Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Does Not Follow Procedure

Because I tend to get bored, having nothing to do but lie around twiddling my thumbs all day, I rashly proposed a poster for MLA'13, which the organizers rashly accepted.

This means I have to actually make a poster based on my very boring citation-counting project, which is so clearly going to interrupt my thumb-twiddling schedule that I don't know why I ever thought this was a good idea in the first place. I'm having all kinds of questions about poster-making.

Like, do I have to cite references? The helpful poster advice sites talk about a references section, but...uh...I didn't actually do any research in the literature before undertaking my little project. I will hang my head in shame now. I know, it's ironic, considering my entire project is about citations, that I don't have anything to cite myself.

Obviously I should have reviewed the literature first, if only to make sure someone else hadn't already done what I was thinking of doing, but better, but I had an idea I thought was mildly interesting, and I was lazy and wanted to get started, and I just skipped that.

So I did not, in fact, refer to anyone else during the course of my work. Should I pretend I did, or should I just omit references and boldly declare, "Behold, I am a wretched novice researcher, and I didn't consult prior literature"?

The thing is, trying to find something to cite after the fact means more work, which, with all this thumb-twiddling to be done, is not entirely what I'm after. That, plus the fact that I think people in general should make a lot more bold declarations that begin with 'Behold' than they do, is kind of inclining me towards just admitting that I skipped the very important review of the current literature that we're always telling students they should start with, and leaving out the references section.

Or maybe there's a paper somewhere that describes the horrible things that happen to people who don't review the literature before undertaking a research project, and I can cite that.

Ha--actually, if I can find it, I will totally cite that. Don't even think I won't.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Naturally PubMed is Involved

Here's a nice health literacy post from Harriet Hall on Science-Based Medicine, in which she details step by step the research process she takes when investigating an exciting supplement to determine whether it's worth taking.

Whether you are embittered and already filled with suspicion and mistrust regarding the wonderful promises of pretty pills in colorful bottles on the store shelves, or are an optimistic soul filled with hope and enthusiasm, it's probably a good idea to do some research anyway. And sure, I have to say that because I'm a medical librarian, but I would totally think it was true anyway.

This post provides some excellent tips on how to look into and evaluate supplement claims.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MeSHmas is Here!

It's that merry time of year when good little medical librarians everywhere get shiny new MeSH terms to enjoy.

Among my favorite of the things we can now search for directly are the more specific forms of Prejudice: Ageism, Homophobia, Racism and Sexism.

Also exciting additions: the specific Meals of Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks.

Not Dinner or Supper, which still map back to Meals, possibly reflecting insoluble regional disagreement over which of these means "the last major meal of the day." Not Dessert either, which is a sad omission for those of us who always try to save room for pie.

You could probably get at those articles before by using Prejudice or Meals plus the relevant keyword, but it could be useful to be able to search directly for the attitude or meal in which you're particularly interested.

All those articles on Ageist Breakfasts will no longer elude me.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sleep Tight

So we slept with the baby, the first few months, but have been gradually transitioning him into his crib as he gradually transitions into waking up fewer than four times every night, and I was just thinking how odd the expectations are with regard to sleeping.

I mean, to the extent that being partnered is considered a natural state for adults (that is, to a pretty great extent), sharing a bed is considered the natural sleeping habit for adults.

And yet, for years and years before this, all through childhood, sleeping alone is considered to be the natural state. (In contemporary US culture, at least: obviously there's a lot of variation between cultures and time periods.) You spend years accustomed to having your own bed, and then you're supposed to just naturally make this big shift and spend years sharing your bed with someone else.

When you think about it, doesn't it seem more reasonable that children should be the ones who customarily sleep with someone? After all, they get anxious and scared of the dark (unless that was just me), and having someone to curl up next to makes it somewhat less alarming. (It's a known fact that monsters don't like to pounce if there's more than one person in the bed.)

Presumably as adults we're less likely to be scared of the dark, and yet that's when we're expected to be able to curl up next to someone as a matter of course.

Personally, I often shared a bed with one or more of my sisters as a child, because there were sometimes more of us than than there were mattresses, but a lot of people don't have this experience. Thanks for helping keep the monsters off, sisters!

Now I feel kind of bad about putting the baby in his crib all alone, although I think he's too young to be scared of the dark at the moment.

Also, I'm suddenly kind of worried about monsters again. Thanks for opening up old wounds, brain.