Media for Learning
It wasn’t that long ago when the only books to read were printed on paper. Electronic books have been around for more than 15 years, but only recently have caught on with the public. Try to remember the last time that you read a one of two pages that was hand written. Do you really want to? Are you able to handwrite 2 pages anymore?
I scribble notes on a pad when I conduct interviews for my business. I don’t write many words because I’m trying to understand what people are saying and can’t write and think at the same time. (Half-Polish, can’t chew gum either). My notes are becoming more difficult to reread after a period of time too because my handwriting skills have diminished. Except for my grocery shopping list, I rarely use paper Post Its anymore, preferring electronic versions that are available on most newer PCs and phones. Like most people with Smart phones, I take out mine out frequently so see the reminders often. So this approach works well for me. I do have a paper scribble pad (recycled paper!) that I use every day with a pencil to capture transient bits of information that I use during the day. I throw out the scribbles next day and start a new sheet. This is still more efficient and convenient than a computer based approach.
The way that we read information to acquire knowledge has been gradually transforming. Before electronics, brief communication of information (today’s tweets, text messages or emails) was commonly done via oral interaction or sign images like smoke signals, semaphores, etc. The telegraph and telephone replaced these and has broadened the potential audience. Global electronic networks are the phase that we are in now. These kinds of communications usually only convey relatively small bits of information or knowledge. Think about trying to get a university degree by only reading tweets and text messages. That’s not going to get it done.
The applicability of collaborative space has been spotty. There are some specific successes, but in general this idea has not expanded significantly over the past 20 years. Remember Lotus Notes?
Conveying more complex concepts and ideas, requires a much more structured use of many words than these communication vehicles can easily provide. Most people scan through pages bought up by web search results looking for key words of phrases. They rarely read a page word by word.
So what’s the best medium to read a book or long document? I can tolerate reading no more than 3 pages max word for word on my PC screen. Some days, like today, it’s less than one page. It’s the screen angle and overall brightness that gets to me. You can carry around and tilt paper pages, books and eReaders to accommodate your sitting or standing position. Also, most eReaders have the capability of increasing font size which I often do when my eyes get tired at the end of a day. They also are not overly bright, but have good black/white contrast. Most models can’t be read in the dark. I often print a few pages of information to read and then reuse the paper for scribbling. I don’t keep the printed sheets for very long.
I print fewer items to read than I did last year and think that this is because I am scanning, skimming speed reading more. Everyone seems to be doing this and I’m not sure whether it is good or bad. Are we learning less and just recycling information more?
When paper was king, I read many articles and books word for word then composed my original work. I’m sure I plagiarized some things without giving credit to the proper author, but I (as do many university professors) are seeing many articles, blogs and white papers that are primarily information that has been cut and pasted from other sources and advertised as “original” work.
I think that we have to be more selective in the use of our time to acquire new knowledge. Texting, tweeting, information skimming, social networking and other activities can take away too many hours every day and inhibit our capability to compose original ideas.
Records & Archiving
Iron Mountain Incorporated is combining its services for document scanning, file archiving, data backup and more into one solution for hospitals and healthcare organizations converting hardcopy patient files into an electronic medical record (EMR) system. The new Iron Mountain EMR Enablement Solution offers healthcare organizations a complete set of tools for digitizing patient records, archiving electronic files, protecting them from disaster, and then destroying outdated records.
Electronic Lab Notebooks / Lab Information Management Systems
Labtronics Inc. has released a Connector for Nexxis ELN that allows the Electronic Laboratory Notebook to connect to any LIMS.
Nexxis ELN makes use of the industry standard integration tool, LimsLink, to provide direct connection with any LIMS. The connection provides bi-directional connectivity allowing the Electronic Notebook to retrieve sample lists from LIMS and report results back to LIMS