bims-librar Biomed News
on Biomedical librarianship
Issue of 2020‒09‒13
nine papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. World Dev Perspect. 2020 Dec;20 100234
    Schweik CM, Meyer C, Chinkondenji P, Smith J, Mchenga P.
      World Librarians is a socio-technical system that strives to solve the information access problem many remote offline schools and libraries have in lesser developed contexts. In this Case Report, we describe the system we have developed over the course of three years, where we first establish solar-powered computer labs in remote schools and libraries in Malawi, and then provide them digital information that they want, rather than what we in the Global North think they need. After providing background on these issues, we describe the socio-technical underpinnings and workflow in the World Librarians program. This involves the establishment of "Requester nodes" in the offline schools and libraries, the management of these deployments using a cloud-based WL app, and the operations of the WL "Searcher node" at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as a novel micro-payment system that enables the transfer of large digital datasets through the use of teacher or librarian cell phones and data plans. We close the report with findings from a preliminary survey suggesting that the WL program is making a positive impact on the schools and libraries served. At its core, WL represents a global librarian support system working to remove the barriers to educational information for all global citizens, with central attention and awareness to Global North/South information power dynamics.
    Keywords:  Digital Divide; Education; Global North-South Inequalities; ICT; Information technology; Librarian; Open Access
  2. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2020 Sep 10. pii: ocaa150. [Epub ahead of print]
    Bitton Y, Cohen R, Schifter T, Bachmat E, Elhadad M, Elhadad N.
      OBJECTIVE: In Hebrew online health communities, participants commonly write medical terms that appear as transliterated forms of a source term in English. Such transliterations introduce high variability in text and challenge text-analytics methods. To reduce their variability, medical terms must be normalized, such as linking them to Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) concepts. We present a method to identify both transliterated and translated Hebrew medical terms and link them with UMLS entities.MATERIALS AND METHODS: We investigate the effect of linking terms in Camoni, a popular Israeli online health community in Hebrew. Our method, MDTEL (Medical Deep Transliteration Entity Linking), includes (1) an attention-based recurrent neural network encoder-decoder to transliterate words and mapping UMLS from English to Hebrew, (2) an unsupervised method for creating a transliteration dataset in any language without manually labeled data, and (3) an efficient way to identify and link medical entities in the Hebrew corpus to UMLS concepts, by producing a high-recall list of candidate medical terms in the corpus, and then filtering the candidates to relevant medical terms.
    RESULTS: We carry out experiments on 3 disease-specific communities: diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and depression. MDTEL tagging and normalizing on Camoni posts achieved 99% accuracy, 92% recall, and 87% precision. When tagging and normalizing terms in queries from the Camoni search logs, UMLS-normalized queries improved search results in 46% of the cases.
    CONCLUSIONS: Cross-lingual UMLS entity linking from Hebrew is possible and improves search performance across communities. Annotated datasets, annotation guidelines, and code are made available online (
    Keywords:  UMLS; natural language processing; online health communities
  3. Res Synth Methods. 2020 Sep 05.
    Babić A, Poklepovic Pericic T, Pieper D, Puljak L.
      BACKGROUND: It is challenging to keep systematic reviews (SR) current and updated. Cochrane designated some of its SRs as "stable", i.e. not in a need of updating. The issue of stabilizing an SR is an important in research synthesis, because it could help reduce research waste. The aim of this study was to analyze publicly available justifications for stabilizing a Cochrane review, with the ultimate goal of helping to make decisions about whether the update of any systematic review is warranted.METHODS: We analyzed Cochrane reviews labeled as stable in Archie, Cochrane's system for managing the editorial/publishing process. From the "What's new" section of the reviews in the Cochrane Library, we extracted justification for stabilization.
    RESULTS: We included 545 Cochrane reviews labeled in Archie as stable on October 28, 2019. The most common of the five reasons for stabilization was that "last search did not identify any potentially relevant studies likely to change conclusions" (N = 99; 18%), followed by "research area no longer active" (N = 86; 16%), "review is or will be superseded" (N = 41; 7.5%), 'evidence is conclusive" (N=35; 6.4%) and "intervention no longer in general use" (N = 34; 6.2%). For the 269 (49%) Cochrane reviews, we considered that the justification for stabilization was not clearly described, that is, sufficiently informative.
    CONCLUSIONS: Cochrane reviews would benefit from more transparency and consistency in publicly available justifications for stabilizing reviews. Further work in this field will help make decisions about the futility of further research and deciding on enough evidence in the field of research synthesis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Cochrane; conclusiveness; stabilization; systematic review; updates
  4. BMJ Open. 2020 Sep 10. 10(9): e040487
    Fan KS, Ghani SA, Machairas N, Lenti L, Fan KH, Richardson D, Scott A, Raptis DA.
      OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the quality of information regarding the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 available to the general public from all countries.DESIGN: Systematic analysis using the 'Ensuring Quality Information for Patients' (EQIP) Tool (score 0-36), Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) benchmark (score 0-4) and the DISCERN Tool (score 16-80) to analyse websites containing information targeted at the general public.
    DATA SOURCES: Twelve popular search terms, including 'Coronavirus', 'COVID-19 19', 'Wuhan virus', 'How to treat coronavirus' and 'COVID-19 19 Prevention' were identified by 'Google AdWords' and 'Google Trends'. Unique links from the first 10 pages for each search term were identified and evaluated on its quality of information.
    ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES: All websites written in the English language, and provides information on prevention or treatment of COVID-19 intended for the general public were considered eligible. Any websites intended for professionals, or specific isolated populations, such as students from one particular school, were excluded, as well as websites with only video content, marketing content, daily caseload update or news dashboard pages with no health information.
    RESULTS: Of the 1275 identified websites, 321 (25%) were eligible for analysis. The overall EQIP, JAMA and DISCERN scores were 17.8, 2.7 and 38.0, respectively. Websites originated from 34 countries, with the majority from the USA (55%). News Services (50%) and Government/Health Departments (27%) were the most common sources of information and their information quality varied significantly. Majority of websites discuss prevention alone despite popular search trends of COVID-19 treatment. Websites discussing both prevention and treatment (n=73, 23%) score significantly higher across all tools (p<0.001).
    CONCLUSION: This comprehensive assessment of online COVID-19 information using EQIP, JAMA and DISCERN Tools indicate that most websites were inadequate. This necessitates improvements in online resources to facilitate public health measures during the pandemic.
    Keywords:  health informatics; journalism (see medical journalism); world wide web technology
  5. Dent J (Basel). 2020 Sep 03. pii: E103. [Epub ahead of print]8(3):
    Nieminen P, Uma E, Pal S, Laitala ML, Lappalainen OP, Varghese E.
      BACKGROUND: A fundamental skill in education includes the ability to search for, evaluate, and synthesize information, and this cannot be underestimated in dental education. The aim of this study was to assess how dental students from Malaysia and Finland acquire scientific information and to compare their information retrieval skills.METHODS: Fourth and fifth-year dental students from Malaysia and Finland were invited to participate. A self-administered structured questionnaire including items about the use of information sources, subjective assessment of literature retrieval skills and knowledge was used.
    RESULTS: A total of 226 dental students participated in the survey: 131 from Malaysia and 95 from Finland. In both countries, the highest interest for data retrieval among students was found in the oral surgery specialty. The three most used sources of information among Malaysian students were personal lecture notes, dental textbooks, and colleagues; while Finnish students used colleagues, lecture notes, and current clinical guidelines. Students' knowledge of evidence-based practice was inadequate in both student groups. Though the majority of participants reported that they had good or passable skills in literature retrieval, more students from Finland judged themselves to have at least good skills compared to those from Malaysia.
    CONCLUSION: Dental education in both countries includes information retrieval studies and mandatory research projects. However, students did not often use those sources that are considered essential in evidence-based dentistry. Universities should further develop educational and training interventions that guide students to use knowledge resources more effectively for critically appraising scientific evidence.
    Keywords:  Finland; Malaysia; clinical appraisal; dental students; evidence-based dentistry; literature retrieval
  6. East Mediterr Health J. 2020 Aug 25. 26(8): 971-975
    Schoenbach K.
      Background: In Qatar, health media campaigns and applications (apps) have not been particularly successful among adolescents. Arab culture suggests personal communication as a promising alternative.Aims: This study aimed to assess the importance of personal communication for health information among Qatari adolescents compared with other sources.
    Methods: A secondary analysis of a representative sample of 1117 Qatari adolescents was done in 2017 of their sources of health information. Data were analysed according to age group and sex.
    Results: Personal communication was the most important source of health information (particularly parents and friends), together with a few selected Internet platforms for both sexes and age groups. Significantly more females used parents and Instagram as a source of health information than males (P ≤ 0.01). Males used traditional media channels, online forums and Facebook significantly more often than females (all P < 0.001). Siblings, doctors/nurses, Twitter and Wikipedia were significantly more important for older adolescents (P < 0.05). Younger respondents relied on YouTube and health classes significantly more than older adolescents (P < 0.05).
    Conclusions: Providers of health information for adolescents should take advantage of personal communication and pay attention to which Internet channels are used. Parents and friends are particularly important sources of health information.
    Keywords:  Qatar; adolescents; health; health information; media of communication
  7. Eur J Pediatr. 2020 Sep 07.
    Arslan D, Tutar MS, Kozanhan B.
      An increasing number of individuals use the Internet to obtain health information. However, online health information is unregulated and highly variable. We aimed to assess the readability, understandability, and quality of online information available for "chest pain in children." This analysis was performed in January 2020, by inputting the search term "chest pain in children" into Google. The 180 search results were evaluated/categorized. The readability was assessed using the Flesch reading ease score, the Gunning FOG readability score, the Flesch-Kincaid grade level, the Coleman-Liau score, the Simple Measure of Gobbledygook readability score, the Fry readability score, and the automated readability index (ARI). The quality was assessed through the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) benchmark criteria. The understandability was evaluated by the Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT) for this study. Sixty-five websites were analyzed (academic and hospital websites (n = 30), physicians and health information websites (n = 35)). Among all websites, the average reading grade level was 9.99. There was no statistical difference between the two groups for the average readability level (p: 0.645). The mean PEMAT score for all websites was 65.09%. There was no statistical difference between the two groups for the average PEMAT score (p: 0.945). For both groups, the understandability score was below 70%. The average JAMA benchmark score was 2.43 ± 1.06, with a statistically significant difference between the academic and hospital websites (2.07 ± 0.91) and physician and health information websites (2.74 ± 1.09, p: 0.009).Conclusion: The readability of online materials available for patients regarding "chest pain in children" was significantly higher than the grade 6 recommended by the National Institutes of Health. The current online health information related to pediatric chest pain may be too difficult for the average reader to read. The quality and understandability were not good for both groups. Improving the readability, understandability, and quality of pediatric health-related online materials has the potential to reduce parental anxiety, improve baseline medical knowledge, and even enhance the physician-parent alliance.
    Keywords:  Chest pain; Children; JAMA benchmark score; Online patient information; PEMAT; Readability