Monthly Archives: December 2007

What do we really know about Web 2.0?

Do you remember the Time Person of the year 2006? We are almost ready for 2008 and little by little we know something more about IT:


The knowledge about the TIME person of the year 2006 doesn’t question the potential of that “young person”, it just helps us to a better understand of the phenomenon, to distinguish between facts and promises and to analyze the social consequences on a broad view.


After two years of hard working, I’m glad to announce the research Project Internet Catalonia about Health directed by Prof. Castells and titled “Technological Modernisation, Organisational Change and Service Delivery in the Catalan Public Health System” has been published (PIC Salut)

This study analysed the interaction between organizational change, cultural values and technological change in the Catalan health system. The study is subdivided in five distinct parts. The first one is a content analysis of the webs related to health in Catalonia. The second is a study of the uses of Internet in health related issues among the population at large, the patients’ associations, and the health professionals, on the basis of an Internet survey adapted to each one of these groups. The third is a field work study of the experimental programs conducted by the Catalan government in several local areas and hospitals to integrate electronically the patients’ clinical history. The fourth is a study of the organizational implications of the introduction of information systems in the management of hospitals and primary care centres in the Catalan Institute of Health, the major public health provider in Catalonia, on the basis of an Internet survey and in-depth interviewing. The fifth is a case study of the organizational and social effects of the introduction of information and communication technologies in one of the leading hospitals of Catalonia, the Clinic Hospital of Barcelona. The study was conducted between May 2005 and July 2007.

During the next month, January 2008, a synthesis report in English will be published.

As a part of this research project under Prof. Castells’ direction I have been directly involved in the second study (a study of the use of the Internet in health related issues among the Internet users, the patients’ associations, and the health professionals, had been done using Internet surveys adapted to each one of these groups). I have been working on some of the results talking about “Health and the Internet: still Web 1.0″. See below some of the key findings:

  • Professionals are connected to Internet and make an intensive use of the Net, mainly for questions related to the search and consultation of information.
  • The use of the Internet as a communication medium with other professionals of the sector is extended among all the professionals, but the levels of use of the Internet or the electronic mail to communicate or interact with their patients is scarce.
  • The increase of the information flows available in the Internet has not been accompanied by an increase in its interaction.
  • However, we have to emphasize a tendency that indicates that those professionals who develop their professional practice in competitive markets make more intensive use of the Internet and the electronic mail to interact with their patients or users.
  • Most professionals positively value the relevance of the contents available in the Internet and they do not consider that the patient search for information is negative either for the professional – patient relationship or for the patients’ management of their health.
  • However just a small percentage of professionals recommend their patients to consultation health information on the Internet or even talk about the Internet with them. This is probably due to the lack of time during their face to face visits.
  • Nevertheless, the behaviour of the pharmacists shows us a new case where the factors related to the market oriented context are the key. These professionals do not have time constrictions and are more accessible that the rest of the professionals, given the physical distribution of the pharmacies.

The Internet survey carried out by Internet users shows us:

  • Internet users are characterized by: the high proportion of women, a high education level, easy access to the Internet from their own home, and a high frequency of use. They integrate the use of different sources of information in their activities related to the health. However, physicians are the key source.
  • Women have a more active role than men with all the sources, including the Internet
  • The frequency of use of the Internet for questions related to health is far from the levels that would allow us to talk about ciberchondriacs.
  • The people’s interest on patients support groups as an information source remind us of the importance of lay knowledge, since the utility and the confidence of this source is very high.
  • The main consequence of the Internet use for questions related to health is the increase of information available. Just a low percentage of people makes decisions relative to the diagnosis or treatments of their health problem. This data supports the hypothesis of the people’s consciousness when they manage the inherent tension to the use of the Internet, emphasizing the need of the physicians as an expert.

Now is time to focus on my thesis and try to publish some of the findings on academic journals. Any suggestion will be welcomed

Open Government Policies

Ethan Zuckerman, fellow of the Berkman Center for Interent and Society at Harvard Law School, is posting about Open Government Principles workshop at O’Reilly and Associates:

The aim of this meeting was to draft a set of principles to define what constitutes open government data:

Government data shall be considered open if it is made public in a way that complies with the principles below:

1. Complete
All public data is made available. Public data is data that is not subject to valid privacy, security or privilege limitations.

2. Primary
Data is as collected at the source, with the highest possible level of granularity, not in aggregate or modified forms.

3. Timely
Data is made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data.

4. Accessible
Data is available to the widest range of users for the widest range of purposes.

5. Machine processable
Data is reasonably structured to allow automated processing.

6. Non-discriminatory
Data is available to anyone, with no requirement of registration.

7. Non-proprietary
Data is available in a format over which no entity has exclusive control.

8. License-free
Data is not subject to any copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret regulation. Reasonable privacy, security and privilege restrictions may be allowed.

Compliance must be reviewable.

Public Sector Information in the Network Society, as well as Web 2.o phenomenon, may take into account the Open Access Movement.

The OCDE Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Digital Natives?

I wonder how many social researchers are thinking about The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Digital NativesBlog?

About The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA):

Are students well prepared for future challenges? Can they analyse, reason and communicate effectively? Do they have the capacity to continue learning throughout life? The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) answers these questions and more, through its surveys of 15-year-olds in the principal industrialised countries. Every three years, it assesses how far students near the end of compulsory education have acquired some of the knowledge and skills essential for full participation in society.

About Digital Natives:

An academic research team — joining people from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland — is hosting and working on the core of this wiki, which illustrates the beginning stages of a larger research project on Digital Natives.

Are all youth digital natives? Simply put, no. Though we frame digital natives as a generation “born digital,” not all youth are digital natives. Digital natives share a common global culture that is defined not by age, strictly, but by certain attributes and experiences related to how they interact with information technologies, information itself, one another, and other people and institutions. Those who were not “born digital” can be just as connected, if not more so, than their younger counterparts. And not everyone born since, say, 1982, happens to be a digital native. Part of the challenge of this research is to understand the dynamics of who exactly is, and who is not, a digital native, and what that means.

The focus of this research is on exploring the impacts of this generational demarcation between those born with these technologies and those who were not. The project will address the issues and benefits of this digital media landscape and gain valuable insight into how digital natives make sense of their experiences online. This information will help us make recommendations to educators and legislators in a way that supports young people and harnesses the exciting possibilities their digital fluency presents.

Comments and links are welcome.