Monday, August 19, 2013

eScience series: Week 2 of 5

Week 2: e-Science Thesaurus
Thursday, August 23, 2013
9:00 pm Eastern/6:00 pm Pacific time
#medlibs Twitter chat

Edit: Transcript now available at

Week 1 recap is here

First Twitter chat and not sure what to do? Here's a Quick Guide to Twitter Chats to help!

Join your colleagues for the second of a five week series presented by the University of Massachusetts Medical School Lamar Soutter Library eligible for Medical Library Association Continuing Education hours (it's not too later to sign up for CE!) where Kevin Read (@ReadKev) will be covering

a) The eScience Thesaurus for Librarians that will be hosted on the eScience Portal website

a 1) Definitions of eScience terminology
a 2) Relevant, seminal literature on eScience topics
a 3) Links to useful resources that can be used to help librarians implement eScience services into their current practice
a 4) Interviews with prominent librarians working in eScience roles

b) A discussion about eScience and data-related roles for librarians

b 1) What areas of eScience are most daunting for #medlibs?
b 2) What areas of eScience do #medlibs find the most interesting?
b 3) What areas of eScience would #medlibs like to learn more about?
b 4) What are some of the perceived challenges of learning about and implementing eScience and data-related services (e.g. time, subject knowledge)?
b 5) How could #medlibs reach out within their institutions to find out if there are opportunities for collaboration?
b 6) Do you see a place for eScience and data-services within your own institution?

The five week schedule includes:

August 15th:  Donna Kafel                            e-Science portal
August 22nd:  Kevin Read                             e-Science thesaurus
August 29th:  Andrew Creamer          New England Collaborative Data Management Curriculum
Sept. 5: Sally Gore                             Role of the informationist on research teams
Sept. 12:Lisa Palmer & Kate Thornhill   Institutional repositoriesand open access


  1. From Jennifer Moyer, RN (@RNLibrarian)

    Sorry to miss this week's conversation about how the development of an e-science thesaurus will help create a foundation for establishing e-science as a discipline. @KevRev and @ElaineMartin2 presented a variety of useful resources, including an interview with Jason Priem, the Science Boot camp in June 2014, and the upcoming JESLIB article about the thesaurus. @pfAnderson raised the great idea of creating ontologies to accompany the thesaurus.

    While a thesaurus is a constant, evolving work in progress, I have questions for @KevRev about its development. As mentioned by another #medlibs, I am wondering if health informatics fits into the e-science discipline. If so, I suggest that he contact Dr. Suzanne Bakken at Columbia University's School of Nursing. She spent a decade developing a thesaurus that appears to address many of the issues discussed and she is considered "the" thought leader in nurse informatics. (I forwarded the article about Dr. Bakken to Elaine Martin, if he is interested.) To this end, I do wonder what existing information science resources have been used to develop the thesaurus. I'm also wondering if @KevRev has considered partnering with an information science or data specialist to help develop the thesaurus. Lastly, is there a mechanism in place to support the work of developing the thesaurus and an ontology over time?

    Thank you again Nikki and the UMass Medical School Lamar Soutter Library team for conducting a terrific chat.

  2. Jennifer,

    Thank you for your insightful comments and questions. I will try to answer them briefly here:

    I do believe that health informatics could fit into the realm of e-Science, but I think it would be more useful to have a focus or specific section on health informatics-related terminology in addition to the existing e-Science terms.

    I think your suggestion of taking Dr. Bakken's measures is a good one. I have since searched for Dr. Bakken's article and have found it useful. I think it will be beneficial as we move towards a second iteration or the resource.

    In terms of information sources, I used NISO's thesaurus schema as a starting point ( and then read through several articles in the journal of documentation, as well as Broughton's Essential Thesaurus Construction. That being said we decided on a simple format to start with because we wanted to get information to librarians quickly, and use this first iteration as a form of pilot.

    I'm unclear about what you mean by partnering with a data specialist or information science specialist - we had multiple librarians working on this project and the entire resource was reviewed by many experts who work in some form of data-focused capacity. If you mean a data scientist, we did not have people with these skills at our disposal.

    Since the #medlibs chat we believe it is important to implement a "Suggestion" component to the thesaurus where librarians can share terminology, resources, or literature that they believe should be added. I'm sure if other librarians were interested in enhancing the thesaurus I think that approach could be considered as well.

    I hope this answers some of your questions; please feel free to ask more as they arise.

  3. Hi Kevin,

    Many thanks for your thoughtful, prompt responses.

    Yes, I meant a partnership with a data scientist may be helpful to develop the thesaurus. Since thesauri are constant works in progress, it may be something to consider down the road.

    I like the suggestion component idea. As you may know, Twitter has a tagdef# website ( that converts Twitter hashtags into definitions. It's a fairly loose controlled vocabulary. Including some of the e-science thesaurus terminology into this database may be another project to consider as the e-science field evolves.

    Jenn Moyer BSN, RN