Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Watch the NLM Updates from MLA 2020

Even if you were not registered to attend the MLA 2020 Virtual Conference, you can still watch much of the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) content presented at the conference for free!   Our tax dollars at work!   Thank you, NLM, for making this content available to us.

Here are some of the topics covered under The NLM Updates with multiple presentations under each down arrow.

Be sure to check out the NLM Program and Product Updates tab for additional sessions.

Lots of stuff there to keep us informed!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Scientific Paper is Obsolete. Here's what's Next ...


Well ... Not quite.

This article, wiritten by James Somers, came out in The Atlantic in April 2018, but I only just recently ran across it via PocketWorthy.

I thought it was a fascinating read, considering a big part of our bread-and-butter as health science librarians is still journal articles.    The mode may have shifted to digital formats but they are still flat 1-dimensional articles, standard pdfs.  But they could be so much more ...

Back to Somer's article:  

"This is, of course, the whole problem of scientific communication in a nutshell: Scientific results today are as often as not found with the help of computers. That’s because the ideas are complex, dynamic, hard to grab ahold of in your mind’s eye. And yet by far the most popular tool we have for communicating these results is the PDF—literally a simulation of a piece of paper. Maybe we can do better."

He introduces us to software called Wolfram Computational Notebooks (Mathematica) and makes a case for the next thing after journal articles being computational essays that are interactive and dynamic, allowing the reader to "read it and run it:"  

The idea is that a “paper” of this sort would [be dynamic ...]—interactive diagrams interleaved within the text—with the added benefit that all the code generating those diagrams, and the data behind them, would be right there for the reader to see and play with. “Frankly, when you do something that is a nice clean Wolfram-language thing in a notebook, there’s no [BS] there. It is what it is, it does what it does. You don’t get to fudge your data,” Wolfram says.

To write a paper in a Mathematica notebook is to reveal your results and methods at the same time; the published paper and the work that begot it. Which shouldn’t just make it easier for readers to understand what you did—it should make it easier for them to replicate it (or not). With millions of scientists worldwide producing incremental contributions, the only way to have those contributions add up to something significant is if others can reliably build on them. “That’s what having science presented as computational essays can achieve,” Wolfram said.

It sounds like Mathematica hasn't quite been adopted like the open source option has ...  Jupyter is an open source version of computational notebooks.  Somers compared the two computational notebooks thus:  Wolfram's uses the quintissential cathedral approach vs Jupyter's open source bazaar approach.  Wolfram's is the proprietary software, carefully constructed, and Jupyter is wide open and freely available and adaptable.

So far, pdfs are still the standard format for publishing.  Journals don't seem to be requiring computational essays as supplemental data along with article submissions -- or are they?

This sounds absolutely fascinating to me. Are any HSL Librarians using this software?  Either Wolfram's or Jupyter?  Is it available at your institutions?  Are you helping researchers manage their data with this type of software?  Have you seen any of these computational essays?  [They give an example in the article, but I wasn't able to get much out of it ...]  Where are they stored and published?  How are they made available?  Is NLM using these computational essays in the biomedical field?  I'm curious to know more ...

What's your experience with computational essays?  

Should I ask MLA for a CE class on them so we can all learn more?

Friday, August 21, 2020

How to spot fake news (f word edition)

Some of you may have seen this post floating around already (WARNING: don't click if you're offended by salty language), but it's too good not to keep sharing (and yes, I followed the post's advice before I shared it).  The author is Charlotte Kupsh, a Ph.D. student in composition and rhetoric at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Enjoy this funny and concise explanation of information literacy!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

What we're reading

Looking for your next good read? WHSLA member Mini Prasad has a few suggestions:  

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok – I related to the book because I remember what it was like to come to the US, speaking very little English. Kimberly Chang, the main character, had a lot more challenges, including working in a sweatshop and living in a roach/rat infested apartment with no heat. The most interesting fact about the book was that it was inspired by Kwok's own experiences.

Chloe Ellefson Mysteries by Kathleen Ernst - Ernst weaves history and culture in this mystery series.  Many of the books are set in Wisconsin locations including Old World Wisconsin, Rock Island in Door County, and Milwaukee in the 1980s.  The sixth book in the series visits historical sites dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The author currently lives in Middleton, WI.

My Mother’s Kitchen: a novel with recipes by Meera Ekkanath Klein – This book really resonated with me because the author and main character are from the same state in India where I came from. The  story is good, but it was the recipes in the book that took me back to my roots.

Thanks for sharing, Mini!  Have a book that you've enjoyed recently?  Send me an email at annie dot lipski at aah dot org (take that, web crawling bots!) and let me know!

Photo by Kate Ter Haar

Monday, August 17, 2020

MLA's Leiter 2020 Lecture: Dr John Brownstein's talk on Digital Epidemiology and the Covid-19 Pandemic recording

Missed the Leiter Lecture at MLA last week?
The webcast has been preserved for your convenience.

The Joseph Leiter NLM/MLA Lectureship was established in 1983 to stimulate intellectual liaison between MLA and the National Library of Medicine (NLM). This year's speaker is Dr. John Brownstein, who will be speaking on translation impact on the surveillance, control and prevention of disease, the development and application of data mining and citizen science to public health in relation to his work with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The one-hour lecture is freely available at the link above. 
  • You don't need to be registered for the conference to view the recording

Thanks to Patricia Gallagher, Librarian at The National Library of Medicine who made the

announcement to Medlib-L.  

Friday, August 14, 2020

Risky Business: Know Your Risk During Covid-19


The Texas Medical Association published this graphic explaining the relative risk of different activities during the current Covid-19 pandemic.   

This was brought up at a recent Covid high reliability meeting at my organization, reminding us to keep vigilant and not succumb to pandemic fatigue, with reminders to 

  1. keep up social distancing
  2. wear a mask properly
  3. and wash your hands.

Interesting that visiting a Library or a museum is rated at Level 4 and working  a week in an office building is rated a 6 -- which is why many of our Libraries are still closed. 

Sigh!  When can we go back to life as normal?

Symptoms in Schizophrenia

Fascinating and haunting ...  The author gives some historical perspective and context for this short film.  

Symptoms in Schizophrenia

Reprinted from Circulating Now from the Historical Collections of the National Library of Medicine.  

By Mark S. Micale 

This essay was originally published in Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine, 2011 and also available on Medicine on Medicine on Screen: Films and Essays from NLM.  Our knowledge of mental health has grown significantly over the past century due to advancements in psychological studies. But looking back about a hundred years, not much was known about one of today’s common disorders, schizophrenia, except that it was a newly coined term for a chronic mental disorder. One of the first of its kind, this short film introduces a deeper look into schizophrenic patients in 1930.

Continue reading  [Includes a link to watch the 11-minute silent film ...]

Friday, August 7, 2020

Summer reading

I decided not to take any summer classes because my brain just needed a break.  I finally had some time to catch up on my recreational reading!  Fair warning, I'm a nerd and consider non-fiction recreational.  Here are a few of the books/audiobooks I've enjoyed over the past few months.  Have a book you've really enjoyed recently?  Leave a comment and let us know!

  • Verbal judo: The gentle art of persuasion by George J. Thompson, PhD.  The first few chapters read like a typical business book, continually reiterating why verbal judo is such a great thing and how it was going to change my life.  Okay, I'm already reading the book, you don't have to convince me why I should.  Once I got past that, I enjoyed it.  Very timely read, and it emphasizes the importance of empathy.

  • Seductive poison: a Jonestown survivor's story of life and death in the People's Temple by Deborah Layton.  Maybe it's a little dark for summer reading, but it was a great book.  Layton's first-hand account makes it easier to understand how Jones was able to manipulate his followers.

  • Voodoo vintners: Oregon's astonishing biodynamic wine growers by Katherine Cole.  I first learned about biodynamic farming from a wine class I took in the Before Times.  It sounded like something our teacher had just made up.  Nope.  It's real, and this book is all about the Oregon winemakers using this kind of agriculture.

  • Smoke gets in your eyes and other lessons from the crematory by Caitlyn Doughty.  What can I say, I've always been a little morbid.  We're all going to die eventually, and for me, learning what happens afterwards (at least to our physical form) is reassuring.

  • A god in ruins by Kate Atkinson.  I had a bit of a hard time getting into this one, but I was glad I stuck with it.  Only later I realized it was a "companion" to her earlier novel Life after lifeSo maybe read that one first, and you'll be less confused.

  • Debunk it!  How to stay sane in a world of misinformation.  Fake news edition by John Grant.  Misinformation is EVERYWHERE.  This book helps you learn how to better identify it (and communicate with those who are being fooled by it).  It did indeed help me feel a little saner after spending too much time reading current news.
Here are some further suggestions from the New Yorker.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

How PubMed Works On-Demand: Free Online Class

How PubMed Works On-Demand is an online, on-demand class made up of 4 modules. The class is offered in Moodle by the Network of the National Library of Medicine. The modules are intended for librarians, other information professionals, and anyone interested in learning in-depth about PubMed. The individual modules are:

  1. How PubMed Works: Introduction
  2. How PubMed Works: Selection
  3. How PubMed Works: MeSH (Medical Subject Headings)
  4. How PubMed Works: ATM (Automatic Term Mapping)

The following is a partial list of what is covered in each module. To see the full descriptions and to register visit the class page.

The Introduction module provides overviews about finding articles by a specific author and articles on a specific subject. The class also explores the Advanced Search Builder and Search History.

The Selection module covers issues and concerns surrounding the current publishing landscape; the selection criteria for the different components of the PubMed database and NLM responsibilities and practices in collecting and providing access to the biomedical literature.

The MeSH module explores the different components of a MeSH record and the 4 types of MeSH terms.

The ATM module looks at the contents of the 3 translation tables used to map your search terms and looks in-depth at Search Details.

Upon completion of each module, you will be eligible for 1.5 MLA CE credits.

Register here. 

Re-posted from: 
How PubMed Works On-Demand: Free Online Class. NLM Tech Bull. 2020 Jul-Aug;(435):b5.

 Content not copyrighted; freely reproducible.