Time to reveal the hidden agenda!
The overt design goal of OHPE was to provide a distribution vehicle for the many valuable information items that arrived daily through mail, personal networks, fax, and even, occasionally by email to the Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse .
On my unofficial checklist, OHPE exceeds this goal’s expecations.
The covert design goals (shared occasionally with others who shared belief in ‘relevant, timely, concise information is power’) included:
1 – Get Health Promoters online and connected by demonstrating its’ value in a unique way.
2 – Seek out and aggregate the information, knowledge and wisdom that are ingredients of sustainable quality.
3 – Design the technology to capture and frame these into a searchable memory of health promotion.
Covert goals 1 & 2 also exceed expectations. Giving out email addresses and organizational web sites is done in the same breadth as phone numbers. The subscription list to OHPE includes many, if not most, from health promotion’s community of practice in Ontario. Read through a season’s worth of jobs, events, resources, and features and you will understand what health promotion is all about.
Why is goal 3 still out of reach? The usage stats on the OHPE web site(www.ohpe.ca) indicate underwhelming traffic to the search features.
Questions on CLICK4HP, the listserv, often betray unawareness of two key information repositories. Both OHPE and CLICK4HP have easy to use search capabilities. OHPE content is accessible by date listing, keywords, text, and a subject search matrix that was very unique five years ago and is still leading edge.
Admittedly, there are design deficiencies. The search feature does not receive major visual presence on the site and too little promotion or reference. The matrix search lacks a ‘Clear All’ button which makes it almost impossible to broaden an unsuccessful attempt.
What should be, and no doubt will, eventually, is a system that enables subscribers to customize the newsletter to match personal and professional interests. The combination of preferences, users (in the aggregate, not individuals), and information requested will provide a real-time view of health promotion that exceeds the ability of any one or even any group of us.