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General

Q. What is PEN and why was it developed?
A. PEN is a dynamic resource that allows today's busy practitioners to ask and quickly find authoritative answers to day-to-day questions using the most current evidence. View the PEN Orientation Tutorial to learn more about how PEN works. Learn more About PEN and its features.

Q. Who developed PEN?
A. Leaders and experts in knowledge translation of health evidence and its application in practice have been consulted in the design of PEN. Click to view a list of PEN's contributors.

Q. How is PEN unique from traditional reference tools?
A. Textbooks and diet manuals, whether published as a hard copy reference, or an electronic text, provide a static reference document comprised of a set number of topics. PEN is a dynamic service designed as a series of knowledge pathways covering the diverse practice of dietetics, from nutrition throughout the life stages, to clinical nutrition, to food and nutrient issues, to professional practice topics such as counselling, mentoring, media / public relations, conference planning. Each knowledge path grows in breadth and depth over time as evidence that informs practice changes. In addition, new knowledge pathways can be easily added as the need and interest for those topics arises.

Q: Which browser(s) can I use to access PEN?
A: PEN is designed to work with most current and standards-compliant web browsers. If you're having difficulty, we recommend using one of the following standards-compliant browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer (PC), Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Safari. For Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 users, you will need to activate Google Chrome Frame to fully utilize PEN. Click on the red "Internet Explorer Compatibility" button on the home page and follow the instructions to activate Google Chrome Frame.

Q. What are Knowledge Pathways, Practice Categories, Practice Questions, and Key Practice Points?
A. For definitions of these terms, refer to the "PEN Terminology" button located on the PEN home page.

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Subscribing to PEN

Q. How do I subscribe to PEN?
A.
There are three ways to subscribe to PEN. Link to www.pennutrition.com/subscribe to learn about individual, group and site license options.

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Configuring your Site License

Q. How do I configure my site license?
A.
If you have purchased a PEN site license click the following link to download the PEN site license configuration guide: www.pennutrition.com/pdf/Configuring_your_PEN_Site_License.pdf.

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Logging In

Q. How do I log into PEN?
A.
Go to the login page and enter the Username and Password you chose when you created your PEN Account. Note: the PEN password is now case sensitive so if you chose a password with capital letters you must enter it that way when you log-in.

Q. What if I've forgotten my username or password?
A.
From the login page click on the "Lost Password" link and enter your email address. Your password will be re-set and your username and a temporary password will be emailed to you instantly. You can then change the password to something that you will remember by clicking on the My Profile link on the PEN home page once you have logged in.

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Licensing, Copyright and Privacy Issues

Q. Can I share my password with others who are not subscribed to PEN?
A.
Individual and Group Subscribers to PEN will be provided with a unique password which is for your exclusive use. The license agreement that must be completed by each subscriber is a legally binding document and explicitly prohibits a user from sharing his/her password. Therefore, sharing your password is an infringement of the licensing agreement and will result in termination of your PEN access. Users who have purchased a PEN Site License have an automatic log in to PEN and therefore are not assigned an individual password.

Q. Can I download, print and/or photocopy documents in PEN?
A.
There are several types of documents accessible through PEN and therefore different permissions apply when considering duplication of these documents. There is provision within the PEN service to email certain education tools to clients.

  1. Documents including client tools, professional tools, research papers etc available on external websites linked through PEN: users must comply with all copyright laws and requirements applicable to those specific websites. Read the copyright information on the site before downloading and using their material.
  2. Documents developed by PEN:
    PEN Client Handouts: Users may download and duplicate copies for educational purposes with your own clients. Health Authorities and/or institutions must have sufficient numbers of site or group licenses in order to make multiple copies to meet client needs. For site licenses this means institutions must purchase 1 license for each 3 Full Time Equivalent staff members who will access PEN. For example, if 15 people require access to PEN, 5 concurrent licenses are to be purchased. For group or individual licenses, the dietitian needing to make multiple copies of PEN client handouts for a clinic or class must have a PEN subscription. See www.pennutrition.com/subscribe for more information on Site and Group Licenses for PEN.

    Knowledge Pathways, including Key Practice Points, Backgrounders, Evidence Summaries etc: Users may download and print this information for their personal, non-commercial use, research or study. You may not otherwise copy, store in a retrieval system, transmit in any form by any means, rent, lend, sell, or modify any materials from the website except where, and as explicitly stated that the material may be shared (i.e. where tools display “Share this resource” button). Maintaining a hard copy of PEN materials even for your personal reference is not authorized as PEN is updated regularly and static copies may become outdated quickly. Unless you visit PEN frequently to check out "What's New", you will not be aware that the copy of document that you've made is outdated.

Q. May I make multiple sets of PEN materials to use for educational purposes in a class for university students and/or dietetic interns?
A.
The same copyright limitations apply for university and internship classes as stipulated above. The licensing agreement that you accept as a subscriber to PEN does permit you to download or print single copies of PEN materials for your own personal, non-commercial use, research or study. You may NOT otherwise copy, reproduce, store in any retrieval system or storage device, distribute, transmit or publish any "PEN Owned Content" in any form by any means, nor may you rent, lend, sell or modify any material from the website except where explicitly authorized on certain materials such as Client Handouts. Institutional and group subscription rates are available so that it should not be necessary to make class sets of materials - students can access the service and all resources using their own unique login and password. Maintaining a hard copy of PEN materials even for your personal reference is not authorized as PEN is updated regularly and static copies may become outdated quickly without your knowledge.

Q. How do I reference a knowledge pathway or question in PEN?
A.
When PEN content is referenced, the following citation should be used:
Dietitians of Canada. <name / title of Knowledge Pathway / practice question / PEN tool or resource used>. In: PEN: Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition(R). <date the Knowledge Pathway / practice question / PEN tool or resource used was last updated>[<insert date cited>]. Available from: http://www.pennutrition.com. Access only by subscription. Free trials available - click Subscribe.

Example:
Dietitians of Canada. Is flax seed or flax seed oil safe to take during pregnancy? In: PEN: Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition(R). 2013 May 31 [cited 2013 Dec 10]. Available from: http://www.pennutrition.com. Access only by subscription. Free trials available - click Subscribe.

Q. How do I reference a PEN handout?
A.
When a PEN handout is referenced, the following citation should be used:
Dietitians of Canada. <PEN handout - / title of the PEN handout used>. Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition [PEN] Knowledge Pathway <title of the knowledge pathway>. <date the PEN handout was last updated> [<insert date cited>]. Available from: http://www.pennutrition.com. Access only by subscription.

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Using PEN Power Tools


Knowledge Pathways

Q. How are Knowledge Pathways developed?
A.
A PEN Writers' Guide has been designed for authors. It includes the recommended template for a knowledge pathway and a step-by-step approach to ensure a consistent, evidence-based approach in the pathway development. Support for critical appraisal skills needed to evaluate the literature is provided through DC's course on Evidence-based Decision Making http://www.dietitians.ca/Knowledge-Center/Events-and-Learning/Online-Courses/Evidence-Based-Decision-Making.aspx. Coordination and support are also provided by DC's PEN Team. Contact the PEN Team.

Q. How often will Knowledge Pathways be updated?
A.
Each knowledge pathway will be updated as new evidence arises, with a complete review of most pathways annually. Resources from the sale of PEN will be reinvested in the service to ensure its sustainability over time.

Q. How can I access a Knowledge Pathway?
A.
You can access Knowledge Pathways in 2 main ways (as shown in the screen shot below):


Knowledge Pathways

 


Q. How do I print a Knowledge Pathway?
A.
Click on the "Print this Knowledge Pathway" button on the main screen for the Knowledge Pathway. There will also be "Print this Page" buttons located on all the Practice Questions and Related Tools and Resources within the Knowledge Pathway.

Maintaining a hard copy of PEN materials, even for your personal reference, is not recommended as PEN is updated regularly and static copies may become outdated quickly. Unless you visit PEN frequently to check out "What's New", you will not be aware that the copy of document that you've made is outdated. As well, other than printing single copies of PEN materials for your own personal non-commercial use, research or study, you may not copy, store in a retrieval system, transmit in any form by any means, rent, lend, sell, or modify any materials from the website except where explicitly stated on certain materials.


Q. How do I customize the “Distributed by” box in the PEN client handouts?
Skip to step 5 if your logo is already uploaded or if you dont want your logo included.

Step 1: Click on My Profile

Step 2: Click on Edit Preferences


 


Step 3: Click on Browse and find the logo you want.

Step 4: Click Save


 


Step 5: Navigate to the PEN client handout you wish to customize

Step 6: Click on “Customize and Share This Resource” button


Step 7: If you want your logo to appear, make sure the Include checkbox is checked. Otherwise uncheck it.

Step 8: Move your cursor to the “Distributed by” box and begin typing the information you wish to place in the “Distributed by” box. You can enter up to 6 lines of text. The “Distributed by” box will not accept images.

Step 9: Click "PDF Preview" to view this content which will display on the last page. Make sure the Include checkbox is checked if you want to include your logo.

Step 10: A copy of the handout containing your “Distributed by” information can be printed from the PDF preview.


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Search

Q. How do I search for Knowledge Pathways, Practice Questions and other tools and resources?

A. You can search for Knowledge Pathways, Practice Questions and Tools and Resources by using the Simple Search textbox (top right hand corner of every page) or the Advanced Search (top right hand corner of every page). Both of these search tools are also located in the middle of the home page just below the navigation bar. Look for the magnifying glass icon. The Simple Search returns all relevant findings including questions, tools and resources. The Advanced Search can be used if you want to find, for example, only the relevant Knowledge Pathways. Both searches will return all results ordered by relevancy. You also have the options to list the results in Last Update, Title, or Resource Type.

(Relevancy: The pertinence of a search result to a specified search term, determined by a number of factors including the search result’s title, keywords and category, the occurrence of the search term in the search result and the positioning of the search term in the search result.)

 

Q: Are there any tips that can help me narrow my search?
A.
Here are some useful Search Tips:

 

Using Keywords in the Search Field
You can search using a single word, or combination of words. Keywords are NOT case sensitive.

If you enter a phrase without quotations such as Child Nutrition, the search feature will search for all items that include Child AND Nutrition.

A search using a phrase with quotations such as "Child Nutrition" will search for all items that include Child Nutrition as a phrase.

If you are copying the search phrase or sentence from a WORD document where the quotation marks appear - you will need to manually insert the “ “ in the search box as they are stripped during the cut/paste function.

Boolean Search Terms

Use Boolean search terms (AND, OR and NOT) to expand or focus your search.
For example;

A search for Child AND Nutrition will return items with BOTH Child and Nutrition in them.

 

A search for Child OR Nutrition will return items with EITHER of the words Child or Nutrition in them.

 

A search for Child NOT Nutrition will return items with Child that do not have the word Nutrition.

 

Wildcard Symbol

The wildcard symbol (an asterisk *) is another way to expand your search. Wildcard searching is enabled when you specify search terms as term*. For example;

Entering Nut* will find results that start with the word “nut” (such as nutrition, nutrient, nutrients, and so on).

 

Word Stemming

Each search will attempt to identify if each search term is a dictionary term (Microsoft SQL Server Dictionary). If the word is a dictionary term then the search applies word stemming. For example;

A search for cramped will search for “cramps”, “cramping”, “cramped” and “cramp”

 

French Word Searches

Searches of French words with accents are supported. Search terms containing accents will return exact matches to that term. For example;

A search for bactérie will return all results containing the exact term “bactérie”

 

Searches on French accented words without including the accents in the search term will also return matches to the accented French word. The search will strip any formatting (i.e. accents) on French words and search for an exact match. For example;

A search for “bacterie” will return all results containing the term “bacterie” or “bactérie”

 

Please note: Word stemming is not supported on French search terms.

 

Special Terms

There are a number of special terms used in the field of Dietetics that are recognized by the search. For example;

Searching on vitamin B2 yields search results relevant to all permutations of the term Vitamin B2, including vit B2, vitamin B2 and riboflavin

 

Searching on F returns search results relevant to the term fluoride

 

Searching on folate returns search results relevant to the term folate, folacin or folic acid

 

Noise Terms

Common noise words such as “is”, “this” and “that” will not be searched on when included in the search term. The numbers 1-9 are considered noise terms by the search and will not show results unless they are part of a special term.


Q: How do I make more than one selection from lists using Advanced Search?
A. To select more than one criterion within the "Target Group", "Nutrition and Lifestyle", "Clinical Nutrition" or "Food Nutrient Issues" fields, press and hold the Ctrl key while making your selections.

 

Q: I can't find what I'm looking for. What should I do?
A. Your search criteria are possibly too detailed. Try to simplify your search and use the search tips [Link to Previous Question (Search Tips)] provided. For a general topic you can also look at the Table of Contents as a quick check to see if that topic has been addressed in PEN.

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Submitting Practice Questions

Q. How do I submit a practice question?
A.
Click on "Submit A Practice Question" on the right-hand side of the Knowledge Pathway and practice question pages, and follow the instructions.

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Glossary

Q. How do I find out the definitions of certain terms?
A.
Place your mouse over any in-text term that is double-underlined in green and the definition will be displayed in a little pop up box. You may also click on the Glossary menu item to view all PEN definitions in alphabetical order.

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Citing PEN

Q. How do I reference a knowledge pathway or question in PEN?
A.
When PEN content is referenced, the following citation should be used:
Dietitians of Canada. <name / title of Knowledge Pathway / practice question / PEN tool or resource used>. In: Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition [PEN]. <date the Knowledge Pathway / practice question / PEN tool or resource used was last updated>[<insert date cited>]. Available from: http://www.pennutrition.com. Access only by subscription.

Example:
Dietitians of Canada. Is flax seed or flax seed oil safe to take during pregnancy? In: Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition [PEN]. 2007 March 17 [cited 2007 Mar 29]. Available from: http://www.pennutrition.com. Access only by subscription.

Q. How do I reference a PEN handout?
A.
When a PEN handout is referenced, the following citation should be used:
Dietitians of Canada. <PEN handout - / title of the PEN handout used>. Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition [PEN] Knowledge Pathway <title of the knowledge pathway>. <date the PEN handout was last updated> [<insert date cited>]. Available from: http://www.pennutrition.com. Access only by subscription.


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Feedback

Q. How do I send feedback?
A.
You can send feedback using the "Contact Us" form located on the top toolbar of each page.

Q. How can I get involved in PEN?
A.
If you would like to volunteer to help with the development of a knowledge pathway, send us a note using the "Become and PEN Writer or Reviewer button" form on the right hand side of the page. We are always looking for authors and reviewers. PEN authors and reviewers are individuals with expertise in a specific practice area. They may be researchers, academics or practitioners working directly with clients/patients. Interns, graduate and undergraduate students may also be mentored as authors, working in conjunction with their preceptor or university professor and a member of the PEN Team. Skill in critical appraisal is an important area of expertise to be a PEN author or reviewer. DC offers an online course in critical appraisal - Evidence-based Tutorial to support skill development

You can also submit your own Practice Questions by clicking on "Submit A Practice Question" on the right-hand side of a Knowledge Pathway or practice question page. While we don't promise to be able to address all practice questions that are submitted, they are used to help determine interest and need for additions to PEN. You can also send us feedback by clicking the Contact Us button.

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My Profile

Q. How do I update my personal profile?
A.
It is important to keep your PEN personal profile up to date as it is not linked to the member database for Dietitians of Canada. Click on the "Manage Your Profile" link displayed beside your name on the PEN home page, or on the My Profile link at the top right-hand side of each page. Now you can update your contact information to ensure receipt of messages from PEN.

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Writing For PEN®

Writing for PEN® - if you are interested in knowing more about what is involved in being an author for PEN® please refer to the PEN® Writer's Guide. If you are interested in being a PEN author please complete the submission form on the PEN® Home page.

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My PEN® Favourites

Q. How do I add a resource to my PEN® Favourites?
A.
To add a resource to my PEN® Favourites, click on the star icon next to the title of the resource.  The star will turn gold when it's been successfully added to your favourites.  

  

You can access a list of your favourites by clicking on the My PEN® Favourites icon on the home page.

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Practice-based Evidence Toolkits [PETs] 

Q: How do I navigate through PETs?
A: PETs are a ‘one-stop-shop’ for evidence-based practice guidance for dietetics, specific to a particular knowledge pathway. They are organized according to Nutrition Care Process (NCP) steps, as described by standard terminology (International Dietetics and Nutrition Terminology - IDNT). 
 
There are three main ways to find PETs:
 
1.   On the PEN® Home page, click on the Toolkit icon that leads to all available toolkits.

 


 
2.   In the Knowledge Pathway Table of Contents page, click on any of the magnifying glasses under the Toolkit/PGS column. 
 

 
3.   When in a knowledge pathway, click on the Toolkit tab on the right hand side.
      The Toolkit tab will only display as an option if the knowledge pathway has a toolkit. 

 

 

Looking at the screen shot of a toolkit below:
  • At the top upper right, there are tabs where you can print a page or the whole toolkit. Note: the Print Toolkit function also allows you to view the toolkit in its entirety if preferred over the Nutrition Care Process sections.
  • You can click on any of the items on the right-hand side of the Toolkit Table of Contents to get direct access to any section within the toolkit. 
  • You can also access related areas of the knowledge pathway through the tabs below the Toolkit Table of Contents - Background, Practice Questions, Evidence Summary and Related Tools and Resources.

 

 
PETs also provides quick access to PEN® client handouts and 3rd party peer reviewed handouts in the Nutrition Education Resources section. 
Country-specific information is available for Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

       When information is country-specific, click the box at the top of the page for the desired country information and it will be displayed (or alternatively, un-click the box to hide it).

 
 
 
Watch for Table of Content headings with a “+” beside them. It means that there are contents hidden underneath the heading. Be sure to click on it to see other topics!