Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thing 3: RSS Feeds

Thing 3 was RSS feeds. This tool seems especially valuable to many professionals. What an efficient way to keep up-to-date on the latest medical news, research and policy analysis. No longer do you have to visit your favorite blogs to see if they have been updated recently. With goggle reader or igoogle, you automatically receive the updates as they are available. However, as lovely as it all sounds – I did have a few technical problems. I had no trouble finding blogs and other news feeds that I was interested in being notified of new posts. However, the subscription process or signing up for the RSS feeds didn’t always work as I thought it should. A couple of the blogs that I signed up for with my iGoogle account always give the message ‘information is temporarily unavailable’.

I really like this tool and will continue to refine my skills in using these tools to streamline the information I receive. One problem will be finding the time to read the posts…there are so many interesting blogs these days.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Thing 2: What is Library 2.0? Public Health 2.0?

The second thing in the ’23 things on a stick’ program involved reading opinions and projections about Libraries 2.0. Libraries 2.0 refers to the notion of using the social web or Web 2.0 concepts of user feedback, constant change, and participatory processes - both on- and off-line- to inform programming and activities. Because I’m working to bridge the fields of library and information science and public health, I also thought about the concept of Public Health 2.0 for Thing 2. I do believe that both the library and information and the public health fields have embraced the notion of consumer-participatory programming, in theory. Unfortunately, in many cases I don’t believe these claims are quite as ‘participatory’ as it necessary to optimally inform programming. A lot more could be done to better define and understand our consumers. Only after this improved understanding is achieved, can we adequately engage our target groups in a participatory process aimed at improving their health.

Web 2.0 tools are likely to be key methods to gain this understanding and engagement in public health. Here are a couple of related articles that discuss public health 2.0:

Crespo, R. 2007. Virtual Community Health Promotion. Preventing Chronic Disease, 4(3) : 75. Available from http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2007/jul/07_0043.htm

Navarro A, Voetsch K, Liburd L, Bezold C, Rhea M. 2006. Recommendations for future efforts in community health promotion: report of the National Expert Panel on Community Health Promotion. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Adult and Community Health. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/pdf/community_health_promotion_expert_panel_report.pdf

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thing One: Setting up a Blog

As I set up my blog, thing one in the ’23 things on a stick’ program, for the second time (I didn’t get very far in the first go-round of this event at the beginning of 2008), I’m excited to look at the social web tools I’ll be familiarizing myself with from a professional perspective. My profession, which I’ve listed as a Public Health Information Specialist is slightly misleading. I’m currently a public health professional working on a post-doctoral fellowship to obtain education and training in library and information science with the hopes of combining the two fields once this training fellowship is complete. It’s now been over five months since my fellowship began and already I see many opportunities for being cross-trained in the two fields. First, working in a library setting and immersing myself in this field, I see many ways that library and information professionals are connecting via the social web. Health promotion professionals could benefit from these new technologies as well.

Blogs could be a very useful way for public health professionals to develop and strengthen their professional communities and an excellent way to share experiences with health promotion interventions. From my experience, local public health professionals are thirsty to know what their colleagues in other local public health or community-based organizations are doing and how it is working in their communities. Unfortunately, as some areas of public health funding decline, there are few opportunities to share experiences face-to-face. I believe that this is especially true of staff level positions in local public health and community-based organizations. Additionally, I think blogs could be useful ways for public health to communicate with community members.

While I believe that blogs can and will be useful to public health professionals, I do have concerns about how to get the ball rolling for this group. My question is ‘How do we develop and maintain these on-line communities?’ It seems that regular and meaningful content are especially important as well as individuals dedicated to contributing that content, however, how to get these individuals engaged in the process is currently unclear to me.