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|Škorić L.; Markulin H.
|THE CHALLENGES OF AN INFODEMIC: THE IMPORTANCE OF INFORMATION AND HEALTH LITERACY AND THE ACTIVE ROLE OF THE CENTRAL MEDICAL LIBRARY; U VRTLOGU INFODEMIJE: VAŽNOST INFORMACIJSKE I ZDRAVSTVENE PISMENOSTI I AKTIVNA ULOGA SREDIŠNJE MEDICINSKE KNJIŽNICE
Škorić L.; Markulin H. THE CHALLENGES OF AN INFODEMIC: THE IMPORTANCE OF INFORMATION AND HEALTH LITERACY AND THE ACTIVE ROLE OF THE CENTRAL MEDICAL LIBRARY; U VRTLOGU INFODEMIJE: VAŽNOST INFORMACIJSKE I ZDRAVSTVENE PISMENOSTI I AKTIVNA ULOGA SREDIŠNJE MEDICINSKE KNJIŽNICE ,Vjesnik Bibliotekara Hrvatske 65 1
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|Purpose. The Covid-19 pandemic confronted the world with an unprecedented health crisis and launched a media infodemic. The changes have occurred in the scientific communication system as well: an endless number of papers have been published, editorial process has been accelerated, research results have become available to the public prior to peer-review, etc. This paper aims to discuss the changes in public and scientific communication and to propose possible solutions for coping with the new information environment. Approach/methodology. The paper examines the concepts of infodemic, infodemiology, information and health literacy. Through a literature review, personal professional experience and examples from library practice, the authors seek to offer practical recommendations. Findings. An overabundance of information of questionable quality cause confusion and fear, leading to distrust in science, health authorities and the government. Strengthening the community’s resistance to misleading and false information requires critical thinking, and increased level of information and health literacy. Libraries can play a significant role in all this, which is shown by practical example of the activities of the Central medical library (CML) of the University of Zagreb School of Medicine. Taking into account the literature review, professional expertise, and experiences gained in this period, the authors propose actions that key stakeholders in the pandemic information system (government, professional institutions, scientists and medical librarians) can take in order to contain the infodemic. Limitations. Examples of the active role of information professionals are based on a single library experience. This is the largest medical library in Croatia, which offers its users both traditional and advanced services, using all available means of communication. In addition, the CML accepted the current crisis as an opportunity for development, expert assessment of new information sources, active cooperation with the parent institution and the Ministry of Health, scientific work but also an outreach towards the community, so it serves as a good example of implementing recommendations into practice. Practical and social applications. The paper provides practical guidelines for health authorities, professional institutions, scientists and medical librarians for coping with the new communication environment. The pandemic affected all aspects of human activities, and containing the infodemic is of particular social importance. Originality/value. The literature review on infodemic, information and health literacy is supplemented by the local context features and practical experiences and recommendations of medical librarians. © 2022, Hrvatsko Knjiznicarsko Drustvo. All rights reserved.