Spanning Gaps in Information Services and Resources to Medical Residents

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Objective: To determine if the library resources being utilized most frequently by medical residents correlate to the cost of the resource and the clinical value of the resource. To determine the quality of medical library services provided to residents.

Methods: A survey analysis was conducted of 217 medical residents from the 2005/06 East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine class in surgery, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and pathology with a return rate of 48.4%. Quantitative analysis was performed with the SPSS (v. 14.0 for Windows) software program. The results were expressed in percents in graphical or tabular form. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics (frequencies, mean, median, and mode), and inferential statistics (Mann-Whitney U test and chi-square test.)

Results: The most frequently used resources by residents were Google, PubMed, UptoDate, and free web resources. The resources that were rated with the highest clinical value and rated by at least 25% of the respondents were online journals, InfoRetriever, MDConsult, and the Cochrane databases. When clinical value, frequency of use, and cost were combined, the highest ranking resources were Google, free web resources, PubMed, and Up-ToDate.

Conclusions: As suspected, medical residents heavily use the web for information. Although online journals are expensive, residents highly rate their clinical value. Medical librarians need to frequently measure the resource use patterns of their different patron groups to plan for training and to make wise purchase decisions.


Chicago, IL

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