Word clouds via Wordle.net

Here is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Wordle is pretty addictive.  Below are a couple of word clouds I created from the facebook and Twitter accounts for the Index to Chiropractic Literature and the Canadian Association of Continuing Health Education.

Index to Chiropractic Literature


Canadian Association of Continuing Health Education

Twittering for chiropractic, continuing health education and fun

I maintain three Twitter accounts, one for CACHE/ACEMC, one for the Index to Chiropractic Literature, and one just for fun stuff I find on the Internet. You can follow them from any page on this blog (right and left sides of the screen) at https://annietv600.wordpress.com.




Internet Continuing Health Education: Open Access Articles

The following articles are available free online from the CACHE Open Access Library:

  • Casebeer L, Engler S, Bennett N, Irvine M, Sulkes D, Deslauriers M, Zhang S. A controlled trial of the effectiveness of Internet continuing medical education. BMC Med 2008 Dec 4;6(1):37. 
  • Bennett NL, Casebeer LL, Kristofco R, Collins BC.  Family physicians’ information seeking behaviors: A survey comparison with other specialties. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak 2005 Mar 22;5:9.
  • Fordis M, King JE, Ballantyne CM, Jones PH, Schneider KH, Spann SJ, Greenberg SB, Greisinger AJ. Comparison of the instructional efficacy of Internet-based CME with live interactive CME workshops: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2005 Sep 7;294(9):1043-51.
  • Abdolrasulnia M, Collins BC, Casebeer L, Wall T, Spettell C, Ray MN, Weissman NW, Allison JJ.  Using email reminders to engage physicians in an Internet-based CME intervention. BMC Med Educ 2004 Sep 29;4:17. 
  • Curran V, Kirby F, Parsons E, Lockyer J.  Short report: satisfaction with on-line CME. Evaluation of the rural MDcme website. Can Fam Physician 2004 Feb;50:271-4.
  • Casebeer LL, Strasser SM, Spettell CM, Wall TC, Weissman N, Ray MN, Allison JJ.  Designing tailored Web-based instruction to improve practicing physicians’preventive practices. J Med Internet Res 2003 Jul-Sep;5(3):e20. Epub 2003 Sep 25.
  • Casebeer L, Bennett N, Kristofco R, Carillo A, Centor R. Physician Internet medical information seeking and on-line continuing education use patterns. J Contin Educ Health Prof 2002(1);22:33-42.

A controlled trial of the effectiveness of Internet continuing medical education

Just published online in BMC Medicine [Open Access]:

Casebeer L, Engler S, Bennett N, Irvine M, Sulkes D, Deslauriers M, Zhang S. A controlled trial of the effectiveness of Internet continuing medical education. BMC Med 2008 Dec 4;6(1):37. [Epub ahead of print] PDF Version

BACKGROUND: The internet has had a strong impact on how physicians access information and on the development of continuing medical education activities.  Evaluation of the effectiveness of these activities has lagged behind their development.
METHODS: To determine the effectiveness of a group of 48 internet CME activities, case vignette surveys were administered to U.S. physicians immediately following participation, and to a representative control group of non-participant physicians. Responses to case vignettes were analyzed based on evidence presented in the content of CME activities. An effect size for each activity was calculated using Cohen’s d to determine the amount of difference between the two groups in the likelihood of making evidence-based clinical decisions, expressed as the percentage of non-overlap, between the two groups. Two formats were compared.
RESULTS: In a sample of 5,621 U.S. physicians, of the more than 100,000 physicians who participated in 48 internet CME activities, the average effect size was .75, an increased likelihood of 45% that participants were making choices based on clinical evidence. This likelihood was higher in interactive case-based activities 51% (effect size.89) than for text-based clinical updates, 40% (effect size .63). Effectiveness was also higher among primary care physicians than specialists. CME physician participation was associated with making diagnostic and therapeutic choices based on clinical evidence.
CONCLUSIONS: Physicians who participated in selected internet CME activities were more likely to make evidence-based clinical choices than non-participants. Internet CME activities show promise in offering a searchable, credible, available on-demand, high-impact source of CME for physicians.
PubMed Record       Related Articles

Online Activities & Pursuits: PEW/Internet

pew.gif Here are some of the latest reports from PEW/Internet under the topic Online Activities & Pursuits: PEW/Internet:

  • Increased Use of Video-sharing Sites
    48% of internet users have been to video-sharing sites such as YouTube and the daily traffic to such sites on a typical day has doubled in the past year.
  • Information Searches That Solve Problems
    There are several major findings in this report. One is this: For help with a variety of common problems, more people turn to the internet than consult experts or family members to provide information and resources.
  • Teens and Social Media
    More teens are creating and sharing material on the internet. And 28% of online teens have blogs, up from 2004. Blogging growth is almost entirely fueled by girls. A subset of teens — super communicators — rise as email fades as a communication tool for teens.
  • Digital Footprints: Online identity management and search in the age of transparency
    Internet users are becoming more aware of their digital footprint; 47% have searched for information about themselves online, up from just 22% five years ago.
  • Hobbyists Online
    83% of online Americans say they have used the internet to seek information about their hobbies and 29% do so on a typical day.
  • Online Video
    The growing adoption of broadband combined with a dramatic push by content providers to promote online video has helped to pave the way for mainstream audiences to embrace online video viewing. Fifty-seven percent of online adults have used the internet to watch or download video, and 19% do so on a typical day. Three-quarters of broadband users (74%) who enjoy high-speed connections at both home and work watch or download video online.
  • A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users
    Half of all American adults are only occasional users of modern information gadgetry, while 8% are avid participants in all that digital life has to offer.
  • Wikipedia users
    36% of online American adults consult Wikipedia.
  • Social Networking Websites and Teens
    More than half (55%) of all online American youths ages 12-17 use online social networking sites.
  • Finding Answers Online in Sickness and in Health
    As more Americans come online, more rely on the internet for important health information. Fully 58% of those who found the internet to be crucial or important during a loved one’s recent health crisis say the single most important source of information was something they found online.

Queen Elizabeth on YouTube!

queen_youtube.jpg  When Queen Elizabeth bestowed an honorary knighthood on Bill Gates a couple of years ago, she admitted that she had never used a computer. Well, today the oldest reigning British monarch uses e-mail, and, upon urging by her grandaughters, she has this week launched a channel on YouTube, The Royal Channel, the Official YouTube Channel for the British Monarchy.

You can watch her first televised Christmas message, delivered fifty years ago today, in which she considered how the new technology of television might bring her closer to her subjects. And today she delivers her first Christmas message on both television and YouTube. (I can’t link directly to these videos because this ability has been disabled.) There are many videos of historical interest and if you are interested in British history you will find these fascinating.

Read more about the Queen on YouTube in this Globe and Mail December 23 story.

More interesting Christmas sites …

The Toys of Our Childhood:
Here is a wonderful site from the Archives of Ontario. From the site:
Last Christmas the Archives of Ontario remembered an Eatons Christmas and we asked members of the public to send us their memories of how Eatons, with its Toyland, catalogue and Santa Claus parade impacted on their lives. We had many delightful responses and posted a sampling of them on our memories page.
You can browse photos of toys and Christmas letters from children from the late 1800s to the 1970s. Very nostalgic!
And finally, here is Christmas at War: Experiences from the First and Second World Wars, from the Imperial War Museum (UK). From the site:
The stories told here, using material from the Museum’s collections, show the need to mark Christmas as a special day, even when the conditions of wartime do their best to prevent this.  Anne Taylor-Vaisey

Search with Blackle and save energy (maybe)

blackle.jpg  Are you looking for ways to save energy? Did you ever think that you could save energy when you search with Google? Well, neither did I, until I came across Blackle. Here is some background:

Blackle was created by Heap Media to remind us all of the need to take small steps in our everyday lives to save energy. Blackle searches are powered by Google Custom Search.  Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. “Image displayed is primarily a function of the user’s color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen.” Roberson et al, 2002 

I tried it, and got the same results as searching the white Google. There is no Advanced Search, but you can use the advanced search features that I wrote about a while ago in A Google Primer. For example, to find Web sites (in Blackle) with Blackle in the title, simply type allintitle: Blackle. Or search a phrase like “Anne T-V’s Blog”.

I don’t know if I will bother to use Blackle, but I am endlessly fascinated by how people play with Google. (I still like Google Fight and Google World.)

After I wrote the above, I looked for critiques of Blackle’s claims and I found this video on YouTube: Watts Up Meter Demonstration, in which a man shows that the white Google actually uses less energy than Blackle.  Then there are the bloggers

Here are some other attempts to make a greener Google: GreenerGLE; Energy Efficient Search EngineEarthleGreygle; Ninja. These all deliver the same search results, but in different colours, so really, Blackle’s claim does look like it may be a bit of a scam or hoax.

You be the judge.