Combating Online Health Misinformation: A Professional’s Guide to Helping the Public

Rowman & Littlefield. Sept. 2022. 246p. ed. by Alla Keselman & others. ISBN 9781538162194. $120. PRO MEDIA
COVID, the political climate, and the pervasive use of online resources and social media have created an environment of distrust and unbelief in science and evidence-based medical information. This handbook, edited by Keselman (engagement and training, National Lib. of Medicine; Consumer Health Informatics), Catherine Arnott Smith (Information Sch., Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison; Consumer Health Informatics), and Amanda J. Wilson (engagement and training, National Lib. of Medicine) with contributions from academics and medical librarians, provides information about the roots of this problem and methods to combat it. The book has three parts. The first focuses on definitions, noting that misinformation is explicitly false while disinformation is a deliberate attempt to mislead. The authors discuss the ecology of misinformation and the major role of social media in disseminating it. Part two covers professional practice and how healthcare professionals, educators, and community workers encounter misinformation as they work. The authors emphasize the importance of teaching young people critical thinking so that they can evaluate sources and use social media effectively to get reliable information to the public. Part three examines community engagement, focusing on how public libraries can teach about misinformation and offer tools and techniques for finding reliable, evidence-based information.
VERDICT A well-researched and useful resource for librarians providing health and medical information to the public.
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