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Archive for the ‘Communications Tools’ Category

Qualitative Data Visualization

An innovative and compelling approach to creating qualitative data visualizations with illustrations is provided by Fresh Spectrum. The process begins by taking a long narrative such as a focus group transcription, and chunking it into a few paragraphs per concept with a unique illustration for each one. One option is to use your organization’s existing images or Creative Commons-licensed images for illustrating concepts. The next step for the visualization uses the images with brief captions as an online data dashboard, where visitors can click on the captioned image of interest to them to access the more detailed narrative. One example describes how to do this within a WordPress portfolio blog template, or a simpler strategy of creating HTML anchor links to each individual section within a longer text, which then leads to the longer narrative.

The NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) has more resources available from the Reporting and Visualizing tab of the OERC Tools and Resources for Evaluation Guide.

American Evaluation Association’s Potent Presentation Information

The American Evaluation Association (AEA) sponsors a Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i) that has a stated purpose of helping evaluators improve their presentation skills, both within a conference setting and as part of individual practice. P2i challenges evaluators to hone in on three concepts: Their message, their design, and their delivery.

There are a wealth of handouts available as PDF files, Word documents, and Powerpoint presentations available from the p2i tools website that sometimes include AEA conference specifications in addition to many great messaging, designing and delivery principles. For an example of each principle be sure to check out the Presentation Preparation Checklist, How to Design a Research Poster, and the Delivery Glue Handout.

The National Library of Medicine Announces 2014 Association of Health Care Journalists-NLM Fellows

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) are pleased to announce the 2014 AHCJ-NLM Fellows. This year’s class features eight reporters and editors representing diverse media backgrounds and interests. The program, now in its sixth year, brings journalists selected by AHCJ to NLM for four days of training in use of NLM’s health information resources, such as PubMed, PubMed Health, Genetics Home Reference, TOXMAP, ClinicalTrials.gov, and MedlinePlus. The Fellows also receive briefings about health care issues, such as the adoption of electronic health records by patients and health care providers, as well as consumer health resources provided by the National Cancer Institute. New in 2014, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) will update the AHCJ-NLM Fellows about innovative health care issues, such as comparative effectiveness research.

The 2014 AHCJ-NLM Fellows are:

  • Karen Bouffard, health care writer, The Detroit News. Bouffard was a 2013 National Health Journalism Fellow with the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism.
  • Matthew Glasser, health and medical producer, NBC Southern California. Glasser is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and was the co-creator and executive producer of NurseTV and Healthcare Heroes.
  • Sarah Karlin, senior writer, The Pink Sheet and The Pink Sheet DAILY. Karlin formerly was the FDANews’ congressional and generic drugs editor.
  • Kimberly Leonard, health reporter and producer, U.S. News & World Report. Leonard was a health reporter with the Center for Public Integrity prior to joining U.S. News & World Report.
  • Cheryl Platzman Weinstock, freelance health/science writer, who specializes in women’s health issues. Weinstock’s work frequently appears in the New York Times, Women’s Day, and the Oprah Magazine. She contributed to the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of 9/11.
  • Marie Powers, staff writer, BioWorld Today. Powers was part of the BioWorld Today team, which received the Best Daily Publication award in 2013 and 2014 from the Specialized Information Publishers Association.
  • Cindy Sharp, health and medical reporter, Associated Press Television and Online Video. Sharp previously worked for MSNBC and Tribune Broadcasting.
  • J.K. Wall, health care reporter, Indianapolis Business Journal, and The Dose, a blog on health care finance. Wall worked as a business reporter at The Indianapolis Star before joining the Indianapolis Business Journal.

NN/LM Ending Support for Internet Explorer 8

Due to recent software updates on nnlm.gov, Internet Explorer 8 is no longer supported. Some read-only sections of nnlm.gov will continue to be available via IE8. However, anyone using IE8 will probably not be able to submit assignments in online courses utilizing the NN/LM Moodle framework, and may not even be able to access and log into Moodle courses. Other nnlm.gov services that require data to be posted to the server are also likely to fail. In addition, DOCLINE will not support IE8 after the end of 2014. Please visit the NN/LM System Requirements page to see a complete list of supported browsers. For best usability, NLM recommends that libraries should begin talking to their local IT departments about upgrading their browsers to at least Internet Explorer 10.

Starting January 12, 2016, Microsoft will drop support, including security updates, for older Internet Explorer browser versions. Only the most recent version of IE for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates. Microsoft’s Stay up-to-date with Internet Explorer blog page provides a good explanation of why IE users should upgrade to the most current version.

Logic Models for Library Assessment Planning

The Engaged Librarian: Crafting an Effective Assessment Plan to Determine the Impact of a Key Strategic Library Initiative, by Sarah Murphy at The Ohio State University (OSU), was presented during the 2014 Library Assessment Conference, held earlier this month in Seattle, WA. The presentation provided an overview to the use of a logic model as part of library strategic planning. The project incorporated the theory of change methodology with logic models and used the Kellogg Foundation Logic Model as a template. They storyboarded data within a data dashboard that was both aligned with and broken down by the applicable OSU strategic vision goals. Ms. Murphy reported that the benefits of using a logic model approach included having a flexible but structured way to do library assessment planning, having a collaborative and inclusive approach, creating a project focus, being able to assess linear and iterative programs and services, and the ability to communicate program accomplishments in interesting ways. During the question and answer session they noted they are also Tableau fans and like to create data structures in their dashboard to avoid information silos.

To learn more about logic models and data dashboards, check out the freely available NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) Evaluation Guides, especially Planning Outcomes-Based Outreach Projects. Also available is a recording of the one-hour presentation Data Dashboards: Monitoring Progress toward Program Outcomes, part of the NN/LM PSR Midday at the Oasis webinar series.

Visualization Literacy

With an increase of technology tools available for data reporting and visualization sometimes it’s challenging to know how to best use them to clearly communicate the intended meaning of the data. The concept of visualization literacy and a broader theme of visual literacy are often not included as part of the instructions guiding people in the steps to create their own visualization design. A recent entry by Andrew Kirk on the blog of Seeing Data, a research project in the United Kingdom studying how people understand big data visualizations shown in the media, offers a great review of 8 Articles Discussing Visual and Visualization Literacy that are freely available and well worth a read to better understand both visual and visualization literacy. Their featured articles include resources ranging from the importance of Visual Literacy in an Age of Data to How to Be an Educated Consumer of Infographics, and Seeing Data has asked that you share additional ones with them via blog comments or their Twitter social media account @SeeingData.

NLM Mourns William G. Harless, PhD, Creator of the First Natural Language Computer Patient Simulation Model

William G. Harless, President and CEO of Interactive Drama Inc. and former National Library of Medicine employee and contractor, passed away this past May. Dr. Harless’ contributions to the NLM were many, including the creation of the first voice-activated interactive video patient simulation model in the mid-1980s. As Director of NLM’s Technological Innovations in Medical Education (TIME) Project, he received the 1986 NLM Regents Award for Scholarship or Technical Achievement and an award in the category of Best Educational Achievement at the University of Nebraska, both for the development of his model which combined voice recognition, interactive video, and computer technologies.

Bill Harless held a PhD degree in psychology and learning theory. He also had held faculty positions at five major universities and the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities, where accredited doctorate degrees are awarded from a multidisciplinary, experientially based curriculum. He developed the first natural language computer patient simulation model at the University of Illinois School of Medicine in Chicago in the early 1960s. Dr. Harless published over 50 articles on natural language interactive simulation as a learning strategy and was a recognized expert in the field. In 1991, he was awarded a patent for his voice-controlled video simulation model. He was awarded a second patent in 1996 for his dynamic prompting system. In 2005, a third patent was awarded on a method of distributing his model over a computer network, and in 2010 he was awarded a patent for his method for analyzing natural language text to yield a meaningful response to a free-speech inquiry.

How to Use Hashtags to Increase Social Media Presence

If you have determined that the use of social media channels is appropriate for your organization, you will quickly encounter hashtags, which are user-controlled categories prefaced with a pound sign. Hashtags were once limited to Twitter but are now used on most social media sites, including Facebook and Google+. Conversational, concise, and consistent use of up to two hashtags per social media message can result in double the amount of user engagement compared to messages without them. For more statistics specific to Twitter and user engagement, Buffer’s blog provides an excellent overview.

What are some of the ways to show that hashtags increase user engagement with your organization’s message? Look for performance indicators of reposts (the use of ‘Share’ on Facebook or retweets on Twitter), replies (comments under the message from Facebook followers, replies to the tweet from Twitter users), the number of clicks to any links included in your message (ideally to your organization’s website and resources), and hashtag usage frequency. For tips on how to track these performance indicators and additional statistics regarding hashtag creation and use, check out this helpful infographic.

Evaluating Social Media Activities

For public sector and nonprofit organizations, social media can be a cost effective way to engage with users and supporters. However, social media is not without its cost, particularly in terms of staff time. So organizations have an interest in assessing the value of their social media activities.

One great resource for social media evaluation is Paine’s book, Measure What Matters. The book contains detailed guidance for evaluating social media use by different types of organizations. A great supplement to Paine’s book is The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide, by Idealware, which has worksheets that will help plan social media strategies and implement recommendations in Measure What Matters.

Below are the key elements of Paine’s evaluation framework:

  • Begin with a solid social media plan that identifies specific goals and objectives. As with any project, you need a plan for social media that links strategies to the organizational mission and includes objectives with targets and key performance indicators. Objectives for social media in the public sector often belong in one of two categories: helping users find information they need; or building user awareness, engagement, or loyalty. (The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide provides a list of potential objectives on page 52.)
  • Define your target audience: Organizations often have many stakeholder groups, so it’s important to identify the groups most attuned to social media. On page 54 of The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide, there is a worksheet for narrowing down stakeholder audiences to those most receptive to social media activities.
  • Pick your metrics: Metrics such as views, followers, and measures of engagement with online content will help monitor your reach. Conversions, defined as the actions you want your social media followers to complete, might include becoming members of your organization or actively recommending your organization to colleagues or friends.
  • Identify a source for benchmarks. Benchmarks provide a basis for comparison to assess progress. Organizations often use their own histories as benchmarks, comparing progress against baseline measures. You also may have access to data from a competing or peer organization that you can use for comparison.
  • Pick a measurement tool: Paine’s book describes different measurement methods for evaluating social media, such as content analysis, web analytics, or surveys.

For more information, check out the resources mentioned in this blog post:

  • Katie Delahaye Paine, Measure What Matters: Online Tools For Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2011.
  • Idealware. The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide, 2013.

New SurveyMonkey Mobile App Available!

SurveyMonkey recently launched a mobile app for the iPad and iPhone, providing the ability to create, send, and monitor surveys from a phone or tablet device. The app is free, although you need a SurveyMonkey account to use it. With the new app, there’s no longer a need to rely on a computer to design and manage surveys. The app also allows convenient viewing of data from any location with Internet access. Another notable benefit is that the analytic reports are optimized for mobile devices and are easy to read on small screens. Although there is not yet an Android app, all SurveyMonkey pages and surveys are optimized for any mobile device, so surveys are easy to take regardless of the operating system used.