Happy Anniversary Highlight HEALTH, ScienceRoll & Sterile Eye!

13 12 2011

Starting a blog is easy. But maintaining a blog costs time and effort. Especially when having a job/while studying (and having a private life as well).

This blog almost celebrates its 4th year (February 2012).

I’m happy to notice that many established (bio)medical & library blogs, that inspired me to start blogging, are still around.

Like one of the greatest medical blogs, CasesBlog by Dr Ves Dimov. And the medlib blogs The Search Principle blog by Dean Giustini and the Krafty Librarian by Michelle Kraft.

All these blogs are still going strong.

The same is true for the blog ScienceRoll by Bertalan Mesko (emphasis on health 2.0), that celebrated its 5th anniversary last month. That same month Sterile Eye (Life, death and surgery through a lens) celebrated its 4th year of existence.

This month Highlight Health (main author Walter Jessen) celebrates its 5th year anniversary.

And the nice thing is that Highlight Health celebrates this with prize pack giveaways.

There are 4 drawings. Each prize pack consist of the following:

All you have to do is to subscribe to the blog in the form of an email alert. People, like me, who are already subscribers are also eligible to participate in the drawings. (see this post for all info)

With so many ‘golden oldies’ around, I wonder about you, my audience. Do you blog? And if you do, for how long? Please tell me in the poll below.

If you are a (bio)medical, library or science blogger (blogging in English), I would appreciate if you could fill in this spreadsheet as well. You are free to edit the spreadsheet and add names of other bloggers as well.





Multi-Author Medical Blogs – At the End it is all about Credibility

9 03 2011

Recently, Bertalan Mesko (Berci on Twitter) was asking his twitter followers whether they had a favorite Web 2.0 story.  Berci needed examples for his yearly “Internet in Medicine course” at the university of Debrecen.

Doctor Ves (drVes) and Berci discussed various examples of blogs that had grown in a way: a blog that branched from blog to most popular podcast/physician-radio host (Dr. Anonymous), Kevinmd.com starting from a solo blog with 2-line snippets to a HuffPost-style conglomerate, DiabetesMine becoming a group voice with increasing popularity and industry recognition and Dean Giustini’s start from blog to the openmedicine journal based on WordPress.

And while those are all great examples, I just wondered whether growth from single to multi-authored blogs is per definition “the best” and something one should strive for. Does growth in number of authors automatically mean: “growth” of the blog? And in what respect? Is sheer growth of traffic and a greater audience the most important?

This blog regularly had guest posts in the pasts and they were surely an enrichment. Shamsha Damani was the main contributor. Her welcomed posts were in line with the theme of this blog (evidence based medicine, library-related topics), but had a fresh new look at certain topics (see for instance Grey literature time to make it systematic and  Uptodate versus Dynamed. The post were written by Shamsha, but I reviewed them before publication. Because after all, I’m responsible for the blogs content.

Guest posts/co-authorships can help to post more often. Variety in topics, style and perspectives may  further engage the readership and enhance traffic.

All good things. However, there is a big BUT, the BUT of quality and consistency.

If the blog has a theme or a focus, all authors should more or less adhere to it. Writers can have different opinions and perspectives but these should not be in conflict with the basic principles. And it surely shouldn’t be nonsense!

Good examples of blogs where authors replenish each other while adhering to a basic style are: Life in the Fast Lane (focus: emergency medicine and critical care, education, web.20 & fun) and the Health Informaticists (pretty much the scope of this blog: EBM, health 2.0, knowledge management).

Another good example is Science Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog. Last year however one author (Amy Tuteur) resigned after

….”it had become clear to both the editors of SBM and Dr. Tuteur herself that, although Dr. Tuteur had routinely been able to stimulate an unprecedented level of discussion regarding the issues we at SBM consider important, SBM has not been a good fit for her and she has not been a good fit for SBM“.

Splitting up can be a good decision in case of unresolvable differences in approach. It was remarkable however that part of the  readers (167 comments to the post) were sad about Amy Tuteur’s leave, because they found her posts stimulating and engaging. Some people like (literally) thought provoking posts, while others rather see thoughtful (and sometimes predictable) posts supported by evidence.

Posts that don’t fit in can pose great credibility problems, not only for co-authored blogs, but also for blogs with guest posts. The well known KevinMD blog, cited above because it has grown from a single to a multi-author blog, recently came under fire because of a controversial guest post. Two (almost) equally famous “skeptic” bloggers devoted an entire post to this mishap, Orac of Respectful Insolence:Say it ain’t so, Dr. Pho! Credulity towards alternative medicine on KevinMD” and Steven Novella at Neurologica Blog wrote That treatment is not based on science? Don’t Worry, says KevinMD.

In his guest post “Why alternative care seems to work“, Peter Weiss assumes that people don’t try (or are even unwilling(!) to try CAM, because they don’t know the working mechanism. Weis’s post is a credulous plea for CAM:

Don’t get so hung up on the explanation that you don’t believe in, that you’re unwilling to try a practice that might actually help you.  Just keep an open mind.  You don’t have to know everything about how things work; you just have to know that they work. Just like, do I really understand electricity or do I just know that if I turn the light switch, the light comes on?

Weis tries to prove his point by saying that a highly prescribed drug as Lunesta has no known working mechanism either. Besides that this is ludicrous comparison, it isn’t true either. We do have a clue as to how Lunesta works (albeit falsifiable like everything in Science). Furthermore, Lunesta is effective whereas there is no such evidence for acupuncture or chiropractic. So should we just go and try and see instead of making an informed decision on basis of evidence  and plausibility?

This post is unlike the critical voice we usually hear from Kevin Pho. Regularly he warns against overtreatment and unnecessary screening,  for instance.

Bloggers seldom critic each other, but this quack-like post has led Steven Novella to conclude:

Weiss’s post on KevinMD is very disappointing, and unfortunately indicates that the filter on that blog for guest posts does not appear to be adequate. I hope it does not indicate a shift in philosophy away from science-based medicine, which would be worse.

Orac is much harsher.  He even devotes two posts to the topic. In style with the blog title he rages a respectful insolent rant: he will remove Kevin MD from his blogroll and will cease to recommend Kevin’s blog as a reliable source of medical information.

Orac -and many of his readers are also displeased with Kevin’s response (where he does admit they are kind of right):

Orac,

I appreciate the critique. As readers of this blog know, I often post pieces here I don’t necessarily agree with myself to promote discussion and debate. Your concerns are certainly valid, and will be taken into consideration as I choose future pieces.

Best,
Kevin

Orac even spent a second post to show the ridiculosity of  teaching the controversy in medicine by “posting pieces you don’t necessarily agree with” . What annoyed people the most was the lack of a disclaimer or an informed comment.

Basically I agree that Kevin should select more critically* and if a bad posts slips through, he should retract, openly criticize, or at least (directly) comment to the post. Indirectly saying that you will be more careful next time is not enough, IMHO. Furthermore comments were closed very soon, not giving people ample chance to respond.

On the other hand, Kevin agrees with the critique on multiple occasions. Also, I do not think that he has only traffic in mind when he includes many guest posts. He invites readers to “Submit a guest post to be heard on social media’s leading physician voice”. In line with this, Kevin once rejected a nomination in the Medgadget blog contests, probably so that some lesser known blogger would get more recognition out of the awards (roguemedic.com). Furthermore, many of the guest posts are interesting and of high quality. Thus, hopefully, this is an exception.

Anyway, this incident illustrates a pitfall of multi-author or multi-guest blogs. Posts should not be in conflict with  the basic principles of the blog. This will be directly noticed by experts in the field and certainly by skeptics), who immediately pounce on any contradictory message. But eventually conflicting standpoints may also dismay or -even worse- confuse other readers (patients, lay people).

In the end blogging is not only about the traffic. It is about credibility. It is not even about your own reputation, it is about the credibility of medical blogs in general.

*************************************

*Earlier, in a short discussion on Twitter dr Ves pointed out: “Well, Kevin is the publisher and he decides what deserves to get in, readers decide whether to follow… Similar to newspaper”. He also stresses we can’t tell KevinMD what to publish. Which is true. However, Kevin Pho and other prominent medical bloggers have a great responsibility towards an audience consisting of people  who seek to be well-informed. Medical statements should be accurate and assumptions should be plausible.
By the way, even newspapers make corrections now and then.

Related Articles





MedLibs Round: Update & Call for Submissions June 2010

4 06 2010

In the past months we had some excellent hosts of the round, really “la crème de la crème” of the medical information/libarary blogosphere:

2010 was heralded by Dr Shock MD PhD, followed by Emerging Technologies Librarian (@pfanderson) The Krafty Librarian (@krafty) and @Eagledawg (Nikki Dettmar).

Nikki  hosted the round for a second time, but now on her new blog: Eagledawg.net. The title: E(Patients)-I(Pad)-O(pportunities):Medlibs Round

Last Month the round was hosted by Danni (Danni4info) at The Health Informaticist, my favorite English EBM-library blog. It is a great round again, about “dealing with PubMed trending analysis, liability in information provision, the ‘splinternet’, a search engine optimisation (SEO) teaser from CILIP’s fresh off the presses Update magazine, and more. Missed it? You can read it here.

And now we have a few days left to submit our posts for the Next MedLibs Round, hosted by yet another excellent EBM/librarian blogger: @creaky at EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC.

She would like posts about “Reference Questions (or People) I Won’t Forget” (thus “memorable” encounters that took place in a public service/reference desk setting, over your career) or “how the library/librarian” has helped you.
But as always other relevant and good quality posts related to medical information and medical librarianship will also be considered.

For more details see the (2nd!) Call for submissions post at EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

I am sure you all have a story to tell. So please share it with @creaky and us!

As always, you can submit the permalink (URL) (of your post(s) on your blog) here.

************

I would also like to take the opportunity to ask if there are any med- or medlib-bloggers out there who would like to host the MEDLIBS round August, September, October.

The MEDLIBs Round is still called the MedLibs round because I got too little response (6 votes including mine) to the poll with other name suggestions. Neither did I get any suggestions regarding the design of the MEDLIBS-logo, Robin of Survive the Journey has offered to make [for details see request here]. I hope you will take the time to fill in the poll below, and to think about any suggestions for a logo. Thanks!

@ links to the twitteraccounts





Researchblogging Awards. Beaten by a (Former) Rat.

23 03 2010

The winners of the Researchblogging contest have been selected.

I was rudely confronted with the harsh reality that I lost from a fellow Philosophy, Research, or Scholarship blogger, Richard Grant of Confessions of a (former) Lab Rat (and  previously of Life of a Lab Rat).

Very subtle Richard just left a note: “Sorry”.

“Thanks” Richard! And congratulations from the bottom of my heart… (no kidding, I really mean congrats!)
But in one respect you were wrong. You said: “We don’t have the sort of blogs that win awards” Well at least you were half wrong. ;)

Ed Yong of Not Exactly Rocket Science (No?) deserves a special mention, because he won in 3 (!) categories: Research blog of the year, blog post of the year and best lay-level blog. So if you don’t know this blogger it may well be worthwhile to take a look at his blog.

Of course this is also true for all other winners (depicted below).
You can visit their blogs and/or see their Research Blogging (RB) Page.

Congrats to all winners! And heads up to all other finalists. You’re winners too!





Research Blogging Awards 2010

5 03 2010

Research Blogging Awards 2010It is now possible to vote for the winners of the 2010 Research Blogging Awards.

Yet another blog contest, I can hear you say.

Yes, another blog contest, but a very special one. It is a contest among outstanding bloggers who discuss peer-reviewed research.

There are over 1,000 blogs registered at ResearchBlogging.org., responsible for 9,500 posts about peer-reviewed journal articles.

By February 11, 2010, readers had made over 400 nominations. Then, according to researchblogging.org, “the expert panel of judges painstakingly assessed the nominees to select 5 to 10 finalists in each of 20 categories”.

The categories include:

  • Research Blog of the Year  with some excellent blogs like Neuroskeptic (RB page) and Science-Based Medicine (RB page)
  • Blog Post of the Year
  • Research Twitterer of the Year including David Bradley, Dr. Shock and Bora Zivkovic
  • Best New Blog (launched in 2009)
  • Best Expert-Level blog 
  • Best Lay-Level blog 
  • Funniest Blog 
  • Blogs in other languages, like German and Chinese
  • Blogs according to specialty like Biology, Health, Clinical Research, NeuroScience, Psychology etc

I was surprised and honored to note that Laika’s MedLiblog is finalist in the section Philosophy, Research, or Scholarship. Another librarian, Anne Welsh of First Person Narrative is also finalist in this section.

  1. First Person Narrative (RB page)
  2. Christopher Leo (RB page)
  3. The Scientist (RB page)
  4. Laika’s MedLibLog (RB page)
  5. Good, Bad, and Bogus (RB page)

It is now up to you, researchbloggers to vote for your favorite blogs. You don’t need to vote for all categories. It is simply too much and in case of Chinese blogs wouldn’t make much sense either.

You can only cast your vote if you are registered with ResearchBlogging.org.
If you’re not registered (and you blog about peer-reviewed research), you still have time to register. See here for more information. This way you can vote, and most important, can contribute to ResearchBlogging.org. with your review of peer reviewed scientific articles.

Voting closes on March 14, and awards will be announced on ResearchBlogging.org on March 23, 2010.





BlogWorld Expo [SOTB]: Two Additional Videos

25 10 2009

s739843689_121258_9975 dr valToday I learned there were two more videos realted to the BlogWorld Expo, that I shouldn’t withhold you.

First, the ABC News Covered the Medblogger Track At Blog World Expo. Here is an interview with Dr. Val Jones with Dave Lucas of ABC.

The video “Medical Bloggers On ABC News: Empowering Patients With Accurate Information” is summarized as follows at her blog Get Better Health:

….”Dave Lucas is tired of all the false health information that fills his email inbox each day. He’s very relieved that there are physicians, nurses, and patient advocates “swimming against the tide” of pseudoscience and misleading health information online. Today Dave and I discussed how people can find accurate and potentially life-saving health information through peer-reviewed medical blogs, thanks to the health blogger code of ethics (administered by MedPage Today)”.

Another interview was with Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and author of Running a Hospital. Paul participated in a panel discussion as part of the Medblogger Track (co-sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and MedPage Today). Because the video is barely audible, I just mention his main statements (highlighted in red in the video shown here at the JNJ Health Channel):

  • Paul writes his blogposts without any prior permission or approval process
  • It is quicker to fix a mistake on a blog, than it is in traditional media
  • Biggest regret is responding to sarcastic or hostile comments in kind instead of staying above the fray

Medical Bloggers On ABC News: Empowering Patients With Accurate Information

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BlogWorld Expo [SOTB] & The Status of the Medical Blogosphere

25 10 2009

During my stay in Singapore from October 9th-16th there were 2 other great events, one of them  being the Blogworld Expo, the  World largest Conference on Blogging in the Las Vegas Convention Center. As a matter of fact, I would never have the opportunity to go to such a place, because I’m blogging in my spare time and although it has many spin-offs for my work, I would never have the resources and the time to go there. So, it was with a little jealousy and envy that I followed all those cheerful tweets from my colleague medbloggers. They apparently had a lot to talk about, -also outside the context of the meeting. I even understood that Bongi came all the way from South Africa.  And I can’t say the video below eases the pain ;) :

more about “Scenes from Blog World Expo 2009 and …“, posted with vodpod
Image of Kim McAllister from Facebook
Image of Kim McAllister

It was the first time during the Blogworld Expo there was a medblogging-track. Thanks to the effort of Kim McAllister of Emergiblog. She posted a kind of a *rant* that there was nothing for medbloggers at two events. Seeing this, one organizer of Blogworld Expo commented: we have a place for you if you want to come. Johnson & Johnson were willing to sponsor, and MedPage Today offered an additional sponsorship. Below is an interview with Kim as well as with another well known blogging nurse, Gina Rybolt of Codeblog. In this interview “the conversation turns to why they blog, how they manage to do it without compromising their patient’s privacy and how they wish marketers and pharma brands would approach them.”

Rohit Bhargava who interviewed both nurses also interviewed the famous medical blogger Kevin Pho of KevinMD about why he blogs, what results he has seen and the future of the medical blogosphere the future of Medical Blogging. He makes clear why it is important for doctors to blog. However, there is one major obstacle for busy physicians, namely: TIME!

Want more information an/or pictures on the medblog-part of the conference, please see:

The opening keynote of the Blogworld Expo was delivered by Richard Jalichandra, CEO of Technorati, showing some highlights from their annual study following the growth and trends in the annual State of the Blogosphere. The report was released over five days. (See Techcruch for presentation and short explanation ; the entire report is available at Technorati)

What I found most interesting:

  • In Social Media the content is the conversation.
  • There is a rising class of “professional” bloggers.
  • But still Hobbyists represent 76% of all bloggers
    (I have some problems with the division in ‘professional bloggers’ and ‘hobbyist’ though, since professional bloggers are those regarded as “earning some money” and hobbyists are regarded as those that don’t. I think there should at least be 3 main groups: those blogging as a profession (earn money), those blogging as an expert (mostly) in their free time (professionally) and those writing about their hobbies, children etc (hobbyists).
  • The hobbyists blog for fun and to express themselves
  • 15% is part time professional, they blog to supplement their income and to share their expertise
  • 9% is self-employed, 4% is corporate (see Figure below)
  • Of the professional bloggers 2 thirds are male, 16% are 18-44, are more effluent and educated than the general population and the hobbyist bloggers (hmmm that also pleads against medbloggers not belonging to this group)
  • 73% of all bloggers use Twitter vs 14% of the general population (but nr 1 reason is to promote their blog)
  • 26% of bloggers who also use Twitter say that the service has eaten into the time they spend updating their traditional blogs – though 65% say it has had no effect.
  • on average only .83% of the page views come from Twitter referrals.
  • Advise to succeed: be passionate.
  • Bloggers believe that politics (57%) and technology/business (44%-20%) are among the fields most impacted by the blogosphere, and that they will continue to be transformed by the blogosphere going forward. Health was only mentioned by 5%.

I wonder where/whether Science/Health/Medbloggers fit in? Are they underrepresented in the study? Or do they belong to a minority anyway? See here a discussion on Twitter (catched with QuoteURL)

sotb1 technorati 209

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Blue Ribbon Blog Rally for Free Speech Online; een Blauw Lint voor Vrijheid van Meningsuiting

26 04 2009

I have never been a person who would stoop to self-censoring and I never will be. I’d rather not write at all if I have to stop being frank and honest in my words. -Omid-Reza Mir-Sayafiblackribbonsign

Thanks to T at Notes of an Anesthesioboist for getting this going, a group of bloggers is holding a blog rally in support of Roxana Saberi, who is spending her birthday on a hunger strike in Tehran’s Evin Prison, where she has been incarcerated for espionage. According to NPR, “The Iranian Political Prisoners Association lists hundreds of people whose names you would be even less likely to recognize: students, bloggers, dissidents, and others who, in a society that lacks a free press, dare to practice free expression.” blackribbonsign-2

Hearing reports like these has prompted us to do a ribbon campaign. Blue for blogging.

Please consider placing a blue ribbon on your blog or website this week in honor of the journalists, bloggers, students, and writers who are imprisoned in Evin Prison, nicknamed “Evin University”, and other prisons around the world, for speaking and writing down their thoughts. Also, please ask others to join our blog rally.

Omid, incidentally, means hope in Farsi. Omid-Reza Mir-Sayafi is dead. Hope has to live on.

————————-

Text is from Notes of an Anesthesioboist and Paul Levy of Running a hospital

*********************************************************************

nl vlag NL flagI have never been a person who would stoop to self-censoring and I never will be. I’d rather not write at all if I have to stop being frank and honest in my words. -Omid-Reza Mir-Sayafi

Omid, incidentally, means hope in Farsi. Omid-Reza Mir-Sayafi is dead. Hope has to live on.

T van Notes of an Anesthesioboist heeft ander bloggers opgeroepen om deze week een blauw lint op hun blog te plaatsen. Blauw staat voor bloggen, vrijheid van bloggen wel te verstaan.

De aanleiding is dat de Amerikaans-Iraanse journaliste Roxana Saberi, die beschuldigd wordt van spionage en vastzit in Iran, vandaag haar “verjaardag viert” in een Teheraanse Gevangenis, alwaar ze in hongerstaking is gegaan.blackribbonsign-2

In de Iraanse gevangenis zitten honderden, veel minder bekende mensen gevangen: studenten, bloggers, dissidenten, en anderen die hun vrije mening durfden te uiten in een land dat geen vrije pers toestaat.

In navolging van T wil ik u daarom ook vragen om deze week ook een blauw lint op uw blog of website te plaatsen om alle journalisten, bloggers, studenten, en schrijvers te ondersteunen die gevangen zitten in de Evin gevangenis, ook wel “Evin Universiteit” genoemd, of waar dan ook ter wereld voor het vrij uiten van hun gedachten.

Wilt u ook anderen vragen om aan deze blogrally mee te doen?

Jacqueline.





First Anniversary of this Blog

7 02 2009

118424928_1dabcac6fd

This week is my one year anniversary.

I would like to thank all my readers for following along with my blog.

Thanks for your encouragements, comments and inspiration.

I’m glad I entered the web 2.0 world, but it would have been empty without you.

I hope you keep connected!

Laika (Jacqueline)


Foto credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlietakesphotos/118424928/

Response From Twitter

first-anniversary





What I learned in 2008 (about Web 2.0)

2 02 2009

Grand Round is a weekly collection of the best writing in the medical blogosphere. The coming Grand Rounds (February 3rd, 2009), hosted by Not Totally Rad has the following theme:

February is the first anniversary of my blog. Therefore, the loose theme for submissions will be anniversary-related: write about something cool or important that you’ve learned in the past year.

Well, I have learned a lot in the past year. The most profound personal experience was the death of my father. I experienced how it is to loose a beloved, but I also learned that death and grieve can affect people so deeply that it changes their behavior. I now understand this behavior (anger, mental confusion) is a manifestation of deep grief, which is transient and natural. Luckily our body and mind appear very resilient.

I will restrict to another thing I’ve learned: Web 2.0.
Just like the “Samurai Radiologist” I started a blog in February 2008. Thus Laika’s MedLibLog also celebrates its first anniversary.

Useful Web 2.0 tools

This blog was started as a tool to communicate thoughts, new found skills and ideas with other (>150) SPOETNIK course members, Spoetnik being a Learning 2.0 project to encourage library staff to experiment and learn about the new and emerging Internet technologies.

During the library 2.0 course I learned the basics of blogging, chatting, RSS, Podcasts, Wiki’s and social bookmarking. Each week another item was addressed. This learning program had a direct and positive impact. For instance, I could inform my clients how to create a RSS-feed for PubMed searches. By taking RSS-feeds/email alerts to interesting blogs, wiki’s and journals I kept better informed.

Hard to imagine (now) that I hardly new anything about web 2.0 one year ago.

Web 2.0 is not just a set of tools.

In the beginning I considered blogging largely as a selfish activity. It also appeared a lonely activity. As long as we discussed a course assignment there always was an interaction with at least a handful of other participants. But as soon as the program came to an end, I started to write more and more about medicine, EBM and medical library related matter, which didn’t appeal to most of the other course members. I wrote about things that interested me, but the writing would be absolutely useless if nobody would read it. Thus, how to get an audience?

There were I few things I had to learn and there were a few people who gave me a push in the right direction .

  • Wowter, who gave feedback to my posts right from the start and who encouraged me to continue blogging, posted a list with 17 tips for beginning bloggers (in Dutch) of how to increase visibility and findability of your blog. I became aware that ‘linking’ to others is what is making the web 2.0 world interconnected.
  • Second Dymphie, a Dutch Medical Librarian, encouraged me to start twittering. It took quite a while before I grasped the value of twitter as a networking tool. Twitter is not meant to say “what you do”, but it is a way to share information of any kind. Before you can share it, you first have to find interesting tweeple (people on twitter) and it did take a while before they followed me back (partly because my first tweets weren’t that interesting). Thus I had to learn by trial and error how to become a prolific twitterer.
  • Third I read a very interesting blogpost on “I’m not a geek” of Hutch Carpenter called Becoming a web 2.0 jedi, showing a simple but very accurate chart of the ever deeper levels of involvement one can have with Web 2.0 apps and the Web 2.0 ethos, as Hutch calls them. “Down are the lower levels, those of passive involvement, level 2 is giving up little pieces of yourself, while level 3 is a much bigger sharing experience. Share your own life, share your knowledge, share the stuff you find interesting. A big leap for a lot of us used to being more private. May the force be with you.”
    Seeing his post I realized that my journey had been quite different (figure below, made in September 2008). During the Spoetnik course emphasis was given to the tools themselves not to the ways you should use and share them and contribute to others. We skipped the reading of blogs and wiki’s, the lurking on twitter, but started with chatting, RSS and blogging. Although Web 2.0 tools are the basis, Web 2.0 is more an attitude than the usage of tools, it is about sharing information and thoughts.Or as Dean Giustini says it: It is about people.

The Ecosphere of Twitter and blogs.

I also experienced that all web 2.0 tools are not stand-alone tools, but can reinforce each other. This is for instance true for RSS, bookmarking tools , blogs, but also twitter (a microblogging service). A recent post of Sandnsurf (Mike Cadogan) at Life in the fast Lane uses a brilliant ecosystem metaphore to describe the twitter-blogging relationship. He describes the blogging ecosphere, where twitter decomposes information from journal articles and long blog posts into readily digestible information (nutrients and humus). See Figure from his post below (but read his post here for the whole story). Just like the Jedi chart this diagram illustrate exactly what web 2.0 is about.

Lessons to be learned

I have learned a lot. Am I now a real web 2.0 Jedi?
I’m not sure. In the ecology-model my blog is a young tree, surrounded by many others. But some ecologic dangers are luring.

  • The relative success of my blog results in “an abundance of light which results in a pressure to keep producing enough good quality posts”.
  • I’ve subscribed to so many RSS-feeds I seldomly read them.
  • I have so many twitter-followers (app. 300) that I can’t keep up with all of them as much as I would like to.
  • I read so many things, but haven’t got the time to work them out (or I simply forget).
  • I find it difficult to separate chaff from wheat. Many blogposts and web 2.0 information are not very accurate and superficial. Furthermore people often echo a subject without careful checking or without adding value.

Or in the words of sandnsurf: the death of a blog can ensue due to excessive exposure and Twittaholism. I hope It will not go in that direction, but I have to figure out a way to coop with the overwhelming amount of information and find a balance. That will be part of my (web 2.0) learning process in 2009.

One other thing:

I forgot to mention one very important experience. During my web 2.0 journey I virtually met many interesting, kind and helpful people from all over the world, from US, UK, Eastern Europe to India and Australia. Closer to home I also ‘met’ many very nice Dutch and Belgian people. I never liked the idea of intentional networking, but in web 2.0 the networks arise spontaneously. In a very natural and gradual way I became a member of a large health and library community and that feels good.

You might also want to read:





The 2008 Medical Weblog Awards Polls Are Open!

6 01 2009

award_lr1Just a short notice that you can start voting for your favorite finalists in the Medgadget contest for best medical blogs.

You can find all categories here.

I’m in category: “The best new medical weblog“, for which you can vote here.

I guess that my chances of winning are slim, considering the quality of the other blogs. I’ve become a real fan of [1] Sandsnurf of ‘Life in the Fast Lane, and I regularly read [2] Science-Based Medicine a good quality team-blog about controversies in the relationship between science and medicine, a subject being close to my heart.

New to me are [3] Medtechinsider, another team-blog (editorial staff of Medical Device Technology and European Medical Device Manufacturer), devoted to covering the medical manufacturing industry and its suppliers. And [4] The New Health Dialogue, a policy blog of the New America Foundation.

But let’s not talk too much about the others, shall we….??!! ;)

I truly hope I have earned your vote. But whether you do vote for me or not, please make sure you get to vote for your favorite in each of 7 categories here.

I’m already thrilled having made it to the short list.





The Web 2.0-EBM Medicine split. [1] Introduction into a short series.

4 01 2009

Since the three years I’m working as a medical information specialist, I’ve embraced the concept of evidence based medicine or EBM. As a searcher I spend hours if not days to find as much relevant evidence as possible on a particular subject, which others select, appraise and synthesize to a systematic review or an evidence based guideline. I’m convinced that it is important to find the best evidence for any given intervention, diagnosis, prognostic or causal factor.

Why? Because history has shown that despite their expertise and best intentions, doctors don’t always know or feel what’s best for their patients.

An example. For many years corticosteroids had been used to lower intracranial pressure after serious head injury, because steroids reduce the inflammation that causes the brain to swell. However, in the 1990’s, meta-analyses and evidence-based guidelines called the effectiveness of steroids into question. Because of the lack of sufficiently large trials, a large RCT (CRASH) was started. Contrary to all expectations, there was actually an excess of 159 deaths in the steroid group. The overall absolute risk of death in the corticosteroid group was shown to be increased with 2%. This means that the administration of corticosteroids had caused more than 10,000 deaths before the 1990’s.[1,2,3]

Another example. The first Cochrane Systematic Review, shows the results of a systematic review of RCTs of a short, inexpensive course of a corticosteroid given to women about to give birth too early. The diagram below, which is nowadays well known as the logo of the Cochrane Collaboration, clearly shows that antenatal corticosteroids reduce the odds of the babies dying from the complications of immaturity by 30 to 50 per cent (diamond left under). Strikingly, the first of these RCTs showing a positive effect of corticosteroids, was already reported in 1972. By 1991, seven more trials had been reported, and the picture had become still stronger. Because no systematic review of these trials had been published until 1989, most obstetricians had not realized that the treatment was so effective. As a result, 10.000s of premature babies have probably suffered and died unnecessarily. This is just one of many examples of the human costs resulting from failure to perform systematic, up-to-date reviews of RCTs of health care.[4,5]

The Cochrane logo explained

Less than I year ago I entered the web 2.0-, and (indirectly) medicine 2.0 world, via a library 2.0 course. I loved the tools and I appreciated the approach. Web 2.0 is ‘all about sharing‘ or as Dean Giustini says it: ‘all about people. It is very fast and simple. It is easy to keep abreast of new information and to meet new interesting people with good ideas and a lot of knowledge.

An example. Bertalan Mesko in a comment on his blog ScienceRoll:

I know exactly that most of these web 2.0 tools have been around for quite a long time. Most of these things are not new and regarding the software, there aren’t any differences in most of the cases. But!
These tools and services will help us how to change medicine. In my opinion, the most essential problem of medicine nowadays is the sharing of information. Some months ago, I wrote about a blogger who fights Pompe disease, a rare genetic disorder and he told me about the diagnostic delay. I try to help physicians how they can find information easier and faster. For example: I gave tips how to search for genetic diseases.

Other examples are good functioning and dedicated patient web 2.0 sites, like PatientsLikeMe.

In the medical literature, blogs and slideshare, differences between medicine 2.0 and 1.0 are already described in detail (for instance see the excellent review of Dean Giustini in the BMJ), as well as the differences between medicine 1.0 and EBM (e.g. see the review of David Sackett et al in BMJ).

However, the longer I’m involved in web 2.0, the more I feel it conflicts with my job as EBM-librarian. The approach is so much different, other tools are used and other views shared. More and more I find ideas and opinions expressed on blogs that do EBM no justice and that seem to arise out of ignorance and/or prejudice. On the other hand EBM and traditional medicine often are not aware of web 2.0 sources or mistrust them. In science, blogs and wiki’s seldom count, because they express personal views, echo pre-existing data and are superficial.

split-1231

I’m feeling like I’m in a split, with one leg in EBM and the other in web 2.0. In my view each has got his merits, and these approaches should not oppose each other but should mingle. EBM getting a lower threshold and becoming more digestible and practical, and medicine 2.0 becoming less superficial and more underpinned.

It is my goal to take an upright position, standing on both legs, integrating EBM, medicine 2.0 (as well as medicine 1.0).

As a first step I will discuss some discrepancies between the two views as I encounter it in blogs, in the form of a mini-series: “The Web 2.0-EBM Medicine split”.

Before I do so I will give a short list of what I consider characteristic for each type of medicine, EBM-, Web 1.0 (usual)- and Web 2.0- medicine. Not based on any evidence, only on experience and intuition. I’ve just written down what came to my mind. I would be very interested in your thoughts on this.

EBM – medicine

  • centered round the best evidence
  • methodology-dependent
  • objective, transparent
  • thorough
  • difficult (to make, but for many also to find and also to understand)
  • time-consuming
  • published in peer reviewed papers (except for guidelines)
  • searching: PubMed and other bibliographic databases (to produce) and guideline databases, TRIP, and PubMed (Clinical Queries) or specific sources, i.e. specialist guidelines (to find).
  • Mostly Web 1.0 (with some web 2.0 tools, like podcasts, RSS and e-learning)

Web 1.0 – traditional medicine*

  • centered round clinical knowledge, expertise and intuition
  • opinion-based
  • authority based, i.e.strong beliefs in opinion leaders, expert opinion or ‘authority opinion’ (i.e. head of departments, professor) and own authority versus patient.
  • subjective
  • fast
  • act! (motto)
  • searching: browsing ( a specific list, site or Journals), quick search, mostly via Google**, in pharmacopeia, or protocols and UpToDate seldom in Pubmed (dependent on discipline)
  • Web 1.0: mail, patient-records, quick search via Google and Pubmed

Web 2.0 medicine

  • people-centered and patient-centered (although mostly not in individual blogs of doctors)
  • heavily based on technology (easy to use and free internet software)
  • social-based: based on sharing knowledge and expertise
  • (in theory) personalized
  • subjective, nondirected.
  • often:superficial
  • fast
  • generally not peer reviewed, i.e. published on blogs and wiki’s
  • searching: mostly via free internet sources and search engines, e.g. wikipedia, emedicine, respectively Google**, health metasearch engines, like Mednar and Health Sciences Online. PubMed mainly via third-party-tools like GoPubMed, HubMed and PubReminer. (e.g. see recent listings of top bedside health search engines on Sandnsurf’s blog ‘Life in the Fast Lane’
  • heavily dependent on web 2.0 tools both for ‘publishing’, ‘finding information’ and ‘communication’

*very general. of course dependent on discipline.
** this is not merely my impression, e.g. see: this blogpost on the “Clinical Cases and Images blog” of Ves Dimov, referring to four separate interviews of Dean Giustini with Physician bloggers.

Other references

[1] Final results of MRC CRASH, a randomised placebo-controlled trial of intravenous corticosteroid in adults with head injury-outcomes at 6 months. Edwards P et al. Lancet. 2005 Jun 4-10;365(9475):1957-9.
[2] A CRASH landing in severe head injury. Sauerland S, Maegele M. Lancet. 2004 Oct 9-15;364(9442):1291-2. Comment on: Lancet. 2004 Oct 9-15;364(9442):1321-8.
[3] Corticosteroids for acute traumatic brain injury.Alderson P, Roberts IG. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD000196.
[4] http://www.cochrane.org/logo/
[5] Antenatal corticosteroids for accelerating fetal lung maturation for women at risk of preterm birth.Roberts D, Dalziel SR.Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD004454
[6] How Web 2.0 is changing medicine. Giustini D. BMJ. 2006 Dec 23;333(7582):1283-4.
[7] Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t. Sackett DL et al. BMJ. 1996 Jan 13;312(7023):71-2.






Laika’s MedLibLog in review: 2008

3 01 2009

This blog saw the light in February 2008, so it is almost time to celebrate its anniversary.

Maintaining this blog has been an enjoyable and fruitful -albeit time-consuming- experience.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all readers of this blog for their visits, comments and support! I hope that you will continue to find content here that entices you to read and, even better, comment.subscribing-2

If you like the posts at this blog and you’re not doing this already you might consider:

  • subscribing to my blog by RSS by clicking here (You have to install a reader as well) or
  • subscribing by email by clicking here
  • adding this blog to your Technorati favorites here
  • following me on Twitter here

Or you can simply click on the figures in the sidebar:

I wish you all the best for 2009!

——————————————————————————————————————–

Here is a short review of this first year of blogging.

Highlights were:

———————————————————————————————————————-

An overview of (a selection of) blog posts per subject:*

Searching, Biomedical databases.
PubMed: Past, Present And Future, PART II [1]
PubMed: Past, Present And Future, PART I [10]
Finding assigned MeSH terms and more: PubReminer [16]
BMI bijeenkomst april 2008 [19] [Dutch]
PubMed: Past, Present and Future PART III [39]
New Ovidsp Release Planned August 5th will allow more flexible searching [46]

Evidence Based Searching
The best moment teaching EBM-searching skills [31]
Time to weed the (EBM-)pyramids?! [35]
New Cochrane Handbook: altered search policies [-]
Podcasts: Cochrane Library and MedlinePlus [-]
New cochrane handbook: altered search policies [-]

Evidence Based Medicine, Methodology
Nursing Myths (1): Post-operative Temperative Measurements [2]
The Best Study Design… For Dummies [3]
Huge disappointment: Selenium and Vitamin E fail to Prevent Prostate Cancer.[7]
The (un)usefulness of regular breast exam [9]
FREE online course on evidence-based health care [14]
Thesis Mariska Leeflang: Systematic Reviews of Diagnostic Test Accuracy [18]
CC (2) Duodecim: Connecting patients (and doctors) to the best evidence [49]
Podcasts: Cochrane Library and Medlineplus [-]

Clinical practice, Consumer-related Subjects, Addison’s Disease
Changing care (for Addison patients) [11]
The importance of early intervention in an Addisonian Crisis[13]
23andMe: 23notMe, not yet [15]
Anatomy Lesson 2008: Living in Fear [20]
Etiquette-Based Medicine [22]
The OpenECGproject: an admirable Web 2.0 [42]

Science
The Real Sputnik Virus [4]
Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams [6]
#Sciblog – a bird-eye’s view from the camera
Evolution and Medicine. Cancer and adaptive immune responses as evolutions ‘within’.

Web 2.0 tools
Incorrect Google Incoming Links? [5]
Delicious Google Toolbar [9]
Google Reader and other free (learning) tools [17]
Visualize your blog (words) with Wordle [21]
Locate Your Visitors (2) [23]
Forget Hyves. Go Twitter! [24]
Possibly an announcement about possibly related posts [25]
Locate-your-visitors [30]
Technorati Rank & Authority Dropping[38]
Blog Spam and Spam Blogs (1) [44]
WikiMindMap to Organize Wiki Content [50]

Other
For Palin & Obama, Fun & Photo’s [8]
A really delicious blog …[12]

Dutch Grand Round and other blog carnivals
.: See the category Grand Round
For Spoetnik Course search for the Category Spoetnik (preliminary Dutch)
For Personal matter search for the category Personal

*([nr] indicates the popularity of the post according to WordPress stats, from 1 [most popular] to 50. Not all posts are shown.





Spoetnik Symposium

27 11 2008

Yesterday the Spoetnik Symposium was held (see my previous announcement here).

SPOETNIK was a 17 week course on NEW (web 2.0) internet communication methods for librarians. The main target group consisted of UBA (University Library of Amsterdam) librarians. In total, there were more than 160 course members, each having his own blog.

The organizing UBA-spoetnik team, organized the Spoetnik symposium to learn from each other what has been done with the knowledge obtained a half after the course had finished.

The program was as follows:

14.00 Opening by Robin van Schijndel
14.10 Since SPOETNIK – part1: Blogging after SPOETNIK by Jacqueline (alias Laika)
14.25 Since SPOETNIK – part2: Colleagues about SPOETNIK by Alice Doek
14.40 Group discussions
15.30 Koffie- en theepauze
15.45 Feedback from the discussion groups
16.15 Since SPOETNIK – part 3: New applications by Pascal Braak
16.30 Closure and drink

spoetnikThe symposium started a few minutes later because Jacqueline was a bit late: she had to take off Laika’s astronaut suit (well kind of, she torn her new pantyhose and had to find a new one (that didn’t fit), she dubbelchecked whether she took her USB-stick with her and she forgot her glasses). It could have been worse, because it was just a few hours in advance that Jacqueline found out that the meeting was not in THE Doelenzaal at the Kloverniersburgwal but in the (also beautiful and old) Doelenzaal (zaal = room) in the UBA (main library of the University of Amsterdam). Of course, everyone else just knew this. That underlined the feeling that the Academical Medical Center and most other departments of the UBA are both physically and mentally apart, although still connected.

The atmosphere was very relaxed. Before the speeches, there was a lot of rumor or as Alice said: it is like a reunion. And that ‘s how it felt! Finally I had the chance to meet my colleague bloggers in real life. I met Boekenvlindertje, Duijfje, Dyoke of Zygomorf (which I had always wrongly pronounced as Díe Joke, should be Dieuwke) and Turquoois, and I had long chat with Bert of “Een beetje adjunct” and finally with my blogmate George of Brughagedis, the one with whom I shared Google Docs, but never a drink, before. Both Bert and George have written a blogpost about this meeting (see here and here)

Although George doesn’t want to be in the picture, he was mentioned in the introductory speech of Robin as one person that ‘meant a lot for the course’. That is certainly true. You need some active contributors to inspire the rest. Besides George was the first to create an OPML-feed of all blogs (together with Pascal) which made it a lot easier to keep up with all Spoetnik blogs.

My talk was next. In 15 minutes I had to outline “Blogging after Spoetnik”. How did I continue when the course was finished? Here is my powerpoint presentation.

The theme I choose was “Blogging is navel gazing?!”. I notice that many people (including myself in the pre-web 2.0 phase) consider blogging as something egocentric, just an outlet for one’s feelings and frustrations, or hobbies and thoughts. What I hoped to show is that web 2.0 is not just a set of web 2.0 tools, but it is a whole philosophy. It is the philosophy of gaining momentum when sharing. But to do this you have to be patient, you must have a story to tell (content) and than you have to find readers, else you will remain ‘lonely’. I recommended twitter as a very good source to build up a community, if you use it the right way (find people to share things with). Although I have to say that it is a lot easier for me, as a health 2.0 blogger to find a large global community than someone specialized in Dutch linguistics.
Thus I feel committed to write an introduction on how to use Twitter effectively. Preferably in Dutch: at least 2 UBA colleagues spontaneously said they regret that I had changed to English.

Alice told us the origin of Spoetnik and gave an overview of the opinions of many other well known Dutch librarians about the course. The comment of Wowter was missing however, possibly because he expected Alice to use a web 2.0 way of finding it (Feeds and Twitter). (You can read his -Dutch- comment here). Many other libraries will follow the example of Spoetnik and 23 Dingen, although in a shorter version.

Pascal showed us that there were many new web 2.0 tools ( a few slides with last week’s additions), but according to Pascal none of them was really new, but all variations on a theme. He did whisper that he had a new twitter-firefox api for me, so I hope he will provide me with further details.

In between we discussed in groups what we had learned from the course, what we liked and didn’t like about different tools. Using Google Docs, we brainstormed about how we could implement web 2.0 tools in our library, UBA-wide. A very interesting part of the program, this exchange of thoughts. Robin gave a quick overview of the ideas, but shortly all input will be available at the Spoetnik-website together with the presentations.

The Spoetnik course has been a success, this meeting was a success and hopefully the implementation will also be a success. As Bert said: step by step. Rome wasn’t build in a day. Besides most UBA people are now involved in the implementation of a new program: Aleph. This has to be handled first.








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