Thursday, August 28, 2008

AIDS Ephemera

I was working at Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School (as it then was), in London, in 1986-1987, relatively soon after HIV (also, as I recall, called at the time HTLV-3) was identified as the cause of AIDS. And so my eye was caught by this online exhibit from the NLM, of (American, I think?) posters, badges, booklets and the like. The material was exhibited at the NLM in 2002. The virtual exhibit is here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More about changes to Ovid

I have since found a posting on Laikas MedLibLog about this, and Laika has obviously looked at this properly! So, I can now report that you can move the search history box so it is under the search box - drag it using the grey rectangle in the top right hand corner of the search history. You can also close either or both results managers - although they will both be open in any new Ovid session.

Laikas posting is here (in English and ook in Nederlands) and is gratefully acknowledged. She talks about other things besides, so please read her posting for more!

I also discover that you can customise the limit tick boxes that appear on the main search screen. But those choices seem to disappear in any new session. I have not investigated whether it remembers the choices if you are logged into your personal account.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

PubMed's Drug Sensor

This was implemented in PubMed in mid August. Search for a drug that is included on a list of 200 or so, and on the Summary Results screen (the list of references), you will see links to other resources about the drug. Currently the link is to PubMed Clinical Q and A, which is one of the items on the NCBI Bookshelf.

This is a separate thing from what you see when looking at an individual item from a list of results, when there may be a link to more information about the drug in MedlinePlus, which will appear under a heading "Patient Drug Information".

More about Drug Sensor

Citation mapping in Web of Science

I had meant to blog about this before going off, and had made some notes. But meanwhile, a review has appeared in Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, so I think I will refer to that and move on:

Simboli BD. Web of Science's "Citation Mapping" Tool. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship 2008; 54. [Accessed 26 August 2008]

Changes to Ovid

Back after paternity leave. Ovid has made some minor changes to its interface. At a quick look these seem to be:

The results manager is now above and below the search history and search box - overkill, perhaps? I have to say I quite liked it where it was, at the side, but I am sure I will get used to this new position.

There is a multifield search - allowing you to combine author and title, or journal and date, for example. I can't remember if the "search fields" option was there before. Our Ovid still defaults (at our request) to Advanced Ovid Search

The search box has moved so it is under the search history.

Currently there seem to be problems with logging into personal accounts. My existing password was declared invalid when I tried to use it. On advice of colleagues, who have been through all this already, I requested a new password. I logged in with it, and tried to change it. There are no rules given, but when I tried to change it back to the old password I discovered that a password needs to be between 6 and 8 characters. (My old one was 10). I chose a new one, and that was declared invalid, as was the next one. Again, on advice of colleagues, I tried logging in with the first of those new ones, and it worked. We are following this up with Ovid, but meanwhile, the advice needs to be: request a new password, login with it, change it to another one but ignore the warning that the new one is invalid. Try it out before deciding it is.

(Note: you only need a personal account to save searches or search alerts, not to use Ovid).

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Pests in hospitals, and the reporting of medical science

I was interested to hear (and see) the BBC Breakfast News coverage of the figures obtained by the Conservative Party about the number of instances of pests in hospitals. I found myself wondering: did the figures count calls to the pest controllers, or actual pests found? There were 20000 incidents of "pest infestation" (according to the Guardian's report) in the period starting January 2006. I wonder how many hospitals there are in England (or wherever the figures apply to) - if there are 1000 hospitals, and the figures cover 2 years, then this is 10 instances of pests (or calls to the pest squad) per year per hospital. 20000 sounds shocking - 10 per hospital sounds different. The Guardian does point out that there were hospitals that called pest controllers 50 times in the period.

Of course, rats in the maternity ward is no joke, but the way things like this are portrayed is very interesting.

Channel 4 has an interesting deconstruction of this issue, which raises some other interesting things about the figures - the fact that hospital's estates includes outdoors as well as buildings, and therefore that foxes, dead pigeons, and so on will occur and need to be dealt with, and the mismatch between these figures and the ratings of the Healthcare Commission, for two.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Microbes on Mars

Just before going off on paternity leave (see previous post) my eye was caught by a "Cross-talk" column in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, in which Bernard Dixon talks around this. He refers to work that was done looking for microbes in the clean rooms at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Samples were examined for evidence of Archaea, and evidence was found.

Dixon suggests that the question had been raised before of whether microbes from Earth could hitch a lift into space, and that there are protocols to try and prevent them doing so. But if Archaea can survive in clean rooms, should instruments and so on on spacecraft bound for Mars be screened for them? If microbes are found on Mars, how will we know that they didn't come originally from Earth?

The Lancet Infectious Diseases article is:

Dixon B. Spacebugs. Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2008; 8(8): 466. DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(08)70165-8

I've been following the Mars Phoenix Lander via Twitter -

Not much on this blog lately, is there?

See another blog for the reason why!