McLuhan predicted that in the future, as seen from the1960s, print culture would give way to an electronic interdependence in which electronic media, then comprised of telephones, televisions and radios, would lead to a collective identity or so-called global village.
McLuhan was a Canadian icon, born in Edmonton Alberta on July 21, 1911 (he died on December 31, 1980) and came to influence our understanding of communications and media in a manner that remains relevant half a century later. Dr. McLuhan was a Professor of English at the University of Toronto, and he and his message were controversial. To borrow phrases he applied to media: television was hot; radio was cool, Dr. McLuhan was ‘hot’ in the 1960s, ‘cool’ in the 1970s and somewhat overlooked until the1990s when the Internet provided an unassailable example of how the medium truly was the message. In his 1964 text, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man McLuhan stated, “we live mythically and integrally … but continue to think in the old, fragmented space and time patterns of the pre-electric age.”
I was looking for the right medium with which to create an Annual Report. Our Department is rapidly modernizing its educational techniques, implementing new technologies to provide less invasive treatments for disease, and advancing fundamental and translational research. What medium would be best to engage a diverse audience of physicians, administrators, trainees and the public?
Normally Heads of Medicine brag about their Department’s achievements in dusty tomes called Annual Reports. I wager that in the ancient medical schools of Alexandria one could find a tablet, which said words to the effect, “Alexandria has the best Department of Medicine in all Egypt.” The medium was likely papyrus graced with hieroglyphs not unlike the Edwin Smith Papyrus, a surgical text from Egypt circa 1600 BC.
When it comes to inspiring the readership, annual reports, academic or corporate, often fall short of the mark. Innovation is buried in lengthy text and the report is often shelved, unread. Is the flaw the author or the medium?
I wanted a message in a medium that would inspire a trainee to choose our training program, a patient to receive health care at our hospitals, or a donor to support our mission. In short, I wanted an Annual Report that would convey the spirit and values of our Department and carry the vision and achievements of our faculty, trainees and staff throughout the University and beyond. I was inspired by McLuhan’s ideology to choose the iBook to relay our message using a medium that is interactive and impactful. The message we are sending is clear: “the times they are a changing,” to borrow from another master of the powerful phrase, Bob Dylan.
This interactive iBook, published in the iTunes Store, tells the story of our patients and gets up close and personal with our faculty.
I want to thank Ms. Jen Valberg who is the creative force behind the iBook. Also, my thanks to Ms. Jennifer Andersen & Ms. Nancy Koen for their keen editorial eyes, and to the Division Chairs and other faculty leaders who provided the content.
And now I am pleased to present you with our 2013 Department of Medicine Annual Report. Click here to download your copy, or search ‘Queen’s University Department of Medicine’ in the iTunes Store.
In order to read an iBook, you must have an apple computer that has OS 10.9 (Mavericks), or an Apple device that has iOS 7.0 or later.
While it has reduced capabilities, the PDF version of the Annual Report can be viewed from all computers.
Step One: Download Apple iBooks
Click here to download the latest version of iBooks. Note the compatability requirements listed above.
Step Two: Download the iBook
Click here to go to the download page. Click the ‘View in iBooks’ button to start downloading.
An Apple ID is required to download apps and books, which you can create when prompted. Alternatively, you can use:
Username: firstname.lastname@example.org Password: medicine123G
If this is your first time reading an Apple iBook, here is a tutorial that will give you an orientation to the app.
We tip our digital Derby to Dr. McLuhan. I look forward to your feedback.