Medical Library Association's Trusted Web List
February 23, 2011
A test of the health literacy of 28 students from two universities reveals that young people who have grown up in the Internet age do not always access the best information.
Kim Smith, an assistant professor of journalism at North Carolina A&T State University-Greensboro, asked students: "If a friend or loved one acquired HIV/AIDS, where would you go on the Internet to find information?" Nearly all the students typed "HIV and AIDS" into Google or Yahoo and were overwhelmed by the results. "They would just sit there in shock, like ?What the heck do I do with this?'" he said of the roughly 24 million hits that the search returned.
Ninety percent of the students, though confident in their investigational prowess, failed to utilize Google's clearly marked "advanced search" option to narrow results. "Without the skills to properly search for and evaluate the information, most students chose the top five links that appeared," said Smith. "Students expressed no concern over whether the information they were reading ... came from authoritative sources." Only one of the websites accessed was Medical Library Association (MLA) at www.mlanet.org/resources/userguide.html.
The following list is recommended by MLA for HIV/AIDS-related searches:
Add Your Comment:
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read TheBody.com's Comment Policy.)