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Foundations of the Information Sciences

Understanding Healthcare Information



In an age of internet resource guides, which suffer from the malaise of being outdated before they are published, this much-needed publication addresses the information chain in its entirety, offering a timeless method of understanding healthcare information resources.
The author takes a holistic approach in her consideration of healthcare information, with the aim of building an overall understanding of it within the information society. The text analyses the domain of healthcare information, its organizational structures and history, and the nature of its resources and the drivers for change affecting them. It looks at examples of healthcare information resources from the perspective of different user groups, including healthcare professionals and consumers, and goes on to highlight areas of research into healthcare information, including evaluation studies, user and impact studies, bibliometrics, metadata and Web 2.0.
The key areas covered are:

  • the healthcare information domain
  • the history of healthcare and its information environment
  • producers and users of healthcare information
  • healthcare information organization
  • healthcare information sources, services and retrieval
  • healthcare information and knowledge management.

Readership: This book is written primarily for students of library and information science (LIS), studying either at masters or advanced undergraduate level, and also for practising information professionals and specialists who want to develop their knowledge and bring their skills up to date. It will also be of interest to anyone working in the field of library and information science wishing to understand healthcare information, especially public librarians, who are increasingly called on to advise on health resources, as well as anyone interested in 'healthcare literacy'.


  • The healthcare information audience
  • Information science and domain analysis
  • Outline of the book
  • References
  • Further reading
  • Our website

1. The healthcare information domain

  • Introduction
  • Nature of the discipline
  • Nature of healthcare knowledge
  • Structures and institutions
  • Drivers for change
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Further reading

2. History of healthcare and its information environment

  • Introduction
  • The ancient world
  • The classical world
  • The medieval world
  • Renaissance and Enlightenment
  • The 19th century to the present day
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Further reading

3. Producers and users of healthcare information

  • Introduction
  • Producers of healthcare information
  • Users of healthcare information
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Further reading

4. Healthcare information organization

  • Introduction
  • Organizing healthcare information: overview
  • Dictionaries and glossaries
  • Classifications and taxonomies
  • Subject headings and thesauri
  • Meta-vocabularies
  • Abstracting and indexing of healthcare information
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Further reading

5. Healthcare information sources, services and retrieval

  • Introduction
  • Primary sources
  • Secondary sources
  • Tertiary sources
  • Quaternary sources
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Further reading

6. Healthcare information and knowledge management

  • Introduction
  • Healthcare libraries and information services
  • Managing healthcare information
  • Providing healthcare information
  • Standards, evaluation and impact
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Further reading


  • Keeping up to date

Lyn Robinson is Programme Director for Library and Information Science at City University London. She is author of numerous papers and published presentations, and has written two books, including Facet's Introduction to Information Science

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