Free or Low Cost Health Information: Sources for Printed Materials on 512 Topics

Don Lanier (University of Illinois at Chicago/Rockford)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 1 June 2000



Lanier, D. (2000), "Free or Low Cost Health Information: Sources for Printed Materials on 512 Topics", Collection Building, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 78-80.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Free or Low Cost Health Information is one of several similar publications produced by Smallwood to assist teachers, librarians, and the consumer with directory‐type information. This book can help locate a variety of printed information, free or costing less than US$15. The 512 topics include the very basic and the specialized. Topic examples include sex education, immunization, vitamins, first aid, nutrition, drug abuse, pregnancy, hepatitis. Each entry under each topic provides the name of the source/organization, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers; TDD/TTY telephone numbers are given when appropriate. This information is followed by a description of the printed sources available. While each topical entry has at least one source identified for further information, some entries include many sources/organizations for such information. The subject index includes both the sources and the topics as well as helpful cross references.

The organizations and sources of information compiled by Smallwood are similar to those available in other directories of this type – although scope, arrangement, emphasis, and intended audience vary. Among several other useful printed directories are Detwiler’s Directory of Health and Medical Resources (1998), the AMA Health Care Almanac (1998), The Self‐Help Sourcebook (1998), and the Physician’s Guide to Rare Diseases (1995). The fact that Smallwood includes a description of specific kinds of printed information available from the organizations is perhaps most helpful to teachers and consumers. The Encyclopedia of Associations also identifies some specific publications for its more comprehensive listing of sources.

While printed directory information of this sort is still helpful, one has to wonder about its utility and durability in the electronic information age. The cost is not insignificant – particularly when one considers that similar information is available from Internet Web sites.

Among the Web sites with similar information are HealthAtoZ (http://www. and the University of Connecticut Health Center’s Consumer Health Resources on the Internet (http://www3.uchc. edu/ uchclib/departm/hnet/inters.html). Free or Low Cost Health Information is a valuable compilation of sources for specific free and low‐cost health information for its intended audience – including school and public libraries. Others would probably want to spend their time and money on more comprehensive online sources for this kind of information.

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