Friday, November 25, 2005

To the Library and beyond!

This was the title of my research seminar to 3Is, given last Wednesday. I talked about what resources the library has that can support research (databases, journals, reference management software), and how I can support research as the department's information librarian.

Details of all the resources, with URLs, are in a handout which you can get from my website.

Internet Resources Newsletter

Published by the Library at Heriot Watt University, this monthly newsletter has been kind enough to mention this blog. Thanks!

I receive IRN by email and there are always websites I have missed - it is a very useful resource. No doubt several sites have ended up in this blog, so a mention is overdue.

PDA Resources Room

We launched our Rooms web portal during the summer. To add to the existing medical/health rooms (Medicine and Health, Respiratory Medicine, Ophthalmology, Basic Sciences, Health Statistics, Operating Department Practice) there is now a PDA Resources Room, with links to downloadable resources for handheld computers. We have included medical and non medical material, and some introductory material to PDAs in general. There are also links to other library sites.

We ought to say (as we say in the Room) that inclusion of a link to a site does not imply approval or endorsement by ourselves or by the University.

The "asthma plague"

This was a major story in the Guardian a few Fridays ago, looking at the rise in incidence of asthma, and at the possible reasons.

National Library of Medicine resources

Two recent items of interest from the NLM Technical Bulletin.

NLM Gateway searches across a range of NLM resources. Five toxicology resources have just been added. Read more in the Technical Bulletin >>>

The NCBI offers a toolbar for quick searching of PubMed, Gene and Nucleotide databases. The toolbar sits within your web browser. Read more in the Technical Bulletin >>>

New things on flu

Here are some articles and other items on influenza. I have added them to my list of avian and pandemic influenza resources if appropriate (I am not really adding individual papers, as they can be found through searches of databases like PubMed or Medline).

A Nature editorial on containing the 1918 influenza virus.

A World Bank report on avian influenza in East Asia.

A BMJ clinical review, by Douglas Fleming, of influenza pandemics and avian flu.

A major database of genetic information on flu viruses has run out of money: report from SciDev.Net

Piece on summit held in Geneva, organised by the WHO, FAO and others, from the Lancet of the 5th November and the Lancet of 12th November. The Lancet site needs a password: read details of where to find it here.


This is the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Its website has links to information on avian and pandemic flu, and bioterrorism resources. News items, and new items added to the site, are flagged up on the home page and it is possible to sign up for email alerts.

I have added this site to my avian influenza webpages.

Updated asthma guideline

This is the British Thoracic Society/SIGN guideline on the management of asthma, updated this month.

I found out about this via the Respiratory Specialist Library of the National Electronic Library for Health. The Library is exhibiting at the BTS winter meeting in London next month, where it will have a stand in the Benjamin Britten Lounge. Go and see them and see what they can do to help you!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

SARS in neonates and children

Two authors from the Chinese University of Hong Kong have written this paper in Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition, describing the current state of understanding of the disease in newborns and children. Athens authentication required off campus.


NetWatch, in Science magazine, has been the source for several things in this blog. The page and its archive appear to be accessible in full on the web even though we do not subscribe to Science online.

Virtual Health Library for Disasters

This is from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) includes documents on a range of topics including preparedness, communicable diseases, nutrition and management of supplies, from a number of sources including UN agencies, the Red Cross and Oxfam.

It is also available on CD ROM.

Medicine in the Americas, 1610-1914

The NLM has created a digital bookshelf of materials on this subject, at, which includes a digitised facsimile of Directions for preserving the health of soldiers, by Benjamin Rush (1808), the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, and a book about the "asylum for the insane" established by the Society of Friends at Frankford, near Philadelphia.

Access to the General Practice Research Database

According to the BMJ, the MRC has paid for a licence to this database to make it available to researchers. The database includes 9 million patient records, but whether anonymised or not the article does not make clear.

Read more in the BMJ of 22nd October.

Media/Materials Clearinghouse

This is a network of professionals involved in developing health communication posters, pamphlets, training material and so on. Interested parties can apply for membership of the M/MC. The project is part funded by USAID, and material is added to the database by a librarian based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

I searched their database (there is a search box on the M/MC home page) for Ethiopia, and found 170 items including posters, pamphlets, keyrings and T shirts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

World COPD Day

Today, 16th November 2005, is World COPD Day. Lots of materials on the World COPD Day website - bit late to plan for this year, perhaps, but the material may be useful at other times, and there are details of the dates for 2006 and 2007 as well!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Cardiovascular Diseases Specialist Library

Another specialist library of the National Electronic Library for Health, this has just (I think) had a redesign. Search by condition or cause, look at material on disease prevention or find guides to help you appraise the literature. There are also links to the NSF, and a "hot off the press" feature with links to recent key articles.

One more thing about flu

The Respiratory Specialist Library of NeLH has added several things to its collection about this, and you can see all viral infection related guidance, evidence and patient information here.

European Best Practice Guidelines for Peritoneal Dialysis

Are published as Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation, vol. 20, suppl. 9. List of contents is at

Confusion in drug names

The Lancet recently discussed the confusion caused by two different drugs having the same identifying marks. This is a letter in response, describing potential confusion caused by two different drugs having the same name in different parts of the world. The trade name "Cartia" is an aspirin preparation, in some places, and a brand name for diltiazem, a vasodilator (a quick look in the Online Medical Dictionary seems to indicate).

You will need a username to see the full text of this and I have it. Or you can see if it is ScienceDirect yet - Lancet, vol. 366, issue 9496, page 1526.

Treatment of tuberculosis: present status and future prospects

An article in the Bulletin of the WHO for November, which summarises the current state of TB management, particularly with regard to situations where there is a high prevalence of HIV. It also looks at information on drugs for TB. This link is to a PDF file with short summaries in French and Spanish. There is a PDF with short summary in Arabic available at

Avian and pandemic flu - some more resources

Some more avian influenza materials:

An editorial in the BMJ, with links to Department of Health advice.

The Health Protection Agency's weekly reports for the influenza season

An interview in the Bulletin of the WHO with Shigeru Omi, the Regional Director of the WHO's Western Pacific Region.

The meeting proceedings from the John R. La Montagne Memorial Symposium on Pandemic Influenza Research, held by the Institute of Medicine (of the US National Academies of Science in April) are available in full at This has been added to the Library catalogue.

Respiratory Medicine, November 2005, includes an overview of systematic reviews on preventing influenza.

I will add these things to my webpage on avian influenza if appropriate.

As a slight aside, JAMA's cover has recently featured Edvard Munch's painting "Self portrait after the Spanish influenza". The image is at, with the first few words of the article. I have the password (and it is on the Library's intranet page) if you want to read the rest.

BMA survey of attitudes to the RAE

The BMJ (29th October) reports this survey, which found that 40 percent of those who responded to the survey said that the RAE had had an adverse effect on their career. Almost the same percentage said it had not influenced them at all, with only 21 percent saying it had had a positive effect. There is a link to the survey itself.

A haplotype map of the human genome

Nature has published a report of this "public database of common variation in the human genome: more than one million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)". Access will be available on campus only. The report is in the issue dated 27th October.

There is a piece about the report in SciDev.Net, which provides a link to the full paper that will work off campus (I think), as Nature is a SciDev.Net partner.