Category Archives: Librarianship

Health Professions Education Day & Taubman Library Grand Opening

I just wanted to say how button-busting proud I am of last week’s Health Professions Education Day and the Grand (re)-Opening of our library. There was an enormous amount of content related to both, so I made them into two separate Storify. The #HPEDay collection includes a rich overview of the innovative and collaborative approach to health education across all seven of the University of Michigan schools and colleges (dentistry, kinesiology, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, and social work), with rich visionary insights into professional ethics and leadership. Profound, and worth a slow deep exploration. The Taubman Health Sciences Library re-opening collection includes many images from tours of the new building which was designed to support these visions. Enjoy!

If you have specific questions, feel free to post them below, and perhaps they can trigger additional blogposts that go into more detail about specifics.

[Updated Sept22 to correct list of participating schools & colleges.]

Since Katrina, Part One: #SinceKatrina, #Katrina10, #Katrina10Years

Katrina Memorial

It’s been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina changed my life, in many ways. I want to talk about health information challenges then and now, how the information landscape has changed, but that will come in Part Two. For today’s post, I want to honor many of the other voices and conversations around this anniversary. The hashtags collecting these are:


People are telling the stories of what happened then, remembering, grieving, sharing anger and hurt that has barely faded. Others are analyzing again what went wrong. A few are celebrating survival and growth. Many are looking to the lessons learned and what must happen to prevent this happening again. There are many worthy stories, opinions, ideas, and ideals here. I’ve selected just a few.







Aaron, Lost, and Found Again

Panel: Open Access Activism, The Story of Aaron Swartz, with lessons for libraries and information.

Panel: Open Access Activism, The Story of Aaron Swartz, with lessons for libraries and information.

It’s been a couple years since Aaron died. Aaron who? Aaron Swartz. I’ve talked about him here a few times (Jan. 14, 2013; Jan. 15, 2013; Feb 2013; Jan 2014). Aaron was one of those bright and shining young stars, who did amazing things at early ages (helped code RSS at age 14?). reimagined ways to access information (see his fantastic Image Atlas collaboration with Taryn Simon), made very clear challenges with the status quo, and promised a future with much to contribute. That didn’t happen quite the way people hoped. In case you haven’t heard of him, there are a few links at the end of this post. Here is a quote from his dad at his memorial.

“We can’t bring Aaron back, he can no longer be the tireless worker for good… What we can do is change things for the better. We can work to change MIT so that it . . . once again becomes a place where risk and coloring outside the lines is encouraged, a space where the cruelties of the world are pushed back and our most creative flourish rather than being crushed.”

The University of Michigan is planning a really fantastic event this month looking at the circumstances of Aaron’s death, the factors that led up to it, the changes that have come after it, and how this has and is changing the information landscape and legal context in which libraries operate. Even better, you get to see the movie for FREE! Here is the event information.

Panel: Open Access Activism
Wednesday, June 17 at 4:00pm
Library Gallery, Hatcher Graduate Library, University of Michigan

Melissa Levine, U-M Library’s Lead Copyright Officer
Jack Bernard, U-M Associate General Counsel
Brian Knappenberger, Director, The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Brian Knappenberger’s film chronicles the story of Aaron Swartz, information-access activist and Internet prodigy, who was targeted by the FBI in a high-profile criminal case involving JSTOR and MIT at the time of his death. Join Knappenberger, along with Lead Copyright Officer Melissa Levine, and Associate General Counsel Jack Bernard in a panel discussion about the issues of the case and how they relate to libraries and information both more generally and at the University of Michigan.

Film Screening: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
Tuesday, June 16 at 7:00pm
Join us for this free screening with the filmmaker at Michigan Theater the evening prior to the panel.


AaronSw (his site):

Wikipedia: Aaron Swartz:

The inside story of MIT and Aaron Swartz: More than a year after Swartz killed himself rather than face prosecution, questions about MIT’s handling of the hacking case persist:

Remember Aaron Swartz:

Naughton, John. Aaron Swartz stood up for freedom and fairness – and was hounded to his death: The internet activist who paid the ultimate price for his combination of genius and conscience. The Guardian 7 February 2015 18.00 EST.

The Life of Aaron Swartz (a collection from the Internet Archive of the rich activity surrounding his loss):

BBC Four: Storyville: The Internet’s Own Boy [IMDB: ] [Review: ]

Internet Activist, a Creator of RSS, Is Dead at 26, Apparently a Suicide

What’s New, What’s Hot: My Favorite Posters from #MLAnet15

Part 3 of a series of blogposts I wrote for the recent Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association.

I had a particular slant, where I was looking for new technology posters, emerging and emergent innovations, but then I was so delighted with the richness of systematic review research being presented, that there is a lot of that, too. The chosen few ran from A to Z, with apps, bioinformatics, data visualization, games, Google Glass in surgery, new tech to save money with ILL operations, social media, Youtube, zombies, and even PEOPLE. What is it with medical librarians and zombies? Hunh. Surely there are other gory engaging popular medical monsters? Anyway, here are some of my favorite posters from MLA’s Annual Meeting. There were so many more which I loved and tweeted, but I just can’t share them all here today. I’ll try to put them in a Storify when I get back home. Meanwhile, look these up online or in the app for more details. By the way, they started to get the audio up, so you can use the app to listen to many of the presenters talk about their poster.

Poster 14:

Poster 28:

Poster 30:

Poster 38:

Poster 40 (and that should read “Twitter”, not “Titter”):

Poster 43:

Poster 54:

Poster 65:

Poster 83:

Poster 100:

Poster 121:

Poster 125:

Poster 130:

Poster 157:

Poster 202:

Poster 224:

Poster 225:

Poster 228:

Poster 238:

Poster 243:

Systematic Reviews 101


This morning in the Emergent Research Series, my colleagues Whitney Townsend and Mark MacEachern presented to a mix of mostly faculty and other librarians about how medical librarians use the systematic review methodology. They did a brilliant job! Very nicely structured, great sources and examples, excellent Q&A session afterwards. They had planned for some activities, but it ended up there wasn’t time. I’d like to know more about what they had planned!

I was one of the folk livetweeting. According to my Twitter metrics, this was a popular topic. I assembled a Storify from the Tweets and related content. I thought it would be of interest to people here.

Storify: PF Anderson: Systematic Reviews 101:

On Validating Search Strategies


This question came up because of this:

Varela-Lema L, Punal-Riobóo J, Acción BC, Ruano-Ravina A, García ML. Making processes reliable: a validated pubmed search strategy for identifying new or emerging technologies. Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2012 Oct;28(4):452-9.

What did they mean when they said “a validated PubMed search strategy”? Our MLA systematic review team that is working on search strategies for emerging technologies identification was, shall we say, curious. For this article, it meant that they tested the search results against the next best method previously used (handsearching). The topic was emerging technologies, and what they did was select influential journals and scanned the TOCs manually (which actually means by using their own eyeballs). The journals they scanned were: Science, JAMA, Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, Archives of Internal Medicine, BMJ, Annals of Surgery, Am J Transplantation, Endoscopy, J Neurology Neurosurgery Psych, Archives of Surgery, Annals of Surgical Oncology, British Journal of Surgery, and Am J Surg Path. Of the 35 articles that qualified from these journals, the search strategy accounted for 29. The ‘missing’ articles lacked appropriate title words relating to the novelty of the concept, OR used text words that had been removed from the search strategy to improve specificity (reduce total numbers retrieved).

Is that an appropriate way to validate a search strategy? Probably a pretty fair approach for this one, IMHO, especially since they did such a good job of reporting the specific calculations and details of the actual findings of the searches. Is that how most search strategies are validated? Well, perhaps not.

What I’ve been doing to validate search strategies for systematic reviews is to test and compare the search results to a defined set of sentinel articles. The sentinel articles are selected by the team’s subject experts as being good examples of articles that should be retrieved by a search on the defined question. The requirements beyond topic are that each of the sentinel articles should be older than two years, newer than 1990 (this can be flexible, depending on the topic), and must meet all of the defined inclusion criteria for the review. I usually recommend that the pool of selected sentinel articles include no fewer than 3 and no more than 10 citations. This is to make it possible to achieve complete success, as with each added citation, inclusion of all of them becomes more difficult. I also emphasize that the articles do not need to be excellent or required articles on the topic (ie. “gold standard” articles), but that it is, in my opinion, actually more effective for testing if the articles are a selection of relevant, but not necessarily the best ever written on the topic.

Draft versions of the search are tested against this set of articles, and if any “drop out” (are not included) we need to then figure out why, and determine whether to revise the search to include them, or justify the exclusion, or request NLM to correct the coding error in that article’s record. In these last two cases, the exclusion must be reported in the methods. Ideally, one would also describe the strengths, weaknesses, and/or limitations of the search strategy.

Here are some citations to other ways in which searches are validated.

Hausner E, Waffenschmidt S, Kaiser T, Simon M. Routine development of objectively derived search strategies. Systematic Reviews 2012 1:19.
NOTE: This is basically the same “sentinel articles” approach described above.

Hausner E, Guddat C, Hermanns T, Lampert U, Waffenschmidt S. Development of search strategies for systematic reviews: validation showed the noninferiority of the objective approach. J Clin Epid Feb 2015 68(2):191-199.
NOTE: Interesting article tests the reproducibility of Cochrane reviews and their reported search strategies. The emphasis is on the need for objective and reproducible search strategies in systematic review publications.

Van Walraven C, Bennett C, Forster AJ. Derivation and validation of a MEDLINE search strategy for research studies that use administrative data. Health Serv Res. 2010 Dec;45(6 Pt 1):1836-45.
NOTE: Compared to handsearching.

Walsh ES, Peterson JJ, Judkins DZ. Searching for disability in electronic databases of published literature. Disability and Health Journal Jan 2014 7(1):114-118.
NOTE: Very interesting two part test to manage the quality control of the search strategy. First, they used the method described above (compared to sentinel articles), then, because the search excluded specific topic terms in favor of broad keyword searching, they validated by comparing retrieval to the results of a known topic search.

Hempel S, Rubenstein LV, Shanman RM, Foy R, Golder S, Danz M, Shekelle PG. Identifying quality improvement intervention publications–a comparison of electronic search strategies. Implement Sci. 2011 Aug 1;6:85. doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-6-85.
NOTE: Compared relevance and quality of search strategies by results being reviewed for relevance by independent experts. My personal misgivings about this method for validating a search is that it cannot test for what is missed that you don’t know about.

Tanon AA, Champagne F, Contandriopoulos AP, Pomey MP, Vadeboncoeur A, Nguyen H. Patient safety and systematic reviews: finding papers indexed in MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL. Qual Saf Health Care. 2010 Oct;19(5):452-61.
NOTE: Compared sensitivity & specificity for new search strategies in comparison to previously published search strategies on the same topic. Validated by comparing to a large selection of sentinel articles. Very difficult to achieve, and am ambitious strategy!

Brown L, Carne A, Bywood P, McIntyre E, Damarell R, Lawrence M, Tieman J. Facilitating access to evidence: Primary Health Care Search Filter. Health Info Libr J. 2014 Dec;31(4):293-302.
NOTE: Interesting strategy that first created and validated a search strategy in OVID for quality control over the search development process, and then converted the strategy to PUBMED and validated it again. The validation was again through the selection of a set of sentinel citations, but they explicitly selected for the best quality articles in the topic and referred to the set as the “gold standard.”

Damarell RA, Tieman JJ, Sladek RM. OvidSP Medline-to-PubMed search filter translation: a methodology for extending search filter range to include PubMed’s unique content. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2013 Jul 2;13:86.
NOTE: Same strategy as the article by Brown, Carne…Tieman above, but a different topic.

You can find more articles on this topic by exploring the following search results:

(validated OR validation OR “quality control” OR “quality assessment”) search strategy review

At the Movies: Sex Positivity Messages on Youtube

Montage of thumbnails for several Youtube channels focused on sex positive messages

Tonight there is a #medlibs Twitter chat on some ways in which sex education is happening on social media.

Sexual Education & Social Media Chat — Sex Ed On Social Media: Quirky or Quality?

In preparation for this, I’d like to share highlights from a few of the more popular “sex positive” sex education Youtube channels! “Sex +,” “sex positive,” and “sex positivity” is a whole movement focused on looking at sex and sexual behavior as a good healthy thing rather than “dirty”. I’m probably oversimplifying with that rough definition, but it gives the broad idea. Many of the advocates and information channels include education, but some focus instead on relationships, communication, psychology, and attitudes. Some are professionally made, some are from health care or educational professionals, some are homegrown. You can’t tell which are the good ones from the source. Some professional ones are badly made or slanted, some homegrown ones are excellent and accurate.

As the phrases “sex positive” and “sex positivity” become more popular, you also begin to find some pornography channels that adopt the phrase in order to get into the search results. This has also happened with “sex ed” and “sexual education,” where some of the channels are more focused on education, and others are more focused on the (ahem) sex. This makes it really hard to go out, do a search, and actually FIND good quality sex ed content in Youtube. You can’t know before clicking if you’ll find something educational or something more smutty or something simply stuffy.

These channels often have clever names to communicate their focus topic (Ask My Girlfriend, Cherry TV, GLAMerotica 101, Kara Sutra, Nice Girls Like Sex Too, Sexplanations, Twisted Broad). Some of them provide good information in a cute way, others have cute names but rarely post any information, and yet others aren’t actually on the topic they seem to be on. Even if they post information rarely, it might be good, or it might be dated or irrelevant. Even if they have lots of views, it might be because it’s a good video or it might just be, well, porn. Again, you don’t know until you go look.

So, you can’t trust the key words, the metadata, the sponsors, the names of the channels, or the names of the videos. This is one of the best reasons for medical librarians and health care professionals to look into this before the questions are asked or answered. Trust me, you REALLY don’t want to be browsing these while someone is looking over your shoulder waiting for an answer! I stumbled into a few surprises while planning this post that I really could have done without. (The eyeballs! They burn! Ahhhh!) So spare your eyeballs, and check out a few of these as examples of the sex+ genre.

In this collection (which is highly selected and ONLY examples!), I’m focusing specifically on pieces with a more education focus and less of the sex, how to, issues, or relationship management, even though those are also obviously important. This means I didn’t include the famous Dan Savage or Kara Sutra or Just Sex or Nice Girls Like Sex Too or Twisted Broad or …. I also wanted to show sex ed that is more peer-to-peer, from teens and young adults to other teens and young adults, so I didn’t include pieces that try to sell sex toys or psychotherapy or couples therapy or from major universities. Face it, the universities offer solid content, but it isn’t as fun and engaging. Should it be? Why or why not? Did I miss any channels you think are great? Please list them in the comments!


Of course, I have to begin (and end!) with Laci Green, who is THE name in this space. If you only have heard of one sex positive online advocate, it is probably her. This video on the topic of what is consent and how to get it goes into an essential concept in sexual safety, as well as prevention of rape and sexual violence. Her description of the video includes “how to properly ask for consent, as well as what consent does and does not sound like.” Good stuff, worth thinking about. What would you add or change?

Wanna have sex? (Consent 101)


Laci Green started up a second channel in partnership with Planned Parenthood for talk about sex topics that are less educational and more issue-oriented. In this space, she has a small collection of videos on topics such as recovering from rape, hormone therapy, birth control, pregnancy testing, and more.

Sex After Rape


Laci Green started up a THIRD channel in partnership with MTV for talk about pop culture, some of which includes sex talk and much of which doesn’t. In this space, she has a small collection of videos on topics such as recovering from rape, hormone therapy, birth control, pregnancy testing, and more.

Sex At Hogwarts?!


Sexplanations is a channel designed around the perception of authority (“with Dr. Doc”) right along with quirkiness (check out the pigtailed avatar). The “Dr. Doc” behind the show is Lindsey Doe, a clinical sexologist.

Sexplanations Episodes 1-50:


Reid About Sex is a partnership of Reid Mihalko and Cathy Vartuli (Intimacy Dojo). In their extensive video series they have conversations about topics of interest, ranging from gender identity and sexually transmitted diseases to communication, props, behavior, and sex positive business advise. Whoa. That’s a lot of ground to cover.

Can You Get Herpes From Cuddling?


The Sex Ed Talk used to be called “The Tit Talk”, and can be found in various social media locations under either or both names. Their focus is on what they believe should have been covered in school, but wasn’t, or wasn’t covered as thoroughly as they like.

Vagina 101


Dodson & Ross introduce themselves as “the top sex educator in the world” and “the best attorney on the planet and my stunt c**t.” They continue by claiming you can’t ask a good question they won’t answer. They mean it, too. I had trouble finding one that was safe to put in this post. Despite the use of straight language (which sometimes means street language), all the videos are education, and pretty straightforward as well as candid.

Healthy Vaginas Through Menopause


I just couldn’t do this post without included my first and favorite Laci Green video — “You Can’t Pop Your Cherry (Hymen 101).”

You Can’t POP Your Cherry! (Hymen 101)