Thursday, December 18, 2008

Google Quick Tip #15

You're either proudly finished with your holiday shopping or like the rest of us, putting off those last few gifts and will probably be frantically gift wrapping on Christmas Eve.

In either case, this is a great time of year to watch a movie in the theaters because all the blockbusters are released just in time for Oscar nominations. To get away from the shopping mayhem, or to further procrastinate, why not go see a movie? Google can help you locate a theater.


Type in the word movies followed by the zip code or city where you want to find a movie theater.

The first result should be a link to showtimes at the local cinemas. The results will have a link to the movie trailer, more information from IMDb (the Internet Movie Database), and the Google map of the theater location.

Go ahead and treat yourself to a movie!

Online Tutorials for Searching Clinical Medicine Resources

I recently created a set of short 1.5 minute or less narrated online tutorials describing how to search for clinical medicine information. The resources demonstrated are AccessMedicine, STAT!Ref, MD Consult databases and PubMed.

I made the tutorials as a supplement to a workshop that medical students attend, teaching them how to find reliable resources and how to properly cite them. The information they find is used to write up their answers to research questions they generated during their problem-based learning sessions.

You can access the tutorials at

Having made a few online tutorials series, I've made sure to have a PDF summarizing the main points of the tutorials. This handout is accessible in the left menu of the webpage.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Google Quick Tip #14

Quick - what's the answer to 25.31 x 45.73? Don't have a calculator close by? Don't care to interest yourself in a long multiplication problem? No problem, Google can do the math for you!


The following symbols stand for these standard math operations:

Addition +
Subtraction -
Multiplication *
Division /
Exponent ^
Percentage of % of

Say for example, I want to calculate 15.87% of the total of 2.31 times 45.0 to the 5.99th power. I'd type in the following into Google to find the answer:

15.87% of (2.31*45.9)^5.99

More tips at

Now that you know these tips, hide them from your school age children who are properly learning what we as adults no longer have the patience to do by hand or handheld calculator!

Using Eigenfactor to Measure Journal Ranking

Eigenfactor is a free tool developed by Carl Bergstrom's lab at the University of Washington. It measures the impact of a journal based on the number of citations as well as journal pricing. They describe themselves as:

(1) Eigenfactor.orgTM scores and Article InfluenceTM scores rank journals much as Google ranks websites.

(2) Eigenfactor.orgTM reports journal prices as well as citation influence.

Eigenfactor.orgTM contains 115,000 reference items. not only ranks scholarly journals in the natural and social sciences, but also lists newsprint, PhD theses, popular magazines and more. In so doing, it more fairly values those journals bridging the gap between the social and natural sciences.
Scores adjust for citation differences across disciplines.

Scores rely on 5-year citation data.

Scores are completely free and completely searchable.

Read more detailed explanations at

I especially like their visual mapping search display that animates the relevancy of topics and journals. You can get to this interface by clicking on the "mapping" tab and choosing the "interactive browser" option. In the right side of each visual map result, the top ten journals in that field are listed. Clicking on a journal title will reveal its Eigenfactor score.

The Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is a paid database from ISI Web of Knowledge that the Eigenfactor is comparing itself to, but they claim with added value. View the publisher's tutorial of how to search JCR. (Note: click on the white arrow in the bottom green menu bar to forward to the next page of the tutorial).

Read a more scholarly description of the Eigenfactor at

Wikipedia: Love It or Leave It?

Wikipedia - honestly, who can say they have NEVER searched it before? The convenience and relative ease of finding information from Wikipedia is too tempting to bypass. Plus, Google floats Wikipedia pages pretty high up on a list of results.

For example, if you search myasthenia gravis in Google, Wikipedia is the FIRST result to appear. This entry beats out results from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and from the Mayo Clinic! What is at the top of a Google results list is the most linked to page on the search topic, not necessarily the most accurate or relevant page.

Over the past two years, I've noticed that some medical students cite Wikipedia as their source in writing up a short assignment. As an education librarian, this makes me twinge just the slightest bit and sigh. I teach students that Wikipedia can be a good place to start to get an overview of information, but it's NOT a resource you should cite. This is especially true if you are researching a health topic. But again, convenience wins out and some students cite Wikipedia anyway.

Wikipedia is a bit like the game of telephone that we played as children. The first person whispers the sentence to the person next to them, and as we all know, by the time the last person has received the information, it has morphed itself. That's the thing with Wikipedia and health information - most of it is quite good, but to cite it as your main resource could be risky. If by chance the information you gathered is inaccurate, you run a risk of doing harm with this information if you choose to make a medical decision for a patient based on what you find in Wikipedia.

So how then to make Wikipedia useful for finding more reliable information?

Thankfully, a well built Wikipedia entry has bread crumbs to lead you down the path to better sources of information.

(1) Look for the References link in the Contents box to see what resources were cited

(2) If a piece of information sounds interesting, look for a reference citation number (and click on it) at the end of that sentence.

(3) If it's a well-researched topic, you will see research articles listed. Clicking on the PMID or PMC link at the end of an article title will get you to the abstract in PubMed.

(4) Under the External links at the bottom, there may also be useful associations and other websites

Want to know how often a page has been edited?

Click on the history tab at the top of the page. You can see how busy people have been editing this information. Frequent editing should be a red flag of how much you can trust the information to be accurate.

Reuter's published an interesting article this month entitled Wikipedia often omits important drug information.

What's my final say on Wikipedia?

- If you find yourself on a Wikipedia result, it can be a lauching pad for finding better resources to link to and to cite those reliable resources instead of Wikipedia.

- It's a good place to get a gist of a topic.

I'm glad to see in the presentation below that a doctoral student in Communications at the University of Buffalo (SUNY) expressed his views on Wikipedia and how it can be used in education:
I Heart Wikipedia
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: education students)

PubMed Quick Tip #8

Ever used the Sort by feature in PubMed? This much overlooked feature can actually prove quite handy when viewing a set of search results.

Results are displayed with the most recently published articles at the top of your results. You can re-sort the results to see if you can find out any additional information that migh be helpful.

For example:

- if you re-sorted the results by Author, you might find what authors publish more often on a certain topic

- if you re-sorted by Journal, you can see which publications come up multiple times. This can help you decide where you might want to publish your research in this related field or what other journals you should consider searching for more information.

View this short video demo

Friday, October 31, 2008

My First Venture into Video

I recently attended the Internet Librarian Conference in Monterey, CA. It was an energetic gathering of tech savvy librarians from across America sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm of what they've created for new ways to deliver and find information online.

I attended several sessions covering how to make video podcasts. The idea of making things really come to life with video sounds just plain fun! So I put myself to work and play.

I found a free video editing program online called Jumpcut by Yahoo. It's a great first tool for me to try out because all I had to do was to upload videos and images onto the web. I could easily edit the video and add audio and text. The file is automatically compressed to the right size without me having to know anything about how to do that.

So here are the results of my first Jumpcut videos:

The video of Woods Hole, MA is taken from my camera phone, thus the indie "live action" bumpiness of walking and talking. The video is about twice as large as the original video display, so the film is slightly grainy, but you get a feel of what Jumpcut can do with video from a cell phone.

The Mission mural walk video was made from my digital camera photos.

If you're thinking of making videos to host on the web and want to start practicing, I'd highly recommend Jumpcut as a fast and easy tool to try. Have fun!

Google Quick Tip #13

We've all used Google Maps to find directions and view street level locations, but did you know that you can get Google Maps mashups there too? TaxiWiz is an example of a Google Maps mashup - it's a combination of information of where to find taxis in a city with a Google Map of the city. It even gives you the estimated fare for any route that you map!


When you search a location in Google Maps, look at the very bottom of the left side bar for a link to User-created maps in the results listing. That link will take you to maps created by other people who have made Google Maps mashups.

For example, when I typed in a Google Maps search for Mission District San Francisco, under the user-created maps link, I found a map highlighting the 49 Mile Scenic Drive of San Francisco. This is a great map to use to get acquainted with the city because it also includes photos of most of the locations.

So go ahead, mash it up a little and see what you can find!

Re-Thinking Presentation Design (ppt)

Time to update your presentation style? Everyone can dazzle with a fresh coat of paint in a new color.

This powerpoint presentation by Oliver Adria, an electrical engineering student in Cologne, Germany, is a testament to how revamping your presentation style can make your topic more memorable to your audience.

For other presentation tips, see my blog post in June.

CDC Statistics and Slide Sets

The CDC website has a fantastic collection of statistical data. There is a goldmine of information, but it takes some exploring to unearth these hidden gems.

Here are different ways of getting to stats from the CDC homepage:

(1) Browse the topics under the Data & Statistics section on the right side of the CDC homepage.

(2) Under the Diseases & Conditions section, a statistics link is often in the left margin of major health topic pages.
For example, Heart Disease.

(3) Browse the Injury, Violence & Safety section for statistical information in the left margins of the topic pages. For example,
Injury Data and Maps.

View this short narrated video below that shows how to find statistics and slide sets on particular topics.

Finding Dissertations

Ever think of looking for dissertations that might help your own research? Chances are, if you have a great research idea, there's probably at least one other academic who has delved into the same realm.

The Digital Dissertations database can be accessed on campus or via VPN off-campus.

You can access:

- Full text of University of California dissertations published since 1997
- Abstracts of dissertations and theses from other Universities that you can order
- Abstracts of doctoral dissertations (post-1980) and for masters' theses (post-1988)
- Content dating back to 1861

View this brief narrated tutorial to learn how to search the Digital Dissertations database.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Google Quick Tip #12

Tired of always having to click the Back button to return to the list of search results in Google? You can set your preferences to open a result link in a new window.


(1) Select the Preferences link to the right of the Google search box

(2) Scroll down the page and select the option next to the Results Window section

Four Big Ideas from the Carnegie Study on Medical Education (video)

This lecture by Dr. David Irby was present on April 3, 2008 for the Stanford School of Medicine Medcast lecture series.

David Irby, PhD, is
Vice Dean for Education and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and a senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In his lecture, he discusses a national effort by the Carnegie Foundation to assess the professional preparation of physicians and offer recommendations for how best to update this framework to meet our emerging healthcare needs.

PubMed Quick Tip #7

When viewing an abstract in PubMed, you can reveal the MeSH (medical subject heading) terms assigned to that article. Knowing these MeSH terms can help you find other search terms to use that can improve your search strategy.

(1) Change the abstract's display to CITATION

(2) The MeSH terms will appear below the abstract. (If the article was recently published, the MeSH terms may not have been assigned yet, but will be assigned shortly after publication.)

(3) If you are not sure what a MeSH term
means, you can click on the MeSH term to see its definition. Select the "MeSH" that appears in a pop-up box. You will be taken to the MeSH database to see the definition.

Videos on

The Mayo Clinic provides consumer health information at

In addition to health information, this site features short instructional videos. The videos run an average of 30 seconds to under two minutes.

The information is easy to understand for the layperson. For example, view this video that describes how antidepressants help relieve depression. Each video also has a transcript listed next to the video.

There are collections of videos pertaining to exercise:
There are also videos on how to prepare healthy recipes, such as this one for honey crusted chicken.

The videos are archived as well in alphabetical order. It would be nice if they were sorted by categories, but it's good to at least have a full listing of their videos. These videos are ideal for referral to patients as well as for personal education.

Medical Students' and Residents' Use of Facebook

Okay, so I finally caved in and set up a Facebook account in June. To date, I have inched up to a mere 74 friends. One of my Facebook friends, a cousin in college, has 759 friends! That is a testament as to how social networking tools have made their way into the daily lives, the daily minutes, of how students keep in touch.

With the explosive popularity of Facebook use among students, it is no surprise that issues concerning the appropriateness of what students choose to disclose on their personal profiles and photos that they post are starting to arise as these students graduate and enter the professional world.

The authors of the article below are from the College of Medicine and the College of Education at the University of Florida. As students who use Facebook, and as educators who teach these students, this article is a must read as it touches upon the implications of professionalism and how it is affected by the online personas that people create using social networking tools.

Ferdig, RE, Dawson, K, Black EW, et al.
Medical students' and residents' use of online social networking tools: Implications for teaching professionalism in medical education.
First Monday, Vol 13, No.9, Sept 2008.

This study sought to determine if and how 501 medical students and 312 residents are using Facebook at a large university in the southeastern United States. Results reveal that medical students and residents are using Facebook and about two–thirds of users maintain public profiles. While there is variation in the types of information provide within profiles, many medical students seem unaware of or unconcerned with the possible ramifications of sharing personal information in publicly available online profiles even though such information could impact their professional lives. Thus, this study provides data based evidence that online tools such as social networking sites should become a part of the dialogue related to preparing future physicians to meet the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) professionalism competency.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Google Quick Tip #11

It's 6pm on the Friday just before the Labor Day weekend...The fog is rolling back into San Francisco after a three day "heat wave" in the City. I think longingly for the daily dose of Hawaiian sunshine that I enjoyed while living in Honolulu.

Hmmm...I wonder what the weather is like in Honolulu right now? I'd sure like to be there rather than in this thick San Francisco fog in August.

Wait a minute...let me check the weather on Google!


Type the word weather before either the name or the zip code of the location you are interested in finding.

In Google, I searched on
weather 94143 to find the weather forecast for my San Francisco neighborhood, and got this result:

Then I searched on
weather honolulu to find the weather forecast for Honolulu, Hawaii:

Wow! Suddenly I don't feel so bad. For the next four days at least, I'll be enjoying more dry and sunny weather than folks in Honolulu. But Hawaiians don't have it so bad. With the rain always come rainbows when the sun breaks through.

PubMed Quick Tip #6

Using PubMed's Journals Database to Find Journals on a Specific Topic

PubMed has a Journals Database that allows you to search for journal titles that relate to a topic that you find interesting. This can be a helpful way to learn of what journals are in your field that you were not aware of.

1) Select the Journals Database link in the left menu of PubMed

2) Type in a topic

3) If there is a long list of journals on your topic, you can use the Limits tab to narrow the results

Monday, August 25, 2008

Podcasting Lectures: Friend or Foe

Podcasting of lectures has been the most common use of broadcasting and archiving educational content using media files. "Enhanced podcasts" are growing in popularity because listeners can also view the lecture content, such as PowerPoint slides, while listening to the lecture.

As more students listen to podcasts of their lectures, will this make them less likely to attend lectures? Is this an issue that professors should worry about as they decide to podcast their lectures? Or are we starting to sound like our predecessors who worried if radio would replace the book, if TV would replace the radio, or if CDs would replace LPs?

Below is a presentation by educators at the University of Bath in the U.K. Slide16 through the end of the presentation cover reasons why enhanced podcasts can enhance learning.

There is no denying that some students will be even less motivated to attend lectures because they can view them online. But the benefits outweigh the risks.

As of Aug 2008, there are 52 articles, dating back to December 2005, that mention podcasts.

Here's the most recent article specifically targeting podcasts for undergraduate medical students:

Pilarski, PP, Alan Johnstone, D, Pettepher, CC, et al. (2008). From music to macromolecules: using rich media/podcast lecture recordings to enhance the preclinical educational experience. Medical teacher, 30(6), 630-2.

I also blogged early this year about an article that looked at how podcasting lectures influenced student in-person attendance. Time will tell us what becomes of all this podcasting. But there's no doubt that podcasting will evolve to find its place in education.

Have We Over PowerPointed Medical Students?

Has lecturing with PowerPoint (ppt) made medical students lazy learners? Is there no longer any reason for students to read their textbooks? Is teaching with ppt a disservice to students?

This transcript of a thought-provoking talk given by Dr. Frederick S. Southwick of the University of Florida College of Medicine, may give us some answers to these questions He is the 2007 recipient of the Theodore E. Woodward Award honoring physicians who have made major contributions to medical education research:

Southwick, FS. (2007). Theodore E. Woodward Award: spare me the PowerPoint and bring back the medical textbook. Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, 118, 115-22.

A tutorial for 4th year medical students revealed absent long-term retention of microbiology and infectious disease facts taught during the 2nd year. Students were suffering from the Ziegarnik effect, the loss of memory after completion of a task. PowerPoint lectures and PowerPoint notes combined with multiple-choice questions may have encouraged this outcome; this teaching format was also associated with minimal use of the course textbook. During the subsequent year, active learning techniques, Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) and Peer Instruction (PI) were used, and instructors specifically taught from the textbook. Essays and short answer questions were combined with multiple-choice questions to encourage understanding and recall. Performance on the National Board Shelf exam improved from the 59(th) percentile (2002-2004) to the 83(rd) percentile (2005), and textbook use increased from 1.6% to 79%. This experience demonstrates that strategies incorporating active learning and textbook use correlate with striking improvement in medical student performance.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Google Quick Tip #10

Hmmm...what's the best way to get from the famous (heavy on the garlic) Stinking Rose Restaurant in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood to the Boudin's Sourdough Bakery in Fisherman's Wharf?


Our dear old friends at Google have recently added some new options under the "Get directions" link in
Google Maps. In addition to driving directions, there are now walking AND transit directions! For the transit directions, they estimate how much it would cost for gas if you drove vs. public transit fares. Combine these new features with the Street View feature, and you're set to show your guests around town the fastest route from point A to point B. Now if Google could only get the buses to run on schedule...

View this video demo.

Microsize that Long URL

Fed up with having a long URL take up too much space on an email or document? If you haven't found them already, here are some great tools that help you condense a painfully long URL.

[click on each icon to get to the sites]

Each of these tools allows you to simply copy and paste in a long URL and it will automatically generate a short URL that you can copy and paste into wherever you need it to be. Gone are the days of precariously dangling URLs.

How to Brainstorm Effectively

Get together a group of people. How do you gather and distill their expertise to create and innovate for positive change and development? BRAINSTORM! I know all of us has participated in at least five or more brainstorming sessions in your professional life. The energy of a brainstorm invokes the "Oh! I have an idea!" notion that we all had as a kid. But as adults, how can we make brainstorming sessions be truly worthwhile? Check out this presentation for some brainstorming tips.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Power of Garlic

Recently while on vacation, my hand and arm got quite swollen and inflamed from two bug bites. A friend suggested a family folk remedy of placing crushed garlic under a bandage directly on the swollen areas to excise the toxins from the bites. Since icing it and taking antihistamines for a day wasn't doing much, I agreed to the suggestion. I blame my lack of judgment on the 97 degree Southwestern desert heat and the pain and heat from the swelling. Within the first half hour, I felt a burning sensation where the garlic was and assumed it must be working. However, after almost three hours, things didn't seem quite right when my hand became even more inflamed.

Well, long story short, I suffered minor second-degree "garlic burns" on the two sites where the compress were. Symptoms included blistering, heat, and redness. The doctors prescribed oral antibiotics for the possibly infected bites and a topical antibiotic (bactroban cream) for the cellulitis. When I finally got hold of a computer, I ran a quick PubMed search and found that there have only been a few cases of garlic burns reported in the medical literature. The first was reported in 1987.

What I learned from the literature about garlic:

* It has allergens and irritants - the strongest are diallyl disulfide and allicin that are volatile sulfur compounds and can cause irritant contact dermatitis ('garlic burns').

* It can interfere with proper coagulation. It 's suggested that patients should stop eating garlic/taking garlic tablets at least one week before their surgery.

* Garlic burns have occurred in cases where garlic was directly applied to the skin to try to treat asthma, skin lesions, and fever.

* If properly treated with prescription topical antibiotic cream three times a day and covered with sterile gauze, wounds should heal within four weeks or so.

* Three soldiers who apparently did know of the harsh effects of crushed garlic on skin caused self-inflicted wounds on their legs and arms in order to avoid military duty.

So what did I learn from this experience?

(1) Do NOT use or take alternative medical treatment, or any medical treatment for that matter, without knowing what its risks, side effects, and reactions can be.

(2) The body is an amazing machine to be able to heal itself. My skin has repaired itself in a little over a month's time.

So here is my public service announcement to everyone: GARLIC is to be ingested in moderation and NOT applied to the skin.

Know how to handle burn injuries.
Find out more about garlic and its health benefits and risks.

FYI - after the skin has healed, sunblock should be applied to it for at least a year since the new skin is more photosensitive.

Borrelli, F, Capasso, R, & Izzo, AA. (2007). Garlic (Allium sativum L.): adverse effects and drug interactions in humans. Molecular nutrition & food research, 51(11), 1386-97. (PMID: 17918162)

Al-Qattan, MM. Garlic burns: Case reports with an emphasis on associated and underlying pathology. Burns (2008) (PMID: 18406535)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Problem-based Learning and Larger Student Groups (article)

Problem-based learning groups generally span a size of 5 to 8 students. But what happens when PBL "small" groups start to expand to not-so-small group sizes?

This article details a "clustered PBL" approach where students are divided into 16 groups of 20 - 21 students per group. Each group is subdivided into 7 subgroups that have "clusters" of 2 to 3 students each.

Kingsbury, Martyn P, and Joanne S Lymn. Problem-based learning and larger student groups: mutually exclusive or compatible concepts - a pilot study.
BMC medical education 8(2008):35-.

This clustered PBL methodology can be successfully used with larger groups of students. The key to success lies with challenging and well situated clinically relevant cases together with enthusiastic facilitators. Facilitator enjoyment of the PBL process may be related to adequate training and previous PBL experience, rather than academic background. The smaller number of facilitators required using this clustered PBL approach allows for facilitators with 'a belief in the philosophy of PBL' to volunteer which would again impact on the success of the process.

Google Book Search

Did you know that since October 2006, Google has partnered with the University of California to digitize collections from the UC LIbraries?

Go to or from the Google homepage, under the more... link, select the Books option.

You can search a book's content and some may be available to download.

Find out more about Google Book Search. In addition to the UC libraries, Google Books collection provides access to materials from select libraries around the world through the Google Books Library Project.

11 Advantages of Using a Blog for Teaching

Here is an interesting presentation, titled 11 Advantages of Using a Blog for Teaching by Frank Calberg, a strategic inspirator from Zurich, Switzerland.

This blog that I have created has been a way for me to teach to the many people who I will not be able to come face to face with because of distance and time. For example, I had an average of 350 views of this blog just in the month of June. On average, I meet with about 20 people per month in person or via email to help them with their literature searches. So the fact that I can teach that many more people through this blog is a testament to the power of using a blog to disseminate knowledge farther and wider.

If you have never created a blog and want to play around with how to create and use them, you can start with Blogger, which is free. There are other alternatives such as Wordpress or Typepad. If your institution already has purchased blogging software, contact your administrator to find out about using it.

Using a blog to teach can be a fun, interactive, and dynamic tool for you to consider using in your role as a teacher.

Radiology Picture of the Day (blog)

Like most internet users, you probably grab images from a basic Google image search. Well, thank your lucky stars that there are some nice alternatives to just "googling" for medical images.

Check out the
Radiology Picture of the Day blog. A new image is posted daily that is provided by a physician with a brief description below about the image with related references.

The blog is edited and main
tained by Dr. Laughlin Dawes, a diagnostic neuroradiology fellow at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Western Australia. The images date back from November 2006 to the present.

I prefer to navigate this blog via its ARCHIVE page that categorizes the images for you. There is a link to suggest an image that you would like to submit to this blog, as well.

As always, give credit where it's due if you are going to use any image from the web. For example, if I were to use this image

I would reference this image as:

Congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation. Image provided by Dr. Ahmed Haroun. Posted Feb 28, 2008 on the Radiology Picture of the Day blog. Accessed on June 30, 2008 at

Monday, June 2, 2008

IRAM Curriculum Integration

Through a joint research project between the UCSF School of Medicine and the UCSF Library, there is a term that we've coined as "IRAM".

IRAM = Information Retrieval And Management

IRAM covers skills such as evaluating information resources, properly citing information, literature searching skills, and managing citations for research, presentations, and publications.

I recently presented at the annual Medical Library Association Conference in Chicago the results of the work that I have been doing as the UCSF Library's liaison to the School of Medicine. Please see the presentation and handout posted online.

My hope is that the work done here at UCSF gives you an overview of what is involved in integrating an information skills set into the medical curriculum. Feel free to leave me your comments to share any of your thoughts.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Google Quick Tip #9

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways... Let Google show you how.


Typing the tilde sign ~ in front of a word in Google will find synonyms for that search word. Not sure where the tilde sign is? Hold down the Shift key and hit the key to the left of the number 1 on your keyboard.

Click here to see what searching ~love in Google will find you. The synonyms will be highlighted to help you think of other terms that the word can be searched as.

Run a search such as ~diet diabetes and see what kinds of things you get in comparison to searching diet diabetes. Is one search better than the other? Not necessarily. You'll notice that the tilde search has millions more results. BUT you will get ideas for other search words that you might not have thought of.

PowerPoint Presentation Tips

Most of us being self-taught PowerPoint (PPT) users have become quite accustomed to our own PPT styles. Like your wardrobe, it's good to reassess and revamp your presentation style to stay fresh.

What is the main goal of any presentation you give? Engage your audience and make sure they leave knowing the main message of your topic.

Here are some useful tips on how to improve your PPT presentations, and thus, your presentation skills:

PowerPoint for Teachers- PowerPoint Presentations: Design, Content, & Delivery

Death by PowerPoint (and how to fight it)

You'll notice that both presentations have quite a few slides. But, you will see the difference in how the message of the presentation sticks with you. The slides engage and deliver the message.

For some additional tips on how to give effective presentations, check out the Business Week article, The 10 Worst Presentation Habits.

Impliment at least three of anything you learned in these resources above and you're guaranteed to have a happier audience that is bound to be wowed by your ideas!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Heart Sounds Tutorial from Blaufuss

THE HEART - so vital to our existance, so profound, so...hard to remember all the boatloads of information related to the heart! Well, thank goodness for tutorials such as the ones created by Blaufuss Multimedia Laboratories.

Their Heart Sounds and Cardiac Arrythmias tutorials walks you through all you need to know about heart sounds and electrocardiogram / arrhythmias. There are pictures, animated images, sound, and you can even take a quiz to test your knowledge.

Bless their hearts for creating such an awesome resource!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Finding Health Information in Different Languages

Looking for multi-lingual patient education health information? There is no ONE perfect resource to answer that question, but here are two that I'd recommend looking at.
This fantastic website is put together by the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine. At the bottom left of their homepage, you will see the new highlighted listing of Multiple Languages. There are over 40 languages available covering various health topics.

Healthy Roads Media
This resource provides health information in 17 languages. Information is available as PDF handouts, and where available, audio and video. You can read more information about this resource. The contributors to Health Roads Media cover a variety of organizations.

Please post a comment to this posting to share any other resources that you've found helpful for finding multi-lingual health resources.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Google Quick Tip #8

Need to answer a trivia question like, "What is the order of the planets?", or "What are the different types of dinosaurs?" Here's a quick way to find some answers.


Quite often, if you type a general topic into Google (ie, the word planets), if you scroll to the very bottom of the results page, you should see additional suggestions of subjects related to the general topic you searched. View a brief video demo.

Now there's your secret to reclaiming your Trivial Pursuit champion status!

Finding Statistics Using the CDC Website

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a website with a wealth of resources. Explore their collection of health statistics at

I suggest that you start by browsing the
Data & Statistics by Topic section, as well as the links in the box titled Top Data & Stats Links.

What's Your Learning Style

Wondering how you best learn and process information?

Take this quick quiz and find out if you're a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner.

Today's college and grad students were born in the mid-1980's and early 1990's. They are referred to as "millennials" and "digital natives".

Boomers, Gen-Xers, & Millennials: Understanding the New Students
Oblinger, Diana. 2003. Educause, July/Aug, p 37 (8 pages).

Read about how educators can find ways to approach different learning styles in an evolving set of learners.

PubMed Quick Tip #5

Using the Clipboard feature to Email Multiple Citations from PubMed

Here's a way to gather interesting articles that you've found along the way during a PubMed searching session:

  1. Check the box in front of the article(s) listed that you want to "clip"
  2. From the Send to dropdown menu, select Clipboard option
  3. As you find other interesting articles from your searches, select those and also send to the clipboard
  4. When you are ready to email your clipboard items, click on the Clipboard tab
  5. From the Send to dropdown menu, select E-mail
  6. You will be prompted to enter the email address you want these citations to be mailed to for you to review later

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Google Quick Tip #7

Can't remember how to say "lungs" in Spanish? Have no fear, Google translator is here!


  1. Click on the Language Tools link to the right of the search box
  2. Type in the word or phrase you want to translate in the Translate text box
  3. In the dropdown menu below the box, select the language you want to translate to
  4. Click on the Translate button
As best as it can, Google will translate the word/phrase you entered.

There are a vast number of languages to choose from: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

For starters, type in the phrase Where is the pain? and translate it from English to Spanish.

This tool is a guaranteed great way to replace any dull moments of a day!

NEJM Audio Interviews with Authors

Here's yet another cool multimedia feature of the New England Journal of Medicine - In the middle of the right column on their homepage (, there is a box titled Recent NEJM Audio.

  1. The first link takes you to interviews with authors of recent articles.
  2. A link to the full-text article being discussed is available on the interview page. (NOTE: you must be connected to the campus network to access the articles.)
  3. The interview can also be downloaded to listen to on your mp3 player.

A full archive of all interviews is also available.

NEJM Audio Summaries

No time to read the New England Journal of Medicine? No problem. The NEJM has audio summaries of the latest issue available on their homepage (

Look for the Audio Summary link. The summary runs about 20 minutes.

You can listen to the summary on your computer or download them as an audio file to listen to later on your mp3 player. Wow - what'll they think of next?!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

NEJM Videos in Clinical Medicine

Since April 2006, the NEJM website has featured a growing collection of how-to videos.

* Most videos run 6 to 15 minutes

* Topics (i.e.): intubation, catheterization, arterial line placement

* Includes a PDF transcript of each video

* Provides references for more information

NOTE: You must be connected to campus network to access these videos.

If you forget the URL to this page, you can also navigate to it via the NEJM website ( Click in the Recent NEJM Video box in the right column.

Read more about this video feature.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Google Quick Tip #6

When you search Google Scholar, do you notice that the first result, which while may be relevant to your search terms, is not necessarily the most recently published? What's the deal with that?


The way Google works is that the most frequently linked to item rises to the top of the results. So, it's more like a popularity contest.

To re-rank your results to show the most current papers:

  1. Click on the Recent articles link that's in the green menu bar above your results in Google Scholar
  2. A box will appear to the right of the search box indicating that there's a date dropdown menu
  3. Choose the most recent year or any other specific year you'd want to find

Of course, to be sure you've got THE most recently published scientific journal articles, search PubMed. Google Scholar usually is not caught up with PubMed's currency.

View this short demo