Michael J. Schott, MS, MLS
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Schott M.; The Informationist. Ann Intern Med. 2001;134:252. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-134-3-200102060-00025
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2001;134(3):252.
TO THE EDITOR:
I commend Davidoff and Florance for their editorial on the future of medical literature access (1). I was a “clinical librarian” for 12 years at a Connecticut hospital, following in the footsteps of such greats as Gertrude Lamb (2). As subsequent studies have shown, rapid delivery of medical information by a trained clinical librarian regularly interacting with physicians has immense practical value to the patient (3-5).
Two points covered in Davidoff and Florance's editorial need to be expanded upon: It is a dirty little secret that hospital libraries are dying. Managed care, health maintenance organizations, cuts in government funding for residency programs, and other trends are destroying support services in hospitals. Medical libraries that made impressive gains in the 1970s and 1980s are fighting for their lives. With the onset of the digital age, information is no longer contained in books. It is contained in the people who are skilled at accessing it. With a laptop computer, a trained librarian can be anywhere in the world and still access great storehouses of information with a few clicks of a mouse. Librarians should not be solely in libraries, which are rapidly becoming temples to static or dead data, but also in boardrooms, on research teams, and at morning report.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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