Skip all navigation and go to page content
NN/LM Home About PSR | Contact PSR | Feedback |Site Map | Help | Bookmark and Share

Archive for the ‘Search Tools’ Category

NLM Digitizes Unique Early English Books, Allowing Free Online Access

Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy (London: Printed for John Garway, 1660).The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces the release through its Digital Collections of nearly 200 items uniquely held by the NLM and printed in the English-speaking world from 1552 to 1800. NLM’s participation in the English Short Title Catalog (ESTC) helped staff identify the uniqueness of these items. The ESTC is a union catalog managed by the British Library which lists books, pamphlets, and other ephemeral material printed in English-speaking countries from 1473 to 1800, containing over 480,000 items reported by over 2,000 libraries from around the world, including the NLM, British Library, Folger Shakespeare Library, and Library of Congress. The NLM holds over 9,000 ESTC items, the most for any medical library in the world.

The NLM’s new digital collection of unique English short titles includes:

As with all printed material added to NLM’s Digital Collections, these items will be included in the Internet Archive generally, and as part of the Medical Heritage Library, an international collaboration which the NLM has supported since 2010 to provide free access to historical medical literature.

The NLM’s Digital Collections currently encompass over 14,000 items spanning eight centuries and including monographs, serials, videos, and ephemeral literature. It complements PubMed Central® (PMC), NLM’s free, full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature, now including 3.5 million articles spanning the early nineteenth-century to the present day. Additionally, as part of its ongoing initiative to make its historical collections widely known and available, the NLM also announces a three-year cooperation with the University of St. Andrews to identify and preserve the rarest European materials in the NLM’s historical collections. The University of St. Andrews hosts the Universal Short Title Catalog (USTC), funded by the Andrew J. Mellon Foundation. The USTC is a unique collective database which seeks to include all books published in Europe between the invention of printing and the end of the sixteenth century.

NLM Toxicology and Environmental Health Resource Update: ChemIDplus Interfaces

The National Library of Medicine’s ChemIDplus Lite and ChemIDplus Advanced interfaces have been enhanced with the following features:

  • Valid chemical names and CAS RN completions are displayed as the user types in the search box. If no data are found, suggestions are provided.
  • The ChemIDplus Registry Number field now includes the FDA UNII code.
  • The InChIKey is now directly searchable. It can be used for the interchange of structural data and as input for search engines such as Google.
  • The ChemIDplus Formula field now accepts molecular formulas with spaces between elements and their counts and without the hyphens previously required.

Examples of these new features may be viewed at the ChemIDplus Help pages. ChemIDplus is a free, web search system that provides access to the structure and nomenclature authority files used for the identification of chemical substances cited in National Library of Medicine (NLM) databases, including the TOXNET® system. ChemIDplus also has structure searching and direct links to resources at NLM, federal agencies, U.S states, and scientific sites. The database contains more than 400,000 chemical records, of which over 300,000 include chemical structures.

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!

Climate Change and the Health of Americans: Information Resources from NLM

The July 2015 issue of The Nation’s Health features a cover story on the link between climate change and health, new U.S. government initiatives aimed at protecting communities from the health impacts of climate change, and the effort to reframe climate change as an urgent public health issue. These initiatives are meant to help Americans understand climate change as not just an environmental issue, but also an important health issue.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) provides many sources of information to assist health professionals with the knowledge and resources they need to assess who is most vulnerable to the health effects of climate change, and teach patients how to minimize the impacts. The Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) Arctic Health website is a central source for information on diverse aspects of the Arctic environment and the health of northern peoples. The site gives access to evaluated health information from hundreds of local, state, national, and international agencies, as well as from professional societies and universities. For example, the Arctic Health Climate Change page provides links to websites, publications, and multimedia presentations covering the impacts of climate change on the health, activities, and well-being of people in the Arctic. It includes climate-change observations from both the scientific-research and the traditional-knowledge points of view.

The SIS Environmental Health and Toxicology website features Enviro-Health Links – Climate Change and Human Health. This page provides a wealth of environmental health-related web resources from the U.S. government and other trusted sources focused on climate change and health. Resources include links to information about specific impacts on agriculture, extreme weather, general health, infectious disease, population displacement, preparedness and security, and water quality and scarcity. In addition to topic-related searches of NLM resources, the page offers overview materials, glossaries, information on law, policy, and regulation, links to blogs, news, podcasts and video, and educational material such as the NLM’s Environmental Health Student Portal.

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.

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

Toxicology and Environmental Health Resource Update: LiverTox

Many medications have the potential to cause liver injury. The National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) LiverTox is an evidence-based resource that provides guidance to consumers, patients, and healthcare providers about the potential for prescription and nonprescription drugs, herbals and dietary supplements to cause damage to this critical organ. It assists physicians regarding the diagnosis and management of this important cause of liver disease. LiverTox represents a collaborative effort by medical and scientific specialists to provide a central repository of clinical information in support of clinical and basic research on the prevention and control of drug induced liver injury. It also includes a case registry that enables scientific analysis and better characterization of the clinical patterns of that injury.

Guide to Choosing NLM Environmental Health and Toxicology Resources

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Environmental Health and Toxicology Portal provides a starting point for finding reliable information on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases. The NLM Toxicology Information Decision Guide can help with selection of the right resource for a particular need. Visit the database table for expanded descriptions and sample records for some of these resources.

Low Cost Mapping Tools on NLM’s Community Health Maps Blog

Have you ever wanted to be able to use mapping for your outreach needs, but thought that making maps would be too expensive, time-consuming, or just too difficult? The main goal of the National Library of Medicine’s Community Health Maps: Information on Low Cost Mapping Tools for Community-based Organizations blog is facilitating the use of geographic information system (GIS) mapping by providing information about low cost mapping tools, software reviews, best practices, and the experiences of those who have successfully implemented a mapping workflow as part of their work. The blog is moderated by Kurt Menke, a certified GIS professional.

Here are some examples of the kinds of things you can find on the Community Health Maps blog:

  • A short guide for using iForm for field data collection. iForm is an app that can be used on iPads, iPhones and Android devices, and has a free version. Using this app, you can go to different locations, gather data (for example, demographic information about attendance at your program), and view it in tabular or map format.
  • A description of a project using youth in the Philippines to collect data on the needs of their communities. Technology + Youth = Change showed how a dozen donated phones helped 30 young adults survey and map information on access to water, electricity, jobs, and more.
  • A review of a pilot project done by the Seattle Indian Health Board’s Urban Indian Health Institute on noise pollution and health in the urban environment.

NLM VSAC Publishes Annual Update for 2014 Clinical Quality Measure Value Sets

On May 1, 2015, The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Value Set Authority Center (VSAC), in collaboration with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), published the annual update for the 2014 electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) value sets for eligible hospitals and eligible professionals. Providers will use these updated eCQM value sets to electronically report 2016 quality data for CMS quality reporting programs, including the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Inpatient Quality Reporting Program (IQR), and the EHR Incentive Programs. CMS updates these electronic reporting specifications annually to improve alignment with current clinical guidelines and terminologies and to remain relevant and actionable within the clinical care setting.

The VSAC offers a Downloadable Resource Table, accessible from the Download tab on the VSAC Web page, that provides prepackaged downloads for the most recently updated and released eCQM value sets, as well as for previously released versions. Access to the VSAC requires a free Unified Medical Language System® Metathesaurus License. NLM also provides the Data Element Catalog that identifies data element names (value set names) required for capture in electronic health record (EHR) technology certified under the 2014 Edition of the ONC Standards and Certification Criteria.

The NLM update of the VSAC eCQM value sets coincides with the CMS posting of the annual update for the 2014 eCQMs for eligible hospitals and eligible professionals, available in the CMS eCQM Library. CMS has re-specified all of the 2015 updated measures using Quality Data Model (QDM) 4.1.2 based-HQMF version R 2.1. 2014 Clinical Quality Measure Resources.

The following resources are available to help health care providers and vendors navigate the 2014 eCQMs.