Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Computer usage can be a serious health risk for everyone

Ijose, Adetutu. Computer usage can be a serious health risk for everyone. Alternative Health Journal, published : July 09, 2009
Abstract :

Much have been said about the advantages of using computers. It makes people's work faster and a lot easier. But, most of the people using computers are unaware of the serious health risks brought by its unnatural nature. Unnatural as looking directly to a source of light we are not created to look at. There is a considerable amount of information about health concerns on computer use, this article tends to identify, manage, minimize and treat computer related health conditions.

Three (3) things I learned :

1. Computer use by nature generates chemical and electrical imbalances and other stresses. Disorders develop over time and can be easily misdiagnosed.

2. Too much computer exposure may hinder learning (MacDonald, 2004) based on a study involving 175, 000, 15-year old students in 31 countries. The study observed that performance of students in math and reading had suffered for students with more than one computer at home.

3. Two decades of computer use could result to "computer burnout" that eventually could lead to serious complications if not diagnosed and treated immediately.

Reflections :

Computers exposed us to an artificial environment. The computer use environment makes us look directly at a source of light which is contrary to our natural way of never looking directly at the sun. So artificial that it goes beyond our natural well-being. But what really struck me is the idea of having a 'computer burnout'. That 10 years from now (counting my first computer hands-on), I will be experiencing negative health consequences due to the dangers of computer exposure. It is also not always true to say that computers help students improved on their school performance, a study shows it could actually harm students. The use of computers has its pros and cons. With health being the major issue here, people should minimize the risks of overexposure to computer environment. It is quiet alarming if computers continue to be as harmful as it is right now and if it does, people should have a valid reason to be scared of. Heard of some manufacturers taking extra measures on production and on some agencies working on standards to minimize the negative effects of computer use. Computer related diseases are also on the radar of medical practitioners. These are good developments to address the current situation. Given the current situation experienced by people using computers and the call for a health hazard free computer environment, the best way to avoid the consequences is the prevent it from happening that is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Philippine Rules on Electronic Evidence : An Outline

Soriano, Jaime N. The Philippine Rules on Electronic Evidence : An Outline. The Philippine Quarterly IT Law Journal 1(1), p. 7-8.

Abstract :

The Philippine Supreme Court approved the Rules on Electronic Evidence on July 20, 2001 in accordance with Republic Act No. 8792 otherwise known as the e-Commerce Act of 2000. It initially applies to civil, quasi-judicial and administrative proceedings and was revised to cover criminal cases on October 2002. This article outlined the Rules in aid of the viewing public citing a concrete example on using electronic evidence in court cases.

Three (3) things I learned: 

1. Electronic evidence is admissible in evidence provided it is competent, relevant and can be authenticated.
2. To determine the evidentiary weight of electronic documents it is important to factor in the reliability of how the document is generated, stored and communicated and the integrity of the information and communication system.
3. Ephemeral electronic evidence such as telephone conversation, text messages, chat sessions, streaming audio and video if recorded shall be proven as an electronic evidence.

Reflections :
It is clearly stated that the Philippines has it's Rules on Electronic Evidence in place 8 years ago. Although not directly stated, the Philippine Judicial System did acknowledged the complexity of information technology and the significance of electronic documents as applied to court litigations. Such rules however provided major issues on the reliability and the aunthenticity of documents and the information it contains. Taking advantage of the complex technology offered nowadays, electronic documents by all means could be changed and altered and used as evidence to prove allegations to the point of making false accusations and unjust judgment. Electronic documents without electronic signatures and proper authentication will have no credit on court cases. With such issues and the continuing struggles of some people deprived of justice, electronic evidence could also be an avenue to enhance the divisions between the rich and the poor. With the rich having the resources and the poor with nothing to offer. Electronic evidence should serve its purpose. It should be used as a tool for justice and for the truth.  
Note : A major implication of the Rules to the Philippine Judicial System is the creation of the Supreme Court E-Library.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Authors and Open Access Publishing

Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown. Authors and Open Access Publishing. Learned Publishing(2004) 17, p. 219-224

Abstract :

There are two(2) ways in which authors can provide open access to their work : 1) by publishing in open access journal and 2) by depositing their traditional journal articles in eprint archives (self-archiving). This article is a survey carried out to learn more about authors and open access publishing. It is a study conducted to measure the awareness of authors on open access publishing, their experiences and opinions. A comparative survey between OA and NOA authors constitute the findings of the study. Author's awareness of OA publishing, reasons for publishing and not publishing in OA journals, concerns about publishing, and other related views were discussed by the article.

Three(3) things I learned :

1. Awareness of authors on Open Access Publishing is growing.
2. Open Access Authors major reason of publishing is the principle of free access. Other reasons include the perception of a faster publication as compared to traditional journals, large readership and frequent citations of work. NOA authors on the other hand are unfamiliar with any suitable open access journals in their field.
3. Self-archiving is another option to achieve open access to results. Arhives however are not growing and filling as they might. Reasons cited are the author's inertia that includes journal impact factor scores and publication fees, anxiety about the technical aspects of depositing the article in an eprint archive, quality issues, intellectual property rights and copyright infringement.

Reflections :

The use of open access technology in publishing received opposing views from authors using it and from traditional publishing authors. Both have valid views on the concept, but if we look beyond these views, we could somehow see the real picture of the real issues sorrounding the non-adoption of open access publishing by other authors. The real barrier would be author's resistance to the technology seen as a cultural problem that will need to be overcome by education and persuasion. The adoption of open access publishing by authors would be beneficial to researchers and information users. Much more to developing countries considered as primary importers of information. Librarians could also benefit more from open access sources. It is a value added service to their library users. It is about time to embrace the technology of open access publishing considering its vital role to research communities, research funders, scholarly publishers and later to the public.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Library hop : a trip to the IRRI Library - where rice literature reign supreme

The idea of having a class fieldtrip excites me for various reasons. Aside from the fact that it would be a great learning experience, i consider it as the best way to explore new places, meet new friends and a breath of fresh air from the crowded and busy city life. The trip to IRRI Library is primarily educational coupled with side and food trips. That is, dissecting the Millenium - the library's information system while indulging into the taste of liempo and original buko pie.

Considered by many as a benchmark of what a library could offer, The IRRI Library that was established to support the organization's need for information on agricultural research specifically on rice-farming could also be the epitome of a modern information center. It maximizes the use of latest technologies and adopts current trends in library practice. It's integrated library system - the Millenium ILS is considered one of the best. With a global clientele and a worldwide coverage, the Library offers bibliographic and full-text information online through its website integrating the main catalog, rice databases, E-journals, Electronic Resources, and other online databases with its main library services from basic library loans to document deliveries. The system however is too costly to maintain for an institution dependent on donor countries and agencies. It has also provisions on digitizing its collection. Declining budget also hinders the library from acquiring materials and maintaining online subscriptions, thus librarians resorted to open access sources for journal articles, soliciting materials from originating institutions and availing free information sources found on the internet. They also avail Web 2.0 technologies to promote the library's collection and latest activities - a blog to update everybody of what's new in the IRRI Library. It is a step to further enhance to library's visibility and value to users. With its rich collection of rice literature that is being considered the largest in the world, there is an affirmation that it is undoubtedly one of the best. It is however quite alarming that it's strength is not invincible to global downfall. Just like any other libraries, it follows the trend of a declining support leading to a declining value, and a declining is considered a major threat to librarians. I could only wish for its continuous operation and service and could only hope of good things for librarians in the future. Hmmnnn, it's too serious. Maybe I'm just hungry by then...or I just want to explore Los Banos at its best.
The wacky part of the fieldtrip - indulging into a feast of liempo, seafoods, rambutan and buko pie with photo shoots in between - for social networking. Besides, flicker and facebook are Web 2.0 technologies, so it make sense. The group's word of the day - LIEMPO. It was an awesome experience. Objectives were met. The group enjoyed it. We could only complain on the butt cramps we had on our trip back to Manila.