National Network of Libraries of Medicine
English Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French Hindi Japanese Korean Persian Portuguese Russian Spanish

RML Blogs

Get the Most Out of Your Doctor’s Appointments

SCR News - Thu, 2017-11-02 18:58

“checklist” by Tero Vesalainen from Pixabay via CC0

Plan to get the most out of your doctor’s appointments.  You can address your concerns as best as possible, by following some key steps.


1) Make a list of the questions and concerns you want to talk about with your doctor.

2) Put them in order, listing the most important question or concern first.  Make sure to ask all the most important questions during your visit.

3)  Take a list of your medications and dosages.  This includes over-the-counter medications, herbal medications, supplements, and vitamins.  Or, bring all your medicine with you in a clear plastic bag.

4) Bring your insurance cards.

5) Bring the names and phone numbers of all the doctors you see.

6)  If you feel comfortable, take a friend or family member.  This person can help you remember what you want to say and take notes for you about what the doctor said in the appointment.

Learn more on the National Institute of Aging website.

Remember to like the NNLM SCR on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get the latest updates and health news!

Categories: RML Blogs

Lab Test Information Available in MedlinePlus!

PSR News - Thu, 2017-11-02 17:51

MedlinePlus now has lab test information in English and Spanish. From “Albumin Blood Test” to “Yeast Infection Test,” MedlinePlus currently has 50 lab tests listed, with 75 more coming in the next year. Visitors can learn about their laboratory tests, including what the lab test is used for, why their doctor ordered it, how the test will feel, and what the results may mean. Lab test information articles were added in response to a need for Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) mappings in MedlinePlus Connect.

screenshot of the medlineplus lab test information page


Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

New NLM Resources for the Opioid Crisis

PSR News - Thu, 2017-11-02 16:01

Opiates are chemicals that come from the poppy flower. A synthetic form, opioids, are used in medications. On October 26, 2017, Acting Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Eric D. Hargan declared a public health emergency to address the national opioid crisis. A public health emergency declaration lasts for 90 days and can be extended. Yesterday, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released a report that includes 56 recommendations for action. Following is a list of resources that provide authoritative information on the opioid crisis:

National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources:

Libraries and the opioid crisis:

Related event:

  • December 6 and 7, 2017, the HHS Office of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) will host an Opioid Symposium and Code-a-Thon to promote and employ innovative ways to leverage technology and data to address the nationwide opioid epidemic.
Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

Reflection: Should Health Science Librarians Be Involved in Big Data?

SEA News - Thu, 2017-11-02 07:58

In the NNLM Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles course, we asked participants, as they progressed through the course to consider the following questions: Do you think health sciences librarians should get involved with big data in healthcare? Where should librarians get involved, if you think they should? If you think they should not, explain why. You may also combine a “should/should not” approach if you would like to argue both sides. NNLM will feature responses from different participants over the coming weeks.

Should Health Science Librarians Be Involved in Big Data?

Written by Adelia Grabowsky, MLIS, Health Sciences Librarian, Ralph Brown Draughon Library, Auburn University

I think that health science librarians are able to support big data in the same way that they are involved in supporting any type of data. Chandrasekaran (2013) illustrates the variety and complexity of skills required to work with data. He includes additional requirements for big data, including the necessity of working with specialized software like Hadoop, which permits collection and analysis of data sets spread out across multiple computers (Chandrasekaran, 2013). Most librarians do not have all or even most of the skills enumerated on Chandrasekaran’s (2013) map. However, during a talk at a National Institute of Nursing Big Data Boot Camp, Brennan (2015) suggests that not every nurse needs to be or has the time to be a data scientist. Instead, she believes that all nurses should have an understanding of data science with a small number of nurses developing the skills and knowledge to actively engage in big data studies (Brennan, 2015). I think this premise also holds true for librarian support for big data. It is important that all librarians have a basic understanding of the research data life cycle and of the vocabulary of data. However, involvement that is more extensive may depend on the fit of data needs to more traditional librarian roles and/or the skills and interests of the specific librarian.

Federer (2016) presents a research data life cycle which begins with data-specific planning for research projects and proceeds to data collection or acquisition, data analysis or interpretation, data preservation and curation, and finally, sharing of data. Many librarians already support these stages of the data life cycle, with the exception of data analysis or interpretation, in some way. Although librarians have not traditionally been involved with data collection, they have often been involved with data acquisition by assisting in finding free or acquiring fee-based data sets. Librarians have also traditionally been part of the process of making results of research more “findable” by attaching metadata. As funding agencies have begun to require planning, which includes how data will be stored and shared; librarians have used those same skills to assist in the planning process, increase findability by attaching metadata to data sets and find suitable spaces (either in-house or subject or agency-based) in which to store and preserve data. All of these activities should translate to work with big data. The exception to library support of the research data life cycle is data analysis/visualization. For most librarians, this area will require an upgrading of skills in order to provide support. I think the decision to provide support for data analysis will depend on an individual librarian’s interest and the time they have to devote to new support activities. One example of a likely requirement in this area is a knowledge of programming languages like R or Python (Federer, 2016). For librarians that are interested in providing support for data analysis, there are many training opportunities ranging from learning R through an institutional subscription like to specialized short courses like the Data and Visualization Institute for Librarians (NCSU Libraries, n.d.).

One thing to remember is the use of big data in healthcare is still in its infancy, with continuing discussions about how and when data should be used (Cohen et al., 2015; Iwashyna & Liu, 2014; Krumholz, 2014) and about how current patient privacy protections impact the effective use of big data (Longhurst, Harrington, & Shah, 2014). As the use of big data grows and evolves, decisions made today about librarian support may not be as applicable in the future. Instead, librarians must stay informed about changes that are occurring and remain flexible in offering support and in willingness to update skills if needed.


Brennan, P. (2015). NINR Big Data Boot Camp part 4: Big data in nursing research. Retrieved from

Chandrasekaran, S. (2013). Becoming a data scientist – Curriculum via metromap. Retrieved from

Cohen, B., Vawdrey, D. K., Liu, J., Furuya, E. Y., Mis, F. W., Larson, E., & Hospital, N. Y. (2015). Challenges associated with using large data sets for quality assessment and research in clinical settings, 16(0), 117–124.

Federer, L. (2016). Research data management in the age of big data: Roles and opportunities for librarians. Information Services and Use, 36(1–2), 35–43.

Iwashyna, T. J., & Liu, V. (2014). What’s so different about big data?: A primer for clinicians trained to think epidemiologically. Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 11(7), 1130–1135.

Krumholz, H. M. (2014). Big data and new knowledge in medicine: The thinking, training, and tools needed for a learning health system. Health Affairs, 33(7), 1163–1170.

Longhurst, C. A., Harrington, R. A., & Shah, N. H. (2014). A “green button” for using aggregate patient data at the point of care. Health Affairs, 33(7), 1229–1235.

NCSU Libraries. (n.d.). Data Science and Visualization Institute for Librarians. Retrieved from

Categories: RML Blogs

The Trouble with Drugs: Possible Solution to the Opioid Problem

SCR News - Wed, 2017-11-01 18:41

“health medicine tablet pills” by Aloísio Costa Latgé ACL from Pixabay via CC0

The opioid epidemic has become a national crisis, one that may lead the White House to declare a national state of emergency. But there may be good news on the horizon about one possible solution to the rising number of overdose deaths.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that deaths from prescription drugs, heroin, and synthetic opioid like fentanyl have more than quadrupled in the last 20 years. Almost 30,000 deaths a year are attributed to illegal and legally prescribed opioids.

However, in the state of Colorado, the growth of overdose deaths has slowed over the past few years, an adjustment linked to the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana.

In a study published in the American Journal of Public Health and coauthored by researchers in the School of Public Health at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, an analysis of data from the year 2000 to 2015 shows a 6% reduction in Colorado’s number of opioid-related deaths after recreational marijuana was made legal in 2012.

The study, the first of its kind to look at short-term public health benefits of legalized marijuana, has garnered a huge amount of attention, trending on Google and ranked high on Web of Science for number of citations soon after it was released.

Despite the potential benefits demonstrated by the study, the lead author recommends caution for policymakers considering legal decisions, as further study is necessary to examine the long-term effects of expanded and legalized marijuana use. This is one story you’ll want to add to your saved folder and check back on in the future.

Remember to like the NNLM SCR on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get the latest updates and health news!

Categories: RML Blogs

Network Members in the Spotlight

PSR Newsletter - Wed, 2017-11-01 17:55

We would like to recognize the following network members by highlighting their accomplishments, promotions, awards, new positions, and departures. We welcome your submissions for possible future announcements!

David Midyette is the new Senior Medical Affairs Information Specialist at Ventana Medical Systems in Tucson, AZ. David was previously the librarian at Roseman University of Health Sciences in Henderson, NV.

June Simms, Director of the Jay Sexter Library at Touro University Nevada in Henderson, is retiring at the end of December 2017, after more than 13 years of service to the library.

Norman Huckle, Head of Document Delivery & Interlibrary Loan at Savitt Medical Library, University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine, is retiring November 9th, after 32 years of service.

Sophia Prisco is the new Education Librarian at the University of California, San Francisco Library & Center for Knowledge Management. She was previously the librarian at West Coast University’s Center for Graduate Studies in central Los Angeles.

Susan Ulrich, Medical Librarian at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey, CA, retired at the end August 2017.

Marsha Kmec passed away on August 10 at the age of 65. She was the Health Sciences Librarian at Olive View/UCLA Medical Center from 1992-2012, and very active in the NNLM Network. In more recent years, Marsha was the medical librarian at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. She received the Medical Library Group of Southern California & Arizona Louise Darling Achievement Award in 1998 and the UCLA Librarian of the Year Award in 2007.

Alexander Lyubechansky, MA, MLIS, is now the Clinical Librarian at the Savitt Medical Library at the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Reno. He was previously the Clinical Librarian at the Savitt Medical Library Las Vegas location.

Esther Sternberg, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, is the 2017-18 chair of the NLM Board of Regents.

Sterling Kent is the new Learning Resource Center Manager at Fortis College in Phoenix, AZ. He replaces Amy Nadell.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

Public Library Association Announces Partnership with NNLM for “Promoting Healthy Communities” Training Initiative

PSR News - Wed, 2017-11-01 16:14

Responding to the sizable proportion of Americans who visit libraries to check out health guidance, the Public Library Association (PLA) has announced a partnership with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) to train public librarians to better provide consumer health information. Research suggests that those librarians have an important role to play. According to a 2010 study, 37% of library users, including 57% of seniors living in poverty, used public library computers to seek health information. But a 2013 survey of public librarians showed that a third of respondents were unfamiliar with resources that could help patrons with health-related queries. PLA Deputy Director Scott G. Allen said the new initiative, called Promoting Healthy Communities, is designed to tailor medical information for librarians serving a general audience.

The new PLA-NNLM partnership intends to address the knowledge gap in a variety of ways, including podcasts, webinars, conference sessions, and a dedicated website set to launch later this year. That site will provide information for librarians on what NNLM information is accessible, streamlined versions of that information for a consumer health audience, and recommendations for how libraries can promote their role as a health information desk. Throughout the nine-month initiative, PLA and NNLM will assess health information needs among public librarians and share free resources and professional development opportunities that will help public library staff better serve their patrons’ consumer health needs. The initiative will increase the capacity of public libraries to provide quality health reference services by holding training programs and webinars, publishing articles and podcasts about successful library programs, and helping dozens of library staff gain the Consumer Health Information Specialization credential from MLA.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

Reflections on Librarianship and Big Data

MAR News - Wed, 2017-11-01 08:00

In the NNLM Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles course, we asked participants, as they progressed through the course to consider the following questions: Do you think health sciences librarians should get involved with big data in healthcare? Where should librarians get involved, if you think they should? If you think they should not, explain why. You may also combine a “should/should not” approach if you would like to argue both sides. NNLM will feature responses from different participants over the coming weeks.

Written By Margaret (Peg) Burnette, Assistant Professor & Biomedical Sciences Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The world of librarianship is changing at what seems to be an ever-increasing rate. The librarian’s role has evolved from information organization and access to the provision of specialized services related to information and data quality, management, analysis, and application. Big data is here to stay and permeates both our professional and personal lives. In the era of digital content and libraries without walls, librarians grapple with new challenges in order to remain productive and relevant. And while users may no longer need help finding information, many likely need help with evaluation and management of increasingly large amounts of information and data.

In many ways, the demands of big data are the same as for small data. These demands afford opportunities for librarians that naturally complement librarians’ expertise. Traditional organization and classification skills are still needed to help researchers find, wrangle, and share research and data products of all kinds. More specialized skills, such as statistical or analytical expertise, subject or technical expertise, or advanced computer skills (coding, etc.), enhance the ability to provide highly sought after services that complement the research and education enterprise.

Despite these opportunities, librarians often lack the skills necessary to support research data in a holistic way. Libraries need to plan carefully to match services with librarian competencies and implement strategies to fill gaps. The research and data lifecycles may provide useful frameworks for determining and developing services. For example, an institution might decide to focus on the identification, procurement and application of existing data. Another might focus on infrastructure for data storage solutions which can be a huge challenge for researchers, particularly for big data initiatives. Support for data analysis and data visualization are additional support areas that researchers clamor for. SPSS and R are familiar tools but few have the skills necessary to provide robust support. The immersion that is necessary for mastery of tools like these is simply not realistic for librarians who often wear multiple hats.

A second framework that librarians might consider is big data’s five “Vs”. The Volume of data being produced can benefit from librarian expertise in the areas of organization, security, and storage options. Libraries that are not equipped to offer storage solutions can nonetheless provide information about options and respective implications. Velocity affords opportunities for librarian expertise in the areas of organization, access, and retrieval. For example, librarians can leverage expertise in controlled vocabularies and metadata for data mining projects. Additionally, librarians can apply organizational acumen to help wrangle the Variety of data, both structured and unstructured. Veracity of information is a mainstay of librarianship and data quality is no different. And finally, librarian contributions to data management, curation, and sharing strategies can contribute significantly to the Value of that data.

Ultimately, with all of these opportunities, it is vital to consider data services within the larger institutional context. Some of the services that libraries consider may be provided by other entities such as offices of research or IT units. Coordination is vital to ensure seamless and integrated services streams, shared and complementary responsibilities, and unified goals.

Categories: RML Blogs

New! Continuing Education Credit for PubMed for Librarians Recordings

NTO News - Wed, 2017-11-01 04:04
PubMed for Librarians and cats

Watch a PML recording, get CE credit from MLA

We’ve heard from our community that you wish you could get CE credit for watching recorded sessions of our series PubMed for Librarians. Now you can! Just follow these steps:

1. Watch a recording of PubMed for Librarians and complete the handout for the class.
2. Handout is provided in the video’s YouTube description and on our PML class page under Course Materials.
3. Email your completed handout to
4. We will send you a link to the class evaluation, which includes a code to use for 1.5 hours of CE credit from the Medical Library Association.

We are so excited to bring you another way to keep up to date with PubMed, on your own terms! Happy watching!

PS: another LIVE round of PMLs starts January 10, 2018, registration is now open.

Categories: RML Blogs