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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

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.

NLM Theater Presentations at MLA 2015

The NLM exhibit booth at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association in Austin, TX, featured theater presentations to bring users up-to-date on several NLM products and services. The presentation recordings are captioned and accessible from the NLM Distance Education Program Resources page. The presentations include:

Note: To listen to the voice recordings and view the captions you may need the latest version of Flash® Player (download for free from the Adobe Web site). To maximize the presentation, use the Full Screen button. For more information, go to the NLM Technical Bulletin page.

NLM’s Reznick Honored by the Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences (ALHHS)

On April 30 the professional association Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences (ALHHS) awarded NLM’s History of Medicine Division Chief, Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, with the 2015 ALHHS best article award for “Embracing the Future as Stewards of the Past: Charting a Course Forward for Historical Medical Libraries and Archives,” which appeared in the RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage (fall 2014 volume 15, number 2). Co-edited by Dr. Reznick and Michelle DiMeo, PhD, Curator of Digital Collections at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, this special issue contains the proceedings of the December 2013 symposium Emerging Roles for Historical Medical Libraries: Value in the Digital Age. Contributors to the issue include Nancy Cervetti, Simon Chaplin, Michelle DiMeo, Jacalyn Duffin, Mary Fissell, Christopher Lyons, and Jeffrey Reznick.

Dr. DiMeo also received the 2015 ALHHS best online resource award for her editorship of the special issue, which included negotiating open access rights with RBM’s editor and its publisher, the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. In conferring the award, the ALHHS recognized Dr. DiMeo for her leadership in organizing the associated symposium, which was sponsored in part by a Library Project Award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region (NN/LM MAR). The event offered a rare opportunity for library professionals and researchers to discuss collectively the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age, and to articulate the pedagogical, intellectual and public outreach potentials offered by physical library spaces and material texts. On Thursday, July 30, at 9:00 AM PDT, Dr. DiMeo will present an NN/LM MAR-sponsored webinar about the symposium, including an overview of the project, outcomes, and lessons learned. Details will be announced soon through the NN/LM MAR’s Lunch with the Regional Medical Libraries (RML) Schedule.

NLM Classification Updated, April 30, 2015

The online National Library of Medicine Classification has been issued in a newly revised edition as of April 30, 2015.

Summary Statistics for the 2015 NLM Classification

  • 75 class numbers added
  • 132 class number captions or notes modified; indentation levels changed; schedule headers revised
  • 3 class numbers canceled
  • Table G numbers (Geographic notation):
    • 1 caption modified: GS3—Scandinavia was changed to Scandinavia and Nordic Countries
  • 131 index main headings added (23 from 2015 MeSH)
  • 459 index entries modified
  • 43 index headings deleted

NLM Announces OAI-PMH Service for History of Medicine Images Database

The National Library of Medicine has announced an Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) service for its Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) database, which provides access to over 70,000 images from the NLM’s world-renowned historical prints and photographs collection that illustrates the social and historical aspects of medicine from the Middle Ages to the present. The new service provides access to the metadata of all items in IHM, opening this database to new uses and new users, and enhancing interoperability with other institutions. OAI-PMH is a standard developed by the Open Archives Initiative for harvesting metadata from digital resources.

Images from the History of Medicine logo.

Encompassing portraits, photographs, fine prints, caricatures, posters, and other graphic art, IHM includes subjects ranging from medieval astrology to 19th century slum conditions to World War I hospitals to the international fights against drug abuse and AIDS. Also included in IHM are the hundreds of images from the freely-available book Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine, which showcases the world’s largest medical library and its remarkable collections. IHM via OAI-PMH joins two other NLM OAI-PMH services that provide access to biomedical information; Profiles in Science®, an extensive digital project of the Library that provides online access to archival collections of twentieth-century leaders in science, medicine, and public health; and the life sciences repository PubMed Central (PMC), which currently contains 3.3 million articles from medical journals dating from the early nineteenth century to the present.

Keep It Simple with Micro-Surveys

A hot trend in marketing research is the micro-survey. Also known as the bite-sized survey, these questionnaires are short (about three questions) with the goal of collecting focused feedback to guide specific action. The micro-survey is a technique for overcoming what is arguably the biggest hurdle in survey assessment: Getting people to respond to your questionnaire. It is a technique that is particularly useful for populations where mobile technology use is on the rise, and where there is competition for everyone’s attention in any given moment. To better expect respondents to answer questionnaires, don’t burden them with long, matrix-like questions or require them to flip through numerous web pages. Keep things simple, or respondents will be lost before they ever get to the submit button.

The trick to micro-surveys is to keep them short, but administer multiple questionnaires over time. For example, break down a traditional membership or customer questionnaire into several micro-surveys and distribute them periodically. The length of the survey is not the only factor contributing to response rate. Follow the Dillman method, which provides time-tested guidelines for administering surveys. Also, take a look at Champagne’s Nine Principles of Embedded Assessment. His website has articles and YouTube videos on how to implement these principles. If you want to try doing a micro-survey, check out the effective practices described in this blog article from the marketing research company Instantly.

Betsy L. Humphreys named Acting Director of the National Library of Medicine!

Betsy L. Humphreys was appointed the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Acting Director effective April 1, 2015, following the retirement of Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg. She has served as NLM’s deputy director since 2005, sharing responsibility with the Director for overall program development, program evaluation, policy formulation, direction and coordination of all Library activities. As Deputy Director of the Library, Ms. Humphreys also coordinated NLM’s extensive activities related to health data standards, serving as US Member and founding Chair of the General Assembly of the International Health Terminology Standards Organisation. She has contributed to the development of NIH and HHS policy on a range of matters, including health information technology, public access to research results, clinical trial registration and results reporting.

Ms. Humphreys, who joined the NLM in 1973, previously led the NLM’s Library Operations Division and directed the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) project, which produces knowledge sources to support advanced processing, retrieval, and integration of information from disparate electronic information sources. She is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, and a Fellow of the Medical Library Association. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Morris F. Collen Award of Excellence from the American College of Medical Informatics, considered the highest honor in the field of medical informatics, the Marcia C. Noyes Award, which is the Medical Library Association’s highest honor, and the first Cornerstone Award conferred by the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries. Ms. Humphreys received a B.A. from Smith College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.L.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Nominations for 2015 Michael E. DeBakey Library Services Outreach Award

The Friends of the National Library of Medicine seek your 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.

New Edition of the “Women of Color Health Data Book” Available

The NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) has announced the publication of the Women of Color Health Data Book, 4th Edition. The Women of Color Health Information Collection presents data on race/ethnicity and disease. Through data, clues about how culture, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and geographic location contribute to the health status of women of color can be identified. In order to explore sex differences, scientists need data about the similarities and differences between women and men in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions.

Learn more about women of color and their unique health needs, and how the Women of Color Health Data Book, 4th Edition, can assist clinicians in providing person-centered care for diverse populations of women. Check out the pull-out Data Book collections on breast cancer and HIV/AIDS, and a podcast from the Academy of Women’s Health. Also visit ORWH Director Dr. Janine Clayton’s blog for a commentary introducing the Data Book. More information on women’s health is available from the the NLM Women’s Health Resources website.