Consumer Resources

As we continue our discussion of the definitions of 2.0 and user-generated content (UGC), I thought I’d highlight some other buzzwords and link to a few consumer-oriented resources.

I still trust librarians to help me judge information sources, so my first set of links are to articles that first appeared in The Journal of the Medical Library Association (and now appear on PubMed’s lovely full-text archive).

First, JMLA’s reviews of Healia and Medstory, two “vertical” search engines (meaning they aggregate and organize only health-related information). There are many more vertical search engines, but I couldn’t find any journal reviews for them — please leave a comment if you have a search site you like!

Second, a JMLA article about Electronic Book Search, a service of the Health Sciences Library System at the University of Pittsburgh (an example of a “federated” search engine, meaning they enable searches of multiple collections, not just one). Google, Yahoo, and Ask are all working on federated search (as are some smaller start-ups) so keep your eye out for more “federated” sites.

Third, Consumer Reports WebWatch has created a virtual toolkit for e-patients who are wondering how to choose between the myriad ratings, lists, and guides related to health information online, but I’m most interested to see how their new Full Frontal Scrutiny project develops since it touches on a concept that should be a buzzword: authenticity.


Posted in: positive patterns





6 Responses to “Consumer Resources”

  1. Susannah Fox says:

    Since I called PubMed “lovely” in the above post, I feel duty-bound to link to a paper I just read about on “How Do Users Find Things with PubMed?” The authors’ answer: Not easily.

    Essentially, in a Google-dominated world, people are growing impatient with search results that don’t immediately deliver what they need. PubMed is tuned for medical librarians, not doctors or patients, and the authors argue for a change in strategy.

    Read the full PDF (skip the abstract unless you’re a human-computer interaction scholar):

  2. I understand that people may have difficulties finding information in PubMed but it remains the crown jewel that made of what ACOR does possible. It is the number one tools to verify the authenticity of people’s claim regarding any unusual treatment. If PubMed was not opened to us we would never have been able to “out” publicly any of the snake oil salesmen or the promoters of whacky treatments (those without any scientific validation).

    PubMed is, to me, one of the greatest gifts the American government has made to humanity.

  3. Susannah Fox says:

    I’m sure the authors would agree — I think they just want to polish up the jewel!

  4. Susannah Fox says:

    This just in! There is an alternative to the PubMed interface:

    Or try this one:

    And if you really want to get into it, subscribe to this MedlinePlus newsletter:

    (Thanks again to Gary Price of for these tips.)

  5. Thank you for this information. :)

  6. Susan Rose says:

    I love my Kindle! I have six bookcases full of books in my home! I love to read and to share my books with others, however, I was running out of space to store more. So I decided to try a Kindle. It is wonderful! The downloads are easy and quick. I can change the font size with the touch of a button, so as I get older, my Kindle print can change with my eyesight. Also, I really like having the dictionary included in the Kindle. Too often I have read a word of which I was not sure of the definition. It is so easy to move the cursor to the word and have the definition immediately! I even like the word to text for when I have to stop reading to fix dinner – I can keep reading! I have told many friends and complete strangers I have seen in restaurants and Starbucks about the Kindle. I know I have at least three friends who have purchased the Kindle following my demo. They all love it!

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