Below are some helpful consumer health resources selected by College of Dupage Library's Health Science Librarian. The College of DuPage and the C.O.D. Library do not create or control any of these resources, and they will not be held responsible for misuse of information or any adverse effects of recommendations stated in these resources. Health Information should always be discussed with your health care provider, who can interpret it for you and apply it to your individual case.
Locate journal articles, full-text book excerpts, brochures, pamphlets, and book reviews on your consumer health topic by searching C.O.D.'s article databases (online indexes that also contain certain full text materials). You must have a valid College of DuPage library card to access the electronic indexes and databases from off-campus.
C.O.D.'s Health Databases (click for an annotated list of databases and content)
Health-related materials are shelved in the "R" section of libraries that use the Library of Congress classification system. There are two locations for "print" or physical material
(videos or software) consumer health items in the C.O.D. Library: the reference collection and the general stacks.
1. Reference collection:
Reference materials are well indexed, organized, concise, and highly credible. They provide overviews, definitions, specific information or addresses. Types of reference books include: directories, dictionaries and encyclopedias, basic health books (describing diseases and conditions), and drug resources. Since you cannot normally take these materials home, remember that you will have to photocopy, or write down the information that you need. Below are some examples of the types of reference books found in the C.O.D. reference collection.
Some of these resources are designed for consumers (such as the Johns Hopkins or Mayo Clinic health books), some for health students and consumers (the Gale Encyclopedia series), and some for health professionals (Cecil or Harrison's), so the type and level of information differs to suit each audience. Some reference works are available in Spanish language versions.
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
Basic Health Books
Syndromes & Rare Disorders/Diseases
The general collection (located on the upper floor of the C.O.D. Library) has a wide variety of resources (biographies, exercise videos, books and manuals, source books, and textbooks) in many different formats (books, videos, software). The best thing about the general collection is that you can check these items out and take them home!
To watch a brief video clip (approx. 3 1/2 minutes) highlighting the different kinds of materials available in the general collection, follow the link below (please note that originally the intended audience of this clip was library staff, so whenever you hear "clients" and "consumers" mentioned, I'm referring to YOU!):
3. Need help locating health and medical resources in your public or academic library?
Remember that many public libraries use the Dewey Decimal System of classification and that Academic Libraries, like C.O.D., use a combination of letters and numbers called the Library of Congress Classification system.
4. Locate and view useful health & wellness-related videos in the C.O.D. Library collection.
Video results are included in catalog search results. To limit your searches to specific video formats, utilize the limiting features found in the keyword search interface. Library reference staff are available (in-person, or via phone, email, and chat) to assist you locate video resources.
Click here to go to the Consumer Health Internet Sites page
What is health information literacy?
How does literacy level directly impact the health of individuals and annual health care expenditures?
Does the C.O.D. Library have resources for ESL students and individuals that read at lower levels?
How do health consumers search for and use consumer health information?--You'll be surprised!
How can I find and evaluate health information?
Does the C.O.D. Library offer a health and wellness incentive, TLC class on consumer health?
The Medical Library Association (MLA) defines health information literacy as:
"the set of abilities needed to: recognize a health information need; identify likely information sources and use them to retrieve relevant information; assess the quality of the information and its applicability to a specific situation; and analyze, understand, and use the information to make good health decisions."
The College of Dupage Library defines information literacy as:
"the ability to recognize an information need and then to locate, evaluate, and effectively use information from a variety of sources to satisfy the need. The acquisition of information literacy skills contributes to an individual's development as a critical thinker, problem solver, and independent learner." (2002)
According to the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS):
This means that approximately 90 million Americans struggle to read and understand prescription instructions, the labels on medicine bottles, medical appointment slips, informed consent documents, insurance forms, and other health-related literature.
The National Academy on an Aging Society reports that low health literacy skills contribute to higher utilization of health care services and increase annual health care expenditures by $73 Billion . Click here for the full details!
The C.O.D. Library purchases health-related materials for a variety of age and literacy levels. We have books designed for children, teens, adults, seniors, non-English speakers, and English as Second Language users as well as for users with reading levels below the 10th grade level. Our goal is to provide quality resources to all of our users. Consult the reference staff for assistance in finding materials just right for you!
According to a recent Harris Poll about online health care information:
Source: Harris Poll: Internet Provides Public with Health Care Information that They Value and Trust and Which Often Stimulates Discussion Wiith Their Doctors: The Number of Cyberchondriacs (People Looking for Health Information Online) Has Plateaued at a High Level, HarrisInteractive (July 28, 2009). Available: http://news.harrisinteractive.com/profiles/investor/ResLibraryView.asp?BzID=1963&ResLibraryID=34347&Category=1777
Disturbing consumer perceptions and statistics reported by the Pew Internet & American Life Project:
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project: "Online Health Search 2006." October 29, 2006. Available: http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/190/report_display.asp.
How consumers search for and appraise online health information: Eysenbach and K�hler documented the search patterns of 21 individuals seeking health information on the Internet. Participants ranged from nurses to lay people without any formal medical experience or training.
Source: Eysenbach, G., and K�hler, C. "How Do Consumers Search for and Appraise Health Information on the World Wide Web? Qualitative Study Using Focus Groups, Usability Tests, and In-Depth Interviews." BMJ 324(March 9, 2002): 573-6.
Tips to Finding Information on the Internet:
Are you interested in:
Whether you are helping students, patients, community members, or learning how to help yourself or your family find the right kind of health-related information, the C.O.D. Library encourages you to attend this interactive and educational class!
Your WHAT Hurts?!--Finding Quality Health Information
Come to this workshop and learn how to find quality health-related materials to answer your medical needs! Via PowerPoint presentation, live demonstrations and hands-on computer work, explore the variety of consumer health materials available within the C.O.D. Library and on the Internet. This interactive session will help you: formulate search strategies; locate and evaluate health information; familiarize you with print and electronic health resources; and learn how a skilled health information professional can assist you!
Check the TLC Web Site for upcoming class offerings under the Wellness section!
Need help finding information on your specific topic? Call or email me to set up an appointment or to explain what you need (I can often help you via email). Please remember that while I can assist you in finding information and can educate you about locating quality health resources, I cannot diagnose or recommend treatment. I will always refer specific medical questions back to your health care provider. Your questions will be kept in confidence and your privacy will be respected.
Debra J. Kakuk Smith, Associate Professor, Health Science Librarian
(630) 942-4305 SRC 3049
Learn more about Debra...