The medium and the message: opportunities and challenges.

American Journal of Critical Care (Impact Factor: 2.12). 09/2010; 19(5):400-2. DOI: 10.4037/ajcc2010272
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Internet-based electronic resources, as given by Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), are being increasingly used in scientific publications but are also becoming inaccessible in a time-dependant manner, a phenomenon documented across disciplines. Initial reports brought attention to the problem, spawning methods of effectively preserving URL content while some journals adopted policies regarding URL publication and begun storing supplementary information on journal websites. Thus, a reexamination of URL growth and decay in the literature is merited to see if the problem has grown or been mitigated by any of these changes. After the 2003 study, three follow-up studies were conducted in 2004, 2005 and 2007. Unfortunately, no significant change was found in the rate of URL decay among any of the studies. However, only 5% of URLs cited more than twice have decayed versus 20% of URLs cited once or twice. The most common types of lost content were computer programs (43%), followed by scholarly content (38%) and databases (19%). Compared to URLs still available, no lost content type was significantly over- or underrepresented. Searching for 30 of these websites using Google, 11 (37%) were found relocated to different URLs. URL decay continues unabated, but URLs published by organizations tend to be more stable. Repeated citation of URLs suggests calculation of an electronic impact factor (eIF) would be an objective, quantitative way to measure the impact of Internet-based resources on scientific research.
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    ABSTRACT: To encourage high-quality patient care guided by the best evidence, many medical schools and residencies are teaching techniques for critically evaluating the medical literature. While a large step forward, these skills of evidence-based medicine are necessary but not sufficient for the practice of contemporary medicine. Incorporating the best evidence into the real world of busy clinical practice requires the applied science of information management. Clinicians must learn the techniques and skills to focus on finding, evaluating, and using information at the point of care. This information must be both relevant to themselves and their patients as well as being valid. The authors discuss the need to teach the applied science of information management along with, or perhaps even instead of, teaching the basic science of evidence-based medicine. All students, residents, and practicing physicians need three skills to practice the best medicine: the ability to select foraging--"keeping up"--tools that filter information for relevance and validity, the skill to select and use a hunting--"just in time"--information tool that presents prefiltered information easily and in a quickly accessible form at the point of care, and the ability to make decisions by combining the best patient-oriented evidence with patient-centered care, placing the evidence in perspective with the needs and desires of the patient. This teaching of information management skills will prepare students and residents for a practice of medicine that requires lifelong learning.
    Academic Medicine 08/2005; 80(7):685-9. DOI:10.1097/00001888-200507000-00014 · 2.93 Impact Factor