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Archive for the ‘Search Tools’ Category

NIH adds first images to major research database!

“The National Institutes of Health has expanded a genetic and clinical research database to give researchers access to the first digital study images. The National Eye Institute (NEI), in collaboration with the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), has made available more than 72,000 lens photographs and fundus photographs of the back of the eye, collected from the participants of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). These images are now accessible to scientists through NCBI’s online database of Genotypes and Phenotypes, known as dbGaP, which archives data from studies that explore the relationship between genetic variations (genotype) and observable traits (phenotype).” Open-access AREDS data and a link to apply for controlled access to individual level data, including the new images, can be found on the NEI-AREDS study page.

“The availability of AREDS images through dbGaP may transform the way we conduct vision research,” said NEI director Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D…

View the NIH News article here.

NIHSeniorHealth Toolkit for Trainers – Updated Modules Now Available

Updated training modules have been added to the National Institute on Aging’s Toolkit for Trainers, a free resource that can be used to help older adults find reliable online health information on their own. The Toolkit offers free lesson plans, student handouts, glossaries, trainer tools and an introductory video and can be used in libraries, senior centers, community colleges, and retirement communities.

The updates appear in modules 6-8 and reflect recent design changes to MedlinePlus, one of the websites featured in the training.

Indian Health Service Creates Best Practices Inventory

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is developing an inventory database of Best Practice, Promising Practice, Local Effort, Resources, and Policies occurring among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities, schools, work sites, health centers/clinics, and hospitals. The database is available through the IHS Online Search, Consultation, and Reporting (OSCAR) System. The purpose of the inventory is to assist the AI/AN communities with getting the information and health services they need and highlighting the great work being done in the field. Users have the option of searching the database or submitting content electronically.

New MedlinePlus FAQ for Finding Favorite Resources on the Redesigned Home Page

At first glance, it might not be obvious where a favorite resource from the old MedlinePlus has moved to on the newly redesigned site. The National Library of Medicine released a new FAQ to help users find the familiar links – Where can I find my favorite link from the old homepage on the new homepage? You can click on a link on the old homepage to see where it’s moved to on the new homepage. If you haven’t visited the new MedlinePlus yet, check it out. And send your questions and comments to the MedlinePlus team via the Contact Us link that appears on every page.

Learn About QR Codes

Alison Aldrich, Technology Outreach Coordinator at the NN/LM Pacific Northwest Region, published a terrific article last week in PNR’s “Dragonfly” newsletter called “QR Codes: They’re Everywhere.” Head on over to Dragonfly to read the article and try out this fascinating technology:

New iPhone and iPod Touch app for WISER

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is pleased to announce that WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders), is now available as an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. WISER is also compatible with the iPad. Content and functionality of this application will be enhanced in the coming months and a WISER for Blackberry version is also coming soon.

WISER is a tool to assist emergency responders with hazardous material (hazmat) incidents. It provides a wide range of information on chemical, biological, and radiological agents, including substance identification, physical characteristics, human health and emergency medical treatment information, and containment and suppression assistance.

WISER is also available as a standalone application for Microsoft Windows PCs, Windows Mobile devices, Palm OS PDAs and via the Web as WebWISER. The WISER home page has additional information.

NRHA Quality and Clinical Conference handouts

Last week, I attended the National Rural Health Association Quality and Clinical Conference. The NRHA has made the handouts from the conference available at Topics include electronic health records, telemedicine, and models for rural health care.

The HIV/AIDS Atlas: a new resource from the National Minority Quality Forum

The HIV/AIDS Atlas is a new tool that allows health care professionals, policy makers, and the public to view county-level prevalence data in all 50 states, to see the impact HIV/AIDS is having on their local community. The atlas provides HIV/AIDS statistics by age, gender, and race/ethnicity, whenever the data is available. Users may also view data for their congressional and state legislative districts overlaid on top of the county-level data. Zip code-level data, currently available only for New York City, will eventually be provided for as many geographic areas as possible. Most of the statistics are based on 2006 data, with plans to incorporate 2007 data for all states in the next iteration of the atlas. To “Travel the Atlas” users simply register for a username and password. The registration process is free! After entering the atlas, use the navigation bar to the left of the map to select a state, county, U.S. congressional district, or state legislative district. Then in the upper right corner of the map, choose the desired prevalence rate and demographic you wish to view.

Comparison of Alpha/Bing/Squared

The Disrupted Library Technology Jester blog has published an excellent comparison of three new search services: Wolfram|Alpha, Microsoft’s Bing, and Google Squared; see Wolfram|Alpha and Google Squared are “fact retrieval” search engines whereas Bing is more like existing search engines that retrieve web links about a topic.

The post features an 8-minute long screencast that contrasts results from the three search engines. I recommend taking the time to watch the screencast; you will come away with a good understanding of the differences between the three services. Note the new service described at the end of the post that provides a way to conduct a search across all three engines.

Wolfram Alpha Computational Knowledge Engine

Wolfram|Alpha is a new service on the web that calls itself a “computational knowledge engine.” Ask Wolfram|Alpha a question, and it produces results by doing computations from its internal knowledge base. It does not search the web or return lists of links. The site includes many example queries, including those related to health and medicine, food and nutrition, and the life sciences. Examples of health-related queries include information about disease risk, mortality data, medical tests, drugs, and hospitals. Give it a try at