If information is on the Internet it must be true, right? WRONG!
When I first started searching on the Internet, I was amazed that anyone could put something up there for the world to read. This became quite apparent, early on, when I searched for endangered species in Hawaii and came up with information posted by a fourth grade class in Hawaii. Would I use it, would I trust it? No, of course not. Librarians are trained to evaluate sources, and I needed something with an imprimateur of scholasticism. Fourth grade homework is not happening!
Trustworthy information is of the utmost importance when it comes to medical matters. Any quack can put up a website and dispense inaccurate or even dangerous misinformation. You can find hundreds of examples of shady websites that are eager to take your money for worthless products.
Although the library continues to buy reliable books on health topics, they become rapidly out of date. According to accepted library practices, no book on medical topics should remain on the shelf if it is more than five years old. Unfortunately, the library simply does not have the funds to constantly purchase new books on dozens of medical topics to replace out-dated ones. So, where do you go when you need up-to-the-minute medical information? Doctors can be too busy, and pharmacists, while they are excellent sources for medication, cannot answer other medical questions.
My go-to source is Medline Plus, and I heartily recommend it. It is a goldmine of good health information from the world's largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine. Medline Plus is an on-line database produced by the federal government. Unlike WebMd, they do not accept advertising, so they are unbiased. You can use MedlinePlus to learn about the latest treatments, look up information on a drug or supplement, find out the meanings of words, or view medical videos or illustrations. You can also get links to the latest medical research on your topic or find out about clinical trials on a disease or condition. It is continually updated, and they date their entries, so you know how fresh that information is. You can access it through our database listing, or type in www.nih.gov . Take advantage of this wonderful free source and you will agree, it is far better than Google.