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.


People keep saying the Web is changing. Tools and techniques are making it easier for nontechnical individuals to communicate and collaborate. Read-only Web sites are giving way to community-built sites, where members collectively contribute to improve the quality of the information presented. Wikipedia ( is a prime example, with individuals from all over the world contributing and editing content to make a practical and useful tool with a high degree of credibility.


Healthcare sites are evolving in the same manner, such as Ask Dr Wiki ( The Editorial Policy page of the site describes its purpose as: " is a website designed to provide health information for physicians, nurses, and medical students. The aim of the site is to provide a source of reliable medical information that is easy to access on the internet. The information published on the site is not meant to supersede medical training but to serve as a repository of medical review articles to give medical professionals an online repository where they can review medical topics."


The idea of a community-authored Web site brings the question of credible authorship. Ask Dr Wiki requires that users submit proof of their credentials, and all postings are peer reviewed before being published on the site. I have not yet found a nursing-centric wiki that applies the same stringent requirements of its authors.


There are many resources, newsletters, and articles that describe where to get free hosting space, blogs, or wikis to create a Web site for your group. What's often missing are instructions on what to do next after you've secured your space and tools. Michele Martin, creator of The Bamboo Project (, has filled that gap. She has a series of postings on using the free Wetpaint Wiki to create a Web site that begins at These guides are clearly written, and easily understood; I believe anyone could get a site up and running in no time with these guides.


An interesting tool used on The Bamboo Project is screencasting, which is a narrated movie of a computer application in use. The application she used is called Screencast-O-Matic (, which is free and supported by ads. This site can be a good proof of concept tool before committing to more expensive applications.


The Digital Inspiration blog ( describes a series of short movies promoting the user friendly aspects of Wetpaint Wiki (


Why Wetpaint? Wetpaint ( has been designed as a collaborative tool for nontechnical users who want to focus on content rather than tools. The "About Us" section has the following information: "Wetpaint powers websites that tap the power of collaborative thinking. The heart of the Wetpaint advantage is its ability to allow anyone-especially those without technical skill-to create and contribute to websites written for and by those who share a passion or interest. To do this, Wetpaint combines the best aspects of wikis, blogs, forums and social networks so anyone can click and type on the web." Time magazine has voted it one of the "50 best Web sites" for 2007 (,28804,1633488_1633608_1633634,0).


Wetpaint is user-friendly and free; it is supported by small and unobtrusive ads. Several nursing and medicine oriented sites, both academic and clinical, have been created using Wetpaint. A quick search of the site will yield many ideas for communication and collaboration.


Contributed by


William Perry, MA, RN