On April 2, 1917, US President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany, stating that “The world must be made safe for democracy.” Four days later, on April 6, Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of a war declaration. As part of the 2017 History of Medicine Lectures, the National Library of Medicine marks this important occasion with a forum spotlighting some of its rich collections related to the war and the American experience of the period, World War I Centenary Forum: Stories from the Collections of the National Library of Medicine. The session will be live-streamed globally on Thursday, April 6, 11:00am-12:30pm PDT through NIH Videocasting and will include a variety of stories drawn from these collections, shared by colleagues in the NLM’s History of Medicine Division.
Margot Malachowski, Education and Outreach Coordinator, visited St. Joseph’s School on a snowy first-day-of-spring.
NNLM provides technology funding in “under-connected” communities to enhance access to and use of quality health information.
Principal Michael Hackenson applied for a technology grant to purchase Chromebooks for his students.
Applicants for NNLM technology grants must provide demographic information and relevant statistics that supports the need for funding.
After the purchase of technology, our role is to train the faculty in accessing health information and lesson plans available through the National Library of Medicine.
Margot demonstrated using MedlinePlus for finding health information, including information on bullying.
She showed how to use the Children’s Page to access lesson plans and games from Nemours Foundation, CDC, FDA and USDA.
NLM provides links to additional K-12 lesson plans on this Outreach Activities and Resources page.
Request for Comments on Proposals for Revision of the Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), requests comments on the proposals that it has received from the Federal Interagency Working Group for Research on Race and Ethnicity for revisions to OMB’s Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. Comments must be provided in writing to OMB no later than 60 days from the publication of the Federal Register Notice (published 3/1/2017).
With LinkOut you can now add an icon for full-text articles deposited at your institutional repository (IR). Libraries can promote their IR content and the research publications of their institutions by participating. An icon will appear for publications that are not available free from the journal or Pubmed Central (PMC). This should increase the number of citations with links to free full-text. For details on how the IR LinkOut works and how to add your IR content see the NLM Technical Bulletin Mar-April 2017 issue.
Current participants include: Cornell University – Hathi Trust, University of California, Universitat Gottingen, and University of Michigan Library. /ch
According to MedlinePlus, you should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. You may be more familiar with that rule of thumb to sing the “Happy Birthday” song at least two times through before turning off that faucet.
But while we’re admonished to do so, it’s difficult to say what’s actually put into practice even while we know it helps stop the spread of germs. In fact, it can even help stop the spread of superbugs!
How else is it important? The Center for Disease Control has put together some fast facts (and citations) on the importance of handwashing:
- It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%.
- Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented.
- A large percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands. Appropriate hand washing practices can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and other infections.
- Handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%.
- The use of an alcohol gel hand sanitizer in the classroom provided an overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection by 19.8% among 16 elementary schools and 6,000 students.
Read more and find additional resources on the Germs and Hygiene MedlinePlus topic page.
PubMed users can now see the icon that links to the full text deposited at an institutional repository (IR) using LinkOut. The LinkOut service provides links to full text, library holdings, and other relevant external resources from PubMed and other NCBI databases. Until this year, there were three quick ways to access full text articles from PubMed:
- the publisher icon links to the journal web site (may require a subscription to the journal)
- the PMC icon links to free full text in PubMed Central (PMC)
- the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) links to the article on the journal web site (may require a subscription to the journal)
The new institutional repository icons will link to free full text of the article at an institutional repository that it is not freely available from the journal or PMC. When an IR is participating in this new LinkOut feature, the linking icon will display in the “Full text links” section next to the abstract in PubMed for any publication with a direct link to a full text that does not have another free full text link. The “LinkOut – more resources” section expands to show the same direct links to full text as the icons. All links to participating IRs will appear whether or not there is a free full text icon displayed in the “Full text links” section. There are only a few IRs participating in the free full text LinkOut at this time but these few already expand access to about 25,000 publications. Some academic and research institutions encourage or require authors to submit their publications in the IR, making them publicly accessible within the terms of publication at a journal. This is often called “green open access.” There might be an embargo period or delay after publication, as there can be with NIH-authored manuscripts in PMC. However, free full texts can be available as soon as an article is published.
LinkOut resources come from organizations that have applied to join LinkOut, providing information or data that are relevant to that specific publication. LinkOut participants include libraries, biological data repositories, and repositories like Dryad and Figshare. If you know of an IR that has publicly available free full texts beyond those available in PMC, please let them know about this service. A list of participating institutional repositories is available from the LinkOut Web site. Instructions for institutional repositories to join LinkOut are also available. For questions about participating in LinkOut, contact NLM. Additional details and sample screen displays are available in the NLM Technical Bulletin.
Data is a hot topic these days and it’s a challenge to keep up with all the new titles being released. Here are eight books that are definitely worth a look if you’d like to learn more about the world of data and its influence on librarianship…
Big Data: A revolution that will transform how we live, work, and think, by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier (2013) A great overview of “big data” and it’s impact on the way we do science.
Data Management for Libraries: A LITA guide, by Laura Krier and Carly A. Strasser (2013) A quick introduction to data management.
Data Management for Researchers: Organize, maintain and share your data for research success, by Kristin Briney (2015) A detailed guide for researchers.
The Accidental Data Scientist: Big data applications and opportunities for librarians and information professionals, by Amy Affelt (2015) A playful primer for the curious librarian.
Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the networked world (MIT Press), by Christine L. Borgman (2015) An interesting exploration of data’s impact on the future of scholarship.
Databrarianship: The academic data librarian in theory and practice, edited by Lynda Kellam and Kristi Thompson (2016) A scholarly collection of articles on data librarianship specifically for the academic librarian.
The Medical Library Association Guide to Data Management for Librarians (Medical Library Association Books Series), by Lisa Federer (2016) An indispensable resource for the medical librarian interested in data management.
The Data Librarian’s Handbook, by John Southall and Robin Rice (2016) A manual for the library student, teacher or working professional on data librarianship.
Next month, a list of some of the best data blogs…
Please recruit your C-Suite (CFO/CEO/CMO/CIO/COO)/hospital leaders for a 30 minute (max) interview with our health economist, Kari Jones PhD. The conversations with these leaders are crucial in carrying out this cost impact study.
Dr. Jones wants to talk to chief … about the feasibility of the methodology she has developed and how it may be implemented in the hospital environment from the hospital leadership perspective. She respects the challenging schedules of these individuals and will be very efficient in carrying out the interview. In the phone conversation she will:
- describe the study
- solicit level of interest in the study results
- elicit caveats or limitations on the proposed methodology
- assess preparedness to participate in the study (availability of cost data)
Do you have someone(s) at your hospital or medical center who would be willing to talk to Dr. Jones? We need your help in setting up a phone conversation. Feel free to talk to your chief… about the study, being interviewed, and pass on Kari’s name before you send us the contact information. A description of the study is downloadable from our web site.
What we need from you is:
- The individual to be interviewed: name, title, email address, phone number.
- Administrative person who schedules appointments for the executive: name, title, email, address, phone number.
Please forward the information to Claire Hamasu, firstname.lastname@example.org Interviews will be scheduled for April.
Your assistance is enormously appreciated! /ch
The human brain. You gotta love it. The Dana Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that supports brain research through grants, publications, and educational programs also loves the brain. They love it so much they created Brain Awareness Week (BAW) March 13-19, 2017. Yes BAW has past now, but the brain remains. Here are some educational brain lessons that you might find a use for. AND to the Dana Foundation’s credit, several National Institutes of Health are on the list, including the National Library of Medicine. The next BAW is scheduled for March 12-18, 2018. See you then!
Here are a couple of my favorite links from the Dana Educator Lesson page:
Through the Virtual Cell: The Movie (requires Flash)
Society for Neuroscience Brain Awareness Videos (Goes to YouTube)
Researchers have been working on an experimental blood test that could point out autism in children. So far, the test is 98 percent accurate in children ages 3 to 10 in diagnosing if they have autism.
“The test was able to predict autism, regardless of where on the spectrum an individual was,” according to study co-author Juergen Hahn in the MedlinePlus article. The test was also able to indicate the severity of the autism-related condition with good accuracy.
This new test is a stark contrast to the current approach of diagnosing autism, which entails a consensus from a group of medical professionals. The blood test, on the other hand, looks for key metabolism markers in the child.
The study was small, with less than 200 participants, so more research is planned to follow-up on the claims.
To read more about the study, please visit “Could a Blood Test Spot Autism in Childhood?”
According to the 2016 America’s Health Rankings report conducted by the United Health Foundation, Louisiana is the second most unhealthy state in the nation, just behind Mississippi. The report uses a number of factors to create these rankings, but it has become increasingly clear over the years that the state’s high diagnoses of new HIV cases is one factor.
According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report leading up to World AIDS Day in 2016, Baton Rouge ranks number one for newly diagnosed HIV cases; New Orleans ranks number three. In Baton Rouge, 44.7 out of every 100,000 people is diagnosed with HIV; in New Orleans, it’s 36.9.
HIV is a virus that weakens a person’s immune system by destroying the cells that fight infection and disease. There is no cure for it. AIDS is a condition that is considered the final stage of HIV. It is most commonly transmitted sexually or through sharing syringes, but can also be spread from mother to child through pregnancy as well as several other less common ways.
To combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic prevalent in the state, the Louisiana Department of Health launched the STD/HIV Program, designed to prevent transmission, ensure the availability of medical services and track the impact.
Unfortunately one of the biggest barriers health officials face is the stigma around the disease and an unwillingness to seek out treatment and report it. Timothy Young, head of the HIV/AIDS Alliance in the Baton Rouge area told The Advocate in a 2015 article “fear of being associated with HIV is so pronounced that more than 25 percent of those who are newly diagnosed with the disease in Louisiana have already progressed to AIDS.”
It’s important for these people to know that HIV/AIDS treatment has only continued to get better and it’s no longer the death sentence it used to be, if you get tested.
To read more about the SHP program, please visit the Louisiana Department of Health’s website.
To read more general information about HIV/AIDS, please visit the CDC’s website.
Save the Date for “Consequential and Reproducible Clinical Research: Charting the Course for Continuous Improvement” Conference at NLM June 14-15
Registration is available for the 2017 Annual Conference of the Friends of the National Library of Medicine, Consequential and Reproducible Clinical Research: Charting the Course for Continuous Improvement, to be held June 14-15 at NLM’s Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications Building. The conference will discuss prevention of non-repeatable research and inconsequential studies, highlight positive strategies to achieve trustworthy results and significant quality improvement in clinical research studies. The constructive and practical messages should benefit producers as well as users of clinical research discoveries. The meeting is co-sponsored by the National Library of Medicine and Research!America. The early-bird discount registration deadline is April 30. Additional information will be provided soon for recommended travel, accommodations, and the conference program.
Today is National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Health outreach professionals can access HIV/AIDS resources for Native American communities through multiple National Library of Medicine websites, including the following:
- American Indian Health – Check the “Health Topics – HIV/AIDS” section of American Indian Health for links to HIV/AIDS resources for Native American individuals and communities, for researchers/health professionals/educators, programs and organizations working to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS among Native Americans, and health information about HIV/AIDS for everyone.
- AIDSource – Look under the Specific Populations:Native Americans section of AIDSource for HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, education, and research resources related to HIV/AIDS in Native American communities.
- PubMed – For the latest biomedical research related to HIV/AIDS among Native American populations, visit PubMed.
Please join us for the first NNLM PNR Twitter chat, on Tuesday, April 11, from 12:00 – 1:00 pm, PST. The subject will be data, and the hashtag is #nnlmpnrchat. A twitter chat is a prearranged time to meet on Twitter and discuss a particular topic. To find the tweets in our conversation, search #nnlmpnrchat in the search box.
To learn more about Twitter chats, see Twitter Chat 101.
From the the Symplur Project: “A Twitter chat affords Twitter users the opportunity to engage in conversation with each other. A chat can either emerge from a new community that coalesces around a particular subject or keyword, or serve to focus the conversation of an existing community … Twitter hashtags, including those relevant to the healthcare industry, help to organize conversations on specific topics.”
Our two newest staff members, Research & Data Coordinators Ann Glusker and Ann Madhavan, will be featured! Topics include:
- Data literacy
- Access to NIH data
- Research Data Management Plans
- Training and Technology
- What is Big Data?
- Advocacy for Open Access
- Data respositories
- Reporting requirements for clinicaltrials.gov
If you have any specific questions, please email them to email@example.com, or just attend the chat and ask questions then. A transcript of the chat will be available from the Symplur Healthcare Hashtag Project. Questions? Contact Patricia Devine at 206-543-8275 or firstname.lastname@example.org. See you then!
Report on the 2017 Regional Spring Meeting of AAMC’s Western Group on Educational Affairs February 25-28, in Salt Lake City
Thanks to Jessi Van Der Volgen and Molly Knapp at the NNLM Training Office for allowing us to feature their assessment project and for providing the images in this post.
Are you tired of bars?
I don’t mean the kind of bars where you celebrate and socialize. I mean the kind used in data visualization. My evidence-free theory is that people still succumb to using the justifiably maligned pie chart simply because we cannot face one more bar graph.
Take heart, readers. Today, I’m here to tell you a story about some magic data that fell on the NEO’s doorstep and broke us free of our bar chart rut.
It all began with a project by our NNLM Training Office (NTO) colleagues, the intrepid leaders of NNLM’s instructional design and delivery. They do it all. They teach. They administratively support the regions’ training efforts. They initiate opportunities and resources to up-level instructional effectiveness throughout the network. One of their recent initiatives was a national needs assessment of NNLM training participants. That was the source of the fabulous data I write about today.
For context, I should mention that training is one of NNLM’s key strategies for reaching the furthest corners of our country to raise awareness, accessibility and use of NLM health information resources. NNLM offers classes to all types of direct users, (e.g., health professionals; community-based organization staffs) but we value the efficiency of our “train-the-trainer” programs. In these classes, librarians and others learn how to use NLM resources so they, in turn, can teach their users. The national needs assessment was geared primarily toward understanding how to best serve “train-the-trainer” participants, who often takes multiple classes to enhance their skills.
For the NTO’s needs assessment, one area of inquiry involved an inventory of learners’ need for training in 30 topic areas. The NTO wanted to assess participants’ desired level and their current level of proficiency in each topic. That meant 60 questions. That was one heck-of-a-long survey. We wished them luck.
The NTO team was undaunted! They did some research and found a desirable format for presenting this set of questions (see upper left). The format had a nice minimalist design. The sliders were more fun for participants than radio buttons. Also, NTO designed the online questionnaire so that only a handful of question-pairs appeared on the screen at one time. The approach worked, because NTO received responses from 559 respondents, and 472 completed the whole questionnaire.
The NEO, in turn, consulted the writings of one of our favorite dataviz oracles, Stephanie Evergreen. And she did not disappoint. We found the ideal solution: dot plots! Evergreen’s easy-to-follow instructions from this blog post allowed us to create dot plots in Excel, using a few creative hacks. This approach allowed us to thematically cluster results from numerous related questions into one chart. We were able to present data for 60 questions in a total of seven charts.
I would like to point out a couple of design choices I made:
- I used different shapes and colors to visually distinguish between “current proficiency” and “desired proficiency.” Navy blue for current proficiency was inspired from NNLM’s logo. I used a complimentary green for the desired proficiency because green means “go.”
- Evergreen prefers to place labels (e.g., “conducting literature searches”) close to the actual dots. That works well if your labels consist of one or two words. We found that our labels had to be longer to make sense. Setting them flush-left made them more readable.
- I suggested plotting medians rather than means because many of the data distributions were skewed. You can use means, but probably should round to whole numbers so you don’t distract from the gaps.
Dot plots are quite versatile. We used the format to highlight gaps in proficiency, but other evaluators have demonstrated that dot plots work well for visualizing change over time and cross-group comparisons.
Dot plots are not as easy to create as the default Excel bar chart, but they are interesting. So give up bars for a while. Try plotting!