Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Clinical Reader: Ooops! but not forgotten

This is my intended final post of substance (maybe this week's Friday Foolery, we'll see) over here.

Do Not Panic.*

As this year and Blogger gig comes to a close there may be another ending to report as well. If you're not already familiar with the Clinical Reader saga you can see the bottom of the original post or this summary: I blogged to call out false endorsements and images weirdness, they threatened to sue me on Twitter unless I took down my post, all sorts of weirdness occurred, and librarians are a pack of rabid wolves.

Here's what things looked like on November 28, 2009 according to Google:

Since then, there's been this:

Some subpages are still publicly accessible but dropping off the Google radar like flies, which still holds 'clinical reader twitter' steady as a suggested search term and has since at least September.

Speaking of Clinical Reader Twitter, another related Twitter account has been deleted (@allan_marks) though the highly inactive @Clinical_Reader still references it as a last tweet:

What's the scoop?

I don't know.

According to a comment supposedly made by Clinical Reader staff over at David Rothman's post last month about their unauthorized use of a New England Journal of Medicine video, "We’re currently in the process of being taken over by a large publisher who intends to integrate our technology into their own systems."

If anyone sees the publisher press release about that or the latest Clinical Reader Twitter account/website incarnation, do let me know.

Even if this strange story is now over and done, it showed us how ephemeral and difficult it is to efficiently reference and archive social media discourse. This will live on as a case study submitted by Marcus Banks as part of his chapter for a grey literature book that will be published in early 2010. I agree with Marcus' point that

it [Twitter, Facebook, etc.] is also not meaningless, from both an evidentiary and anthropological standpoint. This is how many people are communicating today.

QuoteURL was of great assistance in capturing deleted tweets in June yet it is already broken, TwapperKeeper and related services are helping to archive hashtags today, but what will be the WayBackMachine of social media discourse tomorrow?

*Very soon you'll see what's in store thanks to the awesome (thanks Cynthia!) fabulous (thanks Joelle!) hard work (thanks Mel!) of, as my beloved husband put it, winning the Boobiethon. I can hardly wait to share it all with you!


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