Web Geekery in Recent Literature – 1/4/2008

(What do y’all think of this as a regular feature on this blog?)

  • I’ll Google That.
    AORN J. 2007 Dec;86(6):933-5
    Authors: Hamlin L
    PMID: 18068397

    I haven’t read the whole article yetMy library has full text access to this title digitally, but I can’t seem to access this issue yet…dangit, but the European Medical Libraries blog has some excerpts:

    “There is no doubt that information and communication are the very essence and heart of Google; however, unlike the majority of traditional, scholarly sources, information obtained via a search engine such as Google is not necessarily accurate, authoritative, or even true.”

    Here’s the thing: Google isn’t a source, Google is a tool for (among other things) finding sources. Criticizing Google as a source of information is about as ridiculous as criticizing the card catalog for not being a good source. Of course it isn’t! But the books the card catalog helps you find are! Both the card catalog and Google require specialized informatoin literacy to use effectively. Google and other general Web search engines are incredibly useful tools in the hands of an expert searcher and I continue to be amazed that there are people who doubt this.

    I really need to read the article to see if the entire thing is this ridiculous or if these excerpts, out of context, don’t represent it well.

  • I love the idea of physicians seeking to learn something from patient blogs…

    What can physicians learn from the blogs of patients with uveitis?
    Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2007 Nov-Dec;15(6):421-3
    Authors: Mehta SA
    PMID: 18085484

    Aim: To identify the sources of anxiety from patient blogs. Materials and Methods: Blogs were identified using www.blogsearch.google.com. and the following noted: age, sex, location, type of uveitis, symptoms, and the sources of anxiety. Results: 103 blogs were identified. Anterior uveitis was the most common type followed by multifocal choroiditis and sympathetic ophthalmia. Sources of anxiety include acute pain, redness, photophobia and visual loss, initial misdiagnosis and monetary expenses. Conclusions: Physicians should focus on pain relief and counsel on visual loss including its impact on career or livelihood needs. Patients seen in emergency situations need early referral.
  • Cool…an article on HealthMap, a really cool mashup previously mentioned here).

    HealthMap: Global infectious disease monitoring through automated classification and visualization of Internet media reports.
    J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2007 Dec 20;
    Authors: Freifeld CC, Mandl KD, Reis BY, Brownstein JS
    PMID: 18096908

    OBJECTIVE Unstructured electronic information sources, such as news reports, are proving to be valuable inputs for public health surveillance. However, staying abreast of current disease outbreaks requires scouring a continually growing number of disparate news sources and alert services, resulting in information overload. Our objective is to address this challenge through the HealthMap.org Web application, an automated system for querying, filtering, integrating and visualizing unstructured reports on disease outbreaks. DESIGN This report describes the design principles, software architecture and implementation of HealthMap and discusses key challenges and future plans. MEASUREMENTS We describe the process by which HealthMap collects and integrates outbreak data from a variety of sources, including news media (e.g., Google News), expert-curated accounts (e.g., ProMED Mail), and validated official alerts. Through the use of text processing algorithms, the system classifies alerts by location and disease and then overlays them on an interactive geographic map. We measure the accuracy of the classification algorithms based on the level of human curation necessary to correct misclassifications, and examine geographic coverage. RESULTS As part of the evaluation of the system, we analyzed 778 reports with HealthMap, representing 87 disease categories and 89 countries. The automated classifier performed with 84% accuracy, demonstrating significant usefulness in managing the large volume of information processed by the system. Accuracy for ProMED alerts is 91% compared to Google News reports at 81%, as ProMED messages follow a more regular structure. CONCLUSION HealthMap is a useful free and open resource employing text-processing algorithms to identify important disease outbreak information through a user-friendly interface.

6 thoughts on “Web Geekery in Recent Literature – 1/4/2008

  1. Hi David
    (and a happy new year)
    I like your idea. And thanks for pointing out the third article which I will absoultely read.

  2. Pingback: HealthMap « MHSLA Blog

  3. Hi David,
    two answers-

    1. yes, this is a great feature and I would love to read the articles and have long conversations about them but
    2. how dare you put such an enticing post up for me to find on friday afternnon when I have to force myself to get back to work?

  4. First of all best wishes for 2008!
    I really would like to read the articles, but unfortunatelly our library is not subscribed to those journals. So if someone could e-mail (jan at medblog.nl) the articles I would be very happy.

  5. “So, armed with a little more information, I decided to repeat my search using the term retained surgical sponges on Google Scholar.”

    After reading it in full it is more of a mea culpa. It seemed to be the case of an uninformed searcher using a just a hammer (Google), where a nail punch (Scholar) would have been more appropriate.