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Library 101

Using the library at FNU

Health Information on the Internet

In addition to the subscription based resources that FNU provides on the library website, there are other resources for health information that are freely available via the Internet.

PubMed

Links related to PubMed:

Statistical and Demographic Information

Finding health statistics will be very important to you both as a student and a professional.  Statistics can demonstrate trends and support research and evidence based practice.  Demographic data can help to put statistics into context and is important for understanding the populations you serve.  Again, government websites make much of this information easy to obtain.  There are many different sites for finding statistical and demographic data.  The following list is certainly not comprehensive, but will provide a starting point.

Consumer Health Information

Consumer health sites provide information on health conditions in a way that is easy for non-health professionals to understand. These sites are reliable, but are not considered to be scholarly sources.

For more information on consumer health resources, see the Consumer Health Sites page of the following InfoGuide:

Other Websites of Note

Evaluating Internet Resources

When viewing any website, it is important to evaluate the site for reliability.  Print resources such as magazines, journals, and books have been through a filtering process (e.g. editing, peer review, library selection), but information on the Internet is mostly unfiltered. While quality information can be found, many non-quality sites also exist.

Use the following criteria to determine if a website is reliable:

Accuracy

  • What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced?
  • If facts and figures are given, are they accurate?
  • Are the sources for any factual information clearly listed?
  • Can they be verified in another source? (another website OR a print resource?)

What it means:

  • Make sure the information is accurate and can be verified.

Authority

  • Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her?
  • Are the author's qualifications or credentials listed?
  • Is the author qualified to write this document?
  • Check the domain of the document, who publishes it?

What it means:

  • Look for the author's credentials and contact information.
  • Check the URL domain - .edu, .org, and .gov are preferred.

Objectivity

  • What goals/objectives does this page meet?
  • Is a particular point of view being presented?
  • Is there a bias, either explicit or implied?
  • Is advertising present on the site? If so, is it clearly differentiated from the information presented?

What it means:

  • Look for background information such as "About Us," Who Am I," "Philosophy," etc.
  • Be aware of the goals and/or aims of the site.
  • Determine if the page is a mask for advertising.

Currency

  • When was the page produced?
  • When was it updated?
  • Are the links up-to-date?

What it means:

  • Confirm that the page is current and updated regularly, and that the links are working.

Completeness

  • Is the subject adequately covered?
  • Are the links (if present) evaluated and do they complement the page's theme?
  • Is the information presented cited correctly?

What it means:

  • Make sure the page meets your research needs and has comprehensive coverage.

Download this information as a handout to the left (below the table of contents).

References

National Center for Biotechnology Information. (n.d.). PubMed. http://www.pubmed.gov

Cornell University Library. (1998). Five criteria for evaluating web pages. http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/webcrit.html

Infopeople. (2009). Evaluating internet resources: A checklist. https://infopeople.org/resources/internet/evaluatingchecklist

Pollak Library. (2007). Six criteria for evaluating web pages. California State University at Fullerton. http://faculty.fullerton.edu/rclemens/Evaluating%20Websites.pdf

 

Additional Resources

University of California Berkeley Library. (2009). Evaluating web pages: Techniques to apply & questions to ask. http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Evaluate.html