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Archive for November, 2010

Healthy People 2020 Launch December 2, 2010

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) invites everyone to be part of the launch of Healthy People 2020 on Thursday, 2 December 2010, 10AM – 12 PM, CT. If unable to attend in person, participation via Web streaming is available, but requires advance registration.

For more than 30 years, Healthy People has provided a public health road map and compass for the country. Join as the US Department of Health and Human Services unveils health promotion and disease prevention objectives for the next decade.

The event on December 2, 2010, will mark the beginning of Healthy People 2020 and the official release of the decade’s national health promotion and disease prevention objectives. The program will include remarks from the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard K. Koh and members of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2020. There will be an introduction and orientation to the Healthy People 2020 Web site and objectives, followed by a panel discussion about the uses of Healthy People 2020.

The launch will be held at the Jack Morton Auditorium of the George Washington University, 805 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20052. You can ask live questions via Webcast and Twitter. To attend the launch or participate via Web streaming, register by visiting

Follow Healthy People on Twitter at

NLM Emergency Access Initiative for Haiti Extended

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Emergency Access Initiative,, has been extended through December 18 for access to resources usually available only by subscription. Publishers are providing access only for those affected by the cholera outbreak in Haiti and for those providing assistance to the affected population.

Click on Online Databases for access to Cochrane, DynaMed, and UpToDate. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews has relevant materials under “cholera.” DynaMed has an entry for “Cholera” and UpToDate has a section titled “Overview of Vibrio cholerae infection.” Over 70 online textbooks and over 200 journals are also available.

NLM also has a topic page, “Health Resources for Haiti, Post-Earthquake,” with information about cholera in the top section labeled “Earthquakes and Health.” Some resources are also in Spanish, French, or Haitian Creole.

MedlinePlus offers cholera information for the general public at in English and in Spanish.

MeSH First Edition Available Online

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Medical Subject Heading coverFeeling nostalgic about MeSH (Medical Subject Headings)?

As part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of MeSH, the National Library of Medicine’s History of Medicine Division has scanned the first edition and mounted it on the web:

If you are particularly interested in the early history of MeSH, you may want to read the original volume’s Preface by Frank B. Rogers.

Print Versus Electronic: The Great Book Debate Continues

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Stack of books and a Kindle reader

This week many librarians and information professionals tuned in for the Medical Library Association’s educational webcast “The ABCs of e-Books: Strategies for the Medical Library“. The webcast featured good tips for dealing with the acquisition and cataloging of e-books. Additional emphasis was given to better promoting e-books in library collections. Cataloging and acquisition processes aside, what really makes e-books so different from print books, and which medium is better? This debate has continued for quite awhile with both sides producing intriguing arguments.

This year the online publication posted 2 articles relating to the e-book versus print debate. The e-book post evaluated 5 advantages of e-books and the print book post explored 5 advantages of paper books. Advantages explored in the e-books post included built in options such as dictionaries which make reading for comprehension easier. Additional advantages of e-books included the ability to highlight information, take digital notes and more easily search for information. Advantages of print books related to tactile aspects such as the feel and packaging of the book. Also explored were the ability to share, keep or purchase a second hand book which is lacking in the digital domain.

Additional information about the real differences between e-books and print books are also available. Stephen Abram’s recent article “P-Books vs. E-Books: Death Match?“, available in the September issue of Information Outlook, provides further insights and explores more advantages of each book type. The article is available with a subscription to Information Outlook.

Statistics show that e-books sales continue to grow. Acknowledging the changing trends in digital publishing, the New York Times announced this week that it will begin ranking e-book best sellers in both fiction and nonfiction categories in the coming year. As e-books become more commonplace and the market continues to change, how will libraries adapt to and integrate e-books into their holdings? How will e-books change the text and medical book field? Staying informed and up to date on emerging trends is one of the best ways libraries can prepare for the transitions now on the horizon.

MedlinePlus Connect and Electronic Health Records

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Today the National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces MedlinePlus Connect (, a free service that allows electronic health records (EHR) systems to link users to MedlinePlus (, an authoritative up-to-date health information resource for patients, families and health care providers. MedlinePlus provides information about conditions and disorders, medications, and health and wellness.

MedlinePlus Connect accepts requests for information on diagnoses (problem codes) and medications. NLM mapped MedlinePlus health topics to two standard diagnostic coding systems used in EHRs: ICD-9-CM and SNOMED CT CORE Problem List Subset.  When an EHR submits a request to MedlinePlus Connect, the service returns the closest matching health topic as a response.  MedlinePlus Connect also links EHR systems to drug information written especially for patients. For medication codes, MedlinePlus Connect accepts RXCUIs and NDCs. The API for using this service conforms to the HL7 Context-Aware Knowledge Retrieval (Infobutton) Knowledge Request URL-Based Implementation specification.

MedlinePlus responds to problem code requests in either English or Spanish. Currently, it supports requests for drug information in English only.  NLM is working on adding laboratory test responses to MedlinePlus Connect. We will also support an XML-based Web service at a future date.

You can find more background and technical information at If you are an EHR owner or developer interested in staying up-to-date on technical developments with MedlinePlus Connect, or talking to other organizations that are using it, join the free email list at To send questions or feedback, use the MedlinePlus Contact Us link at

EDUCAUSE Releases ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and IT

Friday, November 5th, 2010

EDUCASE has released the annual ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology. In order to shed light on how information technology (IT) affects the college experience, EDUCAUSE has been tracking and reporting information through the ECAR report since 2004. This information can assist librarians and educators to better understand how today’s students use and interact with information technology. By better understanding the types of technology that today’s undergraduates rely upon, better foundations can be built for distributing information to library users.

The 2010 study is a longitudinal extension of the annual studies from 2004 through 2009. The data was collected from 36,950 freshmen and seniors at 100 four-year institutions and 27 two-year institutions.

The study provides insights regarding use of web technology and mobile technologies and the impact that technology has on both education and social behaviors. Knowing how today’s undergraduates are already interacting with information technology can help libraries prepare for the technology needs of these students as they get ready for graduate and medical school.

OLDMEDLINE Back to 1946

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

OLDMEDLINE now includes citations from 1946.  The National Library of Medicine  has been converting pre-1966 citations into PubMed over the last few years.  Now there are 20 years worth of citations (about 2 million) in OLDMEDLINE.

OLDMEDLINE is Another Year Older with the Addition of the 1946 CLML Citations. NLM Tech Bull. 2010 Nov-Dec;(377):e1.

PubMed Author ID Project

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

From the Nov-Dec 2010 NLM Technical Bulletin:

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is developing a system that will address the problem of ambiguous author names within PubMed and facilitate accurate search and retrieval of a participating author’s works. The specifics of PubMed Author ID, as the system is now known, are still evolving. It is currently envisioned that authors (or their designees) would register for the service through My NCBI and identify their research articles in PubMed using provided tools; this identification of articles will allow NCBI to link alternate names/spellings associated with an individual. The anticipated launch for PubMed Author ID is in mid-2011.

PubMed® Author ID Project. NLM Tech Bull. 2010 Nov-Dec;(377):e2.

PubMed Enhanced with Images

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Citations in PubMed now include images from the new NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) Images database. The database has more than 2.5 million images and figures from medical and life sciences journals. Images is expected to have a wide range of uses for a variety of user groups. These include the clinician looking for the visual representation of a disease or condition, the researcher searching for studies with certain types of analysis, the student seeking diagrams that elucidate complex processes such as DNA replication, the professional or educator looking for an image for a presentation, and the patient wanting to better understand his disease. Currently the only the images from PubMed Central are available.

The images display in the PubMed Abstract view as a strip of thumbnails.  Mousing over the image will show a preview image.

For more details, see: Canese K. PubMed® Display Enhanced with Images from the New NCBI Images Database. NLM Tech Bull. 2010 Sep-Oct;(376):e14.

For more about the Images database, see the press release.

My NCBI’s My Bibliography

Monday, November 1st, 2010

PubMed citations can now be added to My NCBI’s My Bibliography using Send to.

Canese K. Enhanced PubMed® My Bibliography Feature. NLM Tech Bull. 2010 Sep-Oct;(376):e13.