Have you been interested in using Creative Commons licenses on your work but unsure about the options? Last month Creative Commons announced the latest version of their license which makes registering and using the license much easier. The 4.0 licenses are available for adoption and use worldwide. The new license structure makes it easier share and reuse CC licensed materials. The CC license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable free distribution of otherwise copyrighted work. The new version of the license provides an easy to use interface that allows license seekers to select how they want their materials to be used and generates the a icon which can be downloaded for free and applied to the work or added to a website using code.
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization. According to their mission statement, “Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.”
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Healthcare.gov website continue to be much in the news, and several important updates have taken place recently. The Healthcare.gov website has undergone a number of updates related to the numerous technical problems previously encountered, and the site now has a new look. Three options are immediately presented to visitors to the site: See Plans Before I Apply; See If I Can Get Lower Costs; and Apply Now for Health Coverage. The deadline for coverage beginning January 1, 2014 has also been extended to December 23, 2013.
Regular scheduled maintenance to the site has provided software improvements and hardware upgrades such that “90 percent of users are now able to create accounts” (Health Insurance Marketplace update Nov. 27, 2013). In addition to online enrollment, there are still three other options available: via the Marketplace Call Center (1-800-318-2596), completion of a paper application form submitted via mail, and speaking in person to a trained counselor via LocalHelp.Healthcare.gov .
New information regarding the SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) Marketplace is now available at: http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/faqs-on-shop-enrollment.pdf .
Organizations identified as Champions for Coverage continue to be added to the growing list, and the NN/LM SCR is now identified as a Champion for Coverage.
Hard copies of materials to distribute throughout enrollment are available at no cost from CMS in limited quantities for order. If you are interested in ordering products, visit: http://productordering.cms.hhs.gov to set up an account to order. However, materials are also available for free to download and print as many as needed.
Additional information and resources on the ACA may be found on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Resources page on the NN/LM SCR website.
Health care is undergoing a virtual information revolution, fueled by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which permits reimbursement incentives for eligible professionals and hospitals that meet criteria for becoming “meaningful users” of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology.
“Meaningful use” is defined, in part, as using EHRs to improve and demonstrate the quality of care, such as e-prescribing, electronic exchange of health information, and submission of quality measures to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS has set standards to meaningful use that are to be met in stages. According to a post by American Medical News, organizations are currently working on Stage 1 implementation; Stage 2 implementation starts in 2014.
MedlinePlus Connect is a free service that supports health professionals’ ability to provide health information to their patients, which they will be expected to do (and document) in Stage 2 of implementation. Designed by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the service links EHR systems to MedlinePlus.gov, an authoritative up-to-date health information resource for patients, families, and health care providers.
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) is assisting the NLM with promoting MedlinePlus Connect. An NN/LM task force conducted interviews with 17 key informants representing the broad spectrum of organizations that are involved with EHR implementation.
The interviews included discussion with some innovative hospital librarians who are taking advantage of the dynamic EHR environment and finding ways to be involved with meaningful use at their organizations.
Key informants provided insight into the aspects of MedlinePlus Connect that are major advantages of the service from their perspective:
- The material is evidence-based and updated regularly.
- MedlinePlus links to primary literature, which is becoming increasingly popular among patients as they become more sophisticated in locating health information.
- Patient information is provided in varying reading levels, multi-media formats, and different languages, with an extensive database of Spanish-language materials.
- Health IT professionals will find easy instructions for integrating MedlinePlus Connect into EHRs.
- MedlinePlus Connect allows health organizations to maintain their identifying information when MedlinePlus information is sought.
The fact that MedlinePlus Connect can be added to EHRs at no cost to users was a definite advantage, but key informants cautioned against calling it a “free resource,” a term that has a negative connotation among health professionals. It would be more effective to call it a “non-commercial service paid for by the National Library of Medicine with no cost to users.”
The time to promote MedlinePlus Connect is now. Key informants said that patient portals were the emerging issue of the year as organizations focus on Stage 2 criteria.
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) recently released Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. According to the standards “visual literacy is a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media. Visual literacy skills equip a learner to understand and analyze the contextual, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, intellectual, and technical components involved in the production and use of visual materials. A visually literate individual is both a critical consumer of visual media and a competent contributor to a body of shared knowledge and culture.”
In education today emphasis has been placed on many forms of literacy. As more visual and media elements are incorporated into education visual literacy will continue to play a role in education. Today’s learning environments are rich with media and visual elements. Digital technology is also increasing access to visual content. Through the ubiquitous nature of mobile devices students also have increased ability to create their own photos and post visual content online. Although students are engaging more and more with visual media they may not have increased visual literacy skills.
According to the standards put forth by the ACR, “visual literacy education is typically a collaborative endeavor, involving faculty, librarians, curators, archivists, visual resources professionals, and learning technologists. Libraries play an important role in this process by selecting and providing quality image resources, developing research and subject guides for images, teaching image research strategies, and raising awareness of the ethical use of visual media. Libraries are also established partners in working with students to develop the critical thinking and evaluation skills essential to participation in visual culture.”
Also addressed in the new standards is accessibility of visual materials for individuals who have visual impairments. The standards stress the importance of the use of assistive technologies which include audio descriptions of visual materials.
A complete overview of the standards as well as additional information about visual literacy can be found on the ACRL’s Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education webpage. Librarians and educators are encouraged to review the content and incorporate visual literacy into information literacy instruction and interactions.
It’s that time of year again! Cooking meals for friends and family is one of the best parts of the holidays–be sure you know how to do it safely.
The four biggest health issues when preparing a turkey include:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in a microwave oven. It’s also important to be aware that turkeys must be thawed at a safe temperature; between 40 and 140°F is when foodborne bacteria multiply the fastest!
As always, be mindful that preparing raw poultry includes the risk of spreading bacteria. Preparation areas (including hands, utensils, and work surfaces) should always be thoroughly cleaned before and after working with the turkey!
From the CDC: “For optimal safety and uniform doneness, cook the stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish. ” If you decide to cook your stuffing inside the turkey, however, use a food thermometer to make sure it’s been cooked to a safe temperature.
When cooking a turkey, be sure that you use a food thermometer to guarantee that it’s been cooked thoroughly and to a safe temperature (minimum internal temperature of 165°F) . If you are unfamiliar with using a food thermometer, get familiar with them here and learn to calibrate thermometers that haven’t been used in a while.
For more information on food preparation safety, visit the following resources.
Foodsafety.gov — Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
Medline Plus — Food Safety
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service – Leftovers and Food Safety
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — 4 Basic Steps to Food Safety at Home
Guest author: David Duggar, MLIS, Reference Librarian and Will Olmstadt, MSLS, MPH, Associate Director, LSU Health Shreveport, Health Sciences Library
In 2011 the National Library of Medicine debuted the The Environmental Health Student Portal.
In May 2012 the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport Library (LSUHSC-S) received an Express Outreach Award to promote the Environmental Health Student Portal (EHSP) through the Caddo Parish public school science teachers and librarians. Caddo Parish had 23 public schools covering 7th grade life science, high school biology, or environmental science. Working with the District Science Supervisors and the Supervisor of Libraries for Caddo Parish Schools, 22 science teachers and librarians from 15 middle and high schools received in-service training during the June 18-19 Explore the Common Core Mini-Conference. The new portal’s purpose was displayed on the homepage, Connecting Middle School Students to Environmental Health Information, and the site defined environmental health as the interrelationship between human health and the environment, either natural or manmade. The online reliable environmental health information resources and career information would assist in meeting the new common core objectives coming to Louisiana.
Attendees were encouraged to work as a team (teacher and librarian together) to create a classroom program that would use the EHSP, and submit it for a one-hour share-a-thon presentation at the November 2012 Joint Louisiana Science Teachers Association – Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics (LSTA-LATM) Conference. Registration for teachers was paid for the meeting and presenters would have a chance to receive an iPad for their classroom or library. One school participated in the team classroom project for the fall conference and another school requested to conduct the team classroom project in the spring semester.
The LSUHSC-S librarians exhibited the EHSP over 15.5 hours at the November 12-14 Joint LSTA-LATM Conference talking to educators from a minimum of 14 parishes in Louisiana. The one-hour presentation on the EHSP was given on the 14th.
A surprise outcome from exhibiting was the request from the members of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to come to the February 22-23, 2013 Louisiana Environmental Education Symposium in Baton Rouge to present and exhibit on the portal, specifically mentioning ToxTown. The LSUHSC-S Librarians exhibited the EHSP over 8 hours during the two days and talked to environmental health and science educators from a minimum of 12 parishes. On the 23rd a one hour presentation was given incorporating all of the information and materials from the share-a-thon presentation.
The last planned method of promoting the Environmental Health Student Portal was the creation of metric rulers at the request of the District Science Supervisors inscribed with the name and URL of the portal. These were given to educators for use in their classrooms at all of these activities during the 2012-2013 year.
LSUHSC-S Librarians have been asked to continue to exhibit at future LSTA Conferences and Environmental Education Symposia.
The National Library of Medicine’s Exhibition Program has a new traveling banner exhibition: From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry. The exhibition explores some of the processes, problems, and potential inherent in technologies that use microorganisms for health and commercial purposes. Over the past two centuries, scientists, in partnership with industry, have developed techniques using and modifying life forms like yeast, molds, and bacteria, to create a host of new therapies and produce better foods and beverages. The exhibition illustrates the history of this dynamic relationship among microbes, medicine, technology, and industry, which has spanned centuries.
This newest exhibition is now available for booking. More information about the traveling exhibition can be found on the booking page at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/about/exhibition/fromdnatobeer-bookinfo.html along with links to the online exhibition at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/fromdnatobeer/index.html.
For more information on all of the National Library of Medicine’s Exhibitions, go to: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/about/exhibition/exhibitions.html .
Last week HowTo.gov hosted a free webinar devoted to social media communication use in crisis situations. Social Media for Crisis Communication; The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly presenter Nicole Stillwell from the United States Department of State provided ten best practices for using social media during a crisis. In this presentation Stillwell presented a crisis as not only a natural disaster or unexpected event but also a public relations crisis.
An overview of the 10 best practices for the use of social media include:
- Cease Normal Operations – Halt any scheduled posts that were to be sent out once a crisis has been identified. Sending scheduled messages can make your organization appear uncaring of unaware of a crisis event.
- Acknowledge the situation immediately – Being a leader in the face of a crisis is important to earning and keeping your organization’s credibility. Acknowledging a situation as soon as it happens, even if it is a public relations related crisis, is best.
- Get your message to as many platforms as possible – Consider the use of new Twitter alerts to help send your messages out to the widest possible audience. Post messages about the event through all social media channels your organization uses.
- Be prepared to address vulnerabilities – Crises can bring increased attention to social media accounts. Be prepared to address or report hacking, bugs, or glitches.
- Find the right balance – Don’t change the content of a message, only edit so that is appropriate for social media or link to full or detailed information if necessary. Ensure that staff can continue operational tasks while balancing with social media content delivery.
- Don’t participate in a conversation when your brand doesn’t belong – Trying to insert your organization’s name into a conversation using hashtags to capitalize on publicity is not appropriate.
- Don’t feed the trolls – Social media accounts are seen by the public as the official voice of the organization. Engaging in debates with or getting defensive about comments to your social media accounts can be viewed negatively. Stay professional.
- Correct; don’t delete – If something has gone wrong on any of the social media accounts you manage don’t delete the posts or accounts. Deleting information or an account is viewed as suspect behavior and may harm your organization’s credibility.
- Listen to your audience – Social media outlets may provide your organization with unfiltered information from witness. Be sure to listen but also verify information through community managers.
- If you have to disengage; say so – If you are unable to updated a social media account for your organization as the result of a crisis, perhaps staff are needed elsewhere or our organization must close, provide a public statement on social media outlets with information about what is going on and when you expect to begin updating the account again.
Social media is an empowering tools that connects organizations and the public, often times to vital information. Proper use of social media in a crisis can ensure that your organization remains a credible source for information.
HowTo.gov provides free webinars and recordings on a variety of technology topics. Visit the DigitalGov University Course Catalog for a full list of topics.
The Lamar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has recently released the New England Collaborative Data Management Curriculum which offers openly available materials that librarians can use to teach research data management best practices to students in the sciences, health sciences and engineering fields, at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The materials in the curriculum are openly available, with lecture notes and slide presentations that librarians teaching RDM can customize for their particular audiences. The curriculum also has a database of real life research cases that can be integrated into the curriculum to address discipline specific data management topics.
Each of the curriculum’s six online instructional modules aligns with the National Science Foundation’s data management plan recommendations and addresses universal data management challenges. Included in the curriculum is a collection of actual research cases that provides a discipline specific context to the content of the instructional modules. These cases come from a range of research settings such as clinical research, biomedical labs, an engineering project, and a qualitative behavioral health study. Additional research cases will be added to the collection on an ongoing basis. Each of the modules can be taught as a stand-alone class or as part of a series of classes. Instructors are welcome to customize the content of the instructional modules to meet the learning needs of their students and the policies and resources at their institutions.
Leading information technology (IT) research advisory company Gartner recently revealed their Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014. According to Gartner a strategic technology is “one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years.” Included in the factors defined as significant are the potential to disrupt current IT or business models, the need for financial investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.
Strategic technology may be an emerging technology that offers benefits to early adopters or it may be an existing technology which has matured or become suitable for a wider range of uses. Overall, strategic technology “impact an organization’s long-term plans, programs and initiatives.”
According to Garner Analyst David Cearley, “the convergence of four powerful forces: social, mobile, cloud and information, continues to drive change and create new opportunities…”
The top ten strategic technology trends for 2014 include:
- Mobile Device Diversity and Management – The growing variety of devices, computing styles, user contexts and interaction paradigms will make “everything everywhere” strategies unachievable. The unexpected consequence of bring your own device (BYOD) programs is a doubling or even tripling of the size of the mobile workforce. This is placing tremendous strain on IT and Finance organizations. Enterprise policies on employee-owned hardware usage need to be thoroughly reviewed and, where necessary, updated and extended. Balance flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements.
- The Internet of Everything – Imagine digitizing the most important products, services and assets. The combination of data streams and services created by digitizing everything creates four basic usage models – Manage; Monetize; Operate; Extend. These four basic models can be applied to any of the four “internets” (people, things, information and places).
- Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker – Bringing together personal clouds and external private cloud services is an imperative. Enterprises should design private cloud services with a hybrid future in mind and make sure future integration/interoperability is possible.
- Cloud/Client Architecture – Cloud/client computing models are shifting. In the cloud/client architecture, the client is a rich application running on an Internet-connected device, and the server is a set of application services hosted in an increasingly elastically scalable cloud computing platform. The increasingly complex demands of mobile users will drive apps to demand increasing amounts of server-side computing and storage capacity.
- The Era of Personal Cloud – The personal cloud era will mark a power shift away from devices toward services. Users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one device will be the primary hub. Rather, the personal cloud will take on that role. Access to the cloud and the content stored or shared from the cloud will be managed and secured, rather than solely focusing on the device itself.
- Software Defined Anything – Software-defined anything (SDx) is a collective term that encapsulates the growing market momentum for improved standards for infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by automation inherent to cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning.
- Web-Scale IT – Web-scale IT is a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting by rethinking positions across several dimensions. Large cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc., are re-inventing the way IT in which IT services can be delivered. Their capabilities go beyond scale in terms of sheer size to also include scale as it pertains to speed and agility.
- Smart Machines – A proliferation of contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants, smart advisors (such as IBM Watson), advanced global industrial systems and public availability of early examples of autonomous vehicles. The smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT. New systems that begin to fulfill some of the earliest visions for what information technologies might accomplish — doing what we thought only people could do and machines could not —are now finally emerging.
- 3-D Printing – Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 75 percent in 2014 followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015. The consumer market hype has made organizations aware of the fact 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.
It is important to note that while many of the trends listed here are identified on the 2014 list as strategic technology they have the ability to begin making an impact during the coming year on businesses and IT departments and continue to evolve moving forward.
Understanding more about how these technologies will impact businesses and consumer behavior will be key to developing tools and service models for the future.