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Archive for 2009

It’s Time to Dust Off Your Unique Historical Materials!

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Does your institution’s collection contain unique historical health science materials (books, papers, images, artifacts, etc.)?  Would you be willing to answer reference questions about these materials?  Can you fill interlibrary loan requests for circulating items?  If you answered yes to these questions, your institution should be added to the National Library of Medicine’s Directory of History of Medicine Collections!

Preserving health sciences materials is an important part of the National Library of Medicine’s mission.  In addition to its own large collections, the NLM has created a directory of historical materials to highlight unique collections at other institutions and to provide contact information to researchers wishing to access them.  The NLM has asked its Regional Medical Libraries to identify collections in each region that should be included.

Inclusion in the directory is a great way to increase awareness of the depth of your collection and to reach more people interested in accessing your holdings.  You will also be helping the NLM to promote History of Medicine resources.  Please complete the brief information sheet and send it to Crystal Smith at the NLM so your collection can be added.  You will be asked to provide a description of your collection’s pertinent holdings and contact information for the directory entry.  Check out the University of Washington’s Rare Book and Special Collections for an example.  All participating institutions receive a complimentary copy of the print Directory every two years.

If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Burroughs, NN/LM PNR Associate Director, at, 206-543-9261 or 1-800-338-7657.

You can also contact Crystal Smith, History of Medicine Division, NLM, at, 301-496-9225.

When Technology Tries to Tweak You

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Many of us spend the majority of our work day sitting at our desks, typing away on our computer keyboards, and looking at our monitor screens.  When we’re not doing that, we are on our cell phones, often balancing it between our shoulder and our ear while rummaging through a purse or backpack.  Of course, we can also multitask by text messaging on the bus, at the airport, or just about anywhere else.  While technology offers convenience and mobility, our bodies are simply not designed for sitting at computers or  looking down at a small screen for long periods of time.


Call for Proposals: Technology Improvement Awards, Winter 2010

Friday, December 11th, 2009

We are excited to announce another round of funding from the NN/LM PNR to support purchase, installation, and/or upgrading of hardware and software to enhance access to health information.

Up to three (3) awards of up to $5,000 each are available to NN/LM member organizations in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The purpose of these awards is to enhance the capacity of a library or organization to offer electronic health information services for health professionals or health consumers.

This funding can be used for:

  • computer equipment, scanning or document imaging equipment, or other hardware
  • software for Internet or Web-based transmission of documents
  • Internet access fees
  • trainings or demonstrations related to a new information service

Applications from community-based organizations are especially welcome.

A spring 2007 assessment of libraries in the Pacific Northwest revealed a number of technology and connectivity gaps including the need for wireless Internet access, facilities for computer-based instruction, document delivery equipment, and other hardware and software upgrades. This funding is intended to help libraries and other member organizations to meet those needs. We hope that this funding can also provide an opportunity for network members to collaborate with their institutional Information Technology personnel. We were pleased to award technology improvement project funding to three network member organizations in the fall of 2008 and to five more in spring 2009. Those projects are currently underway.

We aim for recipients of these awards to be distributed across our five state region. Priority will be given to proposals that:

1. Respond to a previously identified health information access need

2. Have active support of the institution’s information technology staff

3. Include a clear strategy for evaluating project outcomes

Consideration of requests for funding will begin on March 1, 2010. Proposals should be submitted using the Technology Improvement Awards Application form .

For additional information, see the official funding announcement or contact Alison Aldrich, NN/LM PNR Technology Outreach Coordinator, at , 1-800-338-7657.

Help Shape the Healthy People 2020 Objectives

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

The Healthy People goals and objectives establish a broad set of national priorities for disease prevention and health promotion. Every ten years, stakeholders representing government and non-government public health agencies come together to negotiate a set of objectives for the next decade. These objectives have important implications for research and funding opportunities.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is currently inviting public comment on the proposed topic areas and objectives for Healthy People 2020.


Distance Learning Class Announcement: Beyond an Apple a Day

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Apple jumping out of the water, by AHMED...
Apple Jumping Out of the Water, by AHMED…

Looking for some consumer health information education in the New Year?

Registration for a free, asynchronous online learning course via Moodle (what does that mean?) of Beyond an Apple a Day: Providing Consumer Health Information at Your Library is now open at Class will begin on Monday, January 4, 2010 and end on Sunday, February 7. Once the enrollment limit has been reached information will be available at the registration website on how to be placed a waitlist for this or a future offering of the course.

Beyond an Apple a Day will be offered for 4 units of continuing education credit and is a Category A course option for the Medical Library Association’s (MLA) Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) program. We look forward to having you join us!

Minding Gaps and Visualizing Data

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Gapminder is an international non-profit organization with a mission to better use statistics for “minding the gaps” in socioeconomic indicators within and among populations. Gapminder World features colorful animated graphs that show trends over time in a very compelling way.

In this video, Gapminder founder Hans Rosling interprets a graph about global development over the last 200 years:

[11/30 Update: If YouTube is blocked for you, you can watch this same video (but without narration) here, or try this video on TeacherTube.]

The software behind Gapminder is called Trendalyzer. Google acquired Trendalyzer in 2007. Now you can create your own Trendalyzer animations using Google Spreadsheets and the Google Gadget Motion Chart.

Science librarians and researchers will appreciate this motion chart from the site, a project of Dr. Carl Bergstrom’s lab at the University of Washington. The motion chart shows the relative impact of scholarly journals over time.