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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

New Search Interface for the NLM IndexCat Database

The National Library of Medicine has announced the launch of a new user interface for the IndexCat database, which offers a faster response time to searches; full record displays in search results; and record sorting and refinements. NLM uses the same search engine for its main Web site, as well as MedlinePlus, MedlinePlus en Español, the Directory of the History of Medicine Collections search engine, and the History of Medicine Finding Aids Consortium.

IndexCat simultaneously searches the digitized version of the printed Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon General’s Office; eTK for medieval Latin texts; and eVK2 for medieval English texts; and LocatorPlus. A post in the NLM Circulating Now blog offers additional information on IndexCat. There also are a number of new and revised FAQs and Help pages to assist with searching IndexCat. Additional details and illustrations are available in the most recent edition of the NLM Technical Bulletin.

Free Images for Evaluation Reports!

The current trend in evaluation reporting is toward fewer words and more images. There are a number of companies that offer high-quality, royalty free photographs at minimal cost. Stockfresh, for example, charges as little as $1 per image. However, no-cost is even better than low-cost. Freelancers Union, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting freelance workers, recently published a list of the best websites for no-cost images. If you are looking for free images for your presentations or reports, check out their article, which also describes the difference between public domain, royalty-free and Creative Commons-licensed images.

Evaluation Tips: Recipe of Evaluation Techniques

Stanley Capela recently presented the webinar Recipe of Evaluation Techniques for the Real World, one of the American Evaluation Association’s (AEA) ongoing 20-minute Coffee Break webinars. The webinars, offered Thursdays at 11:00 am Pacific time, often present similar tools and tips that are also covered in the Tip a Day blog but allow for audience questions & answers and networking with the presenters. Capela’s recipe focused primarily on internal evaluation in non-profit or government settings where people are seeking realistic answers in response to assessment efforts. His tips include:

  • Value People’s Time all time is valuable, regardless of who you are working with, and clear communication on the intent of the evaluation helps to make the best use of everyone’s time.
  • Ethical Conduct – working within the parameters of organizational and/or professional association codes of conducts in addition to established support of upper level administration will help to minimize the potential for ethical dilemmas.
  • Know Your Enemies – be aware of those who are resistant to program evaluation and may try to undermine these efforts, and also know that you as an evaluator may be perceived as an enemy by others. Again, clear communication helps!
  • Culture of Accountability – take the time to know the story of those you are working with – where are they coming from? What is their history with previous assessments? Were their needs met, or were there issues that had negative effects on relationships and outcomes?
  • Do Something – avoid cycles of conducting reviews, identifying deficiencies, and outcomes that only include developing correction plans. Also important to note is that program evaluation does not solve management problems.
  • A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words – find ways to integrate charts that direct the reader to the most important information clearly and concisely.
  • Let Go of Your Ego – working from a mindset that accepts the people conducting the program itself will most likely ‘get the credit,’ and that your measure of success is doing your job to the best of your ability and knowing you made a difference.
  • Give Back – develop a network of trusted colleagues, such as through personal and organization connections on LinkedIn and other platforms, share ideas, and ask questions, since others have probably encountered a similar situation or can connect you with those who have.

Webinars and Workshops about Outreach Evaluation!

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) offers a range of webinars and workshops upon request by network members and coordinators from the NN/LM regions. Take a look at the list and see if one of the options appeals to you. To request a workshop or webinar, contact Susan Barnes. The workshops were designed as face-to-face learning opportunities, but can be tailored to meet distance learning needs by distilling them to briefer webinars or offering them in series of one-hour webinars. If you don’t see what you’re looking for on the list, then contact Susan and let her know!

Exhibit evaluations with QuickTapSurvey

Exhibiting is a popular strategy for health information resource promotion, but exhibits can be challenging events to evaluate. Survey platforms for tablets and mobile phones can make it a little easier to collect feedback at exhibit booths. The NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) has explored QuickTapSurvey, which seems well-suited to getting point-of-contact responses from booth visitors. The application allows creation of short, touch-screen questionnaires on Apple or Android tablets. You simply hand the tablet to visitors for their quick replies. The same questionnaire can be put on multiple tablets, so you and your colleagues can collect responses simultaneously during an exhibit.

When you have an Internet connection, responses are automatically uploaded into your online QuickTapSurvey account. When no connection is available, data are stored on the tablet and uploaded later. You can use QuickTapSurvey’s analytics to summarize responses with statistics and graphs, and can also download the data into a spreadsheet to analyze in Excel. QuickTapSurvey is a commercial product, but there is a limited free version. The application is fairly user friendly, but it may be worthwhile to experiment with it before taking it on the road. Further information about QuickTapSurvey, including the different pricing options, is available on the web site.

A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators: The American Evaluation Association (AEA) 365 Blog!

Do you want to know more about great assessment resources, tools, and lessons learned from others with an interest in evaluation? Check out the American Evaluation Association (AEA) 365 blog, where anyone (not only AEA members) can subscribe via email or really simple syndication (RSS) feed. The established blog guidelines place a cap on contributions with a maximum of 450 words per entry. You will know at a glance what the subject is (Hot Tips, Cool Tricks, Rad Resources, or Lessons Learned) from the headers used within the entries, and all assumptions of prior knowledge and experience with evaluation and organizations are avoided, with clarification of all acronyms and no jargon allowed.

A handy tip is to scroll down the right sidebar of the website to locate subjects arranged by the AEA Topical Interest Groups (TIGs). Some of these that are likely to be of interest to National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) members are Data Visualization and Reporting, Disabilities and Other Vulnerable Populations, Health Evaluation, Integrating Technology into Evaluation, and Nonprofits and Foundations Evaluation. Examples of recent items of potential interest include Conducting a Health Needs Assessment of People With Disabilities, with shared lessons learned from the needs assessment work done in Massachusetts, and the “rad resource” of Disability and Health Data System (DHDS), with state-level disability health data available from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

Classroom Activities and Lesson Plans for NLM Native Voices Exhibition

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Division of Specialized Information Services K-12 Workgroup has released classroom activities and lesson plans to supplement the Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness web site. For grades 6-12, these classroom activities and lesson plans familiarize students to the health and medicine of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. The activities and lesson plans use Native Voices exhibition web site content material and other NLM online educational/science resources.

The activities and lesson plans are composed of four units. Each unit introduces a different way of exploring and learning about the Native Voices exhibition in about 1.5 to 3 hours. These units are: 1) A scavenger hunt, 2) An environmental health science lesson, 3) A social science lesson, and 4) A biology lesson. While the activities and lesson plans can be used in science classrooms, clubs, and programs, they can be used also to reinforce the history and societal developments of Native peoples in social science and history classrooms.

The Native Voices Web site allows people to experience an exhibition currently on display at NLM in Bethesda, Maryland. Both versions explore the connection between wellness, illness, and cultural life through a combination of interviews with Native people and interactive media. For additional information, contact Alla Keselman, PhD, K-12 Team Leader, National Library of Medicine.

Mark E. de Jong Appointed Head of NLM’s Collection Access Section

Mark E. de Jong has been selected to fill the position of Head, Collection Access Section, in the Public Services Division, Library Operations, NLM, effective February 23, 2014. Mark comes to NLM from the position of Access Services Manager, University of Maryland University College (UMUC), where he directs a staff of nine in providing document delivery and interlibrary loan services to UMUC’s students and faculty in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Mark has been with UMUC since 2005 and his experiences include overseeing the planning, development, and implementation of the ILLiad software for interlibrary loan management, as well as the implementation of SharePoint knowledge management platform to improve library communications, collaboration, and document management. He holds the rank of associate professor (adjunct) at UMUC, where he has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in research and information literacy. Mark has published extensively in the library field; his newest work is a chapter on service design thinking in libraries for Woodsworth & Penniman, Advances in Librarianship, (Emerald Press, forthcoming).

Mark’s previous professional experiences include access and reference positions at Thurgood Marshall Law Library, University of Maryland at Baltimore; Frostburg State University; and the University of Buffalo. Mark holds a MA in history (SUNY College at Brockport) and MLS (University at Buffalo). He holds a doctorate in management (ADB) from UMUC, where his dissertation topic is “Attributes of Effective Leadership.”

Evaluation Terminology: Free Resources

Kylie Hutchinson is a Credentialied Evaluator and consultant to non-profit organizations, specializing in the areas of program planning and evaluation. She regularly presents webinars for Community Solutions Planning & Evaluation about topics such as the vast and often jargony world of evaluation terminology. As part of Hutchison’s research, she has consulted online evaluation glossaries, such as the OECD Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results Based Management and the US Environmental Protection Agency  Program Evaluation Glossary, and counted thirty six different definitions of evaluation methods within them. What accounts for so much variation? Common reasons include the perspectives and language used by different sectors and funders such as education, government, and non-profit organizations.

A helpful tip when working with organizations on evaluation projects is to ask to see copies of documents such as annual reports, mission and vision statements, strategic planning, and promotional materials, to learn more about the language they use to communicate about themselves. This will assist you in knowing if modifications in assessment terminology language are needed, and can help guide discussions on clarifying the organization’s purpose of the evaluation.

Hutchinson identified several common themes within the plethora of evaluation methods and created color-coded clusters of them within her Evaluation Terminology Map, which uses the bubbl.us online mind mapping program. She also created a freely available Evaluation Glossary app for use on both iPhone and Android mobile devices and has a web-based version under development. For additional resources to better understand health information outreach evaluation, be sure to visit the NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) Tools and Resources for Evaluation LibGuide.

New Project Announced for Collecting Health Data for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Populations!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched the first-ever, large-scale national health survey to collect detailed health information for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) households; the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander National Health Interview Survey. The information will be collected through the National Health Interview Survey, which is conducted by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, and is the nation’s largest in-person, household health survey. Never before has there been a study of this scale to assess the health needs of NHPIs, and this type of survey has long been called for by the NHPI community. This important effort will help improve understanding of the health concerns faced by this community and to identify areas of opportunity for the federal government to better address these concerns.

The Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders National Health Interview Survey will include a sample of approximately 4,000 households. Data collection for the survey begins in February 2014 and findings will be available in the summer of 2015. The data will help public health researchers to produce reports on a wide range of important health indicators for the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander population. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders comprise just 0.4% of the total U.S. population, which makes it difficult to include them in sufficient numbers in most national population-based health surveys. The lack of reliable health data for this population has made it difficult to assess their health status and health care utilization. However, the available data for this population indicates that they experience significant health disparities when compared to other groups, such as lower utilization of health care services and higher rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.