Skip all navigation and go to page content
NN/LM Home About SCR | Contact SCR | Feedback |Site Map | Help | Bookmark and Share

Web Usability and Accessibility

Browser Web Address fieldThe terms usability and accessibility are closely related and frequently used by those in web design fields. You may have even heard someone on your staff bring up these terms when discussing your organization’s website. These terms have very different meanings but when the principles of usability and accessibility are applied correctly they can enhance a website and lead to better overall use and broad access to your organizations information.

According to the W3C Organization “usability is about designing products to be effective, efficient, and satisfying. Usability is part of the human-computer interaction (HCI) research and design field (which is much broader than usability testing). For web developers, a key aspect of usability is following a user-centered design (UCD) process to create positive user experiences.” As you can see by this definition there is a strong emphasis on the user and how the user will be interacting with the product, in this case a website.

Usability testing is one of the best ways to find out how a user will try to access information from your resource. While usability testing can most effectively be done with the help of a trained professional there are may ways to prepare for an effective usability test. Usability.gov provides a wealth of information on usability including a brief overview for Planing a Usability Test.

There are a variety of free and for-cost online tools that can help you and your organization with usability testing. A list of 22 Essential Tools for Testing Your Website’s Usability was created by Mashable a few years ago. While some of the services on the list of have merged with others, the list is still a good overview of the type of online tools to help with usability testing.

While testing website usability is the key to ensuring that the users who visit your site are able to quickly and easily find the information they need, accessibility ensures that the widest range of users can access the information on your site. According to the W3C Organization “accessibility is about ensuring an equivalent user experience for people with disabilities, including people with age-related impairments. For the Web, accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with websites and tools, and that they can contribute equally without barriers.”

As we saw with website usability testing is important. The same is true for accessibility. There are a number of standards that website designers should follow to ensure that their site is accessible through Section 508 Compliance. Section 508 is an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.  However, trying to keep all the accessibility rules straight can be difficult. For this reason there are a number of tools that you can use to help create an accessible website. A Complete List of Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools is available for free from the W3C Organization. The W3C Organization also makes available some useful guiding tutorials on various topics related to accessibility.

Project Spotlight: Are You Prepared? Promoting Disaster Preparedness in Northwest LA

Guest Author: David Duggar, MLIS, Reference Librarian, LSU Health Shreveport, Health Sciences Library

DSC01519 (2)In May 2013, LSU Health Sciences Library in Shreveport received the Disaster Preparedness Award to provide information about disaster preparedness to the communities living in Caddo and Bossier Parish of northwest Louisiana. Librarians at the LSU Health Shreveport and NSU college of Nursing and Allied Health libraries partnered with the Shreve Memorial Library System and the Bossier Parish Public Library System to present quarterly programs on fires, floods, pets, and tornadoes. Local organizations which participated through speakers included the Shreveport and Bossier Fire Departments, Caddo-Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (CBOHSEP), Local Emergency Planning Committee, Region 7 of Hospital Preparedness, and the Pet Education Project (PEP!).Wonderland Teapawty KBM Pet Parade 2014Feb23 Sunday 010 (2)

Information was also disseminated at several local festivals and parades held in downtown Shreveport and during special activity days held by the Bossier Parish Public Library System. At least fourteen programs were planned and held over twenty days during the May 2013 – April 2014 funding cycle. At least five others were planned during the three months following the funding cycle. The population covered in the programs was predominately children ranging from preK – Grade 3, teens, parents, families, and adults.

Both public library systems had an unexpected result. The speaker from CBOHSEP did a site evaluation at each of the Bossier Parish Public Libraries for the safest locations for staff and patrons to go to in the event of a disaster. He also gave a presentation to all of the library managers of Bossier Parish as a special ‘in-service’ day arranged by the Library Director. Every branch of the Shreve Memorial Library System was furnished with an itemized emergency disaster kit in a large plastic tote placed in the bathroom of the staff’s workroom. These were purchased by the library system at the request of the Library Director.

The results of the first half of the “Are Your Prepared” project was presented at the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association’s Meeting in October 2013 and a full overview of the project was presented at the Louisiana Library Association’s Conference in March 2014.

Photo credit: David Duggar

 

Enterovirus D68

Elbow Cough

Enterovius D68 is a rare form of non-polio enterovirus. Although enteroviruses are fairly common, EV-D68 has been rarely reported in the United States for the last 40 years.

A recent outbreak across the midwest, however, has drawn attention to this particular virus. Ten states, including Oklahoma, have sent samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing and positive identification–so far only cases in Missouri have been confirmed. All ten states have hospitalized children for respiratory illness-like symptoms.  Because EV-D68 is so uncommon, there is no specific vaccine or treatment. Those who develop mild to severe respiratory symptoms may need to be hospitalized.

EV-D68 spreads much like other respiratory illness–through secretions such as saliva or nasal mucus. To help prevent infection, follow these common public health steps:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick

SCR CONNECTions Webinar Sept. 17: VIVA Peer Tutor Project

Vital Information for a Virtual Age: A Peer Tutor Project

Please join us Wednesday, September 17, 2014, from 10:30 – 11:30 am (CT) for the NN/LM SCR’s free monthly webinar, SCR CONNECTions http://nnlm.gov/scr/training/webmeeting.html about the ¡Viva! Peer Tutor Project.

¡VIVA! Peer Tutors are high school students who promote National Library of Medicine resources and improve awareness and use of quality health resources in their schools and local communities. Project staff from Biblioteca Las Américas and students from the ¡VIVA! Peer Tutor Project of South Texas Independent School District will discuss their program and the lessons learned during the 13 years of the project. They will also offer tips on how your organization can start its own ¡VIVA! program.

The ¡VIVA! Peer Tutor program has won several awards including the National School Media Program of the Year, the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science Blue Ribbon Consumer Health Information Recognition Award, and the Texas Library Association Project of the Year.  http://viva.stisd.net

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 NN/LM SCR 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.

We hope to “see” you then.

Data and the Quantified Self

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.

September is National Preparedness Month!

National Preparedness Month Logo

Each September the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) partners with other government organizations (such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in an effort to encourage communities and individuals to be prepared for the worst in emergency situations. This endeavor has come to be known as National Preparedness Month.

The theme for 2014 is “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare” and, in addition, each week focuses on different emergency preparation topics:

Week 1 – How to Reconnect with Family After Disaster

Week 2 – Know How to Plan for Specific Needs Before a Disaster

Week 3 – How to Build an Emergency Kit

Weeks 4 & 5 – How to Practice for an Emergency

As one part of FEMA’s NPM initiative, the National Preparedness Community website offers a multitude of resources for users and community members. Included on the website is a tool-kit with marketing information and a comprehensive list of NPM videos, PDFs, and webpages. In addition, users can use the National Preparedness Community website to find NPM events happening in their area or register for free with the community and access additional resources, such as discussion forums and region-specific activity. Use of the hashtag #NatlPrep is encouraged.

In addition to the National Preparedness Community website, the American Public Health Association (APHA) will be celebrating Get Ready Day on September 16th as part of NPM. The Get Ready website contains many fun and education resources for a variety of users and communities. These resources include factsheets, videos, podcasts, and other disaster preparedness-themed media for marketing use.

Deadline September 8: Library Student Outreach Award

SCC/Quint Meeting Logo

The deadline is coming soon for the NN/LM SCR Library Student Outreach Award.  The purpose of this award is to promote the value of outreach to library school students interested in health sciences librarianship. The award provides funding for students to attend the Quint Chapter Medical Library Association Meeting in October 12-16, 2014 in Denver CO and participate in meetings, conference sessions and other activities designed for them to learn about the importance of health information outreach and services conducted by librarians in the South Central Region.

Eligibility

Library students residing in and currently attending an ALA-accredited Library or Information Sciences program located in the South Central Region (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas) are eligible to apply.

Deadline for Applications

September 8, 2014 5:00 pm CT

See the Call for Applications for additional information and the application.

August SCR CONNECTions: Metadata: The Key to Linking Data

Stanford Medicine Logo

Please join us tomorrow, Wednesday, August 20, 2014, from 10:30 – 11:30 am (CT) for the NN/LM SCR’s free monthly webinar, SCR CONNECTions

Topic: Metadata: the Key to Linking Data

Presenters: Dick Miller, Thea S. Allen and Joanne Banko from Lane Medical Library, Stanford University.

Description: This session will feature an overview of metadata identities and relationships, real-life applications demonstrating how Stanford University’s Lane Medical Library staff use metadata to link data within the catalog and library website, helping the user utilize both seamlessly, and how the work behind the scenes helps those on the front end search, identify and find information sought. We will also touch upon ways in which metadata and linked data can be used in the future.

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 (please enter your phone number) 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.

Flip Your Classroom

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.

New to Lending Library August 2014

Cover of books described in this post

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region is pleased to add six new titles to the lending library this quarter. New titles on diverse topics have been selected after review and are designed to support the mission of the NN/LM SCR. This post provides an overview of the recently added titles.

Books from the Lending Library may be requested by Network Members or those who are employed by Network Member institutions. Visit the Lending Library page to request any of these exciting new titles. If there is no response through the online system please contact our office directly to request a title.

Collection Development

Introduction to Reference Sources in the Health Sciences, Sixth Edition (Medical Library Association Guides). Prepared in collaboration with the Medical Library Association, this completely updated, revised, and expanded edition lists classic and up-to-the-minute print and electronic resources in the health sciences, helping librarians find the answers that library users seek. Included are electronic versions of traditionally print reference sources, trustworthy electronic-only resources, and resources that library users can access from home or on the go through freely available websites or via library licenses. In this benchmark guide, the authors

  • Include new chapters on health information seeking, point-of-care sources, and global health sources
  • Focus on works that can be considered foundational or essential, in both print and electronic formats
  • Address questions librarians need to consider in developing and maintaining their reference collections

When it comes to questions involving the health sciences, this valuable resource will point both library staff and the users they serve in the right direction.

Education & Training

Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day. Learn what a flipped classroom is and why it works, and get the information you need to flip a classroom. You’ll also learn the flipped mastery model, where students learn at their own pace, furthering opportunities for personalized education. This simple concept is easily replicable in any classroom, doesn’t cost much to implement, and helps foster self-directed learning. Once you flip, you won’t want to go back!

Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning: Instructional Literacy for Library Educator. Whether or not “instruction” appears in their job titles, librarians are often in the position of educating their users, colleagues, and peers to successfully locate and evaluate information. Because MLIS education tends to offer less-than-comprehensive preparation in pedagogy and instructional design, this much-needed book tackles the challenge of effective teaching and training head-on. Char Booth, an avid library education and technology advocate, introduces a series of concepts that will empower readers at any level of experience to become better designers and presenters, as well as building their confidence and satisfaction as library educators. Laying the foundation for effective teaching, Booth outlines a four-part framework of Instructional Literacy, which includes

  • Reflective Practice: tools for improving learning in the moment and developing a teacher identity, as well as approaches to collaboration and creating communities of practice
  • Educational Theory: evidence-based strategies in learning and instructional research
  • Teaching Technologies: evaluating and integrating technology in learning using a practical “toolkit” approach
  • Instructional Design: a systematic and outcomes-based strategy for developing and assessing learning experiences

Evaluation

Measure What Matters: Online Tools For Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships. This book explains simple, step-by-step procedures for measuring customers, social media reputation, influence and authority, the media, and other key constituencies.

  • Based on hundreds of case studies about how organizations have used measurement to improve their reputations, strengthen their bottom lines, and improve efficiencies all around
  • Learn how to collect the data that will help you better understand your competition, do strategic planning, understand key strengths and weaknesses, and better respond to customer preferences
  • Author runs a successful blog and serves as a measurement consultant to companies such as Facebook, Southwest Airlines, Raytheon, and Allstate

General

The Atlas of New Librarianship. Libraries have existed for millennia, but today the library field is searching for solid footing in an increasingly fragmented (and increasingly digital) information environment. What is librarianship when it is unmoored from cataloging, books, buildings, and committees? In The Atlas of New Librarianship, R. David Lankes offers a guide to this new landscape for practitioners. He describes a new librarianship based not on books and artifacts but on knowledge and learning; and he suggests a new mission for librarians: to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities. The vision for a new librarianship must go beyond finding library-related uses for information technology and the Internet; it must provide a durable foundation for the field. Lankes recasts librarianship and library practice using the fundamental concept that knowledge is created though conversation. New librarians approach their work as facilitators of conversation; they seek to enrich, capture, store, and disseminate the conversations of their communities.

DVD

Librarians Collaborating to Produce Systematic Reviews: Project Launch to Publication. What is a systematic review? What are the practice guidelines? How do I negotiate my contribution? Join our panel of speakers as they discuss what is really needed and resources for improving your skills. They will tackle these issues and discuss opportunities for librarians to be part of the team.