Data Publishing: Who is meeting this need?

I realize I haven’t written a post in over a month, and I feel horribly guilty about it. The one good thing about not having the time to write blog posts frequently is that I now have a stockpile of ideas, and plenty of material to write more frequent posts.

What I would like to address in today’s post is some of the ongoing efforts from journals, government agencies, and open source communities have taken to address the need to publish data, in all of its messy and intricate formats. Similar to my previous posts, I will describe each of the efforts that I find to be promising in terms of their ability to tackle this massive, and complicated task. In case readers are unfamiliar with the concept of a data publication, I define the concept based on a hybrid of different viewpoints from papers by Borgman, Lynch, Reilly et al., Smith, and White:

A data publication takes data that has been used for research and expands on the ‘why, when and how’ of its collection and processing, leaving an account of the analysis and conclusions to a conventional article. A data publication should  include metadata describing the data in detail such as who created the data, the description of the type of data, the versioning of the data, and most importantly where the data can be accessed (if it can be accessed at all). The main purpose of a data publication is to provide adequate information about the data so that it can be reused by another researcher in the future, as well as provide a way to attribute data to its respective creator. Knowing who creates data provides an added layer of transparency, as researchers will have to be held accountable for how they collect and present their data. Ideally, a data publication would be linked with its associated journal article to provide more information about the research.

With all that being said, lets take a look at some of the efforts that currently exist in the data publishing realm. Note that clicking on the images will take you to the homepages of each resource.

Nature Publishing Group – Scientific Data

Scientific Data

Scientific Data is the first of its kind in that it is an open access, online-only publication that is specifically designed to describe scientific data sets. Because the description of scientific data can be a complicated and exhaustive, this publication does an excellent job of addressing all of the questions that need to be asked of researchers before they even think of submitting their data. Scientific Data just came out with their criteria for publication today, and the questions they ask are exactly what is needed to ensure that the data publication will be able to be reused through appropriate description.

Then comes the next great component – the metadata. Scientific Data uses aData Descriptor’ model that requires narrative content about a data set such as the more traditional descriptors librarians are familiar with such as Title, Abstract and Methodology. What is excellent about the Data Descriptor model is that it also requires structured content about the data.  This structured content uses the an ‘Investigation’, ‘Study’ and ‘Assay’ (ISA) open source metadata format to describe aspects of the data in detail. These major categories are apparently designed to be ‘generic and extensible’, and serve to address all scientific data types and technologies. You can check ISA out HERE.

Overall I think that Scientific Data is the beginning of a new trend in publishing where major journals will begin to publish data publications more frequently on top of traditional research articles. This publication is the first step towards making research data available, reusable and transparent within the scientific research community.

F1000Research – Making Data Inclusion a Requirement

F1000Research   An innovative OA journal offering immediate publication and open peer review.

F1000Research is an excellent new open science journal that has caught my attention for its foray into systematic reviews and meta analyses and for its recent ‘grace period’ to encourage researchers to submit their negative results for publication. I think that this publication that medical librarians should be aware of, and potentially encourage researchers to submit to should they be looking for a more frugal option. What really impresses me with F1000Research though, is their commitment to ensuring that data associated with research articles is made readily available.

Currently, F1000Research reviews data that is submitted in conjunction with an article, and then offers to deposit the data on the authors behalf in an appropriate data repository. The journal is open to placing in data in any repository, but they work mainly with figshare – a popular platform for sharing data.  Together figshare and F1000Research have created a ‘data widget’ that allows figshare to link data files with its associated article in F1000Research – which is excellent! There was a recent blog post written about this widget here that can give it the attention it deserveshttp://blog.f1000research.com/2013/05/23/new-f1000research-figshare-portal-and-widget-design/). F1000Research is also apparently working on a similar project with Dryad. I think that moving forward we will see more efforts from journals like F1000Research to seamlessly connect their publications with associated data. This is a crucial component to publishing data as the journal article provides the context in terms of how the data was used. 

Dryad – Integrated Journals

Dryad Digital Repository   Dryad

Dryad is a data repository and service that offers journals the option of submission integration with their system. The service is completely free and is designed to simplify the process of submitting data, and ensure biodirectional links between the article and the data. Currently Dryad provides an option for data to be opened up to peer review, but I would like to see that become more of a requirement going forward. Here is a link to Dryad’s journal integration page: http://datadryad.org/pages/journalIntegration

Currently there are a number of journals currently participating in this effort, and a complete list of them can be seen HERE. Carly Strasser also did a great job of outlining other journals that require data sharing in her post about data sharing on the excellent blog Data Pub. I think Dryad is a perfect example of the other side of traditional publishing. We need data repositories like Dryad and figshare to continue supporting data publication and storage, as they represent half of the picture that will allow articles and data to be connected.

The Dataverse Network

Screenshot_1The Dataverse Network is a data repository designed for sharing, citing and archiving research data. Developed by Harvard and the Data Science team at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Dataverse is open to researchers in all scientific fields. As a service, Dataverse organizes its data sets into studies; each study contains cataloguing information along with the data, and provides a persistent way to cite the data that has been deposited.

Dataverse also uses Zelig (an R statistical package) software that provide statistical modeling of the data that is submitted. Finally, Dataverse can also be installed as a software program into their own institutional data repositories. I see the ability to download Dataverse for institutional purposes to be an excellent prospective strategy; as more academic institutions begin to develop data storage capabilities to their institutional repositories, Dataverse will provide some much needed assistance in this arena.

GitHub: Git for Data Publishing

GitHub · Build software better  together.

Although I would not call myself an expert of the GitHub world, I will say that I recognize a fruitful initiative to publish data when I see one. In a recent blog post by James Smith talking about how the tools of open source could potentially revolutionize open data publishing. The post is great and you can read it here: http://theodi.org/blog/gitdatapublishingutm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=buffer6c57f James’ idea is to upload data to GitHub repositories and use a DataPackage to attach metadata that will sufficiently describe the data. Ultimately the goal of using GitHub for data publication would enable sharing and reuse of data within a supporting and collaborative community. While some of this can get complicated, working through the links from his post really provides you with a sense of how an open source community is coming together to address the need to publish data.

Biositemaps

National Centers for Biomedical Computing

Biositemaps is a working group within the NIH that is designed to: 

(i) locating, (ii) querying, (iii) composing or combining, and (iv) mining biomedical resources

‘Biomedical resources’, in this case can be defined as anything from data sets to software packages to computer models. What is most interesting about Biositemaps is that they provide an Information Model that outlines a set of metadata that can be used to describe data. Using the Information Model as a base for data description, it then uses a Biomedical Resource Ontology (BRO); BRO is a controlled terminology for the ‘resource_type’, ‘area of research’, and ‘activity’ to help provide more information about how  data is used, and how it can be described in detail using biomedical terminology. I will admit this resource is still pretty raw, but I think it has a lot of potential for being an excellent resource moving forward. The basic idea behind Biositemaps is that a researcher fills in a lengthy auto-complete form describing themselves, their data, and the methodology used to create the data. Once the form is complete, it produces an RDF file that is uploaded to a registry where it can be linked to, and from anywhere. If you are a medical librarian and you have researchers interested in publishing data, I encourage you to take a look at this resource.

SHARE Program – Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)

This effort just came out last week, but the ARL, AAU and APLU are joining together to create a shared vision of universities collaborating with the Federal government and others to host institutional repositories across the the memberships to provide access to public access research – including data. While it is not entirely clear how this will be achieved – especially in the realm of data – I think that this is the type of collaboration that will provide a well researched, evidence based solution moving forward. I hope that SHARE continues to expand beyond the response to the OSTP memo, as I think Canadian academic institutions could benefit greatly from this effort. Here is a link to the development draft for SHARE: http://www.arl.org/storage/documents/publications/share-proposal-07june13.pdf

For Medical Librarians

My goal in presenting these data publication efforts is an attempt to get medical librarians to think more about the options that are available for data publication. Journals, government agencies and open source communities are all trying to address the issues surrounding data publication, and I think it is our duty as medical librarians to familiarize ourselves with journal policies around data sharing; data publication initiatives like DataCite, Dryad, and figshare; and new government efforts like Biositemaps that are becoming more heavily used every day, and will be relevant for our liaison and research areas of practice moving forward. I have tried to provide a lot of links within this post, but I’ve included some more reading below that may be useful. I’d also like to mention that this is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather some of the interesting efforts i’ve seen throughout my work with data. Please feel free to add as you wish in the comments section.

Readings/References

1. Borgman CL, Wallis JC, Enyedy N. Little science confronts the data deluge: habitat ecology, embedded sensor networks, and digital libraries. International Journal of Digital Libraries [Internet]. 2007;7:17–30. Available from: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/6fs4559s#  

2. Lynch C. The shape of the scientific article in the developing cyberinfrastructure. CT Watch Quarterly [Internet]. 2007;3(3):5–10. Available from: http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/articles/2007/08/the-shape-of-the-scientific-article-in-the-developing-cyberinfrastructure/  

3. Piowowar H, Chapman W. A review of journal policies for sharing research data. Nature Precedings [Internet]. 2008. Available from: http://www.academia.edu/904922/A_review_of_journal_policies_for_sharing_research_data

4. Reilly S, Schallier W, Schrimpf S, Smit E, Wilkinson M. Report on Integration of Data and Publications [Internet]. 2011: p. 1–7. Available from: http://www.alliancepermanentaccess.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2011/10/ODE-ReportOnIntegrationOfDataAndPublications-exesummary.pdf  

5. Smith VS. Data publication: towards a database of everything. BMC research notes [Internet]. 2009 Jan [cited 2013 Mar 3];2:113. Available from: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2702265&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract  

6. Whyte A. IDCC13 Data Publication: generating trust around data sharing. Digital Curation Centre [Internet]. 2013 Jan 23; Available from: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/blog/idcc13-data-publication-generating-trust-around-data-sharing

Why don’t Canadian medical librarians (#canmedlibs) have/use a Twitter hashtag?

I have spent the last 2+ years of my young medical library career pondering this question. I have benefitted from interacting with medical librarians on Twitter through the fantastic #medlibs hashtag – I use it for finding new information about the field, interacting with colleagues, and sharing great information I find those I know will find it useful. When it comes to Canadian library content however, I have no easy way of sharing this information. The same can be said for when I want to find useful information for Canadian medical librarians – I have no easy way to look for it on Twitter. That is not to say traditional methods of finding useful information on websites is a bad thing, but I personally think Canadian medical librarians would really benefit from a hashtag that would synthesize all of this great content and news. I’m going to spend the rest of this post trying to point to some great content i’ve found from Canadian medical librarians on Twitter, and hopefully prove my own point as to why a #canmedlibs hashtag would be useful. Here it goes.

Canadian Medical Librarian Tweeters

Below is a perfect example of a tweet that would benefit from a Twitter hashtag for Canadian medical librarians, and Dean Giustini has tried to incorporate the #canmedlibs hashtag to make it more searchable. This is a great tweet about the research papers published from the Canadian Health Library Association journal – what #canmedlibs wouldn’t want to know about that?

Here is a tweet from Natalie Clairoux, a medical librarian from the University of Montreal. Here she is posting some wonderful information about registration for the upcoming Canadian Health Library Association conference in May. This tweet would be incredibly useful for #canmedlibs, but Natalie has to use the #medlibs hashtag where a Canadian might have a hard time finding the information amongst the rest of the American-focused tweets. Natalie also posts excellent information related to bioinformatics, data management and medical information that would be very useful for #canmedlibs.

Another tweet from Mary-Doug Wright that introduces a new health innovation portal – this is a perfect opportunity to share this information with other #canmedlibs.

Aa tweet from Carol Cooke that provides a link to her health sciences library subject guide. This is another chance to provide #canmedlibs with insight into how other libraries are building their guides and providing services.

Below is another example of a Canadian medical librarian – Karen Neves – tweeting about Dalhousie University’s work with patron driven acquisitions, this provides more useful information about what other Canadian institutions are doing with their library services.

Doug Salzwedel is another great #canmedlibs tweeter who works at Cochrane and always provides great information with a Canadian focus. He also posts and retweets Cochrane-related information which I find useful:

Sarah McGill provides excellent tweets about systematic reviews and local Ottawa library-related events. I always enjoy her Twitter feed and I think a lot of other #canmedlibs would too.

Franklin Sayre is another colleague and relatively new medical librarian in Canada that tweets a lot of useful information about medical librarianship:

Canadian Health Library Associations and Libraries

The other obvious group that provides useful information about Canadian medical libraries are all of the wonderful medical libraries and professional associations across Canada; if they were using a common hashtag like #canmedlibs it would provide a one stop shop for information. The Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA-ASBC) is the most obvious Twitter feed that would do well to provide a #canmedlibs hashtag, as they offer some of the premier and seminal information in the field:

The Health Library Association of British Columbia also provides some great tweets that have a more local Canadian focus:

The University of Toronto Gerstein Health Sciences Library  has a great feed that offers student experience pieces from time to time about their time spent within the library:

The University of Alberta John W. Scott Health Sciences Library has a great Twitter account that introduces new library databases, discusses ongoing health research at the U of A, and provides retweets with a Canadian focus:

There are many more examples I could include, but for the sake of brevity I will stop it there as I hope there are enough examples to prove my point that Canadian medical librarians would benefit from a #candmedlibs hashtag.

Why is this important?

I think it is important to have an official #canmedlibs hashtag because it took me almost TWO FULL HOURS to find all of this great library-related information with a Canadian focus. If I had the hashtag, it would have taken me less than a minute. That should be reason enough for us all to start using #canmedlibs. 

Another reason is I think that because we as Canadian medical librarians are so dispersed across the country (and in my case across the continent), that the use of a hashtag could really bring us together more easily and start a new collaborative culture. I know it already exists on the #medlibs chat, so why shouldn’t we have it too? I already talk to #canmedlibs regularly on Twitter, but it would be great to get more people in on the conversation. 

Finally it is important because I love sharing information, and I think other librarians do too. If I have found some useful piece of information that I know will be of interest to #canmedlibs, I want to make sure that I know they are going to see it. Using a hashtag would at least help this process along. The same idea can be said for the other way around; I’m always looking for medical library material with a Canadian focus but it is exceedingly hard to find. In the most selfish way possible, #canmedlibs would really help me find the information I need.

Currently only myself and Dean Giustini have used the #canmedlibs tag on our tweets – but I’m hoping that this blog post might encourage other Canadian medical librarians to do the same. I know there are lots of us out there because many of them are listed on the HLWIKI International website. Sharing is caring after all! I would love to hear from any #canmedlibs who might think this is a good (or bad) idea. Feel free to weigh in!

****I’m sorry if I missed any fantastic Canadian medical librarian tweeters, if you use #canmedlibs next time you tweet i’ll be able to find you more easily :)*****

Altmetrics and Evaluating Scholarly Impact: What’s out there and how can we participate?

Alternative metrics (altmetrics) – better known as new ways to measure research impact – raise a lot of questions amongst the scientific community. What do these metrics actually mean? And more importantly, what do they actually measure? It’s hard to measure the impact of a research article based on how many times it has been tweeted or posted to facebook: how does that prove that the person posting it actually read the article? Or used it within their own research?

Personally, I love the idea of altmetrics, but I don’t think it has quite reached the point where we can compare it to the impact-factor or the h-index of a journal article (although these are ultimately flawed as well). Heather Piowowar does an excellent job of describing altmetrics from her article in Nature and it aligns well with my own ideas of what altmetrics try to achieve:

“Altmetrics give a fuller picture of how research products have influenced conversation, thought and behaviour.”

I like to think of the “fuller picture” of altmetrics as the evolving story of a journal article. Altmetrics doesn’t necessarily tell us how influential or prominent a journal article has been, but it tells us about how it has been used, shared and communicated over time via social media, the web and the scholarly community. Eventually, I think that the emergence of several prominent altmetric platforms there will eventually lead to a more effective way to evaluate scholarly impact in the form of a hybrid system. In fact, an article written yesterday by Pat Loria from LSE blogs states that “as more systems incorporate altmetrics into their platforms, institutions will benefit from creating an impact management system to interpret these metrics, pulling in information from research managers, ICT and systems staff, and those creating the research impact”. His post is definitely worth a read and would be a great follow up to the content I will present here. He even compares several of the altmetrics platforms that I will outline in this post.

For this post, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce some of the most prominent altmetric platforms within the scholarly publication ecosystem. Below I will describe each altmetric platform and explain how it communicates the impact and metrics of scholarly research to hopefully provide a better understanding of how this type of measurement works.

Impact Story

impactstory

ImpactStory aligns well with my idea of altmetrics because its goal is to tell the story of how research and scholarly publications are shared and discussed. ImpactStory tracks metrics across a variety of commonly used services such as Delicious, Scopus, Mendeley, PubMed and even SlideShare (among many others). You can import your Google Scholar profile, or even your Dryad records. Once you have imported the service you want to measure, Impact Story tells you how many times an article has been saved by scholars, how many times it has been cited by scholars, how many people have discussed it in public (via Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and how many times it has been cited by the public (eg. Wikipedia article, Blog post).

Anyone who has research material in any of the platforms that ImpactStory supports can view their metrics very easily by creating their own collection. Researchers can also embed a widget into their websites that will attach ImpactStory metrics to their citations, indicating if an article is highly discussed or cited by scholars and the public. I think ImpactStory is an excellent model for altmetrics because it is comprised of traditional metrics and new, social metrics suitable for discovering web impact.

Altmetric

altmetric

Perhaps the most well known of the altmetrics tools, Altmetric provides three main products that provide embeddable content about particular journal articles. The most prominent product from Altmetric is their Explorer program; this program is comprehensive in that it provides information about how many times an article has been viewed and the rankings from the journal they are from. Explorer also provides a list of social components like how many times an article has been picked up on a news feed; how often it has been tweeted; who has discussed it on Google+ and several other social media platforms. Using Explorer a researcher can even see the demographics of who has seen their article. This is an excellent feature as it provides people with an idea of who is looking at the material. As a librarian, I would be interested to know who is looking at my research: librarians? doctors? the scientific research community? 

Altmetric also provides services for publishers where they can embed Altmetric badges that will provide additional information about their articles. Publishers can customize their pages that present the metrics so that their branding can be included.

Finally, Altmetric has a bookmarklet that will provide altmetrics about an article you’re reading. I personally use this feature for fun because it is interesting to learn a little bit more about how an article has been used.. The only problem is that Altmetric does not have the data for every single journal publication. This means that a large portion of the time I’m clicking on the bookmarklet for an article that I’m reading and there is no data available. This is the case especially with library literature – this could be incentive to try and get the LISA and LISTA databases on board. Either way, if you’re interested you can add the bookmarklet HERE.

Plum Analytics

Plum Analytics

Plum Analytics is the third power player in the altmetrics arena. The goal of Plum Analytics  is to ” to give researchers and funders a data advantage when it come to conveying a more comprehensive and time impact of their output”. Plum collects altmetrics and categorizes their metrics into five different groups: usage, captures, mentions, social media, and citations.

For usage, Plum looks at downloads, views, book holdings, ILL, and document delivery. This is where the library component comes in. If altmetric platforms like Plum are tracking ILL’s and document delivery requests for research literature, librarians should be aware of this and look to contribute to the effort.

The second category, captures, provides information about the favorites, bookmarks, saves, readers, groups, and watchers of an article.

Mentions cover the blog posts, news stories, Wikipedia articles, comments, and reviews of research articles.

Social media refers to the tweets, shares, +1’s and likes based on a research article, and finally citations in Plum Analytics currently cover PubMed, Scopus and Patent citations. You can look at their information page to see how they define all of their terminology.

Peer Evaluation

peerevaluation

Peer Evaluation is a different sort of altmetric platform in that it is designed an open peer review service where researchers can curate their own peer review process for scholarly publications. The goal of peer evaluation is for researchers to make their work visible within their community, and be able to track the impact and reuse of what they share. Researchers can submit their articles, data, working papers, books, etc. to Peer Evaluation and have other researchers review their work. Furthermore, because this is a community effort the researcher can in turn review other peoples work as well. Peer Evaluation provides qualitative and quantitative metrics that help the researcher understand the impact of their work, and then be able to share their feedback with others in their community. This idea is very unique within the altmetrics realm, and there has been a considerable amount of participation from the scientific community.

Research Scorecard

researchscorecard

Research Scorecard is a company devoted to “characterizing and quantifying scientific expertise to facilitate scientific collaborations”. Focusing primarily on the biotechnology and pharmaceutical domains, Research Scorecard builds reports and databases for researchers and academic institutions to evaluate the products that they use and how they are used, the people that they collaborate with, the metrics about a specific scientist or researcher, and the funding history of an individual or organization. Research Scorecard is slightly more commercialized than the other platforms that I’ve mentioned here, but I still think it provides valuable information about products, services and researchers within the scientific community.

Librarians! How can we participate?

Librarians should be thinking about how we can best incorporate altmetrics into our own work lives. Librarians working in research environments will need to keep up with altmetrics to evaluate the impact of literature needed for their collection, and to direct researchers to high impact journals for publishing. The shift towards open access publishing will also make altmetrics a valuable tool for librarians to evaluate the impact and quality of these publications. As an academic librarian, I would love to see tools like Altmetric Explorer embedded into a university’s discovery search system or institutional repository.

I think that as altmetrics start to develop a more comprehensive picture of scholarly impact, we will begin to see wider adoption from the scientific community. As Loria states in his blog post, the combination of several platforms in what he calls an Impact Management System (IMS) will be the turning point for altmetrics. If an IMS service can combine all of these research outputs and impacts into one system, it can facilitate the dissemination of a more complete set of research metrics including everything from community and academic impacts to social communication indicators.

Loria makes the point that: “Librarians can help, with their data management skills and aptitude for storytelling.” I have no doubt in my mind that librarians can help, but it is up to us to reach out to these altmetric communities early on so that we can contribute in any way we can. I think it is at least our duty to educate ourselves on the benefits of altmetrics and their potential significance for informing the patrons that we serve.

Other Altmetric Platforms

PaperCritic

ScienceCard

Symplectic

VIVO

References

1. Loria P. The new metrics cannot be ignored – we need to implement centralised impact management systems to understand what these numbers mean [Internet]. London School of Economics and Political Science Blog. 2013. Available from: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2013/03/05/the-new-metrics-cannot-be-ignored/

2. Piwowar H. Altmetrics: Value of all research products [Internet]. Nature. 2013 Jan;493(159).Available from: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v493/n7431/full/493159a.html

Drupal Ladder: A great learning tool for librarians

Recently I attended a workshop at the NIH Library on learning how to use Drupal called Drupal4Gov. The workshop wasn’t designed for librarians but I definitely found the workshop useful and thought I would pass along the information. And even though this was a government workshop, the things I learned are applicable to any environment – especially a library-related one.

The great thing about Drupal is that once you get past the difficulty of installing it, it is very easy to use and there is a wealth of support on the web and within the Drupal community itself. So keep reading if you’re interested in learning a new skill, or are thinking about using Drupal as a content management system in your library. 

What is Drupal?

I thought it would be fruitful to explain Drupal before I start explaining the tools that I used to learn the software. Drupal is simply (from the website):

…an open source content management platform powering millions of websites and applications. It’s built, used, and supported by an active and diverse community of people around the world.

Basically Drupal is an easy way to develop websites, and other applications for your business or institution. From a library perspective, Drupal can run your library website, support your OPAC, and link out to your subscribed databases. Think of Drupal like the WordPress platform, but with many more features that are more intuitive.

What is Drupal Ladder?

Drupal Ladder is a website that contains (or links to) lessons and materials to help people learn about and contribute to Drupal. The site was created by the Boston Initiative to help Drupal user groups develop and share and develop materials. These lessons are designed for the most novice user to the experienced software developer. 

There are a variety of ladders to choose from, but the best one to learn how to use Drupal and learn how to apply some of the great features of Drupal are in the Drupal4Gov ladder:

Drupal Ladders

Once you’ve selected the ladder you want to learn, you’ll be taken to a page where you can see all the steps you can learn, from installing Drupal to contributing your own project. I thought this was an excellent tool to learn something new because the directions are very clear and the each step builds on the previous one so you are never left feeling lost.

Drupal4Gov - Drupal Ladder

What’s great about this program is that the Drupal Ladder gives you the option of installing Drupal on your own server (if you have one), or using a simulation called Dev Desktop that simulates a server and allows you to have all the same functionality of Drupal. For librarians specifically, the first 5 rungs on the ladder above are an excellent way to become familiar with the software and try a few of the more advanced functions.

Another cool tool you can use is called simplytest.me that allows you to run anybody’s Drupal site for 30 minutes to an hour and play around with it. This is an helpful way for people to see how different websites and applications are developed and used. I could spend hours just fiddling around with the themes of websites and installing cool modules into the program.

I chose to write about this topic today because I see more and more libraries struggling to figure out how they can quickly and easily build new websites or platforms for their patrons. With the influx of new librarianship roles like embedded librarians and informationists, I figured knowing how to quickly build a website would be useful – this is what Drupal is designed for. Because Drupal is open source and has such a strong community supporting it, I kept thinking to myself during the workshop: Why can’t librarians be a part of this community too? I think that Drupal is an excellent skill to have as it provides libraries with a lot of options to move forward if they are looking for a new content management system. The ease of use and intuitive nature of Drupal also make it easier to train other staff how to use it. If you have the time, I encourage any librarian reading this to give the Drupal Ladder a try. The more time you put into learning it and exploring what Drupal can do, the easier it is to use. 

**I am not affiliated with Drupal in any way, the views expressed here are my own.**

Excellent list of medical apps for medical librarians. I would also add some of the other NLM apps not mentioned that are useful here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mobile/. I’m also a big fan of Medscape, Epocrates and Skyscape and have found that many physicians like them too.

Emerging Technologies Librarian

Last night, in the #MedLibs chat on Twitter, there was a conversation about benefits of librarians going on rounds with the doctors (shorter stay, reduced mortality, increased patient safety, reduced costs) (bibliography from “Librarians on the Front Lines“).

A side conversation about our favorite apps took on its own life. I wanted to collect all my notes in one place for easy reference, so when I have more time I can come back to download any of the apps I don’t already have. Here we go!

Sensitivity Specificity App for iPad

Sensitivity & Specificity http://jolisbiotech.blogspot.com/2012/08/sensitivity-specificity.html
($0.99) iTunes | Google Store | Amazon

View original post 473 more words

Great overview of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) research data management course. The post goes through the steps of the course and the lessons learned. I’m glad Canada is starting to jump on to this trend as I think there are many opportunities for librarians to assist in research data management. I can’t wait to share what I’m learning about data sharing and data management at the NLM with Canadian libraries once my fellowship is finished!

An excellent blog post from Sally Gore at the UMass Medical Library about the hope (and need) for librarians to branch out into new areas. I really appreciate her points about expanding CE classes and melding our skills with those of biomedical science programs. Her ideas about thinking outside the box to reach new areas and expanding our knowledge-base are much appreciated. I too hope that librarians become more excited about (rather than shy away from) these opportunities and push themselves to reach out into new areas, broaden their skill set, and spread the word to others in the field.

A Librarian by Any Other Name

Last fall, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences here at the University of Massachusetts Medical School hired, for the first time, an Assistant Dean for Career and Professional Development. Cynthia Fuhrmann, PhD, has been on the job since September, working hard towards her charge of establishing an overall program for career planning for the doctoral students at our university. Dr. Fuhrmann comes to us from the University of California, San Francisco, a school that has proved to be a leader in the area of academic career development.

Why, you might ask, do students in such a specialized field need help deciding on a career? Haven’t they already done that? Isn’t that why they’re here pursuing graduate studies? The answer seems to be both yes and no. Many students do enter graduate school with some idea of the direction that their career will take. Most probably believe that they’re…

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