Story of Leprosy in Hawaii and Iowa – Lecture October 23, 5:30pm

The University of Iowa History of Medicine Society invites you to hear:
 
Richard Caplan, M.D.  Emeritus Professor,  Department of Dermatology; Program in Bioethics and Humanities, University of Iowa
 
The Story of Leprosy in Hawaii (and Iowa)
Thursday, October 23, 2014, 5:30-6:30
Hardin Library Room 401
 
The illustrated presentation will describe the history—both fame and infamy—of the famous leprosarium on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. The surprising phenomenon of leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) appearing in Iowa since the 1860’s will also be summarized.
For more information on the History of Medicine Society, including upcoming lectures or to make a gift:  http://hosted.lib.uiowa.edu/histmed/
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Paperity Aggregates All Open Access Articles. Finally!

Paperity, just launched this week, is the first multi-disciplinary aggregator of all peer-reviewed published open access articles and papers. Yes, that’s right, it aggregates not just the abstracts, but the full-text of the articles. Right now Paperity includes over 160,000 articles from 2,000 scholarly journals, and growing. The goal of the team is to cover 100% of Open Access literature in 3 years from now.

Paperity:

  • gives readers easy and unconstrained access to thousands of journals from hundreds of disciplines, in one central location;
  • helps authors reach their target audience and disseminate discoveries more efficiently;
  • raises exposure of journals, helps editors and publishers boost readership and encourage new submissions.

Check it out!

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Louise Liers, World War I nurse

This post, by Christina Jensen, appeared on the Iowa Women’s Archives Tumblr this summer, and has since been featured on NBC news.

On June 28th, 1914, Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip. One month later, war broke out across Europe between two alliance systems. Britain, France, Russia, and Italy comprised the Allied powers. Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire constituted the Central powers. As war raged abroad, the U.S. wrestled with the politics of neutrality and intervention. In April of 1917, President Wilson was granted a declaration of war by Congress. The United States thus officially entered the conflict alongside Allied forces. 

To mark the occasion of the World War I centennial, we’re remembering Iowa women whose lives were shaped by the war.

One such woman was Clayton-native Louise Marie Liers (1887-1983), an obstetrics nurse who enrolled in the Red Cross and served in France as an Army nurse.

Before her deployment, however, Liers was required by the American Red Cross to submit three letters “vouching for her loyalty as an American citizen.” All nurses, regardless of nationality, were similarly required to provide three non-familial references testifying to this effect. While questions of loyalty and subversion are exacerbated in any war, America’s domestic front was rife with tension driven by geography, class, and ethnicity that raised fears and stoked national debate in the years leading up to America’s engagement in the Great War.

Louise Liers's war identification. Louise Liers Papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Louise Liers’s war identification. Louise Liers Papers, Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Arriving in 1918, Liers was stationed in the French town of Nevers where she treated wounded soldiers.  During this time Liers wrote numerous letters home to her parents and brother describing her duties and conditions of life during the war.

In a letter to her brother, featured below, Liers described her journey to France from New York City, with stops in Liverpool and Southampton.

Louise Liers’s letter to her brother, describing her journey from Iowa to Base Hospital No. 14 in France. Louise Liers papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Louise Liers’s letter to her brother, describing her journey from Iowa to Base Hospital No. 14 in France. Louise Liers papers, Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

When Liers arrived in 1918, Nevers was only a few hours away from the Allied offensive line of the Western Front.  She was assigned to a camp that served patients with serious injuries and those who required long-term care.  Liers noted in a 1970 interview that, by the end of the war, as fewer patients with battle wounds arrived, her camp began to see patients with the “Asian flu,” also known as the 1918 influenza outbreak that infected 500 million people across the world by the end of the war.

In letters home, and in interviews given later, Liers described pleasant memories from her time in service, including pooling sugar rations with fellow nurses to make fudge for patients.  Nurses could apply for passes to leave camp and Liers was thus able to visit both Paris and Cannes.  In an interview Liers recalled that, serendipitously, she had requested in advance a leave-pass to travel into town for the 11th of November, 1918. To her surprise, that date turned out to be Armistice Day, and she was able to celebrate the end of the war with the citizens of Nevers.

“…devised such tortures and called it warfare…”

Along with her cheerier memories, however, Liers’s papers also describe the difficulties of caregiving during war.  She described Nevers as a town “stripped of younger people” due to the great number of deaths accrued in the four years of war.  In later interviews Liers offered many accounts of the grim surroundings medical staff worked under, from cramped and poorly equipped conditions, to unhygienic supplies, such as bandages washed by locals in nearby rivers, which she remembered as “utterly ridiculous from a sanitary standpoint…they were these awful dressings. They weren’t even sterilized, there wasn’t time.”  Due to the harsh conditions and limited resources, nurses and doctors gained practical knowledge in the field. Liers recalled frustrating battles to treat maggot-infected wounds before the nurses realized that the maggots, in fact, were sometimes the best option to keep wounds clean from infection in a field hospital.

On a grimmer note, Liers wrote to her parents the following:

“As I have told you before, the boys are wonderful- very helpful. When I see their horrible wounds or worse still their mustard gas burns or the gassed patients who will never again be able to do a whole days work- I lose every spark of sympathy for the beast who devised such tortures and called it warfare- last we were in Moulins when a train of children from the devastated districts came down-burned and gassed- and that was the most pitiful sight of all.”

By the time the “final drive” was in motion, Base Hospital No. 14 was filled with patients to nearly double capacity, and doctors and nurses had to work by candlelight or single light bulb. Liers’ wartime service and reflections suggest a range of emotions and experiences had by women thrust into a brutal war, remembered for its different methods of warfare, inventive machinery, and attacks on civilian populations.

Army nurses on parade, c. 1918. Louise Liers papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Army nurses on parade, c. 1918. Louise Liers papers, Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Liers worked in France until 1920, and her correspondence with friends and family marks the change in routine brought on by the end of the war.  With more freedom to travel, Liers and friends toured throughout France, and like countless visitors before and after, Liers describes how enchanted she became with the country, from the excitement of Paris to the rural beauty of Provence.

Following the war, Liers returned to private practice in Chicago, and later Elkader, where she was regarded as a local institution unto herself, attending over 7,000 births by 1949.  She was beloved by her local community, which gifted her a new car in 1950 as a sign of gratitude upon her retirement.

 

Want more? Visit the Iowa Women’s Archives! We’re open weekly Tuesday-Friday, 10:00am to noon and 1:00pm to 5:00pm.

A list of collections related to Iowa women and war can be found here.

The importance of open access medical literature, by James Amos, MD

James Amos, MD, Department of Psychiatry at The University of Iowa, continues our celebration of Open Access Week with a guest post on the importance of free access to medical articles for patients and their families.

The importance of open access medical literature

James Amos, MD

As a consulting psychiatrist, I teach medical students and residents, I really appreciate open access medical literature. We have a weekly case conference called Clinical Problems in Consultation Psychiatry, a practical way to teach the Practice-Based Learning & Improvement Core Competency.

This helps develop the habit of reflecting on and analyzing one’s practice performance; locating and applying scientific evidence to  the care of patients; critically appraising the medical literature; using the computer to support learning and patient care, and facilitating the education of other health care professionals.

Recurring topics are delirium and dementia. Our recommendations for patients, families, and colleagues depend on free, easy access to studies and reviews.

A poignant reminder was a recent CNN article about a man struggling to cope with early state Alzheimer’s disease. He said, “All we really are is our thoughts…” Ironically, mindfulness research tells us the opposite might be true. A paper in the Directory of Open Access Journals reviews the growing research literature on the role of mindfulness in moderating the suffering of those with dementia [1].

  1. Marciniak, R., et al. (2014). “Effect of meditation on cognitive functions in context of aging and neurodegenerative diseases.” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 8.
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Happy Birthday, Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel (October 21, 1833 - December 10, 1896)

Alfred Nobel (October 21, 1833 – December 10, 1896)

ALFRED NOBEL

October 21st is the birthday of the late Alfred Bernhard Nobel who lived from 1833 to 1896. He was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator and manufacturer.

U.S. Patent 78317, November 26, 1868

U.S. Patent 78317, November 26, 1868

In 1862, he started experimenting with nitroglycerin as an explosive material for oil mining. By the next year, at age 30, he obtained his first patent. A year later, he also developed and patented a detonator, or blasting cap, for triggering the explosive device. By age 40, Nobel had armament and explosives manufacturing companies around the world.

 

Diagram of dynamite. A. Sawdust (or any other type of absorbent material) soaked in nitroglycerin. B. Protective coating surrounding the explosive material. C. Blasting cap. D. Metal strips to hold the dynamite in place.

Diagram of dynamite. A. Sawdust (or any other type of absorbent material) soaked in nitroglycerin. B. Protective coating surrounding the explosive material. C. Blasting cap. D. Metal strips to hold the dynamite in place.

Ironically, in 1866, one of Nobel’s German manufacturing factories exploded. Resolved to improve the products’ safety, Nobel discovered that adding diatomaceous earth, a form of hardened algae as fine as powder, stabilizes the explosive material.

Although Nobel held over 350 different patents, his dynamite patent was his most notable invention. “Dynamite revolutionized the transportation industry by greatly facilitating the construction of roads and railways, tunnels and canals. It also played a crucial role in the modern mining industry.”¹

Alfred Nobel's third and last Will & Testament, November 25, 1895

Alfred Nobel’s third and last Will & Testament, November 25, 1895

 

 

 

THE NOBEL PRIZE

Nobel’s wealth was derived from his manufacturing companies and from his investment in his two brothers’ oilfields along the Caspian Sea. Upon his death, Nobel left the majority of his wealth, $186 million, in a trust from which his fortune is posthumously awarded “to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.”²

Nobel Medal

Nobel Medal

In 1900, The Nobel Foundation was established as a private organization to administer the trust, and, in accordance with Nobel’s wishes, “The prizes for physics and chemistry shall be awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences; that for physiology or medical works by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm; that for literature by the Academy in Stockholm, and that for champions of peace by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be Scandinavian or not.”² Up to three people may receive the award in any given field. For example, Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner jointly received the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy.”³

REFERENCES

A Most Damnable Invention by Stephen R. Bown

A Most Damnable Invention by Stephen R. Bown

1. The Official Web Site of the Nobel Prize, http://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/biographical/articles/krummel/

2. The Official Web Site of Nobel Prize, http://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/will/

3. The Official Web Site of Nobel Prize, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2014/

4. Bown, Stephen R. A most damnable invention : dynamite, nitrates, and the making of the modern world. New York : T. Dunne Books, 2005. Engineering Library Q175.35 .B69 2005

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The changing landscape of publishing: are we witnessing a revolution in information flow through open access? by Bernd Fritzsch

Open Access Week 2014 begins today, and we’ll be running posts by guest bloggers on open access and contemporary scholarship. Today’s post comes from Bernd Fritzsch, Chair and Professor in the Department of Biology, and panelist in last month’s Open Access and the Public Good discussion.

The changing landscape of publishing: are we witnessing a revolution in information flow through open access?

Bernd Fritzsch

I am old enough to remember the ‘good old days’ when we went through the ‘Current Contents’ every week to find out what had been published journal by journal. Once you had identified a paper of interest, you needed to request a reprint, which you received maybe several weeks to several months later. You had to keep track of what reprints you requested, what you received and archive all of that in an ever increasing collection of reprints.

This started to change with the introduction of online journals—a new concept following the introduction of the world-wide web. Now, once you had identified a paper of interest you could possibly download a PDF of the entire article or at least see its abstract for a better assessment of fit for your interest.   That was around 2000. In the last 14 years this concept of online, open access journals is increasingly pitched against the traditional journals. These novel ideas for access can potentially solve the biggest problem of the past—the unequal flow of scientific information—by providing easy access for everyone.

One major difference between open access and ‘traditional’ journals is the basic business model. Traditional journals rely, at least to some extent, on subscriptions to make a profit. How much a given journal profits from subscriptions is variable and the data is hard to come by. Given the high cost of subscriptions, budget-strapped libraries are faced with deciding which journal subscriptions are the most useful for their audience. The citation impact factor was developed by ISI initially to give libraries an idea of which journals are highly cited and read, helping them determine which journals they need to hold. Of course, once the idea of ‘impact factor’ was established for journals, the same system was used to rank authors. In essence, publishing in a prestigious journal with a high impact factor that is found in every library and many individual labs, was one way of making sure that a given scientific insight was widely disseminated. Journals, in turn, were interested in acquiring the highest impact factor to be widely subscribed. The problem with this business model is that the tax payer pays at least twice: first to finance the research that drives the lab of the author and subsequently to finance the library subscriptions. NIH has argued that this is an undue support and these arguments have changed the business model: now, papers, whose research was funded by NIH, have to be made available free to the public within one year. The authors, however, pay nothing in most cases, but have to sign over the copyright of data generated in most cases by public funding to a for profit organization. The problem with this model is that not every journal is easily accessible. In many cases one can only access abstracts unless a given University has a subscription that allows online access. Given that most researchers have their ‘reprint collections’ on their hard drive or the ‘cloud’ as PDF files, the possibility of accessing a given PDF instantly is becoming the rate limiting factor for information dissemination.

Since 2000 a different business of publishing is gaining ground: open access journals such as BMC journals, PloS journals and, more recently, eLife. These journals have no printed copies and thus no subscriptions by individuals or libraries to finance their costs. Upon acceptance of a paper, the author pays a fee to allow online access for all potential readers. The importance of this new business model is that data are immediately available for all to see and download as PDF to build up your own computer based library. Unfortunately, payments have to be made by the author, but the author typically retains the rights for his/her data. Of course, once the power of the internet become apparent to traditional publishers, most have added online access to their journals, in addition to the traditional paper journal (although this is sometimes at additional expenses to the author).  Of course, impact factors of the new exclusive online journals are next to irrelevant for libraries (they do not need to subscribe to them) and are now only used to gauge the ability of a given set of authors to move a paper into a higher impact journal, allegedly being seen by more people, a questionable argument at a time of all access search engines.

Indeed, the very perception of a high impact journal carrying more weight because it is more being widely read is becoming debatable. At a time when several online journals provide statistics for each paper such as views per months, number of downloads of PDFs, number of citations including links to citations etc., other metrics that are easily accessible to evaluate ‘impact’ are moving into the forefront. Instead of ‘guessing’ the possible impact of a given article based on the ‘impact factor’ of a journal, one can now see the impact unfolding in real time for every article in these journals or for every author across journals. This allows every author to compare the impact development of their papers published in a low as compared to a high impact journal. In fact, only time can tell how a publication will fare: some papers will be cited frequently early and phase out, others will start with few citations and last. In addition, several online indices exist (Scopus, Google Scholar) that measure the real time impacts of any given paper from any journal. I recently looked at this data for papers I had published in the same year in high impact journals (Nature, for example) and low impact journals. I discovered that it did not matter where I had published my research: over a 25 year period the quality of the paper seems to equalize, at least for my sample, the impact factor difference of the journals; both papers were nearly equally cited. In my area of expertise, one of the most cited papers by T Dobzhansky (1708 times) is in a journal with an impact factor of around 0.4, highlighting my point namely that highly cited papers can appear in ‘low impact’ journals. Moreover, since the h-index was invented nearly 10 years ago, it is now possible to calculate for every author the total citation impact of her/his publication record as a measure of the life time impact. This measure is becoming more widely accepted. In many countries tenure and promotion decisions are partly based on not only the numbers of papers published and the impact factor of the journal, but increasingly the cumulative impact of a given faculty through the h-index.

Having a clearer understanding of what the changes in publication landscapes imply, one can begin to ask questions about the future success of the traditional versus the open access models, in particular in the context of faculty promotion. In my opinion, h-index is here to stay as a measure of overall citation frequency of papers of a given author. Modifications to correct for academic age, such as the m-index, combined with overall citation frequencies (provided by Google Scholar or Scopus) can provide a reasonable measure of how many people found the work of a given author useful for their own work and thus cite it. Variations of these measures can look into position of a given a faculty in the list of authors (middle name in a 20 people assembly of authors or first name in small set of authors). However, this will not change the basic usefulness of existing quantifications of a given author’s impact, they will only fine tune the results.

How will all of this affect frequency of reading of a given publication? Because it is now possible to search across all publications in seconds followed by the direct access not only of an abstract but the entire article information flow will speed up and help to develop a given idea. My expectation is that the traditional publication approach will disappear over time and most papers will go on line proportional to the phasing out of senior scientist used to the traditional model. My guess is that the revolution in disseminating information that started with typesetting by Gutenberg in 1450 (in China already around 1000) will soon be replaced by all electronic media. In addition, I expect that journal articles will transform into online fora of open discussions of the content of journals, not just consumption. ELife has already developed some of these novel publishing ideas such as the publication of the peer-review along with the article and the author’s rebuttal letter–things that are kept top secret by traditional journals. In addition, anybody can comment on the paper and such comments will become a permanent record. Combined, open access and open communication will help stamp out scientific fraud. The quality of the review process along with the publication of the name of the reviewer will ensure that anybody who cannot repeat the work can immediately interact with the authors via the online fora. This will change publication as we know it from a static process forming a one-way street of information flow (author to journal to library) into a dynamic process that will turn the scientific community into an intellectual village of worldwide openly communicating individuals. Clearly, ranking of universities such as QS University relies for 20% of the total ranking on citations per faculty, requiring that faculty should make sure that all their citations are properly credited to them. Easy ways to do this is through Google Scholar profile (or Scopus or Web of Science profiles).

I believe that the essential stumbling block for these new models of truly free communications, data, and idea exchange will be how to finance these forward looking endeavors that are transforming our publication landscape. Nearly 500 years after printing helped the public to gain access to scriptures, restricted before to the knowledgeable few, online open access publications could become the next step forward in free information flow, provided the financial models can be resolved. Other online features such as Facebook or Twitter will help to drive the free communication enterprise even further into accessibility by everyone.

Further reading:

http://www.nature.com/news/open-access-the-true-cost-of-science-publishing-1.12676

https://twitter.com/elife

http://theconversation.com/schekmans-luxury-journal-boycott-doesnt-go-far-enough-21145

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Make the jump from RefWorks to EndNote with Hardin Library open workshops

As the University of Iowa moves to EndNote as its official citation management solution, we at Hardin are here to help with the transition from RefWorks (or any other tool). At this quick workshop, you will learn how to collect your citations and bibliographic data and then import it into EndNote.

Our sessions this semester:

Tuesday, October 21, 12:00-12:30pm

Tuesday, November 4, 9-9:30am

Wednesday, November 12, 2:30-3pm

Thursday, November 20, 10:30-11am

Tuesday, December 9, 9:30-10am

Register online:  http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/hardin/workshop/.

Just need a little help?  See our EndNote guide:  http://guides.lib.uiowa.edu/citingsources/HardinEndNoteDesktop .

Get an Introduction to NCBI Gene Expression Databases at our open workshop Tuesday, October 21

This session provides an overview of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) databases that contain information on gene expressions. Learn how to search for homologous gene sets for selected organisms, clusters of expressed transcripts, gene expression and molecular abundance profiles, functional genomics studies and epigenomic studies and display tools.

Our next session is:
Tuesday, October 21, 1-2pm, Information Commons East, 2nd Floor

Register online :  http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/hardin/workshop/ .  No time for class?  Request a personal session on the registration form.

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