Discovering and accessing health sciences data at McGill

Discovering, accessing, and manipulating data are often necessary tasks in health sciences research and beyond, and they can be particularly tricky. There are a few resources that I would encourage you to check out for these purposes:

  • There is a Data Lab in the McGill Library! Located on the second floor of the McLennan Library Building, the Lab has workstations equipped with ArcGIS, MATLAB, NVivo (limited number of licences), R (guide), SAS, SPSS, STAT/Transfer, Stata, and more. As of Feb. 2018, the Data Lab has walk-in hours too from 10 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday, during which you can get basic support
  • Have you taken a look at the Numeric Data guide? Resources are broken down by subject and the guide provides information on the difference between aggregate and microdata, how to cite data, and more
  • McGill has access to Statistics Canada public use microdata files, mainly through the <odesi> portal
  • McGill has access to the Discharge Abstracts Database (DAD) through the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and <odesi>
  • You can request access to the Postal Code Conversion Files (PCCF) (2016 is here!) by emailing data.library@mcgill.ca. Our license for the PCCF does not allow for distribution through a third-party portal such as <odesi> (just the metadata for the PCCF is there), but we’re looking into a secure, local dissemination model that will meet new license requirements. (Clarification added 19/02/2018–thanks, Berenica!)
  • Did you know that as a graduate student you can request access to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) microdata and Statistics Canada master-level files? Our Numeric Data Librarian, Berenica Vejvoda, is a great resource person to help you figure out if you need access and to walk you through those processes

Some other useful and hard-to-find resources include:

There is also a small budget for one-time data purchases, and knowing what people need, even when the budget is too tight for an immediate acquisition, helps the Library plan for future purchases.

Feel free to contact your Liaison Librarian too!

 

 

Level up your research skills

As a librarian, it is really rewarding to facilitate the MyResearch seminar series. It is true that we take advantage of the face-to-face time to impart a lot of what we know about the rapidly changing world of information and scholarly publishing. However, it also gives us the opportunity to learn more about graduate research projects, and watch the inevitable skills swapping that takes place among students.

The number one comment that we get after each of the four-part series comes to an end is something like, “I wish I had known all of this when I first started.” Luckily, it is never too late to learn in life, and these skills in particular will serve you well past graduation.

Sign up for MyResearch today and join fellow students and librarians this February.

I look forward to seeing you there!

April

Another winning paper!

The Fall 2016 Excellence in Written Communication Award goes to Brittany Stott for “Controlling myoelectric-prosthetics through the use of nerves and muscles.”

The accomplishment comes with a monetary prize of $500 from the Faculty of Engineering.

The CCOM 206: Communication in Engineering Writing Recognition Committee found the paper to be very clearly written and well organized, and noted the exemplary use of figures and a table.

The abstract is pasted below but you can download the full paper from the record in eScholarship, McGill’s digital repository.

People who are fitted with prosthetics due to the loss of a limb may have difficulty performing simple daily tasks that may be taken for granted, such as tying shoe laces or opening a jar. The prosthetics used today are often rigid, inflexible, bulky molds that are standardized and have minimal degrees of freedom. The development of myoelectric-controlled prosthetics has greatly facilitated the performance of daily tasks by the user, although the best method for controlling these prosthetics is still to be determined. This paper compares and discusses three major advancements in prosthetic control electrode arrays, osseointegration, and targeted muscle reinnervation by examining stability, accuracy, and movability of the user controlling the prosthetic. It is determined that the most beneficial solution for the user would be the implementation of osseointegration and targeted muscle reinnervation combined. This combination would allow the creation of a prosthetic that would increase the accuracy and stability of the artificial limb, and that would provide a more permanent and long-term solution. In addition, the creation of a myoelectric-controlled prosthetic that incorporates these two methods would allow for further research and would increase the stability, accuracy, and movability of the user.

Stay tuned for the winner of the Winter and Summer 2017 Excellence in Written Communication Award…

A very short holiday reading list

Winter in Mars North Polar Region Download

The holidays are right around the corner and it is a great time to catch up on your reading. Although, sometimes it is nice to keep it short. I have got a recommendation that might do the trick: Very short introductions from Oxford University Press. There are hundreds of e-books in this series, with titles in health and medicine, science and mathematics. It also includes very short introductions to topics like ageing, egyptology, and Alexander the Great.

If you are very, very short on time, we also have a nice collection of audio books on OverDrive that you can listen to on the go. For example, check out Astrophysics for people in a hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson (a New York Times Bestseller).

Happy [very short] holiday reading!

Image: Winter in Mars North Polar Region (NASA)

Depositing in ResearchGate doesn’t comply with Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications

ResearchGate has received wide attention from academia. Some researchers even believe uploading their published works to ResearchGate is a way of complying with Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. As librarians, we keep telling researchers that ResearchGate is not considered an appropriate repository for compliance. Here is an article from The Scholarly Kitchen giving you some insights about ResearchGate and publishers’ actions to take down infringing articles deposited.

If you are interested in learning how to comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy, please visit  McGill Libraries’ open access page.

Staying healthy at the end of the term

Need some new techniques for relieving stress? Having trouble sleeping? Want to learn more about staying healthy during exams? The McGill Library has books that might help!

The Wendy Patrick Health Information Collection is located on the main floor of the Schulich Library. We currently have a small display of books on stress relief, mindfulness, and sleeping habits that might help you during this stressful end-of-term time. Take a study break and visit the Schulich Library to browse the titles or visit this reading list to check out the full list of titles.

Good luck with your exams and final papers!

Science cinema with Kanopy

Science CinemaIt’s Science Literacy Week and this year we’ve added movies to the calendar, selected from the Kanopy streaming video service.

We will also have popcorn, so be sure to join us at 5:30pm in the Redpath Library Building, Research Commons Room A, where the visualization wall is perfect for screenings.

Here is what’s on:

  • Monday: Google and the World Brain

  • Tuesday: I Dream of Wires: The Machine that Shaped Electronic Music

  • Wednesday: Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?

  • Thursday: Top Secret Rosies

  • Friday: GTFO: Get the F**k Out – Women in Gaming

Read descriptions here.

With Kanopy in the Library collection, every day can be movie day. Whether you love classic films or documentaries, there is plenty to explore.

Happy viewing!

Walk and work @ Schulich Library

Schulich treadmill deskIt is important to move around throughout the day to meet those fitness goals, reduce stress, and get our creative juices flowing. Living through your average Montreal winter does not make it easy. Once we arrive at our destination it is easy to rationalize staying put for as along as possible.

To help make moving around a little easier, we have installed a treadmill desk at Schulich Library. It is up on the group study floor so that the little noise it makes will not be an issue. The height of the desk portion is adjustable and the speed can be set up to 4 mph. While you can’t get a full on run on the treadmill, you can get a nice brisk walk going and get your heart rate up.

I know it is a little unusual but don’t be shy about getting on the treadmill and setting up your work on the desk. Seeing you there will help others feel more comfortable about walking while working. Also, if you get the chance, please fill out our short survey after your walk and give us your feedback.

Winner of the CCOM Writing Recognition Award

Christian Barker is the winner of the Communication in Engineering-Writing Recognition Award for the 2016 Winter and Summer semesters. The award comes with a $500 prize from the Faculty of Engineering.

Title: The Feasibility of Fibre Reinforced Polymers as an Alternative to Steel in Reinforced Concrete

 

Abstract: The corrosiveness of steel compromises the structural integrity of reinforced concrete (RC) structures and costs the infrastructure industry billions of dollars every year. In response to this, engineers have developed fibre reinforced polymers (FRPs) – non-metallic composite materials of superior strength to be used in place of steel. The three most commonly used FRPs in construction are carbon, glass, and aramid. This paper discusses the feasibility of each FRP as an alternative to steel in RC structures by comparing their mechanical properties, sustainable merits, and costs. Research reveals that while glass FRP is most sustainable, its poor strength and durability render it unusable for most RC applications. Aramid FRP’s strength and durability fell short of carbon’s and it is most expensive. Carbon FRP demonstrates the highest strength, greatest durability, and lowest final costs making it the most feasible FRP to replace steel in RC. Recommendations for future implementation include establishing building codes, improving recyclability and lowering initial costs.

The full text of the paper can be downloaded from the record in eScolarship@McGill, McGill’s institutional repository.

Congratulations to Christian Barker on a well deserved award!

You Can Use More Resources Than You Expect

It was a nice sunny Saturday. I just walked out of a restaurant near Concordia. Nothing is better than a fruitful reading after a delicious meal. I was just about to take the 15-minute walk back to McGill campus when I received a call from my friend, who lived near Concordia and wished to have a conversation with me on her research paper. There was still nearly an hour before the scheduled time, and I didn’t want to bother to get back and forth between Concordia and McGill campuses. I just needed somewhere to read and work with a computer. So I simply went into the main Concordia library, presented the BCI card (Bureau de Coopération Interuniversitaire), which is a nice blue card for inter-university library services. This magic blue card enabled me to get a Concordia privilege card and a guest account for computer workstations in the library in just five minutes! With the guest account and that Concordia card, I was able to log in to the computer, access my material stored in Onedrive, print my documents and borrow books as conveniently as a Concordia student. Thanks to BCI, I could fill the time before my meeting in a super comfortable study environment in a nice library.

Yes, this is one of my privileges as a McGill student! A nice agreement called the Canadian University Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement has enabled all students, faculty and staff from McGill University to borrow books from any Quebec University Library. Just simply fill out an application form in the library. Then you can get a key to every Quebec library in a minute! Whether you want to enjoy the food around Concordia, or go to UQAM to reactivate your OPUS card, or maybe give a workshop at the University of Laval, you will always find a nice place to work and study afterwards. No more wasting time on travelling!

If you are a graduate student, here is something even more exciting: this access to libraries extends to the whole of Canada! Whether you are doing field work in Alberta, or attending a conference in Ontario, you will never worry about a lack of research resources. Remember to carry your McGill ID and BCI card. You are free to borrow books, learn and study and even write papers in almost any libraries nearby. You can even enjoy a library tour around Canada, which makes the trip more interesting and meaningful! Ask the loans desk in any McGill library during regular service hours, and enjoy this fancy service right away! You may enjoy more resources than you expect!

More information:

Special thanks to Mi Lin.

MSES Team