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Getting to know and Keeping up with Health Sciences Apps

Mobile devices are getting more useful every day. You might be one of the folks that just bought the new iPhone 4S or you might have an iPad, Blackberry or Android. It’s possible you’ve never owned a mobile device but are thinking about it now that they are becoming more affordable. Either way, you might be interested in finding out what sort of apps you could use to improve the way you study or practice a health sciences profession. Below are a few resources to consider.

Reviews on Medical Apps and/or Mobile Devices


The blog iMedicalApps  is run by health professionals where people talk about new mobile technologies and review different apps. As you can see from their “About” page, they are very transparent in who is writing the blog posts. The editors work in Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Oncology/Surgery. Although the site is a little busy with ads and images, there is a nicely tabbed navigation system that allows users to browse posts based on device (iPhone, Android, iPad, Blackberry or All), Medical Specialty (31 to choose from including Internal Medicine, Surgery, Nephrology and Family Practice), or “Top Apps” by related fields or platforms.

Other Sites

Of course, there are other sites that will help you keep up with new with medical apps. Although not specifically dedicated to apps or medicine, one resource to follow is Wired Campus a blog from the
Chronicle of Higher Education.  Just the other day, they had an interesting post on the usefulness of updating to the iOS 5 operating system for iPhones, iPod Touches or iPads called “A Quick Introduction to iOS 5: Why You Might Update Your Device.” Another blog to follow from The Chronicle of Higher Education is ProfHacker. This blog is much more tech heavy than Wired, but has great tips for using a variety of technologies.

Information Specific to Apple Mobile Devices

Are you mostly interested in iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch information? If so, you might consider checking out TiPb: The #1 iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch blog.

Free (to you) Apps and Support

Finally, don’t forget that Hardin Library has a Mobile Devices Subject Guide with information on apps to which Hardin Library subscribes. If you are an affiliate of the University of Iowa, we can provide you with mobile access to apps for DynaMed, Natural Standard and much more! During the Fall 2011 semester, we’re also offering mobile device drop-in support from 7:30-9am Monday through Friday or by appointment. Contact us for more information.

Image of Smart Phones

photo courtesy of Flickr user louisvolant Creative Commons Licensed


PubMed and Internet Explorer 6

As of September 1, PubMed may no longer work with IE 6. The current version of Internet Explorer is IE 9 and if you look at the Microsoft Internet Explorer download page, it doesn’t go back further than IE 7.

You can find out which version of Internet Explorer you are using, you can find that information listed at the top of the browser under “Help” and then “About Internet Explorer” or under the gear icon on the top right of the browser and there is an option for “About Internet Explorer” near the bottom of the list.

If you are located within the hospital, you might want to contact HCIS to see if they can update your browser.  Other users should contact their IT support folks if they do not have administrative rights to their computers.

Another option is to work through Virtual Desktop. This site allows UI users to utilize software programs without downloading them to a computer.

If you have any questions or comments about accessing or using PubMed, feel free to contact us at (319) 335-9151 or lib-hardin@uiowa.edu.



Adding Links to Articles in ICON

It’s that time of year again. The weather is hot, so a lot of us are staying inside and working on our ICON sites for the upcoming semester.

It has been brought to our attention that ICON is having some problems with creating links to library articles if they are set up to “open in a new window” when they have the proxy URL attached.  The proxy URL is what allows University of Iowa affiliates to access library resources from off-campus. This includes things like full-text articles.  The articles appear to open with no problems in the instructor’s view, but when you switch to the student view problems arise. These problems are different depending on if you are using Firefox or Internet Explorer.  Hopefully, this issue will be resolved quickly as ITS is working on it, but in the meanwhile, we have found that making sure the article links are set to “open in the same window” solves the problem.  In the image below, I’ve pointed out the box to avoid using.

You might be tempted to work around this issue by uploading the PDF of the articles you want your students to read instead of using links. Please do not do this as it could be a violation of the copyright agreements we hold with different publishers.

If you would like more information on the best ways to link to full-text articles on ICON, check out our “Linking to Full Text-Articles for Course Pages” guide.


DynaMed is Getting a Makeover

Sometime during the week of July 18, the point of care database DynaMed will be getting a new look along with some new functionality.  A beta version of the new design  is available.  The company that produces DynaMed is asking users to provide them with feedback so some of this new functionality may change before the new design is officially released.

It may be useful to look at the current interface of DynaMed side-by-side with the new version.  Below are some screenshots with the most noticeable changes.

The new homepage for DynaMed is much cleaner than the current one. In addition, there are now links to “Search other Services” included near the bottom right corner. In addition, a lot of the menu options that are seen on the left side of the page in the current (soon to be old) version are now located in a thin menu at the top of the page. 

Screen shot of new and current DynaMed homepages

Search Results
A quick search for the topic “GERD” yielded slightly different results in the new interface than the current one. As you see below, the new interface places “Gastroesophageal reflux disease” at the top of the list.  There may be some improvements to the search algorithm along with the changes in design.  Although not available in the beta version, when the new interface is released, a new spell checker will be provided for search results. The second thing that you may notice in the new interface is that the links for Tx (treatment) and Dx (diagnosis) are no longer there. Instead, when the mouse hovers over the topic, a menu appears on the right side of the screen with options for not only treatment and diagnosis, but also for other subsections of the topic, as well.

Images of Search Results in new and current DynaMed interfaces

Viewing Topics
There is a noticeable difference in the two layouts for topics. In the new version of DynaMed, the options for the left menu have been expanded. There are “+” symbols that allow quicker navigation to areas of interest within the topic. In addition, there is a link for searching other services for information. Clicking the links for other services simply takes you to the other service’s homepage where a new search must be carried out.

As illustrated in the image below, both versions of DynaMed start their topic pages with information on the latest updates right below the title of the topic. However, in the new version of DynaMed, only the latest update is listed. A link is provided for access to previous updates.

There have also been improvements to the “Search within Topic feature.” The new interface will have a search box and then a system for navigating through the results.  Links to appropriate clinical calculators will now be included within the text of topics, as well.

Lastly, the links for emailing and printing topics has been moved to the far right of the topic in the new version. In addition, there will be a new feature for receiving alerts whenever a topic of interest changes (this feature has not been turned on in the preview version of the database).

Topics view for new and current DynaMed interfaces

Other Changes
Another change for DynaMed involves their Current Updates feature.  There is a new filtering system to allow users to find updates on a specific subject. In addition, users now have the ability to check a box for “Practice Changing Updates.” This box can be used with a filter or without one.  An alert can be set up for this part of DynaMed as well as for specific topics. 

More Information
For more information on the upcoming changes, see EBSCO Support’s “DynaMed New Features and Functionality.”

As always, if you have questions or need assistance with DynaMed or other library resources, feel free to contact us.


BodyMaps: Another alternative 3D anatomy tool

Screenshot of BodyMapsFollowing Google Body, BodyMaps (http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/) has joined the ever-expanding selection of online anatomical tools.

BodyMaps is a free, web-based, tool produced by Healthline.com, and allows for exploration of the human body in 3D.

Similar to other products of its breed, BodyMaps allows for full model manipulation and sectioning. In addition, various anatomical layers can be filtered and modified, just as in Anatomy TV or Google Body. One nice benefit is the huge number of videos and consumer resources that link directly from various anatomical structures.

Please note that Healthline.com is a commercial health-information provider, and one can wander into pay-for-resource areas of their website.

For more information about this, or any other health information resource, please contact Hardin Library at 335-9151 or lib-hardin@uiowa.edu!


Get Your Practice Exam Questions Here

Are you getting ready to take the USMLE, PANCE or NAPLEX or other exam? Are you wondering where to get some free for UI affiliates practice questions? Well, wonder no longer.  Hardin Library subscribes to a valuable resource called Exam Master Online.  You can find it on the Health Sciences Databases A-Z list on the home page for Hardin Library.

You will need to sign up for an account before you can use Exam Master which will allow you to keep track of your results and progress on various practice exams.  There are many options for using Exam Master. You can use a pre-created practice exam or you can create your own exam. If you decide to create your own exam, you have three options.

  1. You can select a number of questions from asection of the USMLE, PANCE or NAPLEX practice exams. You can choose to have between 1-999 questions in your exam.
  2. You can create an exam with questions containing a specific word. For example, you could find exam questions containing neuropathy or anatomy.
  3. You can also find questions based on a topic within a specific specialty like Internal Medicine certification, etc.

Once you create an exam, you have the option of two modes.  The practice mode will explain why an answer is correct or not allowing you to study the material.  The exam mode will time you and you will not be able to see the correct answers or explanations.  There is an option to pause the exam mode and continue later.

Exam Master will be updating their interface this month to improve your experience. You can read about those upgrades on their website. The functionality will remain mostly the same, but there will be a streamlined dashboard showing all your recent exams with progress, and there will also be some tabbing within the interface to allow for a more streamlined navigation of
the database.

If you are interested in other information for preparing for board exams, etc, you may want to check out our Board Review Materials LibGuide.

As always, if you have any questions about Exam Master or other library resources, contact Hardin Library.


Changes Coming to My NCBI

My NCBI is going to be getting a little bit of a make-over in the near future. If you are not familiar with My NCBI, it is most known for being a tool that allows you to save searches, set auto-alerts in PubMed, and manages your “My Bibliography” (which is used for managing your personal publications and NIH grant funding).  There are quite a few changes coming, but we’ll just focus on the ones that are most noticeable.

My NCBI Homepage

At this time, it’s not always easy to see what is available in My NCBI, but coming soon, the main page will be streamlined so that most features can be accessed from the main page. From the preview, it appears that the options will be laid out in titled boxes such as: My Bibliography, Filters, Saved Searches, etc.

Image of the new My NCBI landing page

Saved Searches

With the new Saved Searches box, you can set up an auto-alert if you want to receive an email when new research is published, or you can create a permanent saved search.  Within MyNCBI, there will be a table set up to show you when you last ran a search, how many new citations have become available since then, and a link that lets you go directly to the new stuff.

Image of My NCBI Saved Search Screen

My Bibliography

This is the area of My NCBI can be used to create a list of the articles that you have personally published. This list can be private or shared with others, and now, you can designate someone other than yourself to add and make changes to this part of your account without giving them your personal login information.  You also have more options for how you would like to display and share these citations. One display option lets you link your account with the eRA commons and see whether or not your articles are in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Image of My Bibliography when linked to ERA

 If you would like to know more about these changes and the many others that are coming to My NCBI, check out the NLM Technical Bulletin: My NCBI Redesign.

As always, if you have any questions about using My NCBI, PubMed or other library resources, contact us. We’re happy to help.


WISER 4.4 now available!

WISER Web Site

Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER), a service from the National Library of Medicine, has released a new version of its free system!

WISER is a mobile application that provides immediate information for first responders operating in hazardous material incident environments. WISER provides a wide range of information on hazardous substances, including substance identification support, physical characteristics, human health information, and containment and suppression guidance.

This new version includes:

  • A new tool for viewing custom sets and combinations of chemicals.
  • An enhanced overview of the resulting potential hazards.
  • Additional support materials, as well as a set of new reagents and chemicals, including Crude Oil and the Corexit 9500 and Corexit 9527 dispersants.
  • Data updates based on the latest information from the Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Acute Exposure Guideline Levels (AEGLs).

To access the WISER tool, simply download from http://wiser.nlm.nih.gov/register.html or the Apple iTunes store.


MeSH database redesign launched February 14

Have you noticed that PubMed looks a little different when you’re using MeSH?

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) Database was redesigned on February 14, 2011 to provide users with the same streamlined interface now available in PubMed® and the NLM® Catalog. If you haven’t heard of MeSH, it stands for medical subject headings and is a wonderful way to find relevant articles when searching.

What does this mean for you? Well, it means a much cleaner design within the MeSH database.  One of the best features is that the subheadings are now arranged into neat columns rather than in one jumbled paragraph. Another lovely feature is the PubMed Search builder that now shows up on the right side of the page.

Screenshot demonstrating columns for MeSH subheadings

If you’d like to learn more about all the changes that have taken place, you can check out the NLM Technial Bulletin that was updated on February 14 of this year.


New Doors to PubMed

As the volume of content in PubMed continues to expand, the need for sophisticated and skillful searching is more important than ever. In addition to developing fluency with MeSH and limits, however, today’s researchers have access to an increasing number of third-party, home-grown, and open-source tools with which to refine their literature searches.

One such resource is the intriguing PubReMiner (http://bioinfo.amc.uva.nl/human-genetics/pubreminer/), which is a front end search overlay that allows PubMed searchers to view search results in frequency tables. This provides an interesting lens for focusing subsequent queries and optimizing results. PubReMiner is web-based, operating system agnostic, and free-of-charge.

For example, a search for terms such as BRAIN NEOPLASM “STEM CELL” TREATMENT might result in a set of frequency tables which would reveal the frequency of each (and all) of the terms as they occur in a variety of fields, such as Journal Title, Country of Origin, or Author.

Using these tables, PubReMiner then allows a user to select terms by checking boxes  to create a query string that can be sent directly to PubMed!

This is only one example of the emerging breed of search tools that are available for your experimentation and use. If you’d like to learn more, please contact Shane Wallace, the Emerging Technologies Librarian at Hardin!