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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Data and the Quantified Self

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Are you using technology to track personal data including health and fitness? If so then you are taking part in the “quantified self” movement. The term quantified self was coined by Wired Magazine editors Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly in 2007 but the idea of using computer technology, especially wearable self-tracking sensors, to record data began in the 1970′s. Today’s wearable technology including fitness trackers and smart glasses, products like Google Glass, combined with increased access to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are revolutionizing the way we track, store, and use personal data.

By tracking, collecting, and analyzing data about their daily life users can increase their self-knowledge and possible improve their well-being. In April Susannah Fox of the Pew Research Center spoke at the first Quantified Self Public Health Symposium. In her presentation Fox presents the idea that health outcomes, especially for patients with chronic conditions, can be improved through tracking. According to the data from her research 7 out of 10 American adults are tracking health data in some form but only a small percentage are using technology to track their data. In addition to personal health tracking Fox also found that caregivers are often tracking health data for loved ones. Overall, the presentation demonstrates that there is a need for new and better technologies on the field of tracking, especially for health data. The video of her presentation can be found below.

One result of data tracking through the idea of the quantified self is that it can result in too much information. A recent post from NBC News addresses the issue of information overload and the quantified self. While some people are already tracking and using technology the post demonstrates that the field is expected to see continual growth over the next two years.

While the idea of the quantified self and increased self-knowledge can mean access to more data it may also mean that individuals may have more difficulty interpreting the data in order to make lifestyle changes that improve overall health. While wearables have potential the post also provides insights into how each device quantifies things differently which can make interpreting data even more difficult. In addition most trackers and devices do not have a way to share information easily or confidentially with healthcare providers, another potential problem.

The concepts of the quantified self and wearable technologies are addressed in the updated Geeks Bearing Gifts class.

Flip Your Classroom

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Librarian at computer with students

The concept of the flipped classroom has been around since the 1990′s but today’s technology is helping educators more easily adapt their teaching environments to the flipped or blended learning style. With a flipped classroom students learn new concepts and content by watching video lectures and then doing “homework” in the classroom, allowing the teacher to have more guidance and interaction with students. This model inverts the traditional education model in which content is delivered via lectures in class and reinforced through homework outside of the classroom. The flipped classroom concept has also been seen as one the top educational trends for the near future, as outlined by the 2014 Horizon Report. Current trends demonstrate the success of the flipped classroom model in areas of high school math and science. Learders of the flipped classroom movement, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, recently released their book Flip Your Classroom, which is now available form the NN/LM SCR Lending Library.

Using flipped classroom techniques can be challenging, especially when applying the concepts to library workshops and instruction. A recent post on ACRL’s Keeping Up With… Series focused on flipped classrooms and highlighted some ways to bring flipped concepts into library instruction. Authors Candice Benjes-Small and Katelyn Tucker provide sound advice for librarians interested in flipping library instruction. They suggest working closely with teaching faculty and ensure that students complete online assignments before coming to the class or workshop. Additionally it will be important that students who come to class be held accountable by the teaching faculty and in the preparation process some plans should be made for what to do with students who come to the class unprepared. Can they use a computer and headphones to view the content and catch up? Is there an alternative way to get them involved in the class if they did not complete the assignment?

In preparation for flipping library instruction librarians may want to consider the use of online tutorials or materials that they or others have already created. A quiz or worksheet may need to be created to ensure that students have completed the online preparation assignments before diving into class work. Once students are ready class time with the librarian can be devoted to searches that the students are considering using for their research topic. The librarian then becomes a “guide on the side”, standing by to provide examples and collaborate with students for successful searching.

Online Privacy Webinar Recording Now Available

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Shield with keyhole

How do HIPPA, Personal Health Records and Online Health Information Sharing impact your library? What is the role of encryption and secure wireless networks in maintaining online privacy and security? What are password management tools and how can they affect your private information?

Want to know more? A recording of the NN/LM SCR’s free monthly webinar, SCR CONNECTions entitled, Health Information and Online Privacy for You and Your Organization is now available in the archives.

This webinar will be available for one hour of Medical Library Association (MLA) Continuing Education credit. View the recording before August 1, 2014 to receive MLA CE.

July SCR CONNECTions Online Privacy

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Shield with keyhole

Please join us Wednesday, July 16, 2014, from 10:30 – 11:30 am (CT) for the NN/LM SCR’s free monthly webinar, SCR CONNECTions.

The topic for next week’s presentation has been changed from what was previously announced.

Technology Coordinator Emily Hurst will present on online privacy and security. In May Emily spoke about online heath information and privacy as part of a panel for OCLC’s Web Junction webinar series Health Happens In Libraries. For Wednesday’s SCR CONNECTions Emily has expanded on this topic to address issues related to health information online, password creation, wifi security, mobile devices, and more.

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

 

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.

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).

 

As always, our webinars are free of charge and open to anyone.

Emerging Technology Hype Cycle

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Dazzled by the latest smartphone? Interested in the Internet of things? Heard the buzz about biochips? Each year new and emerging technologies make headlines, often promising new and better ways to improve lives or industry. But is all just hype? Do any of these emerging technologies really make an impact? Information technology research and advisory firm Gartner take a look at emerging technologies each year and have devised a way to better understand the hype around the new trends. “Gartner Hype Cycles provide a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities.” Gartner creates hype cycles for various aspects of technology but their emerging technology hype cycle can be used to better understand the impact of new technologies in general.

Each Hype Cycle drills down into the five key phases of a technology’s life cycle:

  • Technology Trigger: A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven.
  • Peak of Inflated Expectations: Early publicity produces a number of success stories—often accompanied by scores of failures. Some companies take action; many do not.
  • Trough of Disillusionment: Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.
  • Slope of Enlightenment: More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers. More enterprises fund pilots; conservative companies remain cautious.
  • Plateau of Productivity: Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Criteria for assessing provider viability are more clearly defined. The technology’s broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off.

Gartner uses proprietary research processes to explore the impact of technologies and make predictions. The image below shows the 2013 Emerging Technology Hype Cycle from Gartner, the latest version of the graphic. The Hype Cycle and topics covered in the Hype Cycle are discussed in detail in the updated version of the Geeks Bearing Gifts class.

 

Gartner Hype Cycle

According to Gartner the Hype Cycle Can Help You:

  • Separate hype from the real drivers of a technology’s commercial promise;
  • Reduce the risk of your technology investment decisions;
  • Compare your understanding of a technology’s business value with the objectivity of experienced IT analysts.

Online Super Searcher Class Offered in August

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

The NN/LM SCR is pleased to offer the online version of “Super Searcher: Enhancing Your Online Search Super Powers” class.

Woman wearing a cape flying holding a computerThis self-paced online class will open August 4, 2014 and remain open until September 14, 2014.

This self-paced online course offering focuses on the advanced search features of web search engines and online searching. Participants will use various search engines, compare the features of each and broaden their knowledge of search strategies and online search techniques. Participants will develop search strategies that will increase the precision and scope of their online searching ability. In the online version of the class, participants will view short video demonstrations, engage in online discussions and complete exercise sets focused on improving online search skills. The class includes: information about web search engines, strategies for searching for online media including images, videos and books. The class concludes with a discussion on real-time search, mobile search and what the future of search holds.

The class content has recently been updated to address the launch of the Google Search Algorithm Hummingbird and additional topics on the future of search engines.

Participants will work at their own pace during this class but are expected to interact with other class participants in discussion forums and complete practice exercises.

Upon successful completion of this class, each participant will receive 4 hours of continuing education credit awarded by the Medical Library Association.

Registration for this class is required.

As always, all NN/LM SCR classes are free and open to anyone.

NIH launches 3D Print Exchange

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

NIH 3D Print Exchange Logo

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently launched the NIH 3D Print Exchange, a public website that enables users to share, download, and edit 3D print files related to health and science. These files can be used, for example, to print custom laboratory equipment and models of bacteria and human anatomy. The NIH 3D Print Exchange also provides video tutorials and additional resources with instruction on 3D modeling software to enable users to customize and create 3D prints.

“3D printing is a potential game changer for medical research,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “At NIH, we have seen an incredible return on investment; pennies’ worth of plastic have helped investigators address important scientific questions while saving time and money. We hope that the 3D Print Exchange will expand interest and participation in this new and exciting field among scientists, educators and students.”

NIH uses 3D printing, or the creation of a physical object from a digital model, to study viruses, repair and enhance lab apparatus, and help plan medical procedures. The 3D Print Exchange makes these types of files freely available, along with video tutorials for new users and a discussion forum to promote collaboration. The site also features tools that convert scientific and clinical data into ready-to-print 3D files.

The 3D Print Exchange is a collaborative effort led by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). “3D printing is helping to advance science at NIAID and beyond,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “The ability to design and print tangible models of pathogens, for example, can give researchers a fresh perspective on the diseases they study and open new and promising lines of investigation.”

Additional support is provided by other NIH components, including the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Library of Medicine. The 3D Print Exchange is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Ignite External Web Site Policy and Ventures External Web Site Policy programs, which help support innovation within the agency.

Digital Preservation and Access Award Recipient Announced

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Scott & White Healthcare Logo

The NN/LM SCR is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2014-2015 Digital Preservation and Access (DiPA) Award:

Organization: Scott and White Healthcare Foundation, Temple, TX

Title of Project: “Moulage 3-D Digitization and Preservation Project”

Responsible Investigator: Erin S Norris, Archivist

Description: The Richard D. Haines medical Library at Scott & White will purchase high quality desktop computers, advanced 3D software, and image capture equipment including a high resolution digital camera and lighting equipment to take high resolution images of 300 wax medical moulages created between 1934 and 1955. The result will be an online resource featuring 3D images of the moulages. Moulages are wax anatomical models.

Cloud Storage and Collaboration

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Computer connected to clouds

Cloud storage continues to receive attention from industries around the world. While cloud storage is not a new technology, new advances in cloud technology, including better privacy controls and easy to use collaboration tools are generating  renewed interest. To address uses of cloud computing in education settings EDUCASE recently released the new 7 Things You Should Know About Cloud Storage and Collaboration publication. As with other 7 Things You Should Know About publications, this publication provides a brief scenario designed to address cloud storage and collaboration uses in a higher education setting. The scenario follows Dev, a grad student, who is impressed that his university’s new enterprise installation cloud storage platform has simplified his workflow and allowed him to more easily collaborate with his colleagues.

The publication goes on to address real world examples of institutions using cloud solutions on campus. Platforms including Google Drive, Box, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft OneDrive are mentioned. Downsides of cloud solutions including storage of sensitive data as well as questions about data ownership are also addressed.

EDUCAUSE addresses the importance of cloud computing for storage and collaboration in higher education. The publication indicates that cloud solutions will create “new opportunities for how academic assignments are conceived, completed, and submitted.” In data rich enterprises such as health and medicine the use of cloud storage and collaboration are technologies which should not be overlooked as they may lead to ground breaking discoveries.

Password Tips, Tools, and Managers

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Heartbleed Bug LogoRecent attacks on online services such as bit.ly and vulnerabilities discovered in other sites due to the Heartbleed Bug have resulted in a wave of requests from online services for users to reset their password. The password is the most important piece of information any online user creates and should be carefully crafted. If your password has been discovered by those with malicious intent it could lead to compromised security of your personal information. Users should create strong passwords which make it difficult for their account to be hacked. Microsoft provides tips for creating a strong password which should be reviewed as your reset your password. You can also benefit from Microsoft’s Password Checker which will allow you to test the strength of the password you have created.  The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) lists the following security tips for choosing and protecting passwords:

  • Don’t use passwords that are based on personal information that can be easily accessed or guessed.
  • Don’t use words that can be found in any dictionary of any language.
  • Develop a mnemonic for remembering complex passwords.
  • Use both lowercase and capital letters.
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Use passphrases when you can.
  • Use different passwords on different systems.

Despite all the online tips and services for creating strong passwords users are still leaving themselves vulnerable to hacking and attacks. An October 2013 security breach at Adobe that gave hackers access to 130 million passwords revealed that despite tips and tools for creating strong password many users are not following through on creating strong passwords. The top five passwords stolen from Adobe included the following:

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. password
  4. adobe123
  5. 12345678

Many people have trouble keeping up with passwords and as such often reuse the same password on multiple platforms which only puts their data at higher risk. Password managers are one way to help users maintain different passwords across multiple sites. With so many sites needing passwords a password manager is a great tool to organize this information and keep it safe. A PC Magazine post recently reviewed various password managers to help users decide which one is right for them. The editors of the post warn that moving to and setting up a password manager can “involve some serious work.” The post going into detail about each manager as well as those which include an added layer of security such as fingerprint recognition for the password manager password.  The top three password managers from the article include:

  1. LastPass 3.0 (Free)
  2. LastPass 3.0 Premium ($12.00/year)
  3. Dashlane 2.0 ($19.95/year; free edition available)

A comparison chart of password managers can also be found online from TopTenReviews.