Web Geekery in Recent Literature, 9/1/2009

Welcome to another installment of Web Geekery in Recent Literature, where we point out recent articles in the indexed literature of potential interest to the Geeky and Web-obsessed.

Plagiarism of online material may be proven using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine (archive.org).
PMID: 19716663

Many writers and researchers are reluctant to publish online for fear that their work will be plagiarized and used without attribution elsewhere. For example, junior or freelance researchers may worry that their ideas will be ‘stolen’ and published under the name of professional or senior researchers; and that then it could be hard to convince people that in fact the idea had originated elsewhere. However, if this happens, plagiarism may be objectively proven by a service called the Internet Archive Wayback Machine (archive.org). Archive.org permits clarification of the issue of dates – and allows the reader to draw their own conclusions about authorship, whether charitable or otherwise. In sum, archive.org is a little known, freely available and potentially very useful mechanism for defending intellectual property rights.

I’d be willing to be that there’s not a single librarian reader of this blog who wasn’t already quite aware of the Wayback Machine.

Medical professionalism in the age of online social networking.
PMID: 19717700

The rapid emergence and exploding usage of online social networking forums, which are frequented by millions, present clinicians with new ethical and professional challenges. Particularly among a younger generation of physicians and patients, the use of online social networking forums has become widespread. In this article, we discuss ethical challenges facing the patient-doctor relationship as a result of the growing use of online social networking forums. We draw upon one heavily used and highly trafficked forum, Facebook, to illustrate the elements of these online environments and the ethical challenges peculiar to their novel form of exchange. Finally, we present guidelines for clinicians to negotiate responsibly and professionally their possible uses of these social forums.

Huh. This seems somehow familiar…

Informed patients are not a threat.
PMID: 19717986

We’ve all been there; the embarrassing realisation that, despite being a so-called health-care professional and the supposed fount of all knowledge, a patient or relative knows more about a condition than we do. Some of us can take it on the chin and defer, after all, the internet and modern media has made access to information that much easier – anyone with a PC and a spare half an hour can find out exactly how Dengue fever is transmitted (by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, in case you are interested). Not everyone can be that magnanimous though – as a student, I remember being intensely annoyed by a woman who told me that I was being impatient with her husband, a man with Alzheimer’s, and that I needed to adopt a calmer approach when I took him to the toilet. She was right, of course – but I was simply furious.

Say it with me, clinicians: “Informed patients are not a threat.” Make it your mantra.

(This comment dedicated to e-patient Dave.)

Comments are closed.