(August 31, 2000) The following table is my attempt to achieve the objective set by Healthy People 2010 for health-related Web sites. As background, Healthy People 2010 is the U.S. Public Health Service's ambitious planning document for all public health endeavors. It provides guidance on all facets of society that impacts on the Public's health. In so doing, it provides a philosophical foundation on how Public Health can accomplish its Mission - to ensure the Public's Health. Every 10 years, the document is updated. Healthy People 2010 was introduced January, 2000, and covers what we should be doing from now till 2010. You can link to this and the previous document, Healthy People 2020, on my Healthy People 2020 Web Page, or, the current document, Healthy People 2030, on my Healthy People 2030 Web Page .
Cognizant of changing times, Healthy People 2010 came up with a set of objectives for Health Communication. Basically, the Internet is all about Communication. And, everyone knows how bad communication can be. So, it is a special interest to me, a health educator, to see some standards set for improving the communication that occurs on the Internet.
While I am not required to provide this information, since I'm not into the commercial aspects of the Internet, I am doing so in the spirit of enhancing the quality of this Web site and to assure my visitors that I do make a concerted effort to provide all the links to the best Public Health and Healthcare information currently available on the Internet that will
be of value to professionals and the general public. I should mention that I do not include subscription sites. My philosophy is that knowledge should be freely available and freely disseminated.
Note: The health information provided on this Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be relied upon for specific treatment or be considered medical advice. If you need personal medical attention, please contact a physician or healthcare provider.
Healthy People 2010 - Objective 11-4. (Developmental) Increase the proportion of health-related World Wide Web sites that disclose information that can be used to assess the quality of the site.
To allow users to evaluate the quality and appropriateness of Internet health resources, health-related Web sites should publicly disclose the following essential information about their site:
|What HP 2010 Wants||What This Web site Has|
|(1) the identity of the developers and sponsors of the site (and how to contact them) and information about any potential conflicts of interest or biases;||I am the sole developer/owner of this Web site, which has its own domain name. I pay Geocities.Com to provide web hosting services. I provide various services that are sponsored by companies that identify themselves as sponsors on my Web site. None are adult-oriented companies.
You can always reach me by E-mail at the address that is provided on ALL my Web pages. To my knowledge, there are no conflicts of interest or biases in my use of this web hosting service. Geocities.Com does not dictate to me what I can and cannot put on this Web site. The only limitations they place is that I do not have pornography and other offensive materials, which I totally agree with.
I do not charge anyone for visiting my Web site, nor, do I charge anyone for having links on my Web site to other Web sites.
|(2) the explicit purpose of the site, including any commercial purposes and advertising;||The explicit purpose of my Web site is to provide a one-stop site where Public Health, Healthcare and Educational professionals can begin a search for good quality health information on the Net. I set up the Web site primarily for the benefit of my students, including areas that I think would be most useful in their studies and career development. I have lectured about the Net in my Web Basics 101 Lecture, and have developed Web site Evaluation Templates to evaluate Web sites. My hope is that the Web site is navigable enough to help students use the Internet more efficiently than just surfing around until they find something. Finally, I am not selling any products.|
|(3) the original sources of the content on the site;||Other than links to other Web sites, which I review, the original sources of the content on the site comes from my head. If it does not come from my head, it is duly noted. I always give credit where credit is due, and appreciate being credited for my work.|
|(4) how the privacy and confidentiality of any personal information collected from users is protected;||I do use trackers and counters on my Web site because good Webmastering require that I know my audience well enough to ensure that the Web site is useful for the audience I want to reach. Whatever information, which is not personal in nature, these tracking and counting services provide are not
I use this information to compile aggregate statistics, which I post on my Web site on the Web Stats Page. I also list, if I can identify them, academic, government and non-profit agencies and institutions that have visited my Web site. These listings can be accessed from the Visitor Listings Index . (You'll be surprised, as I was, about how many different institutions there are!!!)
Tracking information is becoming more important now, as there are over 250 Web pages on my site (as of this writing). This information helps me to target and focus my energies on those pages that are the most used and to help me develop the content based on the type of audiences that come to visit. After all, I do need time to sleep, too.
For example, my Public Health Jobs Page is the most popular page on the Web site, getting over 10,000 hits to date. I originally set up this page as an afterthought. But, when I saw how much traffic it received, I have devoted more time building it up so it would be useful for anyone, not just students, looking to work in the field of Public Health. That's because not all visitors to this page were from educational institutions!!
|and (5) how the site is evaluated and updated.||Evaluation .The organization of my Web site is my own design. However, I have tried to use all the elements that Web authors have stated to be vital for a good Web site. Additionally, I have tried to comply with whatever guidelines and criteria are developed by various entities (i.e.,
Healthy People 2010, Health on the Net, Summit Workgroup, Stanford University, etc.) in defining what makes a good Web site. Find out more about this topic on my Information Quality Page.
Whenever I have the opportunity, I submit my site to organizations and Web sites that give out awards. Almost all provide a criteria they use to judge Web sites for their awards. These provide me with additional guidelines to enhance my Web site.
Updating. I update my Web site all the time. Visitors can see what's been added and updated on my What's New Page. I use software to identify dead links. I also get help from anonymous respondents of the various Web site Polls I have throughout the Web site. Responses have been used to revamp the Biostatistics/Statistics Page, and have helped me to determine Public Health E-News Bulletin content, and justify spending time on a Public Health Jobs Electronic Newsletter.
Updating becomes a major undertaking with a large Web site, especially when I am maintaining this site in my supposedly "spare time." Presently I try to check the status of links every month (thanks to Xenu). I have found, using some validating services, that on any given visit 1-5% of the links will not work. The problem with the Internet is that there's never just one reason for a link not to work, but many. And, sometimes, if you just try again in a few minutes, the link may work after all.
However, what's built to be current can become passe very fast. This is the two-edged sword wielded by the Internet. I have to say that every link is "live" when I put it on, because I review each one for relevance before I add it to my pages. However, things are always changing: Programs get defunded, administrations change and new webmasters with their own designs get hired all the time. Add to this the constant change in browser software, operating systems, new coding rules, etc. All these issues become factors to be considered, many of which I have no control over, regardless of how majestic the title of "Webmaster" may sound.
|An additional mark of quality which should be present in a Web site relates to the site's accessibility by all users. Contents of the site should be presented in a way that they can be used by people with disabilities and can be accessible even with low-end technology.||I do make every effort to create all my pages to be "platform-free." This means they should look half-way decent on any browser. I only use the standard HTML coding of the World Wide Web Consortium, and do not use browser-specific tags. I do not use frames by choice because having them only makes it even harder to navigate even though it seems fun, at first, to be able
to move numerous screens in every which way your mouse will cooperate.
I have added coding so that all linked sites will open in its own window so that visitors can get back to my page easily. I also distinguish my pages from linked pages by having a standard header on all my pages. You will know when you are on any of my Web site's pages.
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