Do your patrons look for health information on not so credible websites? Are they asking for the latest diet or weight loss books? Are they fans of celebrity doctors who have their own TV show or website? Do they follow celebrities who like to provide their fans with ‘professional’ health information? Do you cringe inside when they specifically request such items? It can be a teachable moment to provide some evaluation tips during the reference interaction. In addition, consider providing this information by the computers or as a handy bookmark.
Do all websites or publications need to meet all these criteria to be reliable sources of information? No, but the more that are met the more your patrons can trust them.
The ABCs of website evaluation can be used without permission to create table tents, bookmarks, signs to keep your patrons aware of the quality of the health information they are accessing.
This method of evaluating health information uses straightforward and plain language which your patrons might find easier to remember. Trust It or Trash It was developed by the Access to Credible Genetics Resource Network, a cooperative agreement funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More detailed information is provided on the website but the basics are listed here.
The information is also provided in Spanish. Unless noted, the content on the website is under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.