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: Scholarly Publishing & Open Access

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)


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


* 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!


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.


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

Scholarly Publishing, Research, Academic Libraries, Content Management: Seismic Changes, the We and the It (Part 1)

Read this (and then perhaps LOL):

Y2K in the Wider World… Come January 1, 2000 will we have power? Will we be able to get money out of our bank accounts? Are cities preparing for chaos and civil commotion, or are they assuming all will be well? We talk with representatives of the power, banking, and air travel industries, as well as San Francisco city government to find out how concerned they are and what preparations they are making for the roll-over to the next millennium. “

Found on the Internet Archive – Excerpt take from a feature on Y2K including a 29-minute video, shot in March 1999, in which City of San Francisco administrators and officials from commerce discuss their preparations for Y2K.


As we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century, one can only marvel at how fast these ten years have gone by.

For those who were working in 1999, do you remember it in this way: as a brief and unique historical period when many otherwise rational and deliberate people working in professions governed by highly-computerized, networked environments (which includes anyone working in an academic library) were bugging out over Y2K ?

Here is an extreme example of what some feared would happen on the first day of the New Millenium: link to a classic Nike Y2K commercial (filmed in San Francisco) that is still great to watch:

Video Credit: http://www.youtube.com – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

Happily, the actual Y2K disruptions proved to be minor. And the power didn’t go out on January 1 2000!

As year 2010 approaches, a potential action-list for academic libraries in the near-term is described in a recent report from folks at OCLC with input from members of the RLG Partnership Research Information Management Roadmap Working Group.

Following is an excerpt from this November 2009 report:

Researchers are drowning in a deluge of raw data and published information, and face a bewildering array of options for disseminating and sharing their work. The choices these researchers make have implications on intellectual ownership, potential audience, ways of measuring impact, potential re-use, and long-term preservation. ”

Source Credit:  “Support for the Research Process: An Academic Library Manifesto“, posted November 2009 online by OCLC – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

This position paper is available full-text (at no cost) from this link.  Here is a Wordle cloud created today, using key words or phrases plucked from the report:

Image Credit: http://www.wordle.net/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009


As 2009 winds down, I offer no predictions as to new directions or demands which the academic  library and library staff will meet.  Only that each year, the physical impact of the “real” library will shift to accommodate ever more virtual resources.  The monies and staff time spent in providing links to the “digital” library presence will increase.

But I’m an optimist.  Having been a librarian since 1991, I truly believe that our professions’ highest skill and value lies in our unique abilities to serve our faculty, clinical staff and students in the “librarians-as-educational-midwives” mode.

Consider the “we” and the “it“. By this,  I mean “it” as a Reference Transaction conducted between a librarian and an individual (or a group) with the purpose of addressing a unique question or research requirement… it makes little difference whether the persons are standing together in the library, or talking on a phone or using email (or Meebo).

Any reference librarian can tell you that the “it” query is a conversation unique to those two individuals.  One of the fun parts of being a reference librarian is that the questions are always different, and often you learn as much as the library user when doing the research with them!

Who is the “We“?  A group of people with diverse functions and roles, all of which are necessary to make an academic library operate efficiently… humans who buy materials, teach users, circulate and shelf books physically or digitally, maintain the electronic infrastructure, put paper in the copy machines.

We (the librarians) consider what in the world is available to collect, of what value these resources will be to our users.

We buy appropriate, comprehensive and current materials to be added to the library collection (real or virtual).

We sign contracts with information providers based on our needs as an institutional library, and in accordance with strict fiscal rules and conditions.  There is never enough money available for all that we need to collect, but we do the very best with what monies are available, and we evaluate the collections annually.

We provide the intellectual organization as well as maintain the physical environment as well as the systems architecture or framework by which to search for these materials.

We get that information out onto the virtual (or real/actual) shelf to be found by the user.  We index, evaluate, weed.  We keep the real machines (and lights) running and also the website or information portals.

We get the call at 2:00am when the machines wink out.  We get to contact the publisher(s) to report – and resolve – problems with digital access or missing subscriptions.

In the library of 2010, “we” represent the experienced staff who instruct, demonstrate and train those who ask about what (of many) resources to search, how to search these to retrieve relevant information.

We ask our users to consider the relevancy of their retrievals, and if needed, to begin the process again using other literature sources (that “we” suggest).

Once information that is deemed “good” by the user has been found (because we don’t decide that… the user does!), we select and provide software and instruction to effectively manage the accumulating output of these searches.

The “it” and the “we” are not services that will ever be provided by a quick search on Google (or Google Scholar).

The “We” can teach practically anyone to search effectively and competently on PubMed in under an hour and that is a point of pride among our profession, whether the particular we is a health science librarian in Seattle, Cleveland, Munich or Mexico City.

We provide the person-to-person answer for those questions.  While machines are essential to the work of the academic-research libraries, for now only humans can complete the educational role.

In spite of free search engines, open access journals, tons of virtual points of access to content or social-networking opportunities, the services and collections provided by a formal academic health science library (and staff) remain integral to the pursuit of scientific research.

This discussion is Part 1… other threads in the mix will be followed up in Part 2 (TBA later this week).

Please let me know what you think.


As to non-library predictions for the coming year, this article from the Dec 29 2009 Wall Street Journal (digital edition) examines a few controversial ideas from a Russian professor, Igor Panarin, about the future of the United States.  The content is available (at no cost) at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123051100709638419.html


* As a former Californian and resident of San Francisco, where The Big Quake hit on April 18-23, 1906, I’ll verify that it is unsettling to live in earthquake country.  Here is a link to an eyewitness account of that disaster written by Dr. George Blumer, among many other descriptions of events written by those who lived through it, posted on The Virtual Museum of  the City of San Francisco site. Bay Area public health officials continually prepare their rescue personnel (and citizens) for future earthquakes by practicing a staged mock-disaster each year.  Also see public service/public health promotion and emergency preparedness tips at: http://72hours.org/.

News, E-Books, Scientific Research, Tools: The AMA Manual of Style Online

As the new and returning medical, dental, MPH and PhD students get settled into their academic routines, including researching learning issues for PBL, there is a new E-book subscription from UCHC Library which may help them: The AMA Manual of Style: A guide for authors and editors (2009 – E-edition)*.  

Editors of this work are Dr.  Catherine D. DeAngelis, editor of JAMA and editor-in-chief of AMA Scientific Publications & Multimedia Applications, JAMA & Archives Journals, and the AMA Manual of Style committee, chaired by Cheryl Iverson.

Writing for science-technology-medicine audiences for inclusion in peer-reviewed journals has changed so much since (let’s say) 1995.  Scientific writing, presenting and summarizing original research (which may have taken years of the authors’ lives, time and focus) is challenging work, made more complex in 2009 by a shared global internet, cross-referenced publishing platforms, instant dissemination of minute-by-minute scientific news, evolving ideas of digital rights, acceptance and legitimization of open access journals, electronic archives or repository sites… each of these innovations has created effects seen by both consumers of – and publishers of – STM scholarly publishing.  (Not to mention digital journalists, loosey-goosey bloggers, micro-blogging, and 24-hours a day media/reporting frenzies.)

Will a digital edition of the AMA Manual of Style make writing for STM audiences easier?  Actually, it might.

After browsing through the print version of the AMA Manual of Style (10th edition – 2007) from the Reference collection and then using the electronic version, in my humble opinion the digital version is easier to use and quicker to ” find”.

To get an overview of how the work is organized, link to the Table of Contents which reveals the organization of the five Sections, which are:

  • Section 4:  Measurement & Quantitation.  Below is a screenshot of Section 4 – Chapters 18 through 20 which is about  “Study Design and Statistics”:


The Glossary of Statistical Terms from Section 4 would be a good source for students learning biostatistics or epidemiological methods.

Also in Section 4 is a clinical calculator:  Table 2.   Selected Laboratory Tests, With Reference Ranges and Conversion Factors that allows specific patient data to be entered and calculated against stored normal reference ranges (for adults only, no infant or child values are available).

I like that. First year students might like this tool also!  Here’s a screenshot of Table 2:



A different way to search the Manual is by simple (or advanced) keyword.  Following is a screenshot of results from a search for “laboratory values”  that retrieved 16 hits with the Section and Chapter shown:




Section 5 of the Manual is entitled Technical Information.  This is where an author could read descriptions of typography, manuscript editing or proofreading practice,  or find links to websites of specific medical associations, databases or global organizations.  There is a Glossary of Publishing Terms in Section 5.


Finally, there are selected tutorials available through the digital version of the Manual.  One is the Learning Resources section which links to groups of interactive quizzes taken from sections of the E-book.  Students or clinicians can test their knowledge using the Stylebook Quizzes such as “Jargon” or “Correct and Preferred Usage”, “Numbers”, “Grammar” or “Capitalization”.  Items which are answered incorrectly allow a brief tutorial to pop up.

Another teaching-learning-tool is Tip of the Month. An entry from July 2009 about Digital Object Identifiers is shown below:

Credits:  All Images – courtesy of AMA Manual of Style (2009) – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009


After reading this, you may be asking yourself, “What if I have no plans to publish a research article in JAMA?  How will this manual help me? “.

Graduate students, researchers and faculty in a variety of academic disciplines are required to write a fair amount including grant proposals, patient summaries, journal club presentations, articles for their professional associations, selective project descriptions and of course, required theses or dissertations.

Use this e-book created by medical editors as the working reference source it was designed to be… and because clarity is always in style.


* Note:  Use of this e-book is by subscription only.  UConn Libraries allows access to this source for UConn or UCHC faculty, staff and students only; if off-site, log in using your proxy account number.  There are 5 simultaneous users allowed, please remember to click log-out when finished using the AMA Manual of Style.

News, Scientific Literature, Bioinformatics, Search Technologies: MedlineRanker

Anyone who works with geneticists and biomedical researchers already knows that learning the language of their science is daunting for a non-scientist to understand. This international community has developed dozens of highly specific databases, data-mining software and cooperative, collective digital libraries for their own use.  In an approximate sense, one could even imagine the mapping of the human genome as one vast wiki.  Clinical care follows the translational research of these investigators.

This month in Nucleic Acids Research, Volume 37-July 1 2009, the Supplement 2: Web Server issue was published, described by Oxford University Press as:

“…the seventh in a series of annual special issues dedicated to web-based software resources for analysis and visualization of molecular biology data. The present issue reports on 112 web servers with a special emphasis on metagenomics, molecular network and pathway analysis, and biological text mining”..

Full-text of the NAR-Supplement 2 is available open-access for anyone in the world to read, on PubMedCentral.


An article in that special issue attracted my interest, entitled MedlineRanker: flexible ranking of online literature” and written by a group of computational scientists affiliated with the Computational Biology & Data Mining Group of the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin.

The six authors describe their project in this way:

We have implemented the MedlineRanker webserver, which allows a flexible ranking of Medline for a topic of interest without expert knowledge. Given some abstracts related to a topic, the program deduces automatically the most discriminative words in comparison to a random selection. These words are used to score other abstracts, including those from not yet annotated recent publications, which can be then ranked by relevance. We show that our tool can be highly accurate and that it is able to process millions of abstracts in a practical amount of time.

Source: Link from Nucleic Acids Research – Vol. 37, Suppl. 2: W141-W146

Please view the four Supplementary Data (note: these open as either Word or Excel documents) that describe search terms used to search  PubMed using the MedlineRanker server.

The illustrations in the article look like a cross between a tag cloud and a Wordle picture.

MedlineRanker is free for use and is available at http://cbdm.mdc-berlin.de/tools/medlineranker.

A list of current research projects from MDC can be viewed at this link.


In January 2009, Supplement 1 – Datatabase Server Issue was published in  Nucleic Acids Research, Vol. 37 and that is also available online on the PubMedCentral archive.


The 122 sites listed in the July 2009 NAR supplement will be added to the 1,200 already listed in the Bioinformatics Links Directory which:  “... now expands to almost 1400 unique web servers, databases and resources for computational research in the life sciences. All links are freely accessible to the public, and may be browsed by biological category and research task subcategory. “

For more information on text-mining programs written by scientists from around the world, go to the Bioinformatics Links Directory-Literature: Text Mining page.

Open Access, Digital Libraries, E-Archives: Virtual Classics, Textbooks and Other Gems

This is the 300th post on the EBM & Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC blog.  Woot… please drop me a line and let me know how I’m doing!

Medical and dental students have one more exam to complete, and then will have a few well-deserved weeks of vacation.  They may even have time to read for pleasure.

A brief article entitled “Textbook Death Watch posted on Tech & Learning (May 1 2009) caught my eye, and that prompted a search-expedition for open access libraries of digital works available to anyone to use.  The list below is not meant to be inclusive… only representative.

A related article on the Wired section (free to all) from the Chronicle of Higher Education (May 13 2009) discusses the migration from ‘real’ books to digital archives at University of Oklahoma: at this link.  An article published in the Washington Post (May 19 2009) about the scope, reach and legal considerations of Google Books is worth a read.


Digital Collections from Non-Academic Sources

  • A classic and long-lived source for E-Books: the Project Guttenberg website where 28,000 online books are available at no cost.
  • WOWIO is a site for free texts, comics and graphics novels.  Their About page states that it is  …the only source where readers can legally access high-quality copyrighted ebooks from leading publishers for free. Readers have access to a wide range of offerings, including works of classic literature, college textbooks, comic books, and popular fiction and non-fiction titles.


A Collection of Digital or E-Text Collections hosted by Academic Institutions


A Few Audio Book-Sources


Recommendations by Readers or Bloggers

  • A list of “Life Changing Books” recommended by readers came from OpenCulture (published Aug 19 2007).  Note:  The titles are linked to Amazon but some of these titles on the  list are in the public domain and available through several of the E-book sites shown above (i.e., open access).
  • Good Reads is a valuable website – type in a book title or author, and the site will “suggest” similar works.  For example, here is a list of novels about “Magical Realism” novels suggested by readers.


Hard to Describe Sites

  • Dreaming Methods describes itself as “a fusion of writing and atmospheric new media that explores digital storytelling, imaginary memories and dream-inspired states“.  And their List of Links to other literary sites is worth visiting.
  • We Tell Stories (digital fiction from Penguin Books UK) is part novel, part Google Maps.


Finally, two sites not for enjoying literature as much as for savoring historical images.

PittsburghSkyscapeImage Credit:  http://www.lifeinwesternpa.org – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009


  • Calisphere (a digital library project for the State of California, hosted by the University of California-Berkeley), which is where I found this beautiful image (circa 1945):


Image courtesy of http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

News, Scholarly Communications, Journals: Keep up to date with ticTOCS

Scientists, clinicians and students who need to read continually in their specialty fields to stay current frequently express frustration over the amount of time and efforts needed to keep up each month.

Our collection management librarian at UCHC recently told me about this great site:  ticTOCs where one can… “ find 12,415 scholarly journal Table of Contents (TOCs) from 436 publishers “.





ticTOCs is a journal-alerting, table of contents service based in the UK.  This service is free; registration with the site is required to set up individual alerting preferences.

Following is an excerpt from the ticTOCS “About” page:

The ticTOCs Journal Tables of Contents service makes it easy for academics, researchers, students and anyone else to keep up-to-date with newly published scholarly material by enabling them to find, display, store, combine and reuse thousands of journal tables of contents from multiple publishers. With ticTOCs, it only takes a tick or two to keep up to date.”

The ticTOCs Consortium consists of: the University of Liverpool Library (lead), Heriot-Watt University, CrossRef, ProQuest, Emerald, RefWorks, MIMAS, Cranfield University, Institute of Physics, SAGE Publishers, Inderscience Publishers, DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals), Open J-Gate, and Intute.”

Next, a screenshot of the link where one can register for the service, and then set preferences for receiving table of contents from individual journals:


Today, I did a search for “hepatology” on ticTOCs; here is a photo of the results:


Text and image credits: ticTocs – http://www.tictocs.ac.uk/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009


Wow! Can it get any easier to sign up to begin receiving table of contents-alerts from individual scientific publications?

Please give ticTOCs a try.  (And thanks to AD!)

Reference for Academic-Health Science Libraries, Collection Management, Open Access: Peripheral Finds



Having been hunkered down in my cubicle for the past month updating the library’s Reference Collection, I am now ready to step back into the light and offer up Part #3 of Reference Ruminations (if you missed the first two postings, here’s part 1 and part 2).


Digging around looking for new or updated titles is part of the fun of collection management.  Less fun is staying within one’s $$ budget while keeping a current health science reference collection to a constant size. Migration from print to online format continues at a fast pace in 2009.

Trolling” or “trawling” (if these are the correct terms) describes the specialized peripheral vision belonging to librarians (or scientists) that requires one to never pass up examining a new book, journal article or website (or whatever else looks interesting – the shoe section at Marshalls also qualifies) even though we weren’t specifically looking for that type of information.

An eclectic list follows… they represent sites that I wasn’t exactly looking for – but turned out to offer timely, focused reporting on a variety of health-related data, policy or statistical information that I couldn’t ignore. The publishers or data-gatherers linked below include nonprofit organizations, academies, public or social policy institutions, government agencies, charitable foundations and others.  Most (but not all) of this content is freely distributed.


It is my hope that you will find information of value to your research from the links below.

  • Research efforts conducted or sponsored by NAP’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) is organized into “seventeen health topic areas: mental health, child health, food and nutrition, aging, women’s health, education, public policy, health care and quality, diseases, global health, workplace, military and veterans, health sciences, environment, treatment, public health and prevention, minority health.”  Link to IOM topic pages here.  Many of their publications are available online at no cost.
  • The LeapFrog Group has provided data on hospital safety ratings by state on their website, openly available at this link. MD-Consult had this to say about the data, published Apr 15 2008:  Hospitals are barely meeting quality and efficiency standards, according to a survey issued on April 15 by the Leapfrog Group, an organization made up of some of America’s largest employers.”
  • Epidemiologists and MPH students use the longitudinal reports, surveys and other data compiled by the staff at National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).  Researchers can register with NCHS to download actual datasets for research purposes at no charge; see CDC Wonder for more information about these files.
  • A major charitable organization for promoting health and social justice worldwide, The MacArthur Foundation website could take hours to examine. One place to begin for those interested in demography or epidemiology is their domestic Research Networks page.

  • The Childrens’ Defense Fund has an extensive digital library of data, statistics and policy synthesis reports on American children, their health, families and communities.  In December 2008, CDF published a 80-page report on “The State of America’s Children“, available online (link to the 80-page PDF).
  • A particularly useful site for recent data and policy reports on American families at risk is the Knowledge Center from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is “helping vulnerable kids and families succeed”.  As an example, the Kids Count page allows one to search for demographic or health information using standardized key indicators (such as access to housing, poverty, birth outcomes, access to early childhood education, uninsured families and other community and socioeconomic factors) across states.


Since I was taking photos anyway, below are a few more views of the library.  The main floor of the library had a major renovation, completed in 2005.  In 2008, some areas of the 2nd floor were renovated.

These are the so-called Barney Chairs (as in, plush, overstuffed and really purple), positioned next to the Reference stacks for those who like to sit comfortably by the windows to read:



The 2nd floor of the library is a popular quiet study space.




A library plant, Crown of Thorns (euphorbia milii), flowered this week.


All Photos: Courtesy of UCHC – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

News, Scholarly Communications, Scientific Literature: The DBIO 100

Librarians like to network (and socialize) and one of their major professional associations to consider joining is Special Libraries Association SLA is a non-profit organization representing the interests of librarians and knowledge managers working for commercial corporations, law firms, governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, biomedical, technical or academic institutions, museums, law firms, etc.

SLA sponsors a section called Division of BioMedical & Life Sciences (or DBIO), which is described on their blog as a “community for biomedical and life science librarians and information professionals“.

A poll of almost 700 DBIO members was conducted electronically in late 2008 and early 2009, asking them to identify the “100 most influential journals of Biology & Medicine over the last one hundred years“.  Every section member was eligible to vote.

The stated goal was for the final vote “ to yield a balanced assortment of 33 or 34 journals in three areas:  Clinical Medicine & Allied Health, Molecular & Cell Biology and Natural History “.

The 12-page summary report was written by Tony Stankus, Life Sciences Librarian and Science Liaison at University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, who recruited the expert teams, arbitrated disputes about disciplinary boundaries, and served as final editor.

This venerable list, “The DBIO 1oo“, was made public in January 2009, and is available – free, online – at this link (note: PDF).  The list of journals is also shown on the March 2009 SLA press release about the project.

The SLA DBIO section will hold an award ceremonies for publishers and editors of this special group of journals, scheduled to be held during the 2009 SLA National Conference, June 14-17, Washington, D.C.


The official DBIO blog is an interesting information source, too.