EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

Category Archives: Libraries or Librarians

Academic Libraries, News, Current Reports: Storehouses, Tool Sheds and Peripheral Brains

Returning from a blogging-break, I found several links in my email account to a variety of newly-published library-related reports or scholarly articles. Two that I enjoyed reading are referenced below.

We do not yet understand the scholarly significance of large swaths of the digital universe.”

So wrote Dan Hazen, associate librarian of collection management at Harvard College, in his 2010 article, “Rethinking Research Library Collections: A Policy Framework for Straitened Times and Beyond“, available through open access to anyone, and published in 2010 in Library Resources & Technical Services (citation link below).

I especially liked his caption “Libraries as Storehouses, Libraries as Tool Sheds”.  As a mid-career librarian, the life work of my generation have been the planners, implementers and fixers for this migration of library collections from the Real (hold it in your hand, be in the library to read it) to the Virtual (it’s online 24×7 from anywhere you are). Another central issue for research libraries also focuses on historical archiving and reliable preservation of generations of printed, and digital, collections.  The excerpt below from Dr. Hazen’s article summarizes such concerns much more eloquently than I can:

” The mass of information resources now available on the Web, many of them free, is fundamentally changing the library community’s thinking about collections….  Links to freely available digital content, meta-search capabilities that cut across products and platforms, and local aggregations of electronic resources, will all play a growing role in libraries’ collections and content strategies. This in turn will also reduce the physicality of library holdings and alter the functionalities of their spaces.  But we need to go further.  Three aspects of Web-based content require close attention. First, the search engines that today allow users to find materials on the Web are neither transparent nor fully revealing of useful content in predictable ways. Google Scholar, for example, relies upon opaque search algorithms and relevance rankings that appear not to fully exploit the wealth of standards-based metadata that libraries routinely provide. But most libraries do little better, investing their cataloged resources with robust metadata that our discovery tools rarely handle well. Second, sources on the Web—whether websites themselves or the  data, images, objects, and documents embedded within them—are notoriously unstable. Content is added, changed, and removed; links shift around and disappear. Scholarship relies on enduring access to constant content, a goal which remains elusive in the digital domain. Capture, curation, and digital preservation are all implicated in this conundrum.  Third, dispersed and disparate Web content requires tools that can work across amalgamated sets of sources in predictable and repeatable ways. Some of the uses are well-understood, while others reflect a new realm of inquiry that includes text mining, pattern recognition, visualization, and simulation. The needs are perhaps most pressing around massive accumulations of raw data. Libraries, working together and also with academics and information technologists, have an evolving role in creating and supporting the tools that will enable students and scholars to take full advantage of the digital world. It is not yet clear whether lead roles can or should be pre-ordained: arrangements that embody flexibility and contingency seem most likely to succeed. “

Source: Library Resources & Technical Services – Vol.  54(2), pages 115-121. (2010)

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Staff at OCLC collaborated on a report published in 2010, entitled Perceptions of Libraries 2010: Context and Community .  The 59-page report is an update of a 2005 edition, and is available free online from this link. Below is an excerpt from the Conclusion:

Love for librarians remains. Like the library brand, it grew stronger. It seems that self-sufficient information consumers still appreciate expertise and a passion for learning—but they like it best on their time, with their tools. It’s cool to ask an expert—online. It was not cool to ask a librarian for help in 1950 (Public Library Inquiry, 1950); it’s still not cool. Many more perceptions and attitudes have remained the same for the information consumer in the last five years. She still wants to self-serve and self-navigate the info sphere. She discovered the benefits of surfing the Internet by 2003 and, by 2010, was using more powerful tools. She is creating her own apps. She still knows good information when she sees it. She takes her information habits, and perceptions, with her as she ages. While she may be a bit less impressed with online information resources as they have become commonplace, nothing has yet replaced the value and speed of a search engine. And, her personal device connects her to a network where she can share the knowledge gained. She shares her info sphere with older information consumers but does not welcome information gates or gatekeepers. Her advice for libraries: more hours, more content, more computers and of course—more books.


And any librarian in 2011 would not be surprised by this chart (also from the OCLC report):

Source: Both excerpts from OCLChttp://www.oclc.org/reports/2010perceptions/2010perceptions_all.pdf – All rights reserved – Copyright 2011

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* I prefer to believe that our users still have a need for reference librarians who are seasoned … a term much preferable to “old” (!).  However canny, shrewd and wise will also win a smile from those behind that desk.

Just like Dr. Rose, librarians have large peripheral brains too!

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News, Information Seeking Behaviors, Research: Project Information Literacy surveys College Students

Wow…  Been away from blogging for so long I’m relieved to remember how it works! 8) *

Health literacy is a key focus for librarians who interact frequently with patients looking for information about their own health issues.

Larger, more universal information-seeking behaviors and lifelong learning strategies are topics of ongoing interest to two information scientists at the University of Washington Information School who started Project Information Literacy (PIL) in 2008. Lead researcher Alison P. Head is the Co-Director of the project along with Michael Eisenberg, professor at the iSchool. Funding is provided by the MacArthur Foundation.  Here is a description of the scope of PIL from the home page:

Project Information Literacy is a study “across” different types of campuses (community colleges, state colleges, and public and private universities) from different geographic areas in the U.S.  Our goal is to help fill in some of the “missing pieces” of the information literacy puzzle and provide data that helps answer some of the following questions:  1) How do early adults (in their own words) put their information literacy competencies into practice in learning environments in a digital age, regardless of how they may measure up to standards for being information literate? 2) With the proliferation of online resources and new technologies, how do early adults recognize the information needs they may have and in turn, how do they locate, evaluate, select and use the information that is needed? 3) How can teaching the critical and information literacy skills that are needed to enable lifelong learning be more effectively transferred to college students? “

The newest progress report from PIL was published Nov 1 2010 and may be of interest to anyone who uses a real or digital library in 2010, as it describes findings from a large survey of undergraduate students from around the U.S., asking 22 standard questions about how they plan, execute and assess their research efforts for required course work.

It is 72 pages in length, and entitled “Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age“, available free and online for anyone to read. Following is an excerpt from the introduction:

In this [2010] report, we continue our investigation by asking how students evaluate information and use information once they have found it. What difficulties do students encounter with course-related and everyday life research from start to finish? We collected data to answer these questions by administering a student survey in the spring of 2010 to 112,844 undergraduates. Our findings are based on a collective sample of 8,353 students enrolled at 25 U.S. colleges and universities “.

Source: http://projectinfolit.org/pdfs/PIL_Fall2010_Survey_FullReport1.pdf

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I was interested to read these “background” questions that Dr. Head and Dr. Eisenberg wanted to learn more about:

Source: http://projectinfolit.org/pdfs/PIL_Fall2010_Survey_FullReport1.pdf

Their work is of practical value to anyone who uses – or works in – an academic library.

Also see a video about Project Information Literacy on YouTube, at this link.

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*My daughter told me to stop using Smiley Faces, but that “it’s OK because I don’t know any better”.

 

 

 

News, Health Science Literature: Elsevier introduces SciVerse

Wow! For those of us who use information resources produced by Elsevier on a daily basis, it’s been a bit of a shock to tune into Scopus®, SciTopics® or ScienceDirect® this week to see how different they now look. (Or as a corny analogy, that figurative, proverbial 800-pound gorilla sitting in the corner of the room has decided to move house in September 2010.)

On Monday, Aug 30 2010, Elsevier announced their plans to combine and morph these sites into one platform named SciVerse Hub®. Read their press release here. First, I wanted to provide some definitions from the company as to which resources will be combined by this single search engine:

Image Source: http://www.scitopics.com/faq.jsp – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

In plain terms, SciVerse Hub is an entry point for library users to simultaneously search the contents of:

  • Scopus (a subscription database indexing 18,000 titles from more than 5,000 international publishers including coverage of 16,500 peer-reviewed journals in the scientific, technical, medical and social sciences literature)
  • Science Direct (a subscription access point for searching 10 million articles from over 2,500 journals and 6,000+ e-books, reference works, book series and handbooks issued by Elsevier)
  • SciTopics.org (a free online expert-generated knowledge sharing service for the global research community)

Scirus.org® is a scientific search engine (created and maintained by Elsevier).  Scirus currently indexes 38 million websites found on open-access and mostly educational, scientific or government sites, incorporating what librarians refer to as grey literatureScirus will search these sources separately and bring back a sorted list of retrievals (with duplicate citations removed) to the SciVerse Hub site.

(Note: When I teach a Google Scholar class, considerable time is spent comparing along with the class participants why retrievals using Scirus.org to search for scientific information tend to produce “better” results than G–gle Scholar. Time well-spent, IMHO.)

Following are two screenshots from the SciVerse site:

Image Source: http://www.info.sciverse.com/what-sciverse – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

And this page:

Image Source: http://www.scopus.com/home.url – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

Note that the capability of searching each individual resource separately has been retained.

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An informational video on SciVerse is well worth watching (and short at 3.5 minutes in length)… link to it here.  Another helpful reference resource: an 8-page training handout for using the new site which can be downloaded here.

In promotional materials, Elsevier refers to SciVerse as a “new knowledge ecosystem“. Their information products are integral to the daily work of clinical, health science and scientific research library users worldwide. Here’s hoping this migration runs seamlessly (as in: invisibly and glitch-free).

Image Source: http://www.info.sciverse.com/what-sciverse – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

News, Academic Libraries, Medical Literature: For Wiley Journals, A New Look

Image Source:  http://info.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/view/0/index.html – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010.

In a next week, those who rely on subscription journals or database content from John Wiley Company – one of the largest sci-tech-medicine international publishers – will notice a major redesign of their website.

The familiar Wiley Interscience page is going to be replaced by their new portal, Wiley Online Library. While plans are put into place for the switch-over on Saturday, Aug 7, 2010, users may notice some downtime on the Interscience site.  (Both sites cannot run simultaneously.)

Following is a screenshot of the company announcement made in April 2010:

Image Source:  http://info.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/view/0/index.html – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

Note:  The implementation of the new portal includes our subscription to the Cochrane Library.

Any major migration in technology can present some access or usability challenges.  (Forewarned is forearmed, the old saying goes.)  If you have bookmarked specific links to Wiley journal articles or e-textbooks, you will need to update the URLs to the new site…  as the old links will stop working within a few weeks.

Here’s hoping for a smooth transition for Wiley!

News, Libraries, Librarianship: Medlib’s Round Carnival Edition 2.5!

This is the June 2010 edition of Medlib’s Round Carnival.

This collection of links have been submitted by a (worldwide) group of dedicated bloggers… veteran medical librarians along with a new health science librarian, physicians and scientists contributing to the mix!

The broad  topic of this Carnival is about service. Librarians talk a lot among themselves about providing quality information services and library collections for their core users.   We are great believers in training our library visitors to recognize quality information sources, showing them what to search,  how to search and how to appraise those sources effectively; we also spend considerable time, effort and money to create digital or physical library collections that meet the information needs of our users.  Doing these things well is (actually) more difficult than it appears…  not as difficult as climbing the summit of Mount Everest but definitely made more challenging in an era of rapidly rising costs, disappearing personnel and shrinking budgets.

So without further ado, here is the Medlib’s Round Blog Carnival 2.5.

Jacqueline, blogger at Laika‘s MedLibLog recently wrote:  “It is so important that you know the pros and cons of databases and that you think before you even start searching“. Read her evidence-based discussion here:  “PubMed versus Google Scholar for Retrieving Evidence” (Jun 6 2010).

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Medical Library Association holds an annual conference, which this year was held May 21-26 in Washington, DCKrafty Librarian blogger Michelle Kraft was a conference speaker and official blogger at MLA.  She wrote MLA ’10 Week in Review, an excellent summary and set of links to presentations and other conference activities on her blog – especially valuable to those of us who weren’t able to attend the meeting.

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As a library student, you don’t get many chances to really dig your teeth into searching databases, unless you’re working on a thesis or have a really extraordinary work opportunity. Basic reference as a student usually involves basic searches for patrons, maybe some instruction, more than a little help given to new or remedial library users. This is why my experience with a systematic search team will be so memorable as a learning experience as I begin to launch my career as a health librarian. “

So wrote recent MLS graduate, Daniel Hooker, who blogs about Health Libraries, Medicine and the Web in a recent post about performing his First Systematic Search using the OvidSP search platform.  Check out the vintage librarian cartoon – what a laugh!

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Psychiatrist Walter van den Broek, who blogs at Dr. Shock, wrote an interesting post for the Carnival entitled “What’s Wrong with the Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest?” (Jun 6 2010).

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Relying on donations, librarian-volunteers collect and ship medical textbooks to American military personnel stationed in war zones throughout the world.  Their service mission is described on the blog Operation Medical Libraries:

” The mission of Operation Medical Libraries is to collect and distribute current medical textbooks and journals to war-torn countries through a partnership with American medical schools, hospitals, and physicians and the United States military… and

to foster the creation of permanent medical libraries and support the expansion of existing collections in conflict regions where health care education and the practice of medicine are suffering “.

Text Source: http://operationmedicallibraries.blogspot.com/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

This post on the OML blog is about books sent to Afghanistan in 2009 and the photo below shows a happy library user in that facility:

Photo source: http://operationmedicallibraries.blogspot.com/2009/05/oml-library-in-bagram-af-provides.html – All rights reserved – copyright 2010

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Patients or family members are a common sight in the medical library, seeking current, credible medical information, or advice on where to find those patient education materials.  Technologist-librarian PF Anderson contributes two items to this Carnival on those topics:

Video Source: http://www.youtube.com – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

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  • BitesizeBio, a blog written by and for lab biologists, offers practical advice on giving, receiving, qualifying and implementing advice in the Apr 26 2010 post, “The Art of Giving of Advice“.

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And that’s Medlib’s Round Blog Carnival Edition 2.5, folks!  Hope you enjoyed reading it. To all those who sent in submissions, I am grateful and send you heartfelt thanks!

The next edition of MedLib’s Round (July 2010) will be hosted at Laika‘s MedLibLog.

If you have material to submit for that edition, please use this form.  To subscribe to an RSS feed for Medlib’s Round, click here here.

News, Medicine, Librarians, Blogosphere: Participate in Medlib’s Blog Carnival – June 2010

Image/Photo Credit: http://blogcarnival.com/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

Big News!

EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC has been invited to host Medlib’s Round Blog Carnival for the month of  June 2010. How does this work?  Here is an excerpt from the Blog Carnival FAQ page:

Welcome to the Blog Carnival page! We love the idea of blog carnivals where someone takes the time to find really good blog posts on a given topic, and then puts all those posts together in a blog post called a “carnival”… Carnivals are an edited (and usually annotated) collection of links that lets them serve as “magazines” within the blogosphere…

Since blog carnivals include lots of posts on specific topics, they also serve as a place to connect with those who are expert (or at least highly opinionated!) and those who are interested in that field. Blog Carnival simplifies carnivals for two kinds of people:  People who read and contribute to blog carnivals, and  people who organize and publish blog carnivals.

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What is the subject for Medlib’s Round Blog Carnival?

As a reference and public services librarian, over the years I have assembled a group of classic questions or library patrons in my mind that could be summarized as:  Questions (or People) I’ll Always Remember at the Health Science Library“.

This intent of this collaboration is learn more about the unique experiences of others librarians worldwide, or from those who work with health science librarians to teach, train and find medical information.  

Who should submit to the Medlib’s Round?

Bloggers from around the world

Medical/reference  librarians, folks who blog about clinical reasoning, evidence-based medicine, teaching and learning medicine (or practicing medicine).  I would appreciate hearing from physician- or scientist-bloggers who collaborate with health science librarians, medical students and others as they use digital library collections.

What should I write about?

Funny, sad, poignant, teachable moments (or people) encountered in your health science library.

  • Librarians: Please share some positive “memorable” encounters that took place in a public service/reference desk setting, over your career.
  • Clinicians, researchers,  pharmacists, graduate students, nurses: If your clinical or educational work as a scientist or care-provider has been positively enhanced by working with a librarian or librarian-instructors in health science library settings, please share your stories with us.

Is there a deadline to submit an entry?

Yes – please write your article, post it to your blog and send it to BlogCarnival.com no later than Tuesday, June 8th.

OK – I have an article to share.  Now what do I do?

First, go this link at BlogCarnival.com and paste the URL of your blog post using their online form.  You’ll need to also type in your name and email address.  (See screenshot below).  BlogCarnival will manage it from there.

Image/Photo Credit: http://blogcarnival.com/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

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Questions – I have Questions. Who do I ask? Send an email message to ebmblog@gmail.com.  Thanks in advance!

Teaching & Learning in Medicine, Research Methodology, Biostatistics: Show Me the Evidence (Part 2)

May is the time of year when I get to sit in the back of a classroom with my mouth shut, listening (as opposed to standing in the front of a classroom, yakking about searching).

This post, Part 2 of “Show Me the Evidence“, is not about how to search a database better or when to find a systematic literature review… or anything about a library or its collections.

The “evidence” in this case isn’t a tangible product, nor can it be measured in ounces or liters.  This evidence is formed during years spent in a classroom and framed by clinical experience, listening to a patient describe their symptoms or the way a tumor feels under one’s hand or scalpel.  This evidence dwells in a scientists’ mind, whether they practice medicine or perform experiments, collecting images and allowing a peripheral brain to develop.  This knowledge has been informed by a hundred nights on call, scrutinizing CT scans, dissecting mice, examining EKG strips, observing the gait and balance of a child, listening to the characteristic sounds of COPD through a stethoscope. It could be the red flag raised by how a patient’s liver appears in a CT scan, or a questionable lab value.

This evidence-base has been formed by workdays lasting 18 hours, hunkered down in a pathology lab or an operating room.  It allows a collection of “clinical suspicions” to coalesce.  It improves diagnostic accuracy and surgical intuition.  It dwells in the life of the mind, it could be called intellectual rigor.

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A newer graduate program offered at UConn Health Center is the Masters in Clinical and Translational Research (MCTR) program.  There are over 50 faculty who teach individual components for this course, and it is a varied group: senior researchers, epidemiologists, a couple of psychiatrists, a pharmacologist, two biostatisticians, a health law attorney, an IT specialist, hospital administrators.

As the only librarian in the group, my main contribution is to spend three hours teaching the students about the range of information available to them through the UConn libraries and how to best choose, search and evaluate the sources that complement their clinical areas.  Following are key areas of course content:

  • Clinical Research Fundamentals.  Trial Design, Execution, Management. The role of the Principal Investigator.
  • Selecting the Type of Study: Observational Prospective Studies.  Experimental Intervention Studies.  Non-Randomized Intervention Studies.  Case-control and Non-Randomization Study Design.
  • Measurement of Exposure; Principles for Inferring Causation.  Group Interventions, Intention to Treat Analysis.
  • Application of Pharmacokinetic Principles in Design or Execution of Phase I or Phase II Studies.
  • Patient Recruitment, Retention and Management.
  • Elements of Informed Consent; Drafting the Form.  HIPAA Rules.
  • Ethical Treatment of Human Subjects.  The Common Rule. Federal Regulations. Scientific Misconduct.
  • Survey Design: Questionnaires, Sampling, Response Rates, Recruitment.  Cross-sectional versus longitudinal surveys.
  • Working with the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
  • Studies in Genetics.
  • Computerized Data Management: Storage and Retrieval Needs, Data Elements, Data Entry; System Security, Backup and Storage. Data Archiving.

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Each student in the program presents a capstone research project at year-end; the assignment is to design a clinical study of their choice from beginning to end with special care taken to select the “correct” potential patient subjects and to choose the “best” study design. The individual who writes the proposal serves as the PI (principal investigator).  There were six students in the class this year. Four are physicians, the others are in physical therapy or dentistry.

Their presentations were awe-inspiring. They have such a sure technical grasp of  methodologies (that remain dense to me) and confidence in planning the micro- and macro-aspects of their clinical research project. Certainly I hope they will succeed in securing funding for these proposals.

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So I sit in the back of the room, and am reminded annually of just how much I’ll never understand about gene expression profiles, how vectors are designed or how chromosome 10 got lost.  It is a humbling experience.

Didn’t Ben Franklin say: “It is better to keep one’s mouth closed and to be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt“?  That’s excellent advice.

But the students also showed that they have become better searchers and THAT evidence is awesome, too! 🙂

Cardiac Physiology, History of Medicine, Digital Collections: Timelines and History for ECG

The first year medical and dental students are studying cardiac electrophysiology this month.  The Dubin book* (6th edition) is currently a hot item in the library reserve section.

Answering a reference question for a cardiologist this week on the topic of Medicine, Arts and Humanities, I came across a unique site, a timeline called “A Brief History of ECG“.  Nice.

Then I found the home page of The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) which links to a section explaining “Electricity and the Heart“.

On the HRS page, there is timeline arranged by decade, which has the stated purpose of: ” …trac[ing] the evolution of the fields of cardiac pacing, cardiac electro-physiology and implantable cardioversion-defibrillation through a tour of historic devices and other material significant to the fields. ”

Below is a screenshot of their Timeline 1970’s:

Image Credit: The Heart Rhythm Society Timeline – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

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Here are a few additional ECG teaching-and-learning sites:

  • Looking for a site you could easily spend hours in practicing ECG strip-interpretations? Try ECG-Maven, created by four physicians from Harvard University School of Medicine, has dozens of cases and quizzes.

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Finally, I’d like to mention finding a real treasure trove of a site: Exploring and Collecting History Online (ECHO), a digital history/directory site created by librarians at George Mason University, who describe their page in this way:

ECHO is a portal to over 5,000 websites concerning the history of science, technology, and industry… it is also a first step into the field of digital history.  Since 2001 it has been a laboratory for experimentation in this new field, and it fosters communication and dialog among historians, scientists, engineers, doctors, and technologists “.

Text credit: George Mason University – ECHO – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

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* Editors Note:  The author, Dale Dubin, MD, has a website which is meant to serve a a companion to the book.

News, Educational Sites: A Guide to Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month

Image Credit: http://www.biography.com/blackhistory/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

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My excellent colleagues, University of Connecticut librarians Valerie Love and Phara Bayonne, have created a detailed subject guide for 2010 Black History Month including – but not limited to – resources and exhibits specific to UConn and Connecticut.

As this is an area wholly out of my area of expertise (as a medical librarian), I thank them for sharing a diverse collections of websites, collections and links in celebration of the efforts of so many Black Americans who have shaped the history and rich fabric of this country (past and present).

News, Blogs I Like, Eye Candy: Collecting Library Blogs

Dave Pattern, Library Systems Manager at University of Huddersfield (UK) and technologist, created an automatic blog called Hot Stuff 2.0, which he describes as an:

automated WordPress blog that tracks around 800 library related blogs, looking for the latest trends and hot topics.   The purpose of the site is to track content in the biblioblogosphere and the harvested blog posts are indexed to provide word clouds, emotional content, geographical data, etc.”

A daily blog post is generated using a single word that has seen a marked increase in usage over the last few days. A “Word Wheel” image shows the strength of the links between that word and other words that have also recently seen an increase in usage. “

As Mr. Pattern writes:  “This can sometimes help to put to the words into context, but mostly it’s just an excuse for some eye candy.”

Text Source: http://www.daveyp.com/ and http://www.daveyp.com/hotstuff/ – All rights reserved-  Copyright 2010

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The Word Wheel is, indeed, an elegant piece of code. 

Eye Candy is the good way to describe these luscious images:

Image Credit/Source: http://161.112.232.18/hotstuff/14635.png – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

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A post about Haiti found on this blog was collected by the Word Wheel on Jan 26 2010, when the Word of the Day was “Earning” (shown above).

It is an interesting list of library-related blogs he has aggregated for the Word Wheel; you can take at look at the collection here:  Dave Pattern’s Hot or Not List.

Finally: Take a look at the word cloud, and blog-hits, found recently for a search on the term “EBM“.