#EAHIL2012 CEC 2: Visibility & Impact – Library’s New Role to Enhance Visibility of Researchers

4 07 2012

This week I’m blogging at (and mostly about) the 13th EAHIL conference in Brussels. EAHIL stands for European Association for Health Information and Libraries.

The second Continuing Education Course (CEC) I followed was given by Tiina Heino and Katri Larmo of the Terkko Meilahti Campus Library at the University of Helsinki in Finland.

The full title of the course was Visibility and impact – library’s new role: How the library can support the researcher to get visibility and generate impact to researcher’s work. You can read the abstract here.

The hands-on workshop mainly concentrated on the social bookmarking sites ConnoteaMendeley and Altmetric.

Furthermore we got information on CiteULike, ORCID,  Faculty of 1000 Posters and Pinterest. Also services developed in Terkko, such as ScholarChart and TopCited Articles, were shortly demonstrated.

What I especially liked in the hands on session is that the tutors had prepared a wikispace with all the information and links on the main page ( https://visibility2012.wikispaces.com) and a separate page for each participant to edit (here is my page). You could add links to your created accounts and embed widgets for Mendeley.

There was sufficient time to practice and try the tools. And despite the great number of participants there was ample room for questions (& even for making a blog draft ;)).

The main message of the tutors is that the process of publishing scientific research doesn’t end at publishing the article: it is equally important what happens after the research has been published. Visibility and impact in the scientific community and in the society are  crucial  for making the research go forward as well as for getting research funding and promoting the researcher’s career. The Fig below (taken from the presentation) visualizes this process.

The tutors discussed ORCID, Open Researcher and contributor ID, that will be introduced later this year. It is meant to solve the author name ambiguity problem in scholarly communication by central registry of unique identifiers for each author (because author names can’t be used to reliably identify all scholarly author). It will be possible for authors to create, manage and share their ORCID record without membership fee. For further information see several publications and presentations by Martin Fenner. I found this one during the course while browsing Mendeley.

Once published the author’s work can be promoted using bookmarking tools, like CiteULike, Connotea and Mendeley. You can easily registrate for Connotea and Mendeley using your Facebook account. These social bookmarking tools are also useful for networking, i.e. to discover individuals and groups with the same field of interest. It is easy to synchronize your Mendeley with your CiteULike account.

Mendeley is available in a desktop and a web version. The web version offers a public profile for researchers, a catalog of documents, and collaborative groups (the cloud of Mendeley). The desktop version of Mendeley is specially suited for reference management and organizing your PDF’s. That said Mendeley seems most suitable for serendipitous use (clicking and importing a reference you happen to see and like) and less useful for managing and deduplicating large numbers of records, i.e. for a systematic review.
Also (during the course) it was not possible to import several PubMed records at once in either CiteULike or Mendeley.

What stroke me when I tried Mendeley is that there were many small or dead groups. A search for “cochrane”  for instance yielded one large group Cochrane QES Register, owned by Andrew Booth, and 3 groups with one member (thus not really a group), with 0 (!) to 6 papers each! It looks like people are trying Mendeley and other tools just for a short while. Indeed, most papers I looked up in PubMed were not bookmarked at all. It makes you wonder how widespread the use of these bookmarking tools is. It probably doesn’t help that there are so many tools with different purposes and possibilities.

Another tool that we tried was Altmetric. This is a free bookmarklet on scholarly articles which allows you to track the conversations around scientific articles online. It shows the tweets, blogposts, Google+ and Facebook mentions, and the numbers of bookmarks on Mendeley, CiteULike and Connotea.

I tried the tool on a paper I blogged about , ie. Seventy-Five Trials and Eleven Systematic Reviews a Day: How Will We Ever Keep Up?

The bookmarklet showed the tweets and the blogposts mentioning the paper.

Indeed altmetrics did correctly refer to my blog (even to 2 posts).

I liked altmetrics*, but saying that it is suitable for scientific metrics is a step too far. For people interested in this topic I would like to refer -again- to a post of Martin Fenner on altmetrics (in general).  He stresses that “usage metrics”  has its limitations because of its proness  to “gaming” (cheating).

But the current workshop didn’t address the shortcomings of the tools, for it was meant as a first practical acquaintance with the web 2.0 tools.

For the other tools (Faculty of 1000 Posters, Pinterest) and the services developed in Terkko, such as ScholarChart and TopCited Articles,  see the wikipage and the presentation:

*Coincidentally I’m preparing a post on handy chrome extensions to look for tweets about a webpage. Altmetric is another tool which seems very suitable for this purpose

Related articles





Friday Foolery #31 Waving goodbye… (or not?)

13 08 2010

WHEN THE SHIP SANK…

(it was August 4th,  I remember I was at home multitasking
(twittering, blogging, mailing, scratching my back, playing
patience, humming a tune and looking out of the window)

WHEN..


THE REASON BEHIND IT


WHAT’s NEXT?

HERE AT WORDSTREAM THEY THINK THE SAME.

THE GOOGLE FLOPS & FAILURE GRAVEYARD IS EXTENDING

(HT: @drves)

Google Flops & Failures – The Failed Google Graveyard

 Google Failures and Google Flops - A list of Google Mistakes

I still miss Google Notebook . AND Google Wave sure had great potential

To think that a year ago I told people in a workshop that Google Wave could make their live easy 😉


Google Wave had potential, especially as a collaboration tool….

See this post at Tip of the Iceberg (how appropriate) describing how Google Wave was used  to collaborate with students.

Since much of the Code is open sourceambitious developers may pick up where Google left.

But some people hope Google Wave may be saved. It might for instance be worth saving for health systems.

Want to Save the Wave”? ….. Then click on the following image and express your support.

click to sign the petition

Related articles by Zemanta (and me)





Collaborating and Delivering Literature Search Results to Clinical Teams Using Web 2.0 Tools

8 08 2010

ResearchBlogging.orgThere seem to be two camps in the library, the medical and many other worlds: those who embrace Web 2.0, because they consider it useful for their practice and those who are unaware of Web 2.0 or think it is just a fad. There are only a few ways the Web 2.0-critical people can be convinced: by arguments (hardly), by studies that show evidence of its usefulness and by examples of what works and what doesn’t work.

The paper of Shamsha Damani and Stephanie Fulton published in the latest Medical Reference Services Quarterly [1] falls in the latter category. Perhaps the name Shamsha Damania rings a bell: she is a prominent twitterer and has written quest posts at this blog on several occasions (here, herehere and here)

As clinical librarians at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Shamsha and Stephanie are immersed in clinical teams and provide evidence-based literature for various institutional clinical algorithms designed for patient care.

These were some of the problems the clinical librarians encountered when sharing the results of their searches with the teams by classic methods (email):

First, team members were from different departments and were dispersed across the sprawling hospital campus. Since the teams did not meet in person very often, it was difficult for the librarians to receive timely feedback on the results of each literature search. Second, results sent from multiple database vendors were either not received or were overlooked by team members. Third, even if users received the bibliography, they still had to manually search for and locate the full text of articles. The librarians also experimented with e-mailing EndNote libraries; however, many users were not familiar with EndNote and did not have the time to learn how to use it. E-mails in general tended to get lost in the shuffle, and librarians often found themselves re-sending e-mails with attachments. Lastly, it was difficult to update the results of a literature search in a consistent manner and obtain meaningful feedback from the entire team.

Therefore, they tried several Web 2.0 tools for sharing search results with their clinical teams.
In their article, the librarians share their experience with the various applications they explored that allowed centralization of the search results, provided easy online access, and enabled collaboration within the group.

Online Reference Management Tools were the librarians’ first choice, since these are specifically designed to help users gather and store references from multiple databases and allow sharing of results. Of the available tools, Refworks was eventually not tested, because it required two sets of usernames and passwords. In contrast, EndNote Web can be accessed from any computer with a username and password. Endnoteweb is suitable for downloading and managing references from multiple databases and for retrieving full text papers as well as  for online collaboration. In theory, that is. In practice, the team members experienced several difficulties: trouble to remember the usernames and passwords, difficulties using the link resolver and navigating to the full text of each article and back to the Endnote homepage. Furthermore, accessing the full text of each article was considered a too laborious process.

Next, free Social bookmarking sites were tested allowing users to bookmark Web sites and articles, to share the bookmarks and to access them from any computer. However, most team members didn’t create an account and could therefore not make use of the collaborative features. The bookmarking sites were deemed ‘‘user-unfriendly’’, because  (1) the overall layout and the presentation of results -with the many links- were experienced as confusing,  (2) sorting possibilities were not suitable for this purpose and (3) it was impossible to search within the abstracts, which were not part of the bookmarked records. This was true both for Delicious and Connotea, even though the latter is more apt for science and medicine, includes bibliographic information and allows import and export of references from other systems. An other drawback was that the librarians needed to bookmark and comment each individual article.

Wikis (PBWorks and SharePoint) appeared most user-friendly, because they were intuitive and easy to use: the librarians had created a shared username and password for the entire team, the wiki was behind the hospital’s firewall (preferred by the team) and the users could access the articles with one click. For the librarians it was labor-consuming as they annotated the bibliographies, published it on the wiki and added persistent links to each article. It is not clear from the article how final reference lists were created by the team afterwards. Probably by cut & paste, because Wikis don’t seem suitable as a Word processor nor  are they suitable for  import and export of references.

Some Remarks

It is informative to read the pros and cons of the various Web 2.0 tools for collaborating and delivering search results. For me, it was even more valuable to read how the research was done. As the authors note (quote):

There is no ‘‘one-size-fits-all’’ approach. Each platform must be tested and evaluated to see how and where it fits within the user’s workflow. When evaluating various Web 2.0 technologies, librarians should try to keep users at the forefront and seek feedback frequently in order to provide better service. Only after months of exploration did the librarians at MD Anderson Cancer Center learn that their users preferred wikis and 1-click access to full-text articles. Librarians were surprised to learn that users did not like the library’s link resolvers and wanted a more direct way to access information.

Indeed, there is no ‘‘one-size-fits-all’’ approach. For that reason too, the results obtained may only apply in certain settings.

I was impressed by the level of involvement of the clinical librarians and the time they put not only in searching, but also in presenting the data, in ranking the references according to study design, publication type, and date and in annotating the references. I hope they prune the results as well, because applying this procedure to 1000 or more references is no kidding. And, although it may be ideal for the library users, not all librarians work like this. I know of no Dutch librarian who does. Because of the workload such a ready made wiki may not be feasible for many librarians .

The librarians starting point was to find an easy and intuitive Web based tool that allowed collaborating and sharing of references.
The emphasis seems more on the sharing, since end-users did not seem to collaborate via the wikis themselves. I also wonder if the simpler and free Google Docs wouldn’t fulfill most of the needs. In addition, some of the tools might have been perceived more useful if users had received some training beforehand.
The training we offer in Reference Manager, is usually sufficient to learn to work efficiently with this quite complex reference manager tool. Of course, desktop software is not suitable for collaboration online (although it could always be easily exported to an easier system), but a short training may take away most of the barriers people feel when using a new tool (and with the advantage that they can use this tool for other purposes).

In short,

Of the Web 2.0 tools tested, wikis were the most intuitive and easy to use tools for collaborating with clinical teams and for delivering the literature search results. Although it is easy to use by end-users, it seems very time-consuming for librarians, who make ready-to-use lists with annotations.

Clinical teams of MD Anderson must be very lucky with their clinical librarians.

Reference
Damani S, & Fulton S (2010). Collaborating and delivering literature search results to clinical teams using web 2.0 tools. Medical reference services quarterly, 29 (3), 207-17 PMID: 20677061

Are you a Twitter user? Tweet this!

———————————

Added: August 9th 2010, 21:30 pm

On basis of the comments below (Annemarie Cunningham) and on Twitter (@Dymphie – here and here (Dutch)) I think it is a good idea to include a figure of one of the published wiki-lists.

It looks beautiful, but -as said- where is the collaborative aspect? Like Dymphie I have the impression that these lists are no different from the “normal” reference lists. Or am I missing something? I also agree with Dymphie that instructing people in Reference Manager may be much more efficient for this purpose.

It is interesting to read Christina Pikas view about this paper. At her blog Christina’s Lis Rant (just moved to the new Scientopia platform) Christina first describes how she delivers her search results to her customers and which platforms she uses for this. Then she shares some thoughts about the paper, like:

  • they (the authors) ruled out RefWorks because it required two sets of logins/passwords – hmm, why not RefWorks with RefShare? Why two sets of passwords?
  • SharePoint wikis suck. I would probably use some other type of web part – even a discussion board entry for each article.
  • they really didn’t use the 2.0 aspects of the 2.0 tools – particularly in the case of the wiki. The most valued aspects were access without a lot of logins and then access to the full text without a lot of clicks.

Like Christina,  I would be interested in hearing other approaches – particularly using newer tools.






Friday Foolery #24 Social Media Revolution 2, Right Here Right Now

21 05 2010

People who still think Social media is a fad, should watch this video…..

Social Media Revolution 2 is an update of the original video with compelling social media statistics.

Social Media Revolution was created by the author Erik Qualman to promote his book Socialnomics: How Social Media has changed the way we live and do business.

The music from Fat Boy Slim (“right here, right now”) is electric (might be another reason to watch it).

Hattip: my colleague René Spijker, seen on the Salt Magazine page on Facebook





Packrati.us = Twitter + Delicious = Useful + Simple

18 03 2010

To me, Twitter is an essential source for information. It is an easy way to keep updated in my field, it is fast and it is an ideal networking site to build relationships. Without it I wouldn’t have ‘met’ so many excellent and interesting people. In fact those people are my living filter to the Twitter noise (see previous post): I only follow people with whom I share the same interest (at least in some respects). Twitter also is one of my inspirational sources for blogging, and vice versa it is an outlet for my blog posts.

Unfortunately, Twitter has one shortcoming: Tweets are volatile. Twitter is designed to catch conversations real time. Therefore it is not easy to “keep” Tweets or read them later. Usually your tweets get lost after 7 to 10 days and cease to be found by  Twitter Search. Some tweets can still be Googled, but that is not a secure way of keeping tweets.

At least I safeguard my favorited tweets by taking a RSS to my favs (yellow starred in Fig).

But this is just a way to conserve your favorite tweets for a (more) prolonged time.

What you also would like is to “archive” the URLs of the actual pages that seem interesting (the red http links in the tweets).

I used Google Notebook for that. That was near perfect: the free online Google application allowed saving and organizing clips of information (via a Firefox add-on) while online (see Wikipedia). The information was saved to “notebooks” that could be made “public” and automatically fed into Twitter to share with others. It was easy tracing articles back by searching or browsing.

But that is no more. Google decided to drop the development of Google Notebook. In addition, several of of my notebooks  were flagged as violating Program Policies?!

I tried Evernote as an alternative, but it could never win my heart. Too time-consuming, for one thing.

I may not have tried hard enough, but testing tools is not my job. I ‘m just looking for tools/ways that make my live in the web 2.0 world easy. The tools must be easy to understand and easy to use.

A new tool Packrati.us. (http://packrati.us/) seems to meet all my needs in this respect. A week ago, I read about it in a Tech Crunch paper entitled:  Packrati.us: A Dead Simple Way To Make Delicious Bookmark The Links You Tweet. Dead simple that was what I needed!

Packrati.us is a simple bookmarking service. Once you register, they follow your Twitter feed, and whenever one of your tweets contains URLs, they are added to your Delicious.com bookmarks.

So, for instance I retweeted @amcunningham and @jrbtrip, who link to an interesting article regarding bias in dissemination & publication of research. The link is a shortened URL.

When I visit My Delicious (http://delicious.com/) via an add-on in Firefox, I see that the link is automatically saved in Delicious.

The bookmark shows

  1. the link to the URL (title),
  2. the number of people bookmarking the link,
  3. the actual tweet mentioned in notes (more notes can be added),
  4. the extended url,
  5. an automatic tag (packrati.us) chosen to indicate that this bookmark is automatically imported from Twitter and other tags that I manually added to facilitate retrieval.

When you click on the link you go to the actual article. I can always find the bookmark when I search for tags like bias

The following links can be automatically loaded into Delicious:

  • Links in your tweets and retweets (tweets you resend)
  • Links in tweets directed to you (send by others)
  • Links in your favorited tweets (!) (quite new)

You can choose to:

  • Expand the URLs that have been shortened with an URL shortening service
  • Replace existing bookmarks (no duplication, old tags are kept.
  • Not convert hashtags from tweets to tags for the bookmarks (default = tagging hashtags)
  • Exclude tweets with specific tags (new)
  • Exlude tweets from a selection of sources
  • Add the sender of the tweet (other than yourself)

Packrati.us is under continuous development, some features have just been added. I love the new feature that favorited tweets can be kept (alas it doesn’t work retrospectively, so the above favs are not included).

In practice you can get a lot of bookmarks if you tweet/favorite a lot. It is good to exclude some tweets beforehand and imo necessary to prune the tweets afterwards and add tags. Otherwise it becomes a (disorderly) mess.

Although Packrati.us links only Twitter and Delicious, you can use each platform separately. I also use Delicious to manually add bookmarks of websites I like. Yes, thanks to Packrati.us I learned to love delicious again.





#SillySaturday #17 – Social Media Stats per Second

13 02 2010
Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Garys Social Media Count“, posted with vodpod

Some time ago I saw the above Real Time Social Media Stats Counter at Heidi Allen Online (see here), the blog of Heidi Allen. The live stats meter is actually from Gary Hayes at Personalize Media (see post: Garys Social Media Count).

You can find the embed code at Gary Hayes post. I used the above Vodpod video, because WordPress won’t allow flash.

Yesterday, I saw a similar stats counter (in Dutch) at the excellent Dutch Education Blog  Trendmatcher tussen ICT en Onderwijs (see here) of @trendmatcher (Willem Karrsenberg). Willem saw these real time stats presented in a powerpoint presentation by Toine Maes, director of  “Kennisnet” (~”Knowledge network”). Later he asked Toine how he managed to get these dynamic stats in his slide. Of course it is great to show such a slide in a class room, or at other occasions.

At his blog Willem explains what it takes to make a slide with real life counters yourself. You need the Cortona 3D viewer (download here), that can be embedded in a browser or in Powerpoint. And you need the definition file with the actual formulas.  He made an example of a presentation and has made all files public (download here).

For people (like me) who find this all too complicated he made a simple one minute Flickr-video (FF) you can use instead. I converted this again to a Vodpod video, which easily picks up the embed code (Add-on in FireFox) and can be directly imported into WordPress.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Willem  notes that he doesn’t know if the actual figures are correct. Bas Jonkers of Kennislink commented that the numbers are based on recent data, mostly from indirect sources. With the Cortona 3D viewer you can see the updated data here

Gary Hayes at Personalize Media shares his sources at his blog. The dates are less recent because his post dates from September 2009, but he will update the data from time to time.

For instance:

  • 20 hours of video uploaded every minute onto YouTube (source YouTube blog Aug 09)
  • Facebook 600k new members per day, and photos, videos per month, 700mill & 4 mill respectively (source Inside Facebook Feb 09)
  • Twitter 18 million new users per year & 4 million tweets sent daily (source TechCrunch Apr 09)
  • 900 000 blogs posts put up every day (source Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008)
  • UPDATE: YouTube 1Billion watched per day SMH (2009)- counter updated!
  • Flickr has 73 million visitors a month who upload 700 million photos (source Yahoo Mar 09)
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This week I will blog from…..

10 10 2009

35167809 singapore colloquiumPicture taken by Chris Mavergames http://twitpic.com/kxrnl

Chris and I will facilitate a web 2.0 workshop for the Cochrane (see here, for all workshops see here).
The entire program can be viewed at the Cochrane Colloquium site.

Chris Mavergames, Web Operations Manager and Information Architect of the Cochrane Collaboration will also give a plenary presentation entitled:
Cochrane for the Twitter generation:
inserting ourselves into the ‘conversation
‘”.

The session has the promising title: The Cochrane Library – brave new world?

Here is the introductory text of the session:

The Cochrane Collaboration is not unique in facing a considerable challenge to the way it packages and disseminates healthcare information. The proliferation of communication platforms and social networking sites provides opportunities to reach new audiences, but how far can or should the Collaboration go in embracing these new media? In this session we hear from speakers who are at the heart of the discussions about The Cochrane Library’s future direction, including the Library’s Editor in Chief. We finish the session with reflections on the week’s discussions with respect to the Strategic Review (…)

Request (for the workshop, not the plenary session):
If you ‘re on Twitter, could you please tell the participants of the (small) web 2.0 workshop  your opinion on the following, using the hashtag #CC20.
*

  1. Why Web 2.0 is useful? (or not)
  2. Why we need Cochrane 2.0? (or not)

An example of such an answer (from @Berci):

#CC20 Web 2.0 opens up the world and eases communication. Cochrane 2.0 is needed bc such an important database should have a modern platform

If you don’t have Twitter you can add your comment here and I will post it for you (if you leave a name).

Thanks for all who have contributed so far.

—–

*this is only for our small-scaled workshop, I propose to use #CC2009 for the conference itself.

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MEDLIB’s ROUND 1.6

27 09 2009

shht-librarian-costume1Welcome to the sixth edition of MedLib’s Round, a blog carnival of “excellent blog posts in the field of medical librarianship”.

First I have to apologize for the postponement in publication. There were so few submissions (5, including one on this blog), that I needed more time to find some material myself. Time that I didn’t have at that moment.

After a flying start with many volunteering hosts and submissions the enthusiasm for the Medlib’s Round seems to have faded somewhat. There are far less submissions. Luckily there is a core of  enthusiastic people regularly submitting to the Medlib’s Round and I’m very grateful for that. However, there are many more bloggers out there, who also write very useful MedLib stuff. Why aren’t they contributing? Are they not aware of the round, do they lack time, don’t they like blog carnivals? Should the rounds be better promoted or differently organized? I know that postponement does the round no good, but it is a bit the chicken-and-egg problem. Anyway, I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

But lets start…..

Social Media

A previous host and regular contributor to the round, Nikki Dettmar (@eagledagw) of the Eagle Dawg Blog makes a good point in  “Social Media & Emergency Preparedness: Can Your Family Text?”: “Does your family know to text when there is an emergency? Traditional phone lines may be down and traditional methods of communication may not be working.” Learn about an upcoming drill conducted by a national safety foundation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over the next few months to use texting and social media channels for emergency communication. And don’t forget to instruct your mother. By the way, the use of Twitter is included in the advise.

Another regular contributor to the Medlib’s round is Ves Dimov (@DrVes). Dr. Dimov is an Allergy and Immunology Fellow at Creighton University and the author of the Clinical Cases and Images – Blog. Blogging for several years and with more than 7000 RSS readers we can trust him for some good advice on blogging In What makes a blogger go on in a field where so many others stop, fail and disappear?” Dr Ves shortly gives 4 reasons and several tips from his own experience.

Google Health

Alisha

Speaking about blogging, it is only a half year ago that Alisha Miles (@alisha764) started with her blog Alisha 764 saying: “I am no longer a mushroom, I am now a tree.” Which refers to @sandnsurf‘s post: Is Twitter the essential blogging nutrient and his comment on my blog: “the most important thing is that you are actually a tree in this ecosystem, you are out there experimenting, thinking and trying to drive the revolution further…Most of my colleagues are still mushrooms….
Alisha, who is a contributor to this round from the start, has definitely developed into a full blossoming tree, a top librarian blogger and tweeter,  She is featured, for instance, in Novoseek’s top 10 medical librarian list (as all current librarian submitters with a public blog).
Her submitted post is a classical post already. It is quite long (hear, hear who is saying) but offers good information. In “Google Health® Information: Surprising Facts” she describes the pros and cons of Google Health®, concluding:

“It is a good product; however, it should be used with caution. Remember Google Health® is not bound by HIPPA, resources should always be double or triple checked, the Google® Health Drug Interaction program is missing some key interactions, and the Google Health® Topics are missing the reference section, reviewer information, and date stamp.

Again, I applaud Google® for its efforts and for including links to MedlinePlus® as a trusted resource. As with any information source, even MedlinePlus®, all information should be checked against at least 1 other source.”

With regard to MedlinePlus and Google, Rachel Walden wrote a post: “Where is MedlinePlus in Google Drug Search Results?” where she notices that Google searches for drug information no longer seem to return results from MedlinePlus and FDA pages.

PubMed, MeSH and the like

Rachel

Rachel Walden (@rachel_w on Twitter) is the woman behind the successful blog Women’s Health News and writer for Our bodies ourselves. She not only knows a lot about women’s health and medical information, but she is always ready to reach a helping hand or join a discussion on Twitter, which is actually a quality of all MEDLIB round contributors.  In “Improving the Findability of Evidence & Literature on DoulasRachel describes  the lack of a specific MeSH for “Doula” in PubMed. A doula is an assistant who provides various forms of non-medical and non-midwifery support (physical and emotional) in the childbirth process. MeSH (or Medical Subject Headings) are controlled terms in MEDLINE, or as explained by Rachel:

MeSH are “right” terms to use to conduct a literature search in PubMed, it can really help to start with the MeSH term database, because you know those are the official subject terms being assigned to the articles. MeSH is a hierarchy, and it can help you focus a search, or expand it when needed, by moving up and down the list of subject words. It’s a nice tool to have, when it works.

As highlighted by Rachel, this gap in the MeSH makes searching less efficient and less precise: for instance, nursing and midwivery are too broad terms. But instead of whining, Rachel decided to do something about it. Via this form she send the National Library of Medicine a request to add the “doula” concept to the MeSH terms. I would recommend others to do the same when terms they search for are not (appropriately) covered by the MESH.

Librarian Mark Rabnett agrees hartfully with Rachel as he has encountered exactly the problems and yes, “there is no question that this is a satisfactorily distinct and widely accepted term, and its entry into the MeSH pantheon is long overdue.”
On his blog Gossypobima Mark had earlier posted the “Top 5 results to improve PubMedfrom the brainstorming suggestions during the Canadian Health Libraries Association conference. These include “Adding adjacency and real string searching” (YES!) and “Improval of the MeSH database”. His group found “The MeSH database stiff and laboured , and the visual display of the thesaurus and subheadings not intuitive, the ‘Add To’ feature for inserting MeSH terms to a search box kludgy, and the searching for MeSH headings difficult and unpredictable. [..] So he concludes with: “We need a MeSH mashup.”

Wouldn’t that be wonderful indeed? Rather than the current “enhancements”, why not introduce some web 2.0 tools in PubMed? As Patricia Anderson tweeted a long time ago:

“It would be so cool to do a # search, then display word cloud of top major MESH terms in results.”

Yes I would like a visual MeSH, but even better, one that would show up in the sidebar and that you would be able to “walk up and down (and sideways) and with “drag and drop to your search possibilities”. That would be cool. My imagination runs away with me when I think of it.

Grey Literature

cappadocia1_bigger shamshaNot having a public blog @shamsha has contributed to this round by writing a guest post on this blog. This interesting post is about grey literature: what is grey literature, why do you need it and why not have guidelines for searching grey literature? She gives many tips and a wealth of references, including links to her own delicious page and a wonderful resource from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.

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

This concludes the official part of this MEDLIB’s September round.

The next round is hosted by Alisha Miles on her blog Alisha 764.
Officially the deadline is next Saturday
. (But it may be postponed a little. If so I will post the new deadline here)
Anyway, Alisha is looking forward to your posts. So send them in as soon as possible HERE at the Blog Carnival form.
(registration required; see the medlibs-archive for more information.
)

And some good news about the round: We already have hosts for November and December, namely Walter Jessen of Highlight Health and Valentin Vivier of at the Novoseek Blog.

Would you like to host the Medlibs round in 2010? It is never to early! Please dm me at twitter, comment on this post or write an email to laika.spoetnik@gmail.com.

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

Bonus

Here are some other posts I also found worth while to read.
(I didn’t include too recent ones, so they can be included in the next round)

Dr Mike Cadogan (@Sandnsurf) writes  frequently about medical information on his blog Life in the fast Lane (his blog has moved to http://lifeinthefastlane.com, so check out old links that you may have). One of the co-authors of the blog,  Chris Nickson (precordialthump) gives emergency physicians advise how to deal withinformation-overload”. Needless to say the tips are useful to all people dealing with medical information-overload.

Dr Shock also writes a lot about medical information and web 2.0 tools. Here a video he posted about iPhone and iPod Touch as a Medical Tool.

Another good source for info about i-phones, palms can be found on http://palmdoc.net/. Medical librarians frequently writing about this subject include the Krafty Librarian and David Rothman.

I don’t have a palm or sophisticated phone, nor does our library supports its use, so I choose some other posts from these excellent bloggers.

From the KraftyLibrarian Michelle: Rapid Research about Rapid Research Notes , a new resource developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) to quickly disseminate the research results to the public in an open access archive. Michelle wonders why only PLOS-articles are included and not other quality information from for instance EBSCO and Cochrane.

From palmdoc : Evernote as your peripheral brain (Evernote is a note taking application)

Rapid Research Notes is also covered by Alison of Dragonfly, a previous host of the round. She also mentions the fact that Medlineplus is now on Twitter.

David Rothman ‘s paternity leave seems over since he posts several interesting posts per week on his blog Davidrothman.net. Typically he shortly refers to a new tool or a post he encountered, like:

Dean Giustini of the The Search Principle blog published part one of a Top Fifty Twitter Users List in Medicine and has written a post on Using Twitter to manage information.

Patricia Anderson of Emerging Technologies Librarian is been very active lately with posts on social media, like “Conversation and Context in Social Media (Cautionary Tales)“, with four scenarios, including the Clinical Reader fiasco. And as always she has a lot of tips on web 2.0 tools. There is for instance a post on Listening Tools to track what your community is saying about you or to you and about Social Media Metrics

Another techy librarian working at the National University of Singapore is Aaron Tay. Aaron Tay (@aarontay) is not working in the field of medicine, but his web 2.0 tips are useful for anyone, and his blog Musings about Librarianship is certainly a must for libraries that want to use web  2.0 tools to the benefit of their users. Personally, I found the tips onViewing research alerts – full text within Google reader very useful.

Phil Bradley highlights Google Fast Flip and Bing’s Visual Search.

Alan from The health Informaticist discusses in “NHS Evidence boo vs guidelinesfinder hurrah” that a simple search for backpain in NHS Evidence yielded 1320 hits (!) of which only a handful are useful guidelines, whereas the good old Guidelines Finder (now a ’specialist collection’), yields 47 mostly useful and relevant hits. He ends this discussion with a  request to NICE: please keep the specialist collections. And I agree.

On EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC this month an overview of current news, advisories and practical information about Pandemic Flu (H1N1) .

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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)

——————————————————————————————————

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?

——————————

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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Web 2.0 Tools to Inspire … Teachers and others

16 06 2009

Judy O’Connell pointed out an interesting Slideshare presentation called “Web 2.0: Tools to inspire”.

It contains a lot of suggestions, especially in the field of education, like

Apart from the Social Networking Tools, there are many new suggestions. The tools seem particularly useful in the class room or in spare time.

For other free learning tools see a previous post:
Google Reader and other free (learning) tools.

Here is the entire presentation.

** tip of my daughter: http://www.picnik.com/ online photo editing (free)

* my tip: Snag-it (professional screen capture -can’t do without) <





QuoteURL: a new Twitter Tool to Quote, Save and Publish Tweets

14 06 2009

Ever tried to catch and publish a twitter conversation? Hard, isn’t it, especially at WordPress.com where the lay-out is often difficult to control, if you just copy and paste.
Tweets also tend to disappear after approximately 3-4 weeks.  Thus if you want to capture them you should do it (relatively) soon after they have been tweeted.

A month ago I gave a presentation where I showed medical students a real fancy twitter-application with tweets of  doctors, patients and nurses giving them advice on how to use web 2.0 tools in medicine. Now the tweets have all gone….14-6-2009 0-13-00 Qoute URL logo

But the new Twitter Tool QuoteURL, developed by Fabricio Zuardi, offers a perfect solution.

It is a very intuitive and easy tool that allows you to collect several tweets, for instance answers to a question. A maximum of 4 tweets per quote are allowed for unregistered tweeps and 10 after free registration. The 10-tweet limit is only meant to keep Twitter API quotas under control, but you can twitter @fczuardi or email fabricio at fabricio dot org to ask for an exception (source: comment of Fabricio at onlinejournalismblog.com)

You can collect tweets in two ways:

1. Enter the Twitter status URL or ID (click on the date or on “view tweet”, depending on the interface). For instance http://twitter.com/laikas/statuses/2115296397. You can easily gather the tweets in a text or word file, till you need them. This is for instance suitable for the series Top of the Tweets, where I collect funny tweets over time.

14-6-2009 15-27-56 CECEM tweet 12

Method 1: copy/paste permalink

2. Drag or drop the tweet-URL’s from a split screen that shows pop-ups of  Twitter Home or Twitter Search in a separated window. Perform a search (figure) or go to your Twitter home page to drag permalinks into the text-field. Just drag the line that would show the url when you click on it.

Method 2. Drag and drop from spilt window

Method 2. Drag and drop from split window (click to enlarge)

QuoteURL arranges tweets chronologically, so you can drag them in in any order.

After you have collected the tweets you press the Save button and the permalink is created. To embed the Quote in your blogpost just copy the <!– QuoteURL styled embed start –> (lower right) in the HTML-view of your blog and the code appears)

Summary.

  • Tweets can be collected by copy-pasting of the tweet URL’s or by dragging and dropping.
  • Tweets are ordered chronologically
  • The Quote can be saved as a permalink
  • You can mail the URL to someone or you can post it directly on your blog by copy-pasting of the embedded code
  • The individual tweet-URL’s can still be produced (click on dates).

Below is an example of a Quote made with QuoteURL. I thought it would be nice to show a recent discussion with the maker of QuoteURL @fczuardi. The permalink is: http://www.quoteurl.com/by608
WordPress.com shrinks the lay-out after saving. Other hosts may let the style intact. Still I find the result pretty awesome.

  1. laikas @fczuardi Hi, I like your Quoteurl – although the lay-out becomes less when saved on WordPress. Questions: can you add tweets (days) later??
  2. laikas @fczuardi Q2: do the quotes remain stable over time? (tweets normally disappear after 3-4 weeks) ; and the avatars?
  3. fczuardi @laikas regarding the layout on wordpress, you can get the unstyled version of the embed code and use your own CSS
  4. fczuardi @laikas the avatars breaking later is a known issue, the right thing to do would to cache those images, but the code does not do it yet

this quote was brought to you by quoteurl

The video gives more details about the whole procedure.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “QuoteURL“, posted with vodpod





LOCA Congress for Interns – LOCA co-assistenten congres

14 05 2009

movir
Last Sunday I was an invited speaker at a national congress for interns, the LOCA congress. LOCA stands for “Landelijk Overleg Co-Assistenten”.

This congress has been initiated to facilitate the contact between interns of all Dutch universities and to cover in depth subjects that usually don’t get much attention.

The LOCA congress offered a diverse program, varying from “minimal invasive and maximal effective surgery”, “memory training” and “a dirty mind is a joy forever”. You can see the program here (Saturday; Sunday).

The previous event I gave a Search Workshop, this time the subject was “Medicine 2.0”.

I didn’t realize in advance that this wasn’t a convenient day. First it was Mother’s day. My children weren’t pleased that I wouldn’t be around. Furthermore I had to prepare an Evidence Based Searching day the following Monday and several other workshops that week. Still, Sunday morning we spent together in the garden eating home made smoothies and muffins that my eldest daughter L made, with on them in colors: “Mama blog”, “L X M”, “Laika twitter”, “Success”,  etcetera, which illustrates how they see me now.

Despite  that I had 40 min. instead of the expected 60 min., and just about half of the workshop subscribers (it was a very sunny day) showed up, I found it a pleasant workshop. Mostly because the audience was very interested and interactive. Within those 40 minutes, however, I could only touch upon some aspects, giving most emphasis to the web 2.0 tools which can be used in daily practice by medical professionals to find information (social networking sites, RSS also in Pubmed, personalized home pages, blogs and wiki’s)

40 minutes is short and I promised the interns to provide them with some information afterwards.

I’m too busy at the moment with my regular job, but I expect that the promised information will be available within 1-2 weeks at:

But I won’t withhold a series of tweets (Twitter messages)  specifically directed to the interns of this workshop. You can view the tweets labeled with #MOVIR, here at Visibletweets. They have been tweeted by doctors, a patient, a nurse and a physiotherapist. Please see them all, the first tweets are shown last.





Visualization of Twitter Networks: Mailana

26 03 2009

Twitter is a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time. It has become my major social networking and information tool.

There are many Twitter Tools and API’s around. Many can be regarded as gadgets, nice to use, once, twice, thrice and ….then to forget. Some of the tools that I’ve bookmarked:

Some of these tools are just for fun, others (the last 3 for instance) tell you something about somebody’s twitter network or tweets.
In the last category a new tool has just been launched: Top Twitter Friends on http://twitter.mailana.com/. It is meant to answer the questions: Who do you talk to most often on Twitter? Who are your closest friends (BFF’s)? and What does your social network look like? But it gives also tips on who you should follow, how to find friends in your neighborhood (not successful in my hands) and to find a network of people talking about a certain topic.

optionsI like this tool very much, because it visualizes the network of your relevant contacts and their contacts. My present network looks like this:

laikas-network1

I’m automatically in the center. The thicker the threads with people, the more conversations you had with them. DM’s (direct messages) are excluded. When you pass your mouse over a portrait all rays starting from there color red. Within your network, other networks may be visible. For instance, in my network you see a “Dutch community” (wowter, gbierens, essen2punt0 etc) and an Australian one (@dreamingspires, @sandnsurf, bitethedust). Some people are pivots themselves: like @mikehawker and @scanman.
You can see anyone’s network by clicking a portrait or typing a name.

A list of your 10 closest “friends” is also shown. My closest “friend” is symtym, runners up are the librarians @pudliszek and @shamsha. And there is a list of 10 suggestions as well.

Finally you can make a map of conversations. The following map was created by searching for the hashtag #zorg20 (a dutch health 2.0 meeting). It will be no surprise that the organizer @zorg2.0 is almost in the center.

zorg-20

This tool looks really awesome.
However, it makes you realize that all your tweets and follows are charted. Can this be used to pick up people’s conversation at certain topics? Can it be misused?
I just wondered when I noticed that this system is driven by Mailana social network analysis system (see demo here). This system enables companies to find out valuable hidden information in company e-mails. As shown in the demo, you can search for a company name in Mailana and find which employees mail most about it. You even get a wordcloud on basis of which you can decide who gives you the most valuable information. It is easy to see how that can be used and misused in a company. Would you like your email to become searchable? I wouldn’t! Twitter is an open communication network, but still…..

In this respect it is interesting that according Danielle of the Health Informaticist:

….while the ‘laypeople’ are chattering away (…) a company called Salesforce.com has launched a product to allow “companies to search, monitor and join conversations taking place on Twitter directly in the Service Cloud.”(for more details see post here).

Gives me a bit uncomfortable feeling.

HATTIP: @drval (





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: