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|Wikipedia: an unexplored resource for understanding consumer health information behaviour in library and information science scholarship
Smith D.A. Wikipedia: an unexplored resource for understanding consumer health information behaviour in library and information science scholarship,Journal of Documentation 78 3
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|Purpose: To date, health information behaviour (HIB) models have not been applied to an exploration of Wikipedia as a consumer health information resource. Wikipedia has been situated and is well established as a valuable resource for the general layperson wishing to learn more about their health or the health of a loved one. This paper aims to identify an approach to exploring the role of Wikipedia in consumer health information behaviour (CHIB) that is grounded in a conceptual framework from the library and information science (LIS) discipline. Design/methodology/approach: The author draws on current HIB models and relevant theories from existing LIS literature and applies them to propose a new definition of CHIB. The author uses this definition to frame Wikipedia as an unexplored consumer health information resource in the LIS scholarship and suggests future directions for placing such investigations within a conceptual framework from LIS. Findings: The paper finds that Longo's expanded conceptual model of health information-seeking behaviour (ECMHISB) could be valuable and useful for the exploration of CHIB in relation to Wikipedia's health and medical content. Due to Wikipedia's online nature, research framed by these models must acknowledge and take under consideration the digital divide phenomenon and various factors that influence an individual's place within it. Research limitations/implications: This work builds a foundation upon which future research into the role of Wikipedia's health and medical content in CHIB can be grounded. Using Longo's model, future research might provide insight into who Wikipedia is helping and who it has left behind. LIS scholars, practicing health librarians and perhaps health workers stand to gain a deeper understanding of the potential influence of Wikipedia's health information on its consumers. Originality/value: For LIS scholars, this paper is novel in the fact that a HIB model has not yet been applied to the study of Wikipedia's health content. This paper provides a foundation for this research. © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.