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Updated: 4 hours 38 min ago

Librarians Supporting Nurses: Concord Hospital in New Hampshire

Fri, 2019-01-11 12:33

Last fall, I asked several New England hospital librarians to share their stories about supporting nursing education and research. My first interview was with Mary Shah, MLS, AHIP. She is a Medical Librarian and Archivist at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut. This interview is with Maureen Dunn, MLIS, AHIP. Maureen is the Library Director at Concord Hospital in New Hampshire.

library computers and shelves of booksTell us how your library supports nursing education and/or research.

When I first arrived at Concord Hospital in 2002, my library was a traditional “doctors’ library” and nurses were hesitant to set foot in the door. One of the first things I did was ask for 10 minutes at the Nurse Educator meeting, and told them the door was open, and I had chocolate on my desk – come on in! It didn’t take long for word to spread, and to this day, the nurse educators, and the unit-based practice committees they oversee, are among my best research customers.

I’ve also participated on nursing policy committees, patient education committees, the interdisciplinary Clinical Practice Council, the approval board for RN4s in our clinical ladder program and, most recently, the Evidence Based Practice committee. Along with those more formal groups, I’ve advertised the library as being a resource for nurses going back to school. We’ve had a big organizational push over the last 5 years to encourage nurses to achieve their BSNs, not to mention the many nurses who have decided to return to school for an MSN (and a handful of DNPs). The library intranet site has a page dedicated to students, and I participate in an unofficial Concord Hospital Facebook “back to school” support group, where I’ve been able to field research and database questions after hours.

Finally, in partnership with a nurse and our residency’s scholarly activity coordinator, we created a course called Scholarly Activity 101 that aims to help staff wanting to get involved with research or taking their existing QI projects to another level and presenting their activities at a conference or publishing. We’ve had great interest from nurses, who have a lot to say!

What resources, services and programs are most popular with nurses?

Nurses appreciate having input into the resources the library gets. We actually switched drug reference databases a number of years ago due in great part to the fact that nurses found the old one difficult to use at the bedside. It took a while, and buy-in from the pharmacy, but a switch to a database with a friendlier interface was achieved. We’ve just started a collaborative process of evaluating nursing-specific resources in the hope of making the job of the educators less labor intensive and giving bedside nurses more resources for quick reference. There’s a great deal of excitement around the possibilities there.

How do you align this work with the mission of patient safety and healthcare quality?

I find that the library and nursing have a very symbiotic relationship in this regard. The library’s impacts on patient care, safety, and quality are remote, while nursing’s are immediate, but nurses know they can rely on the library to get them the information they need to provide that quality care, and in return they are incredibly supportive of the library and provide a great deal of word of mouth advertising that reflects the positive impact of the library.

Any tips for librarians interested in supporting nurses?

If you’re looking to increase services to nursing, talk to nurse managers about staff going back to school. Many nurses who haven’t been in school for a while are overwhelmed by things like navigating databases and citing sources properly. Also, I can honestly say that no one has ever turned me down when I’ve offered to present at a meeting. Getting in front of nursing leadership and telling them you can save them time with their policy updates or clinical questions never fails to win friends. Nursing friends are among the best friends a library can have.

Contact for Maureen Dunn:

Upcoming Webinar for Hospital Librarians

On Thu, March 28, NNLM NER will host a webinar on Librarians Supporting Nursing Scholarship. This session will feature Alice Stokes (Dana Medical Library, University of Vermont), Lisa Marks and Diane Almader-Douglas (Mayo Clinic Libraries, Phoenix AZ). During this webinar, they will talk with us about their learned experiences in working with nurses.

Categories: RML Blogs

School-based Alternative Peer Group (APG): An Innovative Solution to Reach Disadvantaged Students, Advance Behavioral Health Equity and Reduce Stigma in the Prevention and Recovery of Adolescent Addiction

Fri, 2019-01-04 13:47

The following blog post was written by Stephanie Briody, co-founder of Behavior Health Innovators, Inc. in South Chatham, Massachusetts. Behaviorial Health Innovators is a recent recipient of NNLM NER grant funding. Stephanie shares the work of  her team, creating a program that provides in-school support and treatment for high school students with Substance Use Disorder.

Our mission at Behavioral Health Innovators, Inc. is to create innovative, broadly available solutions for individuals and loved ones who suffer from behavioral health challenges, initially focused on the prevention of, and recovery from, substance use disorder, anxiety and depression in teens.

Through our work with teens in recovery, we learned of an evidence-based model of teen recovery support called an Alternative Peer Group (APG) and launched a pilot of the APG model on Cape Cod in April 2018.  APGs are a comprehensive adolescent recovery support model that integrates recovering peers and prosocial activities into an evidence-based clinical practice. Overall, since APGs have been in existence, they have a recovery rate greater than 85% versus a nationwide recovery rate of around 30% (Basinger & Edens).

Informed by the lessons we learned during the planning stage for our stand-alone APG, we began the development of a School Based APG program. The School Based APG brings this evidence-based model of recovery support directly into the school setting to reach disadvantaged students, advance behavioral health equity and reduce stigma.  Thus far, three (3) large public schools on Cape Cod are working with the APG Counselor and staff to create specific programming and processes to bring APG services to their students -1) Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School is creating an APG program specific to the needs of their Alternative Learning  Program students; 2) Bourne Middle School Administrators and their Project Purple student group (Chris Herren’s Substance Use Prevention Program) are developing an APG program that integrates with the school’s new disciplinary policies regarding substance use and vaping; and 3) Nauset Middle School is bringing the APG Counselor directly into school to meet with specific students and their families.

In the following account, the APG Counselor describes the many pieces of the puzzle that need to come together to support teens with substance use challenges and how this program provides many of those pieces.

Recently, I received a call from the Assistant Principal of a local middle school.  A 13-year-old boy was caught smoking pot at school and admitted he had been smoking pot since he was seven (7) years old. They called me because word has started to spread about our program that provides support and a safe space for teens with substance use challenges. She asked if I could attend the meeting where this student would be discussing his reentry to school; he was serving in-school suspension due to being caught stoned at school. 

I drove to the middle school, met with the Assistant Principal and the Guidance Counselor, also the student’s teacher. I also met the young man and his mother. We discussed what we offer at the APG. The young man appeared excited, like his cries for help or someone to notice, were answered.  Mom shared that she too struggles with substance use, that their home life was less than desirable, and the family has faced many adversities over the last 15 years.

Throughout the next week, I initiated and participated in many, many phone calls of support for Mom, trying to get her into treatment, conversations with the Department of Children and Families and steady contact with the school administration and the young man. I was able to visit the young man at school to talk to him about the transitions that were happening for him, since he had just been removed from his home, and placed with other family members.

This week he was able to make it to the APG group for the first time; he appeared nervous, but relieved and relaxed the instant he connected with our APG Peer Mentor. Another member referred to us for a similar situation, joined us for his first night as well. This other member has family members who also struggle with substance use, particularly an older brother, which has strained their relationship.

It was nothing short of a miracle to watch these two young men show incredible kindness to one another while they were engaging in something as simple as a video game. They ate pizza, they played “Madden”, they teased each other, and laughed and joked. It was relaxed, it was age-appropriate, it was also something revolutionary: these two young men, who before coming to the APG had no place to find support and discuss their challenges and whose behaviors could have led them to be immediately caught up in the juvenile justice system, instead found commonality and an opportunity to simply “be”, for two hours. We talked about the next Tuesday’s activity, which will be bowling.  Friendly wagers were made. And I believe that both young men are looking forward to next week’s group. This is the power of the APG: peer to peer interaction, a place to simply be with others struggling with similar challenges. 

Working with teens and their families, people that would otherwise possibly be pushed through a system or whose issues would be taken care of through punitive measures, without careful, considerate, and compassionate support, has been one of the greatest honors of my life.  Amanda McGerigle MSW, LICSW, Counselor for RecoveryBUILD Alternative Peer Group (APG).

Categories: RML Blogs

Location Data Visualization and The GIS Challenge

Thu, 2018-12-27 15:42

If you are curious about data visualization and GIS, join us on January 17, 2019 at 1:00PM EST for a new webinar titled,  “Location: Knowing Where We Are – Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS).”  Bahare Sanaie-Movahed, the Geographic Information Systems Specialist from Northeastern University Libraries, will introduce geographic information systems (GIS). We will explore how and why we visualize data. She will help us demystify location data terms and geospatial vocabulary. There will be several examples of data mapping projects that have been used to improve health impacts and save money. By the end of the class you will be able to define data layers, be able to explain components of the data mapping workflow. You will be introduced to tools and resources to collect and map health data that can be used to empower communities and individuals such as Community Health Maps and various other GIS programs.

In addition, if you are interested in GIS, check out ESRI for several storyboard contests.  There is a contest called the Tribal Story Map Challenge, tell your tribe’s story, this contest begins Monday, February 4, 2019.  Specifically for students, check out the Student GIS Story Map Contest for middle school and high school students. In Massachusetts, the newly formed Mass GIS Educators Group, part of NEARC, the NorthEast ArcGIS Users Group , invites students to ask questions, explore, and analyze their team or individual data for a situation in the state, and then share their results in a Story Map. Here is the link to Massachusetts  ArcGIS Online School competition 2019.

Categories: RML Blogs

Library Carpentry – Scholarship Recipient Post 6

Thu, 2018-12-27 11:14

This is the sixth blog post in a series authored by 7 individuals who received scholarships  from the New England Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM NER)  to attend the Library Carpentry Training held at Brown University on October 22-23, 2018. In this installment, a scholarship recipient, Sawyer Newman describes the Library Carpentry Training.  If you are interested in learning more please join us for a live webinar hosted on February 7, 2019 at 2:00 PM EST about Library Carpentry.


Sawyer Newman
Data Librarian for the Health Sciences
Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library/Yale

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a NEASIST hosted Library Carpentry Workshop at Brown University, where a room of information professionals learned skills in shell functions, git, and Open Refine. These skills are useful both in automating tasks librarians have, as well as skills librarians are well suited to teaching patrons in a cross-disciplinary environment.

As intimidating as the selection of topics might sound, the format of the workshop was such that the group of around 30 was kept up to speed throughout the hands-on demonstrations by the instructors and a team of helpers, who would go around the room addressing individual questions. Individual or workshop-wide, support could range anywhere from installation help, to questions about operating system compatibility, to understanding concepts behind programming, to new proposed uses for any of the given tools.

The instructors, which include two of my colleges at Yale, Joshua Dull and Kate Nyhan, and Kristin Lee from Tisch Library at Tufts, rotated between teaching and support rolls throughout the sessions. While teaching, they worked together through hands-on demonstrations through live coding and live troubleshooting, which is not an easy task. In doing this though, they lead with the mentality that programming skills are approachable, and that you should feel comfortable answering questions you might have through trial and error.

As someone who attended this workshop in order to learn, as well as to become a Carpentries instructor, I thought this was such a constructive learning environment and one I would like to model in my own instruction sessions to our library users.


For more about Library Carpentry or other upcoming events like the live webinar about Library Carpentry, please visit the NNLM NER website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.


Categories: RML Blogs

Library Carpentry – Scholarship Recipient Post 5

Mon, 2018-12-17 13:00

This is the fifth blog post in a series authored by 7 individuals who received scholarships from the New England Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM NER)  to attend the Library Carpentry Training held at Brown University on October 22-23, 2018. In this installment, Amanda Scull, a scholarship recipient, describes new skills gained from Library Carpentry Training.  Please watch for more posts about resources from this event and views from scholarship recipient’s in the upcoming weeks.  If you are interested in learning more please join us for a live webinar hosted on February 7, 2019 at 2:00 PM EST about Library Carpentry.


My experience attending Library Carpentry at Brown University was incredibly rewarding! I work in collections management and spend a lot of time dealing with CSV files and spreadsheets full of usage data, historical pricing, and bibliographic record information. These data files are often large, messy, and in need of a lot of manipulation that I may or may not be able to do. I also engage in research on a fairly regular basis which yields large files of survey response data, usually including open ended responses which require a lot of attention. I hoped that at Library Carpentry I would learn more efficient ways of working with my data, and I was not disappointed. I am excited to do my data sorting and mining in the shell instead of within the strict confines of Excel, and Open Refine as a tool for cleaning up messy data is nothing short of magical. The fact that we were able to follow along on our own computers throughout the workshops really allowed me to play with the tools and get a sense for operating in these new environments, a great active learning experience. I attend a lot of conferences, both regionally and nationally, and I often hear about a lot of ideas and initiatives that sound great but have limited applicability to my work and my institution. It is so refreshing and exciting to come back from a conference with a set of new tools that I can start implementing immediately. Thank you so much to NLLM NER for this opportunity!

Amanda Scull, MLIS
Research and Education Librarian
Dartmouth College Biomedical Libraries



For more about Library Carpentry or other upcoming events like the live webinar about Library Carpentry, please visit the NNLM NER website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Categories: RML Blogs

Health News You Can Use Beyond the Headlines

Mon, 2018-12-17 10:50

The news comes and goes quickly.  Health news is no different and it’s important to develop strategies and resources to learn more beyond the headlines.

Continue to learn about some of 2018’s big health stories that will continue to impact 2019 with these resources.

  1. Natural Disasters and Emergencies-The Camp Fire in Northern California was the largest and most deadly wild fire to date killing 88 people and burning 153,336 acres (240 square miles).
    • FEMA is the agency responsible for coordinating the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror. You can learn more about any federally declared disaster, the recovery efforts and resources available to survivors by visiting the FEMA page.
    • The NLM’s disaster information database, the Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) has information for helping your family and your community prepare for emergencies and case studies of responses to past natural disasters.
    • Learn how you can make plans to protect yourself and your family before, during and after natural disasters and emergencies with resources from


  1. Outbreaks, Epidemics and Emerging Diseases-Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) is an illness that produces polio-like symptoms. 2018 saw the highest rates of AFM since the CDC started tracking it in 2014.


  1. Food Borne Illness and Product Recalls-The CDC and FDA issued recalls and warnings for E. coli contaminated romaine lettuce twice in 2018. The November outbreak sickened at least 32 people in 11 states.
    • You can find information about ongoing and resolved food outbreaks on the CDC’s food safety page.
    • The FDA issues and tracks recalls for disease and safety issues including undeclared ingredients that may cause allergic reactions or foreign objects (ex: glass) in products.
    • With information from the CDC, FDA, USDA and more, has information about preventing food borne illnesses in your home and up to date information on the most recent recalls.

Headlines can only tell you so much.  Use your resources and critical thinking skills to learn more and resolve to stay up to date on ever developing health news in 2019.

Categories: RML Blogs

Library Carpentry – Scholarship Recipient Post 4

Tue, 2018-12-11 11:30

This is the fourth blog post in a series authored by 7 individuals who received scholarships from the New England Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM NER) to attend the Library Carpentry Training held at Brown University on October 22nd and October 23, 2018. In this installment, a scholarship, Renee Walsh, describes the Library Carpentry training process.  Please watch for more posts about resources from this event and views from scholarship recipient’s in the upcoming weeks.


Renee Walsh
STEM and Data Management Librarian
U Conn Library

Attending Library Carpentry at Brown University was a great chance for me to reconnect with librarian colleagues and improve my skills in using the shell, the command line, Git, and OpenRefine. These skills require a lot of repetition and focus to master and understand. Currently, I am working on becoming a certified Carpentries instructor, so it is very helpful for me to watch other instructors teach the curriculum. I thought all of the instructors: Joshua Dull and Kate Nyhan from Yale University, and Kristen Lee from Tufts University, were very helpful and clear in their instruction. This event was held in a visualization room at Brown University library. The screen was very large, making it easy to read when an instructor was live-coding. Live-coding is a principle of instruction in the Carpentries, which is comprised of Software, Data, and Library Carpentry. The idea behind live coding is that you are following the instructor in live-time as they work. Carpentries classes also have helpers walking around to help attendees who have questions or who get stuck. The instructors distribute two different colored sticky notes to participants: for example pink means that you have a problem, but yellow means everything is going well. Red and green sticky notes are less commonly used, because they are problematic for colorblind attendees. At the end of each lesson, attendees are encouraged to write one positive and one negative thing about the lesson.

The Carpentries have recently merged together, but the curricula for each carpentry remains different. The training at Brown was made up of four lessons: introduction to data for librarians, a shell lesson, an intro to Git, and a lesson on using OpenRefine to tidy data. I thought the trainings were very helpful, however, the only downside is that you cover a lot of material over a short period of time. It really is necessary to continue working at each skill beyond the workshops in order to retain the material learned. This might be difficult for someone whose daily work schedule does not allow time for working on functions, loops, and using the command line. In closing, I would like to thank NNLM New England for the funding that helped me to pay for one night in a hotel in Providence during the training. I would encourage other librarians to participate in a training in the future. NESCLiC, the New England Software Library Carpentry Consortium, is a great group of individuals trained in the Carpentries who work at libraries in our region.


For more about Library Carpentry or other upcoming events, please visit the NNLM NER website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Categories: RML Blogs

Focused Outreach to Bangor (ME) Public Library

Sat, 2018-12-08 16:53
Photograph of the Bangor Public Library in Maine.

Bangor (ME) Public Library, June 2018

Last June, I took a drive up to Bangor, Maine to set the groundwork for this year’s Focused Outreach work. NNLM NER is putting the spotlight on the work of Bangor-area librarians for 2018-2019.

We interviewed nine librarians at various Maine locations, including two hospital libraries, two urban libraries, two rural libraries, a community college library and a state library. We looked at data from the U.S. Census, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, local newspapers and local community health needs assessments. Bangor-area librarians identified these health priorities: mental health; disability; substance use; sexual abuse; violence; trauma; poverty and suicide. Data supported these reports, and revealed concerns about child welfare, obesity, alcohol-impaired driving and sexually transmitted infections.

Upon recommendation of library personnel, NNLM NER funded staff training on homelessness for Bangor Public Library. Additionally, we conducted PubMed training specifically for academic and hospital libraries in Maine, and will cover the costs of twelve new iPads for the library at Eastern Maine Community College.

Staff Training at Bangor Public Library

I returned to Bangor on Dec 4, 2018 to attend the staff training at Bangor Public Library. Josh D’Alessio, from Penobscot Community Health Care, opened the morning by saying that libraries and homelessness go together like peanut butter and jelly. I found this to be a lighthearted approach to starting the conversation about the challenges of serving vulnerable populations. Josh gave us a clear and succinct history of homelessness in the United States. He talked about Maine’s current plans to address issues surrounding homelessness.  Much of this involves coordination of services. Public libraries are important community partners in this effort.

Bruce Hews from Hope House gave helpful tips for engaging library patrons in conversation before giving the “rules”, such as no sleeping in the library. He assured us that rules are fine. We need to prepare ourselves with easy conversations starters before following up with the rule. His example was joke-y and sports-related (we don’t allow Yankees fans in the library). Ben Treat, Library Director of Bangor Public Library, encouraged staff to think about what conversation starter might work best for them.

After a break, Dan Fleming and Dan Wendell from Shaw House joined us to share ideas about serving vulnerable youth. Library staff spoke about common challenges and concerns. Krissy Gleason, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern Maine, gave some context for understanding homelessness.

At this point, the training session seamlessly moved into brainstorming ways in which the library could support Shaw House and Hope House, as well as how these organizations could support the library. Outreach staff from Shaw House offered to stop into the library to check on high-energy youth. They encouraged library staff to contact them before situations escalated to the 911 level. Library staff offered to schedule the computer lab for Hope House staff to help those needing to fill out applications for housing and jobs.

Throughout the training, I heard staff from Bangor Public Library, Shaw House and Hope House say “I didn’t know that you did that!” From my vantage point, I saw the power inherent in bringing everyone together. I was gratified that funding from NNLM NER supported a starting point for future collaboration.


Categories: RML Blogs

Library Carpentry – Scholarship Recipient Post 3

Tue, 2018-12-04 10:30

This is the third blog post in a series authored by 7 individuals who received scholarships from the New England Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM NER)  to attend the Library Carpentry Training held at Brown University on October 22nd and October 23, 2018. In this installment, a scholarship recipient describes the benefits of working together in a Library Carpentry Training.  Please watch for more posts about resources from this event and views from scholarship recipients in the upcoming weeks.


Library Carpentry Blog Post written by Tess Grynoch

Ever since Carpentries workshops were introduced to me at the Research Data and Preservation Summit earlier this year, I’ve been eager to experience a workshop myself, so I jumped at the opportunity to attend the Library Carpentry Workshop at Brown University.

Although all the Carpentries’ lessons are online, and anyone can work through them (an interesting fact I learned at the workshop), the workshop provided a positive learning atmosphere and designated time for learning with peers. The learning with peers aspect was particularly useful in finding out how others have used or plan to use OpenRefine, Git, UNIX Shell, and regular expressions. All the UNIX Shell shortcuts for sifting through files and folders including the ability to view the top portion of a file and changing file names in bulk were particularly useful for me as I am facing a shared drive cleanup and hope to practice some of the commands during this endeavor. The cordial atmosphere was also beneficial for beginner and advanced learners alike as it made it easier to ask for help from the roving helpers or the person sitting next to you. As a future Carpentries instructor, it was insightful to see how the different lessons were taught and how the class was managed.

I would recommend future Library Carpentry workshops to all interested librarians particularly data, institutional repository, systems, and cataloging librarians. Thank you to NEASIST, Brown University Library, and NESCLiC for hosting the wonderful workshop and thank you to NNLM NER for providing the travel stipend to get me there.

Tess Grynoch
Research Data & Scholarly Communications Librarian
Lamar Soutter Library
University of Massachusetts Medical School


For more about Library Carpentry or other upcoming events, please visit the NNLM NER website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Categories: RML Blogs

Community Outreach to Hope and Recovery

Mon, 2018-12-03 09:30


The following blog post was written by Romeo Marquis, a recent recipient of NNLM NER grant funding. Romeo shares the work he and his team are doing with an interfaith ministry providing hope and recovery support for addiction to the Worcester, MA community.

The mission of Community Outreach to Hope and Recovery is to provide education, resources and referrals to families with loved ones in various addictions and to do so within a faith-driven environment. In November of 2016, Blessed Sacrament Church conducted an open forum for parishioners to identify the stigma associated with substance use disorder. As a result of that event, parishioners asked where they could get more information to help some of their loved ones suffering from addiction. “Where can we learn more, and where can we get help?”

Outreach ministries have long been a priority at Blessed Sacrament Church, so applying for a grant from NLM/NER seemed like a logical approach. We applied for a community outreach grant in hope of reaching out to the greater Worcester interfaith community, recognizing that addiction affects all faiths and that the need for a strong faith component is essential to recovery. Our grant application also included the need to provide relevant technologies helpful in reaching out in ways not possible in traditional group meetings.

Upon receipt of financial support from NLM/NER, we began to develop an online resource using Microsoft’s OneNote Notebook. The intent of the notebook is to provide a one-stop place for viewers to get information about the disease of Substance Use Disorder and support services available within the greater Worcester community.

As with traditional notebooks, different sections (tabs) arranged by topic include multiple pages. The notebook continues to grow in content and will continue to grow throughout the grant period and beyond. Various community agencies have their own page in the notebook. The notebook is available to any person with internet access on any device – computer, tablet or smart phone.

In addition to the online notebook, group informational and sharing meetings are held. Specific topics are presented by key persons from community service agencies that provide addiction related services. These meetings are promoted through the greater Worcester interfaith community.

Recognizing that some families might not necessarily have the technological resources to gain access to the online notebook, the grant also provides funding for three laptops and two monitors. These purchases enable us to establish internet stations in the education center at Blessed Sacrament Church. In addition, two of the laptops are streaming laptops with carrying cases. These can be brought to other locations as need, including neighborhood groups and private homes where our online resource collection can be shared and discussed.

The first interfaith prayer service associated with our growing resource bank and group meetings is planned for Tuesday, December 11. Speakers will be included from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith communities. Most would agree that faith is an essential element of recovery. Our interfaith approach is based on the similarities of Judaism, Christianity and Islam rather than on their differences. All three faiths emanate from the same origin of monotheism. This interfaith approach enables collaboration in new ways as we work together to address the opioid epidemic and other forms of addiction.

This approach would not have been possible without the support of our grant from NLM/NER and the ongoing support of their staff. Questions are answered promptly. Online resources are always available. More than providing financial support, NNLM NER becomes a partner.

Our online notebook is available to all and can be viewed at  In addition to the online notebook and group presentations and support sessions, we also have an extensive email list to inform our friends of new developments. Our interfaith community continues to grow. We fully expect to extend this process even after the grant funding period expires. All are welcome – faith communities, support agencies, small groups and individuals. For questions and comments, please contact or 978-606-7023 (voice/text.)

Categories: RML Blogs

Assessment, Bias and Big Data

Wed, 2018-11-28 14:23

Assessment according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is defined as the action or an instance of making a judgement about something. There is a growing trend to use data for assessment purposes, as a way to come to a conclusion. However, this should be done with caution. Interpretation has bias. It depends on the circumstances and prior reference point of view of the interpreter giving the explanation. If interpreted by a human whatever that person learned in the past can color the present view. A computer can also have bias based in the programming of the language.

We are currently living in the age of big data. Vast amounts of data are collected on everyone, everyday. The data may come from the phone, tracking where you are in an effort to connect to the closest tower. It might be in the security cameras or the software used by a child writing a paper to a teacher for a class project. It is scary how much data is collected.

There was a recent article in the BBC titled, “The trouble with big data? It’s called the ‘recency bias.” The article did an excellent job of describing, ‘recency bias’, which is the tendency to assume that future events will closely resemble recent experience. As described from the article, “It’s the tendency to base your thinking disproportionately on whatever comes most easily to mind.” With the explosion of more and more data collected on each and every person with each new technology device the analysis becomes overwhelming. The moment you start looking backwards to analyze the bigger view, there is far too much recent data and far too little of the old to compare it to. Short-sightedness is built into the analysis structure, in the form of an overwhelming tendency to overestimate short-term trends at the expense of history and what has been accomplished in the past.

All this data makes research data management extremely crucial. It is a goal of the National Library of Medicine in the Strategic Plan to “accelerate discovery and advance health by providing the tools for data-driven research.” Many data sets, such as gene sequences and demographic data, are most useful when descriptions are complete. They need to be find-able, accessible and in a usable format. In an era of bigger and bigger data, we need to choose carefully. Just collecting the data without managing the data will overwhelm.  When overcome with so much information  we go back to out bias and what is easy – leading sometimes to selective amnesia. This brings us to the final point in the article,  “that what you choose not to know matters just as much as what you do.”


Categories: RML Blogs

Library Carpentry – Scholarship Recipient Post 2

Mon, 2018-11-26 16:15

This is the second blog post in a series authored by 7 individuals who received scholarships from the New England Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM NER) to attend the Library Carpentry Training held at Brown University on October 22nd and October 23, 2018. In this installment, a scholarship recipient describes  the tools introduced in the Library Carpentry Training.  Please watch for more posts about resources from this event and views from scholarship recipients in the upcoming weeks.


Library Carpentry–A Useful and Fun Conference Opportunity

By Irene McGarrity, MA, MSIS, MFA


The range of professional development opportunities available to academic librarians can be overwhelming, particularly in this digital age, full of webinars, MOOCs, and List Servs.  We have limited budgets, and even those of us who are lucky enough to receive professional development funds have to make tough choices.  One national conference per year–ACRL or ALA, usually–is all it takes to wipe out our funds.


When I saw the announcement about Library Carpentry, I was intrigued.  First, the concept of developing skills around software and coding piqued my interest.  I began to build these skills in my MSIS program, but hadn’t done anything beyond surface-level HTML coding and basic command line programming.  I was excited to go a little deeper.  Also, the announcement specifically mentioned finding ways of being more efficient, and automating repetitive boring tasks.  I really value conferences and professional development opportunities that offer concrete takeaways, and things I can implement right away once I get back to work.  This sounded like that kind of opportunity.


The conference itself was exactly as I hoped it would be.  The facilitators were all friendly and competent.  They also seemed passionate about what they were teaching.  Each skill or tool had an accompanying lesson, like this one on OpenRefine.  It was great to be able to follow along with the facilitator and now, when I actually use these tools, I have these amazing resources to refer back to.


When I returned to work after the conference, I immediately began using the tools and skills presented in the workshop.  I am excited to continue learning more, so I’ll be keeping my eyes out for another Library Carpentry workshop, perhaps a level two for those of us looking to go a step further.


For more about Library Carpentry or other upcoming events, please visit the NNLM NER website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Categories: RML Blogs

Library Carpentry – Scholarship Recipient Post 1

Wed, 2018-11-21 09:49

This is the first blog post in a series authored by 8 individuals who received scholarships from the New England Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM NER)  to attend the Library Carpentry Training held at Brown University on October 22nd and October 23, 2018. In this installment, a scholarship recipient describes what happened in the Library Carpentry Training.  Please watch for additional posts about resources from this event and views from scholarship recipient’s in the upcoming weeks.


Jennifer Chaput – NNLM/NER Library Carpentry Blog

I was eager to attend the October 2018 Library Carpentry at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island for several reasons. I knew that I would be able to learn skills applicable to my own library work and meet some great librarians from around New England. Although this Carpentries’ workshop was targeted to librarians, the lessons taught are tools that I can also use in my work as a Research Data Librarian and share as speak to researchers on my campus about best practices and how to improve their workflows. Lastly, I will be getting certified as a Carpentries’ instructor next year, so I was glad to take a class from the student perspective.

The workshop totally lived up to my expectations. The first lesson was an “Introduction to Data” and even as a data librarian, I learned some new things. The discussion about jargon was enlightening and comforting in that so many of us don’t understand what our colleagues do! It was a great discussion about different terms that are commonly confusing, and not just to librarians. We also had lessons on Version Control with Git and the Unix Shell, which showed other ways of managing data and computer files beyond the typical drag and drop methods most users are familiar with.
The final lesson of the two-day workshop was on an application called OpenRefine, which allows spreadsheet data to be cleaned and transformed in batches rather than tediously going through the sheet line by line. This is a wonderful, time-saving tool that I look forward to using in my own work and sharing with my campus.

The way these tools are taught with the Carpentries’ lesson modules makes them feel usable and do-able, and that they are something I can continue to practice. Working through the lessons in small chunks with helpful and supportive instructors really helped me feel confident. I’ve also attended a Software Carpentry class and found that I got more out of the Library Carpentry class because it was in context of my work – so I can imagine how useful researchers will feel when I eventually teach them these tools! Even the lessons that I might not use myself often or at all, such as the Unix shell or Git, are tools that my researchers may use all the time and it’s helpful to have this background.

Thanks to the NNLM/NER for the travel stipend, to Brown University for hosting, and to NESCliC for the wonderful instructors! In addition to a great workshop, I enjoyed visiting the beautiful Brown campus and the great restaurants in Providence.


For more about Library Carpentry or other upcoming events, please visit the NNLM NER website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Categories: RML Blogs

Teaching Public Health with Graphic Medicine

Fri, 2018-11-16 13:45

Public Health is a broad set of actions that promote wellness, but a lot of people don’t understand what public health does for us.  

Can graphic medicine (comics and graphic novels with health, wellness and disease themes) help us better understand public health?  Spoiler Alert: the answer is yes!

Here are a few examples of how graphic medicine tackles the complexities of public health:

  1. Teaching pandemic preparedness.
    • The Public Health Department of Seattle and King County (WA) created No Ordinary Flu to educate about the deadly 1918 flu outbreak and teach readers ways they can stay healthy and prepare for future pandemics. No Ordinary Flu is available for free download in 23 languages.
    • The CDC created Junior Disease Detectives-Operation: Outbreak to educate students about why disease outbreaks occur, how immune response works, and the role of the CDC.  Junior Disease Detectives helps kids understand the immune response by using metaphors, like defending a castle, that are easy for them to understand.  The comic also shows how the CDC investigates and responds to disease outbreaks.
    • Whit Taylor is a cartoonist with a background in public health.  She wrote and drew America Isn’t Ready for a Pandemic.  Here’s How it Could Happen to help people understand pandemic planning and the social and political conditions that could allow an outbreak to happen here.
  2. Educating on the science behind public health principles. 
    • Maki Naro, an artist who describes his work as “fan art for Science”, created the comic Vaccines Work to teach the history of vaccines, how they protect communities, and to debunk some of the most common anti-vaccine myths.
  3. Telling the history of public health to understand the present.
    • Taylor also created the Tuskegee Experiment comic to educate the public on the extremely unethical experiment undertaken by the United States Public Health Service from 1932-1973 in Alabama. In this comic, she also shows how this incident in history still influences the interactions between the medical and public health communities and many black communities leading to poorer health outcomes. 

To learn more about Graphic Medicine visit the NLM’s website for the traveling exhibit Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived, Well-Drawn.  Or request a Graphic Medicine Book Club Kit for your library, school or community group to try.

Categories: RML Blogs

Living in Freedom Together (LIFT)

Mon, 2018-11-12 12:03


The following post is written by Nicole Bell, the founder and CEO of the non-profit organization LIFT (Living in Freedom Together). 

Nicole Bell and Dr. Marianne Sarkis from Clark University were recently awarded a Community Engagement grant from the New England region. The name of their  project is “Trauma-Informed Training for Health Providers, Educators, and Community-Based Agencies to Identify, Treat and Support Victims of Commercial SExual Exploitation and Sex-Trafficking.”

As a survivor of prostitution I cannot tell you the number of times I presented in medical settings only to feel as if I were invisible to those providing care for me. I felt like they blamed me for the violence I was experiencing in prostitution or felt like they were too uncomfortable to have a conversation about my victimization and unsure of what to say to me or where to send me for support.

As the founder and CEO of Living In Freedom Together (LIFT) Inc, a survivor led nonprofit organization dedicated to providing resources, advocacy and support to empower individuals to exit the commercial sex industry I am now fortunate enough to have the opportunity to provide education and training to medical providers and students on identifying and responding to individuals who are being commercially sexually exploited.

Myself and Marianne Sarkis had the idea for the project with the National Network of Library Medicine after conducting many of these educational sessions and being broached with questions regarding intervention techniques for working with victims and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. Most medical providers agreed they had been seeing survivors but were unsure how to start the conversation and more importantly where to refer to if they did.

We decided to create a tool, with the support of the NNLM, that medical providers could use to not only identify victims, but with tips and strategies for engaging with and supporting victims of CSE. We have done a thorough literature review of what tools currently exist and are tailoring a tool that doesn’t just work to identify victims of sex trafficking but victims of commercial sexual exploitation as a whole.

We have been a part of many educational forums over the last few months and are building partnerships in the medical community that will help us to launch and evaluate our tool.

We are very excited to get a practical guide, utilizing evidence-based approaches into the hands of our medical community so that individuals in prostitution no longer need feel invisible, shamed, or unsupported by their medical providers.



Categories: RML Blogs

Protected: Librarians Supporting Nurses: Danbury Hospital in Connecticut

Wed, 2018-11-07 09:57

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Categories: RML Blogs

You’re Invited: NNLM NER Funding Meeting 12.6.18

Wed, 2018-10-31 12:18

Money growing treeAre you curious about receiving NNLM NER funding? What is the process? What do we look for?
Want ideas, or bounce your ideas off others?

Have you received funding before and want to share what you know and your projects with others?

You are invited to the NNLM NER Funding Meeting.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 – 9:30am-3:30pm at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (Faculty Conference Room), Worcester, MA

Join us for a day to learn about and from previously funded projects, learn about evaluation, and share project ideas and questions with others.

A full schedule is in the works, but some general times are below. We will be sending out more details about the content and logistics to registered individuals as we get closer to the event.

  • 9:30-10am– Arrival, networking, light snacks
  • 10am-12pm – Awardee project sharing
  • 12pm-1pm– Lunch & Networking
  • 1pm-3pm– Hands on Workshop


Please fill out the registration form if you would like to attend. Please have everyone, even from the same organization, fill out the registration if attending. We want to ensure an accurate head count. This event is free and open to anyone interested, but we have a limited capacity so register now.

Lunch is included and travel reimbursement is available.


Please contact Martha Meacham ( – 508.856.1267) with any questions or for more information.

Categories: RML Blogs

North American Health Science Librarianship (NASHL) Lighting Talk – Thank You

Tue, 2018-10-30 16:01

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity both attend and to give a lightning talk at the North American Health Science Libraries, Inc. (NASHL) annual conference in Manchester, NH. The theme was Remaining Strong in an Ever-Changing Landscape. It was a way to network and celebrate NAHSL’s 60 years of membership. For those who are not familiar, NAHSL is a regional Chapter of the Medical Library Association (MLA). At the annual conference, there were three days of programming which include favorites such as: keynote speakers, continuing education, dinner at a museum, posters, paper talks, lightning talks, and a 60’s themed banquet. I highly recommend this conference as a way to meet up and exchange ideas with fellow colleagues.

I was able to participate not just as an attendee, but also as a speaker. It was a new experience for me, but I sincerely enjoy the project that is the topic.  The talk was about NNLM’s Online Concurrent Wikipedia edit-a-thon that occurred in the spring and the lessons learned. I found out I enjoy the lightning talk format – 5 minutes with about 10 slides and time for questions from the audience.  The trick is preparation. Thank goodness for my NNLM Wikipedia working group members and coworkers. Their input and creative ideas were invaluable.  I also have to give a shout out to my UMass-Worcester coworkers who gave invaluable insights in timing, presentation flow and slide visibility and not to mention support.  The good news is the presentation went well after I got over my initial nervousness.  I stayed within the time limit, was able to answer the questions and hopefully encouraged people to participate in the next edit-a-thon.  Thank you all for your help! Without your support, the lighting presentation would not be the success that it was.

Just as a reminder – the next NNLM online nationwide Wikipedia edit-a-thon is on November 7th, 2018 from 10:00AM – 8:00PM EST #cite NLM. We need your help to make Wikipedia an evidence based resource. Training and support are provided so even if you are new to edit-a-thon’s you can become a Wikipedia editor. For more information please see the NNLM webpage at or the NNLM Wikipedia dashboard .

Categories: RML Blogs

Science Boot Camp for Librarians – Scholarship Recipient Post 11

Tue, 2018-10-30 11:27

This is the eleventh blog post in a series authored by twelve individuals who received scholarships to attend the 2018 Science Boot Camp held at Brandeis University on June 13-15, 2018. This article was written by Jaclyn Wilson, an Access Services Associate at MIT, and MLIS Student at Simmons College.
As a paraprofessional in Access Services that is working towards her degree in Library and Information Science, I’m always looking for opportunities to learn more about working as a librarian. Since I’ve always had a great love of the sciences and originally studied environmental engineering in undergrad, since starting on this career path I’ve wanted to eventually become a science librarian. So, when I heard about the New England Science Boot Camp for Librarians, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me.

I was lucky enough to receive one of the scholarships available, which not only covered my attendance at the boot camp, but also provided me with a great mentor, Sarah Oelker. Between a session specifically for the mentors and mentees to meet, meals, and other programming during the conference, I had tons of great opportunities to learn from Sarah about their own experiences in being a science librarian, as well as their experiences on the planning team for the boot camp. I really enjoyed getting to know them, and I left Brandeis knowing that I could always reach out to Sarah if I have any questions beyond the boot camp.

I took advantage of every possible activity I could do- the first day there were some optional morning activities, where I got a chance to tour Brandeis’ Archives and attend a soldering workshop. The Archives tour was amazing, with a gallery display as the entrance (with glass walls to allow people to look in even when the Archives is closed), and a reading room just beyond the display where we got to explore a number of interesting materials from the Archives’ collection (including a skull! I learned that before Brandeis took over the campus, it was a medical school called Middlesex University). The soldering workshop was a fun experience as well, where we got to work with other attendees to solder electronic components to create things like a sensor that lights up when sounds are emitted, or a Simon game (the latter is what I worked on, though I’m not sure I did it properly- while the lights function, I can’t seem to get the game to actually work!)

The core of the program was three sessions about different science topics- Ecology, Genetics Counseling, and Materials Science and Engineering. Each session featured an overview of the topic, and then one or two speakers discussing their research in the topic. The Ecology session took us from the macro to the micro, and I learned it’s difficult for ecologists to isolate their individual research since there’s just so much interdependence between species and ecological processes. The researcher who spoke has worked on a lot of different topics, but the one we got to hear about was deer ticks, and whether or not deer-hunting is effective at reducing instances of Lyme Disease (the jury is still out on that- even though there was a correlation between tick population and deer population decline, it followed a one-year cycle, rather than the two-year cycle that would be expected). There was also a related activity on Friday, where a few of us went on an ecology hike- of course we actively tried to avoid said ticks while trekking into the woods to learn more about deer population control and the different historical uses of the land we were on.

The Genetics Counseling session revealed that genetics counseling is a lot less sci-fi than I would have thought- the topic was not so much about counseling patients about steps they could take to potentially avoid or fix genetic differences that may cause them or their children harm, but more about helping patients understand and adapt to the implications of genetic contributions to disease. We had two speakers for the research half of the session, who talked about a genetic counselor’s role on a research team, and more specifically research in gene discovery in epilepsies- overall I took away that a genetic counselor is really helping patients have all the information they need to make the right decision for themselves. The Materials Science & Engineering session had a great show and tell during the overview- we got to see all sorts of materials that were being worked on by the speaker and his colleagues, including a ball made of an engineered metal that was more lightweight but as strong as one made of a naturally occurring metal. The researcher who spoke next showed how even biological materials could be studied to help create synthetic materials, which could have impressive applications (perhaps even including something like Iron Man one day!).

In addition to the main sessions, we also had an evening talk after dinner on Wednesday night, talking about retractions in scholarly publishing. I hadn’t known anything about Retraction Watch prior to this session, and hadn’t yet considered why it would be important to keep track of who is issuing retractions of their work and why. The talk not only taught me about the various reasons for retractions, but also potential issues that may affect users looking for information, like outright deletion of retracted articles or the opposite extreme of leaving articles in databases without a note that they’ve been retracted.

On Friday morning, we had the last session of the boot camp- the Capstone about evaluating open access journals and data sets. I learned about important questions to ask when considering these resources, such as whether or not peer review is involved, whether or not the content of an article fits the theme of a journal, and of course whether or not there’s any bias involved in the creation of data or journals. We got to examine a number of journals and data sets to practice thinking about these questions, and discuss with the other attendees our reasoning for our assessment of the journal or data set. This helped me learn about some of the challenges involved in assessing these resources- trying to find information on the data set my group explored was difficult due to missing information in the spreadsheet and dead links, and one of the journals we looked at appeared to have real professors associated with it but didn’t have easy ways to get in touch with the editors (and on further inspection into its listed mailing location on Google maps, it turns out they put down a cabana café!).

All of the sessions were wonderful, but my very favorite part of boot camp would have to be meeting all of the people there. I tried to eat my meals and spend our break times with at least one or two people I hadn’t yet met to learn about their experience as a librarian or what they were studying, and what they took away from the sessions we had experienced. This year’s boot camp had people from all over the Northeast (and even a few from other areas of North America), and people from all sorts of information professions, not just libraries. Since it was the boot camp’s 10th anniversary we even got a special chance to hear more about the boot camp’s founding and how it had changed over the years at an anniversary dinner. It was great to see that so many people had been with the boot camp since its founding, and to hear how others had been inspired to get involved in the planning after attending their first boot camp.
The entire experience was one that I won’t soon forget- I’m so grateful to have been able to attend the boot camp this year, especially as a scholarship recipient, and look forward to attending many future boot camps!

~Jaclyn Wilson, Access Services Associate at MIT, MLIS Student at Simmons College

I hope you enjoy the latest installment of the Science Boot Camp for librarians. To read the first post please click here. For more about this year’s Science Boot Camp resources or other upcoming events, please visit the NNLM NER website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Categories: RML Blogs

Get Your Flu Shot and Have a Healthier Winter

Thu, 2018-10-18 10:00


 if only some get vaccinated, the virus spreads. if most get vaccinated, spreading is contained.

Illustration from the CDC showing Herd Immunity, also known as Community Immunity

It’s that time of year again, the wind turns cold, the leaves change color and everyone is talking about the flu.  This year get the facts and get vaccinated to protect yourself, your family and your community.

Anyone can get the flu and have serious complications, but people over 65, people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease, pregnant women and children under five are at higher risk for hospitalization or death from the flu.

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot every season. Children younger than 6 months and people who are allergic to some vaccine ingredients can’t be vaccinated. So getting your flu shot also protects them by containing the spread of the flu virus.

Why every year?  Because the flu strains that the vaccine protects against may change from year to year.  Even if it doesn’t change, the immune protection can decline over time, so getting your flu shot every year gives the best defense.

There are a lot of misconceptions and myths about the flu and the vaccine.  Below are some of the most common, but to learn more about flu and flu vaccine myths, visit the CDC’s Flu and Flu Vaccine Q&A page.

  1. You can get the flu from the vaccine.
    • FALSE: You can’t get the flu from the vaccine. Flu vaccines are made with “inactivated” (killed) viruses that can’t cause infection or by using a single gene from a flu virus instead of the whole virus.
  2. It’s better to get the flu than the vaccine. The flu isn’t that big of a deal.
    • FALSE: It is NOT better to get the flu instead of the vaccine. Flu can cause serious health complications, hospitalization or death even in generally healthy children and adults.
  3. You can get the flu if you’ve been vaccinated.
    • TRUE, but being vaccinated can still protect you from the more severe consequences.
    • And some people who think they got the flu after being vaccinated may have had a rhinovirus (common cold), or may have been exposed to the virus shortly before getting the shot. So it’s still important to get your shot.

Learn more about the flu shot by visiting MedlinePlus.  MedlinPlus also has flu and flu vaccine health information in multiple languages to share with family and friends.

And finally, flu season is a good reminder that kids aren’t the only ones who need vaccines.  Visit the CDC’s Recommended Immunization Schedule for Adults to learn about vaccines that adults should be getting beyond their annual flu shot.

Categories: RML Blogs