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July 31, 2008

Insight in Unexpected Places

"Health is personal. Health Care is not. The term is a euphemism for Condition Treatment, and it's not about patients. It's about systems, and most of those are both proprietary and closed."
Doc Searls. "The Patient as the Platform" LINUX Journal. http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/patient-platform

I have for years been pondering the difference between the professional and personal views of the patient experience. I have read many articles about it, had many discussions, have many long-winded ways I describe it, and even touch on the topic in the intro to my book. I don't know that I have ever seen the topic described so succinctly and elegantly as in the above quotation. I don't know that a geek-oriented computer programming, software, hardware journal would be very last place I would look for this type of insight (geeks are awful smart folk, after all!), but it is probably getting close to the end!

Part of what interests me about the quote is what it says, part is where I found it, part is how I found it, part is how other might find it. For myself, I was following a conversation on Del.icio.us; (2) Twitter; (3) Second Life. Then I add in Google, Flickr and Slideshare.

The point is that I built habits to bring useful and relevant information to me, remaining engaged with communities and individuals who shared my interests, so perhaps, my discovery of this very interesting article in an unusual place was less accidental and more a case of the prepared mind. [footnote 1]

Or perhaps it is that being engaged with a topic means being engaged with other people also interested in that topic? A popular phrase in the social media community is about being "engaged in the conversation." Ah, but where is the conversation? For science, the published journals have traditionally been a way to capture and record the thoughts of different knowledgeable people working in related areas. Recently I've wondered if the scientific conversation is still primarily being held in research journals, or is it moving (little by little) into other venues? [footnote 2] I had a discussion over lunch with a research faculty member about this very topic, roaming around issues of whether peer review actually offers the benefits claimed for it, the failing economic models of academic publication, and is the model of journal publication a practical and sustainable model for the future. Then there is the looming question of if the "traditional" models are no longer viable, what are our other options? All excellent questions to ponder for future discussions.

Back to the discovery of Doc Searl's interesting healthcare article in the LINUX Journal. I cast my net widely - engaging ing discussion with communities in healthcare, technologies, education, and more. I could have found this through any of those, but found it through an overlap -- a geek type that does Twittering for a healthcare organization (MD Anderson).

Doc Searls article Tweet.

Now ask yourself, how did you find this article? What habits or connections or conversations lead you here?


1. "Dans les champs de l'observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés." "In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind."
WikiQuote: Louis Pasteur. Lecture, University of Lille (7 December 1854). http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Louis_Pasteur

2. Emerging Technologies Librarian. "Science as Conversation, Part 2: Evolution of Scientific Conversation." http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/06/science_as_conv_1.html

Posted by pfa at 10:58 AM | Comments (1)

July 29, 2008

Welcome to my new coauthors

I've disappointed myself by not blogging more consistently here. As a result, I've invited two of my HSL colleagues, Anna Ercoli Schnitzer and Patricia Anderson to join me in this venture. Both are active bloggers, Anna on our HSL news and HSL staff blogs, and Patricia on a a variety of blogs dealing with emerging technologies, informatics, and other cutting edge issues. It's my hope that we'll inspire each other to post, discuss, and debate the big, external issues facing health sciences libraries in this forum.

Wish us luck!

Posted by janeblum at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2008

Didn't they learn anything from Encyclopdeia Britannica vs Wikipedia?

PLoS stays afloat with bulk publishing : Nature News

The hot story this morning is "Nature disses PLoS," based on Declan Butler's article "PLoS stays afloat with bulk publishing: Science-publishing firm struggles to make ends meet with open-access model." The article (Nature 2008;454(11), doi:10.1038/454011a, published online July 2, 2008) has already drawn reactions around the scientific and library blogging worlds ranging from "told you so" to "how dare they!"

Jonathan Eisen, Academic Editor in Chief of PLoS Biology, wrote a response and links to a number of other responses.

Personally, I think Nature has as much right as any business to take potshots at the competition. Whether they are wise to do so remains to be seen. I doubt that true believers on either side of the open access movement are going to persuaded by the article or the reactions to it, so it's difficult to see what they gain. And as Britannica learned when it challenged wikipedia, such challenges can come back to haunt you later. Britannica endured an extended comparison of the accuracy of its articles versus those in Wikipedia, and now includes wikipedia-like features. Will we see Nature Publishing Group journals change as a result of this discussion?

Posted by janeblum at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2008

100th Post

When I logged in today, I was surprised to see that this would be post #100 on this blog. It seems like I have just started and that I haven't posted much, but 100 entries sounds like a lot. I haven't posted as much or as often as I would like, and I'm still working through what direction I want this effort to take.

The end of the academic year has just passed, and that, along with a round number of posts, promotes reflection. I'll give some thought to why I blog as well as what I blog and post my reflections here in the next few days.

Posted by janeblum at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)