BioMedical Informatics Research Review

INLS 706, Spring 2014, section 001

INLS 706, Spring 2014, section 001
Tuesday, 12:30pm - 1:45pm, 214 Manning Hall
School of Information and Library Science


Instructor:  Dr. Bradley Hemminger Email:



966-2998 (office) 942-2273 (home)

206A Manning Hall

Office Hours:


Office Hours
and by appointment

Class Policies and General Instructions
Resources Wiki
Course Description


My goals for each of you as a student are for you to develop strong skills in the following areas during the course of this class:

  1. reading and understanding scholarly papers
  2. critically evaluating research and arguments in scholarly papers
  3. participating in group evaluations and discussions
  4. knowing how to be a reviewer for a journal article
  5. presenting in front of audiences, leading discussions
  6. using computer based technologies for shared review and annotation

Class Policies and General Instructions

  1. I will always be prepared for class and will start class on time. If unforeseeable circumstances prevent this for any reason, I will try to notify you beforehand if at all possible. I expect the same of my students: be prepared for class, be ready to start class on time, and try to let me know by email if you can't be there.

  2. My classroom is intended to be a place where you are encouraged to share your thoughts, think critically, and feel safe in expressing your views. I always welcome your viewpoint, and will be respectful of your opinion. Similarly, I ask that you are respectiveful of your classmates.

  3. Class notes and most materials, as well as the class syllabus, policies, and schedule are available on the web (via the class wikipage).

  4. You are expected to bring your laptop to class. We will review our online paper reviews during class. We will also search out information during class.

  5. When you review an article, you should turn off everyone else's comments until you have reviewed the article and submitted your comments. Your comments must be submitted at least 24 hours prior to the presentation (by 12 noon the Monday before the Tuesday presentation). After you submit your comments you should review everyone else's comments prior to the class meeting (between Monday noon and class on Tuesday). The presenter should review everyone's comments, and incorporate important points into their presentation.
  6. Presenters should email me their paper (PDF attachment to email) at least 1 week prior to their presentation. I will post the article on the SharedReview server, and send around the electronic link to the shared annotation version of the paper. You should copy your presentation materials from the presentation (powerpoint slides or similar) and the discussion summaries (Word document) to the SharedReview server, within one week of presenting.

  7. The review materials you submit (including annotations on the articles) are licensed under creative commons non-commercial license, and are thus publicly available. They may be seen by others, as well as used in research projects that analyze annotations and reviews. If you have any concerns about this, please talk with me after the first class.

  8. You are expected and encouraged to participate in discussions in class. I will ask students to explain portions of the readings, or comment on the readings, as well as to critically review the journal articles. Part of your grade will be determined by the quality of your participation and your willingness to participate.

  9. If there is something you don't understand, please ask about it! If you don't want to ask during class, you may ask me during office hours, come see me at some other time, post your question to the listserv, or ask me over email.

  10. Honor Code: The principles of academic honesty, integrity, and responsible citizenship govern the performance of all academic work and student conduct at the University as they have during the long life of this institution. Your acceptance of enrollment in the University presupposes a commitment to the principles embodied in the Code of Student Conduct and a respect for this most significant Carolina tradition. Your reward is in the practice of these principles. Your participation in this course comes with the expectation that your work will be completed in full observance of the Honor Code. Academic dishonesty in any form is unacceptable, because any breach in academic integrity, however small, strikes destructively at the University's life and work. (From the 8/1/1992 letter to the faculty, signed by Paul Hardin, Chancellor, and John Moody, Student Body President.)


Presentations: 15%
Presentation Materials and Summaries: 30%
Class Participation and Review Annotations: 35%
Journal Reviews: 20%

The primary purpose of this course is to help you develop your skills as outlined in course goals above. To that end I will primarilyl give you qualitative feedback on your work at the midway point, and end of semester. I will also give you letter grades (scale below) to give you a sense how you are doing. If anyone is doing below a P- or C, I will be sure to inform them so that they can have a can to improve their grade. Assignments and your final grade follow my general grading scale:

A 95-100
P+ A- 90-94
P B 85-89
P- C 80-84
D 70-79
F F 69 and below

Course Description

The goals of this course are to develop the student's understanding of the information and library science research issues related to the domain of biomedical informatics (bioinformatics, medical informatics, health informatics, nursing informations, dental informatics, pharmacy informatics, chemoinformatics).

This is accomplished by individually reviewing journal articles and holding group discussions of the articles to critique them and better understand them. Students are expected to read one (or more) articles that will be discussed each week, and to annotate the article with their comments using a collaborative (shared) review system. Students are expected to critically review the articles, the scientific methods of the studies, and the conclusions of the articles. Each week a class member will be responsible for presenting the article. Students registered for the course will be responsible for presenting two articles themselves. When they present, students will give a power point or similar presentation and engage the class in discussing the article. They are also responsible for writing up a summary of the article and the classes' review of it (conclusions) for their two presentations. These are due one week after the presentation. Students may select their articles themselves, or in conjunction with the instructor. Additionally, guest lecturers may provide occasional talks on research in the field. The last one or two classes are reserved for practicing to be a journal reviewer (all class members do mock reviews of the same journal article). Sometimes when we have a smaller number of students, we will also have "hosted" presentations, where the students pick the article but do not have to prepare a presentation. (This is so that students are not required to make more than 2 formal presentations).

While this course is primarily aimed at SILS graduate students, it is open to any UNC graduate students, and undergraduate students by permission of the instructor. Additionally, anyone is encouraged to attend at any time, whether for the whole semester, or for only a single talk of interest to you. This is an open "brown bag lunch journal club seminar" :-). We are informal, and you are welcome to attend, and bring your lunch if desired! The course is one and a half credit hours.
Occasionally, we will focus on a certain topic for a semester (if chosen by the students).


This page was last modified on Jan 9, 2014, by Bradley Hemminger. Address questions and comments about this page to him at
Bradley M. Hemminger