Thursday, November 30, 2006

Benefits of procrastination

I found this post from the Chief Happiness Officer very encouraging -- discusses ways to use a personal tendency toward procrastination in a positive way.

1: Procrastinate without guilt
Do not beat yourself up for procrastinating. Everybody does it once in a while. It doesn’t make you a lazy bastard or a bad person.

If you leave a task for later, but spend all your time obsessing about the task you’re not doing, it does nothing good for you. So procrastinate without guilt.

2: Procrastinate 100%
Do you know those people who procrastinate from some important task - and all they can talk or think about is the task they’re not doing. Often to the point of obsession!

Don’t. Throw yourself 100% into whatever it is you are doing, whether you’re vacuuming, watching TV, reading, surfing the web or out drinking with your friends. Do it and enjoy it to the max.

3: Choose to procrastinate
Don’t let procrastination sneak up on you, so that you suddenly find that you’re doing something other than you should be. Instead, choose consciously to not work on your current task. Instead of fighting it, say to yourself “I will now procrastinate”.
This way procrastination isn’t something that happens to you, something that you’re powerless to control. As if it ever could be :o) This way you’re in charge and procrastination is a tool you use.

4: Ask yourself why you procrastinate
There can be many good reasons to procrastinate:

- Some crucial ideas, notions, thoughts may come to you only when you’re not working on your project.
- Effective procrastination recharges your batteries and gives you new energy.
- Maybe there’s something else you could be doing instead and procrastinating means you get it done.
- Maybe whatever it is you’re supposed to do, turns out to be irrelevant or even a bad idea. Maybe the reason you procrastinated was, that your subconscious knew this before your conscious mind.
- Working non-stop means missing out on all of this. When you find yourself procrastinating, ask yourself why. Don’t just accept the traditional answer: “There’s something wrong with me, I’m a bad, lazy person”.

5: Take responsibility for procrastinating
When you choose to procrastinate, make sure to update your deadlines and commitments. Let people know, that your project will not be finished on time and give them a new deadline.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Will clicks replace bricks?

An article by Polina Aksamentova from the Binghamton University Pipe Dream (university newspaper) ponders the question "Will Web resources be the death of the Library?"

The article notes a 15% increase last year in questions asked at the library's reference desk, and includes a quote from the Information Commons coordinator, David Vose - "There's the constant debate, will clicks replace bricks? I don't see that ever happening...There's still the experience of the library. It's a social activity."

I hadn't heard the clicks and bricks phrase used in this sense before - had heard more in relationship to synergy between online and in-person shopping, or between a strong online presence and real-world success (e.g. this article from CIO), but I guess it makes sense in this context too.

Fortunately, the article does point out that the library serves important functions beyond that of study hall or meeting place, noting that the expertise and training provided by librarians.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The patient side of web-based diagnosis

Dr. Marla Shapiro of The Globe and Mail discusses the patient side of diagnosing using the Internet in a recent article, "Self-diagnose off the Web at your peril"

A recent article in the medical journal The Lancet reported the case of a 64-year-old woman who diagnosed herself with chronic fatigue syndrome and then proceeded to self-medicate with oral steroids that she had purchased over the Internet, rather than being prescribed medication by her physician. She had been taking the medication in varying doses over a four-year period. She developed dense cataracts in both eyes and glaucoma (high pressure in the eye), both of which were induced by the steroid use. These side effects of steroids are well known to physicians. It is clear that the patient was unaware of the dangerous side effects and had gone unmonitored, putting herself in this serious situation.
The Lancet reference: Severn PS, Fraser SG. Bilateral cataracts and glaucoma induced by long-term use of oral prednisolone bought over the internet. Lancet. 2006 Aug 12;368(9535):618. (PubMed record)

Related article: There's also been a lot of talk this week about a study published in the British Medical Journal, "Googling for a diagnosis--use of Google as a diagnostic aid: internet based study," an experimental study that examine the utility of Google searches for diagnosing 26 cases from the New England Journal of Medicine, noting "Google searches revealed the correct diagnosis in 15 (58%, 95% confidence interval 38% to 77%) cases." (lots of blog commentary on this article available via a quick Google BlogSearch)

Labels: , ,

JMLA case studies blog

We've started a blog as a tie-in/complement to a new feature in the Journal of the Medical Library Association: the JMLA Case Studies blog.

The description from the blog's inaugural post:
These cases will provide narrative and insight from expert commentators drawn from librarianship, informatics, medicine, research, and other areas that inform the development of a given case situation. This feature will share commentary and practices for a variety of scenarios with the intent of prompting discussion of issues facing health sciences librarianship as a developing profession and the development of potential solutions.

This blog will serve as an online forum for further discussion of the scenarios and facets of the strategies for addressing these information-related challenges. The curator of the column, JMLA co-editor Rebecca Jerome, will collate prominent issues from comments/questions submitted by readers into periodic updates to the blog, with the intent of fostering discourse about techniques for addressing complex information-related issues in the health sciences.
The most recent post discusses the usefulness of Wikipedia for looking at medical concepts involved in this month's case. We'll be addressing comments posted on the cases to develop future blog entries to follow up on questions and critiques.

Related link: JMLA case study blog site feed (comments feed coming soon)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Web milestone: 100 million sites

Via CNN:
Are your Web surfing fingers getting tired?

There may be a reason. Netcraft, an Internet monitoring company that has tracked Web growth since 1995, says a mammoth milestone was reached during the month of October.

"There are now 100 million Web sites with domain names and content on them," said Netcraft's Rich Miller. (Watch as the Web gave birth to the virtual self -- 2:44)

"Within that, there are some that are busy and updated more often, and that represents the active sites, which are at about 47 or 48 million," he said.
Plus a few handy charts illustrating the growth of the 'nets, on the Netcraft site.