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Injury prevention in the information age: the Injury and Violence Prevention Library
  1. Andrea Craig,
  2. Robin Tremblay-McGaw,
  3. Elizabeth McLoughlin
  1. Trauma Foundation/ San Francisco Injury Center, San Francisco General Hospital, Building 1, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Andrea Craig (e-mail: acraig{at}

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Injury control is multidisciplinary, involving disparate fields whose body of knowledge is rarely found in a single repository. As shown in fig 1, there are at least 11 disciplines whose areas of inquiry have direct bearing upon some aspect of injury and violence prevention. Practitioners within these disciplines circulate information through formal channels (academic and non-academic). Information is also shared through informal venues, such as conferencing, networking, and e-mailing. The internet, and particularly the world wide web (WWW), have become major contributors to the ever increasing body of information relevant to injury prevention. The lines dividing all of these domains are permeable: information flows among professionals in different disciplines by means of formal and informal venues. Ideally, all of the relevant information from these sources is made available to the prevention practitioners who are at the core of fig 1.

Figure 1

Conceptual model of multidisciplinary information exchange for injury prevention.

The proliferation of information is an advantage to practitioners—but only if they have access. As we struggle to adjust to the “information age”, we face a paradox in which information overload is combined with the daily challenge of finding the facts and figures we need when we need them. Corporate and professional organizations now commonly employ “information specialists” and have their own specialized libraries. Many such specialists have masters' degrees in library science and in a subject area relevant to their field. Traditionally termed librarians, information specialists serve as information mediators—people who understand what information exists, where it is, who needs it, and how to get it. Working closely with practitioners, they link in specific ways the universe of information sources with the universe of information users. Thus, they provide practitioners with information that can be translated into action. For public health practitioners, this means shaping sound prevention policies and …

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