Anyone have these Powerpoints and/or Handouts?

Hey all – as I’m nerdily going through my stuff from LS534, I see that I don’t have handouts and/or powerpoints for the Integrated Risk Information System (Daniel) or Clin-eguide (Rachel) or Wikis (Rachel). Anyone happen to save those? 


Thanks! Best of luck to everyone as we head out and move on!



Link between title search returns and medical knowledge. Also, Lemmatization!

Lusky, J. The Index Catalog and Historical Shifts in Medical Knowledge, & Word Use Patterns. 2004. (this is a horrible citation, but I couldn’t find more info… the link to the abstract is below, you can follow a link from there to the full article)

This article is one of my favorite types, where the researcher has studied something quantitatively in order to make conclusions about correlation patterns (and has made assumptions about what results will indicate. Here, the author examined entries returned from the Index Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon General’s Office (published from the 1880 to 1961) in response to words searched through the title search and subject search functions. She looked specifically at words that reflected differing thought patterns relating to the same disease or condition. For example, she searched the term “germ” together with “syphilis”, “chorea”, and beriberi (each separately), then the term “hereditary” with each of the disease terms. Her presumption was that searching “germ” plus a disease would return items that supported the germ theory of each disease’s origination, and that articles returned from the “hereditary”+ search would support the heredity theory. She examined each over a time span from the 1860s to the 1920s. She asserts that changes in title headings reflect changing assumptions of “acceptable medical knowledge”, and her results do show that search term combinations do correlate with changing medical theories over time (as germ theory grew in popularity, the percentage of titles containing each disease with “germ” increased and titles with each disease and “hereditary” decreased.


The research clearly demonstrates correlation, and it is difficult not to assume causation. How interesting to look at changing medical theories (at least those held by the publishing scientific community) this way!


Another interesting tidbit: the author used two different search tactics I was unfamiliar with (and I have no idea if they are limited to the search engine used). She used truncation in a new (to me) way. By entering “germ*, germ *” (space between the m and * is intentional in the second term) the return would include “germ”, “germs”, and “germ theory” but would not return Germans. I’m not sure why that’s true, but it’s the example she listed. I understand that word space * would allow for qualifier words/additional terms to be added (as in germ * to germ theory) but I don’t understand why the initial germ* wouldn’t return Germans – is it using them together? 

She also “lemmatized” her search terms – according to Wikipedia lemmatization is “the process of grouping together the different inflected forms of a word so they can be analyzed as a single item” – i.e. noun forms of words like “treating” and “treated” were lemmatized to “treatment”. What?!?! Who knew about that? Here is an article that discusses lemmatizing and its particular importance in searching biomedical literature.


Health Insurance Literacy Webinar (free!)

This webinar, advertised through NN/LM, is a free look at Health Insurance Literacy. We haven’t talked about health insurance, but I imagine it is something that we should be comfortable with. I don’t know how often medical librarians are asked to help explain health insurance or to contribute to health insurance literacy, but why wouldn’t we be asked? It’s certainly one of the more confusing and frustrating aspects of the medical field.

The seminar is tomorrow at 4pm eastern. I won’t be able to make it, but would love to hear about it if anyone else is able to attend.

Sleep deprivation (or excess!) and cognitive dysfunction

This doesn’t have anything to do with medical librarianship, but this very short video discusses the apparent effect of sleep duration and quality on cognitive function. I personally feel like I have been sleep deprived for at least the last decade and a half, so this really hit home. I find myself searching for words more and more often (often knowing what the word starts with and how many syllables it has, but I’m still unable to grasp it). Lucky for me I keep constant access to an online thesaurus to help with my early “senior moments”. Interestingly, sleeping too much has the same effect…

I guess the point is to remember that finishing projects at 3 in the morning is not really beneficial, nor is storing up all of your sleep debt for marathon sleeping over the weekend. 

Examining how sleep quality and duration affect cognitive function as we age

Searching MEDLIB-L Archives

Anyone else having issues searching the archives? I can get to a page that lists the archived emails, but when I try to “Search Archives” it gives me the wheel of frustration and will never load (ultimately timing out). This has been happening from more than one computer, and for over 24 hours. Something else I need to try??