Library Workshops Support Important Systematic Reviews

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Systematic reviews are an integral component of evidence-based healthcare, but they can be hard to define. According to the Cochrane Library, a systematic review “is a high-level overview of primary research on a particular research question that tries to identify, select, synthesize and appraise all high quality research evidence relevant to that question in order to answer it.” (http://community-archive.cochrane.org/about-us/evidence-based-health-care) Like all quality research studies, the protocol used to conduct a systematic review must be spelled out in advance to minimize bias and to ensure that the review can be replicated by another group. Because of the rigor involved, systematic reviews can take several months to complete and usually involve two or more researchers. When done correctly, however, they can provide very reliable evidence for health care providers.

A quick search of PubMed shows that approximately 223 healthcare related systematic reviews have been completed here at the University of Vermont and more are ongoing. Some most recent examples of these reviews are on topics like Physiological Genomics (J. Hudziak), Diabetes Research (M. Cushman), Clinical Pediatrics (S. Yeager), and Sports and Health (B. Beynnon). In an effort to support these projects, and other like them, Dana Medical Library offered a series of three systematic review workshops this spring:

  • Introduction to Systematic Reviews – led by Donna O’Malley and Gary Atwood, provided an overview of the elements that make up a systematic review and some of the issues that researchers encounter.
  • Searching for Systematic Reviews – led by Donna O’Malley, showed researchers how to find existing systematic reviews as examples.
  • Going Gray: How to Find Gray Literature – led by Nancy Bianchi and Gary Atwood, outlined the role that gray literature plays in the systematic review process and reviewed potential sources that researchers can search.

The workshops were attended by faculty members, researchers, and students – many of whom are either at the initial stages of their own systematic review or anticipating one in the not too distant future.

Given the positive reaction to this first round of systematic review workshops, the Reference Librarians at Dana hope to offer them again in the future. Of course, researchers can also contact their liaison for help with their own research in the meantime. For more information on workshops at Dana, contact Gary Atwood at 656-4488.

Information Overload? Make a Resource Guide YOUR Portal to the Library

infooverloadA wide variety of people use the Dana Library website: clinicians, researchers, educators, graduate students, medical students, and undergraduates. That means that there is a LOT of information wrapped up in one Web site. Do you want JUST the links that you need? We have a solution.

Librarians have created specialized individual web pages (called Research Guides) that can be used as portals to just the information you need. Only want clinical information? Try the Clinical Care research guide (http://danaguides.uvm.edu/clinicalcare). Only need Pediatrics resources? Check out the Pediatrics guide (http://danaguides.uvm.edu/Pediatrics).

All of these guides have unique, easy to remember URLs that can be bookmarked or made into an icon for a desktop. Use one of these guides instead of the Dana Library home page. That way, you don’t have to continue to sift through the many pages on Dana’s site looking for what you want. For example, nurses at FAHC have put the FAHC Nursing Resources guide (http://danaguides.uvm.edu/fahcnurses) on the nursing hub on FAHC’s intranet while residents at Milton Family Practice have put an icon on resident computer desktops linking directly to the Family Medicine guide (http://danaguides.uvm.edu/familymedicine).

Go to http://danaguides.uvm.edu/ to browse research guides already created by Dana librarians. If you can’t find what you are looking for, consider contacting the librarian assigned to your department, program or subject area (see http://library.uvm.edu/dana/about/staff/specialist.php) to request a research guide tailored to the needs of your department or program.

In fact, the best way to have useful resource guides is to give input; contact librarians directly with your ideas or leave comments on the guides themselves. We welcome all of your comments and suggestions and hope you will help us make these tools as useful as possible!

New Book Highlights

The UVM Libraries’ new book list is updated weekly. Subscribe via RSS feed to subjects that interest you. (Find subject categories listed here, RSS Feed available once in a subject area.)

Descriptive psychopathology : the signs and symptoms of behavioral disorders by Taylor, Michael Alan, 1940- (Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2009) WM 141 T244d 2009

“Provides a broad review of the psychopathology of psychiatric illness, beyond the limitations of the DSM and ICD criteria.” Publisher description

Deep brain stimulation : a new treatment shows promise in the most difficult cases by Talan, Jamie. (New York : Dana Press, 2009) WB 495 T137d 2009

“There are disorders that defy treatment with prescribed pharmaceuticals: a man’s hands shake so hard that he cannot hold anything; a woman is mired in severe, inescapable depression; or a child falls into severe epileptic seizures. For these patients and others, an alternative is emerging for when pharmaceuticals fail: deep brain stimulation. More than 30,000 people worldwide undergo this treatment each year, and with this volume, Jamie Talan and Richard Firstman explain this cutting-edge medical development that may hold the key to unlocking some of medicine’s most bewildering mysteries. Deep brain stimulation primarily consists of implanting electrodes in the brain that are connected to a device similar to a pacemaker. Talan and Firstman describe the ways in which deep brain stimulation has produced promising results in the treatment of numerous diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease, depression, and Tourette’s syndrome. The book also features compelling profiles of patients who have been helped through the treatment, including a trauma patient, once barely conscious, who can now talk, walk, and eat on his own; and a young man whose obsessive-compulsive disorder had left him housebound, but who is now married and holding a steady job. In addition, the authors introduce us to the doctors and scientists who pursue pioneering research and outline the possibilities that their most recent work holds for treating Alzheimer’s Disease and for stroke rehabilitation—as well as the ethical issues that have arisen in the course of their work. A fascinating and timely investigation,Deep Brain Stimulation reveals the exciting possibilities for restoring a richer life to the sufferers of diseases long thought to be incurable.” Publisher description

cogcancerCognition and cancer (Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2008) QZ 266 C676 2008

“This book is a unique resource on the influence cancer and cancer treatments have on cognition. The majority of cancer patients on active treatment experience cognitive impairments often referred to as ‘chemobrain’ or ‘chemofog’. In addition, patients with primary or metastatic tumors of the brain often experience direct neurologic symptoms.

This book helps health care professionals working with cancer patients who experience cognitive changes and provides practical information to help improve care by reviewing and describing brain-behavior relationships; research-based evidence on cognitive changes that occur with various cancers and cancer treatments; assessment techniques, including neurocognitive assessment and neuroimaging techniques; and intervention strategies for affected patients. In short, it will explain how to identify, assess and treat these conditions.” Publisher description

Personal Health Tools

floss1Ever wonder about the proper way to floss your teeth? The personal health tools at healthfinder.gov can show you how to floss, assess your risk of diabetes or calculate how much you spend on alcohol each month.

healthfinder.gov is a government Web site that presents health information and tools for individual use, either for yourself or a loved one. According to the site’s description it “has resources on a wide range of health topics selected from over 1,600 government and non-profit organizations to bring you the best, most reliable health information on the Internet.”

One of the most interesting sections of the site contains a variety of personal health tools, “free interactive tools to check your health, get personalized advice, and keep track of your progress.” A great place to start is the MyHealthfinder, which offers you several tools of interest based on your age and gender [information provided byU.S. Preventive Services Task Force].

While MedlinePlus is still the gold standard in consumer health information, it often works best when you approach it with a particular topic in mind. On the other hand, if you are looking for personalized general wellness information, either for yourself or your patients, healthfinder.gov is a great place to start.

Floss those pearly whites! by /*dave*/ used in accordance with the Creative Commons license.

Dana Wants to Hear from YOU!

libqual_logo_100px_highThe Dana Medical Library cares about what you think. We want your voice to be at the heart of our planning and assessment efforts as we evaluate library services, including such things as electronic journal access, library employees’ ability to solve problems, the new library web page, and the quality of the physical facilities.

On Monday, April 6th, Dana will launch an electronic survey, LibQUAL+ ™, to evaluate the library, and to benchmark our collection, services and facilities with other libraries.

LibQual is a nationally-normed survey developed by the Texas A&M University Libraries in partnership with the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The survey gauges library users’ opinions of the resources and services provided by the library. The survey includes three general areas: Affect of Service, or how patrons felt their needs were met by staff; Information Control, or how easily patrons are able to find what they are looking for; and Library as Place, or how well the location works for study and research.

The Dana Medical Library participated in the LibQUAL+ ™ survey in April 2005. At that time, the Library’s highest ratings were in the area of Affect of Service. The area of Information Control presented a different picture. Three out of 9 questions reflected inadequate performance. For example, in answer to the question of whether journal collections were sufficient for one’s work, respondents, particularly faculty and graduate students, rated the collection as inadequate. The physical Library was also identified as below standard. Since that time, the Dana Medical Library has made several changes. Most obviously, the Library moved to a new facility. Another important change has been the significant increase in the number of electronic journals available. How important are these changes? What additional changes should be considered? What should not be changed? We want to know!

Please consider participating in this survey at http://library.uvm.edu/surveys/. Sample responses indicate it takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Your investment of time now will be greatly appreciated, and will help to shape the future of the Dana Medical Library.

Free Online Resources for Alumni & Non-UVM Clinicians

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With the recent launch of the new Dana Medical Library website, http://library.uvm.edu/dana/, many of the helpful subject-based web resource guides have also been updated.

The featured guide this month is the Free Resources to Support Clinical Care guide, a collection of websites that do not require a UVM affiliation. Alumni, healthcare providers in the general community, and anyone at all can make use of this guide and its collection of clinical resources.

The major category headings are:

  • E-Journals that are freely available online
  • E-Books collections
  • Drugs & Toxicology resources,
  • Clinical Evidence & Medical Literature resources, as well as
  • Patient Education & Public Health, and a section for physician social networking.

The guide is a work in progress and will be updated regularly. Feedback to keep the site fresh and relevant is appreciated. Email Claire.LaForce@uvm.edu directly.

Find Out More About Top Ranking Journals

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Are you thinking of submitting a manuscript to Plant Cell but don’t know how high that journal is ranked in your field? Do you want to know more about the top journals in your field?

Journal Citation Reports can help! This resource allows you to evaluate and compare journals using citation data drawn from over 7,500 scholarly and technical journals from 3,300 publishers in over 60 countries. It covers the areas of science, technology and the social sciences. Journal Citation Reports displays the:

  • Most frequently cited journals in a field
  • Highest impact journals in a field
  • Largest journals in a field

Citation and article counts may indicate how frequently current researchers are using individual journals. By tabulating and aggregating citation and article counts, JCR offers one perspective for journal evaluation and comparison.

To use JCR, simply click on Articles & Databases on the home page and then go to Web of Science. Once there, click on the yellow tab at the top that reads Additional Resources. A link to Journal Citation Reports is in the upper left-hand corner.

Be aware that JCR is not the only way to evaluate a journal’s value or impact on a field. ISI, the makers of JCR, offer valuable advice on using this resource wisely, so consider reading this before you proceed.