The October issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research is now available:
Sweet Stuff: How Sugars and Sweeteners Affect Your Health
Is sugar really bad for us? How about artificial or low-calorie sweeteners? Learn more about the sweet things most of us eat and drink every day.
Cold, Flu, or Allergy: Know the Difference for Best Treatment
You’ve got sniffles, sneezing, and a sore throat. Is it a cold, flu, or allergies? Learn to tell them apart so you can choose the best treatment.
Genetic Clues to the 2014 Ebola Outbreak
NIH Health Information at Your Fingertips
Featured Website: It’s a Noisy Planet
Click here to download a PDF version for printing.
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Please pass the word on to your colleagues about NIH News in Health. We are happy to send a limited number of print copies free of charge for display in offices, libraries or clinics. Just email us or call 301-402-7337 for more information.
Since publishing our previous blog post on the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the South Central Region has seen the first official imported case of Ebola.
On September 30, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first imported case of Ebola in the United States. The patient, a man who traveled from Liberia to Dallas, Texas, “did not have symptoms when leaving West Africa, but developed symptoms approximately five days after arriving in the United States”. After being given experimental treatments, the patient passed away on October 8, 2014. The CDC is currently monitoring the people that have come into contact with the patient, although the risk of infection is very low.
From the CDC:
Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with:
- blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
- objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
- infected animals
- Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food.
A person must be exhibiting symptoms in order for Ebola to spread. Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days and the average time for symptoms to appear is 8-10 days. These symptoms often include fever, severe headaches, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and unexplained hemorrhaging. Isolation precautions and proper sterilization are the primary methods of prevention.
As these developments impact our region, the NN/LM SCR is committed to connecting you with quality health information resources. To register for an upcoming webinar on Managing Health Information Resources regarding Ebola hosted by the National Library of Medicine’s Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), visit their page.
An additional webinar, entitled Fighting Ebola and Infectious Diseases with Information, also featuring presenters from DIMRC will take place on October 14, from 1pm-2pm CT.
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.
The experts at PC Magazine recently provided an online comparison of several free antivirus products they were able to test in a lab environment. Free editions of antivirus options such as Bitedefender, AVG, and Panda Cloud Antivirus all scored well.
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.
Frustrated by the number of requests your library gets for articles that are embargoed? Now you can enter journal embargo periods in DOCLINE. Here is more information about the DOCLINE 5.0 Release http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/techbull/so14/so14_docline_release.html
From the NLM Technical Bulletin:
Health science librarians in the United States are invited to participate in the next offering of the bioinformatics training course, “A Librarian’s Guide to NCBI,” sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, NLM Training Center (NTC).
The course provides knowledge and skills for librarians interested in helping patrons use online molecular databases and tools from the NCBI. Prior knowledge of molecular biology and genetics is not required. Participating in the Librarian’s Guide course will improve your ability to initiate or extend bioinformatics services at your institution.
Online Pre-Course and In-Person Course Components
There are two parts to “A Librarian’s Guide to NCBI,” listed below. Applicants must complete both parts. Participants must complete the pre-course with full CE credit (Part 1) in order to advance to attend the 5-day in-person course (Part 2).
- “Fundamentals of Bioinformatics and Searching” an online (asynchronous) course, January 12-February 13, 2015
- A five-day in-person course offered onsite at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda MD, March 9-13, 2015
Who can apply?
- Applications are open to health science librarians in the United States.
- Applicants will be accepted both from libraries currently providing bioinformatics services as well as from those desiring to implement services.
Enrollment is limited 25 participants.
What does it cost?
There is no charge for the classes. Travel and lodging costs for the in-person class are at the expense of the participant.
Important Application Dates
- Application deadline: November 17, 2014
- Acceptance notification: On or about December 15, 2014
More information on the course and the application form are located on the NLM Technical Bulletin.
The National Institutes of Health is now accepting applications from young adults ages 15 to 20 for its Media-Smart Youth (MSY) Teen Leaders Program.
MSY is a 10-lesson curriculum for youth ages 11 to 13 that explores media, nutrition, and physical activity. Throughout the program, youth analyze advertisements and make media messages of their own, try healthy snack recipes, and discover fun ways to be physically active.
MSY teen leaders commit to carrying out the program from start to finish. In return, they receive leadership experience, community service hours, and recognition from the NIH, plus training and $1,000 for program expenses.
Applications are due October 24, 2014. For more details and to apply, visit http://go.usa.gov/pCwY.
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) suggests the following posts for promotion via social media.
• .@NICHD_NIH releases a call for applications for its #MediaSmartYouth Teen Leaders Program: http://go.usa.gov/pCwY
• Be a #MediaSmartYouth teen leader & teach kids in your community to analyze media, eat right, & move more: http://go.usa.gov/pCwY
• Funding opportunity for teens: Apply to lead a #MediaSmartYouth program in your community: http://go.usa.gov/pCwY
• NICHD is accepting applications from young adults ages 15 to 20 for its #MediaSmartYouth (MSY) Teen Leaders Program. MSY is a 10-lesson curriculum that explores media, nutrition, and physical activity. Teen leaders carry out the program from start to finish. In return, they get leadership experience, community service hours, and recognition from the NIH, plus training and $1,000 for program expenses. Applications are due October 24. http://go.usa.gov/pCwY
• Heads up, teens! If you care about health in your community and are on the lookout for a unique service project, consider applying for the #MediaSmartYouth (MSY) Teen Leaders Program. Applications are due October 24. http://go.usa.gov/pCwY
For more information about Media-Smart Youth, visit: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/msy/Pages/index.aspx
Significant changes have recently occurred at the NN/LM SCR.
The NN/LM SCR main office has moved from the Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library (HAM-TMC Library) building and relocated to the John P. McGovern Historical Research Center at 8272 El Rio Street, Houston TX 77054. The Associate Director and support staff will be housed in this facility. The four Coordinators, Cheryl Rowan, Naomi Gonzales, Emily Hurst and Karen Vargas will be telecommuting employees.
The following is a message from L. Maximilian Buja, MD, Executive Director of the HAM-TMC Library and Director of the NN/LM SCR, explaining the rationale for the relocation.
The HAM-TMC Library (dba The TMC Library) has begun implementation of a key component of its Strategic Plan. This involves a reenvisioning of the current library into a contemporary Health Science Information Center. This will involve the downsizing of the space in the library building (JJL Building)from a net 70,000 sq. ft. to 50,000 sq. ft. This will be accomplished primarily by downsizing the book and current print journal stacks to create an open architecture for contemporary learning and research. The downsizing of the print collection is being accomplished in a careful manner so that important and unique print material will be retained either on-site or at secure off-site locations. The Library’s commitment to the NLM Print Retention program remains intact.
There is necessarily going to be less office and non-public space in the modernized library. The central administrative functions and offices as well as the core of the McGovern Historical Collection are to be maintained at the JJL Building. Given the need to reduce the non-public space in the JJL Building and taking into consideration that the primary mission of the Regional Medical Library program is outreach, the decision has been made to move the base of operations of the NN/LM SCR to the Library’s annex where the archives are housed.This is in an 11,000 sq. ft. facility located at 8272 El Rio St., about 2 miles from the JJL Building. The rationale for this decision was discussed with the Associate Director, Michelle Malizia, and her input taken into consideration in going forward with the implementation.
At the Archives building, space has been created for the NN/LM SCR that includes a 148 sq. ft. private office for the Associate Director, a 244 sq. ft. shared space for three administrative staff, as well as space for printers and storage of exhibit backdrops and equipment. Additional space for the administrative staff is under development. There is also a 168 sq. ft. conference room that will be shared by the NN/LM SCR and existing Archives staff. Appropriate connectivity for computers and internet has been established.
A plan is being implemented for the four coordinators to function as telecommuting employees. In the current work environment, telecommuting is an established form of doing business that has proven successful for a variety of enterprises. There is also a precedent for this approach previously established within operations of the RM Ls. The Library will ensure all necessary equipment and other support to make this approach successful.
Ongoing operations are to include regular meetings of the entire NN/LM SCR staff on a bi-weekly basis and regular meetings of the entire staff with the Director of the program. The Houston Academy of Medicine (HAM) established the Library in 1915. The current Library does business as a subsidiary of HAM. The HAM operates the JJL Building in the Texas Medical Center (TMC) and the Library rents space from HAM at cost. There is current consideration of transfer of the ownership of the building from HAM to another TMC entity. The Library has been given a firm guarantee that the Library of 50,000 sq. ft. will continue at the current site in perpetuity and at affordable rent.
Regardless of these considerations about the JJL building, the home of the NN/LM SCR will continue to be in the Library annex facility.
The NN/LM SCR is pleased to announce the six recipients of the 2014 Library Student Outreach Award. Recipients will attend the Quint Chapter Meeting in Denver CO October 12-16.
- Student: Cindy Alvarez (Library School: University of North Texas)
- Student: Megan Bell (Library School: Louisiana State University)
- Student: Alexandria Brackett (Library School: University of Oklahoma)
- Student: Laura Fry (Library School: University of Texas)
- Student: Alice Jean Jaggers (Library School: University of North Texas)
- Student: Nora Ohnishi (Library School: University of North Texas)
For those of you who will be attending the meeting, stop by the NLM exhibit booth, meet your future co-workers and learn more about NLM databases.
Due to recent software updates on National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) websites at nnlm.gov, Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) is no longer supported. Some read-only sections of nnlm.gov will continue to be available via IE8. However, anyone using IE8 will probably not be able to submit assignments in online courses utilizing the NN/LM Moodle framework, and may not even be able to access and log into Moodle courses. Other nnlm.gov services that require data to be posted to the server are also likely to fail. In addition, DOCLINE will not support IE8 after the end of 2014.
Please visit the NN/LM System Requirements page to see a complete list of supported browsers. For best usability, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) recommends that libraries begin talking to their local IT departments about upgrading their browsers to at least Internet Explorer 10.
Starting January 12, 2016, Microsoft will drop support, including security updates, for older Internet Explorer browser versions. Only the most recent version of IE for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates. Microsoft’s Stay up-to-date with Internet Explorer blog page provides a good explanation of why IE users should upgrade to the most current version.
The 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.