Regression to the mean

You connect facts and experiences, you create pattern in the world around you and in the reality none of them are correlated. In few words this is the explanation of the regression to the mean (in a day-to-day life).

Did I ever mention that I love cognitive illusions? Pure love!

One of the things I love the most of being a medical librarian is that I am gaining an incredible insight into medicine: how science works, the importance of facts and evidence and how we are “repeatedly bombarded with sciencey-sounding claims” (Goldacre, 2008). The best part is that the more I learn about the health-business the more I see things in a different way.

I am reading Bad Science and my attention is captured by a new concept: the regression to the mean. I am not interested in the statistical aspect (more info here) but how this concept has silently blinded me in many situations.

As Goldacre explains, if I have a cold I will try things to get better. I would stay at home, drink water, eat a chicken soup and take an ibuprofen = my body is at the very worst and I try remedies to cure my illness. In the best scenario I will be up and running the following day. Now, it is because of the ibuprofen or because of the delicate chicken soup prepared by my husband or because my body simply needs a rest.

In my mind I think it’s because all of three, however Goldacre argues that because it worked that last time, now my brain has created a cognitive illusion that demands me to take an ibuprofen, ask my hubby to prepare a chicken soup and have a rest.

Now on I will look at a common cold in a different way. I know for sure that having a rest is a good idea, not sure about the ibuprofen at this point. Using my rational part of the brain I know that the chicken soup homemade by my hubby is not miraculous, but it works! Shall we do a trial?

We connect facts and we rely on this cognitive illusion. Natural history plays an important factor. My point is that rather that blindly believing in magic and quick solutions I will accept the natural cycle of the illness (but I still demand my homemade chicken soup!).



Goldacre, B. (2008). Bad Science. London: HarperCollins.


I found a way

Turning badgesSitting on the grass at Llanbadarn campus I reflect on my last year not only academically but also professionally. Just few things happened: I moved from Surrey to West yorkshire, I got a new job, adopted a cat and I am now buying my first house. Gladly I managed to find time to complete the first year assignments.

Last September I was working in a cozy academic library environment. I had few responsabilities and my academic journey was at the very begininning (again). In my mind I was framing a career in the information retrieval sector, let’s say about cataloguing and acquisition.

One year later, I still hope to work in an art sector but I am actually working in the health library sector as Services Librarian. I am now in charge of a small team and I regularly serve clinicians helping them retrieving evidences. Terms like evidence-based approach, critical appraisal, literature search and quantitative research are now part of my everyday vocabulary.

How did I end up working in a health library? I have been simply offered and accepted a job. My first three months have been really taxing, not only because I had to recalibrate my focus on the health sector but at the same time I had to consider the fact that there was a team relying on my decisions. I had to assimilate quite quickly new procedures, familiarise with new medical databases and specific information needs. On the top of that I had to adapt to a new LSM, I moved in fact from SirsiDinyx to Heritage.

Do I regret it? Absolotely no. In just few months I drastically expanded my knowledge and I can now compare two similar but different environments: the academic library and the healthcare one.

New unlocked experiences/skills: managing a team (!!!), teaching to 1:1 or to groups, depth knowledge of health databases, liason with consultants, budgeting (!!!), managing subscriptions, cataloguing using the Wessex scheme, planning social media content, editing current awareness bulletins and sorting my mail box.

I feel being on a very steep learning curve and I’ve never expected working in a hospital. What’s next?


The Bee Library 24 book-nests for solitary bees Upper Lake, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Again, thoughts from my studies in management.

“Cross-pollination is an immensely powerful force”

Gunderman, R. B. (2009). Leadership in healthcare London : Springer

Today I was reflecting on the benefits of flying from flowers to flowers. Thanks to my new role I have been given a great opportunity to broaden my experience and my horizons about the library sector. Since I moved from the academic to the healthcare information sector I gained an incredible insight about how people in different sectors work and organise the services. I am still learning and I love looking at what other people are doing and thiking from their points of view.

These perspectives help me to expand my sense of the possible and recognise the full range of resources the library sector has at its disposal to improve the range of services.

I like think about myself like a librarian-bee.

I am also preparing my essay about the qualities of a true leader and inevitably I thought of my poor experience with very bad manager I reported (luckily) for a short period and his enjoyment of isolation. On the top of his poor management ability, such as his failure to see the true range of alternatives to problems, he wanted us (as a team) to sit still in our “shed”. The poor manager was not able to think in the long-term that the more we (as a team) sat still, the further and further we were falling behind. No surprises that in few months some important members of the team left. This time I thank him becaue after this experience I can compare different experiences with managers and outline what does make (for me) a good leader.

Still Buzzing… Buzz Buzz

Maybe in another post I will discuss the theory of The Hedgehog and the Fox by Isaiah Berlin.