Mar 30

Google’s Bosworth: How do you know you’re getting the best care possible?

Google VP Adam Bosworth blogs again on the topic of health information.

Among other things, he mentions that Google users seeking health information don’t seem to care about which sites have been “labelled” by the NLM or HON.

At Google, we have tried, as I said in an earlier post, to enlist the help of the health community to help us know which links contain medically reliable information, sift these reliable links so that they tend to show up relatively earlier in the search results, and then let you decide which groups in the health community you trust. If you go to Google and type in [Lipitor], for example, and then you click on the “For patients” link and look carefully, you’ll see that the search results often include at the bottom the word “Labeled By,” followed by words like NLM and HON. NLM stands for the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library, and HON stands for Health on the Net Foundation, an organization which is in the business of certifying web sites with health content that is reliable. These are organizations that have marked the part of the web that this link in the search results points to as medically reliable. It seems that we at Google may not have done a great job of making this clear enough. Unfortunately, many of you either don’t notice these words when you’re searching about health questions at Google or have no idea what they mean. Clearly, we can do better at making this kind of labeling noticeable and your ideas on how we could make it clear to you that a site is medically reliable or trustworthy would be greatly appreciated as we think this through.

Question for Medical Librarians: How do you generally regard the Health on the Net Foundation? Does seeing that a site displays the HONcode icon significantly inform your judgement of a site’s value?

Previous mentions of Bosworth’s blogging on health information

Mar 30

Ali Baba (3rd Party PubMed tool)

Ali Baba is pretty neat.

Ali Baba parses PubMed abstracts for biological objects and their relations as discussed in the texts. Ali Baba visualizes the resulting network in graphical form, thus presenting a quick overview over all information contained in the abstracts.

Perhaps the best way to explain what it does is with an example:

A patient with cough is treated with codeine. He becomes unresponsive after a while — what is going on?

screen_codeine
Click for larger image

The query entered in Ali Baba was “codeine intoxication”.
Ali Baba shows the relationship between codeine (marked in the graph with blue frame), cough, morphine, and poisioning. Poisioning is also connected to morphine and CYP2D6. The solution thus is that codeine is bioactivated by CYP2D6 into morphine, certain patients show an ultrarapid form of this metabolism, which leads to a life-threatening intoxication (see Gasche et al. (2004)). The connection codeine->CYP2D6->morphine is directly visible in Ali Baba.
To make this example a bit more concise and focused on the central problem, we used the minimum degree filter (in the menu, see Preferences|Filter preferences). This allows to remove all nodes without any neighbors (unconnected nodes) using the ‘Degree’ slider on the bottom panel.

I’m not sure Ali Baba will be of any use to me, but it really is neat. Please note: Ali Baba requires Java 1.5 or higher.

[via]

Other posts about third-party PubMed tools:

Mar 29

Cleveland Plain Dealer on Medical Wikis

(Be sure to check out the List of Medical Wikis)

I got an email a couple of weeks ago from Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Zachary Lewis. Zach was writing an article about medical Wikis (specifically about Ask Dr. Wiki) and wanted an interview.

The article came out today, and isn’t bad as a whole.

plaindealer.png

The first line, though, is awful:

Think of it as a librarian with a stethoscope.

That loud thumping sound you hear? That’s me beating my head against a wall in frustration with the continued misperception of what medical librarians do.

I’m quoted thusly in the article:

“Medical information is used to make potentially life-changing decisions,” he wrote. “The consequences of inaccurate information could be extremely harmful.”

Here’s what I actually wrote:

“If a middle-schooler foolishly uses Wikipedia as his/her only source for a class report and gets the birth date of Josef Stalin wrong because someone added it incorrectly, little real harm is done- but medical information is used by medical professionals and healthcare consumers to make potentially life-changing decisions. The consequences of inaccurate information could be extremely harmful.”

So the quote should have been written this way:

“…[M]edical information is used…to make…life-changing decisions. The consequences of inaccurate information could be extremely harmful.”

I’m not surprised by it, but I really don’t appreciate Zach misquoting me in this manner. It strikes me as sloppy reporting at best, dishonest reporting at worst. Those of you with a degree or experience in journalism should please feel free to weigh in if I’m off-base on this.

Also a little bit odd: The article doesn’t give the URL for my blog, Ves Dimov’s blog, nor Graham Walker’s blog).

For your edification, here’s the rest of what I gave Zach Lewis on medical Wikis via our email interview. Bolded questions are from Lewis.
_________

How did you first hear about AskDrWiki? What was your first impression of it?

I believe I first read about AskDrWiki on a blog maintained by Dr. Ves Dimov, Clinical Cases and Images.

My first impression was that it was an excellent idea that wasn’t being executed with as much caution as I would have hoped.

Based on my web research, you seem to be one of the site’s staunchest critics. Can you summarize your main points against it? How might patients, particularly, stand be negatively affected by it?

The idea of a medical Wiki for clinical professional is an excellent one. The concerns I’ve expressed about AskDrWiki are in the problems associated with having a medical information resource that anyone can edit at any time and that doesn’t have clearly-established editorial standards to adhere to.

If a middle-schooler foolishly uses Wikipedia as his/her only source for a class report and gets the birth date of Josef Stalin wrong because someone added it incorrectly, little real harm is done- but medical information is used by medical professionals and healthcare consumers to make potentially life-changing decisions. The consequences of inaccurate information could be extremely harmful.

Perhaps as importantly, clinical professionals are becoming increasingly aware of the need for authority in information resources they utilize. Without some sort of editorial control to make sure the content added is expert, AskDrWiki would have no authority and be dismissed by a great number of clinical professionals. This could slow its growth, and I’d hate to see the fruition of such a good idea hindered in this manner.

On the other hand, what’s good about it, in your opinion? How might doctors and/or their patients benefit from this?

Wikis are designed to make it easy for a number of people to collaborate on documents, and the idea of leveraging the combined knowledge of clinical professionals to create a resource of use to thousands is a fantastic one. I think that librarians don’t object to people using Wikipedia as a first stop to get a general overview of a topic and some suggestions for further reading any more than they’d object to using Encyclopedia Britannica this way- as long as it isn’t the information-seeker’s LAST stop. Similarly, a resource like AskDrWiki could be enormously useful to clinicians who need a free, quick overview of a medical topic that has been written by a qualified medical professional.

However, AskDrWiki really is written for clinical professionals and sometimes uses complex clinical language. The recent Nature Medicine article wrongly suggested this was a fault, when in fact it is a feature. Not every Wiki is intended to be a populist exercise for the general public, and AskDrWiki may well be as difficult for patients to use as an article from the New England Journal of Medicine- and that’s okay. There need to be separate resources created for healthcare consumers that are written in such a way that they don’t require a clinical background to read and understand.

I really appreciate the desire of the editors of AskDrWiki to encourage the participation of all clinical professionals and not limiting participation solely to physicians.

Has your opinion of the site changed now that they’re instituting the credential review policy? And what do you think of that policy?

I was sincerely impressed with the physicians behind AskDrWiki for listening to the concerns of information professionals, considering their arguments, and adopting this policy. It demonstrates their desire to make AskDrWiki a reliable, useful, trustworthy information resource, and goes a long way towards resolving my concerns. This policy doesn’t go as far as I’d prefer, but the idea of collaboratively-created, online medical information resources is still a very new one, and I am increasingly confident that the physicians at the Cleveland Clinic who maintain AskDrWiki will continue to embrace good ideas from outside their endeavor and will take appropriate steps to ensure the information it contains is accurate.

Is there a way to have a truly free, open, and 100% safe medical wiki?

This really gets down to the question of what a Wiki is. I would argue that a Wiki is a kind of platform for building a Web site that can be collaboratively edited by users with very little technical knowledge of the Web. Many people believe that a site isn’t really a Wiki unless it can be edited by anyone who wants to edit it. A Wiki with a restricted user base is still a Wiki.

If by “free” you mean “without cost to create,” no. There are always expenses to publishing in any medium.

If by “free” you mean “without cost to users,” sure.

If by “free” you mean “open to be edited by anyone who feels like it,” absolutely not.

I believe no medical information resource is ever 100% safe, but that those with clear, committed editorial policies are certainly likely to contain fewer mistakes. A medical Wiki that makes use of good editorial policies will certainly be more safe than one that does not.

How do you think patients might react if they thought doctors were consulting AskDrWiki for information?

I’m no expert in patient satisfaction, so I can only guess how I myself might feel about it as a patient.

If my doctor told me that he was treating me with advice he got from an anonymous online author and didn’t look it up in published medical literature before trying it on me, I’d get myself a new doctor. If my doctor told me that he first heard about a treatment from an anonymous online resource and didn’t suggest it to me until after looking it up in reputable, peer-reviewed medical information resources, I’d have no problem with that.

If AskDrWiki only allows trained medical professionals to write, it can be relied upon as much as any opinion from one other medical professional. But I wouldn’t want my doctor to make my treatment decisions based solely on the advice of one of her colleagues with no other investigation or research. Would you? As with Wikpedia, there won’t likely be anything wrong with a physician starting her/his research with AskDrWiki, as long as the research doesn’t stop there.

How does a wiki like this differ from traditional, accepted medical reference books, etc.?

Medical textbooks and journals require authors to have pertinent educational credentials and they have well-defined editorial policies to adhere to.

Thanks to their recent change in policy, AskDrWiki is now requiring the educational credentials. That’s excellent, but AskDrWiki doesn’t yet have a clear editorial policy and process by which information may be reviewed and kept up to a high standard that can help users feel confident in the quality of the information.

For instance, it isn’t clear to the reader what will happen when a gastroenterology article is submitted. The editors of AskDrWiki are electrophysiologists and cardiologists- Will they ask a colleague who is a gastroenterologist to review it for accuracy? AskDrWiki might be well-advised to write up a clear and detailed editorial policy, including notes on its intended purpose, sponsors, users, minimum requirements by which articles are approved, and disclaimers. This should be posted prominently on the site and adhered to without deviation. Articles could be marked to clearly state whether or not they have undergone editorial review.

What are your opinions of some of the other medical wikis, like Ganfyd and WikiMd

I think that PubDrug (http://www.pubdrug.org/) has enormous potential that seems to be developing in a very impressive manner. It has a clearly-defined editorial process, is building its editorial board, and is progressing both steadily and cautiously in this new medium as it works out how to be authoritative in a Wiki model.

Ganfyd has challenges before it that are similar to those faced by AskDrWiki, but where Ganfyd seems to have no names of responsible administrators posted, AskDrWiki names its editors and administrators clearly- and I think that’s a good start towards accountability that helps build confidence in their site.

WikiMD has significantly less oversight than Ganfyd or AskDrWiki because it allows anyone to register and edit, regardless of their qualifications to share medical advice. This is a problem shared by NursingWiki (http://en.nursingwiki.org/), WikiSurgery (http://www.wikisurgery.com/) and others.

It is important to remember that when the Web was new, it took some time for medical information professionals to work out how to create a good, useful, and responsible Web-based medical information resource. Wikis are a new sort of Web site, and it will take some time for the best of them to find their feet and figure out the best ways to work. Ask Dr. Wiki could, if it’s editors choose, be a leader in this way- showing other medical Wikis how it should be done.

Mar 29

FABLE (3rd Party PubMed Tool)

Fable Logo

FABLE = “Fast Automated Biomedical Literature Extraction”

Why FABLE?
FABLE currently tags only genes and proteins and only normalizes human genes. This allows us to design a customized tool that is tailored specifically for this task, rather than a generalized tool such as PubMed that provides broad search capabilities with less specificity.

FABLE mines the biomedical literature for information about human genes and proteins. FABLE v2 allows a user to find articles mentioning a gene of interest (Article Finder), or to generate a list of genes associated with one or more keywords (Gene Lister). Try one of these tools at right or learn more.

Fable Screen

Other posts about third-party PubMed tools:

Mar 28

Mozy demonstrates the wrong way to talk to users

My friend Saul (not his real name) is a pretty capable computer user on both Windows and Macs, but not a fan of television or pop culture.

Saul recently decided to try out Mozy, an online backup service that I’ve used and liked. He noticed something weird in the EULA, though, and decided to email Mozy’s creators (Berkeley Data Systems) about it. He wrote to BDS:

Hi – I just thought that the highlighted passages in this segment of the Mac OSX beta version’s software license agreement might be of interest to you. FYI – I downloaded this yesterday.

“WITHOUT LIMITING THE FOREGOING, THE TOTAL AGGREGATE LIABILITY OF BERKELEY DATA SYSTEMS AND ITS SUPPLIERS ARISING FROM OR RELATED TO THIS AGREEMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT, IF ANY, PAID BY YOU TO BERKELEY DATA SYSTEMS FOR THE SOFTWARE OR SERVICES. FURTHERMORE, YOU AGREE TO USE THE SOFTWARE OR SERVICE EXCLUSIVELY FOR GOOD AND FOR AWESOME. IF THE SOFTWARE AND SERVICES ARE PROVIDED WITHOUT CHARGE, THEN BERKELEY DATA SYSTEMS AND ITS SUPPLIERS SHALL HAVE NO LIABILITY TO YOU WHATSOEVER.

THE FOREGOING LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY SHALL APPLY WHETHER THE DAMAGES ARISE FROM USE OR MISUSE OF AND RELIANCE ON THE SOFTWARE OR SERVICE, FROM INABILITY TO USE THE SOFTWARE OR SERVICE, OR FROM THE INTERRUPTION, SUSPENSION, OR TERMINATION OF THE SOFTWARE OR SERVICE (INCLUDING SUCH DAMAGES INCURRED BY THIRD PARTIES). DO NOT TAUNT HAPPY FUN BALL. SUCH LIMITATION SHALL APPLY NOTWITHSTANDING A FAILURE OF ESSENTIAL PURPOSE OF ANY LIMITED REMEDY AND TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.”

Saul didn’t get the joke because he’s not an early 90s SNL fan. “Happy Fun Ball” is a reference to a Saturday Night Live parody advertisement in which a product with a bouncy, cheerful name comes with dire, absurd warnings. It is meant to mock consumer safety warnings, EULAs, and our litigious society. You can watch video of the sketch here.

Happy Fun Ball

It’s a fun thing to throw into the license agreement. It is clever and pleasantly silly. It made me chuckle.

But rather than simply explaining the joke to Saul, president and founder Josh Coates wrote:

[saul], thanks for asking.

i’m not an attorney, but here’s my take on things:

the way i read it, it simply means that you are not to taunt (which means to tease or make fun of) happy fun ball. it’s against the end user license agreement. if you do so, you will be in violation of the agreement.

as far as the “for good and for awesome” reference goes, i believe this statement simply means that the user agrees to use the software of good and for awesome, where good means something that conforms to the moral order of the universe, or something that advances prosperity or well-being and awesome means something that inspires awe. in other words, the user agrees to use the software for both good and awesome purposes.

hope that clarifies things for you.

-josh

Josh Coates
President, Founder
Mozy.com, Berkeley Data Systems, Inc.
jcoates@berkeleydata.net

A user who cares enough to take the time to write to the creators is the sort of user who will show the product to his friends. He’s the kind of user who, receiving positive response from the creators, will find his enthusiasm for the product enhanced.

Sending Saul the “ha-ha-you’re-not-savvy-to-my-pop-culture-smartassery” email isn’t just unprofessional and rude. It’s remarkably stupid.

Let this please be a lesson to anyone who receives communiques from end users. This is opposite of how to behave.

Mar 27

Same excuses

From Bertalan Meskó‘s ScienceRoll:

Ken Civello [of Ask Dr. Wiki] asked me whether a medical wiki created by experts could be more reliable than Wikipedia’s medical articles. Well, I don’t think so. Yes, of course, it’d be more reliable, but it’s not the point. Wikipedia’s medical entries are created and maintained by about a hundred editors (just some of them are physicians, academics). If those articles are well-referenced, then those should be reliable. It’s not a question of credentials, but references. Wikipedia articles must contain relevant information for laypeople.

This is an argument Bertalan has made before, that having references equals reliability. I have not been able to grasp this argument, so I asked:

This is a perspective I don’t quite understand, Berci. Should a doctor trust an article at AskDrWiki (or Wikipedia) as accurate because it has lots of good-looking footnotes?

He replied:

…do you think that a doctor should trust a Nature or a Newscientist article? Those have lots of good-looking references too.

So, we agree: Having references does NOT generate confidence in the authority of Nature or NewScientist either. But Nature and NewScientist have editorial policies that do generate confidence and give the product more authority.

Did I say that doctors must only trust these wikis?

Of course not. Neither did I. This is called a straw man.

Wikis are works in progress. Doctors must trust medical books and their knowledge. But if additional information is needed, then the properly referenced articles could be a source of information.

A couple of problems here. First, I didn’t ask what information seekers should do if they want MORE information. What I’m interested in is how they can be reassured that the information they’re reading is accurate. Second, I don’t think that any other publisher of medical information would say that it is okay if the information is inaccurate because information-seekers should be looking in other places. To say that it is okay for medical information in Wikis to be inaccurate because Wikis are works in progress is just an all-purpose cop-out.

How about some new arguments- or at least actually addressing the old ones?

Mar 26

Environmentally Responsible (and waterproof) Books

Via LISnews, I was intrigued to learn about a petition circulating the globe for books to be published on 100% recycled paper.

I think it’s great that authors want a more environmentally responsible book industry, but perhaps they’re barking up the wrong (dead) tree when it comes to paper.

No, I’m not referring to e-books[1], I’m taking about physical books with pages you can flip through…which aren’t made of paper.

My wife (a professor of the History of Art and Design) owns a copy of a book called Cradle to Cradle, which is “…printed on a synthetic ‘paper,’ made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers, designed to look and feel like top quality paper while also being waterproof and rugged.”

Get the idea? The book is printed on ‘paper’ that isn’t made from dead trees.

If I understand what I’ve read on this correctly, you can’t recycle paper endlessly. The quality of the paper is reduced each time it is recycled and the paper-recycling usually involves toxic byproducts. With Durabooks™ like Cradle to Cradle, the same materials can be recycled to produce new books over and over again:

“…[T]he book can be easily recycled in localities with systems to collect polypropylene, like that in yogurt containers. This ‘treeless’ book points the way toward the day when synthetic books, like many other products, can be used, recycled, and used again without losing any material quality—in cradle-to-cradle cycles.”

You can read a bit more about DuraBooks™ here

More on Cradle to Cradle:

Worldcat.org
Amazon.com

___________________________________
[1] There is another David Rothman who writes about e-books at teleread.org. We are not (as far as I can determine) related, but because this post includes mention of e-books, it seems to me a necessary courtesy to add this note of disambiguation for anyone who may find this page while looking for him. If you’re interested in e-books, you should absolutely be following his activities.

Mar 22

Presentation: L2.0 for Health Librarians

I somehow missed this a few weeks ago:

I admit to having special fondness for slide #19. :)

This gets me thinking about how I’d present the ideas of Web/Library 2.0 to medical librarians. I think my structure and focus would be quite different. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ll have to map it out.

Mar 21

ToxSeek Enhancements

An updated version of ToxSeek is now available. ToxSeek is an NLM metasearch engine and clustering tool that enables the simultaneous searching of many different toxicology and environmental health information databases and Web sites.

ToxSeek enhancements include:

a new spell checker with English and medical dictionaries
the automatic inclusion of medical subject headings (MeSH) in the subject clusters
the addition of TOXMAP® (environmental health e-maps) and ToxTown (an interactive guide to commonly encountered toxic substances)
refinements to the search strategies of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sites
the addition of WHO (World Health Organization).
ToxSeek is available at ToxSeek

[via]

Mar 21

5 Non-Librar* Blogs

Rachel Singer Gordon has started a meme suggesting that bibliobloggers list 5 blogs they read that aren’t library-related.

1. Running a Hospital
The President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Paul Levy posts about various aspects of hospital management.

2. Kevin, M.D.
I think that this blog is to medical bloggers what the Librarian in Black is to bibliobloggers. In short posts, he touches on everything.

3. Of Zen and Computing

Of Zen and Computing is a computer tech support website for everyday people with everyday problems. Our contributors are I.T. professionals with extensive experience in solving computer problems day-in and day-out, and Of Zen and Computing is your gateway to their know-how.

I don’t really learn about technology from this blog, but I get good tips on teaching it.

4. Polite Dissent
I’m interested in medicine, comics, and television- so Polite Dissent is one of my regular favorites. I particularly love Scott’s reviews of each episode of House and his ongoing series of posts on psychic nosebleeds in comics.

5. Creating Passionate Users

The Creating Passionate Users bloggers are all fascinated by brains, minds and what science can tell us about the practice of making users passionate about their lives and tools. Kathy is the chief poobah of the bestselling Head First books (www.wickedlysmart.com), a brain-friendly series from O’Reilly.

Mar 21

Managing Medical Literature on a Mac: iPapers, Papers, Sente, BibDesk

You might remember this post about an OS X application for managing PDFs using metadata from PubMed- the application is called iPapers.

Ars Technica recently reviewed an application for OS X with some awfully similar features called Papers
papers
Click image for larger version

From the Papers site:

Introducing Papers…
Do you have dozens of PDF files from your favorite scientific articles scattered on your harddrive? Do you also try to desperately organize them by renaming and archiving them in folders? But like the piles of printed articles on your desk, you can’t keep up with all the new papers you download, and despite all your efforts it has become impossible to find that one article.

Finally that all belongs to the past. We’ve been there, trust us, we know. That’s why we wrote Papers, our latest application exclusively for the Mac. Papers will revolutionize the way you deal with scientific papers. Search for papers using PubMed, directly retrieve and archive PDFs, and read and study them all from within Papers, your personal library of Science.

From the Ars Technica article:

The comments on the Ars review include mention of BibDesk and Sente as potential alternatives. I love Sente’s marketing: “It’s like iTunes for academic literature.”

Mar 20

Notes on ReleMed

A lot of bibliobloggers have been posting about ReleMed, but wanted to avoid doing so until I felt I understood it. ReleMed came up on MEDLIB-L recently and a good question was asked:

I tried it just now and I like that it shows a little bar graph of each articles' relevance, but I fail to see how it is different from HubMed (http://www.hubmed.org/), which allows you to sort by date or relevance. Am I missing something?

I think I now understand ReleMed a bit, so I attempted to answer the question. You can judge for yourself how well I did.

The Krafty Librarian points to this recent article from Medical Design Online that is worth checking out for a brief introduction.

What I’d really like to see is this kind of relevance sorting added to the PubMed interface. I’d love to be able to search PubMed as I normally might, then sort results by ReleMed score. Something like this:

Barring that, it would be great if ReleMed allowed the user to choose between a variety of search interfaces, including one that works like PubMed’s. I think that might do a lot to encourage use by medical libraryfolk. The option of simple keyword- searching is nice to have, but it would be great to be able to apply ReleMed’s sorting power to a more expert search.

Mar 20

EBSCO to deliver blog content

From the press release:

IPSWICH, Mass. & GUILFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO), the world’s premier database aggregator, and Newstex, the Content On Demand™ company, today announced an alliance to deliver Newstex Content On Demand™ and Newstex Blogs On Demand™ via nearly 100 EBSCO databases to customers worldwide. As part of the distribution agreement, full-text blog content from premier Weblogs with historical archives in a wide variety of categories including art, career, economics, environment, finance, food, health, law, marketing, medical, technology, and many more will be made available in online aggregated databases for the first time.

Unlike existing Web-based blog aggregation services, Newstex actually licenses influential blog content directly from independent bloggers and then takes in each carefully selected blog feed in text format and uses its proprietary NewsRouter technology to scan it in real-time. The resulting blog feeds, news feeds, and historical archives are delivered to EBSCO for distribution to customers in applicable databases.

“Blog content is becoming more prominent in all facets of research,” said Dave Mangione, vice president of product management and content licensing for EBSCO Publishing. “With Newstex as our partner, the value of such content is significantly increased due to the high quality control standards Newstex follows in their effort to gather and disseminate blog content. We are pleased to add full-text blog content from Newstex to help meet the increasing customer demand in this area.”

Larry Schwartz, Newstex president, added, “Blog content is growing in importance for every discipline and in every industry. But the challenge is to deliver blog content with comprehensive history to customers in the applications that they rely on every day. Now, EBSCO Publishing customers will enjoy commentary on a wide variety of topics from influential bloggers as part of their existing services.”

Newstex automatically tags each blog post with company names, stock tickers, key executives and government officials, and detailed topical categories. Each news story and blog post delivered as part of Newstex Blogs On Demand will include Newstex’s proprietary PeopleTickering™—a system that synthesizes metadata from numerous premium sources and quality blogs to create a database of people who make the news.

Here’s a list of blogs included in Newstex’s Blogs On Demand™ offerings. It includes only 10 medical blogs. Since most blogs are freely available on the Web and blog search engines continue to improve (I’m a big fan of Google Blog Search), I wonder if the added value will be solely from the Newstex ‘tagging’. The PeopleTickering™ sounds a lot like a meme-tracker for names, doesn’t it? Perhaps like pmeme?

Mar 20

Medical Economics on Google for Doctors

Can Google make you a better doctor?
Tech Talk
Mar 2, 2007
By: Robert Lowes
Medical Economics

Includes interesting commentary on the BMJ article on “Googling for a Diagnosis” from last November.
(Previously mentioned here, here, here and here)

“The cases in the BMJ article deal with diagnoses so rare that most physicians will never make them in their lifetime,” Armstrong says. “Google is useful for them, but not for common conditions where presenting complaints are vague, like ‘nausea, fatigue, generalized muscle pain.’ Google would yield a morass of disorganized information with no built-in quality filter. I can’t think of a single person in the EBM field who would use Google on a regular basis.”

Armstrong says the BMJ study would have been more convincing had it compared Google with EBM search engines such as the TRIP Database (for more information, see “The best treatment? It’s at your fingertips,” in the March 4, 2005 issue). Interestingly enough, Jon Brassey, a co-founder and co-director of TRIP (www.tripdatabase.com), holds Google in higher regard. “Google isn’t anywhere near as good as TRIP,” Brassey wrote in a blog. “But it’s pretty fine.”

Read the rest.

Mar 19

NYC this weekend

I keep forgetting to mention that I get to spend this weekend (Friday-Sunday) 1/2 block off Central Park East because my lovely, clever spouse is speaking at the Historical Society.

If any NYC-based libraryfolk have suggestions about must-visit library-related destinations, please let me know? I get to NYC all too rarely and want to take proper advantage. I’d especially like to see particularly cool medical libraries.

Please email me directly (see address on sidebar) or leave voicemail at 206.333.0824.

Thanks!

Mar 19

Radiopaedia (Radiology Wiki)

(Be sure to check out the List of Medical Wikis)

radiopaedia

Radiopaedia’s Aims:

The aim of Radiopaedia.org is to develop an online text where information is up to date and relevant to the needs of radiology staff, both registrars and consultants. In addition, the wiki format will allow discussion of topics and resolution of areas of confusion. There are many worthwhile online resources already, however most are not collaborative and therefore lack the ability to respond to users needs.

This appears to be the editorial policy:

Anyone can create an article. Anyone can edit an existing one. Contributions remain logged to your name, and can be included in your CV, along with a link to your User Page.

Due to the immediacy of editing, new information can be introduced immediately when it becomes available. Errors can be corrected immediately, with no need to wait for the next edition.

I have to admit that I enjoyed the disclaimer:

None of the information here is to be used for self diagnosis or treatment. If you suffer from a medical condition, or think you do, please go see a doctor. We do not accept responsibility for you failing your exams either, not that you will of course.

[Via]