Wednesday, November 25, 2020

WHSLA Election - Candidates for 2021 open board positions

WHSLA Members in good standing will be invited to vote on four open 2021 Board positions:

  • One President-Elect
  • One Secretary
  • Two Board Members-at-Large

All members in good standing will receive an email the week of November 30 with their invitation to vote. 

Thank you to the following WHSLA members for volunteering to run as candidates! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Playdoh surgery

This surgeon mom has been improving her kids' fine motor skills using some extremely detailed Playdoh models.  Fair warning, despite being made of Playdoh, it's still pretty gross.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Evaluating Information During Covid-19: Preprints, Retractions, Rumors, and more ...

Evaluating Information During Covid-19: Preprints, Retractions, Rumors, and more ...

Presented by Erica Brody and Hillary Miller, Librarians at Virginia Commonwealth University.  This program was sponsored by he NNLM.   Learn more and register to get MLA credit.  

Description: In the midst of a global pandemic, every person has to balance the “need for speed” with the risks of moving too fast. Healthcare providers seek reliable information about treatments while making immediate life-or-death decisions. Researchers investigate biological mechanisms and interventions to combat COVID-19 and share their findings as quickly and responsibly as possible. And each of us wades through the flood of headlines and rumors for answers that will keep us safe. Looking at the case of hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19, we will explore the risks and rewards of different forms of information, from published articles to tweets.

Learning Objectives:

    • Navigate the quickly shifting landscape of information in a pandemic.
    • Describe ways to approach the quality of information that is being produced and disseminated at a faster pace than ever seen before
    • Identify the limitations and cautions of relying on a single source of information for decisions

This was one of the BEST 1-hour webinars I've seen in a long time.  Erica Brody and Hillary Miller addressed many of the questions I've been wrestling with this year as a health science librarian during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  

Using the example of Hydroxychloroquine, Brody & Miller trace the timeline of when it first emerged as a possible treatment for Covid-19 in Jan - Feb 2020, to the point where people started demanding it from their health care providers, despite any real or conclusive evidence that it worked.   

This whole evolving story of Hydroxychloroquine had me baffled as it was happening --  The research I had done clearly discounted it as a treatment for Covid, yet friends on Facebook and social media insisted that it worked, that "scientists were hiding the truth."  

Brody and Miller put Preprints and Preprint servers in their rightful place in the hierarchy of evidence.

Further, they offer Tools & Tips for Navigating an Infodemic:


  1. Retraction Watch and the Zotero Plugin can comb through your "library" flagging any citations that were retracted.
  2. Publons - Post publication Peer Review
  3. to id articles that support / refute findings.   It works as a browser extension in Chrome, tracking 700+ million articles, many with big name publishers.


  • Do NOT rely on a single study.
  • Obtain evidence from multiple sources.
  • Verify IF and HOW peer review was done.
  • Researcher's expertise should be specific to the study. Beware of celebrity doctors.
  • What do the authors say about the limitations of their study?
    • What are their conclusions?
    • Was this misrepresented in the media?

Finally, the speakers recommended the following article:

Stick around for the questions after the session.  The audience asked some really interesting and difficult questions that will make you think. 

See more excellent FREE programming from The Network of The National Library of Medicine.

See related: 

Correction of Health Misinformation on Social Media, from September 29, 2020

  • The recording is a little wonky in that the slides didn't kick in until half-way through, but the information is good if you treat it more like a podcast and just listen.  It gives me some hope that not all is lost on this this front.  
  • See info on the 3-part series, including links to course materials and recordings.  

Friday, November 20, 2020

Professional Development Award Report: FYE (First Year Experience) Conference

Carrie Papa-Schold was a recipient of one of the two WHSLA 2020 Professional Development Awards. Below, she tells us about her experience at a pre-COVID conference. 


Thank you WHSLA for the grant towards attending the FYE (First Year Experience) Conference in Washington, D.C. on February 21 – 24, 2020.  (Yes, just before Covid hit the US.)

In my current job at George Williams College (GWC) in Williams Bay, WI, I am the Assistant Director of Academic Support and Disability Services.  I also help out with the library as the “campus librarian”.  GWC is part of Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois where the Phillips Library Director manages of all of the contracts through CARLi.  We have a small library (located at one end of a building on two floors with two fireplaces, 8 computers, three study tables and seating for an additional 8 more students) that is staffed mostly by student workers.

In my role, in academic support, I am an academic coach working with students who are underprepared for college.  Most are from low income and first generation families. The work with the freshmen class is what brought me and my supervisor to the FYE Conference.  The purpose of the conference is to bring together educators and administrators to teach and learn about enhancing the first year student experience.  I was thrilled to find that about a dozen of the presentations and poster sessions were on Information Literacy.  I was fortunate to attend 3 of them.

Poster sessions (The following was the one I was most interested in seeing and talking with the presenter)

Information Literacy Misconception of Students in First-Year Experience Courses. Michelle Keba. Palm Beach Atlantic University.

This poster was of a study (not yet published) done by Michell Keba at her institution using the methods from the research article Predictable Information Literacy Misconception of First-year College Students (Hinchcliffe, Rand, & Collier, 2018).  The original study was designed to determine if students either lacked knowledge versus misperceived their information literacy skills using the “misconception inventory”.  By identifying common misconceptions, potential learning outcomes were developed to guide information literacy instruction.  The misconceptions identified in the Hinchcliffe et al. (2018) article are:

·         Library

o   First year students believe they are supposed to do their research without assistance

o   First year students perceive the library as only a place to get books or to study

o   First year students believe that all library sources and discovery tools are credible

·         Information Access

o   First year students believe that freely available Internet resources are sufficient for academic work

o   First year students think Google is a sufficient search tool

o   First year students believe that accessibility is an indicator of quality

·         Research Process

o   First year students believe that research is a linear, uni-directional process

o   First year students think that every question has a single answer

·         Information Literacy

o   First year students believe that they are information literate

Hinchliffe, L., Rand, A., & Collier, J. (2018). Predictable Information Literacy Misconceptions of First-Year College Students. Communications in Information Literacy, 12(1), 4–18. Retrieved from

The New Library Session: Forget the Library - Focus on Information.  Elizabeth Johns, Kristen Shonborn, Kristen Welzenbach.  Goucher College.

Faculty request librarians to teach students about the library and how to use it.  What students need is how to identify appropriate information sources from the internet to library databases.  This is a shift to teaching students about information literacy to address the information era abundant with credible and non-credible information.

Developing Interdepartmental Information Literacy Solutions: The First Year Experience in the Misinformation Era. Kate Otto, David Lemmons, & Sherry Larson-Rhodes. Marquette University.

Information is easily accessible through the library, internet, and social media to name a few.  Students need to learn the value of good information versus bad.  Information literacy efforts help to educate students on how to locate, evaluate, and effectively/ethically use the information they are accessing regardless where they find the information.  Librarians play key role in leading information literacy efforts.

There are three types of “information”.

1.       Misinformation – unintentional

2.       Disinformation – intentional, false, shared to cause harm

3.       Mal-information – intentional, true, and harmful

This is a life-skill to be used throughout college and career.

Education on information literacy can be achieved through collaborative efforts on campus.  The first step is to define “information literacy” to ensure understanding between faculty and staff.  The Association of College & Research Libraries Association (ACRL is a section of the American Library Association) offers guidelines and a framework for information literacy in higher education that can be used to guide initiatives in the college setting.

Outcomes from conference attendance:

·         Gathering information on where information literacy is being taught on campus to identify gaps in student learning regarding information literacy

·         Created a module on information literacy that has been incorporated into academic coaching

·         Developing a module for the senior seminar class on how to effectively locate information post college when they no longer have access to the subscription databases.

Respectfully submitted by:

Carrie Papa-Schold, MLIS
papaschold at gmail dot com

WHSLA 2020 Business Meeting: recording now available

 If you couldn't join the WHSLA 2020 Business Meeting live, the recording is now available

Evaluating Information during COVID-19: an NNLM webinar recording

WHSLA member Jannette Bradley recommends this webinar from NNLM: Evaluating Information during COVID-19: Preprints, Retractions, Politics, Rumors, and More

"VCU librarians Erica Brody and Hillary Miller discuss the quickly shifting landscape of information during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics of discussion include descriptions of the types of current information related to research on COVID-19, a review of the progression of information about hydroxychloroquine, and the consequences of the hydroxychloroquine information explosion."


NNLM's Book Club Presents Bill Sullivan's Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs, & The Curious Forces that Make Us Who We Are

The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) Book Club

From November 17, 2020. Join author Dr. Bill Sullivan, professor of pharmacology and microbiology at the Indiana University School of Medicine who will discuss his book: Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs, and the Curious Forces That Make Us Who We Are.

If you are looking for some interesting non-pandemic reading over the holidays, this hour with the author could very well connect you with your next read!

Dr. Sullivan's main points for writing the book are as follows:

  1. You are not who you think you are.
  2. You are under the influence of hidden forces.
  3. Exposing these hidden forces will help you live a better life.
  4. And will help guide precision medicine.
The book is organized into 10 chapters:
  1. Meet your Maker
  2. Meet Your Tastes
  3. Meet your Appetite
  4. Meet your Addictions
  5. Meet your Moods
  6. Meet your Demons
  7. Meet your Match
  8. Meet your Mind
  9. Meet your Beliefs
  10. Meet your Future

Some of his key points are:
  • Genes are the piano keys, but the environment plays the song.
  • You cannot consider the genetic code out of environmental context.
  • There are lots of different versions of YOU in your genetic code.  If you grew up in a different environment, you'd be a different person.

Hidden forces, ghosts, ACEs, even Ozzy Osbourne and Morrissey make appearances in this engaging and fascinating hour.  

Visit The NNLM Reading Club for more info including the following:

  • Free discussion Guides
  • Promotional Materials
  • Health Info
  • Program Ideas 
20 Health Topics and over 70 books (so far!)

Thursday, November 19, 2020

NYT interview with Dr. Fauci

 I don't know about you, but I always find Dr. Fauci reassuring.  Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, former ER physician, journalist, and author, interviewed him about what we can expect in the months ahead.

NNLM's YouTube channel

 Did you know NNLM has their own YouTube channel? Here you can find recordings from regional webinars and more. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Will Covid Vaccine Turn Us into 5G Antennas?

I don't know about you, but I've got a bad case of Infodemic Fatigue, better known as Covid Mis/Disinformation Fatigue.  When will this firehose of rubbish abate?  Is this how Health Science Librarians burnout?

In only 9 minutes, Dr Zubin Damania debunks the latest conspiracy theories about the new Covid vaccines.   He has a long history battling anti-vaxxers.  Just in case your family brings up 5G antennas at Thanksgiving dinners this year.  Oh yeah--Nevermind: Thanksgiving is canceled due to the pandemic.

I posted about Newsguard back in March 2020 as a resource to fight against Covid Misinformation.  They track a number of websites known for publishing misinformation on a variety of topics, not just Covid.  In the report above, Dr Northrup is cited as linking to an article falsely claiming that a Covid 19 vaccine would alter your DNA.

I am really disappointed in Dr Northrup.  I liked her consumer health books for women in the 2000s.  Sad to see her stooping to this level. She knows better.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

WHSLA Librarian of the Year: Liz Suelzer

Congratulations to Liz Suelzer, recipient of the 2020 WHSLA Librarian of the Year Award! 

Join us in congratulating Liz on this well-deserved accomplishment. Read the nomination form below, submitted by Karen Hanus and Barb Ruggeri, to learn more about Liz's work. 

Notes from grad school

 Hey WHSLA, 

As many of you know, I'm currently in my second year of grad school so I can be a librarian when I grow up.  Overall, it's been a good semester (only five weeks left!).  But every now and then, usually when I'm faced with a major project, I'm hit with a wave of crippling self-doubt.  You've all been through grad school.  That's normal, right?

This week I finished up a project where I had to evaluate a proposed contract for e-resources and decide if it was a fair agreement for my imaginary library.  Yikes.  The next time someone asks me why you need a master's degree to be a librarian, I'm going to ask them how much they know about contract law.  That probably could have been a class all on its own.  An extremely boring class.

What was grad school like for you?  Any great memories?  Horror stories?  Feel free to share them in the comments or email me at annie dot lipski at aah dot org and I'll add your experiences to a future blog post.


Thursday, November 5, 2020

Library backgrounds for online meetings

I know many of us spend lots of work time in online meetings and I'm going to guess that you've all downloaded some custom backgrounds to add a little fun to your meetings. It's nice to be able to hide your dirty kitchen dishes with something a little more photogenic. 

If you're looking for more backgrounds, check out these offerings, including Library Journal's collection of beautiful library backgrounds from around the world. Not to be outdone, Los Angeles Public Library has a variety of backgrounds from their main library and branches. Still didn't find a library background that suits you? ILoveLibraries offers other suggestions

U Michigan Law Library

Our Pandemic Story with Dr Abraham Verghese


"Stories are how we make sense of the world."

Dr. Abraham Verghese wrote one of my all-time favorite novels: Cutting for Stone.  Not only is Dr. Verghese a novelist, but also a practicing physician and Stanford Professor of Medicine.   

Here he talks with Dr Zubin Damania (aka ZDoggMD) about The Power of Story and the current pandemic, and why it matters.  

Do yourself a favor and recharge with this wonderful hour of hopeful, inspiring, thoughtful conversation about how pandemics transform society.    You won't regret it!

Listen to a previous ZDogg interview with Dr Verghese.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

NLM's Dream Anatomy Exhibition

The National Library of Medicine recently launched their Dream Anatomy Exhibit.

The interior of our bodies is hidden to us.  What happens beneath the skin is mysterious, fearful, amazing.  In antiquity, the body's internal structure was the subject of speculation, fantasy and some study, but there were few efforts to represent it in pictures.  The invention of the printing press in the 15th century ad the cascade of print technologies that followed helped to inspire a new spectacular science of anatomy, and new spectacular visions of the body. Anatomical imagery proliferated, detailed and informative but also whimsical, surreal, beautiful, and grotesque -- a dream anatomy that reveals as much about the outer world as it does the inner self.  


Monday, November 2, 2020

Professional Development Award Report: MLA 2020

 From Jennifer Schram, Mayo Clinic Libraries


I received a Professional Development Award for 2020 and had planned on using it to attend MLA 2020 in May in Portland, OR.  Registration and airfare had been paid when things changed because this is 2020 and a pandemic hit.  MLA moved the in-person meeting to August but realized over the summer that an in-person meeting was not going to be possible this year.  MLA and the National Planning Committee quickly switched gears and developed a virtual conference for the meeting in August.   My registration for the in-person conference was exchanged for the vConference and CE Passport.

The conference actually opened in July with the opening session and some different social events over the next few weeks.  Paper and paper presentations were pre-recorded and available on demand.  In the middle of August, the live sessions of the conference were held.  These sessions included the vendor sessions and virtual exhibit hall, Q&A sessions for paper presentations, the different plenary speakers, and immersion sessions.   I am still going through different sessions and catching up on the many things I missed.   A common problem with the vConference is that attendees (myself included), did not block off time for the sessions and attempted to work while attending.  Next year, I will definitely plan to block off more time for the sessions. 

The Janet Doe Lecture this year was by Chris Shaffer entitled “The Move to Open: Medical Library Leadership in Scholarly Communication.”  This talk started with an overview of the history of medical librarianship, ILL, MLA and open access.  A common problem over the years has been access to information and rising costs.  In 2008, the NIH mandate increased open access and open science is the next step beyond open access.  Open science is the movement to make science research and data accessible for all according to UNESCO.  The Foster taxonomy can be found here.

Immersion Sessions

I really have enjoyed Immersion sessions the past few years and made sure to attend several of those this year.  One I attended was “Context is Everything: Answering the Clinical Question for Nursing, Culture and Research.”  This would have been a great session for a librarian who was newer to medical librarianship.  They gave an overview of Evidence-Based Practice and how to frame a question into the PICO(T) (Population/Patients, Intervention/Therapy, Comparison, Outcome, and Time/Duration) format.  They showed the Evidence Pyramid and worked through different scenarios with typical search questions one might see.  Some tips for point of care searching were: to listen to the end to fully hear the questions, don’t be afraid to ask more questions to clarify, might think about a quick answer right away followed up by more papers later, and to learn how to use your favorite tools well.  When working with EBP the following were suggestions for questions.   How will the information be used?  Shared governance project?  Change in policy or procedure?  Is so, can you see the current policy/procedure and the references used for that? 

Another Immersion session I attend was “Part II: Reenvisioning Data Visualization Services and Training: Data Storytelling and Data Visualization Lessons for the Field.”  This session introduced me to different types of data visualization.  Data comics use data driven comics that tell a story about data.  There are four parts to data comics: visualization, flow, narration, words and pictures.  Data visualization is used in evaluation.  There are also four steps in the evaluation process and data visualization happens at any of the steps. 

·         Understanding-GIS, graphic recording, mixed mapping

·         Collecting-sticky notes, dot voting

·         Analyzing-dash boards, spectrum graph, network mapping

·         Communicating-infographics

Data storytelling is a process of transforming data into understandable information to affect a decision.  There are seven types of data stories: change over time, drill down, zoom out, contrast, intersection, factors, and outliers. 
Data visualization should be reproducible.  A great deal of decision making comes into play with data visualization.  Some questions are:  how to group, what story to tell, what connections to highlight, what data to use, what format, what background information, how simple/complex?  There are some ways to make the data visualization reproducible.  Data management should be done.  Save the data and record the steps.  Mention what software was used for the data visualization.  The last step is collaboration by creating an overview of the project and clarifying rights and citation information. 

The third Immersion session I attended was “You Can Do It: Developing Your Research Identity within Health Sciences Librarianship.”  The takeaway is that many of us are doing research even when we do not really realize we are doing research.  We were encouraged to go beyond the survey/questionnaire.  Develop a research agenda.  Think about the study design-the strategy to answer your research question.  The research method is how you will implement that strategy.  Some questions to ask to get started. 

  • ·         What do you want to learn/know?
  • ·         Population/audience and what do you want to tell them?  What impact do I hope to have?
  • ·         What is the big question?
  • ·         How will I collect, store and organize data?
  • ·         Is budget a concern and if so what is the budget?
  • ·         Do you have access to help for research or are you willing to learn?

How to pick a topic?  Think about what you are already doing….or is there a new idea you have been thinking about trying?  Some examples would be in teaching maybe assess a new educational intervention.  For collection development you might be looking at usage or user experience on a new platform.  For services one might look at a space use study or patron survey. 
Once the research is finished, sharing is strongly encouraged.  Ways to share your research include published papers, conference papers, lightening talks, and posters. 

The fourth Immersion session I attended was “Improving Ourselves and Improving Care: A Hands-On Workshop to Address Unconscious Bias in Health Sciences Literature and Health Sciences Library Systems.”  Unconscious bias is attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding and decisions in an unconscious way.  They can be favorable or unfavorable and are without awareness.  Unconscious bias is related to racism, microagressions and cognitive bias.  For further exploration it was recommended to read Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People and take the The Implicit Association Test (IAT) at

Implicit bias affects health sciences libraries in several ways.  One way is that there are racial disparities in medicine.  Examples were given about childbirth, pain control, and not recommending rehab for traumatic brain injuries in people of color.  Certain medications might be damaging or ineffective to certain ethnic groups/races.  There is also bias in the underrepresentation of people of color in clinical trials.  Unconscious bias appears in libraries in things like catalog records, discover systems, controlled vocabularies and hiring patterns.  The reference interview can also be problematic as one makes assumptions about that patient or the research question.  Two sources suggested for culturally diverse health information are and  in addition to and resources from the NNLM.  To address unconscious bias we need to assess our personal biases and consider what databases, resources and terms we are using to answer research questions. 

 Thank you to WHSLA for the Professional Development Award! 

Jennifer Schram, Mayo Clinic Libraries




Keep Learning: November Webinars and Videocasts


Register for these Upcoming Events and Webinars through the NNLM.

2020 NIH Rural Health Seminar: Challenges in the Era of COVID-19

Join the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) for the 2020 NIH Rural Health Seminar: Challenges in the Era of COVID-19. The seminar will bring together researchers, medical practitioners and others to explore topics in rural health. Learn and explore the impact of COVID-19 on rural populations, systems and workforce issues, and community engagement to respond to the pandemic.

Date: Thursday, November 19, 2020
Time: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET
Location: NIH Videocast

This seminar will provide an opportunity to engage and explore important issues of rural health. Sessions include:

  • Rural Population Impact and Response in the Time of COVID-19
  • Researchers and Community Partners Respond to the Challenges of COVID-19

Register for the seminar online. The event will be available on NIH Videocast and archived for those unable to attend in person. To join the conversation on social media, please use hashtag #RuralHealth. Learn more

November  Webinars

November 11, 10:00am

The Importance of Librarians in Building Health Literacy through Partnerships and Programs

November 17, 2:00pm
NNLM Reading Club Presents:
Bill Sullivan, PhD, Author of Pleased to Meet Me

Research Data Management Training - On Demand

Research Data Management On Demand is made up of four stand-alone classes that introduce principles and practices of research data management. There is no particular order or progression in which to take the classes. Expect to spend up to four hours on each class learning through tutorials, videos and hands-on activities.  The individual classes are:

1. Open Science and Data Science
2. Data Curation and Documentation
3. Data Security, Storage and Preservation
4. Data Sharing and Publishing

Learn more and register here.