March 31, 2007
Summing Up Survival Flight Conference
We arrived at Kensington Court Hotel in Briarwood quite early on Thursday, March 22nd (7:15 am) and found Survival Flight Conference members already starting to mill around the breakfast table in the conference hall. We quickly set up a table in the prominent location that we had been assigned, propped up our new, colorful HSL sign and worked with two laptops showing PubMed and large stacks of Health Sciences Libraries' flyers, our personal business cards, PubMed handouts and NLM pens. The busiest times on the first day were just before the conference, during both the breaks, and at lunchtime. There was sustained interest in what we had to say and what we had to distribute. Although there were a number of other vendors present (Elsevier, Lilly, Uniforms salespeople, Pfizer, a UM Nursing recruiter, a medical device salestable, etc.), we were one of the busiest groups, handing out well over 250 pens (until our supply was depleted) and most of the flyers. We served people from UM as well as from outlying areas, both in Michigan and from other states. There were probably over 350 conference attendees, and we think that we managed to speak to most of them or at least greet them and say what our connection was. A surprising number of people were unaware of what we had to tell them about our libraries and NLM online resources. We even alerted some of the other vendors about the advantages of these NLM products over commercial databases that they had previously been using. To a person, the conference attendees were extremely receptive and interested in our outreach, we thought. The conference continued through Friday, March 23rd.
March 26, 2007
SI Student Projects: expoSItion
Following the SI Employment Information Fair this morning (3-26-07), I stopped through the Student Project expoSItion. The projects incorporated information science into a variety of settings--transportation, medical records, archives, etc. For a full listing of poster abstracts link to:
It was exciting to learn that many of the projects were being put forth for consideration, and actual application, by community organizations and businesses.
March 23, 2007
NCIBI Portal Powered by Sakai
I just wanted to direct you to the official National Center for Integrative Biomedical Informatics (NCIBI) portal using the Sakai technology. They will be redirecting their www.ncibi.org address to this portal shortly.
This is a really effective deployment of what is basically an uber-CTools site. The integration of public site versus private login is a nice feature and the PubMed RSS feed also works on this site, even though it does not work in the current CTools deployment(but slated to be fixed with the next release).
We might want to consider this type of site for the overall HSL website in the long-term to integrate staff-only versus public pages.
Second LIfe (lecture IN, not ON)-from Chronicle 3/23/07
Computing Expert Talks in Second Life
Second Life, a virtual world, has long been popular with professors and students. Now it seems to be catching on with college administrators, too. Daniel A. Reed, director of the Renaissance Computing Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, gave a talk recently in Second Life -- as the avatar RENCI Richez-- on the future of technology and the three-dimensional Internet. On his blog he discusses the experience: "Rich interaction mechanisms are an opportunity to lessen social barriers, allowing disparate groups to share experiences and collaborate," he writes. "I believe this is especially important as we face complex problems whose solution will require the combined expertise of technically and socially diverse teams."--- Andrea L. Foster
March 22, 2007
Health Informatics - more basics
Another component to the first few weeks of the Health Informatics class (HMP 668) was to learn about the main applications in a healthcare setting. These applications are electronic medical records (EMRs), computerized prescriber/physician order entry (CPOE), and clinical decision support systems (CDSS). As it describes, an EMR contains patient health data in an electronic format. The advantages of EMRs are that search and analysis of the data can be quickly performed, there is better access to the information (portability), and the data can be synthesized into information for further study (medical trends, etc.). The CPOE creates electronic versions of paper-based orders, such as prescriptions, and these applications have the potential to significantly reduce medical errors. Finally, CDSS can be used to help make or validate decisions about patient care. Such applications can remind physicians about diagnoses that may have not been considered, and should enable more consistent and better healthcare.
March 21, 2007
National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Today is the first annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - "A Celebration of Life...Protecting Our Future, Protecting Our People". The start of Spring represents a time for change and new beginnings. It represents an opportunity to increase awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS on American Indian, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Here are some facts that I learned today:
- Despite having the smallest population, American Indians/Alaska Natives have the third highest rates of HIV/AIDS diagnoses following Blacks and Hispanics.
- Women accounted for 29% of the HIV/AIDS diagnoses among American Indians and Alaska Natives.
- Of persons diagnosed with AIDS during 1997– 2004, American Indians and Alaska Natives survived a shorter time than Asians and Pacific Islanders, whites, or Hispanics.
For more information, please read the CDC March 2007 fact sheet on HIV/AIDS among American Indians and Alaska Natives available at
March 20, 2007
More mountains to traverse
Those of you who are reading Mountains beyond Mountains will recognize the arguments in this article about the best way to treat tuberculosis.
March 19, 2007
Health System News Letter Posted Online
Page 5 has a story about interpreters, and a picture of ASL interpreter Rose Hawver at work.
March 16, 2007
Welcome our new webmaster
Our new Web Systems Manager has a pre-existing blog - check it out.
March 15, 2007
Introduction to Health Informatics: The first few weeks
Thanks to Anna for getting my blog on the Health Informatics class added to the HSL Staff Blog list. Trying to catch all of you up on the topics covered in this course so far will be the focus of the next few blogs. We began with a discussion of basic concepts by the instructor for the course, Kai Zheng. Among these concepts were (1) defining what health informatics is or, more precisely, what does it involve; (2) a brief survey of the history of health informatics; and (3) what are the future goals and objectives for health informatics, particularly in the United States. We were also introduced to two systems that we will learn more about: the Clinical Reminder System (CRS) in use in Pennsylvania and CareWeb here at UMHS. For those interested in more information about health informatics, there are a couple of associations that provide useful information. These are the American Health Information Management Association and the American Medical Informatics Association.
"So there I was, tied to an altar made from outdated encyclopedias about to be sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil librarians"
Above is the sentence that inspired the start of a new series of children's books.
I have mixed feelings about this. In some ways, it's a complement to be seen as powerful enough to be a villain. Ineffectual villians are more the butt of jokes than the subject of novels.
March 12, 2007
Information Literacy Article in the Chronicle
The Medical School is interested in how to measure information competency, and this article gives an overview of what's going on at the undergraduate level.
March 08, 2007
More Food for (SecondLife) Thought
"Like everyplace else, Second Life needs libraries"
March 01, 2007
Are You in Second Life? Check out ALA's Island
Kudos to the American Libraries Association for taking the plunge! I thought ALA was cutting edge to have Dance Dance Revolution at ALA Midwinter. A new project has been announced. ALA will be sharing an Island in the online community of Second Life. According to its press release, ALA will be "reaching out to new audiences, holding events, interacting with members and the public, and exploring the future of library services. The half-island was given to ALA by an anonymous donor." If you're one of the 400 librarians in Second Life, check it out. The island will be directly next to Cybrary City I.