New JAMA Users Guide

JMLA Case Studies in Health Sciences Librarianship brings to our attention a new series of Users’ Guide articles:  How to use an article about genetic association. The first article provides background information; the second discusses judging the validity of a study; and the third discusses applying results to the care of patients.

Attia J, Ioannidis JP, Thakkinstian A, McEvoy M, Scott RJ, Minelli C, Thompson J, Infante-Rivard C, Guyatt G. How to use an article about genetic association: A: Background concepts. JAMA. 2009 Jan 7;301(1):74-81. PMID: 19126812

Attia J, Ioannidis JP, Thakkinstian A, McEvoy M, Scott RJ, Minelli C, Thompson J, Infante-Rivard C, Guyatt G. How to use an article about genetic association: B: Are the results of the study valid? JAMA. 2009 Jan 14;301(2):191-7. PMID: 19141767

Attia J, Ioannidis JP, Thakkinstian A, McEvoy M, Scott RJ, Minelli C, Thompson J, Infante-Rivard C, Guyatt G. How to use an article about genetic association: C: What are the results and will they help me in caring for my patients? JAMA. 2009 Jan 21;301(3):304-8.


Fun facts

Just for fun, I was checking out our stats in the new 2009 Statistical Abstract.  Table 596 (Employed persons by occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic origin 2007 data) shows that librarians are now 215,000 strong  – up a bit from the 1998 figure of 208,000. We remain just over 83% female and are ever-so-slightly more racially diverse – 88% compared to 89% white.

I’ll have to check back in a few years, to see whether the retirement of us “boomers” changes the map dramatically.

Healthy computing

I work at a couple of reference desks where we share workstations, so they’re not quite customized to my personal characteristics. They’re mostly OK, but one is set up with the monitor too high, and I sometimes have neck pains from trying to find the right spot to read the screen with my progressive lenses. (That’s waaay beyond bifocals, for you young folks.)  And I’m writing this while slouching on the couch with my new laptop, so, time to review ergonomics again…

OSHA Ergonomic Solutions offers a checklist to help evaluate  problem areas, along with hazards and likely solutions for the problems identified.

Lenovo offers ergonomic guidelines for setting up and using workstations to promote healthy use at the Healthy Computing section of their website.

Another site,, focuses on  preventing repetitive stress injuries.

Thanks to: Worker’s Edge

Interested in more about ergonomics?  Try a search at MedlinePlus, to find links to ergonomics for construction work, using small hand tools, and even performing hysterectomies!

Visual search displays

Biomedicine on Display points us to  search-cube, a search engine powered by Google,, and Symmetri.  Results are displayed as a 3D cube, weighted toward images.  A search for “Michigan Health Sciences Library Association MHSLA” displays images from this and other blogs as well as the front pages of the MHSLA website and MHSLA blog.  It’s not comprehensive — the information seems to come from the first few pages of a Google search — but a creative way to look at results.

Science Roll brings another visual search display to our attention: Wikipedia Roll, a mashup that organizes results of a Wikipedia search into clusters of related information.  For example, a search for “medical library” offers the text of the Wikipedia article on the topic, a cluster of key elements, a cluster of associations, and a cluster called “see also”, with links to the National Library of Medicine, Fred Kilgour, and the Canadian Health Sciences Library Association, among others.  The clusters and results box can be moved around the screen, and clicking a link from the display (such as “National Library of Medicine”) performs a Wikipedia Roll search on that topic.

Google Reader tutorials

YouTube hosts a number of short tutorials to help users get started with Google tools.  Google Reader Help Channel currently offers video tutorials on three topics: Getting Started, Reading Feeds and Sharing Items.  The page also includes links to other Google channels.  Terrific resources if your institution doesn’t block YouTube. Mine does.


Remember that hyperlinks were supposed to help us all become lateral thinkers?  Here’s a lateral leap to the reason my institution blocks YouTube – Eagle Dawg Blog mentions the “#1 bandwidth, energy and productivity-sucker” based on her “completely unscientific research and observation of [her] colleagues”  — viewing a suggested YouTube video, then surfing the Related Videos.  More journalism news: a cup of Google Tea with your Brazilian Second Life Avatar explores the relationship between journalism and the reporting of scientific research.

Online CE: Social Media

MLA’s Task Force on Social Networking Software is offering another free online series:  Dig Deeper with Social Media.  Starting Jan. 19, the series will offer a short week-long course each month on the topics of media sharing, web collaboration tools, wikis and blogs.  Find the courses and details such as technical requirements at  Dig Deeper with Social Media.  CE credit is available to MLA members only, according to the Task Force blog.

Snow day – catching up on library blogs

Glad to be in here, not out there, as the snow continues to fall…

I don’t offer “virtual reference” as such, as a solo librarian, but I found David Lee King’s post, Ask-a-librarian services need a reboot, thought-provoking.  How do we prioritize service requests? And how do we advise our patrons of likely wait times without seeming to put them off? 

John Mark Ockerbloom at Everybody’s Libraries reminds us that January 1 is Public Domain Day in  Public Domain Day 2009: Freeing the Libraries. The post reviews public domain rules under U.S. Copyright law and the Berne Convention, celebrating the additional works that came into public domain the first of the year. Ockerbloom calls on libraries to track when works they hold come under public domain, to digitize them and make them publicly available.

Baby Boomer Librarian Bill Drew points us to a new MaintainIT Cookbook from WebJunction.  This toolkit, part of TechSoup’s Planning for Success series for library management, includes downloadable chapters to assist in developing technology plans, guidelines for collaborating with stakeholders, daily management of public computers, etc.

And from Michelle Kraft’s The Krafty Librarian, Using Delicious for Subject Guides refers us to an article by Edward Corrado of Birmingham University detailing a project using the social bookmarking site to create online subject guides.  Kraft’s post and its comments link to a couple of medical libraries with similar project.  This kind of project is on my very long to-do list…