Wednesday, March 07, 2007

How are libraries like health services?

Interesting article from BBC about how people in the UK seek and choose health information on the Internet. Core points:
  • Participants skipped drug company sites because they didn't trust them
  • Participants skipped National Health Service (sort of like NIH) b'cuz on the "first page participants were directed to was a portal or they had too much background or generic content."
  • And "even if a site made a favourable first impression, it was unlikely to keep the attention if it did not include personal stories to which the reader could relate."
So people in the study were looking for information that is
  • easy to find and,
  • by their standards, trustworthy
Does this mean we need testimonials about how using ABI/Info helped their search?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

For the most part I think our patrons see our resources as trustworthy but just a pain in the ass to use. But I doubt we can ever make it as easy to use as Google. We just don't have the $ to catch up. So what about getting testimonials? Not a scholar saying how great ABI inform is but how about working with a faculty member, graduate student or the dept as a whole to brand the site--'Here's what the anthro dept uses'? Leverage the liaison program?

Another random thought--

Are libraries are like health info sites -- my take is yes but...
  • On library sites people are looking for citations or other specific pieces of info that they will know (more or less) what to do with
  • On health info sites people are looking for trusted advice about what to do