Digital Libraries Network is for health librarians and trainers in the UK, interested in promotion and training.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

FUTON (Full Text On The Net) bias

I'm planning a new training course about full text journals and electronic tables of contents, to help meet the needs of our large numbers of remote users. I'm a bit concerned about users relying on full text rather than doing comprehensive searches in Medline etc. so any participants will have to have had "searching" training before they can attend.

I wanted to say something memorable to warn participants of the dangers of full text bias and my Line Manager mentioned a more evocative name for the concept, "FUTON bias", as proposed by Reinhard Wentz in a letter to the Lancet (Vol. 360, October 19, 2002, p. 1256).

Medpundit, another blog, commented: "Can’t you just see the medical students and junior staff sitting at home on their futons, relaxing to their favourite music or watching television while doing their medical research? Much better than sitting in a stuffy medical library pouring over Index Medicus" (www.medpundit.blogspot.com/2002_10_13_medpundit_archive.html).

So, FUTON bias it is then!

Natasha Davies


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