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Everyone:

> Reinhard Wentz has described exactly the situation we often encounter.
> The younger the person (usually medical student), the more likely they
> not only want just a Medline, but only those articles that have the full
> text electronically.  They are always unhappy with our suggestion of a
> textbook when they complain that a Medline produces articles that are
> too specific, not a "good overview".
>
> At least we know this is an international phenomenon!

My guess is that any of us who work with the public have encountered this
phenomenon.  Here is one tactic I've used which seems to help sometimes.

The patron will say that they're looking for information on, say,
hepatitis.  Of course among other things I ask if they could be a little
more specific.  In that case you can usually get them to say which type,
but if they're consumers they may not know that.

If they keep on insisting that they want to know "everything there is"
about the disease, I don't discuss it anymore right then.  I go into Ovid
MEDLINE, open up the latest subset (98-01 at this time), type in hep C or
whatever, and get back a bejillion hits.  At this point their eyes glaze
over and they start to think about what they REALLY want to know about hep
C.

But it's true that some of them just don't want to use books anymore, so
unglamorous.

The other related problem that we have, is that our faculty don't really
know the most efficient and appropriate ways to incorporate all the
electronic media now available to us.  They will tell their students that
they HAVE to find it on the Web when that's not going to work, or that
they HAVE to use journal articles when the Web would actually be much more
efficient, or whatever.

They tell students to go to our new journal shelves, which contain ONLY
issues received during the last week, and tell them to pick out a journal
they like and look at the table of contents and pick an article that
appeals to them and write a paper on it.  This is "research"?  NOT!!!  I
try to get the students to let me show them how to look for articles but
many of them don't want to take the time, even though it would save them
countless hours as they progress in their careers.

--Cathy


Catherine L. Wolfson                        Health Sciences Library
Information Services Librarian              University of Arizona
[log in to unmask]                   1501 N. Campbell Ave.
Tel:  520-626-2927                          P.O. Box 245079
Fax:  520-626-2922                          Tucson, AZ  85724-5079