Archive | March, 2013

The future of the Semantic Web: cultural heritage and privacy

11 Mar

By Dr. Heather Packer, Research fellow, the University of Southampton.

After attending both the International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC) and the Joint International Semantic Technology Conference (JIST), I considered what this meant for research and development in this exciting area.

Some of the most interesting work presented at ISWC and JIST were in the areas of cultural heritage, such as the recording of personal stories, and integrating historic maps with new timelines. This was highlighted in the opening keynote at JIST, which was given by Eero Hyvönen of Aalto University in Finland, presenting its work on using Semantic Web technologies to preserve Finnish cultural heritage.

These included the preservation of ancient shoemaking methods, through the digitisation and documentation using Semantic Web metadata with multimedia, interviews and written sources. Secondly, the complete transcription of the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, into a Semantic narrative, and the process by which topics are linked from their own ontology portal, so that topical connections in the Kalevala narrative can be made with other Finnish cultural heritage work.

Aalto University’s work shows that Semantic Web technologies, such as its Cultural Sampo ontology portal, allow cultural heritage artefacts and narratives from multiple sources to be brought together and automatically cross-referenced. Examples were shown where the cross-linking between sources has already benefitted researchers, with technical barriers easily overcome.

In the future, I am aiming to work towards a Semantic Web which will allow narratives to share workflows and stories about companies, as opposed to more traditional methods like statistics calculated from databases. These narratives can be used to explain things based on people’s past experiences and their interests (taken from their actions on the web), to make them both more useful and engaging.

One problem, however, arises from where is it acceptable to gather and use data. Many of the people I have spoken to in academia and industry have said that information taken from their emails is too intrusive and people as a whole are unwilling to use such a system. However, people are more willing to adopt systems that use information from social networks where they can freely censor information about themselves.

Yet in my experience the most useful information is often to be found precisely in private online places such as email and calendars. In the future I would like the Semantic Web to allow me to attend a conference in another country, and automatically (with optional and minimal input) handle my flights, hotels, conference registrations and restaurant recommendations based on preferences that I had made in the past, such as price range and hotel recommendations and amenities.

In addition to academic research, the Semantic Web also has applications for business and handling personal data. The latter, in particular, has recently seen its research spurred on by a number of initiatives, including the midata initiative from the UK government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The initiative, which is due to start in 2013, mandates that companies must supply data they hold about a person back to that person in a machine readable format, and under an open licence.

The Semantic Web provides an obvious framework for enabling this at low cost to businesses – there are already numerous examples of marking up personal data under appropriate licenses such as the Open Government license used on data.gov.uk. Semantic Web technologies would therefore enable businesses to comply with new data protection legislation in a cost-effective manner. End-users that receive their data will also benefit, because there are numerous analysis, visualisation and storage mechanisms which already work with Semantic Web data.

The need for storing, managing, using and sharing personal data continues to grow. In response, numerous business startups which focus on providing such services have been launched. Meanwhile groups such as the W3C Read Write Web community group are discussing approaches to using Semantic Web techniques for publishing, receiving and sharing private data. For users this means that it will be easier to make their data work for them, including sites that use your data to help you save money, such as Bill Monitor, which analyses your mobile phone bill to find out how much you can save by getting a new phone contract. It is very likely that similar services will exist in the future for other utilities, such as electricity, gas, and broadband.

The future of the Semantic Web is making it easier to access increasingly richer presentations of our history and heritage, and also publish, and thus increase the amount of cultural heritage material being preserved and made available online. The future of personal data is also one which is expanding rapidly, towards the goal of helping people to make more financially beneficial purchases, and to better manage their private data.

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Determining the right tool for your transcription needs

11 Mar

My blogs have always concentrated on providing different ways through transcription process can be made better. This write-up is no different. In this blog; I have mentioned two of the most important dictation tools that reign right now in the transcription domain along with their advantages and disadvantages to showcase their prowess and efficiency to my readers.

As we move into the 21st century, there are probably two most important tools that reign in the medical transcription domain. They are digital recorder and telephone dictation. With times this debate has heightened as in which of these two tools is the most efficient for transcription needs. Now you might be wondering; why I have changed my focus from medical transcriptionists to tools that medical practitioners use for recording their interaction with the patient. As I have already discussed in my previous blogs it has become mandatory for medical practitioners to record their patient records for getting insurance from the insurance companies. Now this is a very crucial component wherein these two tools play a very important role.

Now let me start off with different options that medical practitioners had in the past. The old Dictaphone machines were quite large and stationary. With times; handheld tape recorders were used which were followed by micro and mini-cassette tape recorders. However, it was found that there were lot of limitations in these tools. One of the prime being portable caused the challenge of being lost or misplaced easily. The other limitation was that they needed to be connected with a PC to download the files being transcribed. Now it is not that easy to download the files popping out of a tape, putting in a new one and continue recording. Hence; there was a need to introduce a digital recorder with a removable memory card and a memory card attached to your PC. This was a huge change.

Today medical practitioners have two options as discussed earlier. Both these options require several factors for optimal usage – low ambient or background noise, clear dictation and knowledge of how to use them.

Now digital recorders have the various features of a tape recorder like slide switches for pausing, rewinding and fast forwarding. Less expensive ones have buttons instead of slide switches and it takes quite some time to use them effectively. Handheld recorders are portable that can be carried anywhere which is a great advantage. As the medical practitioner can dictate the notes on the go while examining the patient. But the one limitation of the digital recorders is that the dictation needs to be downloaded on a PC – either through USB cable or a removable storage disk reader and upload it to the transcriptionist’s computer. There are different formats that are provided by the manufacturers but most of them are highly compressed and easily downloaded by the transcriptionist.

On the other hand; telephone dictation systems can be operated only through telephone and that too a landline phone rather than mobile phones. This is done to ensure high quality of recorded voice.  Since they are not portable; medical practitioners cannot use them while examining the patients.  The beauty of this recording system is that once the file is recorded it is automatically saved. It does not require to be uploaded to computer; and then sent to the transcriptionist. The entire file movement is done through the dictation system and is done securely. There is no time delay in uploading the files as they are automatically saved with the system.

Ultimately it is the choice of the medical practitioner to decide on the preferably method for dictation. But medical practitioners who have become habituated to tape recorders now use digital recorders as they are similar in dictation style. Others who have learned dictating through hospital-based telephone use telephone-based dictation system. Then there are others who make their decision based on the system which is more automated. Now in this case telephone dictation system win the race as they can be automatically saved; thereby providing embedded security and queue up the dictation by transcription as soon as the medical practitioner finishes dictating.

About Mediscribes

Mediscribes, Inc. is one of the fastest growing Medical Transcription & document management systems providers in United States, based in Metro Louisville. Mediscribes is an ISO 9000-2001 certified company, rendering cost-effective consolidated transcription solutions to major hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities in United States. Mediscribes is the most value-providing organization in the market today with a strong presence in America and offshore locations. The firm specializes in providing highly accurate transcription adhering to ADHI guidelines in unbeatable turnaround time with robust & proven document management system as its vantage point to its esteemed clientele.

Mediscribes provides end-to-end transcription solutions as its primary offering. For our customers, we focus on dictation systems, both ASP as well as enterprise level solutions, with the help of our most valued asset   ezVoiceIntelligence (ezVI), providing specialty-specific qualitative transcription along with a “whole nine yards” document management system. Mediscribes specializes in EMR data integration as well. Our data dispatch department is highly proficient in integrating transcribed reports into any type of EMR. Healthcare facilities that do not have EMR get the option to use our web-based file monitoring interface called eTranscribe for global access to their data. eTranscribe has special features of E-signing, E-faxing, auto-printing, and user-friendly document search criteria.

For additional information, please visit http://www.mediscribes.com

Media Contact (Mediscribes)
Mike Perry
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