The effect of Web 2.0 on the future of medical practice and education: Darwikinian evolution or folksonomic revolution?

web20.jpg  Have you heard about Web 2.0 but have no idea what it means?  Do you think words like folksonomy and mashup and Citizendium* were coined just to annoy?  Do you want to learn more about Web 2.0?  If you do, here is a very readable article (from the August 6, 2007 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia) that explains just how Web 2.0 could be applied in medical education and practice. Free full text is available.

McLean R, Richards BH, Wardman JI. The effect of Web 2.0 on the future of medical practice and education: Darwikinian evolution or folksonomic revolution? Med J Aust 2007; 187(3):174-177.   Pdf version

Abstract: Web 2.0 is a term describing new collaborative Internet applications.
The primary difference from the original World Wide Web is greater user participation in developing and managing content, which changes the nature and value of the information.
Key elements of Web 2.0 include:
– Really Simple Syndication (RSS) to rapidly disseminate awareness of new information;
– blogs to describe new trends;
– wikis to share knowledge; and
– podcasts to make information available “on the move”.

The medical community needs to be aware of these technologies and their increasing role in providing health information “any time, any place”.

Citizendium: a “citizens’ compendium of everything,” is an open wiki project aimed at creating an enormous, free, and reliable encyclopedia.  The project, started by a founder of Wikipedia, aims to improve on the Wikipedia model by adding “gentle expert oversight” and requiring contributors to use their real names.  We have over 1,000 articles and hundreds of contributors.  But we will avoid calling the Citizendium an “encyclopedia” until the project’s editors feel comfortable putting their reputations behind that description.

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