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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Why Use MedlinePlus Connect? What Key Informants Say

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

MedlinePlus Connect Logo

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, 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.

Visual Literacy Competency Standards

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Visual Literacy Array based on ACRL's Visual Literacy Standards

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.

Social Media for Crisis Communications

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Last week 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Be prepared to address vulnerabilities – Crises can bring increased attention to social media accounts. Be prepared to address or report hacking, bugs, or glitches.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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. provides free webinars and recordings on a variety of technology topics. Visit the DigitalGov University Course Catalog for a full list of topics.

Social Media Icons

Data Management Curriculum Now Available

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Ones and zeros

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.



Top Strategic Tech Trends for 2014

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Images of items on a desk top

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.
  • Mobile Apps and Applications – Improved JavaScript performance will begin to push HTML5 and the browser as a mainstream enterprise application development environment. Gartner recommends that developers focus on creating expanded user interface models including richer voice and video that can connect people in new and different ways. Apps will continue to grow while applications will begin to shrink. For the next few years no single tool will be optimal for all types of mobile application so expect to employ several.
  • 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.

New Titles Added to Lending Library

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Two book covers are shown

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region added two new books to the Lending Library. Among the new titles are another book on video creation which provides many good tips and best practices for video creation and a book on supervising library staff.

Fundamentals of Library Supervision (Second Edition)
Author: Joan Giesecke and Beth McNeil
Description: Two experienced library managers explain how to create a productive workplace as they weave expert advice and commentary into an easy-to-use resource. This revised edition focuses on daily, real-world practices offering

  • Specific strategies for new supervisory staff
  • Hundreds of tips for encouraging a positive work ethic, maintaining productivity, and building teamwork
  • Proven advice on practical supervisory issues like hiring, firing, interviewing, and training
  • Policies and procedures that maintain fairness while addressing potential legal landmines

Guiding supervisors through the intricate process of managing others, this comprehensive handbook addresses the fundamental issues facing new managers. It also serves as a welcome refresher and reference for experienced managers facing new challenges in this complex and changing environment.

Rapid Video Development for Trainers: How to Create Learning Videos Fast and Affordably
Author: Jonathan Halls
Description: Rapid Video Development for Trainers meets the needs of companies and individuals who are thinking about or have dabbled in video production. Although producing focused, high quality video is well within the capability of nearly every development professional, the skill sets required to do so have not traditionally fallen within most trainers’ job descriptions. This is where Rapid Video Development for Trainers comes in: a comprehensive tutorial covering every aspect of web-based video development, this book provides both the theoretical overview and the nuts-and-bolts instructions for creating professional quality video quickly, easily, and inexpensively.

Written specifically for trainers by a 20-year media industry veteran who has worked in Europe, America, and Asia, Rapid Video Development for Trainers explains in clear, nontechnical language everything needed to create exceptionally instructive, cost-effective videos.

Some of the topics discussed include:

  • the opportunities presented to trainers by the advent of inexpensive digital technology
  • the principles, psychology, and philosophies behind effective video
  • what constitutes and appropriate situation in which to utilize video as a training medium
  • the various, distinct layers (visual, spoken word, music and sound effects, and more) that comprise an effective, high quality video
  • techniques for using effects to enhance-rather than detract from -the impact of your video
  • designing and implementing an efficient, productive workflow
  • thorough coverage of the tools you’ll need, with a heavy emphasis on the most cost-effective software and hardware for your project
  • detailed input on how to shoot great video, with sections on lighting, framing, and safety
  • important tips on basic digital video camera care and use
  • how to edit your video for maximum clarity, consistency, and aesthetics
  • a full chapter on the digital technology involved with putting your video on the web
  • a summary 12-point plan for achieving success with your training video

At a time when training and development budgets are being decreased, staff must be able to do more with less. And, since web-based video is rapidly assuming a critical role in corporate training, the ability to create highly effective video in-house is crucial. Rapid Video Development for Trainers is an invaluable educational resource for every aspect of professional-quality, cost-effective web video production.

Not All Digital Natives Connected

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Measuring the Information Society 2013

The term digital native has been on the rise for several years. According to the International Telecommunication Union report Measuring the Information Society 2013 report the term digital native is used to describe “young people who were born into the digital age and are growing up using information and communication technologies (ICTs) in their daily lives.”

Discussion about digital natives and digital immigrants, “individuals born before the existence of digital technology and adopted it to some extent later in life”, continues and this study was aimed at revealing the number of digital natives who are part of the total population.

Because digital natives are defined as being born into the digital age, it stands to reason that the majority of those born in recent generations such as millennials would be considered digital natives. However, according to the study only about 30% of the world’s youth population (ages 15 – 24) have been active online for at least five years. Overall, there are approximately 363 million digital natives out of a world population of nearly 7 billion (5.2 percent).

The study finds that while high rates of digital natives exist in many rich countries, smaller countries where conflict is common and access to the internet is limited have a significantly lower percentage of digital natives.

The study found that Iceland (13.9%), New Zealand (13.6%), South Korea (13.5%), Malaysia (13.4%), and Lithuania (13.2%) had the highest percentage of digital natives as a percentage of the total population. The United States ranked sixth with 13.1%.

The study suggests that as access to digital technology and the internet are made more available, especially in small and unstable countries, the number of digital natives is likely to climb. With estimates that the digital native population in these countries will double by 2017.

In the field of higher education understanding the needs of students of all ages and designing classes that are appropriate for all backgrounds is important for ensuring the success of all learners. As the number of digital natives continues to grow it is also important to understand that despite access to digital systems, not all youth are focused on digital trends. This study demonstrates that despite the stereotypes or preconceived notions about youth or millennials, not everyone is connected. Individual preferences about access to and use of systems continues into younger generations.

MedlinePlus Connect Adds Genetics Home Reference Enhancement

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Genetics Home Reference Logo

Last week, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) released an enhancement to MedlinePlus Connect.

With the enhancement, MedlinePlus Connect will respond to SNOMED CT codes with information from both MedlinePlus and NLM’s Genetics Home Reference (GHR) web site. GHR is the NLM’s web site for consumer information about genetic conditions and the genes or chromosomes related to those conditions. This feature is available exclusively for English SNOMED CT requests. The GHR information will be available using either the MedlinePlus Connect web application or web service.

MedlinePlus Connect Logo

Additional details are now available in the MedlinePlus Connect technical documentation.



Practice Guidelines for Telemedicine HRSA Webinar

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Doctor typing on ComputerTelehealth Resource Centers is presenting a free webinar on Practice Guidelines for Telemedicine on November 21, 2013 at 1:00 CT as part of its regularly scheduled  webinar series. The National Telehealth Webinar Series provides timely information to support and guide the development of your telehealth program by experienced telehealth professionals from the HRSA-designated Telehealth Resource Centers. These webinars are FREE to the public on the 3rd Thursday of each month.

Presenter: Elizabeth A. Krupinski, Ph.D.

Description: Telemedicine practice guidelines for telemedicine form the basis for uniform, quality patient care and safety and area critical tool in promoting the deployment of telemedicine services. Standards help accelerate the adoption of telemedicine by payers, administrators and providers along with industry, government agencies, medical societies and other stakeholders. Dr. Krupinski, Chair of the American Telemedicine Association’s Standards and Guidelines Committee will discuss how ATA’s practice guidelines are helping to shape service delivery in today’s healthcare environment.

Join the webinar:

Test your connection:

Cutting Edge Technology in Libraries

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Cutting Edge Technology in Library Services Logo

Does your library offer technology engagement that is on the cutting edge? If so the American Library Association (ALA) wants to know. Since 2009 ALA’s Office of Information Technology Policy’s America’s Libraries of the 21st Century subcommittee have been soliciting nominations for best library practices using cutting-edge technology. This award seeks to recognize libraries serving their communities with novel and innovative methods, as well as to provide the library community with successful models for delivering quality library service in new ways.

ALA is currently accepting submissions for the best library practices using cutting-edge technology. Nominations must be submitted by November 15, 2013, and winners will be announced at the upcoming 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting, which will be held January 24-28, 2013. Libraries selected for the recognition will be featured in a program at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference, highlighted through ALA publications and publicized via ALA web channels.

A joint selection committee of members from the Subcommittee on America’s Libraries for the 21st Century and the Library & Information Technology Association will review all nominations and may conduct selected interviews or site visits to identify those libraries that are truly offering a best practice or most innovative service.

Nomination guidelines include the following:

“Cutting edge” refers to tested and successful implementations of technological advancements used in services such as:

  • Improvements in traditional services and processes by inventing/re-inventing/twisting technology
  • Introduction of new, innovative services that are flexible and responsive to community needs
  • New technology-enabled methods for connecting libraries to their communities
  • Funding initiatives or organizational models that ensure library information technology will remain current


  • Must involve the use of technology
  • Must be a novel idea or implementation of a service
  • Must be able to be documented for replication by other libraries
  • Must be for a library that has been involved in the development of the service or product (can’t just buy something off the shelf) or has significantly enhanced the product for added value

A full list of guidelines can be found online at the application/nomination page.

To find out more about past Cutting Edge winners the ALA has produced case studies which follow the latest technology trends and how libraries on the cutting edge are embracing technology. The case studies provide overviews of projects by other libraries which can be replicated by other libraries.