Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Internet Tidal Wave -- Then and Now

"The Internet Tidal Wave" was the subject of a memorandum delivered to Microsoft executives and other staff by Bill Gates fifteen years ago today, on May 26, 1995. The memo is supplied in its entirety on Wired Magazine's This Day in Tech, and is remarkable both for its prescience and for its observations that from today's vantage seem almost quaint, such as the following:
Most important is that the Internet has bootstrapped itself as a place to publish content. It has enough users that it is benefiting from the positive feedback loop of the more users it gets, the more content it gets, and the more content it gets, the more users it gets. I encourage everyone on the executive staff and their direct reports to use the Internet.
The memo was made available as a trial exhibit in a District Court filing for the antitrust case, United States v. Microsoft.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Journal Cancellations Review for UNC Health Sciences Library

The UNC Health Sciences Library (HSL) is preparing for reductions to the FY 2010/2011 acquisitions budget. As a result, we are again reviewing all areas of purchasing and asking publishers to keep price increases to a minimum for 2011. However, the primary strategy for finding reductions is to continue the 2009 comprehensive review of active journal subscriptions. Approximately 95 percent of HSL’s acquisitions budget is spent on journal or database subscriptions. To achieve budget reductions we must lower this recurring annual expense through targeted cancellations.

Last year, 670 users helped us evaluate our subscriptions and we need even more help this year. During the next couple of months we plan to post a list of potential journal cancellations and to ask for feedback. Here is some preliminary information about this review effort, which is also available via the Journal Review homepage:

Cancellation Criteria

Our goal is the same as for 2009: to keep as much valued content available as possible, minimizing negative impact on our community of users, while still achieving our budget reduction targets. Please keep checking the Journal Review homepage for updates and changes, and your opportunity to provide feedback. We value all feedback received and use it to help make the best decisions possible.

The 2009 review process helped greatly to reduce recurring annual expenses. Through extensive feedback from the UNC Chapel Hill Health Affairs community and beyond, and through aggressive negotiations with journal publishers for better pricing, we were able to cancel only 58 titles. We also implemented other changes to save costs, such as converting more journal subscriptions from print plus online to online only. However, these savings will not carry the HSL through another budget reduction in 2010/2011, so the comprehensive review continues.

While the need to reduce the acquisitions budget is driven partly by current economic conditions, carrying out a journals cancellation review is normal library practice, done most recently in 2009 and 2003. Furthermore, our acquisitions budget cannot keep pace with the annual price increases for journals in the health sciences, as the average cost of a health sciences journal is now $1,400.

First National VIVO Conference: Enabling National Networking of Scientists

Enabling National Networking of Scientists
August 12-13, 2010
New York Hall of Science

The first annual National VIVO Conference, Enabling National Networking of Scientists, will bring together scientists, developers, publishers, funding agencies, research officers, students and those supporting the development of team science. This two day conference will begin with workshops and tutorials for those new to VIVO, those implementing VIVO at their institutions, and those wishing to develop applications using VIVO. Invited speakers will present regarding the Semantic Web, Linked Open Data and the role of VIVO in support of team science. Panelists will discuss adoption and implementation findings. Feedback sessions will engage participants in requirements gathering and brainstorming regarding future network services. Presenters will discuss mapping, social networking, crowd sourcing, support for societies and other national network applications. Learn more at the conference web site.

VIVO is an open source, open ontology, research discovery platform for hosting information about scientists, their interests, activities, and accomplishments. VIVO supports open development and integration of science through simple, standard semantic web technologies. Learn more at the VIVO web site. VIVO is funded by the National Institutes of Health, U24 RR029822.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Mobile Application for PLoS Medicine

The Center for Biomedical Informatics at the Harvard Medical School in collaboration with the Public Library of Science ( have created a free iPhone application for PLoS Medicine, the open-access journal publishing important original research and analysis relevant to human health.

To give it a test drive, simply visit the iTunes Application store and download it to your iPhone or iPod Touch. To launch the application, simply touch the PLoS icon and you are immediately taken to a screen that contains the most recent and viewed articles, with an option to search for anything else from the current or archive issues using your touch keypad.
Other features include:
  • Clear article layout – with options to view the PDF or view online
  • Favorite and share – straight from your phone
  • Access the full archive – never be without the content you need again
  • Get further information – about PLoS in general and PLoS Medicine specifically
:: Check out related Carolina Curator blog entries for mobile options at UNC Libraries and the National Library of Medicine.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Friends of the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL

The Friends of the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL (University College London) has recently established a new blog. The main topic for postings is the pending closure of the Centre, and several researchers, including the University of North Carolina's Dr. Michael McVaugh, have related their observations about its importance for the history of medicine as well as their concern for its future. The Friends blog also has a link to the online petition to Save History of Medicine at UCL, which now has over 3,400 signatures and is open for further supporters.

In addition, the Friends blog has links to articles about the closure: Wellcome Trust Is To Close Its Centre for History of Medicine (British Medical Journal, April 16, 2010) and Terminal Diagnosis for UCL's History of Medicine Centre (Times Higher Education, April 20, 2010). A summary history of the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL is available online.

Previous related Carolina Curator postings include: Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine To Close (with Call for Papers for conference on The Future of Medical History) and Petition To Save the History of Medicine at University College London.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Festschrift for Professor Michael McVaugh

Between Text and Patient: The Medical Enterprise in Medieval & Early Modern Europe brings together essays by an eminent group of scholars who traveled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2007 to honor the work of UNC Professor Michael R.McVaugh. Like McVaugh’s own publications, the essays vary greatly in their approaches to the healing arts in the medieval and early modern periods, ranging from philological studies of individual texts to paleo-pathological examinations of the spread of disease; from considerations of physicians, surgeons, apothecaries, patients, and unlearned healers, to the contexts in which they functioned: the town, the university, the monastery, the court, and the printing house; and from poly-lingual studies of Latin, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, and Middle English texts to descriptions of the unstudied riches to be found in modern manuscript collections. As such, Between Text and Patient provides excellent examples of some of the best current research in the field. In addition to the many excellent essays, the volume is valuable for more than a dozen photos of never-before reproduced manuscripts, as well as brief editions and translations of original texts hitherto unavailable to English readers.

Edited by Florence Eliza Glaze and Brian Nance, Between Text and Patient (ISBN 978-88-8450-361-9) will be published this summer as part of Sismel's Micrologus' Library. Through June 30, 2010, the press is offering a reduced Tabula Gratulatoria price of 48 euro (72 euro after June 30). A table of contents and a Tabula Gratulatoria discount order form is available online.

Of related interest, see The MacKinney Collection of Medieval Medical Illustrations, a UNC digital collection.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dr. Benson Reid Wilcox, UNC Heart Surgeon, Dies at 77

Benson Reid Wilcox, M.D., a pediatric heart surgeon who served 29 years as chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, died May 11, 2010, at his home after a courageous battle with brain cancer. He was 77.

Dr. Wilcox served as chief of cardiothoracic surgery at UNC from 1969 to 1998. During that period, which was a time of dramatic advances in heart and lung surgery, the UNC hospital began offering coronary artery surgery, heart and lung transplantation, successful surgery for congenital heart defects in newborn infants, and a comprehensive program for the treatment of lung and esophageal cancer.

Dr. Wilcox was primarily a pediatric heart surgeon whose specialties were congenital heart disease, pediatric cardiac morphology, pediatric chest disease, and pulmonary circulation. He was a co-author of three books and an author of numerous medical journal articles and book chapters. He held important leadership posts in national medical organizations and was especially interested in the training of future surgeons.

Dr. Wilcox, known as Ben, was born May 26, 1932, in Charlotte, N.C., the son of James Simpson Wilcox and Louisa Reid Wilcox. He was raised in Charlotte and graduated from the Darlington School in Rome, Ga., in 1949. He was named 1997 Distinguished Alumnus of the Darlington School.

He earned an A.B. in history from the University of North Carolina in 1953 and an M.D. from the UNC School of Medicine in 1957. As an undergraduate at UNC, he was president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and Rex of the Order of Gimghoul. At the UNC medical school, he was president of his class and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society in 1957.

While a medical student in 1956, Dr. Wilcox helped to conduct laboratory research on the application of newly developed heart-lung machines. A heart-lung machine was first used in the operating room at UNC in April 1957, beginning the era of open heart surgery at North Carolina Memorial Hospital.

After serving as a surgery resident at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis (1957-1959) and North Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill (1959-1960), he spent two years as a surgical clinical associate at the National Heart Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. He then returned to UNC as chief resident in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery (1962-63) and as chief resident in surgery (1963-64).

He joined the UNC Department of Surgery faculty in 1964 and was appointed as chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery in 1969 and as a full professor in 1971. He was named a Markle Scholar in Academic Medicine in 1967. After he retired as chief of cardiothoracic surgery, Dr. Wilcox remained on the UNC medical school faculty as Professor of Surgery from 1998 until his death.

Dr. Wilcox also served the university in a number of other capacities. He was a member of the Selection Committee for the North Carolina Fellows Program; the UNC Faculty Committee on Athletics, serving as chairman from 1977 to 1985; and the Morehead Foundation’s Central Selection Committee, serving as chairman from 1989 to 1992. He was on the university’s Faculty Council and other campus-wide committees. He was a member of the executive committee of the Atlantic Coast Conference from 1978 to 1982 and was its president from 1980 to 1981. He also served on the board of directors of the Ronald McDonald House in Chapel Hill from 1981 to 1999.

He held leadership positions in prestigious professional organizations, including chairman of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, chairman of the Advisory Council for Cardiothoracic Surgery of the American College of Surgeons, president of the Nathan A. Womack Surgical Society, and president of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the largest society of thoracic surgeons in the world. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons in 2003.

He had a strong interest in graduate medical education, the training of resident physicians. He was instrumental in establishing the Thoracic Surgery Directors Association (TSDA) which was formed to improve cardiothoracic surgery training and education for doctors, and whose members are directors of cardiothoracic surgery residency programs across the United States. From 1985 to 1987, he served as president of TSDA. In 2009, the TSDA honored him by establishing the Benson Wilcox Award for Best Resident Paper, to be presented each year at The Society of Thoracic Surgeons' annual meeting for the best scientific abstract submitted by a cardiothoracic surgery resident.

He also was on the Board of Directors of the National Resident Matching Program from 1998 to 2007, serving as president from 2001 to 2002. He was a member of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Residency Review Committee for Thoracic Surgery (1999-2005); the American College of Surgeons’ Graduate Medical Education Committee (1993-2001); and a member of the Committee on Graduate Education for the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (1992-2001).

In 1980, Dr. Wilcox spent time during a sabbatical at Royal Brompton National Heart and Lung Hospital in London, beginning a collaboration with Robert H. Anderson, M.D., a pediatric morphologist at Royal Brompton. After that visit, he and Dr. Anderson worked together on many research projects and publications, including the book Surgical Anatomy of the Heart (Raven Press, 3rd edition, 2004). The two physicians established a program that for many years enabled UNC cardiothoracic surgery residents to spend time in London studying with Dr. Anderson and attending rounds with him. Dr. Anderson also visited UNC.

Dr. Wilcox also was co-author of Atlas of the Heart (Gower Medical Publishing, 1988); and a co-editor of Diagnostic Atlas of the Heart (Raven Press, 1994). He was an author of more than 100 scientific and clinical articles that were published in medical journals.

After operating on many ill children, Dr. Wilcox had the idea of starting a support group for families of children who are undergoing heart surgery. The Carolina Parent Network, begun in 1986 and directed by Maggie Morris for many years, enables parents of children who are facing heart surgery at UNC to talk to parents who have already had the experience, and it also educates families about what to expect before, during and after surgery.

Dr. Wilcox loved history, especially medical history. As a medical student at UNC, he helped found the Bullitt Club for the study of the history of medicine. As a faculty member, he began collecting old and rare books about the history of medicine, particularly books about thoracic surgery and the specialties that preceded it. In 1984, he began presenting a rare book to the UNC Health Sciences Library each year in honor of his chief resident. In 1998 and 1999, he donated most of his medical book collection to the library. Since then the Benson Reid Wilcox Collection has grown to more than 1,400 books, journals, reprints and other items. He served on the board of visitors for the UNC Health Sciences Library.

"Dr. Wilcox' contributions to the historical collections at the Health Sciences Library were truly remarkable in both variety and scope. An avid and erudite bibliophile, he thrilled in the hunt for significant texts, and had a deep appreciation for the role of history in the theory and practice of medicine," said Daniel Smith, special collections librarian for the UNC Health Sciences Library.

Dr. Wilcox is survived by his wife, Patsy Davis, and by his four children: Adelaide W. King and her husband, Ruffin, of Charlottesville, Va.; Sandra W. Conway and her husband, Peter, of Charlotte, N.C.; Melissa W. Bond and her husband, Brett, of Charlotte; and Reid Wilcox and his wife, Suzanne, of Greensboro, N.C. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren, Alexandra and Ruffin King; Peter, Ben and Adelaide Conway; Brett, Lucinda and Reid Bond; and Ben, Henry and Ellie Wilcox. He is also survived by two stepdaughters, Harriet Kendall and Julia Klein; a brother, Bob Wilcox; two sisters-in-law, Dede Thompson and Louise Wilcox, and a brother-in-law Allan Davis. He was predeceased by his parents and by his brother Jim Wilcox.

A memorial service will be held Friday, May 14, at 2 p.m. in Gerrard Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Gerrard Hall is on Cameron Avenue, across from the Old Well, between Memorial Hall and the South Building.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts to the TSDA Benson R. Wilcox Award. Checks can be made to the Thoracic Surgery Directors Association and mailed to Michael R. Mill, M.D., Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, CB#7065, UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7065.

W. Curtis Worthington Research Paper Competition

The Waring Library Society and the Waring Historical Library at the Medical University of South Carolina invite entries for the W. Curtis Worthington, Jr., Undergraduate and Graduate Research Papers Competition. Papers entered in the Competition should represent original research in the history of the health sciences. They may cover any historical period and any cultural tradition. Paper topics may include -- but are by no means limited to -- public health policy and the social context of disease and health; the construction of the medical profession and medical institutions; gender and medical theory or practice; learned medical practitioners as social, political, and economic agents; notions of the human body as the subject of health, disease, and therapeutic intervention; medicine and natural philosophy/science; medicine and the humanities; and the development of health science disciplines such as nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, and allied health fields.

Entries may not have been published previously, nor be submitted more than once. A person may submit only one entry each year. The same person may not win first prize during two consecutive years. This competition is open to any degree-seeking individual attending an accredited college or university. Additionally, interns and residents in accredited programs are eligible in the graduate category. Entries must be not fewer than 2,500 words nor more than 5,000 words (not including notes and bibliography). Photographs or illustrations should be included whenever possible or appropriate. Manuscripts should be submitted as a Word document or as an unformatted ASCII-preferred document. Send completed application form as an attachment with your submission; do not include any personal identification information in the text of your submission. Entries must be received by May 31, 2010 [note deadline has been extended].

Winners agree to grant the Waring Historical Library and Waring Library Society both initial and subsequent publication rights in any manner or form without further compensation. Except as provided above, copyright ownership otherwise remains with the author. One first prize of $1,500 will be awarded each year to the winner in each category: undergraduate and graduate. The winning papers will be published in the Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association, subject to the review and requirements of its editor. The WLS Awards Committee reserves the right to not give any or all awards in a particular year.

For more information about this competition, please contact the Waring Historical Library at 843-792-2288 or

Monday, May 10, 2010

National Women's Health Week, May 9-15, 2010

Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, Surgeon General, has made the following statement on the importance of celebrating National Women’s Health Week and empowering women to make their health a top priority:
Mother’s Day, May 9, marks the start of National Women’s Health Week, a weeklong observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. With the theme “It’s Your Time,” the goal of National Women’s Health Week is to empower women to make their own health a top priority and encourage them to take small, manageable steps to improve their health and reduce their risk for many diseases. On Mother's Day, women across the country will celebrate with family and friends. This year, I also encourage women to celebrate themselves by focusing on their own health and well-being.

The most important steps women can take to improve their health include eating a well balanced, nutritious diet; getting regular physical activity; avoiding unhealthy behaviors, like smoking; and paying attention to mental health. In addition, women should get regular checkups and preventive screenings. May 10 is National Women’s Checkup Day, and I urge all women to make an appointment with their health care professional.

In honor of National Women’s Health Week and National Women’s Checkup Day, more than one thousand events will take place across the country. To find an event near you, visit the National Women's Health Week web site.

During National Women’s Health Week it is important to tell our wives, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and girlfriends to make the time to improve their health, prevent disease, and live longer, healthier, and happier lives. After all, when women take even simple steps to improve their health, the results can be significant and everyone benefits.

Note: The text of President Obama's proclamation of National Women's Health Week is available via the White House web site.

Call for Manuscripts: University of Pittsburgh Press

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a five-year, $750,000 grant to the University of Pittsburgh for a book publishing initiative in the history of science to be pursued by the University of Pittsburgh Press in a close partnership with Pittʼs Department of History and Philosophy of Science and the Department of Historyʼs World History Center. The grant will support publication of innovative work in the history of science. In addition to producing books, the Press and its partners will cooperate in a number of activities in support of this program, including guest lectures, conferences, fellowships, and a book prize. Read more . . . .

Both experienced and new authors are strongly encouraged to submit proposals for new books and book series. If you would like to make a submission, have suggestions, or would like further information on the new initiative, please contact Beth Davis, editor for history and philosophy of science, at or 412-383-3174. Guidelines for prospective authors are available online.

2010 Rudolf Virchow Awards

Rudolf Virchow, a 19th century German physician, was a key founder of social medicine. His contributions centered on his recognition that multiple intersecting factors – social, political, and economic – produce disease and illness. He argued that the circumstances and deprivations of poverty increase people's susceptibility to disease and result in reduced life expectancy and quality of life. He eloquently articulated the limits of medicine in the absence of material security, a sentiment which informed his view that nation-states play an important role in ensuring health security for a citizenry. Virchow viewed advocacy as an essential part of health praxis, and, in keeping with this legacy, the Critical Anthropology for Global Health Caucus honors Virchow's work with three awards.

The annual Rudolf Virchow Awards are given by the Critical Anthropology for Global Health Caucus, a special interest group of the Society for Medical Anthropology. The Professional Award honors a recent published article, and the Graduate and Undergraduate Student Awards honor recent student papers that have not yet benefited from editorial review. Winning submissions combine a critical anthropology focus with rich ethnographic data, and best reflect, extend, and/or advance critical perspectives in medical anthropology.

The submission deadline for the 2010 Rudolf Virchow Awards is July 30, 2010. Awards are made in the following categories:

1) Professional,
2) Graduate Student, and
3) Undergraduate Student (see below).

We encourage you to submit your own work and/or to nominate papers of your students or articles of colleagues.

If you wish to submit a paper for consideration, please e-mail the paper and a cover letter of introduction to the 2010 Virchow Awards chair, Susan Erikson, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, at by July 30, 2010. Hard copies are no longer accepted. Confirmation of receipt will be sent. To ensure a prompt and fair review, papers will not be accepted after the July 30, 2010 11:59 pm PST deadline.

Professional Award Category
The professional award will be awarded for an article or chapter published during 2009 in a peer-reviewed journal (print or online) or peer-reviewed edited volume. Articles may be singly- or co-authored. Technical reports and other contracted works are not considered for
this award. Professional articles must be submitted electronically in Adobe PDF format as they appeared in print.

Graduate Award Category
The graduate student award will be awarded for a paper that was written in 2009 or 2010 and that has not yet been subjected to editorial review. Papers that have been submitted to a journal or edited volume, but that have not yet benefited from review may be included in this category. Theses and dissertations will not be accepted. However, a summary no longer than 30 pages (inclusive of references) of a thesis or a dissertation that can stand on it own, or a chapter that has been revised to stand on its own will be considered for this award. Papers from students who have graduated are still accepted in this category as long as the paper was written in 2009 or 2010. Graduate student papers must be submitted in Adobe PDF or Word format with a title-only first page. File sizes must be less than 2MB. The document must exclude the author's name, author's advisor, and university affiliation throughout. The cover letter should include this information. Only papers, not interactive media, will be considered for this award.

Undergraduate Award Category
The undergraduate student award will be awarded for a paper written in 2009 or 2010 while the student was still an undergraduate. Honors theses are not accepted. However, a shortened version no longer than 30 pages (inclusive of references) of the thesis or a chapter from the thesis that has been revised to stand on its own will be considered for this award. Undergraduate student papers must be submitted in Adobe PDF or Word format with a title-only first page. File sizes must be less than 2MB. The document must exclude the author's name, author's advisor, and university affiliation throughout. The cover letter should include this information. Only papers, not interactive media, will be considered for this award.

NCpedia Seeking Contributors

The State Library of North Carolina is looking for authors for our growing NCpedia – our online encyclopedia. We are unable to offer payment for this work, but are able to offer by-lines and appreciation!

We are starting with broad, overview articles. Topics will get narrower and narrower as the project moves forward and the NCpedia grows. For instance, a broad, overview article may be on pottery in the state as well as its current status. After those overview articles are added, we’ll look for authors to write entries that provide more detail on time periods and/or narrower topics mentioned in the initial overview article.

Anyone interested in contributing is encouraged to peruse the NCpedia and contact Michelle Czaikowski, Digital Projects Manager for the State Library with the topic on which you are interested in writing, even if the topic is still listed on our list of "Topics Needed." This will insure there is no duplication. (We don't want anyone to go through the effort of writing an article on a topic already fully covered!)

Entries may vary in length between 500 - 2000 words depending on the topic. Further details on format required for submissions is available online.

Interested in learning more about the NCpedia? Click here!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Petition To Save the History of Medicine at University College London

As noted in an earlier Carolina Curator blog posting, the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine is slated to be closed. Currently an online petition that bears over 1300 signatures calls upon both University College London and the Wellcome Trust to reconsider this decision. The petition, entitled "Save History of Medicine at UCL," reads:
On March 31st the Wellcome Trust and UCL announced the closure of the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine. This decision came in the middle of negotiations concerning the normal quinquennial review of funding for the Centre. The proposal to close the Centre was made by a handful of persons within the Wellcome Trust without, as far as is known, the involvement of any historian of medicine. We call upon the Trust to reconsider its decision, reinstate the independent peer review process, and permit any subsequent Centre to remain within the Wellcome building. We call upon UCL to maintain the history of medicine as a visible entity within College serving both historians and medics.
To view signatories or to add one's own signature, click here. The online petition was created by Professor Vivian Nutton at UCL, and is hosted at