Personal perspectives on information science, the evolving Internet, delivery of public services online, Web 2.0, the Web of Data, the Semantic Web, communities, folksonomies and more. With an emphasis upon convergence between some or all of the above, and a UK slant.
Writingin hisblog,IBM's Irving Wladawsky-Berger draws my attention to an important step they are taking today to support innovation and development in the fields of Health and Education.
“This week IBM is taking a major step toward ameliorating those IP concerns in the areas of health care and education by helping industry organizations in both areas develop the needed open standards and collaborative platforms. We are pledging open access to our entire present and future patent portfolio for specific standards initiatives around web services, open documents and electronic forms in the healthcare and education industries.”
Bob Sutor, VP of Standards and Open Source, has moredetails, and IBM's official page on all this ishere, along with lists of the included standards.
In my previous life at theCIE, I talked a few times about the good work that CIE member theNational Library for Health(part of ourNational Health Servicehere in the UK) were doing to make health-related information more intelligible to both health practitioners and the general public.
The NHS, for example, tried deployingGoogle'sSearch Applianceon theNHS home page, offering a search across the NHS domain with the responsiveness, look, and capabilities that users have come to expect from Google. They also procured asystemto search the 'hidden web' of scholarly journals, evidence notes, etc that health professionals require to support their decision making processes.
Patient-facing services such asNHS Directare (and I speak from personal experience) of huge value in demistifying complex and potentially frightening medical conditions, and in helping the patient (or their parent) to feel empowered and informed.
Health information, surrounded by metadata of varying richness and precision, and tied so closely to trusted authorities and controlled terminologies, is extremely close to the world in which we work.
“In a previous life, Healthline was bubble startup called YourDoctor.com that was started in 1999, and paid 1,100 doctors to create these maps and the underlying medical taxonomy. 'That was part of the $24 million we burned through,' says Shell, who was not CEO at the time. Now the company has recapitalized itself with another $13 million to take its intellectual property and tackle consumer health search.”
So it's not cheap to do, then. I wonder to what extent this commercial approach is creating “the underlying medical taxonomy”, and to what extent it is making use of existing terminologies in the space, such asMeSHandSNOMED?
The CIE, of course, commissioned somework[MS Powerpoint download] fromAdiuriin this space way back in 2003, which looked at working with both of these big terminologies.
Is this another example of the public sector spending a fortune one way, and the private sector then duplicating much of that work with someone else's money?
Jonathan Schwartz, Chief Operating Officer atSun Microsystems, was an early entrant in the senior management blogging stakes, and hisblogcontinues to prove incisive, insightful, and refreshingly free of either overhyping his own organisation or over-slating his competitors. Compulsory reading.
Hislatest posttakes a look at the role of Government in standards setting, using the public-good arguments that allow mobile phones to make emergency calls whether in-credit or signed up to a talk plan or not as his jumping-off point.
“What should we mandate? That all public information, that is, all data and services provided by governments, from 'who to call' lists to video broadcasts of critical information,leverage open, royalty free, freely sublicensable standards. The government should be silent, in my view, on the selection of technologies - that's not their core competence or role. But they have a productive role to play in the standardization and provisioning of emergency services, and the guarantees around service levels and availability. In my view, they have to date underleveraged that role in driving the productive evolution of the network as a social utility.” (my emphasis)
I agree. So, I remember, did those behind the gestation of our owne-Government Interoperability Framework(e-GIF). I do worry, though, that there is an increasing tendency to go a step too far, and stray into the fraught territory of over-mandating technology (and applications).