Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1998 Jan; 86(1): 95-100.
Information on alternative medicine: a collection management issue.
School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Collection management of library materials about alternative medicine may be a growing problem for librarians because differing views exist regarding the acceptability of this information in a public forum. The purpose of the study reported was to investigate possible differences in the views of physicians, medical students, and librarians regarding the availability of information about alternative medicine for both medical students and the general public. Interviews were conducted with two representatives from each group, all of whom are affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at The University of British Columbia or its library. The study was exploratory in nature, conducted in part to determine whether a larger research project in this area should be mounted. The data revealed considerable differences in opinion about alternative medicine: the librarians were more hesitant about the acceptability of radical or revolutionary materials, particularly those containing information that could result in direct harm to a patient. The physicians and medical students were more confident than the librarians that traditional medical treatment (and therefore information about it) should always be paramount.