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Identifying health information needs of senior online communities users: a text mining approach

Yuxing Qian (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China) (Center for Studies of Information Resources, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China) (Big Data Institute, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Wenxuan Gui (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China) (Center for Studies of Information Resources, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 8 December 2020

Issue publication date: 6 January 2021

999

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify the health information needs of senior online communities (SOCs) users, which could provide a basis for improving senior health information services.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 14,933 health-related posts in the two most popular senior online communities (Yinling and Keai) in China are crawled as a corpus. Based on the results of word frequency analysis, text classification is performed based on two aspects: medical systems (Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine) and topics. The health information needs of SOCs users are revealed from the composition, growth trends and popularity of health information. Finally, some key points of senior health information services are discussed.

Findings

The health information needs of senior users can be divided into four types: coping with aging, dietary nutrition, physical exercise and mental health. These needs are comprehensive and involve a variety of health issues. Users are mainly concerned with physical health issues. In terms of medical systems, the number of Western medicine posts is relatively larger, whereas traditional Chinese medicine appears more in posts on coping with aging and physical exercise. The health information needs of SOCs users are in a stable status. Both the medical systems and topics could have an impact on the popularity of health information, but the number of posts is inconsistent with the level of popularity.

Originality/value

This study combines multiple perspectives to identify the health information needs of seniors in China with a comprehensive overview.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 71661167007 and 71420107026).

Citation

Qian, Y. and Gui, W. (2021), "Identifying health information needs of senior online communities users: a text mining approach", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 73 No. 1, pp. 5-24. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-02-2020-0057

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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