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Health information literacy and higher education: The King's College London approach

Margaret Haines (Information Services and Systems, King's College London, UK)
Gary Horrocks (Information Services and Systems, King's College London, UK)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 1 January 2006




The Information Services and Systems Department at King's College London addresses information literacy in a variety of ways. This paper will review all these approaches and discuss future plans. Design/methodology/approach A descriptive paper describing a three part model of good practice for promoting health information literacy: through training delivered as part of the taught undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum; through the iGrad programme aimed at research students; and through work with the Personnel department, developing staff knowledge and information competencies via TrainIT, a suite of IT and information retrieval courses.


That the model described is robust but faces future challenges: for example, the challenge of sheer growth in student numbers and widening participation initiatives, the need to re‐model the curriculum to involve more online learning and to centre around clinical scenarios, the challenge of optimising the relationship between the National Health Service (NHS) and higher education (HE) sectors.

Research limitations/implications

In particular, the models of assessment used and analysis of future challenges present potential for further research analysis.

Practical implications

This paper offers many practice‐based examples of how to enhance levels of health information literacy.


The well developed methods of promoting information literacy outlined in this paper are worthy of note by practitioners both within and beyond the health information field.



Haines, M. and Horrocks, G. (2006), "Health information literacy and higher education: The King's College London approach", Library Review, Vol. 55 No. 1, pp. 8-19.



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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited