Finding and Using Health and Medical Information on the Internet

Sue Welsh, Betsy Anagnostellis and Alison Cooke 2001

A personal review by Rod Ward - 23.7.02

This is a useful and comprehensive book for those interested in health information on the Internet. It provides an in depth exploration not just of Internet sites but also many of the issues around their creation and use. It is probably most appropriate for librarians or those with some knowledge of information management, rather than clinicains just starting out to explore what the Internet has to offer them, however all users will find something of interest.

The first chapters provide detailed guidance on desktop reference sources, teaching materials and continuing medical education, and using the Internet to support evidence based healthcare. Each of these introductory sections highlights both the pitfalls and advantages of the various methods and resources described.

The next few chapters cover rare diseases, consumer health information, use in research projects and methods of keeping up to date. In each case providing a myriad of sources.

The second section of the book gets into the nuts and bolts of information finding strategies using search engines, metasearch engines, web directories, information gateways, bibliographic databases and electronic journals. Extensive medical examples are used to illustrate the resources available. There is also a brief chapter about on-line communication fora and some of the concerns about electronic interaction between health professionals and patients.

Sections four and five focus on the vital area of quality evaluation related to Internet resources, and describe methods to organise and customise your view of Internet resources which are followed by a brief introduction to creating your own web pages.

The book concludes with an extensive alphabetical list of links and well organised index.

The book reflects the expert knowledge of the authors, and provides a comprehensive exploration of the subject area. As with any book in this area some of the links and examples will have changed and may need updating in future revisions, but for now this is the most comprehensive UK book of this type I have seen.

Title: Finding and Using Health and Medical Information on the Internet
Authors: Sue Welsh, Betsy Anagnostellis and Alison Cooke
Publishers: Aslib-IMI
No of pages: 317
Price: £not known
ISBN: 0 851142 384 1

This book is available from Amazon

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Page Created: 23.7.2002
Last Updated: 30.10.05