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Emerging Web 2.0 Social Software


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Emerging Web 2.0 Social Software

  1. 1. The emerging Web 2.0 social software: an enabling suite Blackwell Publishing Ltd of sociable technologies in health and health care education1 Maged N. Kamel Boulos* & Steve Wheeler†, *Faculty of Health and Social Work and †Faculty of Education, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK Abstract Web 2.0 sociable technologies and social software are presented as enablers in health and health care, for organizations, clinicians, patients and laypersons. They include social networking services, collaborative filtering, social bookmarking, folksonomies, social search engines, file sharing and tagging, mashups, instant messaging, and online multi-player games. The more popular Web 2.0 applications in education, namely wikis, blogs and podcasts, are but the tip of the social software iceberg. Web 2.0 technologies represent a quite revolutionary way of managing and repurposing/remixing online information and knowledge repositories, including clinical and research information, in comparison with the traditional Web 1.0 model. The paper also offers a glimpse of future software, touching on Web 3.0 (the Semantic Web) and how it could be combined with Web 2.0 to produce the ultimate architecture of participation. Although the tools presented in this review look very promising and potentially fit for purpose in many health care applications and scenarios, careful thinking, testing and evaluation research are still needed in order to establish ‘best practice models’ for leveraging these emerging technologies to boost our teaching and learning productivity, foster stronger ‘communities of practice’, and support continuing medical education/professional development (CME/CPD) and patient education. look forward to the arrival of Web 3.0—the Semantic Background Web. Throughout, we provide documented uses of The early World Wide Web (Web 1.0) has social software such as wikis, blogs, social tagging, demonstrated powerful capability to connect and emerging uses of social technology such clinicians, patients and materials. In this paper, we as collaborative writing, aggregative content explore how this connective matrix may further management, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) grow through the impact of the democratic and feeds and podcasting in health care contexts. social nature of Web 2.0. We discuss its application to education within a health and health care The social Web context and outline some of the social web’s key features. We compare Web 2.0 with Web 1.0, and The second incarnation of the Web (Web 2.0) has been called the ‘social Web’, because, in contrast Correspondence: Maged N Kamel Boulos, Faculty of Health and Social to Web 1.0, its content can be more easily generated Work, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK. and published by users, and the collective E-mail: 1All website addresses given in this article were last accessed on intelligence of users encourages more democratic 29 December 2006. use. Originally, the World Wide Web (WWW) © 2007 The authors 2 Journal compilation © 2007 Health Libraries Group. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 – 23
  2. 2. Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler 3 Table 1 Web 1.0 and 2.0 differences: adapted from O’Reilly9 Web 1.0 Web 2.0 Encyclopaedia Britannica Wikipedia Personal Web sites Blogs (Web logs) Publishing (Content Management) Participation Taxonomies Folksonomies Directories Tagging ‘Stickiness’ Syndication was intended to be used to share ideas and that collaborative learning is an activity where promote discussion within a scientific community. learners who are brought together through the Web 2.0 heralds a return to these original uses, and Internet focus on working together as a learning prompts significant changes in the ways the World community in which they share resources, knowledge, Wide Web is being used in health care and experiences and responsibilities. We will demonstrate education. throughout this paper that Web 2.0 software can open up new possibilities for collaborative networked learning in health and health care. Making connections A useful starting point is to compare earlier On the back of the exponential growth of Web 1.0, web-based applications with emerging features of Web 2.0 software has emerged to facilitate new the social Web, which can be seen as more student online activities, many of which could not have centred, open and democratic (Table 1). been previously achieved. Online social interaction has been enriched through the use of wikis, blogs Flexibility in Web 2.0. Greater levels of participa- and podcasts.1 Web 2.0 encourages a more human tion, agency and democracy are possible in the social approach to interactivity on the Web, better Web, where users act simultaneously as readers supports group interaction2 and fosters a greater and writers. This has been very much helped by sense of community in a potentially ‘cold’ social the significant growth of computer ownership environment.3 As Abram4 has claimed, the social and Internet usage over the past decade.9,10 The Web ‘… is about conversations, interpersonal rigidity of Web 1.0 directory systems (taxonomies) networking, personalization and individualism’. It is improved by the facility to formulate is the ‘People-centric Web’.5 ‘folksonomies’—fluid and flexible categorizations Students can feel socially isolated if they are uniquely created by each interest group to provide geographically separated or studying during quicker, more relevant access to practice-specific unsociable hours. Social isolation poses a signifi- knowledge. The notion of ‘stickiness’ can also be cant barrier for some learners, as can a reduction challenged—content in Web 2.0 environments is in motivation normally derived from traditional, never permanent but always open to changes, on-campus education.6 The benefits of making updates, remixing and reuse. connections, albeit virtual, provide impetus and motivation for students to persist in their studies. An ‘architecture of participation’. Web 2.0 emphasizes Although Web 2.0 has not supplanted Web 1.0, the pre-eminence of content creation over content it has undeniably changed and challenged the consumption. Information is liberated from perceptions and expectations of those who use it. corporative control (traditional content owners or their intermediaries), allowing anyone to create, Collaboration in Web 2.0. Collaborative activity assemble, organize (tag), locate and share content is an important component for success in web- to meet their own needs or the needs of clients, based environments. Kear7 found that students courtesy of the emergence of new flexible content participate collaboratively mainly to obtain help licensing models like creative Commons (http:// and guidance from others. McConnell8 maintains Web 2.0 is structured © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 –23
  3. 3. 4 Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler around open programming interfaces that allow (e.g. YouTube, streaming media, widespread participation. podcasting and MP3 files (e.g. Odeo http://odeo. Increased user contribution leads to the growth com/), social networking software (e.g. MySpace of ‘collective intelligence’, and re-usable dynamic, social bookmarking (e.g. content. Such engagement with content promotes, user-driven ratings a sense of community, empowerment and ownership (e.g. Digg, open-access content for users. There are several instances of amateur (e.g. PLoS ONE—Open Access 2.0 http://www. knowledge surpassing professional, when the right, open source software (e.g. SourceForge kind of systems and tools are available. Of these, and AJAX (Asynchronous Wikipedia ( is certainly the JavaScript And XML) and API (Application most recognized example.11,12 Programming Interface) programming (e.g. as used in Google Maps/mashups Interactivity in Web 2.0. Web 2.0 also encourages com/ and Gmail,12,17–20 significantly more interaction between users, a A number of Web 2.0 applications can be added, feature that many theorists argue is vital in e- including next generation web-based office/‘social learning. Interaction encourages deeper and more writing’ applications which facilitate shareable active learning engagement, builds communities documents. Multiple users can collaborate online of learning13 and enables feedback from tutors and track changes (e.g. Gliffy, to students.14 In recent studies, associations have Google Docs and Spreadsheets been reported between tutor–student interaction com/, Microsoft Office Live http://officelive. in online learning and raised levels of student, and social calendars like http:// motivation.15,16 The collaborative concepts underpinning these Web 2.0 applications are very similar to the notion An overview of the emerging Web 2.0 sociable of web-based, shareable and distributed electronic technologies and their current and potential health/patient records. Patients and clinicians can roles in health and health care education securely and simultaneously access these records across multiple institutions and places, facilitating A growing spectrum of applications speedy information exchange, communication and Barsky and others enumerate several emerging collaboration among clinicians, and between them technologies and applications under the Web 2.0 and their patients, to potentially improve clinical platform. These include RSS, wikis, blogs, and the outcomes and cost reduction. user comment functionality found in various websites. Recent advances in peer-to-peer (P2P) networking Examples of the latter include British Medical and Grid computing technologies have also made Journal Rapid Responses (http://bmj.bmjjournals. it possible to provide services that interconnect large com/cgi/eletters?lookup=by_date&days=1), and the communities without centralized infrastructures user comment functionality at, for data and computation sharing, which is necessary which patients can use to record their experiences to build heterogeneous, multi-organizational (e.g. collaboration, and document sharing networks. #comments); readers can also rate For a comprehensive list of Web 2.0 applications existing ‘Patient Experience’ entries, and report with selected examples, see Software Development any unsuitable or offensive entries they might come of the Real World: Best of the Best Web 2.0 Web across. The list of Web 2.0 technologies and Sites21 and SEOmoz’s Web 2.0 Awards.22 applications goes on to comprise web and desktop personalization (e.g. Windows Live http://www. Wikis and Windows Live Gallery of desktop gadgets Wikis are good examples of ‘social writing’ software. com/), photo sharing (e.g. Flickr A wiki is a collaborative software that allows users and Zooomr, video sharing to add content but also allows that content to be © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 – 23
  4. 4. Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler 5 edited by anybody.2 Wikis, and their combination various issues of interest. Frequently, blogs are with blogs and podcasting, are covered in greater networked between several users who post thoughts detail with many medical and health-related that often focus upon a common theme.17 examples in Boulos et al. 2006.18 Wikis can be used TrackBack is a powerful mechanism for for sharing knowledge (encyclopaedia-style wiki), communication between blogs. If a blogger writes e.g. Wiki Surgery ( a new entry commenting on, or referring to, an entry and/or running community projects. A good found at another blog, and both blogging tools example of the latter is OpenStreetMap (http:// support the TrackBack protocol, then the com-, menting blogger can notify the other blog with a the Free Wiki World Map, a collaborative project ‘TrackBack ping’; the receiving blog will typically to create free maps using data from portable GPS display summaries of, and links to, all the com- (Global Positioning System) devices. menting entries below the original entry. This allows Recently, 23 British academics who wrote to for conversations spanning several blogs that readers Parliament outlining their concerns about the can easily follow.25 progress of the National Programme for IT in Blogs are easy to create and contribute to [using England set up their own public wiki to track free services like LiveJournal (http://www. media reports and act as a resource for NHS and Google Blogger (http:// IT (], hence their popularity. Some They used service (http://editthis. services like NETCIPIA ( info/), a site where anyone can create a free wiki. allow the creation of blogs with wiki support An interesting enterprise wiki, Socialtext (http:// (blikis). The founder of Wikipedia is now offering, touts itself as a good solution Openserving (, another to ‘e-mail overload’ by enabling the use wiki-style service featuring free tools for building community ‘social text’ among groups of collaborators, while sites. Blog search engines also exist, e.g. Technorati still being as simple to use as e-mail. An interesting (, IceRocket (http:// and common observation in large public wiki, and Google Blog Search (http:// projects like Wikipedia is that only a very small (see also ‘Web 2.0 special fraction of users contribute most of the content, search features and social search engines’ below). while the majority of visitors are lurkers, merely Blogging has the potential to open new professional visiting and experiencing the community passively.24 practice and communication channels.17,18 The strong localization capabilities in MediaWiki Neologisms such as the ‘blogosphere’ (the blog (, one ecosystem) are emerging, with some star bloggers of the most popular free wiki software engines (web diarists) commanding audiences numbering available today, have enabled the rapid flourishing tens of thousands.2 Nearly 80% of online users of non-English/foreign-language content and under 28 say they regularly visit blogs; 40% report associated online communities (see, for example, creating their own.26 Kevin Kelly, writing in Wired the Hebrew Wikipedia project http://he.wikipedia. magazine in August 2005, estimated that a new org/). Similarly, blogs and other Web 2.0 projects blog is created every two seconds.27 are now available in multiple non-European Technorati is tracking more than 57 million languages, e.g. this Arabic-language news blog blogs as of October 2006, reporting that around about diabetes mellitus http://www.diabetespost. 55% are ‘active’, i.e. updated at least every 3 months. com/languages/arabic.php?u=diabetic-blog/. Technorati ranks a blog depending on how many sites link to it. The blogging elite, defined by Technorati as those having more than 500 other Blogs blogs linking to them, number about 4000. In Blogs are simple content management tools enabling October 2006, Technorati also reported that every non-experts to build easily updatable web diaries day 100 000 new blogs are created and 1.3 million or online journals. 2 They are published posts are made (these are the figures after filtering chronologically, with links and commentary on out/not counting identified spamblogs or splogs, © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 –23
  5. 5. 6 Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler fake blogs used for promotion of affiliated Podscope (, and Odeo websites).28 ( According to the same Technorati report, Listeners’ lines will transform podcasting into English and Japanese remain the two most popular a two-way communication experience, although languages in the blogosphere. Despite anti-Web 2.0 instant interactivity is still elusive. Examples of democracy problems for bloggers in China and listeners’ lines are available at http://www. Iran29 Chinese remains at number three, and Farsi and http:// (spoken in Iran and Afghanistan) has moved into the top 10 languages of the blogosphere.28 Listener%20Line. While most blogs are currently focused on news, YouTube, a Web 2.0 video service whose motto relationships and politics, many are medical/health is ‘Broadcast Yourself ’, has recently been used related, e.g. the DrugScope DrugData Updated for a children’s anti-smoking campaign (see blog, the TRIP campaign video at Database blog, watch?v=HZL_WaBvejA).33 and the DLnet blog for health librarians and trainers in the UK Social bookmarking, collaborative tagging But a significant proportion of health-related blogs (folksonomies) and tag clouds are ‘fuelled’ by lay users (e.g. the ‘Biography of Breast Cancer’ blog: http://biographyofbreastcancer. Wikipedia defines social bookmarking as the, most often with no professional practice of ‘classifying resources by the use of input. The potential for misinformation is thus informally assigned, user-defined keywords or tags’.34 substantial,30 although ‘collaborative intelligence’ In essence, social bookmarking services enable can significantly compensate for this and ensure users to collect and annotate (tag) their favourite acceptable quality.31 Quality issues are discussed web links in an online, open environment, which in greater detail in Boulos et al. 2006.18 others are usually free to read and use (bookmarks stored in a central server location accessible from any machine). The end result is the sharing and Podcasting and streaming video services easy distribution of resources.12 Podcasts are time and location independent digital Social bookmarking services usually allow files. Free software enables computer users to individual bookmarks to be designated as public subscribe to regular podcast feeds (audio/video (shared) or private. Visitors to social bookmarking RSS feeds), download them automatically, and sites can search for resources by keyword (tag), transfer them to a portable device like an Apple person, or popularity and see the public bookmarks, iPod or MP3/MP4 player for later playback (or tags, and classification schemes (folksonomies = listen to/watch them on any laptop or desktop ‘folk taxonomies’ made of tags) that registered computer equipped with speakers and supported users have created and saved.35 by media software such as Windows Media Examples of social bookmarking services include Player).17,18 (, Furl (http://www. Podcasts have great impact potential in, CiteULike (—a education.32 Several American Universities, social bookmarking site for academic papers), and including Drexel and Duke, have recently distributed Connotea ( The latter, iPods to their students, and have experimented created in December 2004 by Nature Publishing with podcasting,17 although the final evaluation Group, is a free online reference management outcomes of the use of these technologies in and sharing service for scientists, researchers, and education remain to be seen. Health care podcasts clinicians (Fig. 1).36 are also being used to communicate with tech-savvy These services are worth using as a community- seniors in the USA ( based tool because of their tagging capability. Podcast search engines also exist, including Yahoo! When users find a website they wish to bookmark, podcast search (, they simply click an installed browser toolbar © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 – 23
  6. 6. Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler 7 Figure 1 Screenshot of Connotea ( Note the ‘Related tags’ and ‘Related users’ features © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 –23
  7. 7. 8 Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler button and ‘tag’ or annotate the site with some a larger font, generally in alphabetical order relevant keywords. If their bookmarks are made (Fig. 2).38 public, they can easily direct others to them. Others Using folksonomy-based tools for research can also find the list through the keywords (tags). enables users to capitalize on the insights of others Also, when users bookmark a site, the service reports to locate information related to their research topic, how many others have bookmarked the same site. even in areas that are not obviously connected to the If users click on that number, they can determine primary topic, thus opening new directions. who else bookmarked the site and when they found Such tools also encourage users to return because it. A further click shows them the bookmark folksonomy and resource collections are constantly collections of others interested in ‘their’ site. Finally, evolving.35 if they choose a common tag, they can see all of the Because social bookmarking services indicate other sites that have been described with that who created each bookmark and provide access to particular tag. This makes group collection and that person’s other bookmarked resources, aggregation of bookmarks (centred around contact is easily made with other like-minded common themes or interests) easier.12,35 individuals.35 Some social bookmarking services Some services automatically remind users of combine features of other Web 2.0 applications previously deployed tags, suggest tags, and note tags like blogs and social networking services, allowing used by others. People tend to tag socially, learning users to discuss content, and post and share from other taggers and responding to other personal profiles, beyond tagged bookmarks or published groups of tags, or ‘tagsets’.37 media files.37 Shadows (, Tags can also be arranged into concept maps for example, supports ‘Shadow pages’ for called ‘tag clouds’37—visual depictions of content bookmarked pages. Other web resources can be tags used on a website. Popular tags are depicted in discovered, folksonomically tagged, and shared in Figure 2 The BuzzCloud (tag cloud) of an Swicki about diabetes © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 – 23
  8. 8. Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler 9 similar ways, e.g. images using Flickr (see, for progress, and as students learn from their more example, Flickr—Photos from Clinical Cases and experienced peers and professors’ discoveries. Images Barsky and Purdon12 suggest using social and Flickr—Photos tagged with ‘medical’ http:// bookmarking tools to create Internet subject and guides, giving the example of the University of videos using YouTube. Pennsylvania Library’s social tag cloud (http://, which provides the latest Strengths and limitations. Social bookmarking is information on user behaviour at the library. In an excellent resource discovery tool. It allows clinical practice, social bookmarking can simplify users to see the collective list of resources from all the sharing of web links among peers or patients. users who share a common research interest, and For example, clinicians from multiple sites can, facilitates the development of communities of collaboratively prepare and share with their patients interest and expertise.12 custom bookmark lists of useful web resources about Social bookmarking creates useful connections different clinical conditions (‘disease guides’). with online resources and contacts that are not Similarly, laypersons and patient communities just limited to individuals and their personal/ can develop their own health information portals private web favourites and contacts folders on [perhaps under the guidance of some clinical their local machines, but rather represent the expert(s) to ensure the quality of these portals] by shared discoveries, consensus and judgements adopting a social bookmarking approach for of a community of users (this is sometimes discovering, tagging, sharing, rating and recom- referred to as ‘collective intelligence’, community mending relevant resources of interest among voting or peer reviewing—a community ranking members of those communities, using their own system that functions as a ‘collaborative filter’). patient/community-developed vocabularies and Alexander37 describes five ways in which social terms they can all understand. bookmarking services enable collaborative Social calendars can also be used to chronolog- information discovery. ically and geographically bookmark, tag and share • They act as an ‘outboard memory’ for storing information about forthcoming online and face- and organizing in one place large numbers of to-face events of interest, e.g. CPD (Continuing scattered links that might otherwise get lost with Professional Development) and patient groups’ time or become difficult to find again across meetings and sessions. different browser bookmark settings, or in e-mails, It is important to remember that folksonomies documents, and web pages. are built from the bottom up; they are built by • They facilitate locating people with related ordinary people, not professional indexers or interests, where learning from others or by leading librarians. They are democratic and inclusive, but to new collaborations can improve the quality of as such they provide a snapshot of current users’ work. behaviour and preferences, and they are not stable • The practice of user-created tagging can offer or controlled like formal vocabularies.12 new perspectives for research, as clusters of As social bookmarking is open to all, there is no tags reveal patterns or gaps not immediately oversight as to how resources are organized and visible. tagged. This can lead to inconsistent tags or • The ability to create multi-authored bookmark otherwise poor use of tags, incomplete, skewed pages can be useful for team projects, student or inappropriate or pejorative descriptions of resources. patient groups, as each member can upload Those preferring top-down taxonomies argue resources discovered, no matter what location or that an agreed set of tags enables more efficient timing. Tagging can then surface individual indexing and searching of content.39 Critics suggest perspectives within the collective. folksonomies are characterized by flaws that • Following a bookmark site gives insights into formal classification systems are designed to the owner’s research, which could play well in a eliminate, including polysemy, synonyms, and classroom setting as an instructor tracks students’ plural words. In addition, folksonomies all but invite © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 –23
  9. 9. 10 Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler deliberately idiosyncratic tagging, the ‘meta-noise’ to convert their queries to an RSS feed. HubMed which burdens users and decreases the system’s ( features a similar information retrieval utility.39 service allowing users to create custom PubMed web Barsky and Purdon12 are not suggesting removal feeds (RSS and Atom), e.g. a feed about the theme of the traditional subject taxonomies/controlled of ‘Internet and medicine’ or an ‘eHealth’ feed vocabulary use in medical and health-related (RSS and Atom are visited later in this paper). resource indexing for enhanced information retrieval, A free, handy HubMed search bookmarklet but instead improving on these by allowing users is also available for ‘quick access to searches’ (see to tag their favourite materials for all to use. It is Bookmarklet—Wikipedia40 for some general important to remember that folksonomies and information about bookmarklets). tagging are still nascent activities, and new features Rollyo ( allows a are constantly emerging.12 searcher to select up to 10 websites to be searched, much like a whitelist restricts connections to a selected few (A whitelist blocks all sites or users Web 2.0 special search features and social not on a list). Users can publish and share their search engines ‘searchrolls’.37 Technorati (, which is A similar concept is adopted by Swicki (http:// perhaps the most prominent blog-search tool in—Fig. 2), which can be use today, emphasizes tagging as part of search thought of as a community powered search engine, and discovery, recommending (and rewarding) tailored to produce only the targeted search results users who add tags to their blog posts. Bloggers that the search engine owner/creator and her/his can register their site freely with Technorati; their community want. The search results from a Swicki posts will then be searchable by content and are potentially more relevant than those produced supplemental tags. Moreover, as blogs and most by general search engines, as they represent social bookmarking tools are organized in reverse focused, targeted web views, based on the search chronological order, their very architecture behaviour and search patterns of the associated promotes front-page currency. Web 2.0 therefore community of users. Unlike other search engines, supports queries for information and reflections the community of a Swicki has control over the on current news, papers offering latest research, results. Swicki is thus using the ‘wisdom of crowds’ and events of all sorts.37 to continually tweak and improve search results Feedster (, a blog, (further refinement of the results is an ongoing news feed and podcast search engine, enables users process, as more like-minded users start engaging to subscribe to their own created search feeds to with the results, and determining and revising automatically receive updates about the latest which websites to include in, or exclude from, their search results matching their search keywords. Swicki’s search pool).41 PubSub ( provides a More recently, Google released its first cooper- similar ‘saved/shareable queries’ feature, enabling ative/social search engine known as Google Co-op users to ‘search the future’ (follow a search over time). ( Similarly to Swicki, Another blog search and discovery engine, Google Co-op enables custom search engine Waypath (, can also collaboration.42,43 An interesting ‘travelling recruiter generate ‘topic streams’—categories of posts, based bookmarklet’ ( on analysis of blog posts within a given time marker) can be made available to community period, while BlogPulse ( members associated with a given Google Co-op can be used to graphically visualize trends within search engine to enable them to mark sites for blogospheric results.37 inclusion on-the-fly as they surf the Web. It is noteworthy that PubMed (http://www. An emerging standard, OpenSearch (http://www. now allows users to save their search, is a collection of technologies strategies and receive automatic e-mails of search that allow publishing of search results in a format updates. PubMed users are also offered the option suitable for syndication and aggregation. It is a © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 – 23
  10. 10. Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler 11 way for websites and search engines to publish items/feeds aggregated in real time from other/ search results in a standard and accessible format, multiple websites) on an interactive web map.20,47 and is now natively supported in the latest ver- HEALTHmap (, the Global sions of MediaWiki wiki engine (http://www. disease alert mapping system, is a good example of, Windows Internet Explorer, and a health-related geofeed in action. Mozilla Firefox among others.44 Some academic The extensive growth of Web 2.0 projects has institutions, such as the University of Huddersfield more recently given rise to tools that simultaneously Library already added make use of, or remix, multiple services and infor- OpenSearch to their online library catalogues, mation sources, following the same principle of and PubMed is now supporting OpenSearch mashups. SuprGlu (, for ( example, builds web pages in which users’ RSS details&ID=11336&typeID=56). feeds from multiple services are aggregated, e.g. news and bookmark feeds alongside a series of blogs. By aggregating in one place user- RSS feeds, information aggregation and remixing, selected feeds from a wide range of disparate sources, and mashups all covering a single topic or set of related topics, RSS (Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site readers can very easily have a glimpse into the Summary) is a set of XML-based web-content ‘collective mind’ of many people at a given moment. distribution and republication/syndication protocols Finally, Flock (, the social web used by news sites and blogs to announce recent browser, offers a Web 2.0 way of browsing. Using additions of content/updates to a website or it, users can import Flickr content, then post it to user-defined query. A related standard is the Atom or their blog from within the browser Syndication Format.45 NewsGator (http://www. window (‘drag and drop sharing/remixing’).37, a web-based RSS aggregator, Feedster (, Social networking services and the latest versions of Windows Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox can all process Social networking services are essentially online RSS.2,18,46 group-forming applications that connect people RSS can be seen as the syndication plumbing through shared information interests. They allow that allows free flow of content between applica- users to locate links with people through mutual tions and websites. Users subscribe to the feeds friends or acquaintances, build profiles, and update using an RSS aggregator, such as the native RSS address books. Moreover, sites like Meetup support in most modern web browsers, or a web- ( provide social tools to based service like Bloglines (http://www.bloglines. build communities of practice with the purpose of com/), which then crawls the corresponding sites facilitating face-to-face meetings across cities all on a regular basis. An aggregator displays feeds over the world.2 and enables users to organize them and to access Barsky and Purdon12 argue that social networks related web pages or content (e.g. audio MP3 are relatively new kinds of virtual communities files in the case of a podcast feed). RSS feeds are that delineate and build on member relationships useful for receiving pushed content like blog updates, by virtue of their being part of that community. newspaper and journal article updates, press Informal social networking has existed since the releases, announcements, news, and database inception of the Web (and even before during the updates.10,11 early days of dial-up bulletin boards—see Discus- Mapping mashups use online mapping services, sion), but social networking sites have proliferated such as those offered by Google (http://maps. quickly since 2003. These sites collect data about or Yahoo! ( members and then store this information as user com/maps/), to display customized (user-defined), profiles which are subsequently shared among site clickable markers showing points of interest and members. Social networks form as members link related information (e.g. geographically tagged news their web pages together, or search through other © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 –23
  11. 11. 12 Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler sites to locate new friends who may share common events to those users self-identifying themselves interests. through specific characteristics.48 Social networking services enable users to share Medical and health-related examples of social information within a shifting network of colleagues networking services include the LibraryThing through user profiles linking users to others posting Medicine Group ( similar information. In user profiles, each piece of groups/medicine), a library social network site data is a link; clicking on it displays everyone else promoting social interactions, book recommenda- in the network who included that element in their tions, self-classification, and monitoring of new profiles. Other connections are more structured, books, and the MySpace ‘CURE DiABETES group’ based on user-created groups that typically have ( run by descriptive titles, e.g. ‘Diabetes self-help’. Users patients and supporters. Some social networking can browse profiles based on criteria such as age or services combine or bundle several Web 2.0 tools/ search the database for people they already know features together, e.g. instant messaging (see below), and contact them through private messages or public social bookmarking, blogs and podcasts. Examples notes on their profiles. Group announcements can of these services include the Mental Health Social be sent, such as messages about patient support Network ( —Fig. 3), Figure 3 Screenshot from © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 – 23
  12. 12. Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler 13 and the IJS portal (, a between different members and parties of each global community portal centred around the diverse community formation. People desire control International Journal of Surgery.49 over what they have access to and who has access By nature, health care is community orientated, to them. Social Networking relies on reciprocal extending beyond the geographical reach of trust, the social glue binding participation in organizations, to embrace the way knowledge is online applications and services. Informational shared between clinicians, and with their patients pressure, deceitful conduct, and the challenge of and members of the general public. Laypersons evaluating quality, have spurred the development and patients also use the same tools to network of reputation management systems. Slashdot and build their own virtual communities or (, eBay (, support groups, transcending all conventional ePinions (, Amazon’s spatial boundaries. By creating discussion groups marketplace reputation management system and communities of practice on MySpace or (buyers’ ratings of sellers— similar resources, some information needs of com/), and others all make use of collaborative these groups could be met.12 Indeed, establishing filtering, user recommendation engines, or shared connections with other relevant players is an judgements of quality.2 important factor in patient support, especially in Whereas Memeorandum (http://www. chronic conditions. and Google News (http:// automate their ranking of Limitations. Social networking services attract a topics and stories, Digg ( full spectrum of users, making them susceptible to opens the process to more active human intervention. offensive activities such as ‘hate campaigns’ against Digg, devoted primarily to technology topics, vulnerable groups, and online exploitation of minors. accepts submissions of stories that users consider Moreover, there is little assurance that those worthy of public attention. Users can then vote behind online profiles are who they claim to be. for, or ‘dig and bury’, stories they like/dislike, and Questions of libel and copyright apply when users the site reports the results faithfully.37 This is a good post content created by others or comments about example of community peer reviewing, rating/voting, other people. A seemingly infinite web of connections and collaborative filtering in action. poses a risk for continual aimless wandering, seeing In 1973, Granovetter51 argued that weak ties such who knows who, who likes what, and how it all fits as the connections between colleagues and together.2,48,50 acquaintances are more important for personal Also, some astute users of social networking advancement than the strong ties of family and services like MySpace have long questioned the friendship. This argument proved true in today’s uses to which their personal information is being Web. For example, in Australia, member forums put by these companies, for example, in data like Infochoice ( mining, as a means of generating revenue online. and PhoneChoice ( But despite this, many users remain quite comfortable already enable consumers to call on ‘weak ties’ to and willing to exchange high-level personal details compare ISP (Internet Service Providers), banking, for access to the latest service offerings. The and telecommunications providers for service, price, balance between privacy/anonymity and conven- and quality. Service developers and managers need ience is sometimes difficult to achieve.2 to understand the potentially ‘disruptive’ nature of socially networked consumers and assess their impact on existing and emerging products and Reputation-management systems, peer rating/ services.2 community voting, and collaborative filtering: the With the growing trends toward patient choice ‘collective wisdom’ of the masses and the and empowerment in the UK and elsewhere, strength of ‘weak ties’ dedicated social sites are expected to emerge to Social tools cannot function without an appropriate help patients choose a doctor or health care pro- system to represent user identity and mediate trust vider based on a database of advertised clinicians/ © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 –23
  13. 13. 14 Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler providers’ profiles and the opinions of other views to NHS managers, so that insights and ideas patients.29 In fact, one such service, Patient Opinion can be put to good use. Patient Opinion enables (—Fig. 4), already exists patients to rate and share their NHS experiences in the UK. Patient Opinion was founded by online, and by doing so they can help other patients, Sheffield GP Paul Hodgkin to feedback patient and perhaps even improve NHS services.52,53 Figure 4 Screenshot of PatientOpinion ( showing the cumulative patient ratings for the level of services at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 – 23
  14. 14. Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler 15 continue with piloting such innovative communi- Instant messaging and virtual meetings cation methods with the public’. Instant messaging (IM) is a form of online Moreover, IM and virtual meeting software can real-time interaction between two or more users be used to support clinicians’ CPD (Continuing using networked computers or mobile devices. First- Professional Development) and postgraduate e- generation IM was mainly focused on one-to-one learning55 by allowing clinicians, especially those textual messaging. But today, although typed text in isolated remote or rural areas, to connect to peers remains the primary convention, IM technology and tutors and engage in conferences and conver- also allows users to send images, audio and video sations at a distance in real time. As such they can files, and other attachments. Users can also combine also be considered a great telemedicine/telehealth real-time audio and video conferences/chatting and and tele-education tool. IM clients are also simple, textual conversations that may involve hundreds of easy to use and cheap (or free), which adds to their people at the same time. Technologies that enable appeal. These tools clearly resonate with the IM, such as wireless Internet connectivity and mobile participation ethos of Web 2.0. devices, are now common, providing the critical mass IM requires to reach near ubiquity.2,54,55 Online social gaming Examples of IM Internet client software include Paltalk (—starting from In contemporary computer gaming, the term version 9, Paltalk also features online multiplayer ‘multiplayer’ usually implies that players simul- gaming), Google Talk ( taneously play by connecting multiple computers —which is cleverly integrated with Google Mail), via a network.59 A Massively Multiplayer Online Windows Live Messenger ( Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) is an online fwlink/?LinkId=68748), and Yahoo! Messenger computer role-playing game in which a large ( A Microsoft MSN/ number of players interact with one another in Windows Live Messenger network merger with the a virtual world.60 Virtual worlds are computer- Yahoo! Messenger network has recently been simulated environments where users can ‘inhabit’ launched.56 and interact via avatars (Internet users’ representations Textual IM interaction is closer to spoken of themselves), e.g. Second Life ( conversation than written correspondence, allowing Online social gaming has the potential of promoting users to communicate beyond e-mail capability. stronger communities, online participation, social- IM users enjoy greater social presence,55 yet the ization and associated skills, and education through technology facilitates the kind of onscreen interaction, entertainment (edutainment). with its perceptions of distance and safety, that A college in Chile recently reported that its many find comfortable. IM is also promoting the students are using a bespoke computer game to practice of creating ‘back channels’, secondary learn about team building.61 Another noteworthy, conversations that happen at the same time as health-related online game (although non- some primary task or other conversation, such as multiplayer according to the above definition) is the exchanges between students during a lecture.54 ‘Voices of Youth—What would you do?’ game People feel more engaged when co-location is (http:// simulated, creating a sense of connection and 1360.html) which was launched by the United community difficult to establish in conventional Nations children’s agency Unicef in both English Web 1.0 sites and e-mail communications.55,57 and Swahili (Kiswahili) languages, to combat the IM and virtual meeting software have powerful spread of HIV and AIDS.62 applications for patient care. Eminovic et al.58 Schott and Hodgetts63 describe some of the reported on the first evaluation of a nurse-led web positive health benefits associated with the use of chat triage service for the public. They concluded game technologies in relation to surgical training that ‘the positive reaction from patients and the and therapeutic interventions, physical exercise, potential of the service for specific patient groups health education and community participation. (the deaf, shy, or socially isolated) encourage us to Games can provide shared spaces that promote © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 –23
  15. 15. 16 Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler social interaction through which a sense of belonging collections, web casts, interactive exhibits, and and participation can be fostered. virtual tours. He goes on to argue that ‘while It is increasingly accepted that people engaging many of these online experiences are quite in communities with high levels of social capital engaging, they are for the most part inherently and mutual support tend to be healthier. The one-way and don’t foster user communication cultivation of shared identities, trust, mutual or independent participation. By using Web 2.0 support, shared interests and public narratives are tools, museums (and for our purpose health care central to fostering participation in health promotion organizations) can invite a whole new range of practices. When it comes to developing ways of interaction focusing on community and social working with young people to further enhance learning’. their health, we should carefully consider youth sub-cultural practices and work with existing Nothing new under the sun? ‘communities of practice’ within such populations, rather than just engineer traditional support groups Web 2.0 social software and its conceptual or online communities. In this respect, gaming may underpinnings do not indicate a sharp break with become a tool for health research and interven- the old but, rather, the gradual emergence of a new tions aimed at understanding and promoting organic type of practice37 that is evolution rather than forms of civic participation and improving revolution.68 For example, the Whole Earth population health.63 ‘Lectronic Link (or The WELL http://www.well. com/) has been in existence since 1985 and continues Internet addiction. Social interaction through games to have an active community more than 20 years should not replace real-world interaction. As after its founding.31,69 In a 1995 TV programme computer and Internet use become more common, about the Internet, virtual communities pioneer the potential for over-use may lead to addiction. Howard Rheingold describes how a parent shared Addiction to the Internet shares some of the his experience of having a son with leukaemia by negative aspects of substance addiction and may posting a new topic about his son’s condition on lead to failing school, family, and relationship the WELL. Other members of the community problems.64–66 Kim et al.67 examined the relationship offered help within minutes, including nurses, doctors of Internet addiction to depression and suicidal and recovered leukaemia patients (a video recording ideation in Korean adolescents and found the of this programme is available online at http:// levels of depression and suicide ideation to be highest in the Internet-addicts group. Dial-in bulletin board systems were also com- monly used before the Web. Usenet groups (which were also used for hosting and sharing images), Discussion listservs, discussion boards and online forums also Not since the invention of the Web and its existed before the early days of the Web. subsequent development as a multimedia platform The features and qualities of blogs, podcasts, have we seen such an exciting array of emerging wikis and RSS are thus not all necessarily new, but technologies, yet to date relatively few health care their ease of use and inexpensive development costs organizations have taken up the tools and strategic have helped make them worthy of their various advantages offered by Web 2.0. neologisms. Furthermore, social bookmarking and These new technologies have created challenges folksonomic information discovery have allowed for health care organizations, but have also provided people to connect to each other through their own opportunities to make deeper connections with shared metadata tags, a quite unique feature that their stakeholders, clients and supporters, including was not fully developed in pre-Web 2.0 services.37 clinicians, patients and laypersons. In a paper Web 2.0 thus provides many useful extensions to published in 2006 about museums and Web 2.0, Web 1.0 rather than fully replacing it. Both von Appen31 enumerates several resource types generations of technologies are here to stay and that have evolved recently, including online complement each other. © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 – 23
  16. 16. Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler 17 Perhaps the day will soon come when enterprise Web 2.0 as supporter and educator Web 2.0 application suites like Intel’s recently The potential benefits of Web 2.0 technologies as launched SuiteTwo software services bundle (http:// enablers in health and health care education should will be regularly used to not be underestimated, particularly for disadvantaged empower team and group work activities within groups such as disabled and elderly people. The and between 21st century health care services and same applies to patients and professionals based research organizations. in isolated and remote areas, where finding or establishing face-to-face support/patient groups and Web 2.0 as a social, cultural and pedagogic communities of practice might be difficult or phenomenon impossible. Results of an online survey of 2624 US adults, Sharp2 provides a definition of social networking aged 18 and older, conducted by Harris Interactive as any set of socio-technical systems and associated in 2006 for The Wall Street Journal Online (http:// activities that enable many-to-many social showed that few patients use interactivity to take place via ICTs, whether via the or have access to online services for communicating Internet, mobile, PDA (personal digital assistant/ with their doctors, but most would like to. Over handheld computer with wireless Internet half of all adults in this study said a doctor’s use connectivity) or any other device. Online social and investment in health information technology networking is gaining ground globally, advancing would influence their choice of doctor a great deal new networked models of social interaction that or to some extent.70 weave in, out, and around to form the new fabric Sociable interactive technologies have the potential of the Internet. The ease of use and ubiquity of to augment patients’ and older peoples’ sense of social networking tools have enabled virtually any belonging to a supportive kindred community, user to develop or join group-forming networks thereby reducing their social isolation. Some older (GFNs). These GFNs have made possible the creation people now regularly use web-based video/audio and maintenance of group affiliations online, chat applications (e.g. Skype to allowing small and large groups of network users converse with their families in other parts of the to coalesce and organize their communications world. The simplification and decreasing costs around a common interest, issue, or goal.2 of such services and interfaces, coupled with a But the radical nature of social networking growing familiarity with computers amongst the software lies in its many-to-many duplex commu- elderly, challenge beliefs that such technologies nication mode that transcends point-to-point and are beyond the grasp of older people. Indeed, two-way media like telephone and e-mail, and information and communication technologies have one-way transmission models such as television, potential to augment a sense of connectedness radio and, certainly, Web 1.0. Networks support- with society, something denied to many of those ing the construction of communicating groups confined to home through destitution, illness or fear. create value that scales exponentially with network The potential of these technologies for clinicians size. Individuals connecting to the Internet indirectly is also great in supporting their continuing profes- benefit other users through ‘network effects’ or sional development, and in helping them establish ‘collective intelligence’.2 and benefit from virtual communities of practice As we have argued, Web 2.0 is primarily about where advice and expertise, and even multi-media people, the myriad links between them and the clinical elements, can be easily shared among them, folksonomically tagged content chunks they create and where they can all learn from each other and and mix. Web 2.0 engenders immediacy, online keep up to date with the latest advances in their presence, mobility, ubiquity, and location sensitiv- specialities. This is particularly useful for profes- ity.71 In a potential ‘future landscape’ of pervasive, sionally/educationally disadvantaged clinicians mobile, location-sensitive Internet, virtual com- who are isolated from the typical urban clinical munities pioneer Howard Rheingold points to the centres of excellence, in remote and rural areas. growing army of young mobile phone users as © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 –23
  17. 17. 18 Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler leading the charge of a new social phenomena he is vital to learning so that students understand calls ‘Smart Mobs’: groups of people ‘who are able questions, develop arguments, and share meaning to act in concert even if they don’t know each other’ and conclusions among a community of learners’. in a peer-to-peer (P2P) socially networked world. The growth of ‘texting’ and next generation mobile Web 2.0 quality and copyright issues phones have created the space for a range of social interactions to occur beyond the place bounded- Potts77 holds that ‘the “killer application” in e-health ness of the home, office, or school. Through WiFi will be something that can marry the democratized and Internet-enabled devices like PDAs and 4G nature of MySpace or Wikipedia with the safety mobiles (4th generation mobiles promising much critical nature (i.e. quality requirements) of health faster wireless data transmission rates allowing, for care’. example, high-quality smooth video transmission), Collaborative filtering and collective intelligence/ people will ‘communicate’ and ‘cooperate’ in ways wisdom might be the way forward towards finding previously impossible. Many millions of people a remedy for the chronic concerns about online will carry and wear devices thousands of times more health information quality. Sharp2 discusses the powerful than today’s personal computers, linked example of blogging. As thousands of bloggers at speeds higher than present levels. Many of these exchange ideas and post their daily thoughts and will create and trade content and applications as commentaries, they are effectively acting as human well as consume them. People are able to ‘swarm’— (and often expert) filters to the many information the spontaneous formation of social networks at overloaded web surfers.2 any time for a specific purpose.2,72 James Surowiecki78 suggests that collective Hartzog73 discusses the development, cross- intelligence often trumps that of experts. Collective fertilization and spread of memes (ideas and intelligence invites self-policing and community experiences) through many-to-many interactions watchfulness, leading to the ‘Darwikinism’ of Web in Web 2.0. The use of the Internet, mobiles and 2.0 content, where, as a result of the openness and social software has greatly increased the number rapidity of Web 2.0 page editing, an evolutionary of conversations occurring at any given moment selection process is imposed. ‘Unfit’ sentences and via chat, newsgroups, discussion forums, and even sections are ruthlessly culled and voted against, comment-savvy blogs. Undoubtedly, the survival but when considered ‘fit’ they are developed, potential of various memes has grown as these resulting in the evolution of higher quality and channels have emerged.73 more relevant content.18 However, the ‘watchfulness In Web 1.0, the solitary, passive nature of most of the crowds’ and democratic openness of Web Internet experiences means that interaction can be 2.0 do not exclude other forms of policing and limited and lack social exchange. By contrast, the moderation, by site administrators, and through sociable technologies of Web 2.0 have the potential the creation of ‘closed Web 2.0 environments’.18 to promote active and engaged learning, where A related, but separate, content threat to the participants themselves construct their own Web 2.0 movement is the issue of copyright.18,37,79 knowledge through social interaction and As the new Web 2.0 services and tools allow users exploration. Learning becomes an active process, to own, modify, and exchange data, it is perhaps in which peers collaborate equally so none might inevitable that intellectual property holders will dominate the interaction.31 initiate lawsuits against perceived misappropriation. According to Social Constructivist theory, As tools become simpler to use and practices dialogue offers learners the opportunity to construct become more widespread, violation of copyright and organize knowledge. Immersion in a culture will become easier.37 helps learners become increasingly independent in From another perspective, Web 2.0 necessitates their learning.74 Online learners must be active relinquishing control and ownership of information. knowledge generators who assume responsibility In Web 2.0, information becomes meaningless or for constructing and managing their own learning less useful to others if they cannot remix and experience.75 Bender76 argues that ‘collaboration repurpose it to make sense of it in their context. It © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 – 23
  18. 18. Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler 19 is for this reason, Boyd80 argues, that technology Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web is not enough. There will be political features of Web 2.0 as technological development and The Semantic Web, also known as Web 3.0, will cultural desires clash with legislation and political simplify human–computer interfaces by attaching support of traditional information organizations. machine-readable metadata (information about A better understanding of IP (intellectual property) information) to web content to enable computers and copyright issues is thus critical to effective to ‘understand’ the actual/intended meanings of this Web 2.0 use.80 content as they process it.83,84 When augmented with business semantics, Web 2.0 technologies such as RSS will enable the user to be in more control Web 2.0 addiction and other socially adverse over how information is accessed and aggregated online patterns to best serve the purpose at hand.85 Applied to It has been argued that the Internet has adverse micro-content chunks and social communication psychological consequences, causing depression exchanges in Web 2.0, this could also mean better and anxiety symptoms for ‘over-users’.3 In a recent information search and retrieval algorithms that study, Campbell et al.81 offered an alternative overcome some or most of the limitations of explanation, suggesting the Internet may be used folksonomic metadata, while still benefiting from as a forum for expanding social networks, the strengths of Web 2.0 intelligent community consequently enhancing the chances of meaningful cataloguing of content. relationships, self-confidence, social abilities, Combining Web 2.0 folksonomies and Web 3.0 and social support. They suggest no relationship formal metadata and ontologies to produce novel exists between time spent online and depression, social semantic search engines is a strong possibility, anxiety, or social aversion. Those primarily using but it is more likely that we will see combined Web the Internet for online chat believe the 2.0/3.0 solutions that are application and community Internet to be psychologically beneficial, but specific, rather than a universal, all-purpose set of that frequent Internet users are lonely and for health care semantic descriptions. However, we are these Internet addiction is possible. It has been still far from understanding how Web 2.0 and the argued that socially fearful chat users may use Semantic Web will exactly relate to each other. the Internet as a form of low-risk social Today, leading edge research is orienting toward approach and an opportunity to rehearse social Social Semantic Collaboration technologies, which behaviour and communication skills, which may have also become the focus of high profile confer- help them improve interaction in face-to-face ence panels. For example, SemSoc2007 (Artificial contexts.81 Intelligence and Social Semantic Collaboration Although psychologically balanced adults are, a Spe- expected to be able to protect themselves online cial Track at the 20th International FLAIRS 2007 amidst adverse social patterns, there is still a Conference, Florida, USA critical need to protect vulnerable users, who ∼ddd/FLAIRS/flairs2007/) and the Workshop on generally cope less well with these issues. While Social and Collaborative Construction of Structured MySpace allows 14- and 15-year-old users to restrict Knowledge at the 16th International World Wide who can view their page or contact them, most Web Conference, Banff, Canada (WWW2007— users opt to make their profiles public. The primary were both concern is that this openness puts youth at risk, conceived to exclusively discuss semantic social net- making them particularly vulnerable to predators works, and a combination of Web 2.0 and Seman- and paedophiles. In the USA, recent federal tic Web strategies and how this can be achieved. legislation, the Deleting Online Predators Act of 200682 would require schools and libraries Conclusion receiving federal aid ‘to protect minors from commercial social networking websites and chat Web 2.0 is here to stay and is an evolutionary rooms’.50 enhancement to Web 1.0, rather than a correction © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 –23
  19. 19. 20 Web 2.0 in health and health care education, Maged N. Kamel Boulos & Steve Wheeler of previous shortcomings. Web 2.0 services will Technology/Smart Internet Technology CRC Pty Ltd, doubtless increase in complexity and scale during March 2006. Available from: ArticleDocuments/121/Social-Networks-2010.pdf.aspx the coming years as users continue to creatively (accessed 29 December 2006). adapt new tools to produce knowledge, leverage 3 Wallace, P. The Psychology of the Internet. Cambridge: collective intelligence, and build social capital.2 Cambridge University Press, 1999. The operation and success of Web 2.0 tools are 4 Abram, S. Web 2.0—huh? Library 2.0, librarian 2.0. worthy of study in numerous disciplines, from Information Outlook 2005, 9, 44–5. 5 Robinson, K. Web 2.0? Why Should We Care? media studies, sociology and computer science.37 20 September 2005. Available from: http://www. Announcing his new Web Science Research,1759,1860653, 00.asp (accessed Initiative (, Sir Tim 29 December 2006). Berners-Lee declared he wished to attract 6 Wheeler, S. Learner support needs in online problem-based multidisciplinary researchers to study the Web as a learning. Quarterly Review of Distance Education 2006, 7, technological and social phenomenon. The Web 175–84. 7 Kear, K. Peer learning using asynchronous discussion Science Research Initiative sets out a research agenda systems in distance education. Open Learning 2004, 19, aimed at understanding the scientific, technical and 151–64. social challenges underlying the growth of the Web. 8 McConnell, D. Examining a collaborative assessment Of particular interest is the growing volume of process in networked lifelong learning. Journal of Computer information that documents cumulative knowledge Assisted Learning 1999, 15, 232–43. 9 O’Reilly, T. What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business and human activity. The project will examine how Models for the Next Generation of Software. 30 September information is accessed and assess its reliability.86 2005. Available from: In the context of health and health care services (accessed 29 December 2006). and education, there is a need to raise awareness of 10 Parakh, P. Web 2.0: Catch the Wave. Video clip, 6 October Web 2.0 tools and the possibilities they offer, and 2006. Available from: an urgent need to conduct quality research to ?v=EqQq6Rjh82U (accessed 29 December 2006). 11 Barsky, E. Introducing Web 2.0: RSS trends for health inform better use of Web 2.0 applications. librarians. Journal of Canadian Health Library Association Applying Bandelli’s87 concepts to health and 2006, 27, 7–8. health care settings, one can say that patients and 12 Barsky, E. & Purdon, M. Introducing Web 2.0: social their carers want more than information from networking and social bookmarking for health librarians. providers. They also wish to interact and exchange Journal of Canadian Health Library Association 2006, 27, 65–7. information with each other. Therefore, health 13 Wenger, E. Communities of practice social learning care providers should aim to become social en- systems. Organization 2000, 7, 225–56. ablers, providing situations that become positively 14 Fahy, P. J. Indicators of support in online interaction. ‘addictive’ and indispensable, so patients can gather, International Review of Research in Open and Distance learn from, and support each other, improving Learning 2003, 4. Available from: health outcomes. Patients must be empowered to index.php/irrodl/article/view/129/600 (accessed 29 December 2006). build their needs into any technology on offer. 15 Shea, P. J., Pickett, A. M. & Peltz, W. E. A follow-up Oliver30 aptly summarizes the current situation: investigation of teaching presence in the SUNY learning ‘Health professionals might not like what’s going network. Journal of Asynchronous Networks 2003, 7, 61–80. on in the world of the Internet, but they must get 16 Levy, Y. Comparing dropout and persistence in e-learning “socially networked” as if their jobs—and their courses. Computers and Learning 2007, 48, 185–204. 17 Barsky, E. Introducing Web 2.0: weblogs and podcasting patients’ health—depended on it. Because they do!’ for health librarians. Journal of Canadian Health Library Association 2006, 27, 33–4. References 18 Boulos, M. N., Maramba, I. & Wheeler, S. Wikis, blogs and podcasts. a new generation of Web-based tools for virtual 1 Beldarrain, Y. Distance education trends: integrating collaborative clinical practice and education. BMC new technologies to foster student interaction and Medical Education 2006, 6, 41. Available from: http:// collaboration. Distance Education 2006, 27, (accessed 139–53. 29 December 2006). 2 Sharp, D. Smart Internet 2010—Social Networks. 19 Skiba, D. J. Web 2.0: next great thing or just marketing Melbourne, Australia: Swinburne University of hype? Nursing Education Perspectives 2006, 27, 212–4. © 2007 The authors Journal compilation © Health Libraries Group 2007 Health Information and Libraries Journal, 24, pp.2 – 23