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Archive for the ‘Search Tools’ 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

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.

NLM and FDA Launch Public Access to Global Unique Device Identification Database

The FDA, in partnership with the National Library of Medicine, has announced that data submitted to FDA’s Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUDID) is now publicly available through a website called AccessGUDID. By using AccessGUDID, anyone can search or download information that device labelers have submitted to the GUDID about their medical devices. Because the UDI system is being phased in over the next several years, labelers are currently submitting data on only the highest risk medical devices, a small subset of marketed devices. But as the system is implemented according to the UDI compliance timeline, the records of all medical devices required to have a UDI will be included.

With the launch of this beta version of AccessGUDID, everyone is encouraged—health care systems, clinicians, patients, researchers, industry and others—to explore its contents, assess its functionality and provide feedback. This feedback will shape future enhancements, including advanced search and web services. To submit feedback, use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the AccessGUDID landing page or the FDA UDI Help Desk.

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.

MedlinePlus Releases New Responsive Web Design Interface!

New responsive design of MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en Espanol

MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español are now available with a fresh look and feel and a completely redesigned web site. The new release uses responsive design for ease of use on any device, whether that is a desktop monitor or mobile touchscreen. Responsive pages automatically change their layout to fit your screen. Further details are available by visiting the NLM announcement page.

Since this latest version enables all users to access a layout of MedlinePlus.gov optimized for their device, there is no longer a need for the separate mobile (m.medlineplus.gov) sites. These sites are now retired, and visitors to them will be redirected to the new version of MedlinePlus.gov. NLM invites you to try out the MedlinePlus full responsive design on your smartphone, tablet or desktop. A two-minute tour of the redesigned site is also available in English and Spanish. Feel free to send your feedback and comments about the new design via the “Contact Us” link that appears on every MedlinePlus page.

NLM Announces the Addition of the Michael E. DeBakey Papers to Profiles in Science

Now available from the National Library of Medicine is an extensive selection from the papers of Dr. Michael E. DeBakey on 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. The Michael E. DeBakey Papers Profiles in Science site features correspondence, published articles, travel diaries, interviews, and photographs from the Michael DeBakey Papers held by the National Library of Medicine. Visitors to Profiles in Science can view photos from DeBakey’s childhood and early career, correspondence with surgical colleagues during World War II, and the journal he kept on a trip to Russia to supervise President Boris Yeltsin’s bypass surgery in 1996. An in-depth historical narrative leads to a wide range of primary source materials that provide a window into Dr. DeBakey’s life and major contributions to vascular surgery, medical education, and health care policy. Visitors may also search and browse the collection, consult a brief chronology of DeBakey’s life, a glossary of terms specific to the collection, and a page of further readings.

Michael E. DeBakey (1908–2008) was a legendary American surgeon, educator, and medical statesman. During a career spanning 75 years, his work transformed cardiovascular surgery, raised medical education standards, and informed national health care policy. Born to Lebanese immigrants in Lake Charles, LA, DeBakey was inspired to study medicine by physicians who visited his father’s pharmacy. He earned his MD from Tulane University in 1932 and joined the Tulane faculty after his internship and two years of postgraduate work in Europe. During World War II, he served with the Surgical Consultants to the Army Surgeon General, where he helped develop the first MASH units. DeBakey pioneered dozens of operative procedures such as aneurysm repair, coronary bypass, and endarterectomy, which routinely save thousands of lives each year, and performed some of the first heart transplants. His inventions included the roller pump (a key component of heart-lung machines) as well as artificial hearts and ventricular assist pumps. Beginning in 1948, he was a driving force in building Houston’s Baylor University College of Medicine into a premier medical center, where he trained several generations of top surgeons from all over the world.