How 3-D Printing is Revolutionizing the Display of Big Data

From the 8 October 2014 MIT Technology Review article

If you’ve ever struggled to make sense of an information firehose, perhaps a 3-D printed model could help.

3D display
One of the characteristics of our increasingly information-driven lives is the huge amounts of data being generated about everything from sporting activities and Twitter comments to genetic patterns and disease predictions. These information firehoses are generally known as “big data,” and with them come the grand challenge of making sense of the material they produce.

That’s no small task. The Twitter stream alone produces some 500 million tweets a day. This has to be filtered, analyzed for interesting trends, and then displayed in a way that humans can make sense of quickly.

It is this last task of data display that Zachary Weber and Vijay Gadepally have taken on at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts. They say that combining big data with 3-D printing can dramatically improve the way people consume and understand data on a massive scale.

They make their argument using the example of a 3-D printed model of the MIT campus, which they created using a laser ranging device to measure the buildings. They used this data to build a 3-D model of the campus which they printed out in translucent plastic using standard 3-D printing techniques.

One advantage of the translucent plastic is that it can be illuminated from beneath with different colors. Indeed, the team used a projector connected to a laptop computer to beam an image on the model from below. The image above shows the campus colored according to the height of the buildings.

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Beyond Pubmed — Web of Knowledge [Resource of the Week]

Pubmed is the largest database of biomedical journal articles in the world. However Web of Knowledge does contain biomedical citations that the Medline portion of PubMed does not. After one searches PubMed, one can easily search Web of Knowledge with a search similar to the one used in PubMed. Then one can exclude the Medline/PubMed citations.

Here’s how.

WebofScienceTwo caveats

A few other biomedical databases that may contain citations on your topic that PubMed does not

Also consider consulting the journal articles/database sections of  these and other  subject specific UT Library Guides



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Maybe Dr. Oz is part of the health care solution. Wait, what? (with related resources)


Dr. Oz is going to love this one.

At least, I think that he will. I’ve never actually met him. To be honest, I wouldn’t have a clue as to whether he’s really a good guy or not. In fact, I suspect that he’s never read my book, but I did devote almost an entire chapter to him, because he intrigues me by being a physician businessman….

Related Resources

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Research aims to reduce health care disparities

From ScienceDaily
Date:March 26, 2015
Source:H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute **

Summary:The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, queer/questioning and intersex (LGBTQI) population has been largely understudied by the medical community. Researchers found that the LGBTQI community experience health disparities due to reduced access to health care and health insurance, coupled with being at an elevated risk for multiple types of cancer when compared to non-LGBTQI populations.

The study highlights that LGBTQI populations face barriers to health insurance such as when partnerships and marriages are not legally recognized; concerns about disclosure in a health care setting, discrimination, misconceptions, legal and financial barriers and the disenfranchised stress and distress of caregiving same-sex partners.

Additionally, there are higher rates of smoking and substance abuse and low screening rates resulting in poor patient outcomes and survival rates for LGBTQI populations. Her review, The Importance of disclosure: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer/questioning, and intersex individuals and the cancer continuum, was published in the American Cancer Society’s journal, Cancer.

Researchers identified that the real or perceived limited access to care due to fear of discrimination and lack of sensitivity and knowledge of LGBTQI issues stood as roadblocks to patient care. In a study of family physicians only 1 in 80 reported routinely asking patients about sexual orientation, while the majority reported rarely or never asking. The National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine now recognize gender identify and sexual orientation as vital aspects of a health history and the need for improved research in this population.

“For many years, physicians did not ask patients about their sexual orientation. The importance of recognizing gender identity and sexual orientation is critical to ensuring the best quality and evidence-based care is available to patients,” explained Quinn.

**Journal Reference:

  1. Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Matthew B. Schabath, Julian A. Sanchez, Steven K. Sutton, B. Lee Green. The importance of disclosure: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, queer/questioning, and intersex individuals and the cancer continuum. Cancer, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/cncr.29203
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OMICS Group Charges Authors for Publishing in Its Subscription Journals [Blog post]

OMICS Group Charges Authors for Publishing in Its Subscription Journals

by Jeffrey Beall

From the 26 March 2015 blog post by librarian Jeffrey Beall at Scholarly Open Access

The International Journal of Cardiovascular Research is a subscription journal published by the OMICS Group imprint called SciTechnol. This is a hybrid journal, meaning it’s a subscription journal with an option for authors to pay a fee and have the article made open access. The journal somehow managed to get included in PubMed

Unlike most subscription journals, however, this one charges authors

The journal’s hybrid option costs $919. Paying this fee means an article will be open-access. So a ten-page paper costs about the same for either the subscription page charges or the open-access fee. Or if you choose the hybrid option, do you also have to pay the article processing charge?

If you don’t pay the open-access fee, you will essentially be paying to hide your work. I don’t think the journal has any subscribers.

Read the entire blog post here.

The author has published two related online lists

Related resources


Two Related News Items
(from Open Access News Feed)

  • UC Davis gets grant to look at open access to scholarship

    Pay It Forward: Investigating a Sustainable Model of Open Access Article Processing Charges for Large North American Research Institutions” is a yearlong effort to study the implications of new funding models for scholarly communications, particularly the use of article processing charges, and determine their sustainability for research universities in the United States and Canada.

    The project partnership includes three major research libraries (Harvard University, Ohio State University and the University of British Columbia) as well as the 10 University of California campuses. The project will create a detailed, flexible, and publicly available financial model to help university administrators and librarians develop open access policies and strategies.

  •  How publishers might help universities implement OA (Jisc, 26 March 2015
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Technology in Academic Medicine: Integrating Digital Literacy into Medical Education

From the AAMC Reporter: July/August 2014 —By Stephen G. Pelletier, special to the Reporter

As social media plays an increasingly important role in health care delivery, a growing number of medical educators are helping future physicians develop what they call digital literacy and digital professionalism.

Bertalan Meskó, M.D., Ph.D., a medical futurist who travels the world consulting and lecturing on digital literacy in health care, frames digital literacy as “the way that medical professionals can use digital devices as well as online solutions in communication with patients and their peers.” Meskó believes that “today’s medical professionals must be masters of different skills that are related to using digital devices or online solutions” and argues that mastering those skills “is now a crucial skill set that all medical professionals require.”

Bryan S. Vartabedian, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, suggests that because digital tools have become so pervasive in medicine, medical schools have an obligation to help medical students learn how to be smart about them and to apply professional standards in their use. The rise of social media and networked communications means that “physicians now have to learn to manage and maintain their identity in the public space,” Vartabedian said.

“This is brand new. For the better part of modern civilization, physicians only had to worry about their image during a 15-minute encounter with the patient,” Vartabedian said. “Now, the democratization of media has made every physician an independent publisher. That brings a whole new set of responsibilities for which physicians need to be trained. Under what context do we discuss certain items? How do we manage our online identity? What can we do and what should we not do with smartphones?”


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Faculty Focus [Web resource]

Faculty Focus
(From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2015.  )

  • Focus, a frequently updated, multifaceted blog from Magna Publications, is a must read for college educators who want to stay up on trends, resources, and teaching techniques. With almost two-dozen carefully chosen topics listed on the homepage, academics are sure to find something to pique their interest and stretch their knowledge. Check out App of the Week for tips on education-friendly applications for your phone, tablet, and computer. Next, take a look at the Online Education section, penned by professors experimenting with web-based formats. Creating a free account with the site allows readers to access Free Reports, a compendium of dozens of reports on topics relevant to higher education, each packed with ten to twelve citations for further investigation. The White Papers section is another excellent resource that examines some of the most important issues in academia; however, this service is available for a fee. [CNH]
Share on Facebook Food as Medicine: How One Hospital Is Using Organic Produce to Help Heal Patients

From the August 2014 EcoWatch article

In 2014, Rodale Institute, in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network, launched a true farm to hospital food program.

The Anderson Campus at St. Luke’s has more than 300 acres of farmland, much of which had historically been farmed conventionally with crops like corn and soy. The hospital administration recognized the impact that providing fresh, local organic produce could have on patient health and approached Rodale Institute to transition the land to organic and farm vegetables to be used in patient meals as well as in the cafeteria.

The five acre farm at the St. Luke’s Anderson campus in Bethlehem, PA. Photo credit: Bill Noll

Lynn Trizna, or Farmer Lynn, as she’s known around St. Luke’s, provides food to all six hospitals within the network. This year, she is growing five acres of vegetables with plans to expand to ten acres in 2015. She estimates about 44,000 lbs of produce from her farm will be served in the hospital, just this season. She is paid a salary through Rodale Institute and has employed three staff members, all aspiring farmers.

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Health professionals of the future: teaching information skills to the Google generation

From the article

Health Information & Libraries Journal

Health Information & Libraries Journal  Volume 27, Issue 2, pages 158–162, June 2010 ; Hannah Spring

Learning characteristics of the Google generation

Skills gap 1: search skills It is a common misconception that the Google Generation has superior expertise in searching for information3 and to date, there is no evidence to support such claims.1.

Skills gap 2: using information The Google Generation is an information-rich generation. Access to information in the 21st century is far less of a problem than the issue of using it. The immediacy of Web-based information and the speed at which things happen online has led to a shorter attention span and lack of patience amongst the Google Generation who are not enthusiastic about spending time looking for information or reading it.4 Brabazon4 observes that the characteristic of Web-based information delivery is in ‘sound bytes’, and that search engines ‘encourage a smash and grab approach to reading’ (2007, p. 39).

Skills gap 3: evaluation of information The matters previously identified around lack of understanding of information architecture, and the speed at which the Google Generation is used to accessing information creates a further skills gap in the form of information evaluation. A memorable quote by Block8 in which she says, ‘our students love the net, which is OK. The problem is, they also trust it, which is not’ sums up the matter rather succinctly. The bouncing and flicking behaviour identified in the study by Rowlands and Nicholas1 facilitates bad habits amongst students in relation to the consideration of information quality. Brabazon4,5 observes that the Google Generation has replaced thinking with clicking, and consequently the capacity to ‘sift, discard and judge’ (p. 57) is lost.

Implications for teaching and learning Brabazon4 suggests that Google is not a destructive technology, but rather a disruptive one that facilitates poor scholarship and bad behaviour, and does not encourage the discipline or structure that students need in which to study. What gives the greatest cause for concern is that the research by Rowlands and Nicholas1 identifies that young people do not realise they possess skills gaps that are exacerbated by new technologies. The Google Generation comes to the classroom with a ‘Google has it all’ culture and this is something which health librarians and information professionals increasingly will be faced with. Directing students to what works and what does not, and what is appropriate and what is not, breaking bad habits and including learning activities that reinforce the differences in the architecture of different resources should be the priority in information skills teaching sessions. Critical appraisal skills should also be high on the teaching agenda. Evidence-based practice is the expectation in professional health practice.13 All practice should be based on the results of sound, reliable evidence and this means having information skills that are well enough developed to be able to search for, find and judge information. Such skills are not only essential for the academic progress of the emerging Google Generation, the first stage in their journey to a professional life, but ultimately their future employment and success as health and medical professionals.


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Librarian co-authors correlated with higher quality reported search strategies in general internal medicine systematic reviews

From the Science Direct article
Golder, S; Loke, Y.K. ;Zorzela, L
Health Information and Libraries Journal. Volume 31, Issue 2, June 2014, Pages 92-105



To determine whether librarian and information specialist authorship was associated with better reported systematic review (SR) search quality.

Study Design and Setting

SRs from high-impact general internal medicine journals were reviewed for search quality characteristics and reporting quality by independent reviewers using three instruments, including a checklist of Institute of Medicine Recommended Standards for the Search Process and a scored modification of the Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies instrument.


The level of librarian and information specialist participation was significantly associated with search reproducibility from reported search strategies (Χ2 = 23.5; P < 0.0001). Librarian co-authored SRs had significantly higher odds of meeting 8 of 13 analyzed search standards than those with no librarian participation and six more than those with mentioned librarian participation. One-way ANOVA showed that differences in total search quality scores between all three groups were statistically significant (F2,267 = 10.1233; P < 0.0001).


Problems remain with SR search quality and reporting. SRs with librarian or information specialist co-authors are correlated with significantly higher quality reported search strategies. To minimize bias in SRs, authors and editors could encourage librarian engagement in SRs including authorship as a potential way to help improve documentation of the search strategy.





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