Cochrane Library: a face lift with shortcomings

screen capture of new Cochrane websiteA colleague forwarded an email announcing that the Cochrane Library has launched a “new and improved website,” that includes “improved navigation”, “mobile optimization”, “better browsing”, and “Integrated access to Anywhere Systematic Review”. After about an hour of browsing the site, here are my initial impressions:

  • The home page, which our patrons rarely see, is updated and device-friendly. The navigation is large and clear, and the main content’s 3-tab layout is interesting. I like that it labels items that are Open Access with the OA icon.
  • The home page has a number of accessibility issues, including empty & missing headings, and lack of ‘alt’ text for images. Shortcomings such as these imply that little or no accessibility testing was conducted, which is to be expected by the weak standards currently written into law.
  • The new color scheme uses eye-catching colors, which will annoy some long-time users, while others will find it a refreshing change.
  • The button-like tags use full words, e.g. “New search” instead of “Ns”, with only the left edge colored-in. New users now don’t have to find the “Key” to know what they mean. But as of this writing, this change only applies to items found when starting from the new site. The old site still uses the original color scheme. It was not clear from the email that this was a Beta site.
  • Users can now browse by topic or Review Group. Browsing also highlights a number of special collections, “selected Cochrane Reviews and other external sources to provide a useful evidence overview on an important healthcare topic”, such as malaria prevention, hospital acquired infections, tuberculosis and others.
  • The footer section (“Wiley Online Library”) is unchanged, and still has too many links grouped too closely together. And the company name hangs off the page when viewed on an iPhone and iPad.

The search functionality is still the same invaluable resource that researchers, healthcare practitioners, faculty, students and librarians have come to depend on. Despite the changes that will annoy some, the sooner these improvements can be implemented, the better.

Poster proposal accepted!

acrl_2015_4colorI just learned last night that a poster proposal I put together with a couple of colleagues, Information Literacy Instruction in BlueJeans, was accepted for presentation at ACRL 2015. This poster grew out of the “Nursing Journal Club Live!” continuing education course I am involved in with Charlotte Sortedahl (nursing faculty), Stephanie Wical (library colleague), and Jennifer Benike (UWEC Continuing Education). BlueJeans is a new web conferencing software package that UWEC has subscribed to, and this poster will focus on the benefits and challenges of using this tool to provide instruction to nurses currently in practice. The course is designed as a journal club for nurses, and will discuss four research articles with the researchers who published them. In addition, my library colleague and I will teach a one-hour session on how to find the best research to support evidence-based practice.

If you will be attending ACRL 2015, be sure to stop by and say “Hi!”

Nursing Journal Club Live!

logoNursingCETogether with a nursing colleague and a fellow librarian, we will be offering “Nursing Journal Club Live!“, a 5-week online continuing education (CE) course for nurses offered through the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Participants will read emerging research in a variety of areas — reducing hospital admissions, patient safety, motivational interviewing and compassion fatigue — then discuss each article with its author(s), as well as fellow nurses from across the U.S. In addition, participants will learn how to effectively find evidence-based research to improve outcomes in their everyday practice. Nurses can earn 10 continuing education contact hours, and the course is approved by two highly-recognized certification organizations!*

The course costs $75, and the first session will be held on Feb. 3, 2015, at 3:30 pm Central time. Remaining sessions will be held on the 2nd Tuesday of the month. For more detailed information, download our JCL course flyer.

To register for this course, please call UWEC’s Continuing Education Department at 866-893-2423 (715-836-3636). The University’s web site is being updated this week, so you can get more information or register online starting next week, January 12, 2015.

This is my first time teaching online and with my two wonderful colleagues, and it promises to be a great experience for all involved!


* = CE approvals:

This continuing nursing education activity was approved by the Wisconsin Nurses Association, an accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

This program has been pre-approved by the Commission for Case Manager Certification to provide continuing education credit to CCM® board certified case managers. The course is approved for 10 CE contact hours. Activity code: S000121938, Approval Number 140002958. To claim these CEs, log into your CE Center account at

Health literacy at the beginning of life

square icon with "health literacy" in centerAs noted here  previously, health literacy is a key determinant of health, and parents’ health literacy can be an important factor in their children’s health literacy, and their lives as a whole.  A recent study noted that midwives and other antenatal staff tailor their communications to their patients, using a range of strategies to meet them where they are. However, the study notes that funding in this area to verify the effectiveness of these strategies is lacking (Wilmore et al, 2015).

Reading the literature, it is clear that many new approaches are being considered for increasing the health literacy levels of the patient population. And, generally speaking, parents have better health literacy (only 26% have low health literacy) compared to nonparents (36% with low health literacy) (Morrison, Schapira, Hoffmann & Brousseau, 2014). Yet here is a resource that is already in place — antenatal care professionals — which is capable of adapting to meet the needs of individual patients now, at the beginning of life.

Our country needs to rethink its approach to healthcare, and expand its emphasis on care for individuals at the point of need. And we need to learn from those health care professionals what does and does not work for patients, and then provide training for others to help them embrace innovative and effective approaches to health promotion. Every new life depends on it.


Wilmore, M., Rodger, D., Humphreys, S., Clifton, V. L., Dalton, J., Flabouris, M., & Skuse, A. (2015). How midwives tailor health information used in antenatal care. Midwifery, 31(1), 74-79. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2014.06.004

Morrison, A. K., Schapira, M. M., Hoffmann, R. G., & Brousseau, D. C. (2014). Measuring health literacy in caregivers of children: a comparison of the newest vital sign and S-TOFHLA. Clinical Pediatrics, 53(13), 1264-1270. doi: 10.1177/0009922814541674

Prompting nursing students to study using Twitter

To help their students prepare for end-of-course exams followed by board certification exams, faculty in a nurse-midwifery course used Twitter to help their students study and prepare all semester long. The faculty set up an account, @MidwifeSnackLearning, and required all students in the course to subscribe to it. Faculty then posted “brief questions or challenging statements” every 3-7 days, which students could receive as texts on their phones, or view via the Twitter page.


Students were expected to read these posts and know the answers right away. If not, they were expected to find and learn the answers themselves, verifying their findings with classmates. Answers were not posted by student or faculty. Examples of the tweeted study questions include:

  • How do infections change your AP, IP, NB management? HSV, HIV, Chlamydia, Hep B
  • What are your differentials for first trimester bleeding? Second trimester? What tests would perform and/or order?
  • What is the recommended pregnancy weight gain for a woman with a BMI of 22? Of 30?

Response to the tweeted study prompts was positive across-the-board, with one student suggesting they be sent more often. Nudging students in this way to study during the semester required little faculty time. And all students in this cohort passed the American Midwifery Certification Board examination on the first try!


Phillippi, J. C., & Buxton, M. (2014). Twitter() as a study prompt: engaging adult learners on the go. Journal of Nursing Education 53(6), 363. doi: 10.3928/01484834-20140521-11