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Isabella N. Lai, Shawn R. Lin, Ben R. Lin, Janelle Teng, Rohit Talreja, Clarence H. Braddock, III, Douglas R. Fredrick; Ophthalmology in a Web 2.0 World: Understanding Current Resources and Building the Next-Generation Open Source Case Database. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):1417.
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To assess the current landscape of online ophthalmology resources with a focus on case databases. This was conducted in order to construct Ophthopedia, a novel open source case database powered by next-generation web technologies (Web 2.0). This platform is designed to facilitate the free sharing of ophthalmology cases to improve ophthalmic education, research, and patient care.
We used results from the top three search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) to compile a comprehensive list of all the ophthalmology resources on the Web. Case databases were identified for further study. Traffic data was analyzed for each site using traffic metric technologies (Alexa, Compete, Quantcast). Each website was reviewed for Web 2.0 features (participatory information sharing, interactivity, and social media integration). We used this analysis to identify the need for Ophthopedia and guide its development with a content management system (Wordpress).
To the best of our knowledge, there were 740 different ophthalmology and vision resources on the web as of November 2011. In this list, average monthly views per website ranged from 0 to over 350,000. Of these 740 sites, 9 websites had a specialized focus on ophthalmology cases. We were able to obtain traffic data for 8 of these sites, revealing a mean of 544 monthly views (range 0 - 1,200) per website. We were not able to reliably obtain data for one website, as it was difficult to separate the case database traffic from the institutional traffic. These nine websites were curated by 1 to 12 editors. While these sites hosted significant resources for the ophthalmology community, none of them utilized Web 2.0 technologies or allowed users to directly submit and edit cases in a participatory manner. Our platform Ophthopedia is fully developed and has Web 2.0 features.
Hundreds of resources exist online for ophthalmology and vision, but only a small percentage are freely available and focused on sharing patient cases. All case sites use more traditional web technology and are often outdated due to the bottleneck of available webmasters. Furthermore, they do not take full advantage of revolutionary Web 2.0 technologies, features instrumental in the success of a number of educational online resources popular to today’s learners, physicians, and researchers. For this reason, we created Ophthopedia--a high-quality Web 2.0 platform for education and research. Future studies will focus on Ophthopedia’s traffic metrics, providing us insight into popular topics and reference utilization trends in the ophthalmology community.
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