Webicina Presents: PeRSSonalized Medical Librarianship: Selected Blogs, News, Journals and More

13 08 2010

One and a half-year ago I wrote about PeRSSonalized Medicine, developed by Bertalan Mesko or Berci. It is part of Webicina, which “aims to help physicians and other healthcare people to enter the web 2.0 era with quality medical information and selected online medical resources”.

The RSS in PeRSSonalized Medicine stands for Real Simple Syndication, which is a format for delivering regularly changing web content, i.e. from Journals. However, if you use PeRSSonalized Medicine, you don’t need to have a clue what RSS is all about. It is easy to use and you can personalize it (hence the name)

In the previous post I discussed several alternatives of PeRSSonalized Medicine. You can never tell how a new idea, or project or a new business will develop. We have seen Clinical Reader come and disappear. PeRSSonalized Medicine however really boomed. Why? Because it is free, because it has an altruistic goal (facilitate instead of earning money), because users are involved in the development and because it keeps evolving on basis of feedback.

PeRSSonalized Medicine develops fast. There is not a week that I don’t see a new section: Nephrology, Genetics, Diabetes whatever.

And this week tada tada tada … it is the turn of the Medical Librarianship, with Journals, Blogs, News and Web 2.0 tools. Please have a look yourself. You can personalize it at wish, and if you miss something, please mail to Webicina.

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Clinical Reader, a Fancy New Aggregator – But All is not Gold that Glitters

3 08 2009

Before I went on vacation (July 14th) I started a blogpost about Clinical Reader, a new aggregator. However, a Twitter riot -started July 13th- drastically changed my view of Clinical reader and I decided to await further developments till my return. Alas, things have only worsened.

The adapted blogpost consists of two parts: a neutral look from the outside (original draft) and a look behind the scenes: how social media and web 2.0 tools should not be used.

I submit this post to the Grand Rounds, not only to inform you about a potential fancy aggregator, but also to warn potential users to “look before you leap”.

Please note that the figures shown in the first part are all screendumps taken at July 13th or earlier and might no longer exist in this form (note added after publication, as all sentences in this color)

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Earlier this year (see post) I compared PeRSSonalized Medicine, a new aggregator, created by Bertalan Meskó to various other aggregators: Amedeo, MedWorm and Libworm, Netvibes, I-Google and RSS-Readers, (i.e.) Google Reader.

Most of these readers (can) track medical journals or news, some (can) also track blog posts and web 2.0 tools (like PeRSSonalized Medicine and MedWorm).  PeRSSonalized Medicine excels by the input from the readers (doctors, health 2.0 people and patients), Amadeo and especially Medworm have large lists of journals to choose from. All these aggregators can be personalized. Of course Netvibes, I-Google and RSS-Readers give the utmost freedom in compiling list feeds, but one first has to learn how to use them. And although it is not difficult, it means a hurdle to many.

June 29th, a new aggregator was launched, Clinical Reader, specifically designed for busy clinicians to reduce the information overload.

1. From the Mission Statement:

We are building a user-friendly platform that will enable medical professionals around the world the ability to easily interact with the latest developments in their respective specialties. Our aim is to bring academic content together and create a semantic digital medical library.

10-7-2009 9-16-36 Clinical Reader node——————

2. What it is and what it isn’t.

Clinical Reader is website that syndicates content via RSS/Atom (aggregator), enabling busy clinicians to easily browse top medical journals, health news sources and multimedia without having a clue what RSS is about (and for free). The same is true for other aggregators discussed previously: PeRSSonalized Medicine, Amedeo and MedWorm. In fact the presentation of the feeds looks pretty similar (see Fig. for comparison of Clinical Reader and Perssonalized Medicine). Disadvantage of these kind of aggregators is that only the first items are shown, and as these often are editorials, comments, correspondence and news, the physician still has to follow the link to the journal to see most of the (true) articles.

3-8-2009 0-51-08 clinical reader vs pss medicine

In contrast to the aforementioned  services, the “RSS-feeds” of Clinical Reader cannot be personalized (a personal selection of journals). There is however the possibility to select an entire clinical section, each with its own selection of specialist journals. And according to Rashada Henry, associate editor of ClinicalReader.com (commenting on Bertalan Mesko’s post), open or closed personal pages may become an option in due course.

10-7-2009 10-13-21 Clinical reader sections

3. What’s new?

As said, the idea isn’t new, Clinical Reader is an old concept in a new guise. But what a guise. It is a glimmering site with prints of the main journals on the home page. It has the appearance of an i-pod touch: you can scroll the sources with your mouse and click the ones you would like to read. Wow, I was immediately taken by it.

10-7-2009 9-21-33 Clinical Reader

4. Coverage

The emphasis is on medical journals and news. But there is also a page for with a selection of 14 Medical Blogs. There are also plans to include top Twitter doctors worth following (spreadsheet prepared by Ves Dimov, MD), for nurses, open access … and top medical librarians blogs (worth following for doctors). Following Ves’ example I made a spreadsheet of useful medical librarian blogs, open to editing here

The original spreadsheet looked like this:

10-7-2009 0-30-55 excel top medlib

The preview of the medical librarian page (how it would look when incorporated) looked like this.

10-7-2009 9-05-43

The address was: http://medical-librarians.clinicalreader.com/phase3.php – but when I came back the link was dead?!….

The other side of the coin

Apart from the fact that the site was not as revolutionary as suggested, there were some basic things about the site that were of some concern. The “About us” section contains no names, picture, verifiable info, etc. It only says: “Clinical Reader was brought to life in 2009 by a junior doctor and a small group of forward thinking young tech programmers spread across London and Toronto.” Furthermore I wondered whether NLM would ever give stars to commercial tools like this. I wondered, but no more than that….

1. Starry ethics fail
Nikki Dettmar, a medical librarian at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) did take a closer look. In a blogpost Starry ethics fail she says that:

it is with concern that I’ve heard about some of my colleagues promoting and collaborating with the newly launched company, Clinical Reader.

Why? (red scrawl emphasis mine)

This above-the-page-fold graphic is intentional (not accidental, this is clear marketing intent to lend quick visual credibility to the organization) and currently displayed everywhere (homepage, sections pages, multimedia page, the newsletter, etc.) throughout the resource.

It is bogus as far as the National Library of Medicine (NLM) is concerned since the U.S. Government doesn’t endorse or grant 5 stars to anything. The NLM Copyright Information page offers more elaboration, ….

Later Ben Goldacre (MD, columnist for the Guardian) concludes in a Twitter discussion regarding the endorsement by the Guardian (source http://eagledawg.blogspot.com/2009/07/gratitude.html).

bengoldacre @ClinicalReader so youre supported by the guardian in the sense that you went to an event they organised and some people gave you sm advice? 2 weeks, 5 days ago from TweetDeck in reply to ClinicalReader

2. Infringement of copyright

Nikki was also the first to notice the use of two copyrighted, unattributed images:

Clinical Reader also currently uses two copyrighted images on their Partners (specific original source, copyright notice at bottom) and Advertising pages (from somewhere on Signalnoise). A ‘credit’ link to a source doesn’t honor an image copyright. (….) Commercial organizations can well afford to purchase or design their own graphics.

In a later post, Nikki also showed that the multimedia wrongfully used SpringerImages, that must not be (…) used for commercial purpose  including the placement or upload of the Licensed Content on a commercial entity’s internet website.

Peter Murray twittered to @allan marks, co-founder of Clinical Reader:

@allan_marks It seems your Clinical Reader radiology image (http://bit.ly/3YbLa) was swiped from a Flickr user http://bit.ly/3XXKGm

In addition, the logo that was used by Clinical Reader to indicate the untangling of a maze of information (that I copied in my original draft above), was taken without permission from the website of FeedStitch where it was created by their designer Owen Shifflett. (see discussion).

You kind of wonder what wasn’t copied.

3-8-2009 5-06-36 feed stitch

3. Threat to Nikki (Eagledawg) via Twitter

For me the most astonishing event was the immature “response” of Clinical Reader to Nikki after publishing her first post with appropriate critique. It was in the from of a real threat.

Twitter response

From several sources I now  understand Clinical Reader also reacted kind of offensive to other librarians, including @DataG and lukelibrarian. One was warned “I will contact Twitter and have your accounts shut down. Stick with the real deal – EBSCO, Ovid .. etc” or something to that effect. @DataG (Murray) also found a version of a Clinical Reader newsletter, still catched by the Google search engine entitled: “wave goodbye to the library journal shelf”, which was later withdrawn. (source: Murray on Twitter as @DataGhis blog dltj.org (6)) and

17269831

I immediately responded (while packing) to the initial threat and so did dozens of other medical librarians. Mostly on Twitter and Friendfeed, but also via their blogs (see below and Nikki’s blog). Some also retracted their initial support (i.e. see this mail of  Connie Schardt, who like many of us -including me- was “temporarily dazzled by the flashy display and ease of use of the product.”)

4. Change of Twitter-accounts, deleting tweets

Quite confusingly Twitter-accounts have been changed and deleted. First initials appeared after tweets to designate the person who tweeted for @clinicalreader, which I thought was a good thing. I followed @clinicalreader, but now the account was discontinued. The archive was kept at @clinical_tweets, which vanished as well. Now there is @clinical_reader, that states that tweeting has not really begun?? The only Clinical Reader account I know of is that of allan_marks. ALL previous tweets have been deleted. What remains are dm’s (direct messages) and tweets that are preserved by services like QuoteURL.
(for a detailed account of the switching of the original Twitter account’s name ‘at the speed of light’ see this blogpost of pegasuslibrarian)

It is all very confusing. Why would one do that other to conceal what has been said?

One salient detail. At their website Clinicalreader still refers to @clinicalreader, which is taken over by someone taking the opportunity to register the account when it moved to @clinical_tweets

3-8-2009 5-50-41 @clinicalreader

5. More lying

There are several examples of making up retweets (quoting someone), see here (@ClinicalReader “I didn’t RT anything from y’all. Y’all aren’t very good at the whole social media thing, huh?”-David Rothman) and here (@ClinicalReader – “Would you mind not attributing fabricated quotes to me please? I never said this: http://tr.im/sCFb #ClinicalCheater“) (source: 6)

6. Denial

The behaviors of the ones in charge are so immature. It’s really unbelievable. You always have to take critique seriously, and if you choose to use social media and make a mistake, than apologize openly (see the blogpost of Peter Murray below, 7).

Look at this discussion with Ben Goldacre (thanks Nikki). It is really ridiculous, QuoteURL: one, two, three, and four. Clinical Reader is playing dumb.

I might not have been exhaustive, but I know enough for the moment. Also in my eyes, Clinical Reader has lost all its credibility.

In contrast to the massive protest of Medical Librarians only one doctor (Ben Goldacre) took a stand against Clinical Reader (see here).

Clinical Reader = zero stars: non-existent endorsements, threaten blogger, nasty and silly, avoid! http://tr.im/sdJA

The others remained erily silent. Why?

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More extensive reading:

  1. http://eagledawg.blogspot.com/2009/07/clinical-reader-starry-ethics-fail.html
  2. http://eagledawg.blogspot.com/2009/07/gratitude.html
  3. http://stevelawson.name/seealso/archives/2009/07/clinical_reader_from_zero_to_negative_sixty_with_one_bogus_threat.html
  4. http://healthinformaticist.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/clinical-reader-malicious-or-just-stupid/
  5. http://davidrothman.net/2009/07/14/watch-nikki-pound-clinical-reader/
  6. http://dltj.org/article/clinical-reader-background/ (in depth coverage by @dataG or Peter Murray)
  7. http://dltj.org/article/learning-from-clinical-reader/ (excellent advice)
  8. http://pegasuslibrarian.blogspot.com/2009/07/best-bad-marketing-ever.html
  9. http://pegasuslibrarian.blogspot.com/2009/07/clinical-reader-train-wreck-just-keeps.html (detailed coverage of deleting and changing accounts) (8-9 added after comment Steve Lawson)
  10. Friendfeed discussions: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%22clinical+reader%22

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PeRSSonalized Medicine – and its alternatives

27 02 2009

perssonalized_medicineA few posts back I just discussed that Personalized Genetics has not fulfilled its promise yet. But what about PeRSSonalized Medicine, just launched by Bertalan Mesko?

Bertalan Meskó is a medical student from Hungary, who runs the award-winning medical blog Scienceroll. According to the web 2.0 model of Hugh Carpenter, mentioned in a previous post, Bertalan (Berci) just finished his journey as a Web 2.0 jedi: he started a web 2.0 company: Webicina. Webicina offers a personalized set of web 2.0 tools to help medical professionals and patients enter the web 2.0 world.

To be honest I was a bit skeptical at first. When I think of web 2.0, I think of it as *open, *collaborative, *creative commons, *networking, ****collective intelligence (Elizabeth Koch). Web 2.0 exists by the mere fact that people want to share information for free. Later I realized that this initiative is comparable to individualized courses that you have to pay for as well. Webicina will also offer some free tools, especially for patients.

One such free tool is PeRSSonalized Medicine. The RSS in PeRSSonalized Medicine stands for Real Simple Syndication, which is a format for delivering regularly changing web content, i.e. from Journals. PeRSSonalized Medicine is a free tool meant to help those users who cannot spend much time online (e.g. medical professionals). It helps them track medical journals, blogs, news and web 2.0 services really easily and creates one personalized place where they can follow international medical content without having a clue what RSS is about (see post at Scienceroll)

persssonalized-medicine-tabs

PeRSSonalized Medicine has a beautiful and straightforward interface. There are 5 separate sources you can follow: (1) Medical Journals, (2) Blogs, (3) News and (4) Media (including Youtube channels, Friendfeed rooms or Del.icio.us tags), and (5) “articles” in PubMed (to setup this you have to perform a search in a separate toolbar).

The items included are partly of general interest -i.e. the Medical Journals includes 13 titles, including the BMJ, the JAMA and the Lancet-, partly it is very specialized, i.e. on the field of genetics. A lot of Journals are not included and Web 2.0 sources tend to be more represented than the official media/journals.Thus this tool seems most suited for the generalist and people wanting to follow web 2.0 tools. On the other hand – and this is a clear advantage- the content develops as wishes and suggestions are taken into account.

Each Tab can be personalized by simply hiding the titles you don’t want to include (under the button personalize it), but settings are only saved after registration.

The view of the personalized page is pleasant and neat. You see short titles of the 10 latest articles of the sources you have subscribed to. Moving your mouse over the titles will reveal more information and once you clicked the link it turns grey instead of blue. What I miss is the button: more, so you can catch up if you have missed older articles. Especially with media and journals that often have more than 10 new articles per issue, even more so if the first 10 titles consist of “obituaries” (BMJ).

The latest addition to PeRSSonalized Medicine (5) is the possibility to subscribe to a Pubmed search so “you can also follow the latest articles in your field of interest without going back to PubMed again and again and doing a search for your favourite term. Make this process automatic with PeRSSonalized Medicine.”
However, as most of you may know, you don’t have to go back to Pubmed over and over again to “do” your search, but you can easily subscribe to a search in PubMed either by email (My NCBI) or by RSS (see for instance this post in Dutch). Although the process of subscribing is not as intuitive as it is in PeRSSonalized medicine, PubMed is better suited to design a good search strategy. To keep abreast of the latest information in your field a good search forms the basis. It hurts my heart as a librarian that most web 2.0 people are more fixed on the technique of how to subscribe to a feed (RSS) than on good search results. Remember, it still is: garbage in, garbage out. RSS is just the drain.

As an example I show two RSS feeds below, one with more appropriate terms (pulmonary embolism and d-dimer) than the other (lung embolism and d-dimer). Pulmonary embolism is a MeSH. It is evident that with lung embolism articles will be missed just by choosing wrong/less optimal terms.

pubmed-search-rss-toelichting

Again the presentation of results is pleasant. Apart from the search restrictions I don’t find it very handy to look up each paper in HubMed (for that is where the link takes you).
Personally I prefer regular e-mail-alerts at specific intervals (via MyNCBI). I would like to look up citations either individually (if there is just 1 interesting hit) or all at once (10-50 hits). In PubMed, results can be selected, PDF’s directly downloaded from the library website and citations can be kept in My NCBI Collections or imported into a reference manager system. A RSS-feed of Pubmed searches is also handy (see below).

Alternatives

The idea presented on Webicina, although fancy, is not new. Consider the following alternative web tools, also build on data collected from RSS feeds.

Amedeo

Amedeo is dedicated to the free dissemination of medical knowledge. It is an international free service that will send you weekly literature updates in medical subjects of your choosing. At the same time a personalized website is made, with subscriptions to the journals you selected. You can retrieve the articles in text or in HTML-format. The HTML format brings you to the latest results for that Journal in PubMed. This service seems most suitable for specific medical disciplines. General topics (family physician) are not available, although it is possible to subscribe to for instance the American Journal of Family Physicians. As with all these free literature services, you will have to subscribe. It is easy to select or deselect journals in a category (tick boxes).
Amedeo also has Free Books For Doctors, but no podcasts or blogs. You can search the site, but you cannot easily look up individual journals.

amadeo

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emergency-medicine-2x

MedWorm (and LibWorm)

MedWorm is a free medical RSS feed provider as well a a search engine. It is meant both for doctor and patient. There are many medical categories that you can subscribe to, via the free MedWorm online service, or another RSS reader of your choice, such as Google Reader. The number of RSS-feeds is enormous: >6000. There are a publications directory, a blog directory, a blog tag cloud, consumer health news, discussion and several specific topics, like cancers, drugs, vaccines and education. Within the publications directory there is a further subdivision in: Consumer – Info – Journals – News – Organizations – Podcasts.

Many specialties are represented, including primary care and veterinary science. I tried it out and subscribed to some Addison’s disease related topics, Reuter’s Health and my own blog, which has recently been included. When you subcribe via the Medworm-RSS all news can be read in “My River of News”. It shows the titles and part of the abstracts (see Fig. below).

You can subscribe to single items or categories, but it is not possible to in- and exclude individual feeds within a topic or category by a single action. So within Endocrinology I cannot selectively exclude all diabetes journals, but (as far as I can see) I have to subscribe to each individual journal, if I don’t want the whole package. The loading of the River of News takes long, sometimes.

Together with David Rothman the builder/owner of MedWorm, Frankie Dolan, has also launched Libworm, which is a librarian’s version of MedWorm.

medworm2-home-page-favs

DO IT YOURSELF (or let the library do it for you)

Sometimes the library will set up a personalized start page. See for instance the Dermatology page created with Netvibes at the Central Medical Library, University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). Doesn’t it look beautiful?

groningen-dermatology-netvibes

I-Google

And isn’t the tool below superb looking? Well, I constructed it myself on basis of what Ves Dimov wrote in the post “Make Your Own “Medical Journal” with iGoogle Personalized Page”, he submitted to the first MedLib”s round. And I had a little “life” help from Ves via Twitter, because things have changed a bit. All you need is a free Google mail (G-mail) account, just go to Google.com/IG (or search the web for I-Google) and subscribe. First you can create your start page with all kind of gadgets (like clock, G-mail inbox and weather forecast, see Figure below) and then you can add other tabs (encircled below). The Medical Journal and Journals Tabs I just took from Ves by clicking on the links he gave in his post: RSS feeds of the “Big Five” medical journals (NEJM, JAMA, BMJ, Lancet and Annals) plus 2-3 subpecialty journals and the podcasts of 4 major medical journals in iGoogle.

Once you have these tabs you can edit them (add, delete, move) as you like.

i-google

I-Google Medical Journals Tab

i-google-start-page-shape-top

I-Google Startpage

RSS-readers

All the above tools are based on RSS, which means Real Simple Syndication. It isn’t called Simple for nothing. You can easily do it yourself, which means that you have more freedom in what you subscribe to. Because I-Google doesn’t scale well beyond 50 or so RSS feeds, other RSS-readers are advisable once you subscribe to many different feeds (see Wikipedia for list and comparison) . I use Google-Reader, shown below, for this purpose.

Generally, adding Feeds is easy. In Firefox you often see the orange RSS-logo in the web browser (just click on it to add the feed) and most Journals and blogs have a RSS-button on their page, that enables subscription to their feed.

google-reader

rss-buttons-at-site-in-browser

As detailed in another (Dutch) Post, numerous Pubmed searches can be easily added to your RSS-reader. You build up a good search in Pubmed, for instance: (pulmonary embolism[mh] OR pulmonary embolism* OR lung embolism*) AND (“Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products”[Mesh] OR d-dimer). In “the Results” you click on “Send To” and choose RSS-Feed and add it to your reader. That’s all.

pubmed-rss

Summary

PeRSSonalized Medicine is a free tool which lets you subscribe to a small and rather skewed selection of journals, news, media and blogs and (straightforward) PubMed searches. The strong points of this tool are: the beautiful design, the ease of use for people not used to web 2.0 tools including RSS, and its continuous development, seeking active input from its users. To speak with dr Shock’s: It is meant for a physician who is not web savvy, never heard of RSS and never wants to, not a geek, nerd, and still wants to stay up to date with health 2.0 or medicine 2.0.”

But there are other free tools around with more (subscription) possibilities and with a little more investment of time you can do it yourself and make subscriptions really perssonalized. Once you know it is simple, believe me.

You may also want to read:

https://laikaspoetnik.wordpress.com/2008/05/05/1-may-rss-day/ (about RSS)

https://laikaspoetnik.wordpress.com/2008/02/15/rss-feed-en-pubmed/ (about RSS and Pubmed – Dutch)