TOXinvaders supports middle school science concepts pertaining to chemistry, the environment, and health. It can serve as an engaging classroom or homework activity for middle and high school students, as well as an entertaining learning activity for gaming aficionados of all ages. In the classroom environment, TOXinvaders works best as a supplement to NLM Tox Town, Environmental Health Student Portal, TOXMAP, and ChemIDplus Web sites.
The game consists of four fast-paced levels, in which a launcher is used to annihilate toxic chemicals falling from the sky and earn protective shield points by capturing “good chemicals.” To move on to the next level, players must take a brief quiz about the chemicals. These dynamically generated tests provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about environmental health and toxicology from the game’s chemical information sheet and from NLM Web sites. Quiz questions and answers can also serve as a starting point for classroom discussions, as well as for Tox Town, TOXMAP, and Environmental Health Student Portal activities and experiments.
I am pleased to announce special funding for ten additional Emerging Technology Awards for the current funding period ending April 30, 2015 (application).
The purpose of the Emerging Technology Award (ETA) is to assist libraries in the integration of new and emerging technologies in their institutions to promote health information services.
Potential emerging technologies include but are not limited to: 3-D printing and/or scanning, wearable technologies, application of the “Internet of Things” for health purposes, the use of gamification for the promotion of health information or the creation of mobile applications focused on health information or increasing access ton high quality health information. Special emphasis is given to projects that utilize products or services from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). Examples of resources including but not limited to; resources available from the NLM Gallery of Mobile Apps and Sites, free NLM Application Programing Interface (API) and the NIH 3D Print Exchange.
Eligibility: Network members in the NN/LM SCR (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas) are eligible to apply. Network membership is free and open to institutions interested in providing health information. To apply for membership:http://nnlm.gov/scr/services/member.html
The updated Geeks Bearing Gifts class features an overview and discussion on wearable technology. As we near the holiday gift giving season it may be an ideal time to learn about more wearable technologies as these items are some of popular gifts this year. Wearable technologies are defied as devices or sensors attached or affixed to a user to measures activity or biometric information, some wearable devices feature applications that allow them to act as extensions of mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.
A timeline of the history of wearable technology provided by Mashable reminds us that wearables have been around since the 1960s and that the technology available today is what makes today’s wearables more consumer friendly. Thanks to technology innovations, today’s computer and senor technology is smaller, cheaper, and possibly more accurate than ever before. Forbes magazine recently called 2014 the “Year of the Wearable.” According to a new ABI Research report an estimated 100 million wearable health monitoring devices will be sold over the next five years. The report notes that both “[c]onsumers’ growing interest in and awareness of how mobile health devices can improve patient care and bolster health-related activities” and “[a]n increasing ability to collect health care data through various devices and share that data with health care providers and payers” are driving forces in the growth of the wearable market.
Much of the success surrounding wearable technology is in the applications of wearables for health, fitness, and even safety. Success of early products such as the Nike Fuel Band and the FitBit are tied to their ability to monitor fitness information, perhaps encouraging wearers to work out more or allowing for a review of their overall fitness regime at the end of the day. In addition, many wearables now feature the ability to encourage others and inspire friendly fitness competitions. While new devices are constantly entering the market, PC Magazine provides an overview of some the Best Activity Trackers for Fitness.
While fitness trackers remain some of the most popular gadgets for consumers, biosenor technology to track and record other aspects of healthcare are also on the horizon. With sensors many points of data can be collected and possibly analyzed to improve aspects of health.
Thinking of storing information in the cloud? Cloud computing use in libraries, business and for personal use continues to rise. Today more services are available through cloud services than ever before. Cloud computing, as described by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is large groups of remote servers that are networked to allow centralized data storage and online access to computer services or resources. Cloud computing makes it easy to access information on the go, to store and retrieve files from any computer.
As more information and data moves online and into the cloud questions rise about the security of cloud systems. The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) is one organization that provides information, certification, and training on cloud computing security. In report, The Notorious Nine: Cloud Computing Top Threats in 2013, the executive summary describes “[T]he most significant security risks associated with cloud computing” as “the tendency to bypass information
technology (IT) departments and information officers.”
The CSA goes on to further describe nine of the top security threats associated with cloud computing as well as provide information on how to overcome these threats.
According to the CSA the top nine threats associated with cloud computing today are:
1. Data Breaches
2. Data Loss
3. Account Hijacking
4. Insecure APIs
5. Denial of Service
6. Malicious Insiders
7. Abuse of Cloud Services
8. Insufficient Due Diligence
9. Shared Technology Issues
One of the most common issues in cloud computing security relate to how cloud data is stored. According to some reports storing more than one user’s data on a server may result in data leaks and breaches. As a result proper data isolation is an important component of cloud security.
The recording of November’s SCR CONNECTions webinar, Making & Innovating in Libraries: Thoughts from the Front Lines with guest speaker Tara Tadniecki, Engineering Librarian at the University of Nevada, Reno’s DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library, is now available in the SCR CONNECTions archives. Links to presentation materials & transcripts are also available.
Join us December 17th for our next webinar Across the Spectrum: Health Information Resources for the LGBTQ Community with Naomi Gonzales of the NN/LM SCR.
Each October librarians from across the United States and Canada gather at the Monterey Conference Center, the original home of TED Talks, to share ideas and learn about new and interesting technology related to library services. This year I was lucky enough to have a proposal I submitted on Moodle and Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) selected for presentation at the conference. For my presentation I shared ways the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region (NN/LM SCR) had used new Moodle features to transform the online version of the Super Searcher class allowing more and more people to take part in the class and learn new content each year.
I also attended other sessions at the conference and used the hashtag #internetlibrarian to share what I was learning. Below you will find find some of the topics, presenters, and links I found useful.
Tablets in Public Libraries
Jezynne Dene, Library Director for the Portneuf Library in Chubbuck, Idaho presented on the Gizmo Garage. The Gizmo Garage is a joint project with the Idaho Commission for Libraries and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The aim is to provide hands-on experience with mobile technologies for library staff and patrons. Dene’s presentation provided great information and ideas for getting your staff comfortable with mobile technology. Using the Gizmo Garage staff were allowed to take devices home for personal or work use and try them out. They were then required to provide a review of the product including information about why they liked the device or why they didn’t. The results were great, staff became familiar with different operating systems and then felt comfortable fielding questions from patrons with devices.
In addition the project also funds classes for library patrons. Some good advice from the presenter included having a list of core competencies for tablets and mobiles, including some basics like how to turn the device off and on, how to use the camera, how to find and download apps and more. Another good suggestions was to have users with the same devices or operating systems in one class. Instead of mixing up Android and Apple iOS offer classes focused on one or the other.
Cyber Security is an issue that all organizations must continue to revisit, repair, and upgrade. A presentation by Tonia San Nicolas-Rocca and Richard Thomchick of San Jose State University provided some resources to ensure your website is secure. It is important for any organization to review their policies and standards when it comes to web security. It is also important that libraries continue to use web security measures to protect patron privacy. An important step an organization can take to ensure security and privacy is to use Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure or HTTPS to add a layer of encryption to ensure that information exchanges are kept private. Resources from HTTPS Everywhere can help you make sure your sites are secure. Another tool to check your website encryption and security is the SSL Server Test from Qualys.
Internet of Things
Evening session keynote speaker Lee Rainie from the Pew Research Internet Project provided an overview of the Internet of Things (IoT) and what the coming wave of connected things could mean to libraries. Rainie’s presentation left more questions than answers when it came to what the data is telling us about the IoT. While it is unclear if the IoT will lead to more job creation or result in the loss of jobs to new technology one things is clear, librarians will be able to help with training and education when it comes to the IoT. This new technology will require new skills and insights that libraries will be able to provide. In addition, global connectivity will create a larger marketplace for the exchange of goods, services, and ideas.
Another big issue related to the IoT will be concerns about privacy and the digital divide. Rainie theorized that librarians have the skills to help users understand issues related to privacy as well as the tools to bridge many people trapped by the digital divide.
Like the original versions of the mobile sites, the redesigned sites are optimized for mobile phones and tablets. Unlike the original mobile sites that contained only a subset of the information available on MedlinePlus, the new sites have all of the content found on MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español. They also have an improved design for easier use on mobile devices.
The key features of the redesigned mobile sites are:
• Access to all the content available on MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español
• Improved navigation using “Menu” and “Search” menus to access search and major areas of the sites
• Enhanced page navigation with the ability to open and close sections within pages
• Updated look and feel with a refreshed design
This new version of MedlinePlus Mobile is the first step in redesigning MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español to behave responsively. Responsively designed Web sites automatically change their layouts to fit the screen of the device on which they are viewed, whether that is a desktop monitor or a mobile touchscreen.
In 2015, the MedlinePlus team will release a fully responsive version of MedlinePlus to provide a consistent user experience from the desktop, tablet, or phone. This will remove the need for a separate mobile site. Users will then have one destination for MedlinePlus (www.medlineplus.gov) when using any device.
According to PC Magazine “Not having antivirus protection isn’t just a personal risk: Unprotected computers can be springboards for attacks.” It is important that any computer you use have properly installed and updated antivirus software. Antivirus software is computer software used to prevent, detect and remove malicious software from an infected computer. In today’s connected computer world viruses can quickly spread from one machine to the next if antivirus is not properly used or updated.
While may large organizations rely on antivirus solutions such McAfee or Norton there are other solutions that work just as well for little or no cost.
There are many choices for free antivirus solutions available and this review highlights the strengths and weaknesses of many. It is important to install and run antivirus protection not only for the security of your computer but also for the security of those you network with. Don’t let an unprotected computer infect others! Be sure that the antivirus software you use is updated regularly as new viruses are frequently created.