Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Ring a ring o' roses

A Bank Holiday visit to Eyam in Derbyshire started the thinking towards this post.

Eyam, in 1665, became a place afflicted by the plague, after some infected cloth arrived from London, which at the time was in the grip of what has been called the Great Plague.

The village went into quarantine, so that it would not spread.  I was about to say I wondered how they knew this would help, but I imagine it is self evident - if no one comes into contact with you, and nothing from your village reaches anyone else, no one else will catch it, and you would not need to have modern knowledge of its causes to be confident about this.

Here are some things about the plague, either that of the 17th century, or the Black Death. 

Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, about epidemics.

National Archives, for Key Stage 3 school students, including some primary sources.

A PubMed search found an article about possibly the last outbreak in the UK, in east Suffolk between 1906 and 1918. 

And the title of this post?    Well, it's the nursery rhyme, about the plague.  Or is it?   See this Library of Congress blogpost for a discussion.

Monday, April 27, 2015

More about abstracts that make it no further

Or do they?  This carries on from an earlier post.

I searched Conference Proceedings Citation Index (Web of Science) for the phrase "antibiotic resistance" in titles, published in 2007.  Many of the results were not abstracts, but papers presented at conferences, something useful to remember.   Refining to meeting abstracts left 34 items.

I searched Science Citation Index and Conference Proceedings Citation Index, for all years, to see if I could find a full paper presenting the same results.  Of course, in CPCI there are no abstracts of abstracts, so without checking the abstract, all I had to compare was the authors and title.   I searched for the first author, using their first initial and truncation, and a word or phrase that seemed significant out of the title.  I was assuming, of course, that the first author was involved in any full paper, which might not be true.  It might be better to use all the authors, combined with OR.  Some of them would be the same.   I am also assuming that the full paper would have a similar title to the conference abstract.

For three of the abstracts, there were no other results.

For one, there was one possible match, involving all four authors (but not listed in the same order), but the full paper had a more specific title, although one that could fit the abstract.  The abstract was titled "Antibiotic resistance and penicillin tolerance in clinical isolates of group B streptococcl", and the paper (published two years later) "Antibiotic resistance and penicillin tolerance in ano-vaginal group B streptococci".  The two were not in the same journal.

Interestingly, although a bit of an aside, that abstract title does really say "streptococcl" with an L.  If you search for titles containing that word, you find one other, and WoS suggests that you meant "streptococcAl", with a link to 9000+ results.   I shall report both streptococcl titles!  You would find the paper with other search terms, as correct spellings would appear in the abstract and keywords, but possibly a different story with the meeting abstract.

For one other of the five I searched, I am fairly confident I found a match, different journal, published in 2013, same two authors in the same order, and an abstract that indicates that the data was collected in 2005-2006.

So tiny sample, and problems with methodology, but 1/5 of the abstracts made it to a full paper (and therefore a presentation of the full data), and another 1/5 might have done but we would need to check both items in full to be sure.   The other 3 (methodological problems excepted) went no further. 

Another thought about contacting the authors - I was wondering what exactly the students had said, or asked.   Would it make a difference how specific they were when asking for data, or what language they used?

Practice based learning

Was at the optometrist, at the hospital.   With the optometrist was a doctor, a Specialist Registrar, undertaking ophthalmological training.  They were introduced as an observer, but in fact the optometrist asked several questions as the various tests were done.   What did they notice about what just happened (eye movement, for example)?   Did they notice a particular phenomenon?  What did that phenomenon mean?   And there were explanations, although some longer ones were obviously being saved for later, after I had left.

It is a side effect of being a medical librarian that visits to hospitals are fascinating.   Thank goodness that those visits have not been for me life threatening or life changing.  (Although a visit last year after a fight with a tramline was possibly more potentially life changing than I realised at the time, and it was still fascinating because I had no real idea while I was there what had happened and how I had got there, and no real thought at the time about how much more serious it could have been.  That thought has only come later).

But this one was fascinating for another reason.  It was interesting observing the observer, and observing the teaching (or facilitation of learning, if you would rather).

Would that method work for medical librarians?   The observer did not administer any of the tests, but they did observe and have to understand enough to answer the questions.  What did just happen?   What does it mean?    Could we just demonstrate searching techniques, say, and then ask about it?   Maybe it is preferable to get people doing active things, but if you have to teach a session using a search demonstration (because you are in a seminar room, for example), there are lessons here.  Perhaps later in the day, the observer got to administer the tests, of course that I will never know,

Two thoughts to end.  Interesting that -
- the one asking the questions and the one answering were not from the same professional group, and perhaps interesting that the one answering was a doctor and the one asking was an allied health professional (this may just show how out of date I am, although it is an example of interprofessional learning);

- the observer was not there to comment on the behaviour and technique of the other, as would happen if you went to the GP and a medical student was examining you.