National Library of Medicine To Mine Social Media for Insights


This week, the National Library of Medicine posted a solicitation seeking a software system that can mine social media to determine how users access its resources and how it can improve, FierceHealthIT reports.

NLM -- which is part of the National Institutes of Health -- is the world's largest biomedical library.

The solicitation stated, "The worldwide explosion in the use of social media provides a unique opportunity for sampling sentiment and use patterns of NLM's 'customers' and for comparing NLM to other sources of health-related information."

NLM's Plans

NLM plans to look into how often its resources are used, the context for which information was sought and how various health-related announcements and events affected use. For example, the selected contractor would:

  • Compare NLM social media mentions with mentions of "competitors;"
  • Identify urgent information requests for which NLM could offer vetted, advertising-free information; and
  • Explore the effects of topical health issues, such as West Nile Virus, or disasters on the use of NLM resources.

NLM also plans to study how health professionals and researchers are using its resources.

According to the solicitation, the selected contractor will have one year to design and implement a software system that is able to perform complex queries, as well as to train at least two staff members to use the system (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 2/14).

Than Nguyen
Designing and implementing the software system that is able to perform complex queries is key to helping staff members efficiently store, organize, manage, access, and distribute data.

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