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Archive for the ‘General (all entries)’ Category

Join Us for SCR CONNECTions Tomorrow on Evidence Based Public Health

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Nurse giving a toddler a shot

Join us April 16, 2014 for the monthly SCR CONNECTions webinar.

Wednesday, April 16th from 10:30 – 11:30 am (CT)

Presenter: Naomi Gonzales, Public Health Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region

Topic: From Problem to Prevention: Evidence Based Public Health”

This month’s webinar will be a one-hour preview of an upcoming NN/LM SCR class that will go over the basics of evidence-based public health and highlight essentials of the EBPH process.

How to Log In

Go to https://webmeeting.nih.gov/scr/,  on the log in screen, choose “Enter as a Guest” and type in your name.

Once the room is open the system will be able to call you to connect to the audio. If this system does not work for you, a call-in number will be provided in the room.

Use *6 to mute or unmute your phone.

**Do Not Place Call on Hold**

Problems? Contact the Regional Medical Library (RML) office at 713-799-7880, or 800-338-7657 (AR, LA, NM, OK, TX only).

This webinar will be available for 1 hour of Medical Library Association (MLA) Continuing Education credit and will be archived for future viewing.

Free Open Source Software for Libraries

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Open Source Logo TMFree Open Source Software for Libraries (FOSS4LIB) is a resource site devoted to putting open source software into action in libraries. The site is run by LYRASIS and provides a one-stop resource list for free open source software for libraries. FOSS4Lib features lists of open source software packages divided into categories based on library needs.The site also has a forum feature. Users are encouraged to create accounts and share their experiences with open source software in libraries. For libraries that have not yet implemented open source solutions the site features decision support tools. You can also follow @FOSS4lib on Twitter to keep abreast of new open source library solutions.

MedlinePlus Connect Now Supports ICD-10-CM

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

MedlinePlus Connect Logo

MedlinePlus Connect now supports queries using ICD-10-CM codes. Upon receiving a problem code request with an ICD-10-CM code, MedlinePlus Connect returns relevant, patient-friendly health information from MedlinePlus, Genetics Home Reference, and other reliable health resources. MedlinePlus Connect will continue to support ICD-9-CM and SNOMED CT codes for problem code requests.

Learn more:
Web application documentation: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/connect/application.html
Web service documentation: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/connect/service.html

Try it out:
Web application demonstration page: http://apps.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/services/demo.html
Web service demonstration page: http://apps.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/services/servicedemo.cfm

Spring Cleaning for Your Computer

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Man with laptopSpring is here! With the change in season comes activities like cleaning around the home and office. This year, how about cleaning up your technology? While a previous post provides some information about disinfecting mobile devices this post explores some tips for cleaning your computers and mobile devices from the inside.

Apps

Mobile technology is everywhere and with it comes the use of  many applications. Apps are used to personalize our devices but have you ever thought to clean up and delete the old apps that you no longer use? Apps take up valuable storage space on our mobile devices and taking time to clean them up can free up space for other content. No doubt you have many apps that use for work or play. Those apps are safe from deletion but you may be able to group apps in categories or folders (depending on your device) to make finding your apps easier.

Apps often have periods of popularity. Some apps come out to rave reviews but lose their shine overtime. Taking a look at your device may reveal apps downloaded when they were free or popular but which you never really used. Taking a moment to clean up and delete these apps can make way for new apps and provide more storage space. With most mobile devices once an app has been deleted from the device you can download the app again, at no cost, as long as you are using the same account you used to download it originally.

In a recent post Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff shared valuable tips from his personal app cleaning experience. His words of wisdom, “if you can’t remember what the apps does, get rid of it.”

Computer Performance

For computers, both Mac and PC, having too many files or programs on your computer may make it preform slower. It may also be time to update anti-virus software and check for any current “infestations.” Check for updates for your computer’s anti-virus software.

For more detailed information on how to keep your PC running smoothly How to Geek has a post on PC Maintenance that provides nice screenshots of how to fine tune and clean your PC. Steps for uninstalling software and disk maintenance are also included as well as tips for safely dusting your PC. If you have a Mac, Lifehacker’s post How to Speed Up, Clean Up, and Revive your Mac is a great resource for maintenance inside and out. Disk clean up and special cleaning instructions are provided.

 Social Media

Spring Cleaning, Tech Style from the blog Recode describes ways to organize and clean up social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter. With social media sites the it is easy to follow and like too many people, places, or things. The result is an overloaded Facebook or Twitter feed. Instead of getting all the latest information we might be missing out on information because our social media accounts are overwhelming us with updates. Lifehacker also has a recent post on How to Clean Up and Fine Tune Your Twitter feed.

National Public Health Week 2014

Monday, April 7th, 2014

National Public Health Week 2014 logo

Each year during the first full week of April, the American Public Health Association (APHA) celebrates National Public Health Week (NPHW) in an effort to highlight the public health contributions to the community as well as issues still facing the nation. Each day this week (April 7-11), NPHW will focus on a different theme:

Monday 4/7 - Be Healthy From the Start (public health starts at home)

Tuesday 4/8 – Don’t Panic (disaster preparedness)

Wednesday 4/9 – Get Out Ahead (education and prevention)

Thursday 4/10 – Eat Well (nutrition and health)

Friday 4/11 – Be the Healthiest Nation in One Generation (public policy and looking ahead) 

In addition to these daily themes, NPHW is also hosting a new online event–the NPHW Face Off. From the news bulletin:

“Each weekday of NPHW, APHA will select two partner events to feature as “events of the day” and will promote the events on social media through an online voting “face off.” Each morning, APHA will share the two selected events on APHA’s Facebook page. Voters can then “like” the photo of the event they are most excited about. At the end of the day, the photo that has the most “likes” wins. The winning event will be announced the following morning on APHA’s Facebook page.”

For up to date information on NPHW information and events, be sure to follow the Twitter account @NPHW!

MAXIMUS Health Literacy Webinar Series

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Three adults look at a laptop screen

The MAXIMUS Center for Health Literacy announced a new webinar series focusing on health literacy. Each webinar in the series, entitled “Communications Tune Up”, will spotlight a different aspect and/or challenge of effective communication to populations with varied health literacy levels.

The six topics include:

  • Plain Language 101: Making Sense of Complex Content (March 28) - Encore Presentation on Wednesday, April 2nd at 1pm Central
  • Quick and Easy Field Testing: Asking for Affirmation, Corrections and Suggestions (April 25)
  • Design for Readability: Creating Visual Order (May 30)
  • Making Content Accessible: Removing Barriers to Print and Web Information (June 27)
  • Getting the Message Out: Planning and Implementing Public Health Campaigns (July 11)
  • Removing Language Barriers: Reaching Your Spanish Speaking Audience (August 15)

Webinars are an hour long each and recordings will be posted as webcasts on the MAXIMUS Center for Health Literacy website. For registration links and links to previously recorded health literacy webinars from MAXIUMS, visit their Webinars page.

 

3 Days and Counting!

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Join the 6 Million_Healthcare.gov

The end of Marketplace Open Enrollment is now just 3 days away – March 31st – for individuals to sign up for coverage for this year. After March 31st, the next Open Enrollment period will be November 15, 2014 – February 15, 2015. As of March 27, more than 6 million individuals had signed up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Individuals are being encouraged to use the online enrollment options via Healthcare.gov and CuidadoDeSalud.gov or by phone using the toll free number at 1-800-318-25961-800-318-2596. Individuals are advised NOT to use a paper application form at this time to avoid missing the enrollment deadline. The Call Center continues to be staffed to provide assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide assistance to those needing to start or complete an application, compare plans, enroll,  or ask a question.

For sources of Public Service Announcements, sample Facebook and Twitter posts, blog posts, and stories of individuals who have recently received coverage, these sources have lots of information:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/insurance/index.html

Healthcare.gov

CMS.gov Health Insurance Marketplace website

Facebook: Healthcare.gov

Twitter: @HealthCare.gov and several hashtags, including #GetCoveredNow and #ACA

Let’s help get the word out for people to #GetCoveredNow!

Photo credit: Healthcare.gov Facebook page

 

Tips and Tools For Avoiding Online Tracking

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Protection concept: Umbrella and Data Protection with optical glBy now most of us are aware that our online activities are not private. From the National Security Association (NSA) spying allegations to targeted ads, online activity including search history and private data isn’t always safe from prying eyes. Many internet users are still unaware that their online activity is being monitored or that often the data generated while browsing online is used by corporations to promote products and tailor online experiences.

Data is a hot commodity and data brokers specialize in using tracking technology to collect data about you and your online activities. Data brokers compile data and then sell that data to different groups including business clients, the general public, and even other data brokers. Business clients may use the data to market new products and services to you. Your data may also be used for search or references services such as genealogy. In some cases this data can be used with malicious intent.

In a recent post Mandi Woodruff of Yahoo Finance Today notes that “it’s nearly impossible for the average consumer to expect anonymity online or off.” Despite our best efforts the data tracking industry is always evolving and “there’s little we know about data tracking and the companies that do it.” The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will publish the results of an investigation into nine major data brokers later this year.

Luckily there are steps you can take to limit the tracking that occurs while you are online. The tools and tips outlined below may be useful when attempting to limit online tracking of your activity.

Search Engines

Many search engines track every search that is preformed. They use this data for various purposes including improving their search algorithm but they also share this data with websites listed in the search results page. When you click on a URL from a list of results in a search engine “that website will often get a blurb of data telling them which search terms led you to their site, along with a log of your computer location and IP address.” Websites may use this data to send more ads to you based on your search history and even your IP location. This same search history data could also be used to alert authorities to individuals with suspicious searches on topics that relate to public safety such as bomb making.

To prevent search engines from tracking your searches consider taking the following steps:

  • Make a habit of deleting your search history and cookies;
  • Enable the “Do Not Track” (DNT) feature

    Duck Duck Go Logo

    • To initiate “DNT” on your browser, go into your browser preferences and look for the tab labeled “Privacy.”
    • Check the box to enable the DNT feature.
    • DNT is available on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Explorer, and Safari.
    • If you use a mobile device you will need to turn this feature on using the privacy settings on the mobile browser.
  • Use a search engine such as DuckDuckGo or Ixquick which report that they do not track searches

Plugins

Ghostery

Browser plugins like Ghostery and Disconnect.me allow you access to the world of data brokers. These plugins will allow you to see the data tracking sites that may be watching you while you search. These plugins allow you to see if a site is tracking you for analytics, advertisements or social media requests and lets you decide which sites to block and which ones to allow. The plugins do not stop ads from appearing but they do keep sites from tracking our online behavior in order to tailor ads to you.

Encryption

Always look to be sure the URL for your connections begins with “https”. If you are sharing credit card or personal information it is important to check for this secure encryption. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or all your online activity is another option to ensure your data is encrypted. Information sent over a VPN is encrypted and better protected from hackers and malware. Read the Why You Should Start Using a VPN post from Lifehacker for more information on VPNs including a list of VPN clients and apps.

Opt-Out

While data brokers keep their work secrete the World Privacy Forums keeps a page of data broker opt out options. While it can be time consuming to go through the opt-out options on all the listed sites it is another step to take ensure you are not being tacked.

Mobile

Don’t forget about the settings on your mobile devices. You will need to check your device and the apps that you use. Some apps, with access to your data, use your activity to tailor ads to you. You can adjust each app’s access to your data on the device. “The latest iPhone and Android updates also offer a new feature that stops apps from using ad tracking, but you’ll need to turn it on yourself.”

You can learn more about tracking from DuckDuckGo’s Don’t Track Us site and from the World Privacy Forum.

SXSW Interactive: Notes from the Field

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

SXSW Interactive BadgeEach March Austin, Texas hosts thousands as part of the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. The event which has grown in size over the years now hosts three distinct programs, Interactive, Film, and Music. Because Austin is known as an academic and technology hub the Interactive portion of SXSW (SXSWi) has been a big draw for those interested in technology focused start-up businesses and innovations. In recent years SXSWi has helped launched popular apps, games, and other emerging technologies. SXSWi also attracts leaders in design, business, healthcare, and industry, who speak about their experiences and look to the event as a way to promote their projects as well as connect with future innovators. SXSWi is also anchored by a large trade show which features technology products, apps, and services from around the globe. SXSWi is a large event, in 2012 it was estimated that 20,000 people attended the Interactive portion alone.

This was my second year attending SXSWi and I was able to find a number of informative sessions and speakers that provided information on topics related to health sciences, technology, and emerging trends.

Comparing the health related sessions from 2013 and 2014 I noticed that the number of people interested in the same topics had more than doubled in size and the room where most of these health speaker panels took place was much larger than the year before. In addition, keynotes speakers such as 23andMe‘s Anne Wojcicki, who focused on health and technology attracted a large crowd.

The Future of Citizen Science, an emerging trend at SXSWi, supported by keynote speaker Adam Savage from the TV show Mythbusters, also received attention in health sessions. Jessica Richman, CEO of uBiome, provided an overview of resources and tools that are helping citizens become more involved with science. Tools discussed include SciStarter, “a service to find out about, take part in, and contribute to science through recreational activities and research projects,” Science Exchange, “a marketplace for scientific collaboration, where researchers can order experiments from the world’s best labs,” and many more.

Gregory Downing from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spoke about the emerging role of open health data with a focus on the website Healthdata.gov. Joining the panel was Beverley Bryant, Director of Strategic Systems & Technology, for the National Health Service (NHS) England who was interested doing more to digitize specialized health services at the NHS by using strategies used by HHS to encourage the development of new Electronic Health Record (EHR) tools through government backed data challenges.

In areas of outreach the collaboration between private and non-profit entities was  another growth area. In the panel Mobile Technology Solutions for the Marginalized, a project aimed at creating a resource tool for a primarily homeless population in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood was realized only when a collaborative team made up of technology experts from a local technology company partnered with the non-profit Tenderloin Technology Lab as well as with professionals and social workers from the area. LinkSF provides a mobile interface with information not only for the homeless living in the area but also for social services and concerned citizens. The realization of this project serves as an example of the outreach efforts that can be created when technology and information come together to serve the specific needs of a special population.

SXSW Interactive Logo

Networking, an important part of SXSWi, allowed me to meet with some of the panel speakers as well as other entrepreneurs in the health start-up field. As one of the only medical librarians in attendance networking with these start-ups exposed them to the role of research librarians and health data. As healthcare and health data continue to evolve the need for information experts becomes obvious. In addition, many of those interested in the health start-up field do not have a medical or even research backgrounds. Many innovators have experience with programming, data, or design but not the resources that are available to assist with the projects they are developing. Again, the librarian can play a vital role in connecting these entrepreneurs with the information they need. For those interested in citizen science and even forming collaborative relationships to serve the needs of a community, the library is again another resource and community partner to be explored. Many libraries are now providing not only resources such as books or access to the internet, many are taking part in the marker movement, providing tools, special events, and even the space for individuals to learn and explore creative ideas.

Not surprising libraries and librarians make up a growing number of those in attendance at SXSWi. This year a section of SXSWi was devoted to maker spaces. Libraries had a presence in sessions speaking about the role of the library in the maker movement as well as in sessions devoted to data and privacy. Support for libraries was also seen on the trade show floor with the “Innovative Booth for Libraries” which was co-hosted by the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL), the Digital Library Federation (DLF), the Electronic Resources & Libraries conference, EveryLibrary, the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), Urban Libraries Council (ULC), and Urban Librarians Unite (ULU) and supported by Innovative Interfaces. To learn more about libraries, archives, and museums and SXSWi visit the sxswLAM webpage.

Congratulations Cheryl Rowan and Emily Hurst

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Emily Hurst Cheryl Rowan

Congratulations to Cheryl Rowan, NN/LM SCR Consumer Health Coordinator, and Emily Hurst, NN/LM SCR Technology Coordinator, both of whom were accepted to the 2014 TALL Texans Leadership Development Institute. The Institute provides advanced leadership and management education in service to all the libraries of Texas and the communities they serve. Participants study strategic planning, risk-taking, conflict negotiation, team building, coaching, ethics, advocacy, personal career planning, and more. This transformational program helps attendees learn and embrace their potential to take new initiative for their institutions, their profession, and their stakeholders.