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

PNR News

Subscribe to PNR News feed
News from the Northwest and Beyond
Updated: 4 min 18 sec ago

Data Flash: “Storage Wars”

Wed, 2018-07-11 05:00

You may have seen the feature on the front page of our website, “Where in the World are the PNR Coordinators?” But, we don’t always report back on our travels!  So, here is a quick view of a conference I attended on behalf of the NNLM-PNR, that took place in Bozeman, MT last month, called “Open Repositories 2018”.  What is an open repository?  I like this definition from the “Repositories Support Project”:

“A digital repository is a mechanism for managing and storing digital content. Repositories can be subject or institutional in their focus. Putting content into an institutional repository enables staff and institutions to manage and preserve it, and therefore derive maximum value from it… Repositories use open standards to ensure that the content they contain is accessible in that it can be searched and retrieved for later use.”

I don’t work with repositories directly, so this conference was basically like drinking water from a fire hose.  The attendees were a mix of librarians/library staff and people from the IT side of running repositories, meaning that my comprehension of a given session could range from about 5% (for the very techie ones) to 100%.  And that was fine—I got a great introduction to the issues involved in starting and running repositories, and learned about some new trends, some areas of conflict and some growing pains (hence the title of this post).  For example, take a look at this presentation by Peter Sefton.  I pretty much understand the whole section above the picture of the boat, and then an average of about 65% of what’s below it; that feels worth it to me!   It was an international conference, so the perspective on how repositories are handled was global.   I would never otherwise have heard of Australian Sefton’s work, or been able to attend a session on the Digital Repository of Ireland.   I even got to spend a full day attending two workshops on Wikidata and Wikipedia editing (did I mention that the NNLM’s next Online Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon is November 7 this year?).

And, one great thing about open conferences and all things open is that you can often gather the content for yourself after the conference even if you didn’t attend it.  Here are some options if you want more information about what happened at this conference:

YouTube stream of everything held in the main session space (including the Digital Repository of Ireland presentation)

Notes from sessions

The program

— Social media: Twitter= @OR2018MT, Instagram= @openrepositories18

I leave you with three photos from the experience.  One is of me with my poster highlighting three of the National Library of Medicine’s eight data sharing repositories: ClinicalTrials.gov, PubChem and GenBank.  And the other two are from my visit to the Museum of the Rockies, which features the most amazing dinosaur exhibit I’ve ever seen, and a thing I love—a historic house which was moved to the museum site, furnished appropriately to the period in which it was built, and staffed by costumed and knowledgeable living history interpreters.

Categories: RML Blogs

Multnomah County Library Community Health Outreach Award

Mon, 2018-07-09 17:42

The Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon received a Community Health Outreach Award from the NNLM PNR to pilot the use of health information kiosks, aimed at people who are experiencing houselessness in Multnomah County. Here is a report of their project from Steph Miller, Programming Librarian — Technology and Workforce Development.

Increasing Access to Credible Health Information for Public Library Patrons Experiencing Houselessness

People who are experiencing houselessness come to public libraries to find information and to use the internet. According to local studies in Multnomah County, Oregon, 57 percent of the population experiencing houselessness also self-identify as having a “disabling condition,” defined as a mental health condition, substance abuse, developmental disability, HIV/AIDS, or another chronic health condition. Experiencing homelessness can make finding health information and communicating with healthcare providers difficult.

With the goal of facilitating access to authoritative health information resources and communication between patients and providers, Multnomah County Library installed health information iPad kiosks at two locations in and near downtown Portland, with the input and support of the Multnomah County Health Department. The library made these kiosks available to library patrons from September 2017 to April 2018. They highlighted a curated list of authoritative online health resources and the online health portal, MyChart, which is a tool through which patients can engage with healthcare providers, view lab results, and more. Project leads also trained key staff at each library, who then supported their colleagues as they helped patrons. Soon after the iPad kiosk was installed in Central Library’s Community Room, where many patrons frequently stay for long periods of time, a colleague shared this feedback and experience:

“This is a great idea! It was totally easy to help a patron today because of the iPad. He just wanted info on a certain medication but he said that he wasn’t very computer literate. I just set him up on the iPad, found the medication on MedlinePlus, and he sat down and read all of the info.”

The measurable result of these efforts during these seven months was that the webpage portal had 840 pageviews. One of the original objectives of the project was to engage influencers amongst people experiencing houselessness, however, this proved difficult, as people without homes need to prioritize finding a home, food and paying jobs and may not have time or access to support this project over a period of time.

This project helped underscore the difficulty of a dynamic public library system committing time and attention (and physical space!) to specific projects with a specific focus like this one, over an extended period of time, in the midst of the many other initiatives, priorities and changes.

Categories: RML Blogs

NIH News in Health

Mon, 2018-07-02 17:08

The July 2018 issue of NIH News in Health is now available. In this issue, information about preparing for menopause and acne are highlighted.

In addition, readers will learn about:

  • the new National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health app, HerbList
  • diet and hearing loss
  • a program for those 60 and older to quit smoking

Anyone can subscribe and access NIH News in Health. The information contained in this monthly publication is for anyone but especially the public with practical news and tips that are based on NIH (National Institutes of Health) research. Individuals can subscribe to receive this monthly newsletter in email and offices, clinics, community centers and libraries in the U.S. may receive print copies for their patients, clients, and patrons for free.

It’s a great way to provide health information for your community from an authoritative source.

Categories: RML Blogs

DataFlash: Staying Informed

Wed, 2018-06-27 17:38

Network Big data and research data management are evolving quickly and it can be challenging to keep up with developments in the field. Social media is a great way to keep track and to ask questions of colleagues, researchers, and vendors. Below are several links worth checking out…

CANLIB-DATA is a listserv for issues related to research data in Canadian libraries, with more than 350 subscribers.

DataCure “is a Google group of librarians and information professionals whose members have significant roles or responsibilities in providing services in managing or curating research data. Datacure exists to provide a safe space for data professionals to talk frankly about their ideas, projects, successes, and struggles with their work.”1

Datalibs distribution list is intended to serve as both a bulletin board for news, upcoming events, and continuing education/job opportunities as well as a forum that librarians can use to post questions or to initiate and engage in discussions. Join via the Journal of eScience Librarianship website.

IASST-L  The International Association for Social Science Information Services and Technology (IASSIST) is an international organization of professionals working with information technology and data services to support research and teaching in the social sciences. Join IAssist ($50 USD annually) to access their organization’s email discussion list IASST-L.

MLA Data-SIG is the Medical Library Association’s data related special interest group. Membership in the MLA is required to access the SIG list serv.

@NNLM_RD3 is the NNLM RD3: Resources for Data-Driven Discovery website’s Twitter feed. When tweeting, use the #datalibs hashtag to reach out to other data librarians.

RDAP or the Research Data Access & Preservation Summit is relevant to the interests of data managers, data curators, librarians working with research data, and researchers and data scientists. RDAP is currently in transition and has moved its listserv to a new server. RDAP’s new e-mail address may be the best place to inquire about further developments.

RESEARCH-DATAMAN is an email discussion list for United Kingdom education and research communities.

The data science departments on your own campus may also host listservs, Twitter sites, Facebook pages, or blogs. The University of Washington’s eScience Institute is just one example of the data related centers available near the PNR’s home base. If you know of additional data related listservs, Google Groups, or Twitter sites, share them with your colleagues by entering them in the comments section below.

 

1  Barbrow S, Brush D and Goldman J. (2017). Research data management and services: Resources for novice data librarians; ACRL College and Research Libraries News, 78(5)

Categories: RML Blogs

Announcing New Funding Opportunities

Wed, 2018-06-20 13:49

The NN/LM PNR is pleased to request proposals for a new round of funding opportunities!  NNLM PNR member organizations in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington are eligible to apply. If your organization is not currently a member, it’s easy to join!   If  you have an idea but are not sure there is a ‘fit’ with these types of awards, please drop us a line (nnlm@uw.edu). We welcome all questions and input.

Applications submitted by August 15, 2018 will receive fullest consideration. If you plan to submit a proposal, we need a brief statement of intent no later than July 25. Please submit your statement of intent to apply to nnlm@uw.edu.

Here are brief descriptions and links to detailed information about current funding opportunities:

Community Health Outreach Award, two awards up to $12,000 each.

This award is to support outreach partnership projects with aims to improve access and use of quality online health information for informed decisions about health in underserved communities. Possible ideas for projects include: 1) Developing an actionable and sustainable plan with library specific offerings to address community health priorities; 2) Symposia, or educational events for health care providers or librarians about health literacy and the skills to identify, access, retrieve, evaluate, and use relevant electronic health information resources for patient and consumer health education; 3) Train-the-trainer projects that enhance the skills of library/organization staff and other consumer health information intermediaries to train a target population on locating and evaluating health information; 4) Acquiring and implementing information technology to facilitate access to authoritative health information resources; 5) Health fairs, exhibits and events to increase awareness and use of electronic resources, including NLM resources.

Data Engagement Award, two awards up to $9,500 each.

This award seeks to build partnerships that demonstrate engagement in research and data through the sharing of expertise and resources. Possible activities include: 1) Developing knowledge and skills of librarians, students, researchers, clinicians or public health workforce about best practices for organizing, managing, sharing and visualizing data; 2) Conducting an environmental scan/needs assessment and with key partners, co-create a road map with actionable plans to start a Research Data Management service in the institution; 3) Collaborating with librarians and clinical staff on use of data in Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to improve patient outcomes; 4) Promoting literacy in data science by sponsoring or developing teaching or learning programs or internships with a school of Library and Information Science or other appropriate partner.

Technology Improvement Award, 5 awards up to $5,000 each.

This award seeks to enhance the capacity of a library or community organization to offer electronic health information services to underserved audiences by supporting the purchase, installation, and/or upgrading of hardware and software.

In short, we want to fund good ideas and hope to see proposals from all corners of the NNLM PNR!

Also, if you are interested in support for continuing education, consider applying for a Professional Development Award, to expand professional knowledge and encourage state of the art services to healthcare providers and/or consumers seeking health information.

 

Categories: RML Blogs

Feedback for PubMed

Mon, 2018-06-18 19:15

PubMed Labs is an experimental site being used to test new technologies, features, and directions for PubMed. It’s also a way to offer feedback to the National Library of Medicine for PubMed 2.0, which will be released in December 2018. PubMed Labs, which consists of all the records found in PubMed, is being used to test new and different features as well as including existing features in its interface. The goal is to improve user experience, and additional features are being added all the time.

PubMed Labs includes a new search algorithm that uses machine learning to more accurately find the best matches. There are several unique aspects, including the default for search results (best match), a revamped search results page, and better mobile optimization. Conduct your searches in PubMed Labs to experiment with potential changes and give your feedback. View a 20 minute presentation by Kathi Canese from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the 2018 Medical Library Association Annual Meeting to learn more.

Categories: RML Blogs

June PNR Rendezvous webinar next week

Wed, 2018-06-13 07:41

The next PNR Rendezvous monthly webinar is coming up.

Session title: Unlocking the Potential of De-identified Clinical Datasets

Presenter: Bas de Veer, Bio-Medical Informatics Services Manager for UW Medicine IT Services

When: Wednesday, June 20 starting at 1:00pm PT, Noon Alaska Time, 2:00pm MT

Healthcare systems generate a ton of data on a daily basis. The primary purpose of this data is billing and clinical decision making. But great secondary use of this data is research. This webinar will discuss the potential uses, best practices and common hurdles of de-identified clinical datasets.

Registration is encouraged but not required. However, attending the live session will allow for questions. The session will be recorded and posted on the PNR Rendezvous web page a few days after the live session.

Medical Library Association CE credit is available for both the live and the recorded session.

More information about how to join the session is available on the PNR Rendezvous webpage.

Categories: RML Blogs

Professional Development Opportunities from the PNR

Mon, 2018-06-11 17:30

The NNLM PNR supports the professional development of its Network Members in several ways, including:

  • PNR Rendezvous
  • PNR Professional Development Lending Library
  • MLA Webinars
  • PNR Professional Development Awards

In addition to our popular PNR Rendezvous, which is a monthly webinar series presented focusing on various topics such as health, research, resources, librarianship, and technology for attendees to incorporate into their work, The NNLM PNR also provides other educational opportunities. The Professional Development Lending Library is a collection of books on topics of interest to medical librarians. Topics included are Administration/Management, Consumer Health, Copyright/Licensing, Data Management, Library Instruction, and Solo Librarianship. Book loans are free to our Network Members. The Medical Library Association provides several educational webinars per year to meet the needs of health information professionals, and the NNLM PNR buys a site license providing access, for which Network Members may register. And, the NNLM PNR also provides Professional Development Awards, which are designed to enable individuals at Network Member institutions to expand professional knowledge through continuing education to provide state of the art services to healthcare providers, researchers and/or consumers seeking health information. Stay tuned for a new round of Professional Development Awards to be announced soon, and please let us know if you have any ideas for additional ways the NNLM PNR can support your professional development.

Categories: RML Blogs

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2018

Thu, 2018-05-31 14:46

Do you produce any digital content that is consumed by other humans? (I’m guessing yes.) You should, if you don’t already, consider how you can make it more universally usable! If you work for a university, you are likely already required to adhere to these standards or something similar.  There are a lot of design techniques and standards in place to help make all sorts of digital content types accessible to people with a great diversity of abilities and disabilities!

Earlier this month, I attended some presentations at the University of Washington as part of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). Every year there are TONS of events all over the world for GAAD, in-person and online, on the topic of accessibility.

This year at the University of Washington, Janelle Raven Apigo showcased various freely available tools which can help you make your websites more accessible: AInspector, WAVE Accessibility Checker, Web Developer Toolbar, and a color contrast checker.

K Wheeler and Shawn Berg demonstrate screen reader software from a podium at the front of a UW classroom

Photo credit: Elizabeth O Lee, DO-IT UW

A little later, K Wheeler and Shawn Berg demonstrated the user experience for some of their preferred assistive technologies, including a built-in iPhone feature called “Speak Screen” and a popular screen reader software called “JAWS.” If you have never seen an assistive technology demo—jump at the chance next time you get one! It is very elucidating as to why accessibility is so important, when you hear what a garbled mess it is when screen reader software has to try to make sense of a badly encoded webpage– and more importantly, how easy a page is to understand when just a few sensible practices are employed in its creation!

Maddie (author of this post) kneeling at a table, attempting to use a projected keyboard, and Smyle Mouse software on a laptop

Photo credit: Elizabeth O Lee, DO-IT UW

Perhaps the most fun was getting to try out some assistive technologies that some representatives from WATAP (Washington Assistive Technology Act Program) brought to showcase!  Here I am attempting to use a keyboard that is just light projected onto the tabletop. The laptop was also using “Smyle Mouse,” a face detection software that enables you to move the cursor around the screen with head movements, and click by smiling!

Assistive technology is continually advancing, but not everyone has access to the most cutting edge technology. Also, no matter how advanced the technology, if a website or a document is constructed poorly enough, it will be frustrating to people using even the most highly advanced assistive tools. (Garbage in = Garbage Out.) What we all can and should be doing now is learning the basics of how to structure documents and webpages so they are clearly organized, how to create descriptive hyperlinks (hint: avoid the text “click here”) and how to write great alternate text or descriptions for graphics.

For a basic overview of accessibility and how to get started, take a look at the University of Washington’s “Getting Started with Accessibility” page. There are a lot of great resources available for anyone to use!

Categories: RML Blogs

Data Flash: What is this GDPR thing I keep hearing about?

Fri, 2018-05-25 20:44

May 25 begins the era of the GDPR, or, General Data Protection Regulation, a new European program with strong enforcement provisions which sets data protection as a default rather than requiring users to opt-out of entities being allowed to use their data (to put it VERY simplistically).  Why should we in the U.S. pay any attention to something applying to European data?  Well….

–The coming tide of companies, governments, and others using and combining and potentially misusing our personal data is no longer a swell, it’s a tsunami (says Tom Wheeler of the Brookings Institute).  The time to act is now, and Europe’s action will have ripple effects.  So it’s a good thing to be aware of the GDPR because something like it will be in our lives eventually (even if not coming soon to a theater near you).

–Many large American companies are already global anyway, and they are having to respond due to their European presence.  Facebook and Apple are two examples.

–Even many smaller U.S. companies and organizations, though they don’t have to protect your data under the GDPR, are proactively notifying you that they are taking steps to do so (you’ve probably seen a lot of these notices in your inbox recently–The New York Times suggests you read them).

–Last but not least, it’s a fascinating new conceptualization of our entitlements as online beings!  The GDPR arguably “enshrines data protection as a fundamental human right“.  It moves the discussion about data and our privacy as individuals WAAAAAY forward and in new directions.

This article, from Vox, puts it well: “…Norms are shifting once more. Looking back, we can frame the development of digital behavior into three phases: First, there was a naiveté phase, where consumers didn’t really understand the technology and what it meant. Then there was the careless phase, where people saw data rights or privacy as either unimportant or an acceptable price of entry to all the good, free stuff. Now it is clear we are entering the demand phase, which sees the emergence of a more savvy, engaged, and alarmed digital consumer — and related movements to create and enforce consumer rights.”

Watch this space–and all of your online presences–for further developments!

 

Categories: RML Blogs

NIH All of Us Research Program National Launch in Pasco, WA

Thu, 2018-05-10 14:18

Tania Bardyn, NNLM PNR Director & Jane Delgado, President and CEO, NAHH

Sunday, May 6 was a beautiful sunny day in Pasco, WA for the NIH’s All of Us Research Program National Launch Event to celebrate the opening of program enrollment to adults age 18+ who are living in the United States. NLM through its National Network of Libraries of Medicine is an NIH All of Us strategic partner. NNLM PNR joined with the National Alliance of Hispanic Health (NAHH), Mid-Columbia Libraries, Richland City Public Library and Tri-Cities Community Health along with many other community partners at a Health and Wellness Fair for the Pasco event. The event was held in the Pasco Town Square and featured a main stage with entertainment all day and live-streaming of Dr Francis Collins, Director, NIH, officially launching the event and Eric Dishman, Director, NIH All of Us Research Program, talking about the historic nature of the program and its importance to the future of health. Tania Bardyn, Director, NNLM PNR spoke on the Pasco main stage as did Jane Delgado, President & CEO, NAHH.

Our event had a fiesta feel to it. The NNLM PNR booth was staffed by Cathy Burroughs, Associate Director, NNLM PNR and Michele Spatz, NNLM PNR All of Us Community Engagement Coordinator with assistance from Fanny Cordero, Spanish Interpreter. We shared lots of NLM and All of Us resources throughout the day and yes, even participated in a bit of zumba!

Cathy Burroughs, Associate Director, NNLM PNR, Fanny Cordero, Spanish Interpreter and Michele Spatz, NNLM PNR All of Us Community Engagement Coordinator

Michele Spatz & Edgar Del Rico, Senior Director for Innovation and Program Development, NAHH

Zumba!

Categories: RML Blogs

A Unique Data Experience: Reflections on ESFCOM’s Inaugural Hackathon

Mon, 2018-05-07 05:00

Today’s blog is by Nancy Shin, Sewell Memorial Fund Librarian Fellow at Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. Welcome, Nancy!

The most extraordinary thing happened to Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine (ESFCOM) the weekend of April 13 -15, 2018.  ESFCOM hosted its inaugural Hackathon, which was organized by the College Technology Incubator Officer, Andrew Richards.  It was well attended by people from all walks of life and subject expertise including students and healthcare providers.  So, the big question is what exactly is a hackathon and why all the hype?

A hackathon is a social event that is focused on building small, innovative, and new technology projects.  It brings together teams of people to work on a common project within an overarching theme; at the end of the event, teams formally present their projects for judging.  The hackathon can last from 4 hours to 1 week (sleep is optional) and can involve large cash purses as prizes.  Typically, projects are technological and can result in the development of a new app or feature on a website in response to a theme; in the case of ESFCOM’s Hackathon, the theme was “challenges in rural healthcare.” The common misconception about a hackathon is that it is an event that is strictly designed for computer programmers, engineers, and software developers – i.e. anyone who codes! However, other skills like research, design, project management, data management, and leadership are also important to the dynamic of an ideal hackathon team.

Arguably the first hackathon was hosted by OpenBSD in 1999, which is an operating system; ten developers came together to work on various software problems over the span of a week (Davis, 2016).  Since then, hackathons have more famously been hosted by various companies like Facebook and Yahoo in 2005 and 2006, respectively, in order to catalyze new innovations in a relatively “risk-free” and “creative” environment (Davis, 2016). In general, hackathons are organized by one of the following communities: open source software companies, tech companies, sponsored competitions, and community institutions (Davis, 2016).

PTme, the winning team

In the health field, a big community hackathon organizer is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which often hosts hackathons with a bioinformatics theme.  Although the ESFCOM’s Hackathon was heavily inspired by MIT’s “Grand Hack & Hacking Medicine,” what makes the community hackathon at ESFCOM so different and unique from other health hackathons is that it encourages a diverse skillset to tackle healthcare problems.  For example, the winning team PTme was made up of a diverse skillset that included developers, medical students, business leaders, and engineering students while my own hackathon team was made up of a mathematician, bioengineer, computer engineer, designer, and health/data librarian.  Another unique feature of the ESFCOM’s Hackathon was the involvement of health librarians in the Spokane area in creating a “Research Station” that provided active research and data management for the participating teams.  The volunteer librarians were able to provide direct research support to assist with each team’s research and data management needs.  It is those two qualities, skill diversity and library support, which makes ESFCOM’s Hackathon one of a kind and a successful model for other health communities/organizations to follow for their future hackathons!

References:

Davis, R. C. (2016). Hackathons for libraries and librarians. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 35(2), 87-91. doi:10.1080/01639269.2016.1208561

Categories: RML Blogs

Children of Incarcerated Parents

Fri, 2018-05-04 17:27

There are over 2.7 million children in the United States who have a parent who is incarcerated. Children who have a parent in prison are impacted in many ways, including mental and physical health. They may face financial hardship, trauma, or social stigma. Disruption of family live may lead to additional problems and negative outcomes for children. Organizations that offer family-oriented support programs for children of incarcerated parents include Youth.gov, which was created by the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, composed of representatives from 20 federal agencies that support programs and services focusing on youth. See their resource page for information for parents and caregivers, teachers, and social work and clinical professionals. The U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Corrections also provides guidance and links to programs on their Children of Incarcerated Parents page. And the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which is a service of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides information on how to support children and families of prisoners. The National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus has resources on childhood and teenage depression and trauma and family issues. Public libraries and community-based organizations can help to direct those in need to these resources.

Categories: RML Blogs

Do You Think Health Sciences Librarians Should Get Involved with Big Data in Healthcare?

Fri, 2018-04-27 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 Sara Pimental, Senior Consultant, Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco, CA

My answer to this question is a qualified yes. However, librarians don’t HAVE to get involved to be successful. I think people panic when they think if they don’t get involved in every aspect of new trends in librarianship they will become obsolete. There are many ways to evolve; big data is just one of them.

Since I am involved in one aspect of utilizing Big Data, I would have to say yes, librarians who have the interest, should get their hands dirty. I can see skills that all librarians possess being useful in all aspects of BIG Data. For those more technically inclined, they should go all the way and become data scientists. Many us use have learned programing languages and other similar tasks and could do very well in this area.

For those of us who have no desire to become so technical but have a curious fondness for metadata there are many niches for that type of person. This is where I have landed. I assist not just with taxonomy and metadata for my website but also with linking structured data from the EHR with clinical information available on the website and soon with subscribed third party. I could envision a librarian’s talents also being useful with unstructured data such as the notes in the EHR.

In conclusion, there are a myriad of ways a librarian can get involved with Big Data. In this class we have learned about quite a few of them. I remember when I attended the opening reception at NLM’s Biomedical Informatics Course at Woods Hole, Dr. Lindberg told us we were change agents. I hope some of the participants of this class become just as inspired.

Categories: RML Blogs

Celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Human Genome Project

Tue, 2018-04-24 11:39

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 MedlinePlus.gov,  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

Pages