Monday, July 18, 2005

Collaboration and Marketing Ensure Public and Medical Library Viability

The Colorado Consumer Health Information Librarians Listserv (CCHILL) formed in 2002 and began holding quarterly meetings (National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Midcontinental Region, 2004). The CCHILL group's mission is to establish personal connections between public and medical librarians. They meet regularly to share ideas and innovations, develop relationships, talk with professionals who have similar consumer health missions in their institutions, and develop collaborative projects for the mutual benefit of the institutions and the public they serve. CCHILL has met primarily in the greater Denver area. It is hoped that the rest of the state will implement CCHILL groups as geographic areas permit.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Helping Patients Interpret "Medspeak"

When your patients need help to understand the specialized language of healthcare professionals, you can send them to the Medical Library Association's new Web site ( The site interprets common terms and abbreviations, such as ischemia and RSV, provides links to 10 health-related Web sites the association considers the best, and offers advice on how to evaluate the quality of information found on the Internet. - Joan R. Rose Medical Economics.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Power Line
Power Line is a conservative blog run by three lawyers, John H. Hinderaker ("Hindrocket"), Scott W. Johnson ("The Big Trunk") and Paul Mirengoff ("Deacon"). Power Line covers political and social issues relevant to conservative Americans. It gained notoriety in 2004 for reporting on the Killian documents controversy, dubbed "Rathergate," during which the bloggers and their readers contributed their research and findings to coverage of the case. Powerline became part of the Pajamahadeen, when criticized by a former CBS News executive. The bloggers' disagreements with the editorial opinions of the hometown Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper are frequently posted on the site.
In December 2004, Star Tribune columnist and local Air America Minnesota radio commentator, Nick Coleman responded to several of their claims in a piece called "'Blog of the Year' goes to the extremes." Coleman's editor later stated that the article contained inaccuracies and subjective opinions. Official corrections were small, and mostly focused on Coleman's interpretations.
Power Line came under criticism from left-wing blogs Daily Kos and Eschaton when Hindrocket stated that former US President Jimmy Carter was "on the other side", which they interpreted to mean 'sympathetic to terrorists'. Hindrocket later clarified his criticisms of Carter.
Powerline theorized that the alleged GOP talking points memorandum in the Terri Schiavo case may have been faked. [1] This was proven false when Brian Darling, legal council for Republican Florida Senator Mel Martinez, admitted that he wrote the memo. Powerline reported this as soon as they knew of it.
Powerline has also been critical of Ward Churchill. Power Line is part of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, which hosts a weekly radio show of the same name in Minnesota.
Tard Blog

The Tard Blog is a weblog about teaching special education.

There have been three authors for the Tard Blog. Their names on the blog are not their real names as any teacher who would reveal the information they write about would likely be fired. The first author was known by the pseudonym Riti Sped. The second, available only on the alternate site, is known as Sarah Hammon. The third and current author is known as Kristy Pell.

It is true that the Tard Blog features the problems of developmentally disabled children for the amusement of the audience, but this is not to imply callousness. The authors have all chosen special education as their profession not in search of a cheap laugh, but to help children. They can't help it if they also find it amusing. As site sponsor Tucker Max explains:

"Humor has several uses, and not all are to ridicule or debase. This page should be seen in the same light as surgeons or paramedics making jokes about injured people, or psychiatrists making light of their mentally deranged patients. The people in those fields use humor as a way to relieve the daily stress and aggravation of their very difficult jobs. Paramedics and doctors, especially battlefield surgeons, are renowned for making sick jokes about their patients during their off-time. If they don't release the emotional tension through humor, then it has to come out some other way, hence the saying, 'If I don't laugh I'll have to cry.'"

Indeed, often the blog deals more with the environment the students live in than the students themselves. Uncaring administrators, overworked teachers, and (especially) abusive and neglectful parents are frequent themes. The very first entry, written by Riti Sped, describes a mother who is self-absorbed and clearly does not care about her child. Her daughter (only mentioned in passing) was born addicted to crack cocaine and has fetal alcohol syndrome. Riti suspects the mother only shows up for conferences "because we have called Child Protective Services on her so many times, that she now fears losing her daughter, who is the mother's meal ticket to government aid." Later stories often revolve around Riti Sped having to care for two of her students, brothers, whose father is in jail and whose father's girlfriend is an irresponsible drug addict.
MP3 blog
An MP3 blog is a type of weblog in which the creator makes music files, normally in the MP3 format, available for download. They are also known as musicblogs or audioblogs. MP3 blogs have become increasingly popular since the beginning of 2003. The music posted is normally hard-to-find, often has not been issued in many years, and selections are often restricted to a particular musical sub-genre or theme. In 2004, several MP3 blogs began to offer Podcasts as well as MP3s.
One of the first widely known MP3blogs was Fluxblog, which was created by Matthew Perpetua in early 2002, and continues to offer a mix of music generally centered on contemporary pop and offering commentary on the songs, artists, the music industry and music in general. There are now thousands of MP3 blogs covering a cornucopia of musical styles.
MP3 blogs have managed to avoid prosecution by the holders of musical copyright (that is the blogs that host their songs, there are a number of popular blogs that deal nearly completely with free and legal downloads only) through a number of methods, perhaps the most important of which is that even the most popular MP3 blogs have only thousands of regular visitors, making them much less of a concern than file sharing programs. Besides this, by concentrating on music that is either no longer available new or has not been reissued in many years, they do not affect the profits of companies so there is little point in engaging in a costly lawsuit. MP3 blogs often include a disclaimer stating that they are willing to remove music if the copyright owner objects, and have been known to do so. They normally either provide a link to where the user can buy the album the music was taken from, or periodically remind the user to buy the music. Also, through raising awareness of little known acts, they can act as a form of free advertising.
This last point is emphasized by the blogs themselves. MP3 blogs constitute a valuable marketplace. A number of indie music companies as well as hundreds of artists have begun to send promo CDs to them in the hopes of gaining free publicity. Major labels with small acts to promote have also attempted to use MP3 blogs; in 2004, Warner Bros. Records sent tracks by their act, The Secret Machines, to a large number of sites. The track was posted by the group MP3 blog Music (For Robots), and drew attention not only for the song but also due to the fact that several comments praising the track came from IP addressess within the Warner Bros. network. The publicity generated by MP3 blogs crossed the line from the internet to TV in early 2005, when Music (For Robots) was featured during MTV's TRL program for bringing the Hysterics (a Brooklyn rock band comprised of four 14 and 15 year-old high school students) to the network's attention.