To the Editor: I was interested in the in-depth article by Lissman and Boehnlein, "A Critical Review of Internet Information About Depression" (1). From their study, they concluded that "high-quality and accurate medical information on the Internet is needed." On the surface this may appear to be so. However, there are many excellent Internet resources that yield substantial information on depression, which the authors failed to mention.
With the proliferation of information resources on the Internet, it can be overwhelming for consumers and clinicians to find the information they need. Lissman and Boehnlein acknowledge that searching for information on the Internet is not a straightforward, easy endeavor. Over the past year, I have taught more than 90 classes on searching the Internet, and the complexities of searching are very evident. The authors point out some of the difficulties one encounters.
It is regrettable that the authors did not consult a librarian to assist them in their research. Librarians have recognized and mastered the intricacies of searching the Web. Librarians have contributed to the development of health information guides on the Internet, which have helped health care professionals and consumers find the information they need. Excellent examples include MEDLINEPlus, NOAH (New York Online Access to Health), and the Canadian Health Network.
Several Web sites focus on mental health, including the "Public Information" section of the American Psychiatric Association's Web site and the Web site of the National Institute of Mental Health. In addition, many public libraries have Web sites with links to reviewed health Web sites. Librarians also provide Internet training in many different venues. It is truly unfortunate that in their concluding remarks, Lissman and Boehnlein made no reference to these types of sites, nor did they suggest consulting a librarian.
Ms. Gagnon is the librarian at Mental Health Services at the Providence Continuing Care Centre in Kingston, Ontario.