Hospital virtual libraries in Latin America and the Caribbean: A webometric analysis

Macías-Chapula, C.A. and Rodea-Castro, I.P. and Mendoza-Guerrero, J.A. and Gutiérrez-Carrasco, A. Hospital virtual libraries in Latin America and the Caribbean: A webometric analysis., 2005 . In 9th World Congress on Health Information and Libraries, Salvador Bahia (Brasil), 20-23 September 2005. (Unpublished) [Conference paper]


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English abstract

Introduction: Information regarding hospital libraries in the United States, Canada and the European Union abounds. Little information however exists in the literature regarding hospital libraries in Latin America and the Caribbean. While new information and communication technologies (ict) are being transferred from developed to less developed countries and major emphasis is being placed worldwide on quality of health care, evidence based-medicine, and the use of information on the decision process mechanisms in the delivery of health care, little is known about the capability and empowerment of hospitals in less developed countries to respond to such needs. Purpose: The purpose of this work is to present the preliminary results of a research in progress on the existing virtual positioning of electronic libraries among hospitals in Latin America and the Caribbean. Method: A webometric analysis was conducted through the electronic search of those Latin American and Caribbean hospital websites hosting a virtual/electronic library available to their user community via the Internet. The study was limited to a search in Google, HotBot and Yahoo, in 2005. BIREME’s Virtual Health Libraries were excluded from the study, considering the available information on the development of this project. Results: A total of 2,523 hospitals were identified, as reported by 34 Latin American and Caribbean countries. However, only 501(19.85%) hospitals reported an institutional website; 56 (11.18%) stated to have a library; and only 17 (3.39%) owned a virtual/electronic library. These countries were the following in descending order: Mexico, Argentina, and Venezuela. Discussion: These preliminary results reflect the need to continue this work of research in order to establish a diagnosis of the existing situation in terms of infrastructure and ict developments so as to improve the access and use of scientific and technical information among hospitals. The paper discusses both, (1) the important role of BIREME’s effort in developing virtual accesses to health libraries in the region and (2) the different implications of this type of research to information providers; end-users; managers and librarians, among others in the health sector.

Item type: Conference paper
Keywords: Hospitals; Virtual/Electronic libraries; Latin America; Caribbean; Information and Communication Technologies; Research; Webometric analysis; Less Developed Countries
Subjects: B. Information use and sociology of information > BG. Information dissemination and diffusion.
Depositing user: PhD Jose Antonio Mendoza-Guerrero
Date deposited: 24 Oct 2006
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:04


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