I spent this last week getting caught up from my vacation.
I thought I would start off with a Friday Fun post to get me back into the blogging world after a very stressful week of trying not to turn into a lobster.
The twitterverse alerted me to this little video featuring our illustrious Past President of MLA, Jane Blumenthal. I thought it was a creative way of telling people about Taubman Health Sciences Library moving the older books and journals to the Health Sciences Remote Storage Facility.
While the car that Jane and Paul use was certainly cool, nothing can eclipse the original Bluesmobile. The outtakes are just as fun to watch as the polished video. Well done.
Below is a guest post from my husband about his Windows Phone. A while back ago I asked him to write a post comparing the different phones he has had. He the only person I know who has had an iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows phone and is not working for CNET or another technology review company. He has used and lived with each of these phones at some period of time. He started with the iPhone 3G then moved to the Android. He had a Blackberry for work and now has a Galaxy S4 for his work phone. He currently has a Windows Phone as his personal phone.
He started out writing a big ol’ post comparing all of the platforms but realized lots of people have already done that, so why reinvent the wheel. It was after some good natured teasing I gave him about his Windows phone that he decided to write his post about his phone.
So enjoy your Friday Fun guest post and maybe it might get you thinking about a Windows phone. I have to admit, as much as I tease him, he is right about the Office capabilities being a big plus.
My name is Mike and I am a Windows Phone user.
Yes, I know. There are actually some of us out there and believe it or not, we really do like it. Alot.
It was a long winding path to get here, over the iOS river and through the Android woods. I won’t bore you with the details but I have had plenty of exposure to both of the major platforms through personal and work devices.
Using Apple products has always felt to me like I’m living in a subdivision with an overzealous homeowners’ assocation. It’s very clean and everything works but God help me if I want to put up non-sactioned Christmas lights or change the flag on my mailbox.
I won’t even mention iTunes. I’m still seeing a therapist over that.
When I went to Android it was for the promise of the exact opposite of the iPhone experience. Open, free, do whatever you want. It was the Summer of Love all over again.
But the more time I spent within that user interface, the jarring transitions from one app to another and the inconsistent overall delivery of the experience, it began to feel more and more that I had taken the brown acid and was in for a bad trip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKoLlKmQSHU
The app quality and overall safety itself wasn’t exactly what I had in mind either. Downloading something from the Google app store felt like the smartphone version of the Russian roulette scene from The Deerhunter.
It was at my moment of greatest smartphone despair that I found myself at an AT&T store and face to face with a Nokia Lumia. What do I have to lose? I told my then five year old son to stand still and try and be quiet while I tried something. While he went and did the total opposite of that I took the phone for a test drive.
I work for a software company so I have used countless numbers of different programs on different platforms over the course of my career. The Windows Phone UI was one of the simplist, most intuitive I had ever used.
Even using one hand and half my brain to try and corral a kid who was going Dennis the Menace inside the store, I effortlessly moved through the interface. I read (fake) e-mail and text messages, did a quick Google search and was even able to take a photo of my son hiding behind the Samsung Galaxy Note display (thanks to the dedicated camera button on the side).
The more I used it and the more I read about it, it was like having the best of both worlds. The live tiles and the Metro (Modern UI) interface gave every app a uniform sameness but yet there was a freedom to change and different ways to view and do things. It was like the hippies had grown up, moved into the subdivision, and gotten rid of the rules but still kept their lawns mowed at a reasonable height.
The first time I emailed myself a couple of Word documents and an Excel spreadsheet for a meeting and they opened without so much as a single glitch I almost cried.
Even the physical qualities were to my taste. I like a little heft to my phone, something that doesn’t feel like it will fly out of my hand as soon as I pull it out of my pocket. For example, my two year old daughter’s pink barrettes feel sturdier than the Galaxy S4 I use for work.
I could go on and on (and maybe I will if the Krafty Librarian gets lazy and needs me to fill up more space). If you find yourself in the smartphone doldrums like I was, I highly recommend you at least pick one up and give it a try.
The app Figure 1 has been getting a lot of press recently. I learned about it a few weeks ago but I am just now getting around to mentioning it here.
Figure 1 is being called the Instagram for doctors. It is a crowdsourced images database app. The crowd happens to be doctors, and the images happen to be medical images. The app is a collection of medical images submitted by doctors to share, collaborate and learn from. Doctors are verified using their institutional email address. The app takes patient privacy very seriously. It has a face detection program that automatically blocks out the face in a submitted photo and it includes other editing tools to remove other identifying features. A HIPPA authorization digital consent form is also included. Patients click the agree button then sign screen/form.
You don’t have submit any images to benefit from the app according to their site. “First of all, you can still access the images that others are posting so that you can learn from them, use them as a reference for your own practice, or comment on them so that others can learn from you.”
David Ahn at iMedicalApps posted a great review describing the positives and negatives of this novel app. He notes some of the limitations of the app are the indexing of the images and lack of identifying information. Ahn discovered upon doing a search for heliotrope rash that the first seven results were “clearly not a heliotrope rash.” As librarians know, indexing images is tricky. Ahn noted Figure 1 also pulls images from outside medical websites (non-user submitted images) and a link to the website instead of the submitter’s name is listed. However the outside images have “no captions, markings, or even any clear diagnosis listed.” Besides the obvious problems with lack of identifying information, Figure 1 displays user submitted images before web scraped images. As Ahn illustrated with the heliotrope rash, this can cause problems because the correct image (scraped from the web) was buried below the 7 incorrect ones (user submitted ones).
Additionally, I find doctors not only want to see and share images, but they often want to include them in presentations and slides for teaching purposes. Right now you can only share the images through the app. Emailing a colleague an image gives them a simple email (below) requiring them to use Figure 1 to see the image. Making it so Figure 1 images can be used in presentations would make this Instagram like app even more useful to doctors and medical professionals.
This is a very new app. It appears they launched in May 2013, so it isn’t surprising that there is some room for improvement. I don’t know of any products or apps that are perfect 3 months from their launch. Yet as of today, it is the 5th most downloaded app in the Medical category of iTunes and according the MedicalApps post, the app is outpacing Landy’s projections. So, given its popularity I expect to see some improvements relatively soon.
What I found to be interesting was Dr. Landy describing to Ahn his reason for creating this app.
Dr. Landy wondered how he could quickly access a medical image database to assist in identifying new clinical pathologies. This question eventually led him to create Figure 1. Like many physicians, he was not satisfied with the paywalls of private medical image libraries or with Google Images’ lack of medical selectivity.
Furthermore, when it came to sharing medical images with his peers, he found e-mail inefficient, as images would often get drowned out amidst ballooning inboxes. As a result, he helped create Figure 1, a free, crowdsourced medical image sharing resource that is quickly and easily accessible for health care practitioners.
Finding good medical images has always been a booger, and Dr. Landy is right about the frustrations of pay walls. I would extend it a bit further to say that not only is the paywall part is a barrier to finding medical images, but the siloed nature of these medical image sites is a massive barrier as well. Even if somebody has paid for these medical image sites, there is no repository or online catalog of all the image packages bought from different companies. That makes searching for images difficult even if you paid for them.
I am curious to see how Figure 1 evolves and what impact it will have on doctors finding images. I am also curious to see how/if subscription companies with medical image silos might adapt as a result of apps like Figure 1.
There are a lot of people who are involved in MLA doing things, there are Section chairs, Committee chairs, Task Force chairs, Board Members, Presidents (new, current, past), Nominating Committee, etc.
Previously I wrote the post, Behind the Scenes: What is the MLA Nomintating Committe? detailing how the members of the Nominating Committee get to be on the Nominating Committee and that they are charged with picking the people to be on the ballot for Board Member and President to be voted on by the MLA membership.
Today I will tackle MLA Chapters:
I will write about Sections in future post but I want to first say Chapters and Sections are different entities. If you belong to MLA you don’t not automatically belong to a Chapter or Section. You have to pay to be a member of a Chapter or Section.
Here is a link describing Chapters in greater detail, click on the Chapter for your state to get an overview about it.
Here is a link describing the Sections in MLA, click on each Section to get an overview of each one.
I highly recommend being a member of your Chapter and/or a Section because they offer a great opportunity to become involved in the larger group of MLA.
Here is a rough break down of some of the leadership opportunities and positions within Chapters and Sections. There are a lot of Chapters and Sections and some may have committees unique to their group so I am going to try describe things that are common to all.
There are 13 Chapters and they are organized as groups of states (Philadelphia Chapter being the exception) roughly similar to how the National Network of Libraries of Medicine is organized. BUT the Chapters are NOT related to the NNLM system. Just because your library belongs to an NNLM region does not mean you belong to a Chapter. Membership with NNLM does not equal membership with Chapters and vice versa. They are separate medical library groups that just happen to divvy up the members across the United States (and parts of Canada) in a similar way.
Each Chapter has officers and committee chairs (can be found by clicking on the officers link for each chapter on MLA’s Chapter page) and some of the officers and chairs vary according to the Chapter. I am going to stick with the positions that are common among all of the Chapters. Hopefully after reading this post you are encouraged to join your chapter and you can learn about the other leadership positions and opportunities to get involved that are specific to your Chapter.
Many of the chapters have more detailed information about their officers in their bylaws.
In general each Chapter has:
Chair (or President)
Past Chair (or Past President)
Chair Elect (or President Elect)
Midwest Chapter is a little different than others and has two secretaries: Membership Secretary and Recording Secretary.
Representative to MLA Chapter Council
Alternate Representative to MLA Chapter Council
Terms of service for the Chair and the MLA Chapter Council Representative are three years, but it can vary with other positions (example: Secretary can range from 1-3 yrs depending on the Chapter).
The South Central Chapter has a very good illustration of the overall organizational structure of a Chapter.
While the duties of the Chairs (elect, current, and past), Secretary, and Treasurer may vary somewhat by Chapter, it is pretty easy understand their overall raison d’etre. The position of Chapter Council Representative may not be as well known by people unfamiliar with the Chapters.
To understand the position of the Chapter Council Representative, I should probably quickly describe Chapter Council.
The Chapter Council of the Medical Library Association is one of two councils serving in an advisory capacity to the Board of Directors of the Association. It promotes interchange among chapters, and, together with its counterpart, the Section Council, promotes interchange among sections and chapters and provides an opportunity for chapters to participate more directly in the governance of the Association through representation of their interests at the Board level. The Council also enables chapters to better define their role and function within the Association through participation in a coordinated, unified representative body.
Basically Chapter Council represents the Chapters as a whole to the Board of Directors of MLA. Each Chapter has its own Chapter Council Representative who represents their Chapter to the Chapter Council. (Click here for more specific information on “how” the Chapter Council Representative represents their Chapter.) The Chair of Chapter Council then represents Chapter Council (which represents the Chapters) to the Board of Directors of MLA.
So here is how the thought of a regular Chapter member can get to the Board of Directors via Chapters.
Chapter Member thought > Chapter officers > Chapter Council Rep > Chapter Council > Chair of Chapter Council > Board of Directors
I hope this helps clarify a bit about MLA Chapters. As I mentioned I will do a post in the future on Sections. Liike my previous Behind the Scenes series of posts, all of the information is available online and really isn’t behind the any scene. But since it is different locations it can be difficult to find making it sometimes difficult to know what is going on. Everything I have written here is available and can be found on MLA’s website, Chapter websites, Chapter Council Website, and the NNLM website. It is just a matter of finding the information and bringing it together.
Google is letting several people “play” with Google Glass. I know of two people at my institution who are trying it out. Since I don’t have Google Glass(es) and I don’t have a real need for them right now other than playing with them and obsessively worrying about breaking them (there is a reason I buy cheap sunglasses). I thought I would summarize some of things the medical/technical people testing Glass have said.
John Sharp at eHealth
John works at the Cleveland Clinic. He had three days with Google Glass and his thoughts are:
Voice command takes some getting used to
Menu gets some getting used to
Nice to be hands free browsing, taking videos/photos -camera quality excellent
Possiblity for healthcare – Physicians receive alert on patients lab results via Glass
Network access for surfing is currently problematic. Need an available wireless network or an open network that does not require authentication. Alternative is to connect using your phone’s bluetooth (wifi) or enable your phone as a wireless hotspot (dataplan!)
Messages are alerts are short and limited text to fit on tiny screen/glass
Permissions/privacy concerns because you don’t know somebody is filming using Glass
John Halamka at Life As a CIO
Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center briefly describes Google Glass and how it works and lists 5 potential uses.
Google Glass basics: (He calls it basically an Android cell phone without the cellular transmitter.)
Can run Android apps (Krafty thought: Candy Crush andyone?)
Videos displayed at half HD resolution
Sound uses bone conduction only wearer can hear it (Krafty note: I am very familiar with this method, there is an underwater MP3 player that uses the same technology.)
Has motion sensitive accelerometer for gestural commands
Right temple is touch pad but also has microphone for voice commands
Battery lasts about a day
Meaningful Use Stage 2 for hospitals- Screen shows picture of patient and medication on Glass to nurse who is about to administer the drug to ensure that she has correct patient and medication. (Krafty thought: The movie Terminator is coming to mind and I can imagine the the nurse “scanning the room” and it flashes on patient and does face recognition with ID bracelet confirmation then scans the barcode of the medication and gives a green screen if it is right or red screen if it is wrong. But according to this post facial recognition apps are currently banned.)
Clinical documentation – provide real time video of the patient/doctor encounter.
Emergency Department Dashboards – ER doc puts on Google Glass and looks at patient and it does a “tricorder” like scan of patient providing vital signs, triage details, nurse documentation, lab results, etc. John states “At BIDMC, we hope to pilot such an application this year.” (Krafty thought: Dude that is the Terminator screen up display that I am thinking of.)
Decision Support – Google glass would retrieve the appropriate decision support for the patient in question and visually sees a decision tree that incorporates optimal doses of medications, the EKG of the patient, and vital signs.
Alerts and Reminders – Communication, emails, phone calls, calendar, etc.
Timothy Aungst and Iltifat Husain at iMedicalApps
I can’t tell from the post whether they tried one out or whether they were just coming up with usage scenarios. They provides a lot of scenarios (too many to list here) so I just thought I would mention a few that I think stand out. There is also a lively discussion in the comments section.
EMS Responder at an accident has Google Glass on and transmits live stream to ER department status of patients and the traumas for each patient enabling the ER to better prepare for the patients upon arrival.
A cardiologist in a cath lab overlays the fluoroscopy as they perform a femoral catheterization for a patient with a recent myocardial infarct.
A physical therapist can see past sessions with a patient from previous recordings, overlaying their current range of motion, identifying changes as well as progression.
Any healthcare professional could walk up to a patient’s bed and instantly see all their vitals such as pulse, BP, O2 Sats, etc.
Dr. Rafael Grossmann @ZGJR Blog
Has several very interesting posts on his current use of Google Glass treatpatients. He is not only using it in medical scenarios but also with real patients.
There are a lot of people in library land writing posts about Google Glass and its potential impact on libraries. I don’t know of a librarian who has tried them (if there is one let me know) and asside from iMedicalApps I chose to focus on those who have actually tried them. A future post will look at the potential of Google Glass in libraries.
Tomorrow I will be moderating the #medlibs chat and we will discuss the use of social media for patient education and consumer health. 72% of adults seek medical information online, and between 26-34% (depending on various reports) of people use social media to find health information. The thought is the trend will continue to grow.
I will be asking these questions (I’m giving them to you ahead of time so you can think about them):
How are librarians using social media to provide consumer health information or patient education?
How do you measure the effectiveness of a social media health information campaign?
What are some barriers to providing patient education/consumer health information via social media?
#medlibs is a active group with lots of ideas and opinions so I am sure we will have more questions as we discuss things, but this is these are the main ones to get us started.
See you all online Thursday July 11, 2013 at 6pm PST and 9pm EST.
I am writing a book chapter on this topic and this #medlibs discussion will help me with it. I may use some tweets or reference parts of the #medlibs chat in the chapter. I don’t want to squelch the overall fun chattiness of the group. If I use anything I will only refer to tweets that are specifically related to the discussion topic and I will make every effort to let you know I am using your tweet.
I am in the process of writing a book chapter on the librarian’s use of social media for consumer/patient education and information. The use of social media to communicate has exploded. It is being used to share information on natural disasters by alerting people to safety information, on the ground reports, and connecting families with each other and their possessions. Millions of people have become citizen journalists reporting on events from the Hudson River plane (and now helicopter) landing. It is used for communication and information during protests such as the Middle East uprisings and G20 Protests. Advertisers use it to reach current and potential customers.
Two really interesting infographics illustrate how social media has become a source for people seeking information.
This one illustrates the use of social media during a disaster. According to the graphic 76% use social media to contact friend to make sure they are safe. During the disaster social media often replaces 911 for help. One of every five survivors contact emergency responders via social media, websites, email and 44% ask their online friends to contact responders.
This graphic illustrates how social media is replacing traditional journalism as a news source. According to the graphic 50% of people have learned about breaking news via social media rather than official news sources. Traffic to news sites from social media platforms has increased by 57% since 2009.
So it makes sense that consumers and patients are using social media to find health information. The Fox Business article, More Consumer Turn to Social Media for Health Care Information, says National Research surveyed over 22,000 Americans and found “96% of respondents said they used Facebook to gather information about health care while 28% used YouTube and 22% used Twitter.” The LA Times article, Consumers Using Social Media for Medical Information,” reports results from PwC’s Health Research Institute which “underscores the need for healthcare providers and insurance companies to engage more with consumers online since they are increasingly making medical decisions based on the information they find there.”
With all of the activity on social media and the government healthcare organizations participation you would think that medical librarians would be using social media to reach their consumers and patients. You would think. But, I found very few articles in the library literature of using social media to connect consumers to medical/health information. There was a lot more written on using social media to reach library users, BUT these papers defined their users as medical or health care students or professionals. I even used social media to ask what librarians are doing with social media and consumer outreach. It yielded only a few examples (most people pointed to the NIH and NLM).
When I lurk on the MEDLIB-L list and attend programs at various conferences, patient education and outreach seems to be a big topic. However, it seems we are using more traditional means of providing health information to consumers and are not using social media to reach them. We are either waiting for them to come to us, we are attending health fairs, or we are rounding with health care members and providing information on the spot. These are all perfectly good methods of providing information. Yet I wonder why more medical librarians are not embracing the social media to provide consumer health information.
So far, I think I found 2 primary reasons. The first is that some hospitals have a very tight control over their social media presence and are understandably reluctant to let anything go through the web world without having the official hospital stamp from marketing. This can make it extremely difficult for a librarian to get involved. The second reason is a trickier concept, but worth chewing on. How does a librarian define their patrons on the social media? A librarian in Florida might provide information on Twitter to somebody in California. Is that their patron? How do they justify that to their administration who wants patients in their region who will spend money with them? How does a librarian do consumer outreach to their hospital’s potential patient base via social media? Additionally, how can a librarian measure their results? I could send out a ton of tweets on flu shots but is that effective and how do I measure that? At least the NIH knows its user base, the entire U. S. population.
My confusion about medical librarians providing consumer/patient health information outreach was further muddied when I saw the recent news about public librarians helping Americans sign up for health care insurance under the Affordable Care Act. ALA just had program “Libraries & Health Insurance: Preparing for October 1” with Ruth Holst, associate director at NNLM/GMR as one of the speakers. Since Ruth is one of the speakers, I have got to think somebody at some hospital or academic medical library is doing this. I have seen her post about HealthCare.gov website on GMR email list. I also saw Shannon & Jana’s posts on MEDLIB-L about the ACA and libraries. However I haven’t seen anybody post about what their hospital or academic medical library is doing. Is it too soon for that kind of a post?
Has the role of the hospital librarian changed? Are we leaning away from consumer health information outreach? Are we only interested in consumers that we can quantify…i.e. those who cross the hospital’s threshold? While I am a medical librarian, I don’t do consumer outreach. So perhaps my sights aren’t focused in the right areas. Thoughts?
People who have been using Google Reader have been scrambling to find an adequate solution to replace their beloved feed reader. Back in March, I wrote post on reader options for those looking to migrate before the end of Google Reader. I never really got into the Google Reader. I was a Bloglines girl who threw all of her feeds to Google Reader in a panic just before Bloglines disappeared. In months following the Bloglines blow up, I settled on Netvibes. At the time, I liked Netvibes integration with my social media and feeds. As I mentioned in my post in March, I haven’t been reading my Netvibes as much as I used to. While I liked Netvibes, something was missing. I suspected it was because it didn’t have an app, but now I think it was a combination of things.
When Google decided to pull the plug on its reader I decided to investigate different feed readers again to determine if I found one better than Netvibes or if I really even needed a reader now. These days I get a lot of my information from Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook. People are tweeting their blog posts, or interesting questions, topics, issues, etc. and I wondered whether my social media feeds caused me to move beyond a feed reader. This is kind of the same thing Marcela De Vivo at Search Engine Journal wondered with her post, “Google Reader Is Almost Gone, But Do You Really NEED An RSS Reader Replacement?”
Could it be that Google is transitioning away from the RSS Reader format entirely? They’re switching over to Google Plus, and they want you to come with them.
Consuming social media as part of an RSS feed is not exactly new—that’s exactly what Digg is doing when it launches its own reader, the same day Reader shuts down. But to do away with readers entirely, relying solely on a social platform? When we’re looking at large-scale data consumption, is it a viable transition?
The answer is yes—if Google can pull it off. With the latest Google Plus redesign, this social platform is now much more social, making it easier to stream and share information. It could be possible to amass “feeds” of information… if you’re following the right people. And in order to make sure the right people are on Plus, Google got rid of it’s eminently popular Reader.
It could also be said that Google is simply following on the heels of a major trend in how we access information. RSS readers were designed for people to sit down and browse their collected feeds. But with the increasing number of those who use smartphones and tablets as their primary internet checkpoint, it’s more common to see people who are accessing information all day long, checking the latest news on a constant basis—which makes an integrated social media/reader platform much more probable option.
It is an interesting concept. Right now I only use Google Plus for work at my institution. (The Department of Education is exploring its use for connecting and sharing within the department and increasing synergy.) I play on it a bit for personal and library stuff, but I just haven’t gotten into it yet. Maybe Google knows me better than I do, and Google Plus will be attached to my hip in a year’s time. I remember saying years ago that Twitter was fun but I couldn’t think of using it professionally. Doh!
In the meantime I have not yet given up my feeds. I decided to explore Feedly. I don’t like the fact that Feedly doesn’t work with IE. I know everybody talks about IE’s decline in the browser wars but the problem is that many major hospitals and larger companies use only IE. Academia and the open natured technology industry have the flexibility to shun IE in favor of other browsers, but there is a large group of the working population that can’t. I am not the only one who reads feeds at work, Feedly’s suggestions page has many comments on the IE issue. Apparently the new Feedly Cloud feature might help IE users, but there are those on the suggestions page that seem to have problems with Cloud.
Now I am lucky in that I am able to use Firefox and Chrome on my work computer. However, because there are a lot of hospital resources and other web resources that were created specifically for IE, it tends to be my browser of habit at work. I noticed I am breaking that habit slowly. I have Chrome up almost all the time for two reasons. 1. Our the Department of Education is exploring the use of Google Plus. 2. My life is on Google Calendar and I need to consult it often.
One of the nice things about Feedly is that it integrates very well with Chrome. As soon as I launch Chrome the Feedly tab launches with my feeds. This is actually is quite helpful to me and works perfectly with my morning current awareness reading habit. When I login to my computer each morning the first thing I do is bring up Chrome for my calendar, so the Feedly tab with my feeds is right there too. This has gotten me back into the habit of reading my feeds.
Feedly has an app and it is on my iPhone, but like Marcela mentioned, it is a bit clunky. I don’t use Feedly on my phone as much as I thought. I still use it more than I used Netvibes, mainly because it is an app on my phone. I have found that on my phone Feedly has to compete for my attention among my other apps. I tend to use apps that have the alert icons on more than the ones that don’t. Because Feedly doesn’t have alerts showing up on the icon, it often gets ignored for other apps like Facebook, Hootsuite, mail, Words with Friends, news apps, etc. that all have alerts. I see a little red number next to those apps and my brain says, “Ooh what’s new that I need to know about?” I know I am easily distracted.
I have pretty much left Netvibes, it just didn’t fit into my work flow anymore. I have moved to Feedly and while I am using it more than I used Netvibes, the jury is still out as to whether I keep it or move to only get information through Twitter. Intellectually I am not ready for that kind of switch, but we’ll see if my daily life’s actions tell me otherwise.
For those that don’t like any of the options I mentioned in March, Digg is creating a reader that might interest you. They are certainly cutting it close, as they mentioned on their blog, their public release of version 1 will come just before Google shuts Reader down. Currently they sent out their first batch of invites to the survey participants who helped with their development process. “Over the next few hours”, they’ll open Digg Reader to the rest of the users signed up for early access. If you want to try Digg you can sign up here: digg.com/reader. As they scale up over the next day or so, they’ll be adding users in increasingly larger batches. According to Digg, “this beta version is aimed first and foremost at Google Reader users looking for a new home in advance of its imminent shutdown.” They have instructions on how to migrate from Google to Digg.
As they mentioned the beta version is very basic but they have plans to really improve it in updates.
Things Digg will be rolling out in the next few months include:
Android app (before end of July)
Additional options like “View Only Unread” and “Mark As Unread”
Useful ways to rank and sort your posts and stories, such as (1) by popularity within your social networks, (2) by interestingness to you, and (3) by article length
Better tools for organizing feeds and folders, as well as support for tagging
More options for sharing and sending (e.g., to LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, Tumblr, Squarespace, Evernote, Dropbox, Buffer), and integration of IFTTT functions
After reading more about Digg, it looks like I am going to have to check it out. However, I am going to wait a bit. I don’t need to jump Feedly’s ship just yet and the things I am interested in are not in the product yet. Still it is interesting.
When Fergie sang, “I’m so 3008. Your so 2000 and late” I am 100% sure she was not singing about medical libraries and ebooks, but whenever I think of ebooks, libraries and publishers Fergie’s lyrics repeatedly ring through my head.
Public libraries and Amazon are ahead of medical libraries regarding ebooks. Providers of medical library ebooks such as McGraw Hill Access databases, Ovid, Elsevier’s ClinicalKey, and others methods of providing ebooks are from the digital dinosaur age when a portable device was considered a laptop.
Not much has changed on how we provide our ebooks with these vendors. Our users go to their website and view the book online like they are viewing a web page. They do it the same way they did before the Kindle or iPad. Not only is some of the content STILL in Flash (AccessSurgery) making those videos completely useless, but they treat viewing the ebooks on the iPad and Kindle as mini laptops which is limiting. Kindles have been around since 2007 and the iPad has been around since 2010. People have had between 3-6 years worth of downloading expectations that have been fostered by Amazon, Apple, and public libraries.
People’s concepts of an ebook have drastically changed. The term ebook no longer refers to a book that is available online in HTML or PDF. Users now define an ebook as something DOWNLOADABLE to their device. They are disappointed when they aren’t. When I am asked if we have any ebooks and I say yes, the next question I am asked is how do they download them to their device. When I tell them they can’t, they are immediately turned off. They aren’t interested.
I understand that these providers don’t want people downloading their books for free and keeping them forever. However, public libraries have already done a pretty good job at training our users for us and they have figured out methods to curb copyright and theft. While users expect to download the book to their device, they also expect that the book will be returned or disappear from their device after a set period of time. This is the way public libraries have done things. This is the way iTunes and Amazon “rent” movies. Amazon has been renting etextbooks and renting to ebooks to Prime members for a while. It is cheaper to rent the Amazon book than to buy it, and Amazon customers can set their own expiration date (more expensive for longer terms). Overdrive was founded in 1986 and has been working to provide public libraries with ebooks and materials since 2002 with their Digital Library Reserve, a digital download platform. People are well versed in the concep downloading an ebook to their device for a limited time.
Yet many medical ebook vendors are still plodding away with their ebooks that can only be viewed online, the same way they always had when all we had were laptops. They have not evolved. We are still looking at HTML or PDF versions of the print. Yeah some ebooks have video content or interactive tests, but that isn’t any different than what was available in 2000. As a result, when it comes to non-downloadable ebooks, we are losing our users.
Have big publishers become too big to be agile to adapt to current technology? Are their online publishing platforms too entrenched to be able to provide downloadable ebooks that can disappear (be “returned”) on a device? Other companies do it. Why don’t they? Are they over invested in the way they used to do things that it is inhibiting the way things have evolved? Or are they operating as usual and don’t really realize the demand to download the books? Only they know. But one thing is for sure, their online ebook platforms days are limited. I can’t say whether it is today or tomorrow but it is coming. The consumer demand for downloadable content is not waning, and the use of iPads within hospitals is growing. According to EHR Intelligence a study conducted at Columbia University Medical Center in New York determined that “iPads were used frequently by residents attending rounds: 90% of residents reported referring to their iPads, since they are unable to leave their attending physician to use a PC elsewhere.”
If they can’t use a PC to find information and are using their iPad instead, then the old way of offering ebooks via a web page or PDF is like the Dodo bird. It is stuck on an electronic island with no means of leaving or evolving and being preyed upon by users expectations.