What criteria do consumer health librarians use to develop library collections? A phenomenological study

Janet Papadakos, Aileen Trang, David Wiljer, Chiara Cipolat Mis, Alaina Cyr, Audrey Jusko Friedman, Mauro Mazzocut, Michelle Snow, Valeria Raivich, Pamela Catton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The criteria for determining whether resources are included in consumer health library collections are summarized in institutional collection development policies (CDPs). Evidence suggests that CDPs do not adequately capture all of these criteria. The aim of this study was to describe the resource review experience of librarians and compare it to what is described in CDPs. Methods: A phenomenological approach was used to explore and describe the process. Four consumer health librarians independently evaluated cancerrelated consumer health resources and described their review process during a semi-structured telephone interview. Afterward, these librarians completed online questionnaires about their approaches to collection development. CDPs from participating libraries, interview transcripts, and questionnaire data were analyzed. Researchers summarized the findings, and participating librarians reviewed results for validation. Results: Librarians all utilized similar criteria, as documented in their CDPs; however, of thirteen criteria described in the study, only four were documented in CDPs. Conclusions: CDPs for consumer health libraries may be missing important criteria that are considered integral parts of the collection development process. Implications: A better understanding of the criteria and contextual factors involved in the collection development process can assist with establishing high-quality consumer health library collections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Medical Library Association
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine(all)


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