PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT - Learning while surfing. By Erika Kruger
The fact that the majority of massage therapists work on their own in private practices, combined with the delay in the introduction of an official professional development programme, increases the danger of becoming professionally isolated. This not only leads to occupational tedium but the therapist’s knowledge also begin to lag behind.
Fortunately the phenomenal growth of the Internet has placed every therapist at the centre of a World Wide Web and within reach of the largest single source of information in the world. Just type in the word massage and within 23 seconds no less than 102 million sites are instantly available for your perusal. And that in the comfort of your own practice, at your own pace and at your own time.
Use of the Internet is changing the way we do research, the way we teach and the way we learn. Now there is no excuse for not investing in ones own lifelong learning programme.
Admittedly not everything you find on the Internet is useful, valid or reliable but if you know where to look you can discover an array of resources beyond belief - from information for the general public to scholarly works including the latest research reports from all over the world. Most importantly so much of this information can be accessed free of charge.
Self-acknowledged Internet addict, Erika Kruger shares her list of favourite therapeutic massage-related sites in a three-part series.
How to use the Internet effectively
Advances in information technology enable the practising massage therapist to keep up-to-date with new developments in therapeutic massage therapy.
However, therapists’ proficiency in using a computer and the Internet does not always keep up with technology. It really takes skill and experience to effectively wade through the many commercial sites, the inappropriate and meaningless ones and the really weird ones. The important things to remember when using the Internet are to:
- Don’t get frustrated!
- Give yourself time to explore.
- Find a mentor to help.
- Use an ADSL line
Off course you can also use the Internet to learn how to effectively surf the Web. The following sites might be useful:
UC Berkley offers a really comprehensive and informative on-line tutorial that includes a glossary of important terminology. This tutorial grew out of the university’s teaching library staff’s conviction that in order to have confidence in ones search results it is important to invest time to learn to effectively and efficiently find information on the Internet. It teaches you to use complex search strategies and ways to refine and focus your searches. This site is available at www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/About.html
Another helpful site is http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/558/01/. It explains the difference between finding information on the search engines and exploring the invisible or deep web information. The latter includes certain file formats, information contained in databases, and other pages omitted from search engines. Knowing a few search strategies and hints, can make the search more profitable. This guide also provides information on using web directories.
You can also look at Effective Use of the Internet in Seven Steps at www.usaid.gov/leland/manual/manenglish/overview.htm
1. Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary - www2.merriam-webster.com
2. Medline Plus - www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/mplusdictionary.html with a tutorial to help you understand medical terms. MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from the US National Library of Health, the National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies and health-related organisations. Pre-formulated MEDLINE searches are included in MedlinePlus and give easy access to medical journal articles. MedlinePlus also has an illustrated medical encyclopaedia, and a section with the latest health news.
3. Paramediese Vakwoordeboek - Do you need to write a report in Afrikaans for an Afrikaans-speaking patient or health professional and you are stumped for the right word? Die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, a multidisciplinary organisation that fosters the advancement of science, technology and the arts, has made available an Afrikaans paramedical dictionary at
4. Dictionaries for SouthernAfrican languages – This site includes links to dictionaries for Afrikaans,Northern Sotho, Sesotho, Setswana, Swati, Xhosa and isiZulu.
5. Jason Wolfe’s Useful Zulu Medical Dictionary -
When time came to leave my alma mater and start my own massage practice, it was sad saying goodbye to all the good friends I had made there. But the thing that depressed me most was leaving behind the extensive library that had been at my disposal and in particular those two thick, red and oh-so expensive Travell & Simons books. This two-volume set that has become the definitive text on myofascial pain is now for sale on the Internet for $209 or approximately R1700.
But Google Book Search to the rescue! Or at least sometimes.
According to Wikipedia, Google Book Search is a tool created by the search engine of the same name that looks for the full text of books that have been scanned, converted to text using optical recognition and stored in its digital database. Clicking a result from Google Book Search allows the user to view pages from the book as well as content-related advertisements and links to the publisher’s website and booksellers.
The snag is that through a variety of access limitations and security measures Google limits the number of viewable pages and attempts to prevent page printing and text copying of material under copyright. So sometimes you are able to find the information you were looking for and sometimes not (if the page is not scanned in). But in the case of the Travell book for example, whatever is available it is still more than I had available before.
How many books are available? By October 2008, Google stated that they had 7 million searchable books through Google Book Search, including those scanned by their 20 000 publisher partners. Many of the books are scanned using the Elphel 323 camera at a rate of 1,000 pages per hour. Of the 7 million books, 1 million are “full preview” based on agreements with publishers. One million books are in the public domain. Most scanned works are no longer in print or commercially available.
The initiative has been hailed for its potential to offer unprecedented access to, what may become the largest online corpus of human knowledge. It is also widely criticized for potential copyright violations. Three years ago, some authors and publishers filed a class action lawsuit against Google Book Search. The law suit was settled and Google is now working closely with these industry partners to bring even more of the world’s books online.
Many of the books in Google Books now come from authors and publishers who participate in the Partner Program. For these books, the partners decide how much of the book is browsable - anywhere from a few sample pages to the whole book.
Sources: Google Books and Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org
How to use Google Books
- Finding books with Google Books is easy. Just enter the keyword or phrase you’re looking for into the Google Books box. And Google will find all the books whose content matches your search terms. Click on a book title and you’ll see basic info about the book just like you’d see in a card catalogue. You might also see a few snippets or sentences of your search term in context.
- If a publisher or author has given permission, you’ll see a full page and be able to browse within the book to see more pages. If the book is out of copyright, you’ll see a full page and you can page forward or back to see the full book.
- Clicking on “Search within this book,” allows you to perform more searches within the book you’ve selected. You can click on any of the “Buy this Book” links to go straight to an online bookstore where you can buy the book.
- When you’ve accessed the maximum number of pages allowed for a book, any remaining pages will be omitted from your preview.
- You can order full copies of any book using the “Buy this book” links to the right of the preview page.
Other sources of on-line books
- Microsoft started a similar project called Live Search Books in late 2006. It ran until May 2008, when the project was abandoned. All of the Live Search Books are now available on Internet Archive. Internet Archive is a non-profit organisation and the second largest book scanning project after Google. As at November 2008 it had over 1 million full-text public domain scanned works online.
- Europeana links to roughly 3 million digital objects as of November 2008, including video, photos, paintings, audio, maps, manuscripts, printed books, and newspapers from the past 2,000 years of European history from over 1,000 archives in the European Union. This number is set to reach 10 million in 2010.
- Gallica from the French National Library links to about 800,000 digitized books, newspapers, manuscripts, maps and drawings, etc. Created in 1997, the digital library continues to expand at a rate of about 5000 new documents per month. Since the end of 2008, most of the new scanned documents are available in image and text formats. Most of these documents are written in French, but some are in other languages. Fortunately the Internet also offers translation services.
Free Internet journal articles
- Google Scholar is a freely-accessible web search engine that indexes the full text of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines. This site provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research, search diverse sources from one convenient place, find papers, abstracts and citations, locate the complete paper through your library or on the web and learn about key papers in any area of research. Google Scholar aims to sort articles the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each article, the author, the publication in which the article appears, and how often the piece has been cited in other scholarly literature. The most relevant results will always appear on the first page. http://scholar.google.co.za It is similar in function to the freely-available Scirus from the publishers Elsevier, CiteSeer and getCITED. It is also similar to the subscription-based tools, Elsevier’s Scopus and Thompson ISI’s Web of Science.
- The Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research is a non-profit organisation established in 2002. It is supported by the Department of Health of the Canton of Geneva, the Department of Social Affairs of the City of Geneva, the Faculty of Medicine, Geneva University, and the Geneva Medical Association, and works in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Collaborating Centre in Education and Research in Human Reproduction. On its website the GFMER lists literally hundreds of free access medical journals under about a hundred headings. Just looking at the Sports Sciences section alone you can browse 34 journals including the Journal of Athletic Training, Journal of Human Kinetics, Journal of Human Sport and Exercise and the Journal of Sports Science and medicine. Visit www.gfmer.ch?Medical_journals/Free medical.php
Favourite Google Books
Here are some of my favourites as the listings appear on Google Books:
1. Travell & Simons’ Myofacial Pain and Dysfunction: Upper half of body by Lois S. Simons, Janet G. Travell - Medical - 1999 - 1038 pages. This Second Edition presents introductory general information on all trigger points and also detailed descriptions of single muscle syndromes for the upper half... Limited preview
2. The therapeutic relationship in complementary health care by Annie Mitchell, Margaret A. Cormack, Maggie Cormack - Medical - 1998 - 173 pages. The second is to be aware that patients are not necessarily only coming to complementary health care directly for relief of symptoms. ... Limited preview
3. Basic clinical massage therapy: Integrating anatomy and treatment by James H. Clay, David M. Pounds, Vicki Overman - Medical - 2007 - 443 pages Approaching Clinical Massage Therapy “Is there not such a thing as a diffused bodily pain, extending, radiating out into other parts, which, however, ... Limited preview
4. Massage for the hospital patient and medically frail client by Gayle MacDonald - Medical - 2004 - 220 pages Lofty names from classical literature, invariably men, such as Homer, Hippocrates, Plato, Socrates, and Galen, appear in connection to massage and illness.2 ... Limited preview
Next time: More about blogs, ebooks and other Internet freebies