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

Tag Archives: Other Stuff

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

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

Lucky Friday the #13th Post: A First Birthday for the EBM & Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC Blog!

This blog turns 1 year old today

A birthday wish?

Keep those comments coming… Your kind words Make a Blogger’s Day

Image credit: Courtesy of Imagechef.com – All rights reserved – Copyright 2008


When this blog got started on Jul 25 2007, there were a few things I hadn’t anticipated about jumping with both feet into the Social Media ocean. I would like to thank publicly and recognize some real life folks who have answered questions, patiently explained things and told me I could do this Web 2.0 stuff, over the past 12 months: Bertalan Mesko (his blog is Scienceroll), David Rothman (his blog), Steve Chan, radiologist and chief RadRounds blogger and Surfactant whose beautiful images have inspired me to post ever more radiology and Emerging Technologies Librarian and educator par excellence, P. F. Anderson. Your advice has meant a great deal to a newbie.

So… 18,949 hits, 212 posts, 26 categories, 108 comments and 14,142 spams later here are a few things I think I learned:

~ Pre-Blog: Del.icio.us is a what ? Now: Many people are much better at meta-tagging than I am, and all of us can view their hand-picked sites. (I am KerC on del.icio.us). Thank you for sharing all that work.

~ Pre-Blog: Didn’t use RSS readers such as Bloglines or Google Reader to ‘collect’ blogs of professional or personal interest. Now: It is a most convenient way to see what others are buzzing about online, check out trends, read about who is covering what. Visit the account weekly.

~ Pre-Blog: YouTube is a source of entertainment. Now: Recognize that it is an essential reference source. Where else could I find all those medical student videos?

~ Pre-Blog: Little use or interest in virtual environments such as Second Life. Now: Realize that a great deal of quality learning and instruction can take place in virtual environments, which represent a democratic, efficient, equalized way to distribute information or share knowledge regardless of physical location, geography, socioeconomic status, level of education or physical limitations.

Your online avatar can be studious, a hottie, alien-like or otherwordly. Flying as a means of transportation is highly recommended. A medical student in California can participate in the same real-time Second Life learning forum as others in Hungary, Korea or Iceland. Participation in Second Life can be free, or for a nominal charge in Linden dollars, or you can spend bundles of money buying land or dressing up. Second Life opens your eyes to possibilities not possible in an analog world. Now how cool is that!?

~ Pre-Blog: Never had to fight with my family members over who is using the Mac at home. Now: We use a lottery system… and then fight over whose turn it is to use the computer.

~ Pre-Blog: Friends are people you see often, talk on the phone with, go over to their house. Now: Have never met (in the face-to-face sense) people with whom I communicate often about technical blogging issues, ideas, conferences, subject/content for clinical use, etc. We may never be together in one room… but we’re still friends!

~ Pre-Blog: Had one email account, one password and checked it daily. Now: Bought a binder to keep all those various online accounts, emails and passwords up to date. Online persona is multiplying. If this account/passwords binder ever went astray… total meltdown.

~ Pre-Blog: Writing a Blog? Piece of cake! A no-brainer. Now: Everything looks simple from far away (to paraphrase a song). Being a gatherer of facts, a writer, an editor, a fact-checker, a punctuation-ist, primitive HTML-coder, digital illustrator and self critic is actually quite a daily challenge – but also highly educational. It forces one to become a critical analyzer of the information overload. If you’ve read this far, I hope you (the reader) would agree that I’ve learned something about assembling, packaging and presenting material for others’ intellectual “consumption” over the past 12 months. Some of those early posts look primitive.

~ Pre-Blog: Blogging is easy. Now: Nope, blogging is not easy. It is time-consuming. Staring at a screen for hours daily wears on your vision. People who blog begin to look at events and habits in their professional or personal life as potential material for blogging about and that is scary. Have wireless at work, now need wireless at home. Cat gets lonely, gardens neglected. And Forget about cooking.


Thank you for reading this blog.

And to finish up…when you’re a Blogger, every day is a Brand New Day !

News, Virtual Environments: With Lively, Google jumps into Virtual Worlds

Being a novice user of SecondLife, it was with interest that I returned from vacation this week to read about many bloggers providing commentary or reviews on Google‘s release on July 8 2008 of their 3-D virtual environment application, Lively.

Below is a screenshot of the opening page of Lively:

Image/Photo credit: http://www.lively.com – Copyright Google 2008 – All rights reserved.

I did download Lively today just to see how it might compare to SecondLife. It seemed easy and user-friendly to get started… although the graphics and visual details are poor in comparison to SL. You create an account, sign in and then begin by choosing an avatar and dressing it, select and name a “room” of your own, furnish it. There are several different means of finding out what is in this virtual environment. You can search “all rooms” to see which rooms in Lively have the most occupants (or those with no occupants), which rooms have the most traffic, etc.

As an example, today I searched “All Rooms” and found a room for Westerns and Cowboys (screenshot below):

Image/Photo credit: http://www.lively.com – Copyright Google 2008 – All rights reserved.

Here’s where my experience using Lively ends. I cannot comment about what was happening on the Western & Cowboy room because after downloading Lively it ran for all of 15 minutes then the software locked up and crashed my PC so… I removed the program.  As it currently isn’t configured to run on a Mac, I can’t test it on my laptop.

To read a collection of news items, blogger opinions or reviews about Lively, click here.  Writer Matt Vella weighs in briefly with this article from Business Week dated July 9 2008.

Then there is the whole notion of reasonable privacy and online tracking of what sites and when a user visits while running many Google programs. Lively requires a user to log-in using a Google account. While you don’t necessarily need to supply a real name, you do need to provide a verifiable email address and account name (which you choose) in order to connect.

So, this librarian’s point is: please consider the context and eventual use by Google of the information being collected about users, as illustrated by a screenshot, shown below, taken from the Google Privacy website:

Image/Photo credit: http://google.com – Copyright Google 2008 – All rights reserved


On second thought, I think I’ll just stick with Second Life.


All photos in this blog post courtesy of Lively.com and Google.com. Copyright 2008 – All rights reserved. No infringement is intended.

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July 2008

Image Courtesy of: http://nwn.blogs.com

Stay safe and have fun!

Libraries, Education, Academia, Books: “Print is Dead”? No. Undergoing change? Yes.

It’s a whole new world.

With these [graduate] students, “print is dead, really dead”… they want everything to be delivered digitally, or available virtually, and they go to the library as a last resort, unless they do not have dedicated workspace on campus. They also believe that there are too many libraries and that the existing libraries’ focus on disciplinary content works against the students’ growing concern with inter-disciplinarity. ”

Excerpt from a presentation given in 2007 by Steven Hiller, Director of Assessment & Planning, University of Washington Libraries (link – in ARL #256 below)

Association of Research Libraries (ARL) publishes a bi-monthly newsletter entitled ARL Report, of which ARL #256 (Issue: February 2008 – pdf format) recaps a forum held in October 2007 in Washington D.C. which was attended by 100 librarians, administrators, faculty or other members of the U.S. academic community. The conference, titled “Enhancing Graduate Education: A Fresh Look at Library Engagement”, was co-sponsored by ARL and Coalition for Networked Information (CNI).

This conference recap, written by Diane Goldenberg-Hart of CNI, is worth a read.

The incoming generation of graduate students and library users (Generation Y) has a quite different perspective on the use of archival materials… librarians have been “saving” centuries of accumulated knowledge in their archives. Just because it is not ‘online’ does not mean we can or should chuck it into the trashcan. However, the old-old library print materials should in fact be in the pipeline for digital preservation.

We can all probably agree on that.

Information scientists are generally a conservative lot. One of our main job functions has been to organize and preserve the materials given over to our care. To those of us in the library profession these days it is looking more and more like we are transforming ourselves – as Robin Dale describes in her presentation from April 2007 – into digital curators. That is definitely a good thing.

Also worth remarking on: the CNI site is where I found a link to a related scholarly blog, Digital Lives.


Let’s move on to WOM (relating to Marketing by Word of Mouth).

For a radically different spin on books – as in reading material but not necessarily in print – read this blog post by Jackie Huba entitled “How the book publishing industry should reinvent itself” (June 16 2008 ).

(Being a health science librarian rather than a marketer, if I prove to be one of the last five persons in this world to have never heard about Dave’s Book (which Ms. Huba refers to), then mea culpa).

Thankfully, blogger Mitch Caplan does a good job of explaining what is, and what has been, with marketer Dave Balter‘s written materials.

The 2008 release of Mr. Balter’s book, The Word of Mouth Manual- Volume II, is an example of how digital, social and virtual media are creating new markets for consumers and redirecting ways in which current information is taken in – and consumed. Libraries, the traditional warehouse of information, are not even mentioned on this page. Note: Dave Balter is giving his book away digitally… don’t pay $45 for it on Amazon!

Dave Balter’s blog post about the book is here: http://www.bzzagent.com/monkey/

Seth Minkin created original artwork for this book.

This is Web 2.0 – bien sûrthere is a video and it is on YouTube:

Video Credit: YouTube.com and Bzzagent.com – All rights reserved


Finally… You can read other digital books online at ChangeThis.

Thanks to Seth Godin for the link.

Education, News, Other Stuff: Dr. Deckers and Read

A recent posting on this blog wrote of Dr. Peter Deckers, Dean of the UCHC School of Medicine, who recently and graciously agreed to become the latest celebrity (if that’s the correct term to describe it?) for the READ series of the American Library Association.

The librarians at Lyman Maynard Stowe Library held a reception honoring Dr. Deckers last week (Jun 19 2008), which is when this photo of Dr. Deckers standing next to his READ poster was taken:

Photo credit: University of Connecticut Health Center – all rights reserved – copyright 2008

The Friday Post #9: Resveratrol, UB-40 and Red Red Wine

Summer has officially begun. Unfortunately in Connecticut that has translated in continued rain, chilly winds and gloom for days on end. However, a bit of good news popped up on the news-wires this week with the tentative finding that an ingredient in red wine – resveratrolmay be beneficial to human health and longevity, and even perhaps act as a potential anti-cancer agent (see a sample of citations below).

This edition of the Friday Post is spurred by current news items about a research study published in the open access, peer reviewed journal, PLoS One on June 4 2008. The title is “A Low Dose of Dietary Resveratrol Partially Mimics Caloric Restriction and Retards Aging Parameters in Mice“. Authors: Barger JL, Kayo T, Vann JM, Arias EB, Wang J, et al. Read the full-text at this link: PLoS ONE Volume 3, Issue 6 (June 2008): e2264.

Photo credit: courtesy of Thieme.com – copyright 2008 – all rights reserved



While contemplating the French Paradox, why not treat yourself to a classic accompaniment:

UB 40 sings “Red Red Wine


Video credit: courtesy of YouTube.com



Medicine 2.0, News, Web 2.0: Should I Shop or Network? Professional Portals for Medical Folks

Sermo and BioMedExperts were two social networking sites featured earlier in the year on this blog. This week I researched alternative sites for clinicians or students, and turned up quite a treasure trove of Portals/Networks for Medicine sites. In fact there are so many of these sites available currently that the question is: Which one do I choose to join and really spend some time with?

All sites shown below require an individual registration and log-in to gain full access to the contents of the site. All are free of charge. Following are a few to consider adding to your network:

  • The classic portal Student-Doctor Network.com says this about its’ purpose:Ten years ago Student-Doctor Network was just a catchy name. It has since evolved into a trusted resource for over 130,000 pre-health and health students in over 10 doctoral fields of study. Our staff are volunteers at all stages of their professional education, who have worked tirelessly to diversify SDN’s offerings as part of our continuing effort to bring you what you need to succeed . SDN offers advice, discussion boards and links for students of Audiology, Dentistry, Medicine (allopathic and osteopathic), Optometry, Pharmacy, Podiatry, Psychology, Veterinary Medicine, Pre-Med, Physical Therapy. A good place to visit for an overview of the site content is the Student-Doctor Forums List.
  • Prospective students in eight different doctoral areas (MD through DVM) may want to bookmark SDN‘s Student Interview Feedback page in order to read anonymous reviews, comments and feedback by students who have already interviewed at specific U.S. educational institutions, shown by the date of the visit. Criteria shown include Ratings, Culture and Location.
  • Physicians are the primary targeted audience for DoctorWorld.net. Following is an excerpt from their front page: “DoctorWorld.NET is a user powered medical news portal. On this social content voting site, all news is submitted by users. Any member can submit medical related content to DoctorWorld.NET, and this will enable the content to be viewed by all. The content will be promoted or buried depending on how much it is liked by the DWN community. The more votes a submission gets, the more popular it wil be. With enough votes, that piece of news will be showcased on the Front page of DoctorWorld.net”. Sort of like a StumbleUpon for clinicians.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Doctorworld.net – Copyright 2008 – All rights reserved
  • A social networking site for physicians, residents and medical students, SocialMD.com says that it currently has 3,100 members. Their FlashCards link to standardized “snippets of information that will be useful for quick reviews of a clinical subject; this could be a mnemonic, a clinical symptom, a MCQ or pretty much anything that can fit into around 2000 characters“.

Photo credit: Courtesy of SocialMD.com – Copyright 2008 – All rights reserved
  • TiroMed describes itself as “a social networking community for all levels of those in medicine… students, residents, physicians, etc.” This site offers a distinctly international flavor, with about 2,100 members from all over the globe. One of newer features on TiroMed is their AskAMentor, which connects volunteer physicians with medical students interested in specific specialties. TiroMed also has an online store where you can browse specific lists of medical books, shop for equipment or apparel… so if you want to shop for reflex hammers at 2:00am in your pajamas, go there! 😉

Photo credit: Courtesy of Tiromed.com – Copyright 2008 – All rights reserved..
  • l-MedExchange is a commercially-oriented site which describes itself as a “private online community for physicians, designed to foster professional and personal connections, increase productivity within the practice, and deliver career and lifestyle opportunities“. There are links to forums for Clinical, Business or Personal. Use it to look for a new job, connect with other specialists or read their blog.

Photo credit: Courtesy of iMedExchange.com – Copyright 2008 – All rights reserved
  • NewMediaMedicine.com (NMM) was created by two physicians in New Zealand with much help from an international community of 40,000+ physicians, residents and medical students. The NMM Online Forum (screenshot below) offers a lively discussion board. Forty bloggers who are members of the NMM community show links to their individual blog postings. A video link show taped lectures on Anatomy via YouTube.

Photo credit: Courtesy of NewMediaMedicine.com – Copyright 2008 – All rights reserved

Finally… reporter Sam Solomon wrote an article for the online National Review of Medicine (Feb 2008 ) entitled “Doctors-Only Networking Sites Take Off” (free full-text link). This article references two other physician-only networking sites, Relaxdoc.com and Doctors Hangout – both of which require specific information about licensing or credential numbers before permitting a user to register.

News, Academic Medicine: Advice on all sides for Medical Types

The work that it takes to get to easy that tells it all“.

Quote: Danica Patrick, one of three female drivers racing in the Indy 500 in Indianapolis on Sunday, May 25, 2008, spoken during an interview shown on NBC Evening News (May 23 2008 )

Perhaps a similar analogy could be drawn for getting through four years of medical school, completing a residency and then choosing where, when and how to work as a physician if you agree with what reporter Jacob Goldstein wrote on the Wall Street Journal Health Blog: Advice to Young Doctors: Negotiate Everything (WSJ Health Blog – May 23 2008).

Then consider the varied messages from a National Public Radio broadcast recently broadcast in Connecticut entitled “The Doctor Can’t See You Now“, a 3-part documentary series on the effects of the shortage of primary care physicians at a moment in time when a large part of the American population is aging. Listening to the interviews of these doctors (note: some are faculty at UConn Health Center) is where I first heard the term: the Hamsterization of Medicine (as in: see twenty patients a day, at 15 minutes each, in order to break-even).

This May 2008 series is a part of WNPR’s Health Reporting Initiative which was produced by Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network and WBUR Boston with support from The Connecticut Health Foundation.

Finally, physician Lisa Sanders weighs in with a column published Apr 18 2008 in The New York Times, entitled “The End of Primary Care“.