Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


(the) health informaticist – here yesterday gone today

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2014 by Alan Lovell

We’ve been rather naughty. Today it is April 2014, and our last post was in January 2012. To the more observant of our, err, regular readers, it has been apparent for some time that we are no longer, err, regular.

It’s been fun. 352 posts, 471 comments (some of which weren’t by the authors). We’ve had about 50,000 views, 6 of which occured today from Tunisia. Our top ten posts were:

  1. Guides on how to develop integrated care pathways (6,686 views)
  2. What’s an informaticist? (1,826 views)
  3. Google Chrome (979 views)
  4. Difference between quality of life & standard of living (716 views)
  5. Rate your doctor (666 views)
  6. Boots teams up to Web MD to provide patient info (640 views)
  7. Google Street View and the threat to our privacy (490 views)
  8. Pharm line database now open access and DH stop smoking app (473 views)
  9. An example of cloud computing: Tim (448 views)
  10. NICE’s plans for the specialist collections (448 views)

But, you know, other interests and new-fangled social media get in the way and take up our time and before you know it two years have passed and you’ve not posted anything. So we have decided to say a rather belated cheerio from the four of us. You can find Alan F at his new blog Evidently & @alanfricker, while Danielle is also tweeting @danni4info. Hanna and Alan L aren’t really social media-ing these days, though, as Justin Bieber says, never say never.

And that is that. Thanks for reading.


LinkedIn and CILIP Communities et al

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2011 by africker

Thing 6 is all about professional online networks (though we have dealt with them a little already).

The main interest for me in this Thing is LinkedIn.  I signed up without ever being fully convinced of how I would use it.  My profile is fairly skeleton at present (jobs, degrees, MCLIP) and I probably should add some detail.  I have more than few groups – I’ll come back to this.

Over time I have connected with a fair few folk – this seems to go in bursts – both in terms of invitations sent and received.  I got into the habit of asking people I connected with what value they were finding in LinkedIn – not a single person ever came up with a good reason to be there.

What I have been interested in is the way that the CILIP on LinkedIn seems to have started to come to life.  This seems to be in marked contrast to CILIP Communities.  I get regular emails updating me on various discussions in the group and some of these draw many comments.  I wonder if the LinkedIn group could supercede the CILIP Communities Forum?  It has the advantage of convenience (apart from for IE6 people) and neatly links to peoples rich professional profiles.  It would be interesting to see how CILIP could build on this participation.

I wonder also if LinkedIn could support something to officially badge people that are currently Chartered / a Fellow or whatever (particularly if we made recorded CPD a requirement of ongoing Chartered status) .  In this way employers checking us out before interview would have that marker of professional commitment.  It would also knock out those who use the letters but should no longer do so.


Stylist magazine on complementary and alternative medicine

In Uncategorized on July 7, 2011 by Danielle Tagged: , ,

Thank you to a friend for pointing out this by turns arrogant and naive article (which I couldn’t find on the Stylist website), focused on how we have all given up on medicine and are seeking solace in woo. What irks me the most is the suggestion that all women are “wired to the right side of their brain” so are creative, emotional types drawn to hokum treatments. How ridiculous and clearly untrue.

According to this article, “acupuncture, osteopathy, homeopathy, chiropractice and herbal medicine” are supported by scientific evidence. Is this news to you? Because they actually aren’t supported by any real evidence, except to say in some cases there may be a placebo effect. So you could actually be doing more good by prescribing someone a sugar pill, a glass of water or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) if, as the author says, they go to acupuncture in order to talk to someone for an hour and a half.

Why do people believe any of it? Because, as my friend said, “people are stupid.”


Alan Moore knows the score on Thing 4

In CPD23,Uncategorized on July 5, 2011 by africker Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

An excellent outing last night to the British Library for the latest talk accompanying the Out of this world exhibition.  A nice illustration of the benefits of CPD – I was looking around the BL site for upcoming events for the CILIP in London Google Calendar of interesting stuff in London (fancy contributing? get in touch) just when they were adding the events listing.  The result was myself and a mate were in a packed crowd for Alan Moore in conversation with Stewart Lee.  I suspect tickets would not have come my way if I had heard about it through slower channels.

It was a fascinating discussion ranging across scifi, science, religion, technology, genre, labels and who can remember what else.

There were demonstrations of IP red in tooth and claw – for example why some comic books are movies and others are not.  And how clashes over IP have impacted on the quality of writing in comics.  Alan Moore apparently gets no money from the sale of V for Vendetta Merchandise – but does get an enormous sense of personal well being from seeing them at demonstrations around the world (DC less so – apparently we won’t be getting any more V movies as a result).

Moore takes an interesting position on technology being extremely interested and reading widely about it but largely refusing to adopt it.  He no longer has a television since they dropped the analog signal in Northampton, refuses to have a mobile and has no email address.

There was a fab quote from Stewart Lee “what is twitter if not voluntary surveillance” that gave me a wry chuckle thinking of all the people who might be signing up for CPD23 over this week.  I originally joined Twitter as part of my involvement in the CILIP Defining our Professional Future exercise so I must be slightly past my one year of involvement.  I do find it useful (as well as entertaining) but access at work is limited which prevents me integrating it into the flow of my day in the way I might like.  I recently signed up for TweetyMail that has helped with some of the link sharing issues caused by using Twitter predominantly via Snaptu.

RSS is not a new thing for me.  I had a long love affair with Bloglines that I used for a good six years and I have commented already about my current RSS consumption.

I was surprised to find that I was able to get Pushnote installed on my work computer.  I say installed as I am struggling to decide if it is working or not.  I follow a fair few people on Twitter but there is little sign of them being involved in this and I cannot really see the point.  I do not seem to be alone in this based on peoples tweets.  Maybe a use will become apparent.

You can find some other Alan Moore & Stewart Lee footage on the web.  At the time of writing there a still tickets available for R.U.R. on the 6th of July – it has been a brilliant series of events.


Search strategy reporting and clarity

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 by Danielle Tagged: , ,

In a recent search of PubMed I was surprised to see a chastening letter by Nakao and colleagues published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that criticised a 2010 meta-analysis by Sciarretta et al on antihypertensive treatment and development of heart failure in hypertension published in the same journal. Althought the paper in question searched PubMed and Embase as well as checking the references of a 2009 meta-analysis, it did not publish the search strategy. Even worse, it appears to have missed significant and recent studies (e.g. the CASE-J trial, the Kyoto Heart study and the HIJ-CREATE study) that it ought to have included.

While I haven’t investigated this for myself, it is interesting to see a complaint about search strategies not being published. This is a brick wall where there should be transparency. Perhaps researchers and publishers need to overcome their reluctance to print what may look like gibberish (diab$ adj3 oedema?.ti,ab anyone?) to some.  Or perhaps many researchers still don’t even see a lack of explicit search strategy as a problem. A study selection algorithm is great, but it is no replacement for a proper foundation to this calibre of research.


CILIP Update with Gazette, April 2011

In CILIP,Uncategorized on April 19, 2011 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , ,

A crisp new copy of Cilip Update with Gazette (the two publications merged a couple months ago in case you’ve been on sabbatical) hit the newstand this week and an interesting welcome message from Elspeth Hyams.

A flip through brings us an update on ebook borrowing practices (don’t buy it unless someone wants to borrow it, according to one model), more from the front lines of Save our Libraries and, something I can agree with (but generally)- the need for more quantitative research in higher education environments. And everywhere else.

The Best Headline award goes to Matthew Mezey for ‘It’s like putting an AK47 into the hands of a moody teenager’, reporting from the front lines of a Guardian conference on sharing public data. Share by any means (lol) but please not on PDF, and keep it simple (sweetheart) were some wise words. Well, I’m glad that public opinion has finally seen the light, but what about our dependence on PDFs?

I’m glad also to see Tupe (Transfer of undertakings (Protection of employment)) regulations explained in a feature on employment law.

At the end you’ll find the job adverts previously found in Gazette (but very at home in UwG I think) and tips on how to reinvent yourself in the job market by Francis Muzzu.

Enjoy your online or paper copy (or join Cilip if you haven’t already).


Open access week and open scholarship

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2010 by Hanna

This week is Open Access Week. I successfully plugged this in a staff newsletter and my communications colleague said ‘but what is it?’ According to Jennifer McLennan on the Open Access Week ning site:

“Open Access” to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole. 

And from JISC who are working on an open bibliography project to unlock British Library data:

Opening the knowledge base to all means more researchers can build on it and there is less duplication of effort. Researchers can reach a greater audience and find that their work is more widely read and cited, institutions gain an enhanced reputation as their research becomes more visible, funding agencies see a greater return on their investment, and publishers find that the impact of their journals increases.

So for me it would be not buying journals but encouraging staff to put in funding bids to pay publishers to make articles open access or self publishing and/or placing articles in an institutional repository. My role would be to facilitate access to these resources but hopefully they would be a lot easier for people to find for themselves. Reading Peter Murray Rust and it becomes clear that open access journals and even data are just the tip of the ice-berg. Open Scholarship is open bibliography (opening up metadata) and the democratising of knowledge:

any kind of information – sonnets to statistics, genes to geodata – that can be freely used, reused, and redistributed (Open Knowledge Foundation)

The Open Knowledge Definition is a project that defines the principles that make knowledge open in relation to data and content and there is a separate one for software. Eleven principles to quibble…but as Peter Murray Rust says it’s asserting what should be in the public domain: facts not subjective analysis or creative opinion.

It’s good to know some libraries are engaging with this: the University of Sussex has a series of seminars for researchers and the LSE is highlighting it’s institutional repository and is awarding prizes to academics who have made a significant contribution to open access at the university.