Archive for the ‘Eresources’ Category


Default searches in Wiley Online Library and how not to help

In Eresources on January 20, 2012 by africker Tagged: , , ,

We recently bought some oBooks from Wiley (do other companies call online ebooks obooks?).

One of these is “Enabling learning in nursing and midwifery practice” – a popular text with our users (in paper form – look forward to seeing if they use the oBook).

Sorting out the linking for this item I tried to retrieve it on Wiley Online Library.

I searched for – enabling learning nursing – seems a fair search to me.

Result – “No results found for: enabling learning nursing.”

A search for – enabling learning – works fine.

A search for – enabling learning in – works fine to.

Clearly this is an issue.  Being a helpful customer I report this via the online form spelling out the series of search strings, location of search and so on.

Response – “Please send us screen shots”

This is not a hard to replicate fault – I have replicated it several times to check it really was an issue before logging it.  I click the link to update the enquiry – it fails.

I start a new enquiry (I am a helpful and determined customer) including the reference from last time and spend quality time preparing a document that includes all the screen shots you might want to see.

Response – ” Thank you for your reply and screen shots to 120117-000375

You may use the “Advanced Search” functions to search for the journal you are interested of.

Attached is the User Guide for your reference in using Advanced Search function.

Hope this information helps.”

So a report that your main front page search function is at some level broken draws the suggestion I need to read the manual and /or use an alternative search option?  Of course the link to respond to the enquiry fails so I cannot easily continue the discussion but why bother?



Reaction to Seth Godin on ebooks & libraries

In Eresources on May 26, 2011 by Danielle

I’ve decide, based on his recent post discussing the future of libraries, that I like Seth. I used to think of him as a general guru. I realise now that he is a marketer. I like what he says, I realise it has been said before but I quite like how he says it. He’s engaging.

I am not sure ‘librarians’ are going to pay attention because (a) he is coming from outside of the library/information profession and (b) he is kindly but openly critical of what libraries are and how they are not doing enough to keep up with the likes of Netflix, in my opinion. I see that Phil is critical also- I suppose I agree the phrase ‘dead books’ isn’t that endearing is it?

Yes the image of the librarian as teacher wins out in the end. I think this is the role of every public or school librarian, but it all makes me roll my eyes a bit and feel a bit invisible as a health lib/evidologist. Are we teachers? Do we pace the corridors of our our appointed offices or hospitals and help our staff and directors do their ‘homework’? I’m not sure we do, even in a metaphorical sense.

Seth’s pie in the sky stuff about ebooks is hilarious because:

(a) I do enough screen reading thanks,
(b) I like the razor blade comparison:

…we need to consider the rise of the Kindle. An ebook costs about $1.60 in 1962 dollars. A thousand ebooks can fit on one device, easily. Easy to store, easy to sort, easy to hand to your neighbor. Five years from now, readers will be as expensive as Gillette razors, and ebooks will cost less than the blades.

BUT will libraries ever have the budget/inclination to buy and replace ebook readers regularly (because they WILL get broken and trashed- from regular use even – I am not saying foul play but that is also inevitable), keep them up to date, and go to war against publishers who may agree to libraries buying a copy of an ebook and lending it 26 times, but then turning it into a brick. What happens with the publishers’ terms and conditions change so that libraries can only lend 20 times? 15? 10? This must be accounted for in their budget.

A side of me thinks: Why don’t we just wait for epaper? At the current recession-strangled rate of adoption of new technology in libraries we may as well wait. Thanks again, banking crisis/ shoddy lending and mortgage policies!

And speaking of recession, Seth doesn’t mention how to keep all the tramps out of the library because the recession has created more tramps and if anything fewer internet terminals. (wry grin)

So I really don’t mind Seth one bit, he has some sense. And he has an interesting writing style- most librarians could learn from that at the very least!*

*Except the excellent readers of tHI, of course.


Kindle lending – good for Amazon

In Eresources on April 21, 2011 by africker Tagged: , , ,

They said it would never happen but Amazon has announced Kindle Book Lending in the US in partnership with OverDrive who already handle most ebook lending in UK Public Libraries.

As a Kindle owner I am glad to see this and hope we will see it in the UK soon.

There have been some concerns about how it will work in practice but thus far the answers seem pretty fair.

I can see some major wins for Amazon from joining the lending information ecology.

Firstly they will get some money from the libraries for the reading by their borrowers.  Money they were not getting (unless libraries were buying stock from them).  Since I got my Kindle for Christmas I have spent close to five pounds on ebooks (three in all). But I have read many more on the device and borrowed many more paper books from the Library.  I would encourage my local library to buy ebooks now I can actually get them onto my device.  Others are likely to do the same.

Secondly – unless the library buys a lot of kindle copies Amazon will get people on lovely clear purchase path. 

Go to library website, see you are number 20 in the queue, appreciate that when you get to the front of the queue you will have to drop whatever you are reading to read it before it disappears off to the next person. With the link to purchase no doubt near at hand what do I do? I suspect a good number will just buy it when they can see the queue. 

Or I borrow it from the library and before I finish reading it my loan runs out.  Again – will I go back in the queue or just buy it – particularly if a canny Amazon says – you already read three quarters of the book – we’ll let you finish it straight away for a low price (or indeed a high one if they already know I am reading all of a series of books).

So I definitely think Amazon are going to do well out of it.  What about libraries (and health ones at that)?  If they can find the money to pay for a decent collection (and other catches do not become apparent) then it must be good.  Amazon have the collections and Kindle the installed user base.  For health – I was interested to see that a number of health texts are already in the most popular public notes – so usage may well be on the way.  I’ll be looking out for pricing for my library.


IE6 where is thy death?

In Eresources,How to work better on March 31, 2011 by africker Tagged: , , ,

So Microsoft have declared the death of IE6 and you can watch it going on a special site – Internet Explorer 6 Countdown

Not everyone is convinced about the good intentions of MS with suggestions that globally much IE6 use is on pirated XP software and that IE8 without a development path from IE6 is not a great help

I rather like this earlier site suggesting we should in fact be saving IE6.  I particularly like how the Save IE6 site congratulates me on using self same browser while the countdown site points out the error of my browsing ways.

Yes – along with many in the NHS I am living in an IE6 world.  The IE6 Countdown reckons only 3.5% of browser share in the UK is IE6.  I wonder how much of this must be the NHS (this article would suggest DWP have plenty still)?

Checking Google Analytics on my library catalogue for the last three months (Jan – Mar 2011) we get 94% IE use overall with 83% of that being IE6.  The same period last year (Jan – Mar 2010) offers 95% IE overall with 93% of those IE6.  And one more year back (Jan – Mar 2009) – I have no data – thanks Google Analytics.

So what does this tell us ?  IE6 is falling slowly in the NHS but much slower than in the world at large.  The reason for this is well known – a number of critical NHS systems still require IE6 as Microsoft realises and the DoH seems to want to ignore.

And how much of a problem is this?  I think it is an accelerating one.  Gradually the web is becoming a hostile place for IE6 – formatting awry on some pages, warnings on others and total block outs for newer versions of some sites.  And the systems we use are starting to suffer – Proquest have a problem, Google Reader warns me daily, EBSCOhost requires IE7.  On the plus side NHS Evidence have largely managed to keep the IE6 show on the road.

Our lovely local IT folk have installed Firefox on our machines but this is only a very partial solution.  People are going to use their regular IE (6) browser as long as it remains available.  I also do not really want the library team to get used to seeing something different to the bulk of the users. 

I am afraid this one will run and run (or fail to run and display really badly).

PS Post title from a music blog post title that still amuses me to this day.


Number Needed to Post and

In Eresources,Evidence-Based Medicine on March 30, 2011 by africker Tagged: ,

Terrible times at (the) Health Informaticist with no postings from any of us for more than a few months.  I wonder if there is a NNP Number Need to Post – how many authors do we need to get a regular blog post out?

I am going to try and gently get back into the habit. To that end…


A site I had not met before with an excellent clear presentation of Number Needed to Treat calculations.  See the strength of the evidence for an intervention and read on for more details of this evidence.   You can read more about it in this announcement from one of the creators.


Top alerting services for monitoring drug developments and other things

In Eresources,How to work better,Information industry on October 5, 2010 by Hanna Tagged: , , , ,

We had a discussion at work recently about how we should keep up to date with drug topics we monitor. We do this to see what is happening with licensing in this country and/or in the US/Europe and then we might also be tracking disease areas also for other types of work. So what to use? We previously gave the drug topic monitoring job to one person in the team who would scan choice journals and send photocopies of the results but these were often out of date and this is an onerous job for one person remembering perhaps 10s or 100s of topic indications. We narrowed down the following to some essentials and others as optional but I would be interested to know what sources other people use.

  1. NeLM or National Electronic Library of Medicine. A “‘one stop’ platform from which users can easily find medicines information that matters in a simple and coherent manner”. Daily email alert delivered as headlines and often includes commentary and links to original sources. Pretty much our gold standard. Takes info from a range of sources: UK medicines information (UKMi), National Prescribing Centre and Medicines Compendium online to name but a few.
  2. PharmaTimes. This is on our core list as well although I have to admit I don’t use it, I think there was something weird about their sign up and it didn’t want to sign me up argh. We purchase some similar titles and this is all about e-TOCs.
  3. New drugs online. Produced by UKMi and ingested by NHS Evidence as well, NHS registered people can access more info than publically accessible too. Excellent for news and reporting of trials/regulatory stuff for new drugs. Example for lorcaserin for obesity.
  4. Medical News Today. US based although however news is captured it is truely worldwide. Sources include “JAMA, BMJ, Lancet, BMA, plus articles written by our own team”. Categorised into sections covering major disease areas these daily alerts are very comprehensive.
  5. US again but good for FDA alerts that may influence European/National decisions. Probably more generalist/consumer level information
  6. Pharmalot. Blog from which you can receive alerts along the lines of investigative journalism and debate about pharmaceutical companies and drug development in general. Or “commentary on the pharmaceutical industry and related litigation.” The backstory of what makes the news later e.g. rosiglitazone.
  7. And other things: NHS Institute alerts (mainly implementation and while we’re on that see Implementation Science journal), the CASH database which aimed to be the national current awareness service although is reportedly biased towards whoever is updating it weekly and more traditional alerts from saved searches and e-TOCs galore.

How you manage these is up to you. I can’t help but scan them almost daily but do searches of the folder I bung them in in my inbox on a monthly basis…


The death of bloglines

In Eresources,How to work better,Web 2.0 & all that on September 16, 2010 by africker Tagged: , , , ,

My much loved bloglines account has got to go.  After 6 plus years of faithful service (an eternity in web terms) Ask have seen fit to kill it off

Apparently no one reads RSS anymore (stats for Google Reader use suggest something different) – all part of the death of the blog meme (see also, Death of the blog comment and so on).  All the cool kids are on twitter.  So why am I so annoyed?  Bloglines didn’t ever develop much (I tried the major revision they released and soon retreated to the basic old version) but it did a pretty good job of the task in hand.  Reading was quick and I saved the things I either couldn’t follow up immediately or wanted to hang on to.  I never noticed the problems others alleged with outages and the Bloglines Plumber.

So what?  Just move to Google Reader like most people have already. Problem is I already have a Google Reader account used for a Current Awareness Service. I can have two Google Accounts logged in at once but it gets all tangled on itself quite frequently.   Thus far I don’t particularly like Google Reader as a user experience either.

Oh and of course I work mostly in IE6 land.  So everytime I go into Google Reader it suggests I need to upgrade my software.  And Google are definitely starting to get more aggressive not even allowing IE6 folk to use some of their products (hurrah no Google Instant for me!) so I may be out on my ear in the not too distant future. 

Others have said it but once more with feeling – thanks Ask – thanks a lot.