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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Resource for Writing Mission Statements

Mission statements are important. Organizations use them to declare to the world how their work matters. For employees, they guide efforts toward supporting organizational priorities. And mission statements are important to evaluators, because evaluation methods are ultimately designed to assess an organization’s value. Having those values explicitly stated is very helpful. The Nonprofit Hub’s document A Step-By-Step Exercise for Creating a Mission Statement is a tool that succintly lays out an effective 1-2 hour process to engage multiple stakeholders in the development of a mission statement, starting with a foundation of shared stories about the organization’s best work. In the end, everyone understands and endorses the mission statement because they helped develop it.

This exercise has potential that reaches beyond development of mission statements. It would be a great exercise for advisory groups to contribute their ideas about future activities, based on the organization’s past successes. The stories generated are data that can be analyzed for organizational impact. The group qualitative analysis process, alone, could be adapted to other situations. For example, a small project team could use the process to analyze stories from interviews, focus groups, or even written comments to open-ended survey questions.

Request for Information (RFI) for NIH-wide Five-Year Strategic Plan: Comments Due by 8/16/15!

In response to a request from the US Congress, NIH is developing a 5-year NIH-wide Strategic Plan to advance its mission and outline a vision for biomedical research that ultimately extends healthy life and reduces illness and disability. NIH senior leadership and staff have developed a proposed framework for the Strategic Plan that identifies areas of opportunity across all biomedicine and unifying principles to guide NIH’s support of the biomedical research enterprise. The Strategic Plan is due to Congress in late December 2015.

NIH has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from stakeholders throughout the scientific research community and the general public regarding the proposed framework for the NIH-wide Strategic Plan. You are invited to review the framework and submit feedback by visiting the NIH web site or the RFI submission site. Comments are due by August 16.

Stakeholder organizations (e.g., patient advocacy groups, professional societies) are urged to submit a single response reflective of the views of the organization/membership as a whole. NIH will also be hosting webinars to gather additional input in early to mid-August. Your feedback is vital to ensuring that the NIH Strategic Plan positions biomedical research on a promising and visionary path!

Designing Questionnaires for the Mobile Age

How does your web survey look on a handheld device? The Pew Research Center reported that 27% of respondents to one of its recent surveys answered using a smartphone, and another 8% used a tablet. That means over one-third of participants used handheld devices to answer the questionnaire. The lesson learned is unless you are absolutely sure your respondents will be using a computer, you need to design surveys with mobile devices in mind. As a public opinion polling organization, the Pew Center knows effective practices in survey research. It offers advice on developing questionnaires for handhelds in its article Tips for Creating Web Surveys for Completion on a Mobile Device. The top suggestion is to be sure your survey software is optimized for smartphones and tablets. SurveyMonkey fits this criterion, as do many other popular Web survey applications.

Software alone will not automatically create surveys that are usable on handheld devices. It is also important to follow effective design principles, such as keeping it simple and using short question formats. Avoid matrix-style questions. Keep the length of your survey short. And don’t get fancy with questionnaires which include logos and icons, which take longer to load on smart devices. It is also advisable to pilot test questionnaires on computers, smartphones, and tablets, to be sure to offer a smooth user experience to all of your respondents.

Story Builder Tool for Program Success Stories

This story builder tool available from the CDC Injury Prevention and Control web site involves three steps to produce an attractive, well-written program success story. Each step offers downloadable Microsoft Word documents to walk you through the process.

  • Step 1: The worksheets are designed to gather and organize project information for your story. This step could be used as a participatory activity, for example you could pull together your project team or a group of stakeholders to talk through questions in this worksheet. The discussion would help group members articulate the program’s value from their perspective.
  • Step 2: This step provides a story builder template to write your story, section by section. Each section has a field to develop a paragraph of your story, with some tips for writing in a compelling, user-friendly way. Each completed field prepares you for the final step.
  • Step 3: Here, you can download a layout template, where you transfer the paragraphs from your story builder template into the layout. Because this is a Word document, you can change background design, font, or even the size and placement of pictures and call-out quote boxes.

Telling Good Stories about Good Programs

Sometimes program successes are a well-kept secret, buried deeply in final reports under pages of statistics, tables, and descriptive details. There is a way to shine a stronger light on positive program impacts: program success stories. These are short (1-2 page) narratives designed to educate policy makers, attract partners, and share effective practices among colleagues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deserves credit in leading a program success story movement within the public health sector. Many resources for developing program success stories are available from the CDC’s website. And a quick Google search will turn up many success story web pages from public health departments, such as the following three examples:

If you want to create success stories for your program or organization, you need to start with a plan, and establish a routine to collect information in a timely manner. To get started, check out the CDC Division of Oral Health’s Tips for Writing an Effective Success Story. For more details, the CDC offers the workbook Impact and Value: Telling Your Program’s Story. The CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health also has a how-to guide for writing success stories: How to Develop a Success Story. And lastly, you might find Success Story Data Collection Tool to be helpful for organizing and writing your program story. A data collection sheet could be particularly useful if multiple team members are involved in collecting success story data. The data collection tool is available in PDF or Word formats.

New Image Search Tool Developed by Stanford University’s Lane Medical Library

A common problem encountered by course designers is finding the ideal image for a lecture or presentation that is not subject to copyright restrictions. But now Stanford University’s Lane Medical Library has announced the development of a new tool, Bio-Image Search, that may make the process easier. This resource provides results of images and diagrams exclusively from medical and scientific organizations, grouped by the degree of restriction to their republication. Anyone with Internet access may use Bio-Image Search. It has access to more than 2 million images and counting!

Directory of History of Medicine Collections

One of the National Library of Medicine’s most versatile online historical resources is an interactive tool for locating history of medicine collections worldwide: the Directory of History of Medicine Collections. The Directory connects scholars with literature, artifacts, and unique collections in medical history and allows travelers and explorers to discover medical libraries, archives, and museums nearby and around the world. The first edition of the Directory was established in 1990 with 32 initial entries. Each year thereafter, the number of collections continued to grow, and today it contains more than 200 and growing. In 2001, the printed Directory was adapted for the Web, bringing direct access to this resource to the world. The types of collections listed in the Directory range from single subject specialties to those with a general history of medicine coverage.

The Directory underwent a major transformation in 2010 with the development of a fully keyword searchable database. And recently, an interactive map has been added, which links users to collections geographically. Now you can locate collections on the map by selecting the continent from the pull-down menu. You can also drag the map to see what collections are represented internationally. On June 9 a one-hour webinar presentation with the features of the Directory was hosted by the NN/LM Middle Atlantic Region. The session will be publicly archived for future viewing.

Call for Applications: 2015-2016 NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program

The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) has announced the 2015-2016 year of the leadership program jointly sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and AAHSL. The NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program, which focuses on preparing emerging leaders for the position of library director in academic health sciences libraries, is accepting applications through July 20, 2015. Fellows will have the opportunity to experience another library environment and to work closely with a mentor and collaboratively with other fellows and mentors. The multi-faceted program takes advantage of flexible scheduling and an online learning community. Candidates with a strong interest in pursuing a directorship in academic health sciences libraries and with leadership experience in academic health sciences libraries, hospital libraries, or other library-related settings are encouraged to apply.

Sixty-seven fellows and fifty-seven different mentors have participated in the program since its beginning. To date, twenty-seven of sixty-one graduate fellows have received director appointments. Overall, 75% of fellow graduates have been promoted to director or other positions of higher responsibility. The program brochure, which includes information on program design, schedule, and application process, is now available. More information about the program is available from Carol Jenkins, Program Director, AAHSL Future Leadership Committee.

NLM Request for Comments: Discontinuation of Artificial Subject Strings for Cataloging Records

NLM has been recording geographic locations and publications types in the MARC21 fields 651 and 655 respectively since 1999 to match indexing practices in subject assignment. This differs from LC’s practice of putting geographic locations in 650 $z and publication types in 650 $v. In 1999, 80% of medical libraries responding to the announcement of this practice being adopted at NLM, indicated that subjects in this format would be difficult to incorporate in their OPAC. NLM therefore continued to provide a specially programmed output with a traditional subject string of 650 $a $x $z $v for subscribers to Catfile. In 2005, NLM once again surveyed the community and proposed discontinuing the special programming to create traditional subject strings and to distribute records as they appear in LocatorPlus. At that time, a small majority of libraries were in favor of such a proposal; however, those who were opposed were very passionate about the issue and made some compelling arguments for keeping the strings. NLM made some minor changes to the record distribution programs at that time to ease some of the complexities its catalogers had been encountering in trying to code subjects for proper output, but continued to output traditional subject strings.

NLM now believes that the environment has changed enough to once again propose discontinuing the practice of creating artificial subject strings for subscribers to Catfile. Rather than traditional OPACs, many libraries are using discovery systems that search across different input streams and provide faceted searching options, and the library community is planning to make much more use of linked data, particularly with the future adoption of BIBFRAME. Long subject strings do not work well in a linked data environment, and many libraries are breaking up the traditional LCSH subject string into its component parts using the FAST vocabulary. MeSH has recently been released in RDF triples that correspond to data in 650 $a and $x, 651 or 655 fields. NLM believes the time is now appropriate to stop creating artificial subject strings and distribute NLM records exactly as they appear in the LocatorPlus database, which would mean that libraries that take copy from both NLM and OCLC would not have to edit one form or another to have consistency in their catalogs.

NLM is asking the medical library community for comments regarding what the effect would be on your institution if NLM were to discontinue distributing its MARC cataloging bibliographic records with artificially reconstructed subject strings. Records in MARC format would continue to have MeSH headings combined with the appropriate topical subheadings (650 $a $x), but geographic locations, and publication types would be carried in separate fields in the record, rather than as subfields of the MeSH heading. This would mean that records distributed to bibliographic utilities and other licensees would be identical to the records in LocatorPlus.

Please send your comments by August 31, 2015 to Diane Boehr, Head, Cataloging and Metadata Management Section at NLM. NLM will announce the final decision on whether or not to implement this change by September 30, 2015. Any changes to distribution files will not occur until calendar year 2016.

Example of current practice:

In NLM database:
650 22 $a Cross Cultural Comparison
650 22  $a Health Policy

Subject strings created for distribution:
650 22 $a Cross Cultural Comparison $z Africa $v Congresses
650 22 $a Health Policy $z Caribbean Region $v Congresses

Former NLM Director Donald Lindberg Receives Two Prominent Uniformed Services Medical Awards

Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, who retired as National Library of Medicine Director on March 31, after more than 30 years of service, has been recognized by the United States uniformed services with two prestigious medical honors. On May 16, Dr. Lindberg was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences 36th commencement exercise at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. The honorary degree recognizes Dr. Lindberg’s outstanding leadership in bioinformatics and his decades of public service. In conferring the honor, Charles L. Rice, MD, President of the Uniformed Services University, spoke resoundingly of Dr. Lindberg’s tireless work to empower and inform the ordinary citizen, patient, and caregiver.

At a March 30, 2015, National Institutes of Health program saluting his distinguished career as National Library of Medicine Director, Dr. Lindberg was awarded the US Army Order of Military Medical Merit. Colonel Cathy Nace, MD, Director of Medical Education for the Army, made the presentation. The US Army Order of Military Medical Merit, also known at O2M3, is an Army-based but separate organization established to recognize excellence and promote fellowship and esprit de corps among Army Medical Department personnel. Before reading the official award citation, Col. Nace thanked Dr. Lindberg on behalf of the entire Army for his many achievements, noting that this award is rarely bestowed upon civilians. She highlighted Dr. Lindberg’s pioneering work at NLM in support of the Army Medical Department and the resulting improvements to “the education and clinical practices of health care providers, Army military health systems and caregivers worldwide, and the care of the American warrior.” Col. Nace also noted that Dr. Lindberg was only the second civilian director of the Library, which traces its lineage to the Library of the Surgeon General of the Army, founded in 1836. NLM remained part of the military until 1956, when Congress officially designated it the National Library of Medicine and transferred it to the National Institutes of Health.