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Updated: 1 hour 58 min ago

Celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Human Genome Project

5 hours 37 min ago

National DNA Day logoApril 25th marks the 15th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is commemorating this milestone and other genomic advances by showcasing 15 ways that genomics has transformed our world. From April 5 through April 25 you can learn about a new milestone in genomics that has transformed our world such as:

  • When scientists agreed to use the one “reference” human genome sequence generated by the Human Genome Project, it became easier to determine differences among people’s genomes on a much larger scale. We have since learned that human genomes differ from one other in all sorts of ways: sometimes at a single base, and sometimes in chunks of thousands of bases.
  • The ability to read the human genome quickly and cheaply has led to substantial advances in discovering the causes of rare disorders. Many families have gone through years of “diagnostic odysseys,” going from one specialist to another trying to find the root cause for their family member’s rare disorder.
  • Genomics helps us understand the biology of organisms across the world: why are some faster or smarter than others? Why have some gone extinct, while others are resilient to environmental changes? What do their genomes teach us about our own?

Check out the ’15 for ’15 Celebration to read all 15 ways genomics has impacted our world as well as other DNA Day events.

Categories: RML Blogs

Big Data, Healthcare, and the Evolution of the Health Science Librarian

Mon, 2018-04-23 05:00

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

Written by: Lisa Mastin, Medical Librarian, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, Atlanta, GA

Data is part of life and the amount of data being created, captured, stored, and analyzed is expanding exponentially. In the healthcare sector, Big Data is rapidly changing the landscape. Health Science librarians should get involved with big data in healthcare, at least at a basic level, because if they do not, they risk losing the ability to engage with the user (i.e. researcher, clinician, patron), in a user-centered environment. I see health science librarians working in several areas of data science. At the very least, and possibly the most essential element, would be to acquire an understanding of the language used in data science.

Although I do not believe all librarians should become data scientists or even work with big data (several postings in this course expressed a similar opinion), I do believe that all health science librarians need to know the terminology. In an online discussion based on the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) module of Big Data, one reflection on Dr. Brennan’s video mentioned that she liked Dr. Brennan’s comment that “data science is a team sport,” and agreed that as librarians, we should be able to speak the language and “at least know who to turn to or ask.” This relates to the second area I feel that health science librarians should get involved with big data in healthcare – knowing who to go to with questions. In a reply to her reflection, another remarked, “librarians connect our users to articles, books, databases, and web resources;” so “what’s to stop us from connecting our users to experts on campus?” I agree that librarians can learn who the data science experts are at their institution and then pass that information along to their users. In doing this, the health science librarians are establishing contacts and forming relationships across their campus or institution, and creating connections is something else librarians are skilled at doing.

Training is also a skill that librarians excel at and is the next area where I see health science librarians becoming involved with big data. As Jeff Durham noted in a reflection on medical research, librarians, “have advanced skills in information and pedagogy,” so are well suited to train researchers. Other class members shared this idea, and I believe that most librarians feel confident when it comes to training/teaching. Health science librarians could, for example, train researchers on how to use data science-related technology tools or on how to find specific information in their electronic health records (EHR). If health science librarians gain access to the EHR at their institutions, this opens the door to other areas in which they could assist with big data. I see librarians creating metadata and/or controlled vocabularies for the natural language portion of patient notes entered into the EHR by clinicians. We discussed this in the module five online discussion session and several participants expressed interest in assisting in these areas, as well as working with an EHR in other capacities (i.e. adding links to the library website or related databases, adding information for physicians, etc.).

In addition to the areas I have mentioned, I feel that data visualization, population health, and data management would also be areas in which health science librarians could work with big data. Traditional librarian skills, such as information searching, research methods, database management, archival work, and digital preservation combined with some newer skill sets (data literacy, informatics, visual analytics), will allow health science librarians to compete for these roles. Where and how health science librarians decide to get involved with big data in healthcare will certainly vary by individual librarian, by what is most important is that they do become involved with it. I reviewed an article about an ongoing big data research project on cardiovascular care in China, and in this article, there was no mention of librarians assisting with the project. One of the course instructors made the wise comment that she wondered if there are people working on the project performing research data management functions. if there was someone performing these roles, they weren’t trained as librarians. I now think that there are probably many research projects where people are doing the data science work that we have discussed in this course, but librarians are not doing it. Health Science librarians can bring their unique skills to big data research projects if they possess the skills and researchers know librarians are capable and can provide big data support.

Categories: RML Blogs

All of Us Research Program – Ready to Launch Nationally on May 6

Fri, 2018-04-20 17:14

All of Us website imageThe National Network of Libraries of Medicine is excited to announce the All of Us Research Program official launch on Sunday, May 6, 2018.  This national event will be held in seven communities throughout the United States — including Pasco, Washington — and will be broadcast via this website and on Facebook Live.

The All of Us Research Program is a historic effort to gather data from one million or more people living in the United States to accelerate research and improve health. The programs goals are to develop a more effective way to treat diseases and to provide individualized healthcare.  It considers individual differences in lifestyle, environment and biology.  This research program is a key element of the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative.

Additional information about this Program is available through the All of Us Research Program website. Program information is available to download in English and Spanish. NNLM Network Members can learn how they can get involved at a webinar on April 30th at 1pm Central Time.

Categories: RML Blogs

Data, Data Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink

Fri, 2018-04-20 05:00

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

Written by: Jeff Durham, Medical Librarian, Desert Regional Medical Center, Palm Springs, CA

We swim in a sea of information; more often than not we are drowning in it. When a person is presented with a smorgasbord of data, how do we determine what we should eat? This is the current situation with regards to big data and healthcare. What data should be utilized and how. It is in this data-centric meal that the data-savvy health science librarian should be most at home: as critic, guide, and chef.

As health science librarians, we have a responsibility to not only provide the communities that we serve with access to up-to-date and accurate information, but also must be available to enable and facilitate the informational needs of researchers in our communities. With the tremendous amount of big data that is generated on a daily basis, health science librarians have a duty to become involved and assist all of their patrons, both lay and professional, to access, extract, and manage the data (both big and small) that they need.

There are barriers to making a librarian into a data-savvy librarian who can tackle big data problems with ease. One barrier is that many graduate schools in library and information science have not been as keen to teach data science in a general education format, preferring to see it more as a sub-specialty. This occurs ironically enough in iSchools as well. While there is a growing trend to change this educational oversight, it is not the dominant paradigm yet. Another barrier is that of opportunity. All too often, the librarian simply does not have the time or their employer does not provide the means (e.g. time off, reimbursement) for the librarian to refresh their skill set. Until library managers and directors see the value of continuing education of the librarians on their staff on how to use data science and work with big data, the health sciences librarian will continue to fall behind.

There are also opportunities to be found. In hospitals and health science libraries, with residents and medical students, there are lots of in-roads for librarians to make. Given the exponential growth in big data that biomedical devices and the prevalence of smart devices which are constantly generating both passive and active data there is a lot of big data to utilize. The data that is being produced has the potential to be used in research projects for students, residents, nurses, and doctors on staff. There is a significant gap between the abilities of these medical professionals and that of data science. The role of the data-savvy librarian is to be a bridge between these gaps. The data-savvy librarian is able to assist their patrons in identify the datasets that they need as well as demonstrating how to wrangle, clean and visualize their data. By doing this, the librarian provides an essential role in the medical field. It is through the management of big data and assisting the researcher with working with the data and discerning patterns and trends that the librarian enables the student, nurse, or clinician to make evidence-based decisions on the data. By doing so, the librarian assists not only the informational needs of the researchers, but also has a very real impact on patient care.

Categories: RML Blogs

Reflections on Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles

Mon, 2018-04-16 17:55

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

Written by: Kathleen Carlson, Education Librarian, College of Medicine Phoenix, University of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ

It is essential for the future of medical librarians to get involved in Big Data. Much of our future work will be coming from big data research projects, especially librarians that work in hospitals and health care systems. Since librarians were early adopters of technology, we were able to move from print indexes to searching indexes on CD-ROMs that were eventually moved to the Web. Moving from the card catalogue to integrated automated library systems, librarians understand how important it is to move forward with Big Data. Many of the older, experienced librarians may not have the expertise or training in the fields of math, computational skills, statistics and domain expertise but we know that our profession should be part of our institutions Big Data team and at least have a seat at the table.

I know that being an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Biomedical Informatics (BMI) at my academic institution, has allowed me to understand and speak the language of Big Data. Clinicians will come to me for resources and journal articles and I have learned a lot by attending monthly journal club meetings on different subjects of Biomedical Informatics and Big Data. BMI fellows, Chief Medical Information Officers (CMIO,) Chief Nursing Officers (CNO) of area hospitals, and BMI faculty attend the sessions. Here I have an opportunity to be seen and be heard and ask questions when they arise as a non-clinician. We have covered the following topics of Big Data and Informatics in the past three years:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Standards
  • Health Literacy
  • Electronic Health Record/Electronic Patient Record
  • Process Oriented Health Information Systems
  • Clinical Decision Support Systems
  • Graphic Display and Visualization
  • Health information Exchange
  • Cloud Computing Services
  • Substitutable Medical Applications and Reusable Technologies (SMART)
  • Fast Health Interoperability Resources (FHIR)

I also attend monthly Clinical Informatics Grand Rounds. The speakers vary from clinicians to researchers, MBA, Pharmacy and Public Health faculty.

So, for the past three years I have had a seat at the table and have given our library visibility within Biomedical Informatics and Big Data. I also believe that a medical librarian at any institution should find a champion or champions that will assist him/her in getting a seat at the table. And when that is accomplished, a hospital librarian should get permission to embed at least one vetted  link that is appropriate to a patient’s electronic record with,  National Institute on Aging, or another consumer health oriented resource. This would relieve the burden on clinicians in finding the best resource for patient care.

Big Data can be organized, appraised, secured, preserved with a librarian’s help and can assist researchers and clinicians in patient care and help find areas that may need improvement. Creating an online resource guide with Big Data tools and resources can be a first step into marketing the librarian and library. The NNLM PSR had recently recruited a data and technology services coordinator. She asked librarians if they collected any data for their institution. Unfortunately, we are considered a satellite campus of a large Research One University. I think there are areas at my institution where data is collected but could be used more effectively. I know within the Scholarly Project, a four-year mandatory thesis and poster at our institution, many of our students use Big Data from area hospitals or the state’s data archives to have foundational information in their presentations and theses. They are assisted by their clinical mentors.

I also like one of my fellow course student’s discussion post about teaching himself ‘R’ so he is able to teach classes to the data scientists on his campus. Finding resources for Big Data programming language and free software for statistical computing and graphics software like ‘R’ and can help the librarian be an informational resource for Big Data collection. This instruction example is one-way librarians will have to get out of your comfort zone and put themselves out there for Big Data. We have access to SPSS and STATA in our library commons. I took three classes on RedCap to help me understand Big Data and how to collect it safely and securely. REDCap is a secure web application for building and managing online surveys and databases and collecting data.

The librarian can be the go-to resource for students and researchers and help them search the archives of stored Big Data sets. I do not believe that our small campus has the capacity to store Big Data and it is not something that the larger academic institution is willing to duplicate. I do believe that as a librarian being visible and attending committee meetings, journal clubs, clinical informatic rounds and actually showing an interest in learning about Big Data gives a librarian the knowledge and vocabulary to understand and share with her constituents. The librarian can also familiarize himself/herself with websites that assist in Big Data knowledge similar to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation which I learned about in the course discussions.

Categories: RML Blogs

PNR Rendezvous session on social media evaluation

Thu, 2018-04-12 07:00

Session title: “Beyond the Memes: Social Media Evaluation”

When: April 18,  1:00pm PT, noon Alaska Time, 2:00pm MT

Presenter: Kalyna Durbak, Program Coordinator, NNLM National Evaluation Office

If you engage users on social media, you know that it takes a lot of time and effort- but how do you know if your hard work is paying off? Join this PNR Rendezvous webinar session where you will learn the basics about social media analytics, and how to use the data to evaluate social media campaigns and programs. You will also learn the basic principles of evaluation, such as creating realistic outcomes and objectives for your social media activities. After the webinar, you’ll be able to evaluate and report on your social media activities, and have a basic understanding of evaluation principles.

Registration is encouraged. The session will be recorded and posted on the PNR Rendezvous web page under ‘Past Classes’.

Medical Library Association CE is available for attending the live session or watching the recording.

Categories: RML Blogs

Library Services on Wheels

Wed, 2018-04-11 05:00

In observation of National Bookmobile Day, Carmen Clark, bookmobile librarian for Bozeman Public Library in Bozeman, MT is providing a guest post today. 

Bozeman Public Library bookmobileA few years ago, the Bozeman Public Library realized that there is a need for a mobile library in our rapidly growing city. After a very successful fundraising campaign by the Bozeman Library Foundation, our wish became a reality. On July 3rd 2017 we started our new Bookmobile program. We serve schools, assisted living facilities, mobile home parks and neighborhoods throughout Bozeman and Gallatin County. The Bookmobile functions as a mobile branch of the Bozeman Public Library. We carry materials for ages 1-101. Everyone is welcome on the Bookmobile. We carry board books, juvenile fiction and non-fiction books, fiction and non-fiction books for Teenagers, fiction and non-fiction books for adults and Large Print books for our elderly patrons. We also carry DVDs, audio books and Playaways as well as board games. Our board games are very popular, we are having a hard time keeping them stocked on the Bookmobile. The bookmobile visits our regular stops twice a month and we also have time to do special stops like the Farmers Market, the County Fair, the Christmas Stroll, and the Roller Derby etc.

The community has been very positive about the bookmobile service and here are a few of the comments we have received:

  • “This place is so cool; it’s like a reading train.” (5-year old boy)
  • “I am so glad there is a library. You know it is my favorite thing…reading.” (4-year old girl)
  • “This is like an airplane.” (5-year old boy)
  • “I really like the bookmobile, next time we should ride on it. (4-year old boy and his brother)
  • “Wow, I haven’t been on a bookmobile since I was a kid.” (Adult patron)
  • “Wow, this brings back memories.” (Adult patron)
  • “You are the best; I really appreciate all the books about the Revolutionary War you brought for us today.” (Teacher at an elementary school)
  • Watch the video about the bookmobile 

One of the great successes of our program is a rural one-room school with 12 students and one teacher. None of the children had library cards when we started the service to their school in September. Now, all the children have cards and regularly check out a variety of materials. Last week while we were at their stop, we ran into some mechanical problems. While waiting for our mechanic to arrive I helped the kids and their technology teacher figure out a library program called Tumblebooks. After that, the kids insisted on showing me their stop-motion movie they had made as part of their technology curriculum. Their next stop motion picture might star our bookmobile.

We have encountered a few challenges while starting this program. One of the first challenges was that we did not have a firm delivery date for the bookmobile. That made purchasing materials quite tricky. We wanted to have the newest bestsellers and new popular children’s materials on board, but without a firm date, that proved to be difficult at first.

Another challenge has been the vehicle itself. We have run into a few mechanical issues that I definitely had not anticipated. I had assumed that it would be smooth sailing since it is a brand-new vehicle. After running into some of those issues, my mechanics have told me that it is actually quite normal to be having some issues in the first year.

Happy National Bookmobile Day! Please go out and find your local bookmobile, chat with your bookmobile librarian and check out a few books.

Carmen Clark has worked and volunteered in libraries for the last 23 years. She started out volunteering at the library on Camp Red Cloud in Uijongbu, Korea when her husband was stationed there with the U.S Army. She then went on to work for the Pierce County Library System as well as the Madigan Army Medical Center Library. After moving to Bozeman, she started as a substitute at the Bozeman Public Library. For a short while she worked as the interlibrary loan assistant before moving into a position as a reference librarian. She has been the bookmobile supervisor for over a year now. Most likely, she will stay with this job for the foreseeable future unless a packhorse librarian position will open up somewhere (which she concedes is a slim possibility).

Categories: RML Blogs

On April 17, Bring Your Skills– to the NNLM Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon!

Mon, 2018-04-09 05:00

You may have heard of Wikipedia Edit-a-Thons, where rooms full of people add content and citations to Wikipedia, to make it a better, evidence-based resource.  Does the idea intrigue you?  Are you a killer searcher and verifier?  Or even pretty good?  If so, we have an opportunity for you!

Join us at the NNLM Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, from 6AM to 6PM Pacific Time on April 17 (it’s online only– no travel required!).  We’ll be focusing on diseases listed by the Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center (GARD), and improving them using trusted National Library of Medicine resources like Genetics Home Reference, MedlinePlus, and PubMed. You just find a disease name in GARD, see if it needs better citations in Wikipedia, find good content to add, and then edit that page!  Add the #citeNLM2018 tag in your edit summary, and you’re done!

Sound daunting?  Trust us, it isn’t!  If you set up your Wikipedia account (in advance—it can take a day or two), you are most of the way there.  For tutorials and support, check out our edit-a-thon project page on Wikipedia, which features a recording of a teaching session by Dr. James Heilman (Doc James) from WikiProject Medicine.  It also has the link to the WebEx page (our virtual classroom on April 17), which will be open all day for chat and support. Also, our dashboard page, on which you can register and be counted, has some nice to-do lists in advance of the event.  WebJunction also has some amazing content, should you find yourself hooked!

We hope to “see” you on the 17th!  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Ann Glusker, at  Happy editing!

Categories: RML Blogs

DataFlash: Data Indexers

Mon, 2018-04-02 13:50

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is “an independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them.” Their mission is to improve the health of the world’s populations by providing the best information on population health, and to do so, IHME enlists the expertise of countless individuals, including researchers, data analysts, data scientists, and thirteen data indexers. What is a data indexer? Lyla Medeiros, a data indexer at IHME, shares more about her essential role below…

What is a data indexer? And how long have you been in the role?

Data indexers are part of a team responsible for providing librarian services to IHME. Data indexers not only catalog data for inclusion in the Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx), they also organize and maintain data files, provide reference services to IHME researchers, and search for and acquire new data sources. Data indexers are also responsible for creating documentation on cataloging practices, implementing improvements to process and workflows, reporting and testing technical issues that pop up in the GHDx for the Drupal development team, and managing controlled vocabularies and taxonomies, which includes researching and adding terms. I’ve been working as a data indexer for four years and three months.

What is your education/occupational background?

I earned a BA in Dance Studies and Art History at the State University of New York, Empire State College and a Masters of Library Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. Before becoming a librarian, I trained to become a classical ballet dancer and teacher. I’ve taught ballet in New York, New Mexico and here in Washington.

Who do you work with at IHME?

Outside of the data services team, I work with public health researchers, data analysts, Drupal developers, and student assistants.

IHME US Map Data Visualization

IHME US Map Data Visualization

What types of data do you work with?

The data that IHME uses to create global health estimates comes in data file formats like .dta, .dbf, .sav, and Excel tables, Word documents, text files, .pdf documents and Access databases. When necessary, we digitize books and sometimes even microfiche. Right now, I primarily catalog health and demographic survey datasets and their related geospatial data. In the past, I’ve also worked on cataloging health statistics reports, epidemiological surveillance, and serial publications. Some other types of data we collect and catalog include vital registration, hospital discharges, censuses, disease registries and government health budgets.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I most enjoy the variety of work. For example, today I did research on stroke in order to create new keywords and planned out how to retroactively apply the new keywords to existing records, searched for and cataloged new survey data, contacted a survey provider about missing variables in a data file, and worked on a presentation I’ll be giving to on our keyword taxonomy.

What advice would you give other librarians interested in working with data/in the field of data librarianship? 

I am forever thankful for the classes I took in graduate school that focused on representation and organization, metadata and semantics, indexing, creating ontologies in RDF/RDFs (Resource Description Framework/Resource Description Framework Schema) and cataloging in XML. Those classes provided me with a solid foundation for the type of work I do as a data indexer.

I would like to sincerely thank Lyla for providing us with insight into a librarian role that is quite unique, and quite essential. If you would like to learn more about IHME, the GHDx, and many of their ground breaking projects and visualizations, please visit

Categories: RML Blogs

Data Flash: Exploring Historical Data

Tue, 2018-03-27 04:00

It’s so easy to think of data as a modern phenomenon, that we forget that data analysis and data visualization are phenomena which go way back.  A marvelous example is John Graunt’s Bills of Mortality, which this post by John Appleby calls “a 17th century spreadsheet of deaths in London”.  Appleby goes on to do some ultra-modern visualizations of the data, which illuminate connections that Graunt probably didn’t make at the time scientifically, but may have understood intuitively.

If you find this concept intriguing, either to read about or to explore more directly, consider taking a mosey through the series from the National Library of Medicine’s Historical Division, “Revealing Data: Explorations of Data in Collections”.  They are making historical research data available now, across many health-related fields, and in fascinating ways!   They have data in a wide range of formats, informally and formally collected, quantitative and qualitative.   And among their treasures is—you guessed it—a copy of Graunt’s magnum opus, and a post about it!

Also, if data analysis is your thing, there are many sources of data sets out there, particularly from the federal government.  Check out descriptions of what’s in the National Archives, or historical patent data, or that classic, historical census data, and others at   Additionally, you might want to explore data from other sources, such as from the Pew Research Center (it doesn’t go back to the 1600s, but it’s something!), and historical GIS data from the American Association of Geographers.

Enjoy your explorations into the past—which may end up transforming our future!

Categories: RML Blogs

Guides to consumer health reference

Mon, 2018-03-26 06:10

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) and the Public Library Association (PLA) have been partnering to promote health and wellness reference services and programs at public libraries. NNLM coordinators often present and exhibit at local, regional and national conferences where many public library staff attend in an effort to bring awareness to the many freely and authoritative resources from the National Library of Medicine (NLM). These resources provide helpful and trusted information for patrons who may have health concerns as well as to help provide information for social media, brochures and programming.

But many staff feel uncomfortable or less confident when it comes to health related questions at the reference desk. Where can public library staff look for help?

One way is to take the class, “Stand Up for Health: Health and Wellness Services for Your Community”. This 4-week 12 CE course is designed to provide public library staff with the foundation (or a refresher) of health and wellness reference, programming, and outreach for their communities. And it’s free!  Check here for upcoming sessions.

Not interested in a class? Guides to exist to assist you in providing health reference. The Health and Medical Reference Committee (part of the RUSA division of ALA) created and maintains the Health and Medical Reference Guidelines.

NNLM has also created some guidance with a list of topics such as health literacy, evaluating websites, consumer health reference interview and more.

The Medical Library Association (MLA) has a tab on their website for patients and consumers and this information can also be valuable to library staff with a list of trusted websites, evaluating websites, and tips for communicating with doctors.

Starting with these resources will help staff get started on building their knowledge around consumer health and patrons will appreciate the guidance through the maze of health information.

Categories: RML Blogs

SAVE THE DATE — NNLM Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, 4/17

Wed, 2018-03-21 17:22


Are you interested in improving the consumer health information available on Wikipedia? Do you want to utilize your librarian research skills towards making Wikipedia a better, evidence-based resource? Have you always wanted to participate in an edit-a-thon? Join the National Network of Libraries of Medicine on April 17th as we add citations to existing Wikipedia articles on rare diseases! We’ll be working on those diseases listed by the Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center, using trusted National Library of Medicine resources like Genetics Home Reference, MedlinePlus, and PubMed.

If you’re new to adding citations, NNLM will be hosting a webinar with Dr. James Heilman, a physician and active WikiProject Medicine editor. Dr. Heilman will give attendees an overview of the importance of Wikipedia, and will demo how to add a citation. NNLM’s webinar with Dr. Heilman is scheduled for 11am to noon PDT on Thursday, March 29th. Participants are encouraged to register for the training even if they can’t attend, as all registered participants will receive a recording of the webinar. Please note: you must create a Wikipedia user account prior to the event to be able to participate.

NNLM staff from across the nation will be available Tuesday, April 17th from 9 am ET to 9 pm ET to support you as you add your citations. Follow along with the fun on Twitter–check for hashtag #citeNLM2018!

(Thanks to NNLM-MAR for this post!)

Categories: RML Blogs

NLM’s 2017-2027 Strategic Plan

Fri, 2018-03-16 15:56

“Every day more than four million people use NLM resources; every hour, a petabyte of data moves in or out of our computing systems.”

The National Library of Medicine Board of Regents has released the Strategic Plan for 2017-2027: “A Platform for Biomedical Discovery and Data-Powered Health.” Working in conjunction with NLM planning staff, the Board identified themes to use as a framework to develop future priorities and directions. Public input was solicited on these themes:

  • Advancing data science, open science, and biomedical informatics
  • Advancing biomedical discovery and translational science
  • Supporting the public’s health: clinical systems, public health systems
    and services, and personal health
  • Building collections to support discovery and health in the 21st century

In addition, the following topics were considered across the four themes: partnerships, user communities, user engagement and educational outreach, international engagement,health disparities, standards, infrastructure, workforce development, research needs and funding.

The Strategic Plan introduces three major goals:

  1. Accelerate discovery and advance health by providing the tools for data-driven research.
  2. Reach more people in more ways through enhanced dissemination and engagement pathways.
  3. Build a workforce for data-driven research and health.

From Dr. Patricia Brennan’s introduction:

  • Data-driven discovery requires sophisticated library and information science to open the door to thrilling new prospects for improving the public health, as well as informatics and data science to deliver insights and solutions.
  • The migration of clinical care from hospital to home challenges NLM to reach into these places where health occurs, not just where care is delivered.
  • Governmental and scientific forces are aligning under a philosophy that innovation is accelerated if data flow freely, that the results of government-sponsored research should be open to the public as quickly as possible, and that linking scientists, citizens, and industry yields social benefits.
  • Libraries continue to be essential places for knowledge repositories and community gathering, yet the advent of self-directed search, e-publishing and consolidation of hospital library services challenges librarians and libraries to devise new services and solutions.

Your comments on the Strategic Plan are welcome. Please send to: NLM Director’s Office (

Categories: RML Blogs

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction

Wed, 2018-03-14 17:47

A new guideline released by the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse has recommended that opioid addiction should be treated with prescribed medication when possible. A national review committee which vetted the guideline included primary care physicians, addiction medicine specialists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, all of whom received no funding from the pharmaceutical industry. Short term detox treatment, without further intervention and followup, is not recommended by the committee. “The guideline advises against detox programs that discharge patients after several days, with no further addiction treatment or medication to support recovery.”1

As stated by the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse “Detoxification alone does not address the psychological, social, and behavioral problems associated with addiction and therefore does not typically produce lasting behavioral changes necessary for recovery. Detoxification should thus be followed by a formal assessment and referral to drug addiction treatment.”2

Medication-assisted treatment of Opioid Use Disorder is an effective response, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which offers MATx, a free mobile app to support medication-assisted treatment (MAT) of opioid use disorder. “It is the use of medications, in combination with behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Individuals receiving MAT often demonstrate dramatic improvement in addiction-related behaviors and psychosocial functioning.”3

Further information on treatment for Opioid Use Disorder can be found through SAMHSA, Medications for Opioid Use Disorder for Healthcare and Addiction Professionals, Policymakers, Patients, and Families; The National Institute on Drug Abuse: Effective Treatment for Opioid Addiction; PubMedHealth; and Cochrane Reviews.



Categories: RML Blogs

Monthly PNR Rendezvous webinar, March 21

Wed, 2018-03-14 11:09

Join us for the next PNR Rendezvous session, “Institutional Library Services in Washington State”

This session of PNR Rendezvous will provide an overview of institutional library services in Washington state, including history, challenges, and information regarding services for incarcerated populations. Attendees will find this session informative no matter in which state you reside.

Presenters: Anna Nash, Institutional Librarian and Kathleen Benoun, Library Associate, Washington State Library

Registration is encouraged.

The session is worth 1 Medical Library Association (MLA) CE credit for attending the live session or watching the recording. The recording will be posted a few days later on the PNR Rendezvous web page, scroll down to Past Classes.

When: March 21 starting at 1:00pm PT, Noon Alaska Time, 2:00pm MT

Register and learn how to join the webinar 

Hope to see you there!

Categories: RML Blogs

NLM Resources: LactMed for Nurses

Thu, 2018-03-08 16:40

LactMed, a free database about drugs and lactation, is produced by the National Library of Medicine. It is available via the website,, or as a mobile app. LactMed provides information on many of the drugs and chemical to which nursing mothers may be exposed, including dietary supplements. The information contained in LactMed includes: Summary statement about use of the drug during lactation; Measurement of levels of the drug in breastmilk; Effects in breastfed infants; Effects on lactation; Alternate drugs to consider.

References to research studies are also included with each entry (with links to the citations in PubMed), and all of the data in LactMed is a result of peer-reviewed literature. The database is updated monthly to reflect current research. Records may be downloaded and/or printed for yourself or for your patients.

Summary of Use During Lactation: This part of the record offers guidance on the use of the drug or substance during breastfeeding. It summarizes the important points which are provided in the record. If there are conflicting recommendations by experts, the summary mentions all and gives citations to the research.

Drug Levels, Maternal and Infant: This section summarizes studies that have measured drug concentrations in breastmilk, and serum or urine concentration in infants.

Effects in Infants: Known side effects from the published literature are included here, using an adverse drug reaction assessment methodology which categorizes reactions as definite, probable, possible, or unlikely to have been caused by the medication.

Effects on Lactation: All possible effects of the drug on lactation are listed here, in addition to extrapolated information from drugs with similar pharmacology.

Alternative Drugs to Consider: This sections lists drugs that have common uses with the drug being searched, and have a record included in the LactMed databse.

LactMed also includes over 100 dietary supplements (such as Black Cohosh, Cranberry, Dandelion, Elderberry, Fenugreek, Glucosamine, Hibiscus, Lavendar). Supplements may be searched by name in the search box, or a list may be retrieved by typing “complementary therapies”, with quotes, in the search box.

Since nurses are such important advocates for breastfeeding, LactMed is a valuable tool. Both the healthcare provider and the nursing mother can benefit from its use.

Categories: RML Blogs

Focus Group for Public Library Workers

Mon, 2018-03-05 14:55

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine and the Public Library Association are continuing to partner with an opportunity for public library staff, both professional and paraprofessional, to participate in virtual focus groups this spring.

The purpose of the research is to better understand the challenges and rewards of providing health information in public libraries. We are interested in library workers’ questions, experiences, concerns and success stories – it’s all useful to us!

The focus groups will happen by telephone and will last 1.5 hours; we are scheduling on all days of the week except Sundays. Audio tapes will be made of the groups and only members of the study team will transcribe these audiotapes. No individual person or library will be identified in the transcripts or publications; individual speakers will be referred to as, for example, “Reference Assistant Kansas-1.” Participation will last approximately 1.5 hours. As a token of our appreciation, each participant will receive an Amazon gift card worth $25 (which can be donated to your library if employees are not permitted to be compensated).

If you can help us by participating, thank you!

We encourage you to sign up and contact Catherine Arnott-Smith directly:

Catherine Arnott Smith
Preferred contact: Email: 
Office phone: 608-890-1334

Associate Professor,
The Information School
University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 N. Park Street Madison, WI 53706

Categories: RML Blogs

DataFlash: Love Data Week Poetry

Thu, 2018-02-15 18:35

For your Love Data Week poetry enjoyment…

Life is filled with normal distributions
But you are an outlier
You skewed my mean(ing)
Showing me a world beyond average
Somehow helping me find my significance
And yet still bring me back to center

For researchers loving their data,
There are no divisions or strata!
Their passion is strong
As the grip of King Kong,
And their tables and charts even greata!

Your still have time to submit your Love Data Week poem! Post it to @NNLM_RD3 and let the world know how much you love data.

Categories: RML Blogs

DataFlash: Data Horror Stories

Thu, 2018-02-15 18:00

In the spirit of Love Data Week’s 2018 theme, Data Stories, it’s important to consider cautionary tales as well as good outcomes. We should, after all, learn from our mistakes. Perhaps the best known collection of data horror stories is Dorothea Salo’s Research Data Management Horror Stories pinboard. Dorothea, a University of Wisconsin academic librarian and library-school instructor, has been pinning data tales of woe since 2010.

We probably all have our own personal examples of data hell, but here are a few of my favorite themes…

  • Submitting a grant proposal and neglecting to include a well thought out data management plan. Proposal rejected. Research flat lines.
  • Gathering your identifiable biomedical data without adequately consulting with your Institutional Review Board (IRB). Collateral damage.
  • Neglecting to develop and implement a detailed naming convention for your data files. Data hot mess.
  • Neglecting to maintain thorough metadata for your datasets, models, and algorithms. Data bedevilment.
  • Failing to sync and back up your data in three separate locations. Deadly data loss.
  • Dismissing the need to follow guidelines to insure the security of your data. Data access nightmare.
  • Saving your data to a proprietary file format that is on the verge of insolvency. Walking dead data.
  • Disregarding the need to place your data in an appropriate repository that provides long term access and maintenance. Evil dead data.
  • Facing the shame of having your publication retracted due to data irregularities. The horror. The horror.

For the love of all things organized, don’t let your researchers be condemned to these nine circles of data hell!

Categories: RML Blogs

February PNR Rendezvous webinar- decolonizing data

Wed, 2018-02-14 10:47

Join us for our next PNR Rendezvous, “Hope From Our  Grandmothers: Decolonizing Data Through Stories of Resilience”

When: Wednesday, February 21, 1:00pm PT, Noon Alaska Time, 2:00pm MT

Much research has been historically rooted in controlling American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) and other indigenous peoples to exploit land and natural resources, or even heredity and group identity. Yet, AIAN community ties, tribal sovereignty rights and claims, and cultural values are emerging as critical elements of resiliency key to reversing the very health and social issues that have plagued indigenous populations as a whole since the dawn of colonization. The practice of research and utilizing information collected by means of observation, hypothesis-testing, repetition of experiment and sound conclusions to inform decision-making, have been integral to indigenous survival and well being for centuries. This webinar will review some of the modern scientific values in comparison to AIAN ways of knowing and provide examples of indigenous research concepts as they align with decolonizing data.

Speaker: Rose James, PhD (Lummi), Director of Evaluation and Research for the Urban Indian health Institute

The session qualifies for 1 MLA (Medical Library Association) CE credit whether attending the live session or watching the recording.

Registration is encouraged though not required. Register and learn how to join the session

Categories: RML Blogs