Sieving, Pamela (NIH/OD/ORS) [E] wrote:
> Does it matter that Ralph Moss, apparently the power behind this
> Website, is a PhD, not an MD?  And that the PhD is in Classics?
> That is not meant to denigrate what he does; many of us (I'm in this
> group) work hard at understanding and interpreting the biomedical
> literature from backgrounds in the humanities.  
When I teach consumer health, I use Ralph Moss as an example of the 
importance of understanding credentials. If you use the Wayback Machine 
to look at his site from the dawn of the Web, the disclosure of exactly 
what his PhD is *in* changes over time.

I'm not sure if I was the first person ever to note that Moss' PhD was 
in Classics, but I think I might have been the first one to put it in a 
library-related publication; I wrote a review of his 1997 book on 
alternative medicine and the Internet for one of the Haworth journals, 
and in the process got interested in just what his background was. I 
called Stanford to ask what the doctorate was in, and while Stanford 
(and other universities) can not reveal this information and they did 
not reveal it to me, they were able to tell me that only one person of 
this name had received a PhD, and that was in Classics in the year Moss 
states that he received his PhD.

Bowker's info in Books In Print lists his occupation as 
"Doctor/Researcher" which I find extremely misleading. I mean, PhDs in 
anything from interior design to nanotechnology can call themselves 
"Doctor", but if you're in the health information business, even giving 
the impression of having an MD when you don't is deceptive marketing IMHO.

(I have a PhD but very rarely call myself Dr. Smith, mostly because that 
makes me think too much of the guy on "Lost in Space." Danger, Will 

Catherine Arnott Smith, PhD
Assistant Professor
School of Library and Information Studies
Room 4263 Helen C. White Hall
600 N. Park Street, Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 890-1334
Fax: (608) 263-4849

My personal website:

The machine does not isolate us from the great problems of nature but plunges us more deeply into them.
--Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Form is never more than the extension of content.
--Robert Creely [quoted in C. Olson, "Projective Verse", 1950.]