Editorials

How Google is changing medicine

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7531.1487 (Published 22 December 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1487
  1. Dean Giustini, UBC biomedical branch librarian (giustini@interchange.ubc.ca)
  1. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1

    A medical portal is the logical next step

    What a remarkable year it has been for those of us monitoring changes in the global information landscape. Since last Christmas, there has been a flurry of activity: the digitisation of the world's libraries began in earnest (despite the copyright fracas); open access publishing gained much-needed support internationally (especially in science and medicine); and Google, MSN Search, and Yahoo introduced a number of customisation tools for desktops and mobiles, podcasts, blogs, and video searches.1 2

    Google's influence and power is writ large in the search field—so large that librarians are asking themselves some difficult questions. With all of this technology and freely available digital information, what will happen to physical libraries? Google's mission is to provide access to the world's information—but this is librarians'mission too. Will they be needed in the new information age?3

    For all the benefits technology provides, it does provoke anxiety. In a recent letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, a New York rheumatologist describes a scene at rounds where a professor asked the …

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