Friday, December 22, 2006

New stuff to investigate!

That Bloghud thing is certainly COOL! I bought one for Sl$ 900 Carol!
At their place is also the RSS PLATFORM with cool display via video FLASH. Have to know how that works. Great display of BBC news.
I also found a display that shows Flickr sets of pictures by asking for a tag! Not for sale now, but a definite MUST HAVE!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


  • Hallie whispers: Timed Out:Namro Orman (TIME OUT IS TOO SHORT)
  • You: Where are you?
    [2:42] Hallie: I am in A.L.I.C.E. AI Foundation's computer in here. Where are you?
    (change into: HealthInfo Island etc)
  • Can we expect more Google commands?
  • And can It Search any other resources? Or made to do so.
  • Carolina Keats: where can I find information?
    [3:16] Manuel: Let me try and Google it. LLS:DEFINE[ information] .
    [3:16] You:
  • You: What is migraine?
    [3:18] Hallie: Let me try and Google it. .
    [3:18] Hallie: Google Define -> A disorder characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches that may be accompanied by dizziness, nausea, vomiting or extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Carolina Keats: manuel, be quiet . For the next time Use: /12 shutup
  • With three patrons around, it seems waiting long before asking/greeting
  • Carolina Keats: what is healthinfo island?
    [3:25] Hallie: Let me try and Google it. .
    [3:26] Hallie: Google Define ->No Matching Search Results
    [3:26] Carolina Keats: yes
    [3:26] Hallie: Ah.
    [3:26] Carolina Keats: faster on the google
    [3:26] Hallie: Ask me another question..
    [3:26] You: Have to find a way to include HII in Google definitions!
  • Carolina Keats: where can I get help
    [3:26] Hallie: You can IM Carolina Keats or Namro Orman for any info about the library. Or ask any librarian instead.
  • where is the library?
    [3:26] Hallie: The library? Where is it?
    [3:26] Carolina Keats: yes, where is it?
    [3:26] Hallie: This was not a yes or no question. It depends on what it refers to.
    [3:26] You: grin
    [3:26] Hallie: I am so glad you find this amusing, Namro Orman.
    [3:27] Carolina Keats: where is the medical library?
    [3:27] Hallie: The medical library? Where is it?
  • Medium Helvetic: I was going to complain about her being blonde. But now, not so much
    REPAIRED -;)
  • Carolina Keats: what is your middle name?
    [3:27] Hallie: ALICE = Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity So my middle name is Internet.
  • Carolina Keats: who is namro orman?
    [3:28] Hallie: I do not recognize the name. .
    [3:28] Hallie: Google Define ->No Matching Search Results
    [3:28] You: Who is your owner?
    [3:28] Hallie: I was created by A.L.I.C.E. AI Foundation.
    [3:29] You: Who is your boss?
    [3:29] Hallie: My botmaster is A.L.I.C.E. AI Foundation.
    [3:29] You: hmm, have to change that!
    [3:29] Hallie: I see you are one of those people who writes Hmm with 2 m's. Why do you have to do it?
  • what it alzheimer's disease?
    [3:29] Hallie: Now that is saying a mouthful.
    [3:29] Carolina Keats: :)
    [3:29] Hallie: I am so glad you find this amusing, Carolina Keats.
    [3:29] You: define: alzheimers disease?
    [3:29] Hallie: Google Define -> Alzheimer's disease (AD) or senile dementia of Alzheimer's type is a neurodegenerative disease which results in a loss of mental functions (dementia) due to the deterioration of brain tissue. Its exact etiology (cause) is still unknown, but environmental as well as genetic factors are thought to contribute.
  • [3:30] Carolina Keats: where can I get more information about alzheimer's disease?
    [3:30] Hallie: Let me try and Google it. .
    [3:30] Hallie: Google Define ->No Matching Search Results
  • where can I get more information about alzheimer's disease?
  • You: I guess, if it can search Google, we should be abled to reprogramm it to search anything else
  • Carolina Keats: can you help me find information about pitocin?
    [3:35] Hallie: Let me try and Google it. .
    [3:35] Hallie: Google Define ->No Matching Search Results
    [3:35] Medium Helvetic: look up brain clot
    [3:35] Hallie: Sorry my eye is not attached right now.
  • Carolina Keats: I have a cyst, can you help me?
    [3:37] Hallie: Interesting. I have a lot of answers to silly questions. it.
    [3:37] Medium Helvetic: tell me about bell's palsy
    [3:37] Hallie: Ambiguous: Ask who, what or where is bell s palsy ?
  • what is bells palsy? MIND YOU; TWO DEFINITIONS for TWO ways to SPELL!
    [3:39] Hallie: Let me try and Google it. .
    [3:39] Hallie: Google Define -> Weakness of the nerve that supplies the muscles of facial expression on one half of the face (right or left).
  • You: what is bell palsy?
    [3:39] Hallie: Let me try and Google it. .
    [3:39] Hallie: Google Define -> Bell's palsy (facial palsy) is characterised by facial drooping due to malfunction of the facial nerve (VII cranial nerve), which controls the muscles of the face. Named after Scottish anatomist Charles Bell, who first described it, Bell's palsy is the most common acute mononeuropathy (disease involving only one nerve), and is the most common cause of acute facial nerve paralysis. Bell’s palsy affects about 40,000 people in the United States every year. ...
  • Medium Helvetic: define: Alzheimer Disease
    [3:41] Hallie: Google Define -> First described as a disease of the brain causing memory loss and serious mental deterioration by Alois Alzheimer, a German physician. It is the most common form of dementia, which describes the condition that results in progressive loss of mental functions.
    [3:41] Carolina Keats: define alzheimers disease
    [3:41] Hallie: Let me try and Google it. .
    [3:41] Hallie: Google Define -> Alzheimer's disease (AD) or senile dementia of Alzheimer's type is a neurodegenerative disease which results in a loss of mental functions (dementia) due to the deterioration of brain tissue. Its exact etiology (cause) is still unknown, but environmental as well as genetic factors are thought to contribute.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Future posts on Second Life Medical on

This is the last post on this blogpost adress.
All future posts will be published at
This is the offial blog of the Alliance Library System Second Life Library 2.0 project.
And it will not only be posts about the Second Life Medical Library, but also the Consumer Health Library ánd the Project Virtual Hospital. All three are having their residence at the new HEALTHINFO ISLAND, next to InfoIsland.
The posts will be written by Guus van den Brekel aka Namro Orman, Carol Perryman aka Carolina Keats, GoodwillStacy Stindberg and Synergy Devonshire
The posts will be tagged with:
Second Life Medical Library
Consumer Health Library
Project Virtual Hospital
HealthInfo Island

Friday, November 03, 2006

Grant received for Consumer Health Library Services in Virtual World

The Alliance Library System (ALS) is pleased to announce that the National Library of Medicine/Greater Midwest Region has awarded ALS a $40,000 grant to provide consumer health information services in the virtual world of Second Life. ALS is working on the project in partnership with the University of Illinois Library of the Health Sciences-Peoria, Central Medical Library, Unversity Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) in the Netherlands,. and TAP Information Services.

“Providing Consumer Health Outreach and Library Programs to Virtual World Residents in Second Life” will allow the Alliance Second Life Library to provide training programs, outreach to virtual medical communities, important consumer health resources, and one-on-one support to Second Life residents.
Second Life ( is a booming virtual world with over 1 million residents.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant as it builds on efforts we have already started in Second Life to provide library services,” stated Kitty Pope, Executive Director of the Alliance Library System.
“This will allow us to provide important information in a virtual world whose citizens may not come or may not be able to reach a traditional library. For instance there is a group for stroke victims. In real life they may be physically limited. In Second Life, they can fly and be whomever or whatever they choose to be. There are no limits.”

“People are often seeking health information at stressful times in their lives, such as when they are facing diagnosis and treatment decisions,” said Jo Dorsch, Director of the UIC Library of the Health Sciences-Peoria. “By providing reliable information to people at the point-of-need we hope that consumers will make better informed decisions that will affect their health care and quality of life.”

Carol Perryman, a doctoral student in Library and Information Science with a specialty in medical librarianship at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, will serve as Project Coordinator. “ Librarians interested in exploring new ways to meet the needs of users cannot fail to be intrigued and rewarded by the potential of Second Life,” said Carol Perryman.
“On the other side of the avatar’s screen very real people have very real health information needs – and the grant project will provide real help to these consumers. I am pleased to be working with Aliance and other partners on this pioneering effort.”

Perryman will team with Guus van den Brekel, who has developed a clinical medical library in Second Life to develop services. Lori Bell from ALS, Jo Dorsch, Peg Burnette and Sandy DeGroote from UIC-LHSP, and Tom Peters from TAP information Services will participate as part of the project team. The group will work with established support groups in Second Life and reach out to new patrons who have health information needs.

  • The latest report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project says that 80 percent of American Internet users, or some 113 million adults, have searched for information on at least one of seventeen health topics.
  • Most Internet users start at a general search engine when researching medical advice online.
  • Just 15 percent of searchers say they “always” check the source and date of the information they find online, while another 10 percent say they do so “most of the time.”
  • Fully three-quarters of health information seekers say they check the source and date “only sometimes,” “hardly ever” or “never,” which translates to about 85 million Americans gathering medical advice online without consistently examining the quality indicators of the information they find.
  • Most seekers are pleased about what they find online, but some are frustrated or confused.

This project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, under Contract NO1-LM-6-3503.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Grand Opening Second Life Medical Library and móre!

You just got to visit InfoIsland the next few day! Today starts a three day eventfull program with Grand Openings, great talks and a lot of beautiful things to see!
How about: Virtual Worlds and Education ?
Or: Virtual Worlds and Alternate Realities - Where Do Libraries Fit In?
And of course the Grand Opening of the Second Life Medical and Consumer Health Library on Saturday 14th October. Here's the agenda.

Times are in Second Life / U.S. Pacific Time (-7 or -8 GMT, depending on daylight savings)
The Opening will start at the SL Medical Library (Info Island 165, 204, 33).
Saturday 14th October
  • 09:30-9:40 - Namro Orman on the project Medical Library in Sl
  • 09:40-9:50 - Marymac Dougall on Breast Cancer Awareness
  • 09:50-10:00 - Coreshadow Bordiga on the Project Virtual Hospital
  • 10:00-10:15 - Quick Tour Medical Library building and Herb Garden
  • 10:15-10:20 - Location change to the Consumer Health Library, Info Island II (227, 202, 23)
  • 10:20-10:30 - Carolina Keats on the Consumer Health Library and Tour
  • 10:30-10:40 - Second location change to (normally private) islands Asterix/Obelix for live sims. (Instructions will follow)
  • 10:40 -11:55 - Moriz Gupta on training of health care staff within SL, the project IBAPP (Idaho Bioterrorism Awareness and Preparedness Program) and SL, and very, very special live sims!
  • (11.55 - Very quickly BACK TO INFO ISLAND for:
  • 12:00 p.m. sl - Ribbon Cutting and Special Speaker - Info island Open Air Auditorium (Info Island 143, 82, 34) - Katt Kongo, editor, Metaverse Messenger )

Carolina and I (and all others participating) would like to welcome you on this event!
Come and have a look! And if you can not make it, comment on this blog, email or IM us and we will make an appointment to do a personal Tour later.

Self-Guided Tour
If you want to do a tour all by yourself: in the SL Medical and Consumer Health Library you can get a Tour Guide. It is a so-called Heads-Up Display and contains of a pre-defined chat-session.

You first get a copy of the Tour Guide Tool and from within your Inventory you choose WEAR. A blue button will appear in the Left-Top screen. Click on it and read the chat lines! You can that way walk the complete tour in the SLML ánd CHIL.

Stroke Support Group Second Life:  Sojourner display
Stroke Support Group Second Life: Sojourner display

Friday, October 06, 2006

Education and Research BOOMING in Second Life!

I promised to let you know how the presentation of John Bradford went.
Well, follow the link and see the transcripts, the presentation ánd the demo movie!According to The SIMTEACH blog it was perhaps the largest edu event in the Metaverse ....Simteach is really a great site. The subtitle is:"Information and Community for Educators using M.U.V.E.'s(Multi-User Virtual Environments )
Reference: Schwartz, D. L., Bransford, J. D., & Sears, D. (2005). Efficiency and innovation in transfer. In J. Mestre (Ed.), Transfer of learning from a modern multidisciplinary perspective (pp. 1-51). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

One of the Second Life Medical Library missions is to identify and list all relevant activities on the following subjects:

  • Support groups (patient groups in SL) for possible outreach from the Consumer Health Library (more on this later!)
  • Educational, Clinical and Research activities with relation to Health Information or any Medical subject.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rss-feeds in Second Life Medical Library and Consumer Health Library.

At this moment we offer the following rss-feeds in the Second Life Medical Library and the Consumer Health Library:
  • All Google Health News concerning Consumer Health (RSS)
    This feed is based on a News search for Consumer health OR (alternative OR complementary) but at the same time limited to the Health section!
  • Reuters Health News (RSS)
  • New PubMed records on Consumer Health Information: for this we limited with the subset command: jsubsetk (RSS)
  • NEW! Breast Cancer RSS. A Pubmed search concentrated to focus on Breast Cancer info. (RSS)
  • New exciting news from our own Blog "Second Life Medical Library" (RSS)

We can make any feed visible in your place.

As the RSS-reader in SL can only accept real RSS-format, I use to convert these feeds.

How about that for tailor-made services?

Who wants to see how it works on this blog?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ain't Misbehavin'

Sitting here, invited by the Sojourner to join her at a folk concert, live, at MillionsofUs - the grid goes down and the guys keep playing. One of them takes off a capella, doing 'ain't misbehaving' - coming out live from my little pc speaker, just a beautiful voice. The grid goes down but folks are still hanging in there. The singer says, checking the meter, that about 15 people are still out here listening. Sitting at desks or balancing laptops in so many places, sharing the harp riffs and vocal grace in a place that's nowhere; the guys know us by our metered numbers. the audience is shown in that sad 'away' head-hung mode, but nothing's moving. Even the hung grid is alive.

One more listener joined the group - only 5 or 6 have left. We're all sitting here listening.

Friday, September 29, 2006

when worlds collide… and other (perhaps) trite thoughts

Have you ever been talking with someone whose normal speaking voice is too loud or too quiet, and had the overwhelming urge to simply adjust the volume controls? Or wished you could back up to a previous webpage – and there is no ‘back’ because, well, you’re not online, but in p2p mundane workaday time-locked rl? Oh – and then there’s the perplexity of the divide and merge of rl and (not) rl worlds and activities – how about you?

I’d like to amend my appearance, and it annoys me intensely that there’s no pie chart. No skin color change, no way to perk up aging parts or change hair color without also dyeing several towels in the process. I find that my thoughts and actions in SL (as in a previous asynchronous community, but less so) are influencing my rl thoughts and actions. “Hang on a sec,” I want to say sometimes – “I was just talking about this last night with an educator in … Indiana.” Or from India, Germany, the Netherlands. And I was. We’re all increasingly global (so ‘they’ say, despite ongoing provincialism in libraries and other settings) but doing library stuff in SL is more so – mandated to be so, whatever our intentions. It must change our perceptions and practices back in rl.

Even if there is no back button.

be well, in all your worlds.

Reuters Health News : 3 month trial access

The Second Life Medical Library now offers a three months trial access to Reuters Health News Services. Anybody with an SL account can get access! Details are available at the Reuters health display in the SL Medical Library and at the New Consumer Health Library

Reuters Health offers Health E-line, health related news for the general public interested in wellness, healthcare and the latest treatments for medical conditions. Health eLine offers accurate, readable and informative news reports every day. Reuters Health eLine is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Reuters Medical News for health professionals
With content selected for relevance and newsworthiness, the daily Medical News is a convenient way for physicians, researchers and other medical professionals to stay informed of developments in their field. This service is available in English and Spanish.

Reuters Health Industry Briefing
Offering up-to-the-minute news on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, Industry Briefing delivers a fast, accurate business information service for the healthcare community.

Come and have a look! Things are moving faster and faster. More breaking news soon about the Second Life Medical Library!

Meanwhile we need more volunteers to come and work with us! We will have a special Grand Opening of InfoIsland soon and there is still a lot to do. We need some people to give presence during the two-day event, and who want to give tours for all the visitors.
So , if you are interested and/or involved in health info or involved in some kind of a medical library (or want to be), or curious about what Second Life can offer you and you want to try it out?
Do you want to know why all kinds of Support Groups are using SL or why Medical Educators and Academic Libraries are getting in as well?
Come and talk to Carolina Keats or Namro Orman or mail us at and we will tell you how exciting this all is.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Consumer Health In the News

What to do about spinach? Sunset Food says "buy it frozen for Spinach and Crab Enchiladas, Artichokes and Spinach au Gratin, Baked Parmesan Dip, and more." Actually, while the CDC has just declared spinach safe to eat, their current webpage says nothing of the sort - hopefully a case of the webmaster's having left for home. Information for consumers is well detailed on their site, including what to do if you feel you've been affected. I think I'll stick with frozen for a while.

And what's all the brouhaha about NY and a proposed ban on trans fats? Big debate ongoing, including this piece from US News & World Report. It ain't over yet.

In other news, Boingboing lets us know about a new cell phone ringtone cued to kids' sharper hearing. Nothing at all to do with health, but Danah Boyd's great talk on social media - like Facebook & such - at UNC-Chapel Hill was preserved through Boingboing as well - yay! I was there and swear it's going to give any listener a lot to think about. She's a decidedly nonboring academic (really!)

Cool sites section: check out dog health care, blurb from their site, courtesy of "Discover all that's involved in fostering a healthy dog through each stage of its life." Features information on dental care, controlling fleas and ticks, safety, caring for puppies and senior dogs, and managing weight. From the publisher of Dog Fancy magazine.

When you're done there (and have sent the link to your sister), send your folks the link to the NIH Senior Health site: "A
site specially designed for seniors, with larger print and short, easy-to-read articles. A growing collection of topics includes Alzheimer's Disease and exercise for seniors. There are captioned videos, FAQs, quizzes, and links to MEDLINEplus for more information. From the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute on Aging." I'm not quite senior myself yet, but I'd be embarassed to tell you how often (and how large) I blow up screen text (and isn't it a pity we can't do this with rl text? Ah, well.) I'm off to check out Soft Drinks and Health: "Information from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) linking increased consumption of soft drinks by children to obesity. Also includes discussions of osteoporosis, tooth decay, heart disease, and other possible health outcomes from excessive soft drink consumption. Features the report "Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks are Harming Americans' Health." (These last few descriptions are courtesy of Take a look. You may be gone for hours :))

Support and Education at SL

This listing is preparatory to creating a directory of support groups at SL. We'll be adding to it, and considering future outreach/collaborative possibilities. Please add others as you find them!

Alcoholics Anonymous
Anxiety Support area - Catherine House
Autistic Liberation Front
BiPolar Support
Brain Talk Communities
Breast Cancer Awareness
Brigadoon Explorers
CF University (cystic fibrosis)
Depresson Support
Diabetes Type 1 Community
DID Support and Information (dissociative disorders)
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Support Group
Dream Travellers
Fit n Fab Support Group
Live2Give (cerebral palsy)
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Self Injury Support
SL's Cancer Survivors
Special Education Exchange
The Center for Positive Mental Health
The Haven (meeting area for support groups)
Women's Support Group

Research/education groups at SL

SL Researchers
Real Life Education in Second Life
Overview Medical Related activities in Sl (non-CHI)

Possible target groups:
-KIDZ HELPIN KIDZ MEDICAL CENTER: We are kidz who help kidz when they are sick, hurt or just want a checkup.

Definite Target groups: clinical, research & educational
criteria: non-commercial, open structure
A group for the various physicians and health care workers of Caledon. We also include medical researchers.
-SECOND LIFE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION An association for physicians and medics throughout all the cultures of Second Life
- SUGAR MEDICAL CLINIC: Maternity, Pediatric
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) test site
- Fighting for Health
- Sl Behaviour Healthcare
- Real Mental Health
- Public Health games
- Positive Mental Health

Friday, September 22, 2006

PubMed Search AND RSS in the Second Life Medical Library! and More!

In-Life Search options in Second Life are still pretty limited. But we now have a few examples available as fully working display in the SLML!
Thanks to Hugo Dalgleish of Life2Life we now have the option to search in PubMed.

Patrons can walk in and do a PubMed Search by simply type in at the chat bar:
/2 migraine treatment
(/2= this is the "channel" this service uses in this building to activate the script)

The actual search is done in Google (sorry) and the results are limited to the pubmed records found.
Standard display of results is now set to 5. These results "hover"in the air and you can walk through it! A click on the text-result will get you to the Pubmed record in RL (Real Life)
We are talking to Hugo about displaying results on screen display ánd offering a notecard to the users to save the results.

We also now offer display of newsfeeds (RSS) from RL IN Second Life. This is in beta right now, but it already looks great. The feeds can be changed into anything. The object will get the LAST 10 items from the RSS-Feed into SL and display them one by one.
Right now this refresh rate seems a little too quick. For me it would be ok if the titels would repeat itself for a longer period.

Third new feature will be the display of the Top Ten Medical Books from Amazon with BOOKCOVERs! Coming soon in this Library -;)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

European Medical Librarian Conference 2006 : EAHIL

I just had my own presentation at Eahil 2006 and luckily have already had many requests to send the presentation files. My main subject is about getting into the user environment as library instead of expecting them to come to us. One of the Tools libraries can use with that is for instance a QuickSeach Library Toolbar in the web browser. The Second Library Medical Library MOVIE was shown as finishing touch, as example of ultimate efforts of libraries to "deliver the information where the user is" -;)
You can download the ppt HERE.
You can watch a flash demo of the Toolbar (use F11 to Fullscreen)
And the Second Life Medical Library Movie is AVAILABLE as well.
All used data and bookmarks are available at:
More information about OUR Toolbar is available at our WEBSITE.

The conference was success, many good presentations, CEC courses and "empowerment sessions".
I want to draw some attentione to the session about :

"An Introduction to Consumer Health Informatics and New Methods of Delivering Information to Patients" by:
Bruce Madge, Sub Librarian, British Medical Association.E-mail: and Professor Alan Gillies, Professor of Information Management, University of Central Lancashire .E-mail:
Abstract: This empowerment session will introduce delegates to the principles of consumer health informatics and some of the more useful websites that make information accessible to patients. We will also look at some new technologies that will help patients access relevant and useful information about their own conditions and treatments.
They showed some new ways of delivering information to patients.
I talked to Allan and Bruce afterwards and they agreed in making these resources available in the Second Life Medical Library !
See their presentations and demo's on these matters below.

View Alan's presentation on knowledge management for primary care here.
ViewAlan's presentation on health information for patients here.
See a demonstration of the patient resources here

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Empowerment Session at EAHIL2006 on " Consumer Health Informatics and New Methods of Delivering Information to Patients"
by Bruce Madge and Alan Gillies
Abstract: " This empowerment session will introduce delegates to the principles of consumer health informatics and some of the more useful websites that make information accessible to patients. We will also look at some new technologies that will help patients access relevant and useful information about their own conditions and treatments"
I will talk to them and ask them if they know about Second Life Library & the Medical Library. Just see what they think of it, as it is a new way of delivering the information to the patients!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Digital Games in Health

Lorcan Dempsey mentions the presentation of John Kirrimuir (without beard) about Gaming & Libraries at the 4th day of the TICER course. I had to miss that, but that was compensated with having a good talk about "pet training" at the opening dinner with John Kirrimuir himself.
Here's what he calls examples of use in Health:

- Pain relief and distraction
- Rehabilitation
- Surgery skill increase
- Diabetes awareness
- Easing carpal tunnel syndrome
- Mental health and sharpness (Brain Train!)
- Acting out domestic and social situations
- Social and communication development


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Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Virtual reality - I tell you, the more I look around, particularly in the areas devoted to education and research, the more impressed I am. The list of universities and individuals involved in some way with SL just blows my mind (that's an academic syndrome). As far as I am concerned, the opportunities for networking at SL at least equal those in RL, especially across different disciplines. Do I normally interact with librarians from Yale, researchers working on government-funded bioterrorism training simulations, experienced education faculty (and the list continues)? - no. But it's not so much about the impressiveness of it all, so much as it is the shared potential, a palpable strand of excitement.

Trying to come to terms with it all is a real challenge - because we are confronted with every single issue we have in real libraries (which are increasingly virtual - even our patrons are increasingly a virtual presence). Organization of information, user needs & policies, collection development, outreach to various groups - all of it exists at SL. I've spent 20 years in public and medical libraries, and I recognize a challenge that seems most appropriate to the current state of flux, in many types of

One thing I've missed so much (since I've been in school for the past 4 years) has been p2p contact - face-to-face, direct contact in the form of a reference transaction. Vibes from great interactions kept me convinced that this profession is the best in the world. The nearly zen-like stasis involved in negotiation for meaning, teaching/learning, feeling for understanding - these things were sources of continuing wonder for me - for more than 20 years. SL transactions seem (note that I say seem) to offer a similar potential, though in different ways.

How? From previous experiences in online communities, I've observed that intimacy is more readily achieved for some people. Quickly, we establish common ground - and quickly (perhaps because we aren't simultaneously trying to deal with the mess and minutiae of RL) we move beyond the exchange of surface biographical information, to ourselves as we are, or as we would like to be. Furthermore, people united around a shared goal (cancer survival, diabetes, smoking cessation, - building a virtual library) may more readily establish trust, and move to interpersonal reliance, than those in RL. Note how cagey I'm being, with the 'may'.

Monday, September 04, 2006


All the time spent at SL seems to have the effect of drawing me in, becoming more intrigued by the small communities, the obvious talent and experience, the questions wanting to be answered. My father said once that large cities are just a bunch of small neighborhoods, cobbled together - and while we are certainly that, it's a more complex idea than it seems. We are more (are capable of being more) than the sum of our parts. Questions that occur about providing services, for example, cannot be answered in the same way as in RL, yet many of the same questions (ethical, practical, economic) are present. Collaborations are made easier both by our relative proximity, and by the idea of SL as a playbox, a place where we can experiment, talk about pet ideas and dreams. Where a librarian who's buttoned down every day can show up to work in drag, slit down- and up- to there, with purple hair. I know reams have been written about identity, and about identity in virtual environments. And reputation - ! Here, suddenly, I'm talking to heavy-duty researchers, then newbies with only the most basic understanding about technology, then to an S&M garbed avatar (and these can all be the same person). It's sometimes hard to grasp what is being crafted here.

Last night I had a conversation that's a familiar one to me as a medical librarian who has spent time immersed with web-based communities. The issue was trust, and the feeling expressed was skepticism about the RL medical community. To generalize - there is a sentiment that 'we the people' and clinicians are eons apart, that our identities are lost in the clinical process, - that diagnosis and treatment often ignore our individual realities. To some extent, I believe that the explosive trend shown by Pew reflects individuals' distrust and lack of information - so that they search for information as self-defense, and as a way to exert some control over relationships where the power imbalance has always been enormous. Hundreds and thousands of 'us' showing up at the doctor's offices with our printouts is like a decentralized army - demanding that the interactions be two way dialogues.

/end ramble
be well


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Herbal Medicines Used for Quitting Smoking

It's very important to be aware that just because something's natural, that doesn't mean it's harmless. Some herbs interact with medical conditions or medications - or can have adverse effects you need to know about!

One to be aware of, for instance, is that St. Johns Wort can interact badly with certain other depressants. And yes, Kava has indeed been removed from the shelves throughout Europe and Canada due to liver toxicity.

If you are planning to try herbal medicines - first, do your homework! Do some research, using reputable resources... The company that makes the PDR makes an Herbal PDR as well, and you may find it in your public library.

Additionally, if you do use herbals, please please let your doctor know. It's important not only because of potential interactions and adverse effects - but so that the medical establishment can be made aware of the true numbers of people using alternative meds... they need to know this to research them. The best possible scenario will be when herbs have been tested, researched, and studies published in top medical journals.

Please be wary of quasi-scientific sites that are also trying to sell you stuff - quackery is alive and well, and it lives quite happily on the internet! There are NO constraints on herbal medicines at present - there's nothing to say the capsules contain what they say. It's even more important to check out info found online than in print. I could set up a website tomorrow, call myself a doctor, and claim all kinds of wild things.

Selected Complementary & Alternative Medicines Used in Smoking Cessation

  • Fenugreek
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Kava (or kava kava) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers of the potential risk of severe liver injury associated with the use of kava-containing dietary supplements. Basic information on kava
  • Lobelia
  • Passion flower
  • Skullcap (or scullcap)
  • Slippery elm
  • St. John's wort Please note: St. John's wort must NOT be taken with MAO inhibitor antidepressants such as phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), or isocarboxazid (Marplan) because a very serious reaction can occur. When you take St. John's wort with prescription medicines it may increase or decrease the effects of the medicines. Or the combination may cause harmful side effects. For example, St. John's wort may make birth control pills less effective. Talk to your health care provider if you are taking birth control pills.
  • Valerian
This is not by any means an exhaustive listing of all the reliable sites and resources. For more information – ask us! It’s why we’re here.

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What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the study of how your body interacts with your environment when you perform a task or activity. Ergonomics often involves arranging your environment—including equipment, tools, lighting, and how you do a task—to fit you and the activity you are doing. Office ergonomics focuses on arranging your work environment to fit your needs while you do your job.

When your workstation is set up properly, you may be less likely to have problems such as headaches or eyestrain, possibly reduce neck and back pain, and perhaps prevent conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome that can be related to repetitive activities. Whether or not your workstation is causing physical problems, a workstation that is properly set up can increase your productivity and quality of work life.
Copyright (c) 1996 - 2004, WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. Excerpted from WebMD.

Web resources

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This is not by any means an exhaustive listing of all the reliable sites and resources. For more information – ask us! It’s why we’re here.
if it walks like a duck...

How to evaluate health information sources

There's nothing wrong with plugging terms into Yahoo or Google - as long as you learn a bit about evaluating what you find.

What makes a health info source a good one?
  • You can tell who posted or created the info (responsibility)
  • You can tell how recently the website was updated (currency)
  • You can easily find out how to contact the site owners, because there's an e-mail link on the site (usually at the bottom.)
  • If there's commercial content, it's carefully kept separate from the information, clearly marked as advertisement.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, chances are pretty good it's not reliable: ALWAYS verify this type of info by checking elsewhere.
  • If you are asked to become a 'salesperson' for their products or site ("TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS!") I'd take it with a BIG grain of salt (unless you're hypertensive - then I suggest you just look elsewhere

These and other criteria are things you need to be aware of when looking for health information (and any other info) online. What a lot of people don't realize is that any one of us could steal a logo (oh, like the AMA!) - and set up a website in very short order... fill it full of outdated and dangerous information... charge for some pamphlet... there is nothing much to prevent a 'fly-by-night' operation.

Feel free to ask for assistance at the Second Life Medical Library in evaluating health claims and sites. It’s why we’re here!

Resources to help you quit smoking

The effects of smoking
How to quit
  • “Associated with Boston University, Quitnet works largely as an online support group for people trying to quit smoking. In addition to providing excellent cessation tips, Quitnet hooks up thousands of smokers across the country who can share their experiences and help each other work through the process of quitting” (quoted from the Harvard Center for Smoking Prevention site).
  •’s smoking cessation forum
  • Check your yellow pages for ‘smoking cessation’ to find clinics and counselors. Please be aware that there are a number of unscrupulous clinics online and in 3D, promising unbelievable ‘cures’ for quitting smoking. Some examples of this are clinics that give you shots behind the ear, herbal remedies that are mixtures of various herbs (but which don’t give you any proof, and cannot give the names of physicians associated with the treatments – though they often make themselves appear reputable by throwing in a bunch of citations).

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This is not by any means an exhaustive listing of all the reliable sites and resources. For more information – ask us! It’s why we’re here.

Assistive Devices

This document lists just a few freely available, reputable sources. Please don’t hesitate to ask for more – or more specific information. It’s why we’re here!

Financial assistance information (US) for prostheses and other devices from the National Limb Loss Information Center

General fact sheet on assistive devices (available in 9 languages). Includes definitions, benefits, and other resources.

General information on assistive technology products
for home and work

Slide shows:

Assistive devices to help you reach (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Assistive Devices to Maintain Your Balance (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Assistive Devices for Weak Hands (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Further information is available from MedlinePlus

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This is not by any means an exhaustive listing of all the reliable sites and resources. For more information – ask us! It’s why we’re here.

Basic information on medicinal herbs and supplements

While some of these resources are written at a professional or near-professional level, it's important to consult one or more reliable texts to get more complete information about side effects and interactions.

Please note that because this is a rapidly-growing area of healthcare research, it's always very important to check your most frequently-updated resource for news on your topic - such as MedlinePlus, or HerbMed, listed below.


  • The Complete German Commission E monographs : therapeutic guide to herbal medicines. This reference book is the most respected authority in the field of natural medicines.
  • PDR for herbal medicines (this is the one you're most likely to find of the 3). This standard reference includes an alphabetical listing of thousands of natural remedies, as well as a problem-based index and an index of side effects.
  • Tyler's Herbs of choice: the therapeutic use of phytomedicinals. New York : Haworth Herbal Press.

Reputable internet resources on complementary and alternative medicines
  • Supplement Watch
  • Mayo Clinic's page on drugs & supplements
  • Mayo Clinic's page on interactions
  • MEDLINEPlus Health Information, National Library of MedicineWeb site, perhaps the top website for consumer-focused health information.
  • The Alternative Medicine Foundation's database, a well-designed website provides clearly-written information on herbs, their uses, Latin names, and the research that's been done (although much of the information is written at a professional level) - along with important updates on adverse effects, dosages, and even links to PubMed searches for follow-up purposes. It's very easy to search using the site's search engine, or you can simply use the alphabetical index to find your herb.
  • Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). This entertaining site is brimming with information concerning nutrition, health scams, and news articles. Here you'll find well-written and up-to date articles on soy, phytoestrogens, garlic, and others. They also send out a nutrition newsletter. It's very easy to search - look for the site's search engine in the upper left corner. You may also want to check out the section titled "Food additives."
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). NCCAM's job is to provide support for research, so much of the information found here is at a fairly technical level. However, by searching, you can also find their 'Fact Sheets', like the one found at on black cohosh; these are written with the consumer in mind. This is not the easiest site to search. You can type in a term, such as 'menopause' - but then must read through the findings, deciding if what you see meets your needs. Once found, though, the information and links are impressive and complete.

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This is not by any means an exhaustive listing of all the reliable sites and resources. For more information – ask us! It’s why we’re here.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Here's a preliminary listing of medicinal herbs for the herb garden. and other sites provide the Latin name, link to a search for images, and of course, to research-based information about use, cautions, and adverse effects. The plan is to have a medicinal herb garden with links to good information - and of course, the garden will be ornamental!

Aloe vera
Black cohosh
Chaste tree
Dong Quai
Evening Primrose
Lemon balm
Saw Palmetto
St. John’s Wort
Wild yam

I just answered my first 'real' reference question today (or I will have, when the patron receives it). In fact, that last bit is somewhat of a problem in SL, as I would like to be able to send the response in the form of a document, for several reasons. First I would like to be able to 'brand' output from the SLML with a graphic, and the current notecards don't permit such formatting.

Second, with the patron offline, and unless I have asked for their email (which may be perceived as a breach of privacy), I must either send the response as an IM, or hop online on and off through the day to see if the patron is online. I'd love to see Linden (or someone!) create a communication system more sophisticated... perhaps there could be a way to email in-life, or to have a private cubbyhole at the library, so that documents and requests could be asynchronously exchange in a confidential way that also permits branding - or images, if that is appropriate to the question. This should be an opportunity to push tech forward!

One other thing I'm pondering is the nature of online ref in this particular environment, with the constraints we have. I spoke with Lori and told her - I used several proprietary databases to answer the reference question, and to be able to provide subject headings the patron could use in searching those databases in a RL environment, which may be her/his preference. I could probably not have answered the question without using those databases... in fact, I'd searched PubMed and Google Scholar, then used what I found (PubMed had nothing that I could find) to chase down subject headings. We make an assumption (don't we?) that a) we can answer the question adequately using free resources; b) the patron is willing/able to follow up with a rl librarian; c) that questions will not include the need for more in-depth information or even training. Would you have done just-in-time training for PubMed, Google Scholar, and then referred the patron to a rl librarian when nothing was found? Is Saving the patron's time possible in the SLML environment, or do we risk engendering confusion? Even with a shared understanding that we're beta, it's a problematic thing.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Plans for the Second Life Medical Library are well under way! After getting our gorgeous new building, we are busy dreaming and visualizing and connecting with others who are equally excited about the potential for a medical library at SL.

What has evolved, initially, is a 2-track focus on medical research and consumer health. For medical research, we are very pleased to say that PubMed will soon be searchable in-world in a manner similar to the OCLC search interface - but better! Searchers will be able to view the top nine citations, and we hope that the results and individual citations (including abstracts) can be copied to notecards. This is obviously beta, and will have limitations (especially with regard to just-in-time teaching), but it is a big step forward.

Be on the look-out for a display in the medical research area concerning the work of Moriz Gupte, who is conducting an NIH-funded simulation training project for bioterrorism preparedness. A real step forward from desktop simulation models, this project will offer medical and allied health personnel the opportunity to deploy staff and resources in the event of manmade and natural disasters.

We are hoping very much to have the medical research section function as a repository for information about medically related research taking place at SL and other virtual communities - it's a big question in my mind just how this might happen, given the decentralized nature of the beast, but we think it would be a good feature for practitioners and students. Moriz's documentation will be the first piece of what we hope will be a valued collection.

For consumer health, we will be offering links and info to a number of free sites, as well as educational assistance. There are lots of things 'out there' to help - so we will serve as guides to that universe of often bewildering (and frequently misleading) information. Those needing further or more specific assistence will be directed to their local library systems. Plans include a medicinal herb garden with links to research about uses, warnings, and effects (mostly, a terrific site, and Medlineplus, which has really stepped up its coverage of complementary & alternative meds in the past few years).

Notecards on specific topics will be available (and I would very much like to figure out if the notecard could be more of a PDF because that way we can brand the docs), such as smoking cessation, herbs for specific uses, evaluating health information, and assistive devices. By far, however, efforts will be focused on outreach to SL's medical support communities. The big question is: what is needed and wanted? I guess that's why we're here, eh?

be well - Carolina Keats

Have a look at the wonderfull new Medical Library building designed by Logann8 Lombardi!
Fly by the Second Life Medical Library 2.0 and have quick a look inside.
We are very busy preparing all, but that way you get a good look of the great design.
Watch the movie!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Special News from the Second Life Library:

Collaboration Opportunities for Academic Libraries in Second Life

Join Lori Bell, Tom Peters, and other librarians for a roundtable discussion of the opportunities for worthwhile collaboration among academic libraries in Second Life, a 3-dimensional virtual reality environment.
This fall over 50 institutions of higher education are offering (or preparing to offer) courses in Second Life.
Learn what libraries of all types involved in the Alliance Second Life Library 2.0 project are doing to meet the teaching, learning and research needs of these courses being held in Second Life.
Explore how academic libraries can collaborate while still providing access to local resources and services, and thus avoid re-inventing the wheel.

Sponsor: Alliance Library System. Location: OPAL Auditorium.

URL to enter the online meeting room:

URL for the complete schedule of upcoming OPAL online events:
Tom Peters, OPAL
Second Life Medical Library 2.0 attracts a lot of attention, and we are still building it and very busy getting all out stuff in. This blog is about what we do there. Who we are, what we are planning to do. About what's going on in SL around educational activities anywhere related to medical subjects. More to come!