Monday, April 25, 2016

Sources of information in health sciences

American Library Association, Reference and Adult Services Division, Standards and Guideline Committee. Guidelines for medical, legal, and business responses [Internet]. Chicago (IL); rev. 2001 [cited 2005 Jan 31]. Available from

Bibel, Barbara. Best consumer health books 2003. Library Journal 2004 May 1; 129(8):55. In Academic Search Premier [Internet]. Ipswich (MA): EBSCO, c2005- [cited 2005 Jan 31]. Available from; Accession No.: 3012981

Block, Marylaine. But Doctor, I found it on the Web – a presentation for the medical staff of Good Samaritian regional Medical Center, Phoenix, March 15, 2002.

Consumer & Patient Health Information Service [Internet]. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba. Health Sciences Libraries. [updated 2004 Aug 27l cited 2005 Feb 2]. Available from:

About the University of Manitoba’s Neil John Maclean Health Sciences Library Consumer and Patient Health Information Service which is available to all Manitobans.

*Crespo, Javier. Training the health information seeker: Quality issues in health information web sites. Library Trends 2004 Fall, 53(2): 360-74. In Academic Search Premier [Internet]. Ipswich (MA): EBSCO, c2005 [cited 2005 Jan 41]. Available from; Accession No.: 15353491

HONcode Principles

Code of conduct for medical and health sites from Health on the Net Foundation, a Geneva based foundation which is an NGO in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN.

*Hurt, C. D. Information Sources in Science and Technology, 3rd ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1995. pp. 263-265.

Infohealth Guide
Provides a brief overview of Manitoba’s health care system and its services, along with handy contact information so you can learn more about any aspect of health care in Manitoba.

*Malinowsky, H.R. Reference Sources in Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Agriculture. Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx Press, 1994. pp. 188-189.

Medical Library Association. Consumer and Patient Health Information Section. The librarian’s role in the provision of consumer health information and patient education. [cited 2005 Jan 31]. Available from

Medical Reference for Non-Medical Librarians
Compiled by Jean C. Blakewell, Information Services Librarian, Health Science Library, UNC-Chapel Hill and additional material added by Lynne M. Fox. Includes tips for librarians and staff, regarding providing medical reference to consumers.

Online resources and guides

Academic Info Health and Medicine Consumer Health

Canadian Health Network
CHN’s mission was to support Canadians in making informed choices about their health, by providing access to multiple sources of credible and practical e-health information. Through a network of health information providers which included Health Canada and national and provincial/territorial non-profit organizations, as well as universities, hospitals, libraries and community organizations.

Health Canada
Information from the Canadian government.

Consumer Health Links
Guide to consumer health sites on a variety of topics from Winnipeg Public Library.

Consumer Health: An Online Manual
From U.S. National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM). Chapters covering a variety of topics such as: Evaluating Health Web Sites and Consumer Health Information on the Web.

*Consumer Health Information Service
A free, confidential health information service that was provided by qualified health librarians and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health for residents of Ontario. Site contained an extensive collection of resources, including a Consumer Health Collection Guide and Core Collection of Recommended Titles.

For an American produced list of core titles of books and journals for the small medical library, in allied health, and for nursing see: Brandon/Hill selected lists at

From American Academy of Family Physicians. Includes a “Search by Symptom” (self diagnosis) section.

Hamilton Health Sciences. HHS Library Services: Consumer Health Information Web Sites

Virtual Reference Library: Health Topics from A to Z
Recommended Internet sites, selected and organized by the VRL staff of Toronto Public Library.

Abstracts and indexes
Consumer Health Complete
Search for consumer health information in over 700 health, fitness and nutrition magazines, clinical reports, medical encyclopedias and popular reference works. Also focuses on holistic and integrated approaches to health and wellness.

CHID (Combined Health Information Database)
A bibliographic database produced by health-related agencies of the U.S. Federal Government. This database provides titles, abstracts, and availability information for health information and health education resources. Lists health promotion and education materials and program descriptions that are not indexed elsewhere.

CINAHL, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature, is the authoritative resource for nursing and allied health professionals, students, educators, and researchers. This database provides indexing and abstracting for over 1,600 current nursing and allied health journals and publications dating back to 1982. Available through EBSOHost. Pre-CINAHL is a companion database to CINAHL, and is intended to provide current awareness of new journal articles, and includes a rotating file of limited bibliographic information (no subject searching), which are available to researchers only for the time when these articles are being assigned additional indexing. This enables users to gain access to article citations that otherwise would not be available. Once the bibliographic records are complete, they are added to the CINAHL database and removed from Pre-CINAHL.

Health Source Consumer Edition
Accessible with WPL library barcode number. Nearly 300 full-text consumer health periodicals, 1,100 pamphlets plus indexing and abstracts for more than 300 periodicals and 145 health reference books. In addition, the database provides access to up-to-date monographs for prescription drugs (U.S.), herbal and nutritional supplements and over-the-counter products. Information provided in this database should not be viewed as a means for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

The Health Services Technology/Assessment Texts (HSTAT) is a free, Web-based resource of full-text documents that provide health information and support health care decision making. HSTAT’s audience includes health care providers, health service researchers, policy makers, payers, consumers and the information professionals who serve these groups.

Unlike PubMed this version of Medline has been specifically tailored to the information needs of consumers. Emphasis is on information available from NLM and NIH and includes links to searches of MEDLINE, and to the many full-text publications produced by the NIH institutes. Includes sections on health topics, medical dictionaries and glossaries, links to major associations and clearinghouses, publications and news items, directories of health professionals and health facilities and libraries that provide services for the public.

U.S. National Rehabilitation Information Center. Search REHABDATA or their other databases by keyword, or browse by subject topic.

Health Sciences Library & Informatics Center from University of Mexico
Contains bibliographic information and abstracts of health-related articles, reports, surveys, and other resource documents pertaining to the health and health care of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Canadian First Nations.

Covers the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences. MEDLINEplus Health Information is an excellent resource for consumer health information.

Women’s Health Matters
This Resource Database contains descriptions of books and periodicals, audiovisual and multimedia materials and websites. “Use this database as an access point to women’s health resources in English, French and other languages. We focus on information from Ontario and the rest of Canada, but our collection also includes information from around the world.”

Monday, April 18, 2016

Health sciences (Medicine)

  • Basic medical sciences attempt to discover and describe how human body functions. Include:
    • Anatomy
    • Biochemistry
    • Biophysics
    • Embryology
    • Endocrinology
    • Genetics
    • Microbiology
    • Pathology
    • Pharmacology
    • Physiology
    • Psychology
  • Clinical medicine two broad specialities: preventative; public health
  • Many other medical specialities including
    • Dentistry
    • Nursing
    • Rehabilitation
  • Textbooks become reference books
  • Practitioners heavy users of handbooks
  • Use of handbooks especially heavy in pharmacology
  • Huge increase in popular medical literature
  • Growth in area of alternative medicine
  • The focus of traditional medical informatics is shifting from health professionals to consumers
Eysenbach, G. Consumer health informatics. BMJ 2000; 320: 1713-1716

Health information seeking studies

  • Licciardone, Smith-Barbaro, and Coleridge (2001)
    • 32% of respondents used Internet as primary source for health information
    • Other sources used: newspapers, magazines, TV
  • Fox, Rainie and Horrigan et al. (2000)
    • 55% of U.S. Internet users search for health info
    • 91% physical illness
    • 26% mental illness
    • Rely on search engines
    • 58% reported checking for company or organization providing info (likely some college)
    • Users with high school or less unlikely to check Web site’s source info
  • Taylor (2001)
    • 80% of all adults who are online (i.e. 53% of all adults) sometimes use the Internet to look for health care information. However, only 18% say they do this “often”, while most do so “sometimes” (35%), or “hardly ever” (27%)
    • This 80% of all those online amounts to 110 million cyberchrondriacs nationwide. This compares with 54 million in 1998, 69 million in 1999 and 97 million last year.
    • On average those who ever look for health care information online do so three times every month
    • A slender majority (53%) of those who look for health care information does so using a portal or search engine which allows them to search for the health information they want across many different websites. About a quarter (26%) go directly to a site that focuses only on health-related topics and one in eight (12%) goes first to a general site that focuses on many topics that may have a section on health issues.
  • G. Eysenbach and C. Kohler. How do consumers search for and appraise health information on the world wide web? Qualitative study using focus groups, usability tests, and in-depth interviews. BMJ, March 9, 2002; 324 (7337): 573-577.
    • Users of the Internet explore only the first few links on general search engines when seeking health information
    • Consumers say that when assessing the credibility of a site they primarily look for the source, a professional design, and a variety of other criteria
    • In practice, internet users do not check the “about us” sections of websites, try to find out who authors or creators of owners of the site are, or read disclaimers or disclosure statements
    • Very few internet users later remember from which websites they retrieved information from or who stood behind the sites
  • Fox and Fallows (2003).
    • Half of American adults have searched online for health information
    • Go online for information, prepare for appointments and surgery, share information, seek and provide support
    • Women primary consumers of online health information
  • Fox and Rainie (2002) .
    • Internet health search interests
    • Disease information (93%)
    • Nutrition, exercise or weight control (65%)
    • Prescription drugs (64%)
    • 48% alternative or experimental treatments or medicines
    • 39% mental health issues (e.g. depression, anxiety)
    • 33% sensitive health topic
    • 32% info about a particular doctor or hospital
Consumer health information
National Library of Medicine reports:

  • Health information in top 5-10 topics of interest
  • 2/3 of libraries estimate that health requests account for up to 20% of reference requests
  • When MEDLINE made freely available on the Internet usage increased from 7 to 220 million searches per year (estimated that 1/3 of searches by public)
MEDLINEplus most frequent requested health topics, November 1999
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Breast cancer
  • Kidney diseases
  • AIDS
  • Nutrition
  • Cancer
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Thyroid disease
  • Skin diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Cholesterol
Canadian Health Network (CHN)
  • National, bilingual Internet-based health information service
  • Developed in partnership with Health Canada
  • Network of health information networks (over 600 health information providers contribute resources)
  • Gathers and organizes quality information
Consumer Health Information Service (CHIS)
  • Based at Toronto Public Library, Reference Library
  • Funded by Ontario Ministry of Health
  • Walk in consumer reference collection and reference desk service by librarians
  • Offers phone, fax, and e-mail service to users throughout the province
  • Information packages compiled and sent out province-wide

Consumer & patient health information service
To help Manitobans learn more about health and medical topics, the Neil John Maclean Health Sciences Library offers the Consumer and Patient Health Information Service. This service provides information on health and medical topics such as:

  • Symptoms and descriptions of diseases
  • Drugs and drug therapies
  • Medical tests
  • Current treatments and therapies
  • Nutrition
  • Surgical procedures
  • A librarian, not a health care professional, provides the information
Abstracts and indexes
  • PubMed (free)
  • Medline (electronic)
    • most important indexing source for medical research
    • computerized counterpart of
      • Index Medicus
      • Index to Dental Literature
      • International Nursing Index
    • records added pre-1975 no abstracts
    • >59% records post-1975 have abstracts
    • print equivalent Excerpta Medica publications
    • more pharmacology and psychology, European and Asian journals than Medline
    • c. 80% of records from recent years contain abstracts
  • Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL)
    • covers English language nursing journals
    • includes such allied health fields as:
      • covers English language nursing journals
      • cardiopulmonary technology; medical/laboratory technology; medical records; occupational therapy; physical therapy/rehabilitation; radiologic technology; respiratory therapy; social service in health care
    • selective abstracts available since 1986

Monday, April 11, 2016

Using the Biological Literature Web Resources

Using the Biological Literature Web Resources

Monday, April 4, 2016


Malinowsky, H. R. Reference Sources In Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Agriculture. Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx Press, 1994. p. 216.
Agriculture is the science of raising crops and livestock for food. It is an old discipline with the word coming from the Latin agar meaning field and cultura meaning cultivation. Agriculture is an applied science using all of the physical sciences as well as some areas of engineering. In addition to it being concerned with plant and animal production, it includes the machinery and materials needed to produce, process, manufacture, and market all of the plant and animal products. 
In the area of plant production there are specialized subdivisions, including:
  • Agronomy—the study of field crops.
  • Floriculture—the production, marketing, and sale of bedding plants, cut flowers, potted plants, foliage plants, flower arrangements, and home gardening.
  • Forestry—all aspects of maintaining forests.
  • Horticulture—the science of growing flowers, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Landscape Architecture—the study of the use of plants in garden architecture.
  • Plant Breeding—the development of better plants. 
Animal husbandry pertains to the raising of domestic animals and includes their care, breeding, and feeding. Originally veterinary medicine was used only for the medical care of domesticated animals. It is now much more comprehensive and includes the health of all livestock, including poultry, wild birds, pets, wildlife, furbearing animals, zoo animals, aquatic mammals, and fish. It is also concerned with the some 200 diseases of animals that can be transmitted to humans. The animal industry is large and highly technical and includes the raising of poultry, cattle, swine, goats, sheep, fur-bearing animals, fish, shellfish, and the wide array of domestic pets. 
Until recently, the literature for the agricultural areas was spread among many reports published by a myriad of institutes. Most of this literature is now accessible through the Bibliography of Agriculture Index. Medicus and Biological Abstracts are also key sources of information. Handbooks and manuals are common, especially in areas of environmental concern, such as using pesticides and herbicides.