This article reports on the current state of health disclaimers, online health resources, and credibility markers provided on public library websites (N = 105) for those seeking health information. In light of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), these findings have implications for consumer health reference services in public libraries. Approximately half of the public library websites in the study sample (n = 52, 49.5%) referred users to the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace website (HealthCare.gov). When referring to online consumer health resources, a small number of public library websites identified the authors of online health content (n = 16, 15.2%) or clearly stated the date of publication (n = 8, 7.6%). Further, only 2.8 percent of public library websites (n = 3) provided important health disclaimers. As a result, more website credibility markers, such as the content sponsorship and currency of health information, are needed on public library websites to better guide users to reliable online health information. Overall, this study offers practical guidance for library and information professionals for enhancing consumer health reference services and connecting users to health information in the Affordable Care Act landscape.
Library and Information Science
Charbonneau, D.H. (2015). Health disclaimers and website credibility markers: Guidance for consumer health reference in the Affordable Care Act era. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 54(3), 30-36.