Archive for April, 2010

Friday Foolery #82: Blackberries Showdown

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Inspired by last week, I thought I’d show you the ugliness of our 11 year battle:

Blackberry brambles growing over a fence and into a dogwood tree

This is a picture shot from our deck of a deteriorating shed on the vacant lot next door with blackberry brambles swarming over it towards the corner back panel of our fence. While it’s annoying to constantly clip them at our fence level, they also have a tendency to grow up into our dogwood tree (the branches in bloom over the mess) and that’s really a pain to clear out.

Alison then shared the horror near her bus stop of just how bad unchecked blackberry brambles can get in Seattle: They devour Geo Trackers!

Geo Tracker eaten up by blackberry brambles

That Mitsubishi had better watch it.

NWS & Twitter: Tweet your #wxreport; Time again for #pubmed?

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Edit: They may want to reconsider shortening to just #wx and including state initials, check out how Twitter was used to cover a tornado in Arkansas on April 30th using #arwx & especially the critique of Facebook-to-Twitter auto posts.

I think announcements from the National Weather Service (NWS) are about the only time we can read information in ALL CAPS and not feel like we’re being yelled at.

The all caps version is at, but the fun usage of red ALL CAPS is at complete with regular writing encouraging you to report significant weather events in your area on Twitter.

The reason they are exploring this as of April 15th until the end of 2010 is Twitter now has geotagging capabilities available to identify where you are located.

If you’re a little concerned about privacy and don’t want to turn on Twitter geotagging (as I haven’t), the site gives you information on both how to enable geotagging and tweet weather events in your area, or how to tweet to report a significant weather event (what that means is covered too) by using this format

#wxreport  WW  your location WW  your significant weather report

Following this format for Snowpocalypse 2008 that wrecked our Christmas, I would tweet a conservative

#wxreport  WW  N Seattle, WA WW  Local roads flooding w/1’snow+now rain!

or something along those lines. If things were really crazy I might consider turning on geotagging to allow for more detail though since that allows for #wxreport your significant weather report

I’m excited to see a government agency experimenting with the use of Twitter and a publicized, searchable hashtag (the #wxreport part of the tweet ) to enable data to better serve the public and their local weather forecasting offices. I hope it goes well for them and that the spammers stay far away from it & not wreck the data as they did with #pubmed feedback although that seems to have died down dramatically since January.

Is it time to try #pubmed again now that @ncbi_pubmed is an official National Library of Medicine social media channel? Are they listening? What other government or local agencies can do something similar? What can be done to filter out the noise?

Friday Foolery #81: Motivational Poster

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Forget-me-nots blooming between pathway gravel & a brick flowerbed border

Our backyard has many valuable lessons to be learned from it and I particularly enjoy the forget-me-nots. One challenge I’d really love to learn how to solve is killing the vacant lot’s encroaching blackberry brambles without toxic means once and for all. We have made no progress in our 11 year war.

Did you notice I skipped Friday last week and haven’t been blogging too much over the past month or so?

Things are rather crazy in all areas of my life for the time being.

Nonetheless, I know… I know… I will triumph!

E(Patients)-I(Pad)-O(pportunities):Medlibs Round

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

A toy farmer stands in front of his toy cow and pig

EIEIO by Andrew Kantor

Welcome to a rather delayed Medlibs Round here at, a new location since I hosted last year about PubMed. Without further ado, we’ll cover one broad and two specific subjects (ePatients and iPads) for this edition.


During March the Social Health 2010 Unconference was held and Luke Roseburg’s presentation there and coverage about Librarians and ePatients as Partners is a must read for all librarians (not just medical) to better understand participatory medicine. I opine whether current information resources are sufficient to satisfy ePatient information needs  in One and the same?  Consumer health, E-patients, Patient education

In April, The ePatient: Digital and Genomic Technologies for Personalized Health Care was the subject of the Friends of the National Library of Medicine (FNLM) annual meeting. This meeting was covered on Twitter with the hashtag #eNLM at about the same time NLM launched a social media page that I covered, and I’m hopeful the meeting was recorded and those videos will be made available soon. The meeting was mentioned in Federal Computer Week, but I’m struggling to find comprehensive coverage beyond Day 1 and Day 2 Twitter transcripts. If you know of coverage sources I’m missing, please do share and I’ll add them as edits here! EDIT: NLM has posted pictures of #eNLM on their Facebook page!

With the increasing use of electronic medical records, radiologists in particular were concerned about the possibility of too much information leading to patient anxiety, as an April article in the Journal of the American College of Radiology reported. What about ePatient and clinician interaction online? Some real life examples are illustrated at Risks and Benefits for Physicians Who Use Social Media/Web 2.0 by Clinical Cases and Images: CasesBlog.


April has also brought the much-hyped launch of Apple’s iPad, with pre-launch coverage of medical field possibilities by Alison Aldrich at the Dragonfly iPad: What’s the Potential for Clinicians and Researchers? Don’t miss Daniel Hooker’s post-launch collection of  iPad information for librarians at iPad link roundup: what you want, when you want it at the socialibrarian.

An insightful post-launch review by Dr. Larry Nathanson as a guest post at Life as a Healthcare CIO covers his use of an iPad in the ER, one of the most challenging and punishing environments possible for electronics & the sleekness of design does not escape notice for falls potential. Another review emphasizing the speed of data-rich medical apps loading on iPads for healthcare and that “EMR vendors and medical app developers should have no problem making complex, feature rich software.” featured on iPad review for doctors at KevinMD. If you’ll be in Washington DC next month, do not miss Dr. Halamka’s Knowledge Services and the Role of Medical Libraries in Healthcare IT Leiter Lecture at the Medical Library Association meeting. I’ll be attending and blogging about it for certain.

Another post-release take on the iPad is from TechCrunch with The iPad is a Kindle Killer, I Just Wish it Weren’t Going to Kill Reading Too highlighting the fact that it’s pretty easy to be distracted by other things while reading, and includes the first mention of the past tense verb ‘atted’ I’ve seen in reference to watching for people mentioning you by username on Twitter. There is a reported iPad bug that is affecting the campus network at Princeton, where they will block your malfunctioning iPad to maintain system stability if needed.


Walter Jessen contributed Where You Live Matters to Your Health posted at Highlight HEALTH, offering an introduction to the recently released which is a great source of data to better understand health issues and disparities. Medlibs Round creator Jacqueline offers two insightful entries about data visualization in Information is Beautiful. Visualizing the Evidence for Health Supplements and An Evidence Pyramid that Facilitates the Finding of Evidence at Laika’s MedLibLog.

Dr. Ves Dimov contributed Internet-based Approaches to Enhance Education of Allergy and Immunology Fellows: Practical Examples at Allergy Notes, and Dr Shock offered The Web Behaviour Test at Dr Shock MD PhD with an annotation of I did the web behaviour test on BBC Lab UK, you’ll have to register. The test took 20 minutes and wasn’t easy, but enjoyed it. Lab UK is a BBC website where you can participate in groundbreaking scientific experiments online for a bit of fun.

These are only a few of the current emerging audiences and information resources highlighting health information needs. Thank you for joining me this month! May’s host of the Medlibs Round is (the) health informaticist who is sure to bring more sources along these lines, so be sure to get your contributions in and happy blogging!

Friday Foolery #80: Duct taped library carpet showdown

Friday, April 9th, 2010

After last week’s debut of our duct-taped carpet, Janna was kind enough to share and give the ok for her fashionably festive duct-taped 37 year old mustard yellow library carpet to be featured here. Check out this spring palette closeup!

Mustard yellow carpeting with bright blue and purple duct tape strips

The worst of ours is so bad it warrants its own caution tape though. See how there’s another one of these in the distance too?

Duct taped carpet grid patterns

I did see someone from repair looking at the carpet and proclaiming that it is ‘Just awful!’ but nothing has been done to fix it yet. We shall see.

Wrong again: (F)NLM and Social Media Growth

Monday, April 5th, 2010

On Friday I lied, today I joyfully announce that I’m finally wrong about something else. To quote myself from May 2009, I’m still hopeful for the day when we will see an NLM social media presence.

I lamented the lack of a specific NLM social media presence as recently as February: PubMed. The Twitter account I was told was not official (see comments) for months now is. See the complete list of official NLM social media channels at

Even better, there is a Friends of the National Library of Medicine (FNLM) conference being held April 6-7th entitled The ePatient: Digital and Genomic Technologies for Personalized Healthcare that is making use of the Twitter hashtag #eNLM. This may not seem all that remarkable but things have come a long way from a total lack of NLM presence in social media less than a year ago to a dedicated webpage of social media channels, and their news account on Twitter promoting a conference hashtag:

Being the librarian/archivist type that I am, I discovered no one else created the wthashtag wiki page for the conference so I did. Learn what’s being discussed, see who the main participants are, and run transcripts by selecting date ranges at

I wish I wasn’t on the other side of the country and could be there, and hopeful that those who are will share the wealth of information with the rest of us!

Friday Foolery #79: I lied

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Last month I said it was too depressing to take photos at work of the duct tape holding our carpet together.

We received an email on April Fools Day yesterday that read, in part,

Please expect carpet repair work on the public stairs and staff corridor, i.e., the heavily trafficked, significantly duct-taped path from our freight entrance to the public area.

I think the back door is considered our freight entrance so I took a picture to serve as a ‘before’ if this ends up not being a joke.

Brace yourself. It really has looked like this since the first day of my internship here the summer of 2007. Any long-timers want to weigh in on just how long it’s been this way?

The worst part is that this is not the most significantly duct-taped carpet in the library, not by a long shot. I’m not sure any of us can handle photographic evidence of that part but we’ll see what next week may bring here.