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HLABC Forum: Winter 2009

HLABC Forum: Winter 2009



The quarterly newsletter of the Health Libraries Association of British Columbia.

The quarterly newsletter of the Health Libraries Association of British Columbia.



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    HLABC Forum: Winter 2009 HLABC Forum: Winter 2009 Document Transcript

    • Volume 32 Issue 1 Winter 2009HLABC FORUM Intellectual Freedom and Health Libraries
    • PAGE 2 VOLUME 32 ISSUE 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS Editorial...............................................................3 Presidents Message.......................................... 5HLABC 2008-2009 EXECUTIVE Treasurers Report .............................................6 Website Report .................................................. 6President Ana Rosa Blue CHLA Report...................................................... 7Past President Technology: Jing.................................................8 Diana Hall General Meeting: Laura Watts............................10Vice President / President-Elect Intellectual Freedom and Health Libraries.......... 12 Devon Greyson Government-Imposed Barriers........................... 15Secretary Elisheba Muturi Getting to Know You Better................................ 18Treasurer/Membership Upcoming Events................................................20 Anne AllgaierWebsite Committee: Robyn Ingvallsen, Megan Wiebe, Doug SalzwedelListserv Coordinator: Kathy HornbyForumLayout: Krista ClementGuest Editor: The HLABC Forum is published quarterly by the Health Libraries Niki Baumann Association of BC, ISSN: 0826-0125 Submissions and story ideas are welcomed. Publication is not guaranteed and manuscripts may be edited. For contact information please visit the website: http://www.hlabc.bc.ca/ For HLABC membership information, visit our website at www.hlabc.bc.ca or write to: Anne Allgaier, Treasurer/Membership Library, Prince George Regional Hospital 1475 Edmonton St. Prince George, BC V2M 1S2 email Anne.allgaier@northernhealth.ca Fees are $25.00 (regular) or $15.00 (student, maximum 2 years) and include the Forum.
    • HLABC FORUM WINTER 2009 Page 3EDITORIAL:THE ISSUE NOT AT HAND: THE SEARCH FOR INTELLECTUALFREEDOM AND HEALTH LIBRARIESNiki Baumann is the Guest Editor of this issue of the HLABC Forum, and alibrarian at College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC Library and AskAway.When the topic of “intellectual freedom in health libraries” was firstproposed, I admit to having been a little dubious. I rememberedhaving questioned a librarian acquaintance after my first SLAIS classon intellectual freedom. She happened to be a medical librarian, andI had asked her about book challenges at her library. She had toldme that she never received any.As the guest editor, I thought it would be good to learn a little moreabout the topic, so, like a good librarian, I went to the librarydatabases to check out the “literature”. There were some greatsubject headings, and I started combining them.Surprisingly, even the broadest searches, such as (IntellectualFreedom OR Censorship OR Prohibited Books) AND (MedicalLibraries OR Hospital Libraries OR Nursing Libraries OR DentalLibraries OR Pharmaceutical Libraries) came up with one or two oldarticles.Was it really possible that Intellectual Freedom was a non-issue forhealth libraries?But no – there had been a controversy earlier in 2008 about thePOPLINE database. The word “abortion” had briefly been listed as astopword in this database – but was removed from the stopword listafter a swift hue and cry was raised.I tried a keyword search for popline AND abortion, and quicklydiscovered several articles on the topic. After looking through thesubject headings, I found that only one of these had been labelledwith the subject heading: “censorship”. The rest did not have anysubject headings related to intellectual freedom.It seemed that you needed to know what you were looking for inorder to find it. How would the lack of intellectual freedom-relatedsubject headings affect librarians’ ability to find relevant articles? Ithad certainly affected mine. Were there other intellectual freedomissues affecting health libraries that health librarians didn’t knowabout simply because they couldn’t find any information about them?But then, was anyone looking for that information? Before I was theguest editor of this issue, I hadn’t done any searching for this topic.As the submission deadline came and went, it became apparent thathardly anyone else in this Association had anything to say on thistopic either.One day in January, I needed to do a quick search in PubMed justas an example. On impulse I typed in the word censorship. Lo and
    • PAGE 4 VOLUME 32 ISSUE 1 behold, over 200 articles came up. And while many of them were about different types of censorship (apparently it’s a term used in statistics and in astronomy), there were plenty of articles on censorship and health information. Clearly, there was information out there. I decided to go back to the library databases and see if a simple keyword search like the one I’d tried in PubMed would work there too. A search for censorship AND (health OR medicine OR medical) turned up one POPLINE-related article and a few on sex-education books being challenged in public and school libraries. Nothing about publication bias, self-censorship, or any of the other juicy topics that PubMed contained. It seemed that the health professionals were a lot more interested in intellectual freedom than the librarians, if their respective literature was anything to go by. Furthermore, everyone that I tried to recruit seemed to have a friend who had an opinion on the topic, but no one had much to say for themselves. Or else, people did have opinions, but not the time to write about them. So here’s a little of that hard-to-find, hard-to-describe, hard-to-inspire information on intellectual freedom and health libraries. Who knows – maybe it’s having a greater impact on our work than we think.
    • HLABC FORUM WINTER 2009 Page 5MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENTAna Rosa Blue is a Librarian at WorkSafeBC – Corporate Library ServicesHello, everyone! I am writing this at the end of November. By thetime you read this, the holiday break will have come and gone, aswill the January guest speaker. Amazing how fast time flies whenyou are having fun!Your HLABC Executive team has organized dynamic speakers andtopics for your enlightenment.In November, 2008, Dr. Irving Rootman, Executive Director of theCanadian Council on Learning’s Health and Learning KnowledgeCentre and an Adjunct Professor in Human and Social Developmentand Education at the University of Victoria, presented a talk onHealth Literacy. His talk and slides will be available on the HLABCwebsite, in the Members-only section, before long.In January, Laura Watts, National Director for the Canadian Centrefor Elder Law, is scheduled to speak on patient care implications ofthe new Advanced Directives legislation. The presentation will becoupled with the HLABC’s annual New Year’s brunch.The partnership between HLABC and the British Columbia LibraryAssociation means that HLABC has an opportunity to organize andshare favourite topics with a larger library community. Please markyour calendars: the BCLA conference will be held April 16-18, 2009at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown, Burnaby, BC. Feel free tocheck out the Conference website: http://www.bcla.bc.ca/Conference2009/default.aspxThe conference theme is: Be curious, think, learn and share:explore the possibilities of learning and teaching. HLABC will besponsoring sessions on the following topics:1) Consumer and patient education, 2) Disaster planning – (a full-day pre-conference session), and 3) Open Access – Co-sponsoredwith the BCLA Information Policy Committee and the BCLAIntellectual Freedom Committee.The ever-popular Continuing Education day, traditionally held inJune, will focus on Evidence Based Librarianship. In addition,HLABC will partner with e-HLbc to bring a training session on thesame day. Further details will be forthcoming via the HLABC listserv.I look forward to seeing you at the BCLA conference in April and atthe CE Day in June.Sincerely,Ana Rosa
    • PAGE 6 VOLUME 32 ISSUE 1 HLABC TREASURER’S REPORT FEBRUARY 6, 2009 Anne Allgaier is Regional Librarian, Northern Health Authority Memberships Lifetime Members 7 Regular Members 76 Students 2 ______________________________________ Total Membership 85 Current Bank Balance: Investment Account $ 1,849.54 Chequing Account $ 9,442.87 TOTAL: $11,292.41 Respectfully submitted by: Anne Allgaier, HLABC Treasurer WEBSITE COMMITTEE REPORT - NOV 27, 2008 Robyn Ingvallsen is a Library Technician at Royal Jubilee Hospital Megan Wiebe is a Clinical Librarian at InspireHealth Doug Salzwedel is an Information Resource Coordinator at Child & Family Research Institute, UBC, and at Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability After a busy autumn of training and travel, the Website Committee is gearing up for an even busier winter and spring. With the welcome addition of Megan Wiebe and Doug Salzwedel to the committee, the time has come for an online review and overhaul of the site. Megan & Doug have been trained on the site and have their own access, and we can now move forward, with a preliminary plan to meet December 18, followed by an in-depth January meeting. There we will review the current content of the site and further develop a survey for HLABC members to fill out. Included will be questions regarding what you use, what you don’t use, what you think needs changing and what you think may be missing. Some current suggestions include: RSS feeds; Blog listings; and increased downloads from meetings and speakers. It’s shaping up to be very interesting, and we look forward to all your suggestions.
    • HLABC FORUM WINTER 2009 Page 7CHLA/ABSC UPDATE: FEBRUARY 3, 2009Shannon Long is the CHLA/ABSC Treasurer and a librarian at RichmondHospital LibraryMark your calendars and keep an eye on the airlines for seat sales!The CHLA/ABSC annual conference is being held in Winnipeg thisyear, from May 30 to June 3. http://www.chla-absc.ca/2009/Have a sneak peek at the program at a glance and check out thefabulous CE sessions that are being offered. Register for theconference prior to April 10 in order to get the early bird rate.A three-day Bioinformatics for Health Librarians course is plannedfor June 7-9 in Toronto. The workshop is targeted towardsreference, instruction or liaison librarians in the biomedical sciences,and is intended to provide a foundation to support reference, andinstruction relating to bioinformatics information resources. Coursecontent will include an overview of basic biological conceptsunderpinning bioinformatics. Through extensive hands-on practiceand exercises, it will focus on searching several core informationresources including NCBI and other sources. Registration fees are More information about CHLAVERY reasonable. Learn, earn 18 CE credits and have a mini- membership rates can beholiday in Toronto. What could be better? Stay tuned for more found on the Association’sdetails. website at http://www.chla- absc.ca/?q=en/node/100.Are you considering joining CHLA for the first time or have youallowed your membership to lapse for 5 or more years? CHLA offersa 25% discount for new and returning members, and also has afabulous student rate of $40 for a calendar year.The National Network of Libraries for Health, now called theCanadian Virtual Health Library (CVHL) network, has received somefunding from Canada Health Infoway to help them move the projecton to the next phase. Anyone interested in more information or tolearn how they can support the NNLH / CVHL can check outhttp://chla-absc.ca/nnlh/. More information about hospitalThe CHLA executive and Jean Maragno are continuing to work with accreditation can be foundAccreditation Canada (formerly CCHSA) to ensure that libraries, at and the changes CHLAlibrarians and up to date information resources are included in the is proposing can be foundlatest hospital standards. online at http://www.chla- absc.ca/?q=en/node/258NEW and noteworthy, especially for our colleagues at SLAIS and theLangara College Library Technician program! CHLA has created anew annual student paper competition sponsored by Login Canada.This year’s submission deadline has already passed but keep theaward in mind for next year, especially if you have regular contactwith super keen health sciences library students. The BC DeckerResearch Paper prize is also available those already writing abouttheir research projects.The CHLA/ABSC executive board meets again on February 26 and27 in Vancouver.
    • PAGE 8 VOLUME 32 ISSUE 1 TECHNOLOGY: JING Niki Baumann is a librarian at College of Physicians and Surgeons Library, and a virtual reference librarian for AskAway (post-secondary version) We’ve all encountered that situation where we’re trying to describe the location of a link to someone, and they just can’t see it. Maybe their computer screen is a different resolution, or the link is buried in a very busy page, or maybe they’re not even on the webpage that you think they are. Whatever the reason, they just can’t find that link. Eventually, you manage to communicate with the person, and they inevitably say, “wow, it was right there in front of my face, and I completely missed it!” Well, if a picture says a thousand words, think how much a video could say. Jing is an open-source programme that allows you toFor more information about Jing, make on-the-fly videos of anything on your screen, instantly upload and to download the them to a free screencast.com account, and then send the link to the software, go to: person who’s lost. http://www.jingproject.com Jing videos can be up to 5 minutes long. With space enough in the free screencast.com account for approximately 200 videos, you can also create reusable videos that can be linked from your library website or blog, explaining how to access library resources. If you prefer, you can save the video to your desktop. In addition to making videos, Jing can make screenshots. PC/Windows users will be impressed with the resolution of the image, compared to those lo-res “print screen” captures. For both Windows and Mac users, the advantage Jing screenshots provide is the ease with which you can upload them to the screencast.com account and share them with others. So what’s the catch? Firstly, 5 minutes isn’t enough time to give a full tutorial on how to search a database, or do any other complex bibliographic instruction. Secondly, I downloaded Jing two weeks ago and it has already required me to download updates twice. Hopefully the rate of updates will slow down in future. So far, I have created Jing videos showing how to navigate to a particular database, how to login to an electronic resource, and how to use a link resolver. I also intend to create videos showing how to access an electronic article using the citation information. I’m sure that you can think of even more uses for Jing! Having used Jing already, here are some tips: 1. When your video starts recording, you have to click once on the area being recorded – otherwise mouseovers will not work 2. Unlike Camtasia, there is no enhancement of the cursor when you’re recording – I like to mouseover links several times or circle the cursor around the link I plan to click, so that the user’s eye will be drawn to the correct link 3. Assume that your viewer doesn’t have access to speakers or
    • HLABC FORUM WINTER 2009 Page 9 headphones – if you choose to record sound, ensure that the video makes sense without it4. If you don’t record sound, mute your mic before you start so as to avoid distracting background noise5. If your video requires logging in, check whether your password will be displayed or bulletted when you login.I recommend taking a screenshot of the login page, and saving itonline or on your desktop. Then, open three tabs: the main librarywebsite, the screenshot of the login page, and the database, alreadylogged in. You can do what the chefs on TV do – show the loginpage, and then go to the database that you’ve already logged into.This also works if you’re accessing the database from a site thatdoesn’t require authentication, but you know that some users willhave to login.
    • PAGE 10 VOLUME 32 ISSUE 1 PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE; POWERS OF ATTORNEY & ADVANCE CARE PLANNING Laura Watts, LLB, National Director, Canadian Centre for Elder Law Studies GENERAL MEETING OF THE HEALTH LIBRARIES ASSOCIATION OF B.C. JANUARY 17TH, 2009 Anne Allgaier is a Regional Librarian for Northern Health Authority Ana Rosa Blue is a Librarian at WorkSafeBC – Corporate Library Services Laura Watts’ presentation was on a timely topic – advance planning for financial and health care decisions when an individual is no longer capable of making decisions for him or herself. The Adult Guardianship and Planning Statutes Amendment Act, passed in the BC legislature in 2007, will change the way BC residents make decisions about financial and health care should they become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves. The topic addressed by Laura is important for several reasons – top of the list being that many people admitted to hospital often receive treatment that is futile. Such treatments may prolong life without any hope that the condition for which the person was admitted will ever improve. Such cases raise difficult ethical issues and most of us may already be familiar with them as they have often been reported in the media. Avoiding such difficult cases is the goal of completing a Representation Agreement, an Advanced Directive, or a Power of Attorney. These documents instruct health care professionals, friends, and family members of one’s preferences in case oneTo view these documents, visit the should become incapable of communicating these wishes oneself.Attorney General website at: As the National Director of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law, Staff http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislatio Lawyer at the British Columbia Law Institute and a legislative drafter,n/current_Consultations.htm Laura is very well acquainted with the issues surrounding an adult’s incapacity for financial and health care decision-making, and though this is not exactly an entertaining subject, Laura succeeded in providing the members gathered at the HLABC’s January 17th meeting with an engaging and informative presentation. Laura explained how the Adult Guardianship and Planning Statutes Amendment Act, 2007 will facilitate improved advanced planning for health care and financial decisions in case of incompetence of an individual. It is expected that by June 2009, documents will be available from the Attorney General that we will be able to use to facilitate such advanced planning. (These documents are actually the regulations that go with the Adult Guardianship Act, and are still awaiting formal approval.) There is much confusion about the legal status of documents such as Living Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Advanced Directives. Laura defined and differentiated between some terminologies, such as the Law of Consent, i.e. who decides? She explained that a Power of Attorney becomes null and void if the principal becomes incapacitated and that a Power of Attorney is for financial decisions
    • HLABC FORUM WINTER 2009 Page 11only. In case of incapacity, what is needed is an Enduring Power ofAttorney. The latter includes something called the ‘SpringingClause’. A Power of Attorney with a Spring Clause remains inactiveuntil such time as the principal becomes incapacitated. The [regular]Power of Attorney can have what is called a “Limited Clause”, that isto say, it is valid only under specific circumstances and can limit theactions of the “Attorney”. Laura warned the audience not to sign ablank Power of Attorney. She also pointed out that “Levels of Care”forms required by some BC facilities are not legal and should not besigned upon admission to hospital.One of the problems with completing advance planning documentsis where to access them at a time of crisis? Laura recommends toput these documents in the fridge, preferably in a Tupperwarecontainer or a Ziploc bag and well-labelled. The other importantthing to remember is to let your friends and family know where thesedocuments are so that they can be located quickly in a crisis.Laura also discussed Living Wills and Advanced Directives. But,she voiced a concern about Advance Directives, providing a vividexample of one at work. A capable adult can write down in aspecific way, formalized with instructions to not put oneself on abreathing machine (a common request), but the condition mayrequire a breathing machine only for a day or two. However, if ahealth provider has an Advance Directive in their possession, theywill follow the specific instructions, and be forced to ignore thespecific medical situation confronting them. Laura said that it wasalways a good idea to communicate your wishes. In order toimprove communication about these issues, one can also completea Representation Agreement. Representation Agreements simplyappoint someone (friend or family member) to make health caredecisions in times of crisis and can override an Advance Directive.The Adult Amendments to Bill 29 will bring about changes toGuardianship laws. One of the things that will change is the list ofSubstitute Decision Makers, broadening the list of individuals whocan be called upon to make health care decisions for anotherperson.Completing Power of Attorney documents for financial planning anda Representation Agreement or Advance Directive is one of thenicest things we can do for those we love dearly. It relieves them ofthe burden of making these decisions should you becomeincapacitated. It also makes it easier for your physician to care foryou in the way you wish, avoiding any potential ethical conflicts.To find more information about the new act, representationagreements, discussion papers about these issues, and documentsthat can be used, visit the BC Attorney General website athttp://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislation/links.htm. Libraries are the idealpublic access site for information about these matters. Educatingthe public is crucial and what better place to get the most up to dateinformation than a hospital or public library?
    • PAGE 12 VOLUME 32 ISSUE 1 INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM AND HEALTH LIBRARIES: THREE ARTICLE SUMMARIES Niki Baumann is a librarian at College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC Library, and a virtual reference librarian at AskAway (post-secondary version) Full text of all of the original articles is freely available online. Articles were found in PubMed. Kempner J. The Chilling Effect: How Do Researchers React to Controversy? PLoS Med. 2008 Nov; 5(11): e222. In 2003, ten NIH grants, eight of which were for research related to sexual behaviour, were challenged by members of the U.S. Congress. This challenge grew to include 250 grants when the wrong list was sent to the NIH Director. Although every grant was found to be “scientifically sound”, and funding was in all cases continued, the author of this study sought to determine if the controversy had affected the behaviour of the researchers whose funding had been threatened. After collecting 30 interviews and 82 surveys, Kempner determined that many of the researchers had changed their behaviour due to the controversy. The most common response (51%) was to remove “red flag” words from their grant proposals. For instance, one researcher described changing the words “sex workers” to “women at risk”. According to the researchers, NIH project officers often recommended this type of rewording strategy. This strategy appears relatively benign – the research was still being conducted – it was just harder to find. More sinister was the reported 24% of researchers who described changing their studies, or dropping them completely. For instance, some began studying the behaviour of mainstream rather than marginalised populations. Others put their controversial studies on a back burner. Less prevalent responses included looking for alternate sources of funding, finding new jobs, emigrating, or leaving academia. However, Kempner found that about 10% of researchers became even more determined to carry out their controversial research, although some also reported self-censoring “red flag” words. Kempner acknowledges that this information may contain a sampling bias, as interviewees and survey respondents may have represented the researchers who had the strongest opinions about the effect this controversy had on their research. What does this information mean for health librarians? It reminds us to keep current with the buzzwords under which researchers may hide their controversial research. When searching for information on a controversial topic, it may be worth trying keyword searches as well as MeSH to see if some of these “politically corrected” articles have also gotten past the NLM indexers.
    • HLABC FORUM WINTER 2009 Page 13Lexchin J, Light DW. Commercial Influence and the Content ofMedical Journals. BMJ. 2006 June; 332(7555): 1444.Lexchin and Light describe some of the potential commercialsources of bias that may affect publication of articles onpharmaceuticals and the pharmaceutical industry.Journal editors may have conflicts of interest that may affect theselection of articles and the process of editing the articles. Lexchinand Light cite two studies on the existence of conflict of interestpolicies in medical and science journals. In both cases, less thanhalf of the journals had or planned to implement conflict of interestpolicies. One of the studies went on to show that several of theexisting policies did not cover all potential types of conflict of interest.Authors of the articles published in journals may also haveundisclosed conflicts of interest. Lexchin and Light cite a studywherein it was found that “8%...of [sampled] original articles …in fourmajor journals failed to declare conflicts”. Upon reading theexecutive summary of the original article, I determined that thismeant that 8% of the articles did not disclose an actual conflict ofinterest (i.e. it did not mean that the 8% simply failed to provide aconflict of interest statement).Another potential source of bias was article publication in journalsupplements. Lexchin and Light explain that drug companies fundthe publication of supplements. Publishing greater numbers ofarticles in a supplement results in greater revenue for the publisher.The authors suggest that this may result in the publication of articlesthat were not of sufficent quality to be published in the non-supplement issues of the journal.Many journals provide reprints (i.e. copies) of their articles for a fee.An article containing results that might induce consumers to buy apharmaceutical product would generate more revenue, as thepharmaceutical company may purchase many reprints of the article.Editors might choose to publish such an article rather than an articlewith less lucrative contents, if the journal is short of funds.Medical associations also obtain funds by publishing advertisementsin their journals. Lexchin and Light cite a study of five associationsthat obtained between 2-31% of their gross funding from journaladvertisements. This gives the associations a strong inducement topreferentially publish articles meeting the approval of theiradvertisers. The authors describe a case in which the Annals ofInternal Medicine published an article that was critical of the drugindustry. The journal subsequently “lost an estimated $1-1.5 millionin advertising revenue”.The authors list several recommendations for action. These fallunder several categories:Disclosure: Journals should disclose their sources of income. Editorsand authors should disclose conflicts of interest.
    • PAGE 14 VOLUME 32 ISSUE 1 Prevention: Minimising conflicts of interest would presumably minimise bias. Investigation: An independent body should study potential sources of bias described above, and determine the extent to which they actually influence article publication. This article created a compelling case for the need for further investigation into the influence of commercial interests on the publication of medical and scientific studies. Lexchin and Light make use of several studies and cases, but more evidence, preferably with larger sample sizes and greater evidence for causality, is sorely needed. When such evidence is available, it may be easier to prevail upon journals, editors, and authors to implement the disclosure and prevention suggested by the authors. Hall R, de Antueno, Webber A. Publication Bias in the Medical Literature: a Review by a Canadian Research Ethics Board. Canadian Journal of Anesthesia. 2007; 54(5): 380-8. The authors investigated the 190 protocols that met the criteria for review of the Capital District Health Authority Research Ethics Board between 1995-1996. 84 of the protocols resulted in publication. Trials in phases 3 or 4 were more likely to be published than trials in phases 1 or 2. Furthermore, studies that had positive results for the main focus of the study were more likely to be published than studies that did not. The type of sponsor of the trial also influenced the likelihood of publication. Studies sponsored by federal granting agencies were significantly more likely to be published than those sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. However, studies by pharmaceutical companies were more likely to be published than those sponsored by the local health authority. Of the 84 published studies, 71 reported statistically significant findings. Data on time to publication was only available for 53 of the trials – for those, time to publication did not vary between studies with statistically significant findings and those with statistically non- significant findings. However, only 15% of the published trials contained statistically non-significant results. It was not clear whether this resulted from lack of pursuit of publication or rejection by journals, but either way, this result was evidence for the existence of publication bias. The authors used the PubMed database to search for published articles for each of the 190 trials (except for those studies that were known not to have been completed). They acknowledge that the results of the study may have been affected if the trials were published in journals not indexed by Medline.
    • HLABC FORUM WINTER 2009 Page 15GOVERNMENT-IMPOSED BARRIERS TO ACCESSING INFORMATIONON CONTROVERSIAL HEALTH TOPICS: THE POPLINE KERFUFFLEAND WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM ITDevon Greyson is an Information Specialist at UBC Centre for HealthServices and Policy ResearchWhat Went Down?You may have read about it back in April. I saw it first on Rachel POPLINE Database:Waldens Womens Health News blog, but word spread like wildfire http://db.jhuccp.org/ics-across library blogs, womens health blogs, and listservs such as wpd/popweb/CANMEDLIB and WMST-L.What was sparking all this interest? POPLINE, "the worlds largestdatabase on reproductive health, containing citations with abstractsto scientific articles, reports, books, and unpublished reports in thefield of population, family planning, and related health issues," madeabortion - and all abortion related terms - search stopwords. Alibrarian who noticed that a search for “abortion” was turning up zerohits inquired about the glitch and was apparently told that “Werecently made all abortion terms stop words. As a federally fundedproject, we decided this was best for now.” USAID:POPLINE is funded by United States Agency for International http://www.info.usaid.gov/Development (USAID), and maintained at the Johns HopkinsBloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication INFO Project:Programs INFO Project. USAID has come under fire from womens http://www.infoforhealth.org/health advocates in the past for policies such as its Mexico CityPolicy prohibiting any international NGOs that receive USAID Mexico City Policy:funding from performing or “promoting” abortion. http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/gloIn an article in Wired Magazine, ALA president Loriene Roy stated bal_health/pop/restrictions.hher concerns over the Mexico City Policy unduly influencing tmlinformation resources developed with U.S. federal funding:"Any federal policy or rule that requires or encourages informationproviders to block access to scientific information because ofpartisan or religious bias is censorship," she said. "Such policies Wired Magazine article:promote idealogy [sic] over science and only serve to deny http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/researchers, students and individuals on all sides of the issue 2008/04/administrators.htmlaccess to accurate scientific information."While we library-folk can use various tricks, such as using thesubject heading hyperlinks embedded in the records, to try tocircumvent the stopword problem, this solution was neithercompletely effective nor accessible to non-expert searchers of thisinternationally used, public database.One email turned into another email, turned into a listserv post,turned into a large Internet outcry over this new policy of blockingaccess to information about an essential womens health issue.Outraged librarians and other activists flooded POPLINE withcomments. Not two whole days after the outcry began, Michael J.
    • PAGE 16 VOLUME 32 ISSUE 1 Klag, MD, MPH, Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health released a "Statement Regarding POPLINE Database," in which he said he was just informed about the blocking of searches for abortion in POPLINE and "could not disagree more strongly with this decision." Klag explained: “USAID, which funds POPLINE, found two items in the database related to abortion that did not fit POPLINE criteria. The agency then made an inquiry to POPLINE administrators. Following this inquiry, the POPLINE administrators at theStatement Regarding POPLINE Center for Communication Programs made the decision to Database: restrict abortion as a search term.”http://www.jhsph.edu/publichealth news/press_releases/2008/ While this statement confirmed that the change was directly the popline.org result of USAIDs intervention in the database administration, it raised as many questions as it answers. What were those two items? How exactly was this “inquiry” made that the challenge of two items in the collection would trigger the blocking of any search on abortion or a related term? What Went Right?Some blogs and lists which While we are left with unanswered questions about the specifics of spread the word: the POPLINE debacle, its reasonably easy to identify what wentRachel Walden’s Women’s wrong: politically motivated government policy interfered with access Health News Blog: to health information. However, what went right is a differenthttp://womenshealthnews.wordpre question all together, and perhaps a useful and instructive one for us ss.com/2008/04/02/why-is- to consider. a-government-funded- reproductive-health- In the POPLINE case, a librarian noticed that abortion was no longer database-blocking-users- a searchable term in the database and sent out an email about it. from-searching-for-abortion- The email was passed along on various health librarian and feminist articles/ listservs and public outcry was raised. Who-knows-how-many of usLibrarian Activist Blog: emailed the POPLINE admins and blogged it with outrage, andhttp://www.librarianactivist.org/200 within two days the dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of 8/04/03/government-funded- Public Health issued a public statement assuring the world that this database-censors-the-word- would be rectified and investigated. abortion/ Wow. Keen librarian eyes + electronic communication andRH Reality Check Blog: information sharing + immediate online organizing and protest +http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog responsive administrator = restoration of information resource. In /2008/04/03/your-search-for- this case, at least. Not in all. abortion-yields-nothingCANMEDLIB Listserv: Not in the case of the Canadian Health Network (CHN), which washttp://www.chla- shut down after months of protest by health librarians, a petition, absc.ca/?q=en/node/53 multiple high-profile newspaper articles, and various other mediaWMST-L Listserv: attention. What were the essential differences we can identify inhttp://userpages.umbc.edu/~koren these two situations, and that can we do in the future to make our man/wmst/wmst- information resources more like POPLINE and less like the CHN? l_index.html Here are some thoughts: - US vs. Canada: The US is generally more political & inflammatory, and Canadian librarians will be aware of and act upon a US-based issue, although the opposite is not generally the case.
    • HLABC FORUM WINTER 2009 Page 17- Hierarchy vs. Diffusion: POPLINE is housed at/maintained by asingle institution with important people who could be embarrassed atthe top of the chain of command, while the CHN, as I understand it,was purposively built on a distributed model.- Specific interest vs. general resource: Its hard to argue thananother resource could easily replace POPLINE, as there arentreally other reproductive health focused databases like it (arethere?), and - however their scope or quality may vary - there areother websites that aim to be broad consumer health resources. Itmay also be significant that POPLINE is not really for everyday useof the general public, but more for scholars and health professionals.- Interdisciplinary appeal: The scope of POPLINE, while specificallyfocused, had broad interdisciplinary appeal. While reproductiverights info access was indirectly damaged by CHN removal,POPLINE is obviously related to reproductive rights, and thusfeminists signed on the campaign en masse.While we are still struggling to understand exactly what the causesand effects of both the CHN shutdown and the POPLINE debacle,we need also to look to the future. The challenge facing those of uswho are concerned with access to health information is to figure out Social Justice Librarian:how future projects can be built in a way that helps any threat to http://sjlibrarian.wordpress.com/20information access play out in a POPLINE manner, not a CHN one. 08/06/27/further-thoughts- on-the-popline-debacle-Note: This article draws heavily on blog posts I wrote on the topic last what-went-right/spring. For original posts, see Social Justice Librarian.
    • PAGE 18 VOLUME 32 ISSUE 1 GETTING TO KNOW YOU BETTER Linda Howard is a librarian at Fraser Health Library Services Doug Salzwedel is the librarian at UBC for the Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability and the Child & Family Research Institute. He is also serving on the HLABC’s web site committee. Linda Howard recently interviewed Doug for the Forum. Tell me about your current position. Who are your users? How do you typically spend a day? I’m a UBC employee, but split my time 60/40 between the Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability (CIRPD) and Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI). At CIRPD, I’m working on a disability prevention and management web portal project with varied stakeholders and a Web 2.0/social networks project focused on improving sleep health which will be targeted at hospital staff, clinicians and the general public. At CFRI, I provide database training and literature search strategy development and appraisal for residents, fellows and researchers carrying systematic reviews and other research projects. Since I essentially have two jobs with a surprising amount of overlap between them, I wouldn’t say that I ever have a typical day, which keeps things interesting! What attracted you to library science as a career option? What do you like best about librarianship? What do you like least? Like many librarians, I placed a high value on working in a helping profession. I was particularly drawn to the notion that providing access to information can be a remarkable means of reducing inequality among people from all walks of life. What do I like best? I’m always on a learning curve! I love being in a profession that is finding ways to adapt to changes in technology and society without losing the core values and strengths associated with librarianship. I least like the struggle that some health libraries face in terms of being recognized as valuable contributors to clinical practice and to clinical research support, but I think that this is a challenge that we are capable of overcoming as a profession. Tell me a little about where you grew up. I got to experience a variety of settings while our family moved back and forth between B.C. and Alberta a few times. I was born in Edmonton and saw my first NHL game there, so I haven’t managed to migrate to the Canucks yet, even after all these years. In B.C., I’ve lived in Terrace, Prince George, Victoria and Vancouver. When I was 8, we lived in the NWT for a year. It was the first time in my life that I became aware of issues such as racism and extreme poverty. I’ve now been back in Vancouver for about 8 months, after spending the past several years in Ontario and Québec.
    • HLABC FORUM WINTER 2009 Page 19Tell me about your educational, academic background. Where did you go to library school?I have a BA (Psychology) from Alberta, a BA (Applied Geography) from Ryerson, and my MLIS is from Western Ontario. I was living right across the street from the Faculty of Information Studies in Toronto at the time that I reluctantly chose to leave Toronto to take advantage of the co-op option offered by Western. It was the right decision, as I was fortunate enough to be hired by Jessie McGowan for an 8 month co-op stint at the Ottawa Hospital. After graduation, I spent 2.5 years in the Information Management Division of the Chief Information Officer Branch at Treasury Board in Ottawa before moving (for the long haul, I hope!) back into health sciences librarianship when I joined the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Population Health.The theme of this issue of Forum is intellectual freedom. What role do you think health librarians can play in promoting intellectual freedom?We all know that knowledge is power. As librarians, we are uniquely positioned to recognize and support the right of all human beings to have their privacy respected and to have the freedom to access and read the materials of their own choosing. As health librarians, we can do this by ensuring our collections reflect the widest possible spectrum of published thought informed by evidence and by ensuring that those collections are available to our clients. We can also continue to support open access publishing initiatives and the concept of the Right to Know, as expressed by organizations such as IFLA.What would your ideal library look like? What services would it have?The short answer would be “any library which meets and exceeds the needs and expectations of its users”. My ideal library would have both physical and virtual components to be accessible to patrons 24/7 and would take advantage of the latest Web 2.0 tools and technologies to remain relevant and user-friendly. As with architecture, the form and function would draw on lessons from the past while benefitting from advances in technology to provide a warm, welcoming, open experience. I particularly like the model provided by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.What do you think the future of librarianship will be?I think that we will have to stay ahead of the curve by acquiring new skills and by continually asking ourselves how we can adapt our abilities and knowledge to best position the profession to benefit from and contribute to the technological advances which impact information retrieval, access, storage and management. It’s very heartening to see a younger generation
    • PAGE 20 VOLUME 32 ISSUE 1 of health librarians embracing these changes. What books are you currently reading? What are the titles and authors of some of your favourite books? I tend to be more drawn to non-fiction than fiction, but I’m currently reading Vincent Lam’s Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures. As a guilty pleasure, I like science fiction, so I recently bought books 1 and 2 of A Time Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke. What do you like to do for fun off duty? I love to travel and am trying to save for that ‘next big trip’ as I’m feeling the two year itch after going to Italy in 2007. I enjoy biking, hiking, working out, hunting down great coffee, cinema, and trying new restaurants (Dine Out Vancouver was not kind to my Visa bill!). I’m still looking for that elusive Vancouver pub that reminds me of the ones I’ve experienced in the UK and Ireland (and even Ottawa), but I do have a fondness for the Alibi Room and the Irish Heather in Gastown. If you won a million dollars in the lottery, how would you spend it? How would it change your life? A million dollars doesn’t go far in Vancouver! I’d likely buy my mum the house she’s always wanted and share some of the winnings with friends. For myself, I’d take some time off to travel, probably to Chile and Argentina, but who knows? Its been a pleasure getting to know you a little better, Doug. Thank you for the opportunity. UPCOMING EVENTS Mar 25 DC - 103d ASIL Annual Meeting American Society of International Law (ASIL) April 16-18 Lower Mainland - British Columbia Library Association May 23-27 Halifax NS - CALL/ACBD Annual General Meeting Jun 14-17 DC - 100th SLA Annual Conference & INFO EXPO, Special Libraries Association May 15 - 20 Hawaii - MLA 2009 Annual Meeting and Exhibition May 30 – Jun 3 Winnipeg MB - CHLA/ABSC Jul 9 -15 Chicago IL - ALA Annual Conference Jul 25 DC - 102d AALL Annual Meeting American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Aug 23 - 27 Milan - World Library and Information Congress: 75th IFLA General Conference and Assembly Oct 17-20 Seattle - PNC/MLA Annual Meeting