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Archive for February, 2011

Consumer Health Information Service Guide Updated

Friday, February 25th, 2011

The Consumer And Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS) of the Medical Library Association (MLA) has finished reviewing and updating their guide, Managing a Consumer Health Information Service (CHIS). This can be found in the menu on the lower left hand corner of the website

Users will find current recommendations and bibliographies for all aspects of creating and managing consumer health information services, including planning, funding, promotion and evaluation.

Many articles previously posted have been reviewed and updated, and there are over a dozen new articles, including: A Case Study Based Training for Consumer Health Library Support Staff, Consumer Health Library User Satisfaction Surveys, To Lend or Not to Lend, an Important Consideration for all Consumer Health Libraries, and The Use of Social Networking in Managing a Consumer Health Information Service.

Kudos to Committee Members Barbara M. Bibel, Francesca Frati, Mary L. Gillaspy, Deborah Magnan and Donna McCloskey, to Webmaster Gillian Kumagai, and to all the authors who submitted articles, for all their work on this project!

NLM & You: The Video Contest

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

NLM Logo

In honor of its 175th anniversary the National Library of Medicine is sponsoring a video contest. Awards including a $1,000 grand prize is being offered for the best video. Videos must be 30 to 60 seconds long, posted to YouTube and address one or more of the following questions. How has an NLM product or service helped you:

  • Solve a health problem or enabled you to help a loved one?
  • Carry out research or make a new discovery?
  • Make a difference in clinical treatment or help a client or patient?
  • Write a report?

YouTube Icon

Who can enter: The contest is open to US citizens or permanent residents at least 13 years of age. NIH and NLM employees, contractors and their immediate family members may not enter.

Entry deadline: Post videos to YouTube and submit entry form online by midnight EST on March 31, 2011. NLM will notify grand prize winner and runners up via email by May 15, 2011, with a public announcement on the NLM website following notification.

Find complete details and submit your video online at:

Supercomputers for $1000, Please Alex

Friday, February 18th, 2011

This week the popular game show Jeopardy! aired a three part special pitting two human contestants, Jen Jennings and Brad Rutter, against IBM’s latest supercomputer, Watson.

IBM has a history of pushing the limits of computer programming and artificial intelligence. The famous 1996 and 1997 chess tournaments between and Deep Blue and world champion Garry Kasparov demonstrated the advances in computer programming.

While Deep Blue was built specifically to play chess, IBM’s latest foray into deep technology relates to programming specifically designed for artificial intelligence question answering, DeepQA.

So just what or who is Watson? According to IBM, “Watson is an application of advanced natural language processing, information retrieval, knowledge representation and reasoning, and machine learning technologies to the field of open domain question answering.” Watson is made up of 90 servers and hundreds of algorithms and uses massively parallel processing. New technologies allowed researchers at IBM to create a system that bridges the principles of data analytics and supercomputing.

For those who have not had the opportunity to watch Watson in action, I will leave that up to the many videos featuring the Jeopardy! game. Watching the technology in action and knowing that Watson was able to quickly and accurately respond without being connected to the internet is an interesting and amazing feat.

Now that the Jeopardy! challenge is over, how will IBM use the DeepQA technologies? One way will possibly be to revolutionize the health care industry and research capabilities. Many libraries are becoming more involved in e-science. Data acquisition and curation are an important part of e-science, and perhaps with IBM’s search technologies, physicians will be better able to access data and use it to make informed decisions for patient care and research.

The following video is from IBM and features a discussion of how Watson may be used in the health care arena.

Many articles and blog posts have been published about IBM’s move to use Watson technology in health care. Many groups are anticipating seeing this technology employed in the health care area in the next 18-24 months. The Wall Street Journal reports that Columbia University and the University of Maryland School of Medicine will both be working with IBM on upcoming medical projects.

Road to Health Diabetes Toolkit Webinar

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

National Diabetes Education ProgramThe Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) U.S.-Mexico Border Office will be holding a webinar to raise awareness about how The Road to Health Toolkit of the National Education Program on Diabetes (NDEP), can be used, adopted and implemented in communities.

Friday  February 18, 2011
13:00 hrs – 14:30 hrs (MST)
15:00 hrs – 16:30 hrs (EST)
(Session will be in Spanish)

People who register in advance and participate in the virtual session will receive The Road to Health Kit.

February 7, 2011 National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Today,  February 7, the nation observes the 11th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the first reports of AIDS in the United States.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, African Americans have been deeply affected by HIV. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blacks make up just 14-percent of the total U.S. population yet represent almost half of those living with HIV and about half of those with AIDS who die each year.

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which now guides all federal HIV/AIDS-related efforts and programs, recognizes the disproportionate impact of HIV on African American communities. The strategy promotes HIV testing for at-risk groups and stresses the importance of getting people who are living with HIV into care.

Federal departments and agencies with HIV/AIDS programs have developed detailed plans to implement the strategy, and are working together on cross-agency initiatives, like the 12 City Project, which supports comprehensive planning and cross-agency response in 12 communities hit hardest by HIV and AIDS.

To learn more visit: ;; and

NN/LM SCR Office Weather Closure

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

winter weather conditions

Due to inclement weather expected in Houston, Texas, the NN/LM SCR office
will be closed on Friday, February 4, 2011.

The office will resume regular hours on Monday, February 7, 2011.


Do More With Those Photos

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

animoto icon

Many of us take photos to document events around our library or organization. Digital cameras have become ubiquitous resulting in more photo opportunities.

Today photos are typically being captured at events such as lectures, symposiums and during staff activities. Chances are many organizations have a treasure trove of photos documenting events. One of the easiest ways to preserve and showcase these photos is through an online photo album hosted through a site such as Flickr or Picasa. Online photo albums allow visitors to your website to go back and take a look at past events they may have attended.

To make viewing all the photos more interactive and fun, consider creating a video slide show using a service such as Animoto. With Animoto you can organize photos and add text and background music. The online application will add transitions to make the photo viewing experience look professional. No need for advanced editing skills, Animoto’s easy to use interface allows you to upload photos and then reorder them to tell your story. Drop in text to add emphasis and detail to your slide show.

Animoto provides access to royalty free music selections which makes adding background music to a video quick and easy. Additionally, you can add any background track you like. Using free services such as Audacity, allows you to create a voice over and provide some narration for the project. Once you are happy with the arrangement of photos, text and music, Animoto will put in transitions and animation to make a video out of your photos. Watch the video online and decided if you want to edit. With one click you can edit or remix the video to get the best quality video for your needs.

Animoto offers a free service which is limited to 30 second videos. To make full length videos there are two subscription levels available, both of which can be billed monthly. Canceling a paid service does not mean losing access to your videos. Re-subscribe at any time to begin editing your videos or creating new ones. Create promotional videos to share on your website, Facebook or YouTube account.

The following Animoto project was created to share some of the photos taken over the last five years in the South Central Region.

History of MeSH Videocast

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

On November 18th, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) marked the 50th anniversary of MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) with a talk by Robert Braude, PhD  entitled MeSH at 50 – 50th Anniversary of Medical Subject Headings. An archive of this videocast is available at:

MeSH was first published in 1960. The seeds of MeSH were planted in December 1947. The Army Medical Library, the NLM predecessor, sponsored a Symposium on Medical Subject Headings in 1947. Participants, who included Seymour Taine, Thelma Charen, and Eugene Garfield, considered the challenges of the bibliographical control of publications. It was noted that the increasing complexity of scientific literature necessitated increasingly sophisticated approaches to organization and access. The participants recognized that the issue of a subject authority was not an academic exercise. Rather, subject cataloging and the subject indexing of journal articles were acknowledged as the essence of bibliographic control. The needs of the user of scientific information was to be always at the forefront in creating a set of medical subject headings that were made equally for subject description of books and for indexing of journal articles.

That first edition of MeSH  represented a departure from the then usual library practice. MeSH contained 4300 descriptors, and it was designed to be used for both indexing and cataloging. It is likely the first vocabulary engineered for use in an automated environment for production and retrieval.  MeSH continues to evolve and grow. The 2011 edition contains more than 26,000 subject headings in an eleven-level hierarchy and 83 subheadings. Annual revision and updating are ongoing to assure that MeSH remains useful as a way to categorize medical knowledge and knowledge in allied and related disciplines for retrieval of key information. MeSH is 50 years old and new each year.

mesh logo

The speaker: Robert M. Braude received his Masters of Library Science in 1964 from UCLA. In 1965, he attended MEDLARS training at the National Library of Medicine and his talk reflects on his 45 years of life with MeSH.   In 1987 he received a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Nebraska and he was Director of the Mid-Continental Regional Medical Library. His career included positions as director of three academic health science libraries, and he has served on many NLM Committees and Panels such as IAMS Review Committees, the Planning Panels on Medical Informatics and NLM Outreach Programs, and the Biomedical Library Review Committee. He is a past  Janet Doe Lecturer, a Fellow of the Medical Library Association and Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics.

The talk was co-sponsored by the Division of the History of Medicine and the Medical Subject Headings Section, NLM

Digital Literacy Working Group

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The Digital Literacy Working Group, composed of representatives from a variety of U.S. government agencies is gathering materials to create a digital literacy web portal. The portal will connect people to the most current resources on digital literacy. The goal is to provide access to free, high-quality, widely used, and available programs, resources, training, and curricula inside and outside of the Federal Government.

If you have a resource, image, video, or tool that might be helpful for this portal and would like to be featured on the website, please email the name of the resource, the URL where the resource is located, and a brief description of the resource to  Please identify the subject area that the digital literacy resource addresses, where applicable (e.g., educators, health, computers), and gauge the skill level (e.g., beginner, intermediate, or advanced) you believe is required to successfully access and use the resource provided.

Content needs to follow the convention of appropriateness. Therefore, they will not include links that:

  • Contain vulgar language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms that target specific ethnic or racial groups
  • Promote services or products (non-commercial links that are relevant to digital literacy are acceptable)
  • Are off-topic
  • Are political endorsements
  • Make unsupported accusations or
  • Solicit financial contributions.

If you have questions, please send them to