Yesterday’s Reuters headline below, with projected tablet sales through 2015, makes a good compliment to a graphic in an article I wrote last year, which also targets 2015 — Saying that’s about when mobile devices (including tablets) will overtake desktops. So I’m mostly just juxtaposing these two graphics below, followed by mention of a library connection. First, the Reuters headline:

… And the graphic from my earlier article on libraries and mobile:

The Library Connection

From my Twitter watching, there seems to be relatively little discussion of the iPad in library circles, compared to other fields. With the exploding use of them, we in libraries need to pick up the ball!

Text from Reuters article:

Tablet market seen surging to $49 billion by 2015 – The global tablet computer market, born last year with Apple’s iPad, will grow to a $49-billion business by 2015, research firm Strategy Analytics said.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

I got several good tips in a recent Web Searching class* I attended — One of the tools I learned about is BlindSearch, which does a comparison search in Google, Bing, and Yahoo. I tried it out in the class, searching for the title words google librarians from a blog article I had just published a few days before (Google & Librarians as Cousins), not  really thinking it was likely that any of the search engines would find it. But much to my surprise, one of them did find it in the first screen — Bing! The article was published on March 29. At the class three days later on April 1, it was number one in Bing. When I’ve checked since then, it’s been number three, as highlighted in the screenshot below.


(Click screenshot for LARGE)

Great job, Bing! This little example, I think, indicates that Bing may be the search engine of choice for time-sensitive subjects that are likely to have recent updates. It makes me wonder if Bing is giving higher precedence to pertinent blog articles than Google and Yahoo. Confirming my experience, I recently noticed a good Google-Bing comparison article showing that for some searches Bing is, indeed, better than Google.

*Super Searcher class, taught by Max Anderson, from the GMR/NNLM office, at a meeting of the Iowa Library Association Health Sciences Subdivision

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

When I wrote last Fall about iPad interest in different areas, libraries were far behind, and they still are, as shown in the chart at left. The blue columns are from Sept and red columns are from now, March 2011. The red numbers above the red columns are for March; for Sept numbers see the previous article.

The notable jump for “medical” in the chart since Sept is not surprising to anyone who has been following news and commentary — The iPad is proving to be very popular for doctors, hospitals and medical education.

The decline for “magazines” and “newspapers” is also not surprising — The highly-anticipated iPad boost for those media has not happened, and interest has sagged.

Whither libraries? — As I said in the Sept article, it continues to be surprising that libraries have not caught the iPad interest, since books and eBooks are so popular. With the great iPad interest in medicine, maybe medical libraries are just the ones to lead the pack in generating iPad interest in the library world.

The new data (red columns) is the average of counts done in Twitter searches on Feb 25 and March 31. The launch of the iPad 2 on March 2 had a notable effect on the these counts — The number of tweets was significantly higher on March 31 for most areas, except “libraries” and “newspapers,” for which it actually declined.

For more on methods used in this informal study, see the previous article.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

I tweeted this funny a couple of days ago, and got several retweets …

ericrumsey: :-) RT @wabbitoid “How many SEO specialists are needed to change a lightbulb?” bulb bulbs light cheap affordable

It was only after a day or two that I realized that it was a great chance to laugh at myself! …

As the lightbulb joke pokes fun at SEO specialists who are obsessed with thinking of every possible word that people might search for, I remembered the Hardin MD Chicken Pox / Chickenpox page that I made several years ago –The only page in Hardin MD for which I used a double-element title, because WordTracker indicated that people search for chickenpox as two words and as one word. Traffic data has shown, in fact, that the page does indeed get significant traffic for both terms.

I’ve been blogging on the SEO theme recently, and I’m realizing that my interest in it comes a lot from my experience with Hardin MD, much of it long before I heard the term “SEO.” As the little lightbulb example here shows, though, I guess I have a foot in that world.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Until recently, the term “googling symptoms” has generally had strong negative connotations among health professionals, bringing to mind visions of patients carrying stacks of mostly-useless articles that they’ve found online to their doctor’s visits. This seems to be changing, however. As often seems to happen, a term like “googling symptoms” that starts out being pejorative and negative changes its sense, and becomes more positive.

As reflected in the screenshot for the googling symptoms search at left, a large part of the reason for the changing view of “googling symptoms” among healthcare professionals has been an article in Time Magazine by physician Zachary Meisel — Googling Symptoms: How it can Help Patients and Doctors — which takes a positive view of the matter (see excerpts below).

The search screenshot gives an interesting perspective on how the recent positive view of “googling symptoms” is nudging its way up Google’s list, “in hot pursuit” of the older, negative articles above it. The other positive article on the list, in support of Meisel’s Time article — Patients Google their symptoms, doctors need to deal with it — is by prominent physician blogger Kevin Pho (kevinmd.com). The results for the googling symptoms search, of course, will change constantly, and so won’t necessarily be exactly the same on any particular day. But it will be interesting to watch over time to see if the positive view of the term continues to move up and multiply.

A few excerpts from the Meisel Time article:

There is no question that patients routinely benefit from going online before visiting the doctor. To debate whether patients should or should not Google their symptoms is an absurd exercise. Patients already are doing it, it is now a fact of normal patient behavior, and it will only increase as Internet technology becomes ever more ubiquitous. Doctors and nurses are going to have to shed the presumption that the Internet makes patient care harder. It’s a problem if doctors continue to walk into the exam room with the belief that patients always need to be disabused of the wrong and sensationalistic information they picked up while trolling the Net.

Googling Symptoms & Patient Empowerment: A Watershed Moment

Noted activist patient-advocate Dave deBronkart (@ePatientDave) has also seen the Time article as “a sign of shifting winds … a watershed moment (boldface added).” He suggests that health information providers capitalize on the moment by “developing tools to teach smart info-shopping” to help the empowered patient find the best online medical sources – Medical Librarians take Note!

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

The tweet shown here, by Dr. Ves Dimov (@DrVes), is interesting on different levels. The tweet is about Huffington Post, but it gives good advice on how to write a blog article in general — Find a juicy nugget in a news or blog article that’s unnoticed by most readers and feature it in your own article, quoting it prominently and adding your own spin to it.

But beyond its application to writing blog articles, Dimov’s tweet applies at least as much to writing tweets. Even more than a blog article, a tweet needs to strip a subject to its essence, and put it into a 140 character message that combines the arts of narrative writing and headline writing.

A twist of Meta …

Another layer of interestingness here is that Dimov’s tweet itself applies exactly the stripping to the essence technique that’s featured in the tweet  — The words in the tweet are taken from far down in a NY Times story, where few human eyeballs (or the GoogleBot) are likely to see them, and brought to the attention of the Twitterverse and Google by @DrVes — Here’s the NY Times quote, with words in the tweet in boldface:

Huffington Post is a master of finding stories across the Web, stripping them to their essence and placing well-created headlines on them that rise to the top of search engine results, guaranteeing a strong audience.

A great example of combining the simple elegance of Twitter and the power of human judgment to search out an interesting nugget in a long page of text, and bring it to the attention of the Web’s eyes. With Google’s spam troubles recently, there’s been much discussion of the renewed importance of human curation, with Twitter being seen as a prime vehicle, and I think this is a nice example of that.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Earlier today I tweeted about blogger Jeff Hamilton’s hare-brained idea that the recently implemented top-of-the-search links to NLM’s PubMed Health is some kind of government-Google conspiracy. I tweeted about Hamilton’s tweet, which had a link to his article on his own blog — Ha Ha, funny, right?

The way I came across Hamilton’s article, however, gives it a bit more seriousness — I found it when I was searching in Google for pubmed health, as in the screenshot at left — The first 6 hits are links that are well-known to the medical library community. But #7 is Hamilton’s article — that seemed so laughable on his own blog — in PageRank-powered Psychology Today, which means Google takes it seriously!

The lesson here, I think, is that NLM needs to say something about PubMed Health! As I discussed in my earlier article on it, and as Nikki Dettmar has discussed, it’s very strange that PubMed Health has been launched and assumed automatic #1 rankings in Google searches with no announcement or discussion of any of it by NLM or Google — If it had been talked about, assuredly it would be reflected in the Google search results in the screenshot. Instead, as these results show, there’s sort of a “vacuum” of information about the whole situation — which is just waiting to be filled by “passing spectators” like Hamilton ;-)

For the record, I’m including a screenshot of Hamilton’s article in Psychology Today that’s linked in the Google search:

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

In January I wrote articles about the wonderful way Amazon’s Kindle app works on non-Kindle devices to allow cross-platform reading of Kindle eBooks. Using the Kindle apps on other devices (iPad and iPhone have been especially popular) has advantages over using the Kindle device, such as easy highlighting and note-taking. It was ironic. then, that it was just a week after I wrote that news came out that Apple would be putting restrictions on the use of the Kindle app on the the iPad and iPhone. While it’s not clear how much this will restrict use of the app on Apple devices, it seems likely to diminish their use.

With a relatively small number of titles available on the iBookStore, Apple is not in the business of providing content, unlike Amazon, with its KindleStore, and Google, with the Google eBookStore. So, with so few books of  its own, it’s surprising that Apple is putting restrictions on Kindle app users, instead of encouraging them — Hey, Apple, it seems like Amazon is helping you out!

Kindle apps on the iPad have been immensely popular, as described in my previous article, and the reaction to the new Apple policy has been strongly negative. A tweet by @fienen on Feb 15 highlights this (boldface added):

The content wars continue. Apple may have played the wrong card here. Big time. Official: Apple locks down the Kindle app http://ow.ly/3WVcP

On the same day as this tweet, an article in CNNMoney reported recent remarks by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, in which he called Amazon’s Kindle e-reader app the best business decision of the past decade, which made Amazon “‘the poster child’ of the cloud computing movement” — I don’t know about that, but I’d say the Kindle app certainly showed Amazon’s astuteness about the eBook cloud environment.

I think the future of eBooks is going to belong to the one who can bring together the devices & computers with the best collection of books. Right now, Apple has the devices and Amazon has the most books. So get with it, Apple — Amazon has opened up it’s books to play with your devices, so how about reciprocating?

What will Google do?

Looming over the spat between Apple and Amazon, of course, is … Google. As I said in concluding my previous article about the Kindle app ecosystem, “imagine the possibilities if Google puts their attention to doing something like this for their collection of public domain eBooks” — Bringing together the devices (Android tablets) and the books (Google eBookstore) in Google’s one big house.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

I just noticed last week that Google is now ranking pages from the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Health encyclopedia at the top of search results for disease words (accompanied by an attention-getting red icon) as shown at left for asthma. Other disease examples putting NLM at the top of search results are diabetes, migraine, lupus, and chickenpox. So, Congratulations, NLM! — A great new opportunity to lead people to the wealth of information at your site!

There are questions though — I was surprised to find this prominent placement for NLM (which replaces less prominent placement in the Health OneBox group of links at the top of Google searches that I wrote about in 2009). There apparently has been no announcement of the change, either from NLM or from Google, as far as I can find in searching. Beyond that, I also can’t find that NLM has announced the launching of the PubMed Health (PMH) encyclopedia that’s linked from Google. It was mentioned as being in development in summer, 2010, but there’s been nothing since saying that it was completed and ready to use.

There are also questions about the PubMed Health pages that are linked from Google (first screenshot below). These are from the ADAM Health Encyclopedia, and the same content is also part of NLM’s MedlinePlus (second screenshot below) — Why is NLM maintaining two different versions of the same content? Also, the PMH page that’s linked from Google (in the first screenshot below) has no link to MedlinePlus (MLP). The MLP version of the ADAM content, on the other hand (in the second screenshot below), is tightly integrated into the wealth of other information in NLM’s flagship MLP resource.

Below is the PubMed Health page that’s linked at the top of the Google search for asthma. This page has no link to MedlinePlus, in contrast to the MLP version of ADAM content, in the second screenshot below.

Here’s the MLP page for asthma, that’s well-integrated into other resources in MLP. So, NLM, how about asking Google to link to MLP instead of PMH? Otherwise, if the Google link continues to go to PMH pages, make a link from those to MLP!

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Josh Keller’s recent article in the Chronicle, As the Web goes mobile, colleges fail to keep up, as the title indicates, focuses on college campuses. But it’s message also applies well to libraries, as I’ve discussed before. Around the same time I saw the Chronicle article, I came across the graphic on the left that seems to capture the same ideas in a picture – Together with the chart on the right, from the Chronicle article, the message is clear – “The mobile wave is coming fast, don’t get washed away.” Here are Keller’s words:

Hand-held devices like smartphones and tablets are fast becoming the primary way many people use the Internet. Half of all college students used mobile gear to get on the Internet every day last year, compared with 10 percent of students in 2008, according to Educause, the educational-technology consortium.

But many colleges still treat their mobile Web sites as low-stakes experiments. That attitude risks losing prospective applicants and donors through admissions and alumni portals that don’t work, and it risks frustrating current students who want to manage coursework and the rest of their lives with their mobile phones, says David R. Morton, director of mobile communications at the University of Washington. “For so many institutions,” he says, “mobile is a part-time job, almost an afterthought.”

One key to these projects is recognizing the mobility of mobile devices, and not treating them as if they were small desktop computers. Among colleges, even the leading mobile applications and Web sites still function like add-ons; students and others can get much the same information on a personal computer, although perhaps not as quickly.

But many college officials say that will change within a few years. As more people adopt Internet-enabled mobile phones, colleges will be able to take advantage of features like the ability to record information on the fly or to determine somebody else’s location.

Colleges often do not realize how far their Web services have fallen behind what students are used to, says Kayvon Beykpour, of Blackboard. The Stanford graduate recalls that signing up for courses online was so difficult that it was a “running joke” in the computer-science department. “Students are using Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, all these Web 2.0 systems every day,” Mr. Beykpour says. “It’s like their top five Web sites they use. And the sixth Web site is the school Web site, because you have to use it. And that’s where the biggest disconnect is.”

Another recent thread speaks to the problem of trying to keep up with the mobile wave — In a talk making the rounds on Twitter, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt says put your best people on mobile — A pretty strong indication that Google et al are scooping up all the mobile programmers they can find, which means that inevitably it’s going to be hard for us in academia to compete. So for the time being, we’ll probably need to rely on the sorts of third-party solutions discussed in the Chronicle article, like Blackboard and iMobileU.

For me, a key to understanding the deep infrastructure of mobile has been learning about WebKit, the underlying technology of all mobile browsers, including Safari, Chrome, and Android. Read more in my earlier article: The Mobile Revolution & the WebKit Revolution.

Mobile wave graphic credit: http://ssb.mofusepremium.com/blog/the-mobile-web/the-mobile-browser-is-the-killer-app

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey