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PSR Newsletter

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The newsletter of NNLM Pacific Southwest Region
Updated: 10 min 22 sec ago

Supporting Neurodiverse Learners: New Resource Guide

Mon, 2020-06-29 20:18

What is neurodiversity? As an instructor, how can I best support my neurodiverse learners? What are some principles of web design to help make my website available to all students?

These are tough, important questions that are often difficult to answer with a quick internet search. Neurodiversity, the concept and perspective that individuals with “atypical” behavioral traits or brain function can be considered normal, or even exceptional, learners and thinkers, is relatively new, understudied, and misunderstood.

This new resource guide, Supporting Neurodiverse Learners, co-developed by outgoing

Meeting of a diverse project team

Collaborative group project (stock image)

Education & Outreach Librarian Julie Botnick and our recently graduated NNLM PSR undergraduate student assistant Katherine Zhuo (UCLA ’20), aims to help instructional designers, facilitators, librarians, and web developers build tools and experiences that are accessible to all learners, regardless of whether they fit the mold of the “typical” student.

We welcome recommendations for additional sources and comments regarding other information needs you have on this topic; please email with suggestions.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

Encuentre información de salud confiable en español para sus usuarios

Thu, 2020-06-18 13:47

Cuando sus usuarios le pregunten por información de salud en español sobre COVID-19 u otros temas, la NNLM tiene los recursos que usted necesita. Los recursos incluyen videos en español con médicos profesionales latinos y una selección de recursos en español seleccionados por miembros de la comunidad de habla hispana. Estos materiales vienen de fuentes fiables como la Biblioteca Nacional de Medicina de Estados Unidos y los Centros para el Control y Prevención de Enfermedades.

Muchos de estos recursos son recomendados por las promotoras, quienes son miembros de la comunidad que sirven como conexión entre el sistema de salud, la información, y los recursos disponibles. Como las promotoras son el corazón de sus comunidades, ellas tienen la capacidad de llevar y dar asistencia donde la comunidad lo necesite. Visión y Compromiso (VyC), es una organización no lucrativa dedicada a apoyar, entrenar, y sobre todo celebrar a las promotoras en toda la nación estadounidense. Visión y Compromiso esta celebrando sus 20 años de trabajo y devoción a mejorar las vidas y la salud de su comunidad. En respuesta a la pandemia que esta afectando a la comunidad de habla hispana, Visión y Compromiso desarrollo una serie de seminarios web (webinars) para que participantes aprendan sobre lugares de confianza para encontrar información de salud, mitos sobre COVID-19, y cómo cuidarse uno mismo durante este tiempo de quedarse en casa. Usted puede encontrar las grabaciones de estos seminarios web (webinars) y recursos en la página web de Visión y Compromiso sobre COVID 19. La NNLM PSR comparte la misión de las promotoras de formar comunidades saludables y ha creado una página en español sobre COVID-19 con información de salud y material que apoya a la comunidad de habla hispana.  LA PSR previamente ha colaborado con promotoras. Usted puede ver este video donde Yamila El-Khayat, habla sobre su proyecto y trabajo en Arizona, con las promotoras.

JUNTOS, El Centro para el Avance de la Salud Latina del Centro Médico de la Universidad de Kansas (University of Kansas Medical Center), ha creado JUNTOS-RADIO, una serie de podcasts en español con varios temas de salud.  Los podcasts cuentan con entrevistas con profesionales latinos de salud donde hablan sobre temas de interés para la comunidad Latina en Kansas y otros lugares. Los temas cubiertos hasta hoy incluyen el COVID-19, la obesidad infantil, la enfermedad de Alzheimer, la hipertensión, y cómo hacer ejercicios en casa.  El equipo continúa produciendo más podcasts con otros temas relevantes para la comunidad Latina. Además de cubrir cada tema en español, cada podcast también incluye información sobre el programa Científico All of Us (All of US Research Program), el cual es una campaña que pretende inscribir a un millón de personas de todo Estados Unidos para ayudar a acelerar la investigación médica,  compartiendo información médica.

Estos podcasts, están disponibles en PodBean, iTunes, y también en el formato de video en YouTube y Facebook.  Usted puede verlos o descargarlos desde la página de JUNTOS-RADIO Podbean, en iTunes, en el canal de YouTube de JUNTOS,  y en la página de Facebook de JUNTOS, El Centro para el Avance de la Salud Latina. To get an English auto-translation on the YouTube version of the podcast, go to the settings for the video. Then select Subtitles, Auto-translate and finally English.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

Find Trusted Health Information in Spanish for Your Patrons

Thu, 2020-06-18 13:43

Screenshot of Brenda Linares, Ileana Cepeda, and Valeria MaciasWhen library patrons ask you for health information in Spanish about COVID-19 or other issues, NNLM has resources to get you started. Available tools range from Spanish-language videos featuring Latino medical professionals to resources selected by trusted members of the Spanish-speaking community. The materials come from reliable sources like the National Library of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of these resources are recommended by promotores, members of the community who serve as connections between them and healthcare systems, information, and resources. Because promotores are the heart of their communities, they are able to deliver assistance where it is needed the most.

Vision y Compromiso (VyC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting, training, and most importantly celebrating promotores across the nation. Vision y Compromiso is marking 20 years of work devoted to improving the lives and health of their communities. In response to the pandemic affecting Spanish-speaking communities Vision y Compromiso developed a series of webinars for participants to learn about trusted places to find health information, myths about COVID19, and how to take care of oneself during these safer at home times. You can find the recorded webinars and resources on the Vision y Compromiso COVID-19 page. The NNLM PSR shares the promotores mission of building healthier communities and also created a page with Spanish Language COVID-19 health information materials to support Spanish speakers. The PSR has previously collaborated with promotores, described by Yamila El-Kkayat, in this video about outreach work  in Arizona.

The JUNTOS Center for Advancing Latino Health at Kansas University Medical Center has created JUNTOS Radio, an ongoing series of podcasts in Spanish on health topics. The podcasts feature interviews with Latino health professionals about issues of concern to the Latino community in Kansas and elsewhere. The photo on the left is a screenshot of Brenda Linares, Medical Librarian from the University of Kansas Medical Center, Ileana Cepeda, and Valeria Macias from JUNTOS recording an episode about health literacy. This particular project is an example of an innovative way for NNLM member librarians to partner with community members and reach a wide audience. Topics so far include COVID-19, child obesity, Alzheimer’s Disease and exercise at home. Each podcast also includes information on the All of Us Research Program, an effort to enlist one million or more people from across the U.S. to help speed up medical research by sharing their medical information.

They are posted on Podbean, iTunes and in video format on YouTube and Facebook. You can access the podcasts at the JUNTOS Podbean page, on iTunes, on the JUNTOS YouTube channel for the JUNTOS Center for Advancing Latino Health, or on the JUNTOS Facebook page. To get an English auto-translation on the YouTube version, go to the settings for the video. Then select Subtitles, Auto-translate and finally English.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

NLM Funding Opportunity: RML Cooperative Agreements for 2021-2026!

Mon, 2020-06-08 19:06

The National Library of Medicine has announced that the Regional Medical Libraries (RML) and supporting offices cooperative agreement funding opportunities for 2021-2026 are open for applications until September 11. You can read the announcement of the FOA here and review the FOA here.

You will see a couple of notable changes. One is that NNLM is being renamed Network of the National Library of Medicine, retaining the NNLM acronym.

The most significant news is the regions are being reconfigured and UCLA (NNLM PSR) will be competing for the first time since the regional medical libraries were established. The new region encompasses the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Southwest.

Region 5: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States in the Pacific

As you can see, Arizona will be moving to Region 4. We are extremely grateful that our colleagues in Arizona have done an outstanding job providing outreach to underrepresented populations, and we will miss their presence in the region.

All are welcome to attend a technical assistance webinar, which will be held on Wednesday July 8, 2020 from 12:00-1:00pm PST. The meeting will review the purpose and objectives of the FOA, review application instructions, and address questions from the community concerning the FOA. All prospective applicants are invited to participate. Submit questions in advance to Following the meeting questions and answers will be posted at For more information, see

a bookshelf shaped like the United States map

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

African American Health and Anti-Racist Resources

Fri, 2020-06-05 15:18

In light of recent events including police brutality and ensuing protests, the staff at NNLM PSR stand with the African American community. In this article, you will find resources related to African American mental health, anti-racist reading materials, cultural competency, NLM African American and race history, racism in science, and PubMed Central articles about police brutality and African American health. This list will be refreshed as we receive updates from our members and partners.

Please note that APHA’s upcoming Advancing Racial Equity Webinar Series begins on June 9, 2020.

We support this statement from the African American Medical Library Alliance:

We are hurting, frustrated and our emotions are raw.

The cumulative toll of microaggressions, institutional racism, police brutality, and state-sanctioned violence coupled with the emotional labor of navigating a predominantly white profession is exhausting. We are tired of not being seen, heard, included, or appreciated for the value that our unique voices, experiences and perspectives bring to the narrative.

We appreciate the sentiments of our fellow caucuses and colleagues throughout the Medical Library Association. Collectively, we share community with other marginalized members who live in dread that the color of their skin, race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, political beliefs, language, culture, nationality, age, ability status, and religion make them targets of violence and possibly death.

We are committed to using our collective voices in bringing about change in the profession and the Association.

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Kelsa Bartley, Chair
Michael S. Fitts, Chair-Elect
Shenita Peterson, Immediate Past Chair
Tara Douglas-Williams, AHIP, National Program Committee, Co-Chair 2021
Shannon Jones, AHIP, Caucus Mentor
Beverly Murphy, AHIP, FMLA, MLA Past President
Tamara Nelson, AHIP, MLA Information Services Domain Hub Chair
Aidy Weeks, AHIP, Virtual Engagement Committee

African American Mental Health Resources
  1. Mental Health America: Black & African American Communities And Mental Health
  2. HHS Office of Minority Health: Mental and Behavioral Health – African Americans
  3. HHS Office of Minority Health: Minority Mental Health Awareness Month – July
Anti-Racist Reading Lists from our Members (books available electronically)
  1. Los Angeles Public Library: Black Lives Matter – Essential Readings for Adults and Teens
  2. San Francisco Public Library: Understanding Structural Racism
Cultural Competency
  1. NNLM Webinar: Cultural Competency for the Information Professional
  2. NNLM Webinar: Cultural Competencies and the Strategic Prevention Framework
  3. HHS: Think Cultural Health – Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals
NLM African American and Race History
  1. Leonidas H. Berry and the Fight to Desegregate Medicine
  2. For All the People: A Century of Citizen Action in Health Care Reform
  3. Circulating Now from NLM – African American History
Racism and Science
  1. COVID-19 and Health Inequities
  2. NLM Special Lecture: Gender, Race, and Power in Science
  3. Beginning June 9: APHA’s Advancing Racial Equity Webinar Series
PubMed Central Articles
  1. Alang S, McAlpine D, McCreedy E, Hardeman R. Police Brutality and Black Health: Setting the Agenda for Public Health Scholars. Am J Public Health. 2017;107(5):662‐665. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2017.303691
  2. Bowleg L, Maria Del Río-González A, Mbaba M, Boone CA, Holt SL. Negative Police Encounters and Police Avoidance as Pathways to Depressive Symptoms Among US Black Men, 2015-2016. Am J Public Health. 2020;110(S1):S160‐S166. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2019.305460
  3. Edwards F, Lee H, Esposito M. Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race-ethnicity, and sexProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116(34):16793‐16798. doi:10.1073/pnas.1821204116
  4. Hall JM, Fields B. “It’s Killing Us!” Narratives of Black Adults About Microaggression Experiences and Related Health Stress. Glob Qual Nurs Res. 2015;2:2333393615591569. Published 2015 Jul 9. doi:10.1177/2333393615591569
  5. Schneider JA, Lancki N, Schumm P. At the intersection of criminal justice involvement and sexual orientation: Dynamic networks and health among a population-based sample of young Black men who have sex with men. Soc Networks. 2017;51:73‐87. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2017.04.001
Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

Trusted Resources for Caregivers 

Tue, 2020-06-02 18:51

Caregivers are individuals or groups of individuals who provide direct care to children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses who require assistance in their everyday lives.  

We at NNLM PSR are committed to promoting equitable, accessible health information. The following resources from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and other government agencies provide vetted, reliable sources of online health information for caregivers. 

three generations family standing together outdoors

Three-generation family standing together 

Caregiving has been explored in different ways by NNLM Regional Medical Libraries. Our colleagues at NNLM Middle Atlantic Region developed a guide to key consumer health resources for caregivers, and NNLM New England Region recently hosted a presentation by Fred Muench of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and Center on Addiction, who provided an overview of the useful and free tools for families affected by substance use disorder. 

NLM also actively develops resources for caregivers. NLM 4 Caregivers was a project initiated by the NLM, designed to increase awareness of NLM resources among caregivers who seek health information online. Though the pilot project has ended, the resources are still available. NLM’s Disaster Information Management Resource Center’s Coping with Disasters: Health Information Guide includes a broad range of helpful resources for individuals, families, and caregivers before, during, and after disasters and emergencies.  

Caregiving is hard, and caregivers often feel stress. MedlinePlus has a comprehensive list of caregiver consumer health materials covering how to administer care, but it also covers the important topics of burnout, stress reduction, and self-care for caregivers.  

Other governmental resources include the Substance Use and Mental Health Administration’s Resources for Families Coping with Mental and Substance Use Disorders and the CDC’s resources for caregivers of older adults and adults with disabilities and for parents. 

Finally, look out for Kelli Ham’s article, “Wayfinding along the Caregiving Journey: Resources for Informal Caregivers,” forthcoming from the Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet. The resources chosen for this article include general comprehensive sites; guides and handbooks for special audiences or circumstances; benefits and services locators; and resources for end-of-life caregiving. 

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

NNLM PSR’s Kelli Ham Announces Retirement!

Wed, 2020-05-27 20:02
a woman standing behind an exhibit table

Kelli at an Arbor Day community outreach event in 2017.

NNLM PSR Community Engagement Librarian Kelli Ham has announced her retirement on July 1! Her last day of work will be Monday, June 29. Kelli joined the NNLM PSR staff in 2005 as Consumer Health Librarian. In September, 2017, she transitioned to the new role of Community Engagement Librarian in support of the NNLM All of Us program. During her fifteen-year tenure, Kelli’s determination and dedication have led to an outstanding career of numerous accomplishments. Kelli has excelled at virtually every task she has undertaken.

Kelli’s passions include health literacy, digital literacy, and awareness and skill building of digital accessibility. Over the years she has conducted many library training sessions, conference presentations for librarians and health professionals, and in-person sessions for members of the public. Kelli has had an extremely successful track record as a course developer and author. As Community Engagement Librarian, she conducted outreach to improve health literacy and awareness of the NIH All of Us Research Program through exhibits, presentations, promotion of citizen science projects, and supporting libraries through programs such as the NNLM Reading Club.

Kelli’s adeptness in building regional partnerships has led to many successful collaborations. Partners have included the Institute for HealthCare Advancement (IHA), which sponsors an annual health literacy conference, and InfoPeople, a training arm of the California State Library. With the rollout of the Affordable Care Act in 2013, Kelli spearheaded the outreach effort in our region by leveraging her relationships with all state libraries in the region. She also created an ACA LibGuide and co-authored two chapters in the MLA monograph The Affordable Care Act: A Librarian’s Practical Guide. For her remarkable accomplishments related to ACA outreach, Kelli was nominated for and received the 2015 UCLA Librarian of the Year Award! More recently, Kelli worked with the SciStarter team at Arizona State University on a project culminating in a nationwide event on Citizen Science Day 2019. This successful endeavor served as a springboard for a national NLM-sponsored effort for 2020 Citizen Science Month.

woman hiking on a rocky terrain.

Kelli on one of her outdoor adventures.

Kelli also spearheaded a multi-year partnership with the California State Library to improve the capacity of public librarians to provide mental health information and services to their communities. As part of this effort, she attended 16 hours of training and received certifications in Mental Health First Aid; developed a four-hour class and trained over 150 librarians in ten locations in California and Arizona; and served as an advisor on the Mental Health Advisory Committee. Kelli was invited as a Featured Speaker at the 2016 California Library Association Conference to deliver the inaugural training.

As a course developer, Kelli created the 12-unit continuing education course, Health and Wellness @ the Library: The Essentials of Providing Consumer Health Services, particularly noteworthy because hundreds of participants successfully completing it achieved MLA Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) certification with one comprehensive class. It has been an ever-successful course offering that remains in high demand today. The course also served as the basis and model for another highly popular and valuable NNLM class for public library staff, Stand Up for Health. In conjunction with the Health & Wellness class, Kelli was the principal author and editor of the resource, Finding Health and Wellness @ the Library: A Consumer Health Toolkit for Library Staff. This comprehensive professional development resource enabled public library staff to build competencies in providing excellent consumer health services to users. The Toolkit was used as a course textbook in several library school courses and as a benchmark for consumer health services in some library systems. While the Toolkit is no longer in print, the core competencies therein were adopted by the Medical Library Association in 2018 as the educational criteria for attaining CHIS certification.

Kelli has been very active in professional associations, particularly the American Library Association (ALA) and the Medical Library Association (MLA). A highlight was an invitation in 2012 to join the ALA Reference and User Services Association Reference Services Section (RUSA RSS) Guidelines subcommittee. This working group developed new Health and Medical Reference Guidelines, which replaced the Guidelines for Medical, Legal, and Business Responses published ten years earlier. She was originally appointed for a 2-year commitment, but agreed to continue for an additional two years to see the process through to completion. Kelli also served as the chair of the MLA Education Annual Program Committee (formally the Continuing Education Committee) in 2017-2018, after serving as a committee member for the three previous years.

And finally, look for Kelli’s article “Wayfinding along the Caregiving Journey: Resources for Informal Caregivers,” on the verge of appearing in the Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet, volume 24, issue 2!

Join us in congratulating Kelli on this occasion of her well-deserved retirement!

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

Community Engagement Award Highlights: Sacramento Public Library’s Brain Health Initiative

Wed, 2020-05-27 18:25

by Katie Ball, Special Projects Associate
Sacramento Public Library
Sacramento, CA

a woman with glasses at an exhibit holding up a brochure

An RN showing NLM and NNLM resources

The Sacramento Public Library (SPL) received a 2019-2020 All of Us Community Engagement Award from the Pacific Southwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM PSR). This award was used to create the first health literacy focused program for SPL, the Brain Health Initiative (BHI). The goal of the BHI was to facilitate the process of healthy aging by delivering information on Alzheimer’s disease and techniques to improve brain health. We aimed to reach our goal by providing the following activities:

  • Fidget Blanket Workshops: We partnered with the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to provide a one-hour class on Healthy Living for your Brain and Body. Following the class, participants were given the opportunity to create a fidget blanket for their loved one.
  • Health Liaison training: A branch representative from each library in our system was selected to become a Health Liaison and received training on trusted Health Literacy resources, Alzheimer’s disease, and health resources in the community.
  • Blood Pressure Drop-in Clinics: We partnered with Samuel Merritt University RN to BSN program to provide blood pressure checks at our branches, staffed by Registered Nurses (pictured). We provided patrons with information on how to lower their blood pressure, as well as the connection between good heart health and good brain health, and gave away blood pressure monitors to track readings at home.
  • Senior Resource Packs: At outreach events, we gave away Senior Resource Packs, which were tote bags filled with the What to Do For Senior Health book from the Institute for Healthcare Advancement, a pill splitter, a travel alarm clock, a pill organizer, and printouts on senior-focused health care and tips for better brain health.
  • Brain Health Kits: To encourage patrons of all ages to participate in brain fitness activities at any time, we introduced Brain Health Kits, available to be checked out from branches throughout the system. These kits include tactile and word puzzles, conversation starters, trivia books, and information from the Alzheimer’s Association for how to better care for your brain.
  • Targeted outreach: We identified vulnerable populations throughout Sacramento County to engage with in order to distribute Senior Resource Packs and share information about blood pressure drop-in clinics and fidget blanket workshops. We also partnered with the local All of Us office to have a representative accompany SPL at outreach events.

One of the successes from the BHI came out of one of our Fidget Blanket Workshops, held at our Valley Hi—North Laguna branch. A woman attended, and said she was unaware of the fidget blanket portion. SPL staff explained that all of the supplies would be provided for free and there was a sewing instructor available to help troubleshoot any issues. The woman was dubious, as she was the primary caregiver for her mother, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease. The attendee was an experienced sewer, but wasn’t sure she could dedicate two hours to creating a fidget blanket. SPL staff encouraged her to stay for an hour and whatever she wasn’t able to complete in that time, she could take the supplies home to later finish the blanket. The woman agreed and she got to work.

fidget blanket

A fidget blanket at the Healthy Living for your Brain and Body workshop

As she created her blanket and sewed the pieces together, she shared stories with the instructor, letting her know how she was rusty and she never took the time to be creative anymore because she was so busy caring for her mother, even though she knew it was good for exercising her brain. Almost to the minute, an hour later, she completed her blanket (pictured) and said to the instructor, “Wow, I did something good for me and good for my mother, all at the same time!”

With the stay-at-home orders that were put in place for the state of California to slow the spread of Coronavirus, SPL had to cancel multiple BHI activities that were scheduled in the months of March and April. This was disappointing, as our blood pressure drop-in clinics had been well-received by the community and we were on a good trajectory to grow attendance at our Fidget Blanket Workshops, but we look forward to continuing the work started in this project when we re-open. We plan to continue in-reach and outreach to distribute Senior Resource Packs, as well as explore ways to market the Brain Health Kits to caregivers, senior facilities, and the general public. Our partnership with Samuel Merritt University will continue for the next three years, which will enhance our health-related programming. We will also pursue more opportunities for collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association. Finally, we will be adapting BHI information and resources for use in our Library AF programs for young adults, aimed at the 20s-40s age group. There are many excellent resources developed in this project and partnerships that were formed that can be utilized for future health programs at SPL.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

NNLM PSR Associate Director Transition!

Tue, 2020-05-26 19:16

After 18 years of service to the NNLM PSR, the last eight as Associate Director, and overall career of more than 30 years with the UCLA Library, Alan Carr has announced his upcoming retirement on July 1. His last day of work will be Monday, June 29. Nisha Mody, UCLA Health & Life Sciences Librarian, will become interim Associate Director on June 1.

man with maroon turtleneck shirt smiling at the camera

Alan Carr

Alan joined the RML in 2002 as Outreach Coordinator and also briefly served as Member Services & Exhibits Coordinator before his appointment as interim Associate Director in 2012. Prior to these positions, Alan was a librarian in the UCLA Biomedical Library Reference Division. Immediately after his 2002 appointment, Alan launched into the effort of coordinating an HIV/AIDS Information Summit, which was held in March, 2003, on the UCLA campus. He chaired the Steering Committee which planned the event, worked closely with event co-host California AIDS Clearinghouse, was master of ceremonies for the day, and subsequently wrote an article about the successful day-long event, which was published in the Journal of the Medical Library Association.

As Associate Director, Alan provided leadership for RML staff in the accomplishment of several major initiatives. He led the team effort to write the successful cooperative agreement funding proposal for NNLM PSR to serve as the 2016-2021 Regional Medical Library. He also led RML staff efforts to conduct two site visits with NLM review teams, in 2013 and 2019. He developed strong relationships with National Library of Medicine staff, managed RML personnel and budgets, and provided general grant management. He oversaw preparation of administrative supplement funding proposals, to enhance main grant funds. He also worked closely with Kelli Ham on the RML’s response to NLM’s high priority of supporting Network members as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was rolled out in 2013. Alan and Kelli co-authored an article about development of an ACA LibGuide for the NNLM PSR website, which was published in the May 2014 issue of MLA News.

woman smiling at the camera

Nisha Mody

Alan was active in professional associations throughout his career, particularly the Medical Library Association (MLA) and the Medical Library Group of Southern California and Arizona (MLGSCA) chapter. He served on and chaired numerous MLGSCA committees, and also served as Treasurer in 1999-2000 and President in 2003-2004. For his involvement and dedication to the chapter, he received the MLGSCA Louise Darling Achievement Award in 2006. More recently Alan served a three-year term as MLA Chapter Council Representative for MLGSCA in 2012-2015. He has been a Distinguished Member of MLA’s Academy of Health Information Professionals since 1996. In addition, in 2017-2018 Alan served as Chair of the Librarians Association of the University of California, Los Angeles, a professional organization consisting of all UCLA librarians.

Nisha Mody is a health sciences information professional and a certified speech-language pathologist. She has worked with education and health professionals in private practice, skilled nursing, hospital, K-12, and higher education settings for 11 years. She is passionate about equity and centering marginalized populations. In her spare time, Nisha pursues creative non-fiction writing and is the host of MigrAsians, a podcast about creative and political Asians and their story of migration. She is also a proud cat mom to her sister cats, Sonya and Vera.

Nisha is currently the functional lead for Teaching in Learning in User Engagement. As functional lead she serves as a member of the User Engagement Leadership Council and manages a group of approximately ten librarians and staff who lead teaching and learning activities, foster continual improvement of face-to-face and online instruction, and promote professional development and reflective instructional practice for library staff. Nisha is an exceptional writer. She has a number of publications and participated as a chapter author with User Engagement colleagues in a recently published ACRL monograph, Leading Change in Academic Libraries, Chapter 7, “User Engagement: A Matrix Reorganization.”

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

NLM Receives $10 Million Emergency CARES Act Funding Support

Tue, 2020-05-19 19:30

Dr. Patti Brennan has announced that NLM has received $10 million as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides emergency funding for federal agencies to combat the coronavirus outbreak. The funding is being used to support activities to improve the quality of clinical data for research and care; accelerate research including phenotyping, image analysis, and real-time surveillance; and to enhance access to COVID-19 literature and molecular data resources. The following activities highlight many of the investments that NLM is making with this emergency funding.

The novel coronavirus is driving a need for standardized COVID-19 terminology and data exchange that will allow clinicians and scientists to communicate more effectively and consistently. NLM will use the supplemental funds to support the addition of codes for COVID-19-related laboratory tests within LOINC (Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes) and to provide implementation guidelines and training in use of the standards. NLM is also enabling sharing of COVID-19 terminology updates through the Value Set Authority Center (VSAC), which makes available value sets and clinical terminologies. Value sets are codes from standard terminologies around specific concepts or conditions and are used as part of electronic clinical quality measures or to define patient cohorts, classes of interventions, or patient outcomes. This important work will facilitate the analysis of electronic health record data and support effective and interoperable health information exchange.

NLM is updating terminology for coronavirus-related drugs and chemicals through resources such as the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) used for indexing and cataloging biomedical literature, and ChemIDplus, a dictionary of over 400,000 chemicals (names, synonyms, and structures). This work aligns terminology to facilitate the identification of chemicals and drugs used to treat, detect, and prevent COVID-19 and other coronavirus-related infections, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

NLM’s intramural research program is using virus genomics, health data, and social media data to identify community spread of COVID-19. Researchers are applying machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to chest X-rays to differentiate viral pneumonia from bacterial pneumonia – expanding knowledge of the process of the SARS-CoV-2 viral infection and assisting in the identification of best practices for diagnosis and care of COVID-19 patients. NLM research in natural language processing contributed to development of LitCovid, a curated literature hub for tracking scientific publications about the novel coronavirus. It provides centralized access to more than 13,500 relevant articles in PubMed, categorizes them by research topic and geographic location, and is updated daily.

NLM’s extramural research program is focusing on novel informatics and data science methods to rapidly improve the understanding of the infection of SARS-CoV-2 and of COVID-19. In April, NLM issued two Notices of Special Interest (NOT-LM-010 and NOT-LM-011) seeking applications (due in June) in these areas: the mining of clinical data for ‘deep phenotyping’ (gathering details about how a disease presents itself in an individual, fine-grained way) to identify or predict the presence of COVID-19; and public health surveillance methods that mine genomic, viromic, health data, environmental data or data from other pertinent sources such as social media, to identify spread and impact of SARS-Cov-2.

NLM is also improving access to published coronavirus literature via PubMed Central (PMC). In response to a call by science and technology advisors from a dozen countries to have publishers and scholarly societies make their COVID-19 and coronavirus-related publications immediately accessible in PMC, along with the available data supporting them, nearly 50 publishers have deposited more than 46,000 coronavirus-related articles in PMC with licenses that allow re-use and secondary analysis. Articles in the collection have been accessed more than 8 million times since March 18. NLM will use supplemental funds to improve the article-submission system to better accommodate publisher submissions and accelerate release of these critically important articles. On the PubMed side of literature offerings, NLM supplemental funds will support integrating LitCovid metadata. Novel sensors are being developed to leverage LitCovid metadata when directing users to curated COVID-19 content. The new infrastructure will permit PubMed to rapidly add additional disease-specific sensors in the future.

As of May 7, NLM’s GenBank resource has 3,893 SARS-CoV-2 sequences from 42 different countries that are publicly available. NLM created a special site, the “Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 data hub,” where people can search, retrieve, and analyze sequences of the virus that have been submitted to the GenBank database. In late March, NLM joined the CDC-led SPHERES consortium, a national genomics consortium which aims to coordinate U.S. SARS-CoV-2 sequencing efforts and make data publicly available in NLM’s GenBank and Sequence Read Archive (SRA), and other appropriate repositories. Supplemental funds will allow GenBank to further enhance the submission workflow, establish and promote use of metadata sample standards, and develop a fully automated SARS-CoV-2 submission workflow that incorporates quality checks, as well as ‘automated curation’, to provide standardized annotation of the SARS2 genomes submitted to GenBank.

SRA is positioned as a ready-made computational environment for public health surveillance pipelines and tool development. SRA metagenomic datasets from both environmental samples and patients diagnosed with COVID-19 can reveal patterns of co-occurring pathogens, newly emerging outbreaks, and viral evolution. NLM supplemental funds are being used to prototype SRA cloud-based analysis tools to search the entirety of the SRA database. These tools can provide efficient search for SARS-CoV-2, identify genetic patterns, and monitor newly submitted data for specific viral patterns.

NLM supplemental funding also supports the identification and selection of web and social media content documenting COVID-19 as part of NLM’s Global Health Events web archive collection. This content documents life in quarantine, prevention measures, the experiences of health care workers, patients, and more. NLM is also participating as an institutional contributor to a broader International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) Novel Coronavirus outbreak web archive collection.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

Transition to the new PubMed on May 18!

Tue, 2020-05-12 20:54

The NLM PubMed Team has been hard at work adding the latest features in preparation for the full transition to the new and improved PubMed on May 18. The new PubMed features a modern interface with enhanced search results, including highlighted text snippets to help you preview an abstract while scanning your results list, and updated web elements for easier navigation. The new Best Match sort order uses advanced machine-learning technology and a new relevance search algorithm to bring you the top-ranked results.

One of the PubMed Team’s primary goals is to deliver the same great experience to mobile as well as desktop devices. Whether you want to create an RSS feed to keep you up to date, save items to a My NCBI collection, or have your perfectly-crafted search automatically deliver the latest results, the responsive design means you can have it all from your phone and your laptop. In fact, responses from mobile users were so overwhelmingly positive, the old, separate mobile site was decommissioned this past March. Once the new PubMed becomes the default site, your existing links will be automatically redirected — meaning you won’t need to manually update your links to PubMed citations or search results. Your My NCBI saved searches and collections will continue to work in the new PubMed.

Several resources are available to help you, and the people you support, navigate the new site. Take a minute to read the New PubMed Transition FAQs. This page is likely to answer your general questions about the transition. The Trainer’s Toolkit provides instructional materials that you can customize and share. Whether you want to learn about the new PubMed for your own use or to train others, this is a great place to start. The series of nine quick tours, each only 1 to 4 minutes long, can be viewed online or embedded in course management software. You’ll also find slide decks, handouts, and webinar recordings all designed for sharing and reuse.

How PubMed® Works is a series of four 90-minute online classes offered by NLM and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Recordings will be available for viewing after each session ends for those who can’t attend or would like to view the material again. The comprehensive PubMed User Guide is available from the homepage and under the “Help” link on every page in PubMed. It starts with a list of frequently asked questions, allowing you to jump to short, easy-to-follow instructions for finding and using your favorite features. As with our other resources, you can copy the text into your own training materials, trifolds, and user guides.

Click on the green Feedback button on any screen in the new PubMed to write to the help desk. When the Feedback button is retired, the NLM Support Center link will remain on every page in PubMed. That is the best way to alert NLM what is — and isn’t — working for you. Also, subscribe to the NLM Technical Bulletin and PubMed New and Noteworthy for the latest news and new releases. In the future, PubMed will continue to be improved with new features and data to stay current as technology, publishing standards, and users needs evolve!

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

Digital Resources from PSR Subwardees

Wed, 2020-05-06 19:37

As libraries around the world have closed their physical doors to stop community spread of COVID-19, they have responded to the challenges of moving in-person programming to the digital space in novel and creative ways.

The past year’s NNLM PSR Subwardees faced numerous obstacles on top of the regular unexpected twists and turns of special library projects. In a short amount of time, they adapted to their new realities and built lasting, accessible, impactful web-based resources.

Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus spent months preparing for an in-person summit featuring experts on gender diversity and sports from around the country. When that was cancelled, they quickly pivoted and developed GDiS Online, a continuously-available, evidence-based resource guide with background resources, special recorded talks from medical and legal experts, and interviews with intersex athletes.

screen capture of a jabsom graphic medicine video

Outreach, book clubs, and classroom visits were all part of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine Health Sciences Library’s plan to publicize their new graphic medicine collection. Undaunted, they created a web-based resource guide with three videos to advertise the collection virtually, and items have already been requested by students and faculty.

The project team members at Touro University Nevada’s Jay Sexter Library are no strangers to emerging technologies. One of their first project activities was to create an extensive TUN Health Professions Information LibGuide to educate their community members on how VR, 3D printing, and other technologies can be harnessed in the health professions. Team member Faye Mazzia presented a virtual poster on the project; and Joanne Muellenbach, Megan DeArmond, and Kyle Mefferd virtually participated on the NNLM PSR webinar promoting the subaward program. Though in-person use of the technologies is on pause, the team was already well-positioned to lead in the virtual space. These digital resources and skills can continue to be used remotely to build interest in the project and further the work begun this past year.

Many of this past year’s subawardees from other RMLs have reflected on how their projects changed and grew through library closures. If you have creatively adapted to COVID-19 related closures or challenges, please let us know!

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

Stephen Sherry, PhD, Named Acting Director of NLM’s National Center for Biotechnology Information

Wed, 2020-04-29 17:13
man in suit and tie smiling at the camera

Stephen Sherry, PhD

National Library of Medicine Director Patti Brennan, RN, PhD, has named Stephen Sherry, PhD, Acting Director of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Library of Medicine effective March 31, 2020. As Acting Director of NCBI, Dr. Sherry oversees a large suite of online resources for biological information and data, including the GenBank® nucleic acid sequence database and the PubMed database of citations and abstracts for published life science journals. He is also responsible for developing and operating all NCBI production services, with program areas spanning literature, sequences, chemistry, clinical research, and medical genetics.

Dr. Sherry also leads an NLM program to migrate NCBI’s largest resource, the Sequence Read Archive, into the cloud with the transfer and management of petabyte-scale sequence data on two commercial cloud platforms. He conducts research on the architecture of population genetic information to ensure human genetic information systems are both useful to researchers and respectful to the privacy of study participants.

Dr. Sherry earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology at the Pennsylvania State University in 1996, and post-doctorate at the Louisiana State University Medical Center prior to joining NLM in 1998.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

Free Virtual Science Bootcamp for Librarians on June 11!

Wed, 2020-04-22 15:53

The New England Science Bootcamp for Librarians will host a FREE virtual conference on June 11, 2020, from 9am – 4pm (US Eastern Time). Registration is now available! This annual event is typically held in-person in the New England Region, but is being moved to a virtual platform this year. It is open to anyone wishing to attend. Topics will probably include, depending on speaker availability:

  • Vaccine research & manufacture
  • Virology
  • Making Health Devices in non-industrial settings
  • IRB and human subjects research in the shifting landscape

The schedule of topics will be finalized and sent to all registrants soon. This conference will run throughout the day, with access via a single link for the whole day that attendees will receive after registering. You may tune in as you have time or for the topics that interest you the most. More information and a detailed schedule will be available closer to the date of the event. Please register to get the most updated information sent to you.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

NIH treatment guidelines for COVID-19 Now Posted Online!

Tue, 2020-04-21 14:57

A panel of U.S. physicians, statisticians, and other experts has developed treatment guidelines for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These guidelines, intended for healthcare providers, are based on published and preliminary data and the clinical expertise of the panelists, many of whom are frontline clinicians caring for patients during the rapidly evolving pandemic. The guidelines are posted online and will be updated often as new data are published in peer-reviewed scientific literature and other authoritative information emerges.

The guidelines consider two broad categories of therapies currently in use by healthcare providers for COVID-19: antivirals, which may target the coronavirus directly, and host modifiers and immune-based therapies, which may influence the immune response to the virus or target the virus. The panel’s conclusions about treating COVID-19 with various agents that fall into these two classes of therapies are distilled in summary recommendations. Subsequently, the document provides background information about each agent—such as clinical data about its use, ongoing clinical trials, and known interactions with other drugs—that forms the basis for the Recommendation. Tables briefly outline the same information.

The guidelines also describe the evaluation and stratification of patients based on their risk of infection and severity of illness. Recommendations in this section address best practices for managing patients at different stages of infection, for example:

  • Outpatients who are either asymptomatic or who have mild to moderate symptoms and are self-isolating
  • Inpatients with severe illness or critical disease
  • Special considerations for pregnant women and for children who are infected are also included.

A comprehensive section of the guidelines addresses a range of considerations for clinicians caring for the most critically ill hospitalized patients. This section includes multiple recommendations for patients needing critical care, including infection control procedures, hemodynamic and ventilatory support, and drug therapy. Finally, the guidelines include recommendations concerning the use of concomitant medications. These include statins; corticosteroids; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; and certain drugs used to control hypertension, known as ACE inhibitors and ARBs.

The treatment guidelines panel is co-chaired by Roy M. Gulick, M.D., chief of the Infectious Disease Division at Weill Medical Hospital of Cornell University, New York City; H. Clifford Lane, M.D., clinical director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health; and Henry Masur, M.D., chief of the Critical Care Medicine Department at the NIH Clinical Center. Members of the guidelines panel, appointed by the co-chairs, were chosen based on their clinical experience and expertise in patient management, translational and clinical science, and/or the development of treatment guidelines. They include 30 experts drawn from U.S. healthcare and academic organizations, federal agencies, and professional societies.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

NIST and OSTP Launch Effort to Improve Search Engines for COVID-19 Research

Mon, 2020-04-20 15:56

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) have just launched a joint effort to support the development of search engines for research that will help in the fight against COVID-19. The project was developed in response to the March 16 White House Call to Action to the Tech Community on New Machine Readable COVID-19 Dataset.

In this effort, NIST will work initially with the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the National Library of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health). The team will apply the successful, long-running program of expert engagement and technology assessment called the Text Retrieval Conference, or TREC, to the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), a resource of more than 44,000 research articles and related data about COVID-19 and the coronavirus family of viruses. The TREC-COVID program goals include creating datasets and using an independent assessment process that will help search engine developers to evaluate and optimize their systems in meeting the needs of the research and health-care communities.

The team will first release a series of sample queries for the biomedical research community, developed by team members at the National Library of Medicine, OHSU and UT Health. Registered participants in TREC-COVID will use their information retrieval and search systems to run the queries against the CORD-19 document set and return their results to NIST. Biomedical experts will then review test results, including document relevance rankings, to assess the overall performance of the retrieval systems.

Using proven TREC protocols, NIST will score the submissions and post the scores, the retrieval results themselves, and the lists of key reference documents to the TREC-COVID website. These “test collections” can then be used by information retrieval researchers to evaluate and enhance the performance of their own search engines. This effort is intended to help researchers understand how search systems could best support medical researchers when available information is developing quickly, as in the current pandemic.

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence has been releasing an expanded CORD-19 document set each Friday to capture the most recent articles on COVID-19 and related coronaviruses. Later rounds of TREC-COVID will use the larger releases of CORD-19 and expanded query sets. Participants will have one week to submit their search results, and within about a week NIST will post results, with an expected spacing of about two weeks between each new dataset round being released. The team initially anticipates conducting five consecutive rounds of search system assessments. Interested organizations are invited to register to participate in the TREC-COVID program on the NIST website.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

New PubMed to Replace Legacy PubMed in Mid-May!

Thu, 2020-04-16 16:10

The new PubMed will become the default site on or after May 18. A new, yellow banner has been added to legacy PubMed to notify users of the timing. Visit the New PubMed Transition FAQs for more information.

snapshot of PubMed homepage with yellow banner notifying when new PubMed will be the default site

A new banner has been added to legacy PubMed to notify users of when the default site will change.

NLM will continue adding features and improving the user experience, ensuring that PubMed remains a trusted and accessible source of biomedical literature today and in the future. For additional information about the development of the new PubMed, visit:

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

Register Now for Free PubMed Training Sessions in May and June!

Fri, 2020-04-10 19:13

Registration is now open for How PubMed Works, a series of four 90-minute classes presented via WebEx. The classes are intended for librarians, other information professionals, and anyone interested in learning in-depth about PubMed.

Dates: May 5, 7, 12, and 14 at 11:00am-12:30pm PDT and June 4, 11, 18, and 25 at 11:00am-12:30pm PDT.

The individual classes are:

  1. How PubMed Works: Introduction
  2. How PubMed Works: Selection
  3. How PubMed Works: MeSH (Medical Subject Headings)
  4. How PubMed Works: ATM (Automatic Term Mapping)

Following is a summary of what is covered in each class:

  • The Introduction class provides overviews about finding articles by a specific author and articles on a specific subject. The class also explores the Advanced Search Builder and Search History.
  • The Selection class covers issues and concerns surrounding the current publishing landscape; the selection criteria for the different components of the PubMed database and NLM responsibilities and practices in collecting and providing access to the biomedical literature.
  • The MeSH class will explore the different components of the MeSH database and the four types of MeSH terms.
  • The ATM class will describe the contents of the three translation tables used to map your terms and we take an in-depth look at Search Details.

Each class requires separate registration and is eligible for 1.5 MLA CE credits. The sessions will be recorded; however, no CE is currently offered for watching recordings.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

COVID19 Spanish Language Materials Resource Available!

Fri, 2020-04-10 18:58

In light of the rapidly mounting and evolving breadth of information related to COVID19, there is a need for reliable sources perhaps now more than ever. Seeing the various questions posed by the LatinX community, Nora Franco, NNLM PSR Consumer Health Librarian, responded by creating a resource guide with CDC Resources for Spanish speaking communities and those who support them. Additionally, the NNLM Greater Midwest Region worked with the Juntos Center for Advancing Latino Health to create a video addressing the concerns and misinformation surrounding COVID19.

This effort aligns with the call to action of the LatinX Caucus of the Medical Library Association (MLA) to contribute to the MLA’s COVID-19 Resources for Medical Librarians & Other Health Information Professionals page. The LatinX Caucus assembled the document in seven days, providing links to 136 Spanish language resources. The effort is the result of librarians across the U.S., including several in the PSR region – Naomi Bishop, Bredny Rodriguez, Aidy Weeks, Ruby Nugent, and Katie Houk.

Resources in the LatinX document include the NNLM PSR guide as well as the Disaster Information Management Research Center of the National Library of Medicine. We hope these compilations assist you and yours in these trying times.

Categories: PSR, RML Blogs

NLM Responds to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Tue, 2020-03-24 19:13

The National Library of Medicine is working on multiple fronts to improve researchers’ understanding of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the novel coronavirus) and aid in the response to COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus). By enhancing access to relevant data and information, NLM is demonstrating how libraries can contribute in real time to research and response efforts during this crisis.

NLM is using PubMed Central®, its digital archive of peer-reviewed biomedical and life sciences journal literature, to expand access to full-text articles related to coronavirus. These activities build on recent requests from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and science policy leaders of other nations calling on the global publishing community to make all COVID-19-related research publications and data immediately available to the public in forms that support automated text-mining.

NLM has stepped up its collaboration with publishers and scholarly societies to increase the number of coronavirus-related journal articles in PMC, along with the available data supporting them. NLM is adapting its standard procedures for depositing articles into PMC to make it easier and faster to submit articles in machine-readable formats. NLM is also engaging with journals and publishers that do not participate in PMC but whose publications are within the scope of the Library’s collection. A growing number of publishers and societies are taking advantage of these flexibilities. Submitted publications are being made available as quickly as possible after publication for discovery in PMC and through the PMC Text Mining Collections for machine analysis, secondary analysis, and other types of reuse.

This enhanced collection of text-minable content enables AI and machine-learning researchers to develop and apply novel text-mining approaches that can help answer some of the many questions about coronavirus. Along these lines, NLM and leaders across the technology sector and academia joined OSTP on Monday, March 16, to announce the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19). Hosted by the Allen Institute for AI, CORD-19 is a free and growing resource that was launched with more than 29,000 scholarly articles about COVID-19 and the coronavirus family of viruses. CORD-19 represents the most extensive machine-readable coronavirus literature collection available for text mining to date. This dataset enables researchers to apply novel AI and machine learning strategies to identify new knowledge to help end the pandemic.

NLM’s other important resources in these efforts include:

  • NLM’s GenBank Sequence Database — NLM created the Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 data hub, where people can search for, retrieve, and analyze sequences of the virus that have been submitted to GenBank.
  • NLM’s Sequence Read Archive (SRA) — NLM’s SRA is the world’s largest publicly available repository of unprocessed sequence data which can be mined for previously unrecognized pathogen sequence. For example, a team from Stanford University recently reported that in a search of certain metagenomic datasets in the SRA, they identified a 2019-nCoV-like coronavirus in pangolins (a long-snouted mammal). This type of genetic sequence research can play an important role in understanding how the virus originated and is spreading.
  • NLM Intramural Research Contributions — NLM has a multidisciplinary group of researchers comprised of molecular biologists, biochemists, computer scientists, mathematicians and others working on a variety of problems, including some that relate to SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19. One such project is LitCovid, a resource that tracks COVID-19 specific literature published since the outbreak.
  • NLM is also providing targeted searches within several of its other information resources to help users find data and information relevant to COVID-19. These searches, available through the NLM home page, include information on clinical studies related to COVID-19 listed in, and articles related to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 in PubMed, NLM’s database of citations and abstracts to more than 30 million journal articles and online books.
Categories: PSR, RML Blogs