9º World Congress on Health Information and Libraries

Salvador, Bahia - Brazil, September, 20 to 23 - 2005


4th Regional Coordination Meeting of the VHL

September, 19 to 20 - 2005

P17 - Virtual Health Libraries as potential disseminators of information for the society

Introduction: Educative materials directed to the prevention of illnesses and accidents have been created by diverse institutions on their own and may be found scattered through a variety of media, without the necessary evaluation of their scope, in terms of contents and target audience. The effort of mapping these materials and its dissemination via the Internet may allow, besides a better access to such information for the general population, an analysis of the most frequently mentioned subjects, highlighting the main gaps to be addressed and filled in. The virtual health libraries play an important role in such field, due to their auspicious environment, fostering the dissemination of information and congregating professionals with the necessary skills to evaluate materials and to formulate new research and working scenarios.
Objective: To foster the inclusion in the virtual health libraries of a space dedicated to the education for a larger audience, disseminating educative materials produced by d ifferent institutions in diverse formats.
Methodology: To use the Virtual Toxicology Library – currently, under development – and its space dedicated to the general public as a dynamic billboard aiming to promote a comprehensive perspective, encompassing as many people as possible and paving the way for other virtual health libraries.
Results: The Virtual Toxicology Library already comprises 28 materials discussing how to prevent poisonings caused by diverse toxic agents such as medicines, agricultural pesticides, household products, chemical products, rodenticides, drugs of abuse, toxic plants, and venomous animals, remembering those issues have been selected due to their full availability in the digital format. However, an analysis of the materials produced by different institutions points to a great concentration of materials addressing again and again the same subjects, e.g. venomous animals and toxic plants, leaving aside key issues.
Conclusion: Beyond the dissemination of avail able material, reaching a larger audience, the present initiative will advance analyses of the existing gaps, incorporating new subjects to be developed, using different formats, benefiting even those who do not have access to the Internet.