Andrew Wootton Chair, IFCC Communication and Publications Division
Podcast was the New Oxford American Dictionary's word for 2005. A wiki is a set of webpages that are accessible for public editing. These radical new ways of collaborating and communicating are available for the IFCC to use.
A year ago in this newsletter I discussed the possibility of IFCC podcasting (MP3 Education, IFCCNews, Mar 2004). We now have two shiny new podcasts available from our website or by subscription via iTunes and more are on the way. Don't think you have to have an iPod to listen; your boring old PC will do fine, as will any other MP3 player. The audio format encourages a different style of journalism from our traditional newsletter and we are exploring the use of interviews to elicit what's going on in our clinical biochemistry world. These conversations are made and recorded using Voice Over IP telephony (Skype to you), another revolution that is taking the world by storm. It's going to change the way we make telephone calls and teleconference. We use it to interview people all over the world for the cost of a local call. We are also using the podcasts to highlight the musical expertise of some of our colleagues and I think you will be intrigued and impressed.
The Wikipedia is a global collaboration that has produced a stunning resource. This encyclopedia has tens of thousands of authors. The authority of the work is outstanding and early concerns about accuracy and vandalism have been largely unfounded. Indeed the politicians who tweaked their biographies have been outed and humiliated. It strikes me that we can put this technique to use in developing a new and slightly different form of Lab Tests Online (www.labtestsonline.org). This website, first developed by the AACC and now also available in a British version has been enormously popular with the general public. However, for our own use, it lacks detail such as methods and reference ranges that would make it highly valuable. Can we not work together to generate such a resource? Each of us contributing to our pet analyte and sharing the workload to produce a sum far greater than any of the parts! Let's try it and see how it works. We have the tools.
We also now have the tools to provide national societies with their own web pages on the IFCC website. These they can edit and maintain themselves. Although the official IFCC language is English, there seems no reason that local information on these pages should not be published in the local language. We also intend to extend this facility to the various IFCC committees so that they can share or take over responsibility for their own pages if this suits them. The use of templates will ensure consistency of layout and information.
Craig Webster, our CPD multimedia specialist and Grazyna Sypniewska, our new web editor are testing these enhanced facilities now and will be unveiling them throughout the year. The Communications and Publications Division hopes you share our excitement and enthusiasm for these new ways of working.