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Vol. 1, No. 2, October 1998
Welcome to the second issue of CHRC News. In this issue you will find new information
on how to contact us, the CHRC training schedule, a CHRC FAQ and the first profile in a
new series about Massachusetts libraries which provide consumer health information.
CHRC IN REALITY, NOT CYBERSPACE!
The CHRC is coming to a site near you. Find
out more about CHRC’s services and about
health reference information at one of the
? Oct. 15. 9:30am-12:30pm. Metrowest
RLS, 135 Beaver St., Waltham.
? Oct. 26. 9:30am-12:30pm. Boston
Public Library Copley Sq., Boston. Rm.
? Oct. 28. 9:30am-12:30pm. Central
Mass. RLS, 8 Flagg Rd., Shrewsbury.
? Nov. 10. 10:00am-1:00pm. Mercy
Hospital, DeLesio Conference Center,
Medical Staff Conference Rm., 271
Carew St., Springfield (413-748-9050)
? Dec. 9. 10:00am-1:00pm. Bridgewater
State College, Moakley Center,
? Dec. 11. 10.00am-1.00pm. Memorial
Hall Library, Elm Square, Andover.
Learn about the librarian’s role in providing
consumer health information; rediscover basic
consumer health resources in print and on the
internet; share tips and techniques for the
health reference interview; discuss evaluation
and selection of resources; and find out what
the CHRC, your regional reference center and
BPL can do for you.
No pre-registration is required and all
workshops are free to staff from regional
member libraries. Attendees may receive three
Professional Development points for
Directions to the workshops will be posted on
the MLIN web site at least two weeks prior to
the date of the workshop:
If you have questions about the workshops
contact: Marlene Heroux at the MBLC at:
CHRC CONTACT INFORMATION
Please note our new email address:
Sorry, Wrong Number!
If you are having difficulty getting through on
the toll free number, 1- 877-MEDI REF, check
with your switchboard operator to see whether
they have 877 numbers programmed into the
switchboard. Since the 877 and 888 numbers
are fairly new toll free numbers, some
organizations haven’t yet done the necessary
programming. If you cannot get through, call
617-726-8600 and ask for the Reference Desk.
CONSUMER HEALTH REFERENCE
CENTER HOME PAGE NOW
The new CHRC web page includes
information about CHRC services, links to
MLIN and our newsletter, CHRC News.
However, what we hope you will find most
useful is the Internet Resources section
which links to many consumer health internet
resources chosen for their authority and
Here is a quick tour of that section which
contains links to sites on the following topics:
? Choosing Health Care Providers: includes
the American Board of Medical
Specialties; the American Medical
Association Physician Select service,
which provides information on virtually all
licensed physicians in the U.S.,
Massachusetts Medical Society’s Physician
Referral Service and the Massachusetts
Board of Registration in Medicine database
of physician profiles.
? Diseases, Disorders & General Health
Information: Major Resources - Thirteen
sites that cover a range of medical
information, including the American
Medical Association, NOAH, Dr. Koop’s
Community, and Healthfinder from the
U.S. government. A couple of our
favorites are the National Health
Information Center (http://nhic-
nt.health.org/) -- check out the Health
Information Resource Database -- and
information on diseases and disorders,
written by board certified specialists.
? Diseases, Disorders & General Health
Information: Specific Resources:
Resources by topic, including AIDS,
Alzheimer’s Disease, Alternative
Medicine, Arthritis, Cancer, Children’s
Health, Women’s Health, Disability and
Rehabilitation, Dental Health, Drug
Information, Diabetes, Genetics and Rare
Disorders, Heart Disease, Mental Health,
? HealthNews: a number of sites for
checking news reports including the
excellent Biomedicine and Health in the
? Massachusetts Info: Massachusetts health
information sites - help us expand this one.
See “Wanted: Massachusetts Health
? Medical Journals: Another favorite,
tracks the literature of 22 top medical
journals concerned with clinical topics.
Each topic page from WebMedLit also
links to relevant news stories from PR
? MEDLINE: Free Medline from the
National Library of Medicine. Choose
either the PubMed or Internet Grateful
Med interface - or save time, and contact
us for a quick search of the medical
? Non-English Language & Health Literacy
Resources: Here you will find
predominantly Spanish language resources
from a variety of organizations.
? Organizations, Support Groups and Toll
Free Numbers: Includes links to national
specialty societies such as the American
College of Cardiology and the American
Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, many
of which make their patient education
materials available from their web sites.
? For Librarians: Some online collection
development tools include core
bibliographies for consumer health from
HealthNet in Connecticut and the
Consumer & Patient Health Information
Section (CAPHIS) of the Medical Library
If you have comments or suggestions for the
CHRC web page please tell us.
Phone: 1-877-MEDI REF
WANTED: MASSACHUSETTS HEALTH
Are you a librarian at a Massachusetts health
organization? Do you have a web site? If you
answered “Yes!’ to both these questions we
want to hear from you!
We want to develop the Massachusetts
Information section of the CHRC home page
to include the web sites of as many
Massachusetts health organizations as
possible. Currently this section includes:
? AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts
? Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts
? Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of
Registration in Medicine
? Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Executive Office of Health & Human
? Massachusetts Association of HMO's
? Massachusetts Dental Society
? Massachusetts Department of Public
? Massachusetts Health Promotion
? Massachusetts Health Web
? Massachusetts Hospital and Health
? Massachusetts Medical Society
? Massachusetts Prevention Centers
If you want to be added to this list or if you
want to recommend a Massachusetts web site,
please send the web site address to:
Phone: 1-877-MEDI REF
MASSACHUSETTS MODELS - NEW
This is the first in a new series of profiles of
libraries throughout Massachusetts which
provide consumer health information.
Jeanette Hudson, librarian at the
Community Health Library at UMass
Memorial Health Care in Worcester,
describes her model of service with its focus
on serving individuals. The Community
Health Library is a member of the Central
Massachusetts Regional Library System.
The Community Health Library
What could be more individual than one’s
health? Since 1993, the Community Health
Library at UMass Memorial Health Care in
Worcester has responded to the individual
health concerns of its patrons. While our
primary mission is to serve patients and
families at UMass Memorial, we are also open
to the public in the greater Worcester area.
The Library Collection
The library holds more than 1500 books, 200
videotapes and 100 audiotapes. Selection
decisions are based on direct response to the
approximately 150 reference queries received
each month. We record the subject of each
reference query and ask patrons to specify
their interests and concerns on their
registration forms. The results are collated,
checked against the library holdings and
purchases are made according to need areas
not addressed by the current collection. It is
notable that we rarely receive requests for
“typical” patient education materials
(overviews, fact sheets, brochures, etc.)
The dynamic nature of health information
requires frequent evaluation for currency.
Items older than three years are targeted for
weeding, but new research may change
medical practices more frequently. Staff
regularly consults medical news to ensure that
the collection reflects current practices.
Roughly half of reference requests are made
by telephone and information is mailed to the
patron. In addition to our print reference
collection, our resources include OVID
databases with 45 titles in full text, OCLC
FirstSearch, IAC Health Reference Center
(HRC) provided courtesy of MLIN, a file of
about 200 reliable health information web
sites, and a subscription to the NORD
(National Organization for Rare Disorders)
Our collection of health newsletters, journals
and magazines supports the IAC HRC index.
In general, we subscribe to publications which
are indexed on HRC but not available in full
Patron Privacy and the Need for Easy Access
Not everyone feels comfortable discussing
one’s bowels with a stranger. In order to make
materials accessible to the independent
researcher, the library collection has just been
converted from an in-house classification
system to LC. We take liberties with our
subject headings and add headings which
match terms used by our patrons. Besides
facilitating patron independence, this will
position our library for networking
opportunities with other libraries.
Most of our internet-able patrons report
frustration in trying to locate specific
information on web sites. In response, we have
designed an in-house Community Health
Library home page which features links to
actual documents and articles on diseases and
The Future of Community Health Information
As health care consumers, we are increasingly
called upon to make decisions about our own
health. Reliable health information is the best
possible resource available to us. The
Community Health Library strives to provide
health information which addresses the unique
concerns of individuals.
Jeanette Hudson, Community Health Library,
UMass Memorial Health Care, 119 Belmont
Street, Worcester, MA 01605.
Mon.- Wed. 10:00am - 4:00pm
Thursday 10:00am - 6:00pm
Friday 10:00am - 4:00pm
Tel: 508-793-6104 Fax: 508-793-6527
IS IT ALL GREEK TO YOU?
“Deciphering Medspeak”-- A new brochure
for consumers offering relief from chronic
misunderstandings, has been produced by the
Medical Library Association ( MLA). Its aim
is to help people understand “medspeak”, the
specialized language of health care
professionals. Included are common medical
terms and abbreviations -- so “what difference
does it make if your doctor’s handwriting isn’t
legible. It might mean the difference between
ap and AP!” (ap = ante prandium, before
dinner; AP = ante-partum, before childbirth.)
The brochure is available in quantities of 50
for $10.00. Send requests via e-mail to Tomi
Gunn (email@example.com) or by regular mail
Medical Library Association
6 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60602-4805
Tel: 312-419-9094; fax: 312-419-8950
The entire brochure can be previewed in a
series of panel-by-panel images on the MLA
http://www.mlanet.org. An html version will
be available soon.
A TIP FROM CHRC
Have you ever wanted to find reviews of
consumer health books without flipping
through numerous issues of Library Journal or
similar publications? With your access to the
InfoTrac SearchBank databases you can use a
variety of databases, including Health
Reference Center database and General
Reference Center (Magazine Index) to search
for book reviews. We use General Reference
Center because it has more reviews than
Health Reference Center.
To find reviews of books about prostate
? Select the General Reference Center
database and choose the Power Trac
? Pull down the index menus and select Title
(ti) then type “book reviews” in the search
? Now, type “prostate cancer” in the search
? Combine the two as shown below.
This search can be further limited by using the
date index or specifying a particular journal
using the journal index. You can also search
for particular titles or subjects.
Be careful with Author searches as Infotrac
searches for the author of the book review and
NOT the author of the book.
You can also find reviews of videos by
searching for “video reviews” in the title.
Here are answers to some of the most
common questions we have received since
the CHRC opened. Please feel free to
contact us if you have other questions about
Q. Can members of the public use the
CHRC or contact the CHRC by
A. The CHRC is a mediated reference
service, meaning that we answer questions
from librarians only. Contact us on behalf
of your users, but please do not refer your
users to us directly. If a member of the
public does contact us directly we will refer
them back to their local library or to Boston
Q. When should I contact the CHRC?
A. You should contact us when you, the
librarian, have determined that your user’s
question cannot be answered by local or
regional resources. Local and regional
resources may include your Regional
Reference Center and Boston Public Library.
Q. Is document delivery a CHRC
A. The CHRC is a reference service so we
do not provide document delivery.
However, you may request copies of journal
articles through Boston Public Library’s
Journal Document Delivery service. Journal
articles requested through BPL are provided
free of charge.
Q. If I contact the CHRC with a question
what kind of response should I expect?
A. You should expect an initial response
within 24 business hours. After that it
depends on the question--
? find a journal article or pages from a
textbook that answers the question. If we
do, we will fax (or mail, if preferred) the
article or pages to you.
? do a quick literature search and send you
a list of citations or a list of citations
? refer you to another resource, such as an
organization or association.
? identify a web site that answers the
question and give you the address.
We will also tell you where we found the
information, because librarians always want
to know “how did you find it?”
Q. What kind of questions does the
A. The CHRC answers any questions
concerned with consumer health. They may
include information on drug interactions,
surgical procedures, treatment and therapies,
diseases and disorders.
Q. Are there any queries that should not
be referred to CHRC?
A. Queries that require information or
answers for school reports or queries that are
not health related should not be referred to
CHRC Contact Information
Tel: 1-877-MEDI-REF (1-877-633-4733)
Consumer Health Reference Center
Bartlett Hall Extension 1
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 02114.