Posts Tagged ‘websites’


IE6 where is thy death?

In Eresources,How to work better on March 31, 2011 by africker Tagged: , , ,

So Microsoft have declared the death of IE6 and you can watch it going on a special site – Internet Explorer 6 Countdown

Not everyone is convinced about the good intentions of MS with suggestions that globally much IE6 use is on pirated XP software and that IE8 without a development path from IE6 is not a great help

I rather like this earlier site suggesting we should in fact be saving IE6.  I particularly like how the Save IE6 site congratulates me on using self same browser while the countdown site points out the error of my browsing ways.

Yes – along with many in the NHS I am living in an IE6 world.  The IE6 Countdown reckons only 3.5% of browser share in the UK is IE6.  I wonder how much of this must be the NHS (this article would suggest DWP have plenty still)?

Checking Google Analytics on my library catalogue for the last three months (Jan – Mar 2011) we get 94% IE use overall with 83% of that being IE6.  The same period last year (Jan – Mar 2010) offers 95% IE overall with 93% of those IE6.  And one more year back (Jan – Mar 2009) – I have no data – thanks Google Analytics.

So what does this tell us ?  IE6 is falling slowly in the NHS but much slower than in the world at large.  The reason for this is well known – a number of critical NHS systems still require IE6 as Microsoft realises and the DoH seems to want to ignore.

And how much of a problem is this?  I think it is an accelerating one.  Gradually the web is becoming a hostile place for IE6 – formatting awry on some pages, warnings on others and total block outs for newer versions of some sites.  And the systems we use are starting to suffer – Proquest have a problem, Google Reader warns me daily, EBSCOhost requires IE7.  On the plus side NHS Evidence have largely managed to keep the IE6 show on the road.

Our lovely local IT folk have installed Firefox on our machines but this is only a very partial solution.  People are going to use their regular IE (6) browser as long as it remains available.  I also do not really want the library team to get used to seeing something different to the bulk of the users. 

I am afraid this one will run and run (or fail to run and display really badly).

PS Post title from a music blog post title that still amuses me to this day.


Number Needed to Post and

In Eresources,Evidence-Based Medicine on March 30, 2011 by africker Tagged: ,

Terrible times at (the) Health Informaticist with no postings from any of us for more than a few months.  I wonder if there is a NNP Number Need to Post – how many authors do we need to get a regular blog post out?

I am going to try and gently get back into the habit. To that end…


A site I had not met before with an excellent clear presentation of Number Needed to Treat calculations.  See the strength of the evidence for an intervention and read on for more details of this evidence.   You can read more about it in this announcement from one of the creators.


Clinical queries & custom filters in PubMed

In Evidence-Based Medicine,How to work better,Web 2.0 & all that,Website reviews on July 7, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , , ,

PubMed has a new clinical queries page, apparently. To be honest I used the old one so infrequently that it could have changed six months ago and I never would have noticed. I tend to use PubMed for quick and not so dirty searches of the literature but if I’m doing a “real search” I use Ovid because of its slight value-add functionality plus it has our company’s access to Embase. Perhaps because of this access to Ovid I’ve never really paid all that much attention to the development of PubMed which, particularly over the last six months or so, seems to be whizzing ahead.

Anyway, the clinical queries page is quite fun. You put in your term and get results for “clinical study categories”, “systematic reviews” (not really so much “systematic reviews”, more “aggregate research” or “tertiary research” or similar), and “medical genetics”; you can then click “see all” for, well, seeing all, and there are drop down menus for whether you want therapy or etiology etc, and broad or narrow filters. It’s easiest just to play with it. I like the fact that at the bottom of each list if you click the word “filter” it will show you the actual search string being used to filter your results (for therapy or etiology, broad or narrow etc) and the sensitivity/specificity scores of  said filters (precision would be helpful too) along with the reference to the original paper in which the filters were based. All nice and transparent, and helpful if you wish to translate e.g. the prognosis filter to use in another database.

Of course though many of us want to add our own favourite filters. I always had a rough idea you could do this but had never bothered to really look into it, but it’s an absolute breeze. Fortunately I don’t have to describe how to add your own filters as Laika has already done such a good job of it (with screenshots and everything), and you can now add up to 15 of your own favourite search strings. Not sure what to add? Your friends at CRD/InterTASC will help you out. Once you get started you’ll  be having such a whale of a time that you’ll be looking for excuses to do quick and, as mentioned before, not so very dirty searches in PubMed for all and sundry – dragging people in from the corridor – that sort of stuff. I’m sure you’ve been doing this for years, but it’s all new to me.

I’m really beginning to like PubMed. A big thank you to the US taxpayer.


Coming soon – Medlib’s Round

In Blogging on Blogging on April 28, 2010 by africker Tagged: ,

The Health Informaticist is hosting the May edition of the Medlib’s Round – Blog Carnival.
Description A rotating carnival of the best of the medical library blogosphere. Written in English (bilingual posts allowed)
Keywords medical library, library 2.0, medical librarianship, EBM, PubMed, bibliographic databases, information literacy, web 2.0 tools,
Filed under medicine, health & fitness
Submission deadline first Saturday of every month

You can see the March edition here with the April edition here covering e-patients, iPad and opportunities.

Use the online form to submit your article for the May edition.

We welcome submissions on any aspect of medical librarianship / health informatics.  We particularly welcome blog posts that take a view on the role of professional organisations in the future of the profession (in the light of the Defining our Professional Future work currently underway at CILIP).
We look forward to some excellent submissions


Why people do not read privacy policies

In Information industry on October 14, 2008 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , ,

A couple of US researchers have found that the ‘average’ privacy policy on a website (where personal details are gathered) takes, on average, 10 minutes to read. The average length of a privacy policy is 2,500 words. The researchers then told a group of people to ‘skim’ read (quickly read by scanning for pertinent details) a sample policy (that was only 1000 words long). They found even just doing that took the participants from 3 to 6 minutes on average (and one poor soul 42 minutes).

The part of this Outlaw article I love is where they did a cost analysis, supposing that US citizens would demand to be paid for their trouble. Minimum wage? And what number of policies were read? Their hourly wage wasn’t given, but the grand total came to about $365 billion US per year. Perhaps this excerpt from the original research paper by McDonald and Cronor better explains it:

We…used data from Nielsen/Net Ratings to estimate the number of unique websites the average Internet user visits annually with a lower bound of 119 sites. We estimated the total number of Americans online based on Pew Internet & American Life data and Census data. Finally, we estimated the value of time as 25% of average hourly salary for leisure and twice wages for time at work. We present a range of values, and found the nationwide cost for just the time to read policies is on the order of $365 billion. Additional time for comparing policies between multiple sites in order to make informed decisions about privacy brings the social cost well above the market for online advertising.

It’s an interesting idea to apply costing in this way to privacy and to assume that people compare privacy policies. I don’t think they do, in reality. Maybe in the US they do?


UKeiG Intranet Forum, 25 September 2008

In Web 2.0 & all that on September 25, 2008 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today I attended a unique forum that allowed one to see different intranets and listen to the strategies behind them.  The UKeiG forums have been going on for a little while, and as I have been trying to attend one for almost a year, I can attest that they are very popular. There was a range of experience (me at the lower end…) and areas (academic, research, charity, entrepreneurial) on display.

Imperial College‘s new portal for students is fully customisable and aims to make finding information online much more convenient for students.  The ‘preset’ version has a TFL Service Updates widget (showing which tube lines are on time or delayed) and tabs with links to the Library and Student Resources.  Students are encouraged to collaborate with a link to Facebook front and centre.  David and his team have done an admirable job of being thorough and involving the students with this.

Janet Corcoran showed us a nicely organised intranet for the 150 library staff at Imperial College (scattered across 3 campuses and a few hospitals).  Their goal was to get their documentation, meeting minutes and important information shareable and onto a wiki that can be edited by all, rather than static and difficult to find on folders (why can’t we do that).

Cancer Research UK needs to support 40,000 staff in various locations and so has an appropriately large intranet–full of all the forms, policy & procedures documents, and handy details that one could ever need.  The fact that they have devolved control for uploading and editing content to 100 staff members allows the intranet to stay current and interesting.  Previously, their single content manager proved to be a bit of a bottleneck in their system.  The future will see more developments that will make this portal even more powerful.

And finally Oneis presented a very shiny and new hosted information management system.  Their target audience is smaller organisations (5 to 50 employees) such as consultants or researchers.  Their system looks user-friendly and flexible, allowing very finely-defined levels of access to different people.  Also, one search brings up documents, people, images or presentations.  Definitely one to watch.

Because portals are usually hidden behind a password or IP authentication, it’s a worthwhile activity to ‘air’ them once in a while (I wish mine were forum-worthy).  Thank you to Janet Corcoran and Karen Blakeman for organising an interesting afternoon.


Search engines, environmental

In Website reviews on September 2, 2008 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , , ,

I had a look at Blackle and it is quite easy on the eyes with its (apparently) energy-saving black background. I wonder if, with GooglePreview [a Mozilla add-on that inserts website previews into the search] these black-background search engines still save as much energy? They may need to finesse their algorithyms to take into consideration the often white backgrounds of these previews.

I think saving energy with the software we use and the websites we visit is an interesting idea that deserves more investigation. Especially since an older Google Blog posting suggests that they have tested Blackle and have not found it to save energy.

Thank you to AltSearchEngines for your posting on this.