Author: Michael Upshall Page 2 of 3

Misunderstanding a dictionary

Some dictionaries are designed to explain what words mean. Some dictionaries, like the Oxford English Dictionary, aim to record changes in the the meanings of words over time, and attempt to identify the earliest use of each word (or if they have multiple meanings, …

Evaluating systematic reviews

The European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL) annual meeting included a number of fascinating workshops. These workshops were revealing perhaps for unintended reasons. What do health librarians do? On the basis of this conference, they largely carry out systematic reviews of clinical trials. …

The Cochrane PICO Finder: how not to trial an interface

At the EAHIL Conference in Basel today, a team from Cochrane gave a workshop entitled “PICO Search: Unlocking the Cochrane data vault”. The PICO principles are a four-fold way of interpreting a clinical trial:

  • Patient, population or problem (what are the characteristics of the patient

Learning about health informatics in Cardiff


Nye Bevan, one of the founders of the UK’s National Health Service, and hence a very appropriate public figure for a healthcare conference, although looking here as if he was the inventor of the shopping centre.

This week I was at the Healtac 2019 conference …

New Trends in Information Retrieval

This year’s annual European Conference on Information Retrieval (Cologne, April 2019) was remarkable for me in that it showed a dramatic renaissance of the world of search. Conferences labelled “enterprise search” have been running down or closing in the UK and the US for several …

UKSG 2019: what are scholarly conferences for?

From the picture above, UKSG looks like any other conference. Yet it remains something of an oddball, the odd man out of conferences. It is a large event – several hundred attendees, which means it is always held in a large-scale venue that is usually …

Netflop: the failure of Netflix

The Netflix home screen. Each time you open Netflix you are shown a suggested film. I’ve never heard of Lionheart and I didn’t want to watch it. Imagine Google always opening with a suggested page for you!

Difficult to imagine a company growing as fast …

The STM Innovations Day (London, December 2018)

What were the innovations that emerged from the STM Innovations Day? Well, there weren’t any robots on display. This annual event is an excellent opportunity to take stock of academic publishing and its current concerns, although as we shall see below, some of the real …

Books of the Year 2018

This is the time of year when the newspapers announce their books of the year. Unfortunately, the reviewers often praise each other’s books, or simply state they couldn’t put it down, without explaining why. Things are a bit different here; every one of the books …

Weapons of Math Destruction: more math please

The full title of this book is Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, which sums up the book, certainly, and at the same time the author’s  approach. In practice she is less concerned about the math, more about …

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