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NCBI PubMed for Scientists Webinar

The NCBI Webinar “PubMed for Scientists” that was presented on November 12, 2015 is now available on the NCBI YouTube channel ( The slide set, supporting materials and the Q&A document are available from the FTP site (


The materials and recording will also be linked to the Archived Webinars & Courses tab of our Webinars & Courses page ( The Webinars & Courses page has details about upcoming NCBI Webinars, courses and archived materials from other past presentations. Please let us know if you have any suggestions, questions, or concerns.


-The NCBI Webinar Team

Data Science News: Big Data to individualize management of chronic diseases

Groundbreaking effort for health care to help doctors diagnose and treat chronic diseases more quickly and accurately

Some chronic conditions, such as the autoimmune disease scleroderma, are especially difficult to treat because patients exhibit highly variable symptoms, complications and treatment responses. The process of finding an effective treatment for an individual can be frustrating for doctors, and painful and expensive for patients.

For more information go to


Take The Pie, Leave The Pie Chart

[guest post by Cindy Olney, OERC]

Evaluation and data visualization folks may disagree on the best pie to serve at Thanksgiving dinner.  Pumpkin?  Pecan?  A nice silk pie made with chocolate liqueur and tofu? (Thank you, Alton Brown.)

You see, the whole point of charts is to give people an instantaneous understanding of your findings.  Your readers can easily discern differences in bars and lines.  In wedges of pie, not so much. Data visualization expert Stephen Few explained the problem during this interview with the New York Times: “When looking at parts of a whole, the primary task is to rank them to see the relative performance of the parts. That can’t be done easily when relying on angles formed by a slice.”

(Note:  This parts-to-whole angle problem may also explain why most of us can’t understand how our Whole Foods pumpkin pie could possibly have eight servings. Eight? Are you kidding me?)

So, for today’s pre-Thanksgiving holiday post, I thought I would point you to some online articles about the much used and much vilified pie chart.

First, here’s an article by American Evaluation Association’s president-elect John Gargani, arguing for retirement of the venerable pie chart.  He make points that are repeated in many anti-pie chart blog posts.  But in the interest of objectivity, you should know that agreement to send pie charts to the cosmic dust bin is not universal. Here’s a post by Bruce Gabrielle of Speaking PowerPoint that describes situations where pie charts can shine.

In general, most experts believe that the times and places to use pie charts are few and far between. If you have found one of those rare times, then here’s a post at Better Evaluation with the design tips to follow.

But for heaven sake, turn off that three-dimensional feature in your pie chart, or in any chart, for that matter. Nobody wants to see that!

And for humorous examples of what not to do, check out Michael Friendly’s Evil Pies blog.

MLA Webinar: Precision Medicine: What Is It and Why Should I Care?

Join us at UMass Medical School for this engaging webinar on Precision Medicine.


  • Date/Time: Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m., eastern time
  • Length: 1.5 hour webinar


We are living in an era of amazing scientific progress. Advances in computing capabilities have decreased both the time and cost of sequencing genomes, resulting in the possibility of harnessing this technology to improve health and treat disease. There is a lot of talk about genomic medicine these days, but how much is hope and how much is hype? The Precision Medicine Initiative is underway in the United States. What is THAT about, and how does it relate to personal genomics and personalized medicine? Does pharmacogenomics have anything to do with this? And what exactly IS pharmacogenomics? This webinar will address these questions and provide an overview of the basic concepts and ethical concerns surrounding precision medicine. Participants will come away with information and resources they can use personally as well as professionally.


Carrie Iwema, AHIP, is in her ninth year as an information specialist in molecular biology for the Health Sciences Library System at the University of Pittsburgh. In this role, she provides bioinformatics support and training for researchers, helping them to access and use specialized analytical tools and databases. She is also a member of the data management team and teaches classes on how to craft a data management plan, which led to her receiving a secondary faculty appointment with the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Also, Iwema created and runs a workshop series, “How-To Talks by Postdocs,” that provides postdoctoral researchers an opportunity teach classes in the library. In addition to her library degree, Iwema has a doctorate in neuroscience and is a member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals. She is actively involved in MLA and is currently the chair-designate for the Continuing Education Committee as well as a member of the Joint Planning Committee for Mosaic ’16 in Toronto. She is specifically in charge of the lightning talks, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask her! Iwema has been teaching continuing education classes on genetics for librarians as well as personal genomics and personalized medicine since 2012.

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