Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday funnies

 I don't know about you, WHSLA, but I had a rough week.  Here are some things I found that made me laugh in the midst of my morbs:

From xkcd: a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Plan to Attend WHSLA's 2021 Virtual Conference June 16 - Registration is Now Open

Registration is now open for The 2021 WHSLA Web Conference, to be held online via Zoom:

  • Wednesday June 16, 2021     9:30 am - 4 pm   See the full schedule.
    • Keynote: Turning the mental, physical, and electronic page: Applying reflective practice to change management with Jolene Miller. 

All WHSLA members in good standing may attend the conference FREE-of-charge.
  • Not a member yet?  Join WHSLA for $20 and attend the web conference free-of-charge.  
  • $10 for students, retirees, and those enduring hardship / furloughs
  • $30 Non-member web conference registration
  • Payment can be made via PayPal or check (see registration form for details)

Why attend?
  • Network with other Wisconsin Health Science Librarians.
  • Attend from your home or work
  • Hear what's going on with MLA
  • Participate in the keynote: Turning the mental, physical, and electronic page: Applying reflective practice to change management with Jolene Miller. 
  • Sign up to share your Favorite Tech Tools 

See the full schedule and additional details about The 2021 WHSLA Web Conference.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Library Journal's "New Abnormal - Periodicals Price Survey 2021"

WHSLA Member, Diane Giebink-Skoglind wanted to share the following article with fellow WHSLA Members, as it may help plan budgets for the coming year.

Bosch S, Albee B, Romaine S. The New Abnormal. Library Journal. 2021;146(4):20-25.   Link to article.  Accessed 27 April 2021.

Or via Academic Search Premier (Badgerlink): 

Bosch S, Albee B, Romaine S. The New Abnormal. Library Journal. 2021;146(4):20-25. Accessed April 27, 2021.  Link to article.  Accessed 27 April 2021.  

The article examines how libraries in the U.S. will survive and thrive after the COVID-19 subsides. Topics discussed include an overview of the U.S. economy in the wake of the pandemic, budget cuts experienced by most academic libraries according to the Ithaka S+R U.S. Library Survey 2020, and an opportunity for libraries to show their expertise in knowledge management.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Expanding your vocabulary

 A few months ago, I came across a delightful meme that claimed "got the morbs" was Victorian slang for a feeling of temporary melancholy.  I looked it up, and it seems legit, so now I'm using this phrase regularly.  

Maybe you're not feeling depressed, but just sort of aimless, joyless, and empty?  Turns out you're not alone, and there's a word for that too: languishing.


Monday, April 19, 2021

Blossom Symposium Recordings and Wrap Up

This article originally appeared on the NNLM GMR Weekly Digest on April 16, 2021.

BLOSSOM: Building Life-long Opportunities for Strength, Self-Care, Outlook, Morale, and Mindfulness, a free virtual symposium, sponsored by NNLM, for library staff focused on their health and wellness took place over three days, March 24, 25, and 26. 

The virtual symposium brought together experts on morale, invisible services, vocational awe, burnout, and self-care in libraries. The symposium provided library staff at all levels, including management, with key takeaways to improve library staff health and wellness.

Over 6,000 people registered for the event, and almost 3,000 attended live. Those attending the event live could receive eight continuing education credits from the Medical Library Association (MLA).

Recordings on the original symposium site have been viewed hundreds of times. Now the recordings are available, without registration, on the NNLM YouTube channel. Each recording provides CE from MLA. If you would like to CE, please email the National Training Office at

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Disrupting the Status Quo and Making Meds Cheaper with Dr Alex Oshmyansky


  • From March 10th, 2021

What if we could cut out the medicine middle man and save billions in drug costs? Here’s a doc who partnered with Mark Cuban to do just that.

Check out the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company here. (note: we are NOT sponsored by Mark Cuban…yet, lol)

Full video and transcript here. 

I recently heard a fascinating podcast by r Zubin Damania(aka ZDoggMD).  He was talking with Dr. Alex Oshmyansky about making medications in the US more affordable.  Dr Oshmyansky partnered with Shark Tank's Mark Cuban to start a new company to do just that. 

One of the most interesting things Dr Oshmansky talked about was the convoluted system that has developed in the US for getting medications to patients, getting them on the insurance company approved med lists so that they are covered, among other shenanigans.  It sounded like a lot of wheeling and dealing that should be illegal, but isn't.   All this time, we've been wanting to blame the drug companies for such high prices, when in actuality, it's the middlemen (pharmacy benefits managers and paperwork filers, ie Caremarks and Cignas) who are keeping prices intentionally high -- only because the market will bear it.  

Meanwhile, people who really do needs certain meds are going without because they can't afford it, or don't have insurance to cover it, or are homeless ... 

The Cost Plus Drug Company stands to disrupt that whole pay-to-play drug system.  They are not in it to make money.  They just want to break even.  They do the work of getting FDA approved to make certain generic medications that are not expensive to make, and then they make them available for cheap.   

I am looking forward to seeing how Cost Plus disrupts the current system and makes the world a better place for a lot of people!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Enter to Win one of two $500 WHSLA Professional Development Awards

[Royalty-free image from here.]

Enter to Win one of two $500 WHSLA Professional Development Awards

From WHSLA Professional Development Coordinator Dora Davis: 

In order to support the professional development of its members, WHSLA is offering two $500 awards to eligible WHSLA members.  The recipients of these awards will be chosen by a drawing.  If you are interested in submitting your name for the drawing, please send me an email with your name, institution, email and phone number by May 1.


New this year, the awards can be used by a member in good standing for either continuing education, conference costs or towards AHIP membership.  If the award recipient chooses to use some or all the award toward continuing education or conference costs, such as registration, travel, lodging and meals, they would be required to share the information learned with WHSLA’s membership.  If the recipient elects to use some of the award toward and AHIP membership, the recipient would be required to run for an elected WHSLA office in the next two years.  It would be expected that if the recipient only uses their award toward AHIP membership, they will only accept the amount needed for AHIP membership and will not accept the remainder of the $500 award. 


The awards are available to members in good standing and they will be chosen at random from a drawing of interested and eligible candidates.  Previous award winners are ineligible if it has been less than three years since their award.  If you previously won an award but did not complete your sharing award you are also ineligible.


Final notes


  • Sharing can be done through a blog post on the WHSLA Blog, during a WHSLA Chat Session or by other means.
  • Requirements for eligibility:
  • Expenses must take place in 2021.
  • Willingness to share your learnings with WHSLA members within 3 months after the chosen conference.
  • Willingness to run for office in the next 2 years if using stiped for AHIP membership.
  • Have not won the travel stipend drawing in the past three years.


The deadline is May 1. If you are interested, send an email to me ( OR and include your name, email, institution, and phone number.


Dora Davis

WHSLA Professional Development Coordinator


 Dora Davis, MLIS

Medical Librarian-Pool

Human Resources |Center for Learning and Innovation


Phone: (262)928-2814

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Meet Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

 Have you ever wondered who developed the COVID-19 vaccines or how they did it so quickly?  Meet Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, viral immunologist and lead scientist for the NIH Coronavirus Vaccines and Immunopathogenesis Team.  For the past six years, Dr. Corbett's work has focused on the biology of coronaviruses.  Her research laid the groundwork for the Moderna vaccine.

From NIH Record, Vol. LXXII, No. 25, December 11,2020


WHSLA member accepted into MLA RTI

Congratulations to WHSLA Member Xou Lee Va Vang, Research Help and Instruction Librarian, from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Xou Lee has been accepted into the MLA Research Training Institute for 2021-2022 and will begin this summer.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Anyone remember Medlars? Or just a Non Sequitur

WHSLA Member Kellee Selden recently came across this article from the BBC about medlars, a forgotten fruit that was also used for medicinal purposes back in the day.  [It looks like a giant rose hip ... among other things.  Check out the article to find out some of it's other not-so-affectionate names.]

Although it has an interesting history in it's own right and appears to be attempting a comeback, the term medlars got me thinking about the original Medline -- the one before PubMed.  Back when I was in Library School, and working in a hospital library, I had the opportunity to go to Chicago to take a multi-day in-person training by NLM on searching Medlars, so--yes-- I am old enough to have some experience with it.    PubMed only began in 1997 ...

And I started to wonder if the original MEDLARS might have been named after this strange fruit?

So I did a little digging and found this article:

The development of the Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (MEDLARS).
Dee CR.J Med Libr Assoc. 2007 Oct;95(4):416-25. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.95.4.416.PMID: 17971889 Free PMC article.

Turns out MEDLARS stands for Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System.  Aside from creating a sense of awe for the incredible profession I am a part of and how it helped to usher in the dawn of computers, there was no mention of rotten fruit in this abbreviated history of MEDLARS, but still, it makes me wonder if someone coined the acronym with a cheeky (Pun intended!) sense of humor?

Food for thought ...  Or not!  ;-)

The Viral TikTok that Explains Vaccine Science and Makes You Laugh


The simplicity and humor of this little TikTok video was just too good to pass by.  Who doesn't love learning that is painless AND humorous at the same time?  

Kudos to Vick Krishna for putting this wonderful public service announcement together, and to NPR for helping to get it out there!

You'll never look at forks in quite the same way ever again.  Enjoy!

Reposted from NPR's Goats & Soda blog.  Article by Joe Palca. April 1, 2021.  

(No it's NOT April Fool's.)  

"I've spent 30 years trying to make complicated science understandable. Explaining how vaccines work can be especially tricky. Explaining the new technology used in COVID-19 vaccines can be trickier still.

So my heart filled with joy and delight when I saw Vick Krishna's TikTok explaining how the vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna work. So simple. So straightforward. So well done."

Read More and watch the video ...

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Book review: Things That Are by Amy Leach

I’m not sure where you would find this collection of essays shelved in bookstores.  The pieces deal with nature, cosmology, and the world of fables, often blurred together into a satisfying whole.  But perhaps it should be shelved in the poetry section as her accounts of the natural sciences reads like the finest prose.  I found myself marveling every few paragraphs over the inventiveness of her wordplay.

This book is a rich dessert and is best sampled in small doses.  Each of the twenty-six essays is just the right size to be consumed in a single sitting.  While whimsical in nature, one comes away with a better understanding of the natural world, the universe, and humankind as well.  Except for one brief instance, the author does not insert her own voice into any of the essays.  Rather, the observant narrator seems an omnipotent presence.

The reader is guaranteed to encounter words no dictionary has ever cataloged, but on the tongue (and mentally) they delight nonetheless.  Examples include mouldywarps, sagittaries, starflakes, vasty, argle-bargle, and Crocodilopolis.  For the serious writer, reading these essays will inspire and also humble.  Amy Leach’s prose is so sumptuous, thoughtful, and inventive that an author is sure to wonder how dare they try to compete.  It is the rare dessert that proves to also be nutritious.

Thank you to Robert Koehler for this book review. 

NLM Update - April 1st Edition

Chevy Chase, MD (AP) --  In an early morning press conference, NLM's recently appointed director Ervin D. Smarmsworth announced a new campaign to take on widespread misinformation.

"Listen, evidence-based science is great and all," said Smarmsworth, "but it's clearly not getting through to people.  You know what people listen to?  Anecdotes.  My aunt told me her friend's brother's wife got the vaccine, and afterwards her adult onset acne totally cleared up!  The vaccine may even be able to get rid of visceral -- er --- tummy fat WITHOUT diet and exercise."

When asked to cite a source for that claim, Smarmsworth made a rude noise, then replied, "Everyone knows that. Duh."

Another reporter asked if it was unethical to spread misinformation in any form.  Smarmsworth rolled his eyes and replied, "Ethics?  Yeah, those are about as useful as trepanning."

Want to apply to be a part of this exciting new team?  Click here for an application or  click here to learn more!

Just because you read it on the internet doesn't mean it's true.  Especially on April Fool's Day.