B.U. Health Sciences Librarian Stewart Brower has some new information about his PubDrug project (previously mentioned here) including this presentation by Bill Loeffler and Amy Jo Michnik, 4th-year Pharm.D. students at U.B..
Stew posted other encouraging news on PubDrug today, too.
I really admire that as he pursues this enormously ambitious project, Stew seems to set and meet realistic goals along the way and acknowledge the significant hurdles the project has to face. If I could offer something other than my enthusiastic good wishes to PubDrug, I sure would. Until I can, I’ll keep watching for updates on new developments and cheering loudly when they appear.
The only concern that I have is that PubDrug isn’t locked down. On the front page of PubDrug, Stew writes:
“PubDrug is still relatively intrusion-free at this point. Only a handful of spammers have tried messing with our pages, and the longest any spam has gone uncorrected is a matter of only a few hours.”
I think the value of the Wiki platform (easy editing, easy administration, easy collaboration, low cost) would NOT be degraded by having careful controls over who can edit PubDrug…but PubDrug’s credibility will (rightly) suffer without such controls. Page 9 of the presentation brings up security, but doesn’t really address this problem, as the security measures it lists clearly won’t prevent vandalism. In the time that passes between a vandal’s alteration of a few characters and the reversion to accuracy, a clinician could check PubDrug and get bad, potentially dangerous information. What responsible clinician or medical librarian will use a resource that is vulnerable in this manner?
I’m sure Stew has plans in mind for dealing with this problem, and I’m looking forward to learning about them.