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Consumer Health Websites as a Platform for Teaching Evaluation of Internet Content in a Library Instruction Course

Author(s): Robin Sabo

Journal: MLA Forum
ISSN 1539-4123

Volume: 5;
Issue: 3;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Library Instruction | Information Literacy | Health Sciences | Medical Librarianship

Academic institutions are increasingly concerned with preparing students to critically evaluate information sources, and librarians play a key role in this process. In parallel, the public health system has recognized the need for health literacy in order for consumers to make appropriate healthcare decisions. Finding healthcare information is the third most common use of the Internet, and approximately 75% of students report searching for health information online. Furthermore, previous research shows that students have difficulty determining whether health websites are trustworthy. At Central Michigan University’s Park Library, the librarians teach an undergraduate library instruction course which includes a section on evaluation of Internet sites. Consumer health websites were used as a platform to teach website evaluation skills. In addition to specifics on using consumer health websites in a general undergraduate library instruction course, a review of the literature showing how information literacy and health literacy objectives can be combined, are discussed.
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