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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Sara Tybaert Appointed as New Head of NLM’s MEDLARS Management Section!

Sara Tybaert begins her new position as Head of MEDLARS Management Section (MMS) in NLM’s Bibliographic Services Division (BSD) on October 6, 2013. Sara has been with MMS since 1990, filling many roles. Since 2011, Sara has been the Head of the Bibliographic Data Management Unit within MMS. In this position she has overseen the daily MEDLINE data verification process for the nightly exports of MEDLINE data to PubMed and to MEDLINE licensees. Her work includes oversight of the various systems used in the data quality control work performed within MMS. She also supports the ongoing development and testing of data input and maintenance systems for MEDLINE. And perhaps most importantly, Sara has been the project manager for the annual Year End Processing (YEP) efforts within BSD.

Sara has provided support and oversight for several key projects within MMS during her tenure at NLM. She serves as the MMS representative to the Shared Serials Group. Sara also currently serves as the MMS representative to the NLM COGNOS Team Leads group, and participates on the MEDLINE Processing Working Group and NLM DTD Group. She has participated on the MMS PubMed team with NCBI, including system testing and support for MEDLINE/PubMed customer service. In addition, she has often represented NLM at the NLM Exhibit Booth at the MLA annual meeting. Over the years, one of Sara’s greatest accomplishments was serving as the COR/COTR for the NLM Bioethics Contract with the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. Under her guidance, NLM was eventually able to reduce and eventually discontinue this contract, providing significant savings to NLM and Library Operations.

NLM Lends Collections to Grolier Club Exhibition “Extraordinary Women in Science and Medicine: Four Centuries of Achievement”

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is pleased to be a part of a new exhibition on view until November 23, 2013, at The Grolier Club in New York City. Designed and curated to interest a wide audience, Extraordinary Women in Science and Medicine: Four Centuries of Achievement opens a window onto the stories behind the careers and accomplishments of women in science since the mid-seventeenth century. The exhibition will focus on the women from viewpoints such as educational opportunities or lack thereof, career choice issues, gender discrimination, role models, and hidden factors that influenced recognition or lack of recognition. Events planned in conjunction with the exhibition will include invited lectures, lectures by the Curators, and opportunities for mentored visits. There will be a catalogue including invited essays.

Established in 1884, the Grolier Club is America’s oldest and largest society for bibliophiles and enthusiasts in the graphic arts. The Club is named after Jean Grolier, the French Renaissance collector renowned for sharing his library with friends. The Grolier Club’s objective is to foster appreciation for books and prints, their art, history, production, and commerce. As part of this mission the Grolier Club maintains a library, mounts exhibitions, publishes books, and hosts lectures and symposia. In its 125-year history the Club has organized more than five hundred such exhibitions on topics ranging from Blake to Kipling, from chess to murder mysteries, from Japanese prints to Art Nouveau posters. There are four shows a year in the Club’s main ground floor gallery, all open to the public free of charge.

Featured in the Grolier Club’s Extraordinary Women in Science and Medicine: Four Centuries of Achievement are three items from NLM’s collections, two works by Louise Bourgeois Boursier; Observations diverses, sur la sterilité, perte de fruict, foecondité, accouchements, et maladies des femmes, et enfants nouveaux naiz (1617) and The Compleat midwife’s practice enlarged (1663), and Recherches quantitatives sur la marche du processus de différenciation des neurones dans les ganglions spinaux de l’embryon de Poulet, (1943), co-authored by Rita Levi-Montalcini and her husband Giuseppe Levi. Boursier’s Observations and Compleat midwife’s practice are, respectively, the French original and an English translation (both 17th century) of the first extensive textbook on midwifery written by a woman. Mme. Bourgeois Boursier (1563–1636) was midwife to Marie de Medicis, wife of Henry IV, King of France, and delivered six children for the queen, all of whom survived to adulthood, including one future king of France, two queens (England and Spain), two dukes and a duchess. Her book was reprinted many times and widely translated.

Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909–2012) won the Nobel Prize in 1986 for her work in neurology, specifically working on the growth of nerve fibers. As a Jew in Italy in the 1930s and 1940s, she worked under the constant threat of arrest and imprisonment by the Fascist regimes that controlled her home country. Nevertheless, she continued to work in a makeshift lab in her kitchen in Turin, measuring nerve development in chicken embryos. Levi-Montalcini’s Recherches quantitatives, a seminal article which summarizes her work, could not be published in Italy, and somehow made it into print in Liege instead. Levi-Montalcini never left Italy during the war, although she and her family fled south to Florence and she eventually worked as a physician with the Allied forces. In 1946, she emigrated to the United States, where she continued her research at Washington University and then jointly in Rome at the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. She remained active in both medicine and politics until her death in 2012, at the age of 103.

2013 Association of Health Care Journalists/National Library of Medicine Fellows Announced!

Eight journalists represent this year’s class of AHCJ-National Library of Medicine fellows. The fellowship program was created to increase reporters’ access and understanding of the resources available at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institutes of Health.

The journalists chosen to take part this year are:

  • Betsy Agnvall, features editor, AARP Bulletin
  • Kristine Crane, science & health writer, The Gainesville(FL) Sun
  • Robert Fulton, independent journalist, Los Angeles
  • Christine Gorman, senior editor, Scientific American
  • Elizabeth Landau, writer/producer,
  • Valerie Lego, health reporter, WZZM-Grand Rapids, MI
  • Robert Lott, editor of special content, Health Affairs
  • Kerry Sheridan, health and science writer, Agence France-Presse

The fellows’ visit to the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD, September 15-19, includes hands-on workshops about how to use and get the most from government research databases, such as PubMed, MedlinePlus, and ToxNet. Fellows also will meet with senior NLM and NIH researchers and officials for exclusive informational sessions. The fellows were selected from 42 qualified applicants. AHCJ is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. With more than 1,400 members, its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. The association and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism are based at the Missouri School of Journalism.

NLM Announces Digital Release of “The Reward of Courage”

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announced the digital release of The Reward of Courage, a 1921 silent film long believed to have been lost. Produced by the American Society for the Control of Cancer (the ASCC, later renamed the American Cancer Society), and funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, The Reward of Courage is a melodrama in the grand silent-era tradition. The film pits charlatans who promise cures through the use of quack salves and pastes against the forces of scientific medicine and the U.S. postal authorities, who crack down on such fraudulent and dangerous claims. This battle of good versus evil unfolds against a tender love story: the coming together of two young lovers is threatened by the mistaken belief that cancer is an inheritable disease and would afflict the offspring of their union. In fact, we now know that a predisposition to get certain forms of cancer can be inherited, but no reliable research on this had been done in the early twentieth century. The film calls for the establishment of clinics in industrial workplaces, to promote worker health and higher productivity, and provides what is likely the first representation in film of a breast examination for cancer.

Discovered in the film collections of the Library of Congress, The Reward of Courage was meticulously restored through cooperation between the NLM and the Library of Congress, transferred from its unstable nitrate base, and augmented with a musical soundtrack for the film, following the traditional silent-film practice of screening films with live musical accompaniment. The National Library of Medicine announced the digital release of both the original, silent version of The Reward of Courage and the newly-scored version, on the NLM’s Medical Movies on the Web, a curated portal featuring selected motion pictures from the NLM’s world-renowned collection of over 30,000 audiovisual titles. All of the motion pictures featured on Medical Movies on the Web, and others from the NLM’s audiovisual collection, are also available through the NLM’s YouTube site and through its Digital Collections.

Three film cells from the silent move The Reward of Courage

Images from The Reward of Courage (1921): (left) Miss Keene, the nurse at Dr. Dale’s clinic, examines Anna Flint. This is probably the first cinematic representation of a breast examination for cancer; (middle) Hidden behind a curtain, Morris Maxwell overhears a conversation about Anna’s cancer diagnosis before offering Anna a painless ‘cure’ for the disease for $200.00, his Radiumized Paste; and (right) Part of the animated section of the film showing the spread of cancer and its consequences, highlighted by arrows. The line drawing of the human figure and dark blotches of the tumors also serve to counter the prospect of any paralyzing fear or disgust that might be evoked by a live action image of tumors.

NLM Medical Text Indexer Providing Baseline for International BioASQ Challenge

The National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Medical Text Indexer is being used as one of the baselines for the international BioASQ challenge. The Medical Text Indexer (MTI), a system for producing indexing recommendations, assists in the indexing process at NLM. The BioASQ challenge is a series of challenges on biomedical semantic indexing and question answering, with the aim of advancing the state of the art accessibility for researchers and clinicians to biomedical text. The MTI indexing results are providing one of the baselines used in the “Large-scale online biomedical semantic indexing” part of the challenge, which is designed to parallel the human indexing currently being done at NLM. Alan R. Aronson, PhD, Principal Investigator for the MTI project, also will be delivering an invited talk on Indexing The Biomedical Literature In A Time Of Increased Demand And Limited Resources at the BioASQ Workshop in September. Dr. Aronson is a Principal Investigator at the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, an Intramural Research Division of the National Library of Medicine.

NLM Announces Release of Pill Images!

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced the release of about 1,800 new high quality images of solid oral dosage medications. Images were taken at high resolution, but are also available in smaller sizes if desired for certain applications. Researchers and product developers may obtain the images and accompanying metadata via an applications programming interface (API). NLM also makes the images available for interactive Web searching via its Pillbox and RxNav sites.

Of the roughly 1,800 pills photographed to date, approximately 400 were provided by manufacturers. The others were purchased through a licensed Maryland pharmacy. NLM estimates that the images cover about 15% of the more than 10,000 solid dosage forms of the 4,075 human prescription medications on the US market, and a higher percentage of frequently prescribed medications. The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) provided technical advice, funding, and in-kind support for the development of the photography standards for these pills, the establishment of an imaging facility, and the performance of some image capture.

HHS Awards $12 Million to Help Teaching Health Centers Train Primary Care Providers

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has just announced $12 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support primary care residency programs in 32 Teaching Health Centers across the nation. Funding will help train more than 300 residents during the 2013-2014 academic year, doubling the number of residents trained in the previous academic year. Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Payment Program, created by the Affordable Care Act, expands residency training in community-based settings. Residents will be trained in family and internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and general and pediatric dentistry.

The current awards expand the number of states with Teaching Health Centers to 21, from 14 in 2012. Teaching Health Centers are located in a variety of settings, including urban, rural, and Tribal communities, and serve populations such as veterans and their families, minority communities, older adults, children and adolescents. Four of the FY 2014 awards are based in the Pacific Southwest Region:

  • Fresno Healthy Community Access Partners, Fresno, CA
  • Shasta Community Health Center, Redding, CA
  • Social Action Community Health System, San Bernardino, CA
  • Valley Consortium for Medical Education, Modesto, CA

A complete list of awards is available.

Grande Dame of Indexing at the National Library of Medicine, Thelma Charen, Dies at 96

Thelma Golden Charen, former indexer, trainer in the Index Section, and senior technical advisor in the MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) Section of the National Library of Medicine, died July 14, 2013, in Bethesda, MD, one day shy of her 97th birthday. Mrs. Charen first joined the Army Medical Library (precursor of the Armed Forces Medical Library and ultimately, the National Library of Medicine) in 1944 as a pre-cataloger in the Acquisitions Section. She had degrees in Greek and Latin; her natural facility with these languages led to her mastery of medical terminology and to positions as Indexer, training specialist for indexers and searchers, manual developer, and vocabulary specialist. She retired in 1997, ending a renowned 53-year career at NLM.

Mrs. Charen was notably awarded the Marcia C. Noyes Award, highest professional distinction offered by the Medical Library Association in 1985, as an acknowledgement of a career that resulted in lasting, outstanding contributions to health sciences librarianship. At the awards ceremony, Lois Ann Colaianni, then NLM Associate Director for Library Operations, commented, “Her wit and spontaneity in the classroom are as legendary as her logic. She has trained an entire generation of medical indexers working at NLM and around the world. It is not an exaggeration to say that the success of Index Medicus and the MEDLARS system is in great measure the result of Mrs. Charen’s high standards for the quality indexing of the biomedical literature.” At the same ceremony, current NLM Deputy Director Betsy Humphreys recalls that when Mrs. Colaianni asked all those present who had been taught online searching by Mrs. Charen to raise their hands, the vast majority of those in the room did so, including all members of the MLA Board. Mrs. Charen also received two awards given to staff: the NLM Director’s Award in 1983 and the Regents’ Award for Scholarship or Technical Achievement in 1972 “for conceiving, developing and implementing the MEDLARS indexing manual and training program.” In addition to her considerable professional skills, she was known for a seemingly endless supply of dramatic eyeglass frames!

Amongst her other achievements, Mrs. Charen also:

  • Authored or co-authored numerous publications on indexing, training for indexers, and manuals used by librarians all over the world, including Structure and Use of Medical Subject Headings: Annotations and Medical Subject Headings; Tree Annotations. Mrs. Charen wrote every MeSH annotation for indexers and online searchers for over 20 years; and
  • Served on the three-person task force, along with James L. Wood of the Chemical Abstracts Service, and Harold Oatfield of Pfizer Medical Research Laboratories to revise the ANSI Z39.5 standard for journal title abbreviations, resulting in the 1969 publication of the American National Standard for the Abbreviation of Titles of Periodicals.

It is a mark of Mrs. Charen’s great love of NLM and its staff that during her lifetime she and her husband, Sol Charen, anonymously endowed NLM’s Frank Bradway Rogers Award. The award, given annually, is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the Library’s fundamental operational programs and services. Mrs. Charen’s career covered the time from when the Library began indexing articles for the print publication, Index Medicus, and through development of accessibility of journal citations in the online database MEDLINE/PubMed. Today, over 750,000 citations are indexed annually for MEDLINE/PubMed from over 5,600 biomedical journals. MEDLINE contains over 20,000,000 citations to the biomedical literature. Where indexing the literature was once a process entirely handled manually, today 93% of citations are submitted electronically in XML format by publishers, enabling NLM to concentrate on quality control and indexing rather than original creation of the bibliographic citation, and 74% of MEDLINE journals are indexed from the online version, which accounts for 88% of all new citations being processed. The Index Section now also uses in production the Medical Text Indexer (MTI), a software indexing assistant tool that is optimized to suggest precise MeSH headings from analyzing the article title and abstract for the indexer to consider.

Librarians to Help with ACA Implementation

On Sunday, June 30, during the American Library Association annual conference, an announcement will be made which will mark the beginning of recruitment of the nation’s librarians to help people sign up for insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Up to 17,000 U.S. libraries will be part of the effort to get information and crucial computer time to the millions of uninsured Americans who need to get coverage under the law. The initiative starts October 1, when people without health coverage will start shopping for insurance online on new websites where they can get tax credits to help pay the cost. About 7 million people are expected to sign up for coverage in the new marketplaces next year, but the heavy emphasis on the Web-based portals puts anyone without access to a computer at a disadvantage. According to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), libraries already provide health information to 28 million people each year via public access computers. Many libraries also have public spaces where meetings can be held.

Since librarians are likely to get questions on the health law from the public, the IMLS is contracting with the Online Computer Library Center to develop an online toolkit and training webinars for librarians. Libraries will be particularly important in conservative states that aren’t making much effort to promote the health law’s opportunities. They may choose to link to, the revamped federal website that is the hub for health law information, or to embed the widget on their websites. Some libraries may decide to set aside some public computers for people seeking health insurance or extend time limits on computers. Some may work with community health centers on educational events. The degree of participation will be determined locally with each library.

USC Center for the Digital Future Releases 11th Digital Future Project Report!

On June 13, The University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg Center for the Digital Future released the 11th Digital Future Project Report, the longest continuing study of its kind, which includes findings on more than 180 issues that explore the views and behavior of Internet users and non-users. The 2013 report features new questions about negative online attention (bullying, harassment, and unwanted sexual attention), the impact of mobile devices, and a closer examination of the “Millennial Rift;” the vast differences between how Millennials (age 18-34) and non-Millennials use online sites and services. A press release with highlights from the report is available, and the complete report is available for downloading.