research Libraries investment rankings, The Pennsylvania State University Libraries are ranked among the top ten research libraries in North America. A student survey completed in 2014 found overall student satisfaction with the University Libraries to be at the top of its category. The University Libraries hold membership in ARL, CRL, CLIR, and DLF. Collections exceed 5.8 million volumes and include more than 102,000 current serial subscriptions. The University Libraries are located at University Park and 22 other locations throughout Pennsylvania, and they serve approximately 6,000 faculty and 44,000 students at University Park, and more than 92,000 students system-wide.

The Eberly College of Science ( at Penn State is home to more than 3200 undergraduates and 777 graduate students in eight departments and programs. Each of the departments in the College are ranked highly with several being ranked in the top ten among universities nationwide.

The University Park campus is set in the State College metropolitan area, a university town located in central Pennsylvania. State College offers a vibrant community with outstanding recreational facilities, a low crime rate, and excellent public schools. The campus is within a half-day drive to Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, or Pittsburgh. The University Park Airport is served by three major carriers with flights to Washington, Philadelphia, and Detroit. For more information, please visit and

Compensation: Rank and salary are dependent upon qualifications and experience.  Fringe benefits include liberal vacation, excellent insurance and health care coverage, state or TIAA/CREF retirement options, and educational privileges.  In addition, faculty in the University Libraries are afforded funds for professional development travel annually.  Faculty may be asked to travel as official representatives of the Libraries to certain events and those trips are reimbursed at full cost within limits established by the University.

Applications and all supporting materials must be submitted online at  Interested candidates should upload a letter of application, resume or C.V., and the names and contact information of three professional references (including email addresses).   Please reference Box SDL-STS in your letter of application.  Review of applications will begin November 21, 2014 and continue until position is filled.  Questions may be addressed to Lindsey Harter, Faculty Search Coordinator, at


Employment requires successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies.

Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to minorities, women, veterans, disabled individuals, and other protected groups.

Helpful Ebola Resources

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

CDC Taking Active Steps Related to Hospital Preparedness for Ebola Treatment
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are taking steps to assist hospitals prepare for Ebola. This October 15, 2014 press release outlines the steps they are taking in response to health care workers in Dallas who have contracted Ebola:


Disaster Lit Updates and Recent CDC Webinar Recordings

The Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) at NLM continues to update documents, guidance tools, webinars, and more to the Disaster Lit Resource Guide for Disaster Medicine and Public Health.

Some people were unable to attend recent webinars, such as the CDC call on preparing for Ebola and the Johns Hopkins symposium webcast. The links to these and other recordings are in Disaster Lit as they become available:


Recording: Ebola Outbreak: Managing Health Information Resources

October 9, 2014

Speaker: Cindy Love, Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), National Library of Medicine (NLM

The recording of the webinar on managing health information resources for Ebola is now available online, along with the PowerPoint slides. In this webinar, Cindy Love, specialist in public health information management with the NLM, discussed the nature of information flow during an infectious disease outbreak, with a special focus on Ebola-related resources from the NLM:


Ebola Guidelines Included in Disaster Lit

A recent document from the American Hospital Association suggests “all hospitals and clinics to post … Ebola screening criteria prominently in locations where hospital staff – including intake, triage and clinical staff – can see it” (

Be proactive at your institution and provide guidelines in print and electronic form to those working with or preparing to work with Ebola patients. You can find these guidelines gathered in Disaster Lit using the search link below. You can refine by guideline source, year, or author:[]=13&searchTerms=%28ebola%20OR%20hemorrhagic%29

Here are examples of searches of Disaster Lit for guidelines by source:

A list of checklists from the CDC, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and others, is also available in Disaster Lit:

  1. Checklist for Patients Being Evaluated for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the United States

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Date Published: 10/01/2014

This one-page document is a checklist for patients being evaluated for Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the United States. Topics include arrival to clinical setting/triage, conducting a risk assessment for high-risk or low-risk exposures, use of personal protective equipment, and patient placement and care considerations.


Type: Guideline/Assessment Tool

  1. Ebola Preparedness for the U.S. Healthcare System

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)

Date Published: 09/29/2014

Format: Video or Multimedia

This one-hour webinar discusses a Detailed Hospital Checklist for Ebola Preparedness to highlight activities that all hospitals can take to prepare for the possibility of a patient exposed to Ebola arriving for medical care. The webinar is especially for hospital emergency managers, infection control officers, hospital leadership, and clinical staff. The checklist provides practical and specific suggestions to ensure hospitals are able to detect possible Ebola cases, protect employees, and respond appropriately. The webinar was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


  1. Checklist for Healthcare Coalitions for Ebola Preparedness

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Date Published: 09/26/2014

This four-page document is a checklist intended to enhance collective preparedness and response to the Ebola virus disease by highlighting key areas for U.S. healthcare coalitions to review in preparation for a person under investigation (PUI) for Ebola at a coalition member’s facility. The checklist provides practical and specific suggestions to ensure healthcare coalition members are able to detect possible Ebola cases, protect employees, and respond appropriately.


  1. Detailed Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Checklist for Ebola Preparedness

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Date Published: 09/26/2014

This six-page document is a checklist intended to enhance collective preparedness and response to possible Ebola and other infectious disease cases by highlighting key areas for emergency medical services (EMS) personnel to review in preparation for encountering and providing medical care to a person with Ebola. The checklist provides practical and specific suggestions to ensure the agency is able to help its personnel detect possible Ebola cases, protect those personnel, and respond appropriately.


  1. Template for Public Health Laboratory Risk Assessment for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Testing

Source: Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)

Date Published: 09/24/2014

This 13-page template is designed to assist laboratories in the development of their risk assessment for Ebola virus disease (EVD). It may not be an all-encompassing plan as each facility will have its own laboratory specific risk assessment procedures. It also includes checklists for chemical safety, emergency preparedness, documentation and training, waste management, engineering controls, and at-risk employees; and a laboratory specimens handling log.


Type: Guideline/Assessment Tool

  1. Health Care Facility Preparedness Checklist for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Date Published: 09/12/2014

This two-page document is a checklist that highlights some key areas for health care facilities to review in preparation for a person with Ebola virus disease (EVD) arriving for medical care. In this checklist, health care personnel refers to all persons, paid and unpaid, working in health care settings who have the potential for exposure to patients and/or to infectious materials, including body substances, contaminated medical supplies and equipment, contaminated environmental surfaces, or contaminated air.


  1. Health Care Provider Preparedness Checklist for Ebola Virus Disease

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Date Published: 09/12/2014

This two-page document is a checklist that highlights some key areas for health care providers to review in preparation for a person with Ebola virus disease (EVD) arriving for medical care. In this checklist, health care personnel refers to all persons, paid and unpaid, working in health care settings who have the potential for exposure to patients and/or to infectious materials, including blood and body fluids, contaminated medical supplies and equipment, and contaminated environmental surfaces.


Type: Guideline/Assessment Tool

  1. Detailed Hospital Checklist for Ebola Preparedness

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Date Published: 09/05/2014

This six-page checklist, developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, highlights key areas for hospital staff – especially hospital emergency management officers, infection control practitioners, and clinical practitioners – to review in preparation for a person with Ebola virus diseases arriving at a hospital for medical care. The checklist provides practical and specific suggestions to ensure a hospital is able to detect possible Ebola cases, protect employees, and respond appropriately.


Siobhan Champ-Blackwell


MedlinePlus Announcements and Special Features

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Director’s Comments: Enterovirus 68 Overview

Listen to the NLM Director’s Comments on “Enterovirus 68 Overview”. The transcript is also available.

As of this writing, four deaths may or may not be linked to the spread of enterovirus 68, a respiratory infection, which has been diagnosed mostly among children in more than 40 U.S. states. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 472 cases of enterovirus 68 in early October and noted the actual number of cases probably was higher…

Director’s Comments: Helping Smokers Quit

Listen to the NLM Director’s Comments on “Helping Smokers Quit”. The transcript is also available.

Hospital-discharged smokers (who received automated phone calls and a choice of free medications) stopped smoking more than peers (who received general smoking cessation advice and paid for a pre-selected medication), finds a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association

National Library of Medicine Resource Update: Drug Information Portal

Friday, October 10th, 2014

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Drug Information Portal is a free web resource that provides an informative, user–friendly gateway to current drug information for over 53,000 substances. The Portal links to sources from the NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies such as the U.S. FDA. Current information regarding consumer health, clinical trials, AIDS–related drug information, MeSH pharmacological actions, PubMed biomedical literature, and physical properties and structure is easily retrieved by searching a drug name. A varied selection of focused topics in medicine and drug–related information is also available from displayed subject headings.

The Drug Portal retrieves by the generic or trade name of a drug or its category of usage. Records provide a description of how the drug is used, its chemical structure and nomenclature, and include up to 20 Resource Locators which link to more information in other selected resources. Recent additions to these Locators include clinical experience with drugs in PubMed Health, substances reviewed in NLM’s LiverTox, information from the Dietary Supplement Label Database, and drug images in the Pillbox database. Data in the Drug Information Portal is updated daily, and is also available on mobile devices. More information is available from the Drug Information Portal Fact Sheet.

WISER for iOS Update

Friday, October 10th, 2014

WISER for iOS 3.1.1 is now available.  This new release provides full support for iOS 7 and above, introducing a new look and feel to match the latest iOS release.

To find out “What’s New”:

WISER for iOS can be downloaded and installed directly from the Apple App Store:

Coming Soon

Look for these exciting additions in the coming months:

  • WISER for iOS and WISER for Android 4.5, which adds chemical reactivity, triage procedures, and WISER’s full set of radiological tools to these mobile platforms
  • WISER 4.6, which will fully integrate the DOT’s Emergency Response Guidebook substances and update much of WISER’s backend data, including its HSDB (Hazardous Substances Data Bank) substance data

NIH News in Health is Now Available!

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Check out the October issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this issue:

  • Sweet Stuff: How Sugars and Sweeteners Affect Your Health
    Most of us love sweet foods and drinks. But after that short burst of sweetness, you may worry about how sweets affect your waistline and your overall health. Is sugar really bad for us? How about artificial or low-calorie sweeteners? What have scientists learned about the sweet things that most of us eat and drink every day?
  • Cold, Flu, or Allergy? Know the Difference for Best Treatment
    You’re feeling pretty lousy. You’ve got sniffles, sneezing, and a sore throat. Is it a cold, flu, or allergies? It can be hard to tell them apart because they share so many symptoms. But understanding the differences will help you choose the best treatment.
  • Genetic Clues to the 2014 Ebola Outbreak
    Scientists sequenced the genomes of nearly 100 samples of Ebola virus from patients in West Africa. The findings are helping researchers track the origin and spread of this deadly virus.
  • NIH Health Information at Your Fingertips
    Can you separate facts from myths about weight loss, nutrition, and physical activity? How do you recognize a heart attack or stroke? How many drinks is too many?
  • Featured Website: It’s a Noisy Planet
    Kids and teens are often exposed to noise levels that could permanently harm their hearing. It could take a long time before you even notice damage has been done. Learn about the causes and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss, so your kids—and you—can have healthy hearing for life.

NIH News in Health is available online in both HTML and PDF formats. Print copies are available free of charge for offices, clinics, community centers, and libraries within the U.S. Visit the NIH News in Health Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like to see covered, or share what you find helpful about the newsletter!