April 18, 2007
Health Information Literacy
An alert by way of the DIG_REF discussion list to the attention being given to a study by a faculty-librarian team at Central Michigan of the way in which people search for health information online. As they report, based on their study of user behavior:
These people will be at greater risk of making bad health decisions based on non-credible information if they conduct a basic Google search than if they search a scholarly library database . . . . We’re talking about potentially harmful information on such subjects as cancer rates, smoking cessation methods and fever management in children. People need advanced skills and knowledge to find high-quality health information on the Internet.
The importance of information literacy instruction for those conducting searches for health information was a key piece of the State Library of Washington's Information Literacy Initiative a few years ago, and it remains an essential service that academic libraries can provide to members of campus and community. At UIUC, we are hard at work designing a new approach to providing access to health information and support for health researchers, health professionals and users of consumer health services as part of our strategic plan.
This study suggests that we are none too soon!
Posted by swalter at April 18, 2007 9:56 AM
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