In the past, knowledge was the key to power. Those who “knew” were able to command superiority over those who did not know. At one level, this was logical and sensible: if a doctor spent five years studying health and disease, they gathered a large amount of knowledge which made them walking encyclopaedias. If you had a health problem, the doctor was the only person to talk to. Occasionally, this exceptional level of knowledge may have led to a sense of arrogance on behalf of those with knowledge: so a vet might decide just to tell you what to do, based on his exceptional knowledge, and you might feel too much in awe to be able to question his judgement.
Anyway – times have moved on, and thanks to the internet, we can all carry “walking encyclopaedias” around with us, on our smart phones. We still need professional advice – the structured, problem-solving learning at medical and vet college, followed by years of experience in practice, will always create authority and wisdom that cannot be replaced by a few hours of internet browsing. And when we’re browsing the internet, it can be hard to separate the myth from the truth.
A new website aims to help with this issue: the Wikivet website has the ambition of putting the entire veterinary curriculum online, so that any vet student, anywhere in the world, can read the latest definitive information about any aspect of veterinary medicine and surgery. Much of the website is available to the public, but the main target group is veterinary students in developing countries who may be unable to access high quality veterinary learning resources.
To find out more about Wikivet, read my article over at the Telegraph by clicking here.