Looking to the past for the future

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Future Thoughts Now Column

by Dr. Scott Erdley, Senior Editor

This column was made possible by an educational grant from
Chamberlain College of Nursing


Erdley, S. (October, 2011).Looking to the past for the future. Future Thoughts Now Column. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI),15 (3). Available at http://ojni.org/issues/?p=842

Column points:

  • • Nrsing-l decommissioning
  • • What’s nrsing-l have to do with the future?
  • • What’s next?

Future Thoughts Now Nrsing-l is retiring from active service. The decision has been made; the last day will be sometime in October. It was not an easy decision. Nrsing-l, the first listserv solely devoted to nursing informatics, has been around since the early 1990’s (1991 to be exact). Gordon Larrivee was the first owner and administrator of this listserv. I have served as the owner and administrator for the past several years after Gordon stepped down.

The original purpose of Nrsing-l still holds – “ . . . a forum for the open and free discussion of nursing informatics’ topics.” It was international in scope covering any country and informatics person with Internet access. It started out way back when networking was just that, networking via dial-up. The listserv was the initial and perhaps best way at that time to disseminate information and for users in far-flung locations to communicate with peers and colleagues. It was easier than going to a bulletin board; the information / ‘stuff’ came to the user via their email account.

When the Net became multi-media along with other informatics-focused listservs emerging nrsing-l was the only real means for nursing informatics practitioners to communicate. The development and growth of the Capital Area Roundtable on Nursing Informatics (CARING) beyond its Washington, DC roots was the primary ‘competitor’ to nrsing-l. With the growth of the Internet, the development of social web applications, and the continued expansion of CARING and its merger with ANIA, nrsing-l activity has diminished. The ease with which social media allows creation of different ‘groups’ has played a particular impact on nrsing-l activity. Usage of nrsing-l has dipped to primarily removing spam and noxious email postings by the administrator / owner (aka ‘me’). Actually message activity is less than 1 or 2 per month.

So, yes, the future meets the past in this case. Nrsing-l has met the future and it is now (poor paraphrase from a comic strip of long ago I admit). And yet the mission of nrsing-l has not been changed; it is how the mission is now met that has changed. In place of ‘old ways’ are ‘new ways’ like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on. It is the means, or tools, that are changing; the mission and message remain the same –to provide the ability for any who are interested a way to engage in free and open discussions of topics related to nursing informatics. (Found this sentence confusing)

So, what will the next change look like? What will Twitter, Facebook and similar social media applications do when their replacements arrive? Will nursing informatics still be of interest and relevance to healthcare? What will the social media tools’ replacements look and act like? Will we be around for these new ways? I am sorry to see nrsing-l fade from the scene. It has had a good run (10 years) as an invaluable tool for many people. Thank you to all who used it and to AMIA who supported us/it (missing word)over these last several years.

Feel free to post your thoughts to these questions as well as your own questions about technology and ‘the future’ here at OJNI and or email me (erdley@buffalo.edu).


Nrsing-l. (2011). Retrieved from http://mailman.amia.org/mailman/listinfo/nrsing-l

Proofed by Paula Lane

Back to Issue Index

Back to Issue Index

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.