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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

American Evaluation Association Blog Theme: Qualitative Evaluation

The American Evaluation Association (AEA) just concluded a week-long blog theme about qualitative evaluation. Following are some highlights to consider using in your own assessment efforts:

  1. The Role of Context: the authors of this entry previously shared five high quality elements of qualitative evaluation, and this entry referenced them while emphasizing the need for evaluators to understand what role setting, relationships, and other context factors play in data as well.
  2. Purposeful Sampling: a great explanation on why to avoid convenience sampling (interviewing people because they happen to be around) and using caution with your qualitative evaluation terminology to consider not using the word ‘sampling’ due to peoples’ association of it with random probability.
  3. Interviewing People who are Challenging: establishing rapport leads to good qualitative data, but what does an interviewer do if there seems to be conflict with the interviewee? Details about how to manage your own feelings and approach with a curious mindset are very helpful!
  4. Asking Stupid Questions: this example from a bilingual HIV/AIDS training is especially insightful about the importance of clarifying sexual terms, putting aside concerns the evaluator may have about looking ‘stupid,’ and outcomes that led to deeper engagement and discussion from the group.
  5. Practical Qualitative Analysis: many helpful tips and lessons shared, including the reminder of being sure to group our participants’ responses that answer the same question together even if these replies come from different parts of the survey or interview.
  6. Providing Descriptions: sometimes there are concerns expressed that evaluation is ‘only looking at the negative,’ and by including full details about your qualitative inquiry collection and analysis as an additional resource or appendix you can help explain the steps of the process that otherwise may not be evident.

Michael E. DeBakey Library Services Outreach Award Nominations Due June 1!

The Friends of the National Library of Medicine is seeking nominations for this year’s Michael E. DeBakey Library Services Outreach Award.

  • Nominees must be currently employed as a health sciences librarian and have worked in such a position for at least five years immediately preceding the award.
  • Nominations may be made for contributions by the librarian as demonstrated by excellence and achievement in leadership, publications, teaching, research, special projects, or any combination of these.
  • Nomination must be made in writing and include the following information:
    1. Official nomination form
    2. Five page description of the nominee’s achievements
    3. Current resume or curriculum vitae
    4. Additional information (no more than 5 pages double-spaced) that would assist the jury in the evaluation of the nomination and selection of the recipient
  • Self-nominations are accepted and encouraged.
  • Nominations must be received by June 1, and can be submitted via mail, email or fax.

March 30 Event and Memory Book Honoring the Retirement of NLM Director Dr. Donald Lindberg

National Library of Medicine Deputy Director Betsy Humphreys has announced a special program and reception to be held on Monday, March 30, on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD, to celebrate the contributions of NLM Director Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, on the occasion of his retirement. The public is invited. RSVPs are due by Monday, March 16. Also, anyone is invited to share stories, words of gratitude and humor, photos, or any combination thereof, for a memory book parting gift for Dr. and Mrs. Lindberg. Submissions should be composed on an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper and e-mailed to publicinfo@nlm.nih.gov, or hand delivered or mailed to Mary Miller, NLM Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL), Building 38, Room 2S15F, MSC 3812, Bethesda, MD 20894, by Monday, March 16.

Fifty-Two Weeks of Better Evaluation!

BetterEvaluation.org is an international collaboration that encourages sharing of evaluation methods, approaches, and processes for improvement. BetterEvaluation offers yearly blog themes for their staff and guest writers to focus on, with highlights of the 2014 theme published as a blog posting, 52 Weeks of BetterEvaluation. For 2015 they are featuring 12 Months of BetterEvaluation, with multiple posts each month, starting with impact evaluation in January. Following are five selections from 2014 that may be of special interest to NN/LM Network members:

  1. Top ten developments in qualitative evaluation over the past decade, Part 1 and Part 2.
  2. Fitting reporting methods to evaluation findings and audiences.
  3. Infographics, including step-by-step instructions in piktochart.
  4. Innovation in evaluation.
  5. Presenting data effectively.

Nature Magazine Publisher to Merge with Springer Science

The publisher of science magazines Nature and Scientific American is merging with private equity-owned peer Springer Science+Business Media, creating a group with 1.5 billion euros ($1.75 billion) in annual sales and 13,000 employees. Germany’s Holtzbrinck, which owns Nature publisher Macmillan Science and Education, will combine the majority of its activities with BC Partners’ Springer unit, which publishes scientific, technical, and medical books and journals. Springer Science Chief Executive Derk Haank will head the new merged company, which will have an enterprise value of more than 5 billion euros. Macmillan Science and Education Chief Executive Annette Thomas will serve as Chief Scientific Officer. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2015.

Macmillan’s English language school books and social sciences publisher Palgrave Macmillan will be part of the merged entity, as will Springer’s publications and data for professionals. Holtzbrinck’s investments in IT and software businesses, its consumer books unit Macmillan Publishers, and its U.S. higher education business will not be part of the transaction. Springer Science is a separate company from German publisher Axel Springer owning leading tabloid Bild, while Holtzbrinck Publishing is a different company than Dieter von Holtzbrinck Medien, which publishes German business daily Handelsblatt.

“Guide on the Side” Software for Creating Interactive Tutorials

The University of Arizona (UA) libraries developed an open-source tool called Guide on the Side for creating interactive tutorials. The left frame of the screen contains instructions and can also have quizzes or links to other information, and the larger, right side has the live website to interact with, without losing your place in the tutorial. A four-minute introductory video about the software is available for viewing on the NLM National Training Center (NTC) web site.

Guide on the Side is an open source PHP and MySQL program and needs to be installed on a server. The program requires a handful of common PHP packages enabled. Once installed, it is very easy for someone without programming experience to create interactive tutorials, which can be easily updated if the interface of the database or other web resource changes. Several examples of Guide on the Side tutorials for TOXNET resources are available on the NTC web site. The UA Libraries have developed more than 25 tutorials using the tool, which have received nearly 73,000 uses in one year. Other libraries have installed the software, begun creating tutorials, and joined a discussion group to continue improving the software.

Mobile Data Solutions Online Course

Are you curious about the use of smart phones, tablets, or other mobile data resources to collect data for your assessment project, but are seeking more information on how to determine if this is the right approach for your project or program and how to process the data you collect using this method? Then check out Mobile Data Solutions, which was created as part of the Mobile Solutions Technical Assistance and Research (mSTAR) project, with expertise provided by U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Digital Development Lab and designed by TechChange.

The primary goal of this freely available and accessible online course (free registration is required) is to learn more about mobile tools, processes, and strategies for data collection in order to use mobile devices (referred to as mobile data solutions) to their full potential. The course will take about two hours to complete and can be done at your own pace over time. Progress in the course is saved so you’ll be taken to the point where you stopped to continue learning the next time you access it.

The learning objectives of the course are:

  • Describe examples of mobile data solutions from collection through visualization
  • Articulate the benefit of using these solutions
  • Analyze the challenges and limitations associated with mobile data solutions
  • Assess whether or not particular mobile data solutions are appropriate for a project, program or problem
  • Outline how to design a project or activity to include mobile data solutions
  • Explain the steps involved in implementing mobile data solutions
  • Summarize how to analyze, visualize, and share mobile data

NLM Selected as a Host Site for the 2015 National Digital Stewardship Residency

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is pleased to announce its participation in the second year of the National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR), a significant partnership of the Library of Congress (LC) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), to build a dedicated community of stewards capable of managing, preserving and making accessible the nation’s digital assets. The NDSR enables recent Master’s program graduates in relevant fields to complete a paid 12-month residency at host institutions in the Washington DC area, where they work on significant digital stewardship projects. Similar NDSR programs are on-going in Boston and New York.

NLM’s NDSR project proposal, to select and preserve an NLM-produced software product, was chosen in a highly competitive process from about 15 other proposals. NLM will join the American Institute of Architects, the DC Public Library, the Government Publishing Office and the U.S. Senate, Historical Office as a host institution beginning in June, 2015. A detailed list of all five projects can be found at the NDSR website. This is the second year that NLM has been chosen as an NDSR host site, evidence of NLM’s commitment and support of digital stewardship.

NDSR is now accepting applications for qualified applicants for places in the five Washington DC host institutions. The residency application period is open from December 17 to January 30. The application instructions and list of requirements can be found on the NDSR website. Candidates may apply online for one of the five residencies.

NLM Cataloging News for 2015

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) adopted the 2015 MeSH vocabulary for cataloging on November 24, 2014. Accordingly, MeSH subject headings in LocatorPlus were changed to reflect the 2015 MeSH vocabulary and appear in that form as of November 24. When year-end processing (YEP) activities are completed in mid-December, the NLM Catalog, MeSH database, and translation tables will be updated to reflect 2015 MeSH. Until then, there will be a hiatus in the addition of new and edited bibliographic records to the NLM Catalog. The Index to the NLM Classification will not reflect 2015 MeSH changes until Spring 2015. In general, the Cataloging Section implemented the vocabulary changes in NLM bibliographic records for books, serials, and other materials, as they were applied for citations in MEDLINE. Following are a few highlights:

Death vs. Mortality
New terms were created: Infant Death and Perinatal Death. These terms complement the existing MeSH terms Infant Mortality and Perinatal Mortality. Death terms are used for biological, physiological, or psychological concepts while mortality terms are used for statistical concepts. There is some overlap with the perinatal terms. Catalogers should follow the annotations carefully.

“Social” Terms
The new term Sociological Factors, formerly an entry term (ET) to the specialty term Sociology, now serves as an overall heading for specific sociological characteristics and phenomena. Other new “social” terms include Social Theory, Social Capital, Social Norms, and Social Skills.

Missions Terms and Religious Personnel
The 2014 MeSH Missions and Missionaries was deleted. For 2015 MeSH, the concept of missions was separated from the persons involved in missionary work. Two new terms were created: Religious Missions and Missionaries. The automated MeSH changes that took place November 22-23 replaced the term Missions and Missionaries with Religious Missions. Cataloging staff will conduct additional manual processing in December to add Missionaries to the set of records that also have PT Biography, Autobiography, or Personal Narratives. Note that the existing term Medical Missions, Official is still available. Religious Personnel was created as an overall term under which Clergy and the new terms Monks and Nuns are treed. Several entry terms were created for the existing term, Clergy: Chaplains, Clerics, Deacons, Imams, Ministers, Pastors, Priests, and Rabbis.

Manufacturing Industry
The new term Manufacturing Industry, formerly an entry term to Industry, now serves as an overall heading for specific manufacturing industries.

Publication Types (PTs) and Related Terms
No new Publication Types were created for 2015.

Rural Health Needs Assessment and Program Evaluation

Rural and medically underserved areas often have challenges including both increased health disparities and population health issues combined with limited resources and healthcare providers to help meet these challenges. The use of appropriate program evaluation measures can help to assess what actually works for rural health settings since many evidence-based strategies are based on urban and non-rural populations.

The Rural Assistance Center has recently issued a freely available online guide, which is intended to help an organization:

  • Identify the similarities and differences among rural health research, assessment, and evaluation
  • Discuss common methods, such as surveys and focus groups
  • Provide contacts within the field of rural health research
  • Address the importance of community-based participatory research to rural communities
  • Look at the community health needs assessment (CHNA) requirements for non-profit hospitals and public health
  • Examine the importance of building the evidence-base so interventions conducted in rural areas have the maximum possible impact