1. Perry, William MA, RN

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The Internet has brought the spirit of global communication and collaboration to nurses and other healthcare professionals in ways never before thought possible. These resources are offered to expand your opportunities for discussion, reference, education, and research.


I've been reading several blogs over the last few months and have found them to be a wonderful source of inspiration for trying new techniques and approaches to education, collaboration, and communication. In the November/December 2006 issue of CIN, I described setting up a self-updating site with feeds from several journals based on ideas presented at and I had heard the term "mashup" and seen a few examples of pages that incorporated both Google maps and other pages to present a view of content that no source achieved alone.


The Krafty Librarian ( posted the clearest definition of a mashup I've seen to date. She said, "Mashups are blended applications combining two or more existing programs to produce a third program. To simplify, think of it as the technological equivalent of making brass. You have two separate fully functioning programs that have specific properties and do specific jobs, such as the case with copper and zinc. When you combine copper and zinc you get brass. When you combine two (or more) computer applications for another program you get a mashup."


The challenge is to find applications that could serve this purpose perhaps for personal reference, classroom education, or continuing education. Nature magazine created a mashup of avian flu and Google maps ( There is a list of more than 1300 different mashups at Programmable Web, but only three have medical tags ( I haven't seen any for nursing. This is a new area ripe for healthcare applications.


Another resource I read frequently is "Robin Good- What Communication Experts Need to Know" at Robin Good (Luigi Canali De Rossi) from Rome, Italy, has a huge site that covers blogs, communication tools, current trends, freeware, and much more. One of the collaborative applications mentioned on his site is called "Thinkature" (, a shared whiteboard and synchronous chat space that has a unique feature of creating movable note cards to facilitate group thinking. Most educators I know consider PowerPoint an essential tool. The Robin Good site has a standing area on visual presentation tools as well.


Do you use collaborative assignments in your classes or perhaps have a group of people in your organization who are responsible for creating/reviewing/editing policies and procedures or other documents? There are a growing number of sites that enable multiple people to edit a document and keep a revision history as well. Writeboard (, Google Docs (, and Zoho Writer ( allow you to create documents with multiple simultaneous editors. These applications will save in a variety of formats, so you can save them in formats most appropriate to your organizations.


The Web is moving from a static, results-retrieval orientation to one that is characterized by information on demand, interactivity, and communication. I hope these tools will facilitate your needs to communicate and interact with your colleagues and students, and provide new ways to collect and display information.


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William A. Perry, MA, RN