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Shannon:

As a physician, I can tell you that Googling may be used a fair bit now,
but the real source of information is still the people you work with.
This is motivated by two factors: first, it is very important to
physicians that they do (or at least know to do) that which is usual and
customary in their practice setting; second, the things you need to ask
questions about are usually not stereotypic.  Google is really not good
at either of these.  There are certainly stereotypic responses available
(and health care organizations would have you believe that practicing
medicine is the gearheaded application of stereotypic responses), but
the toughies are things that don't go according to prior experience, and
as good as it is, Google will not have that particular situation in its
storehouse.  If it is outside your own field, you really want to go to
someone in the field whom you know and trust.  (I've got someone with X,
but also Y and Z, and maybe Q.  What do you guys do in that
situation?).  To survive in practice, you have to be closely connected
to a trusted peer network, which is why breaking in as a consultant can
be difficult.

The bumper sticker: Critical information comes from a small network of
trusted friends and coworkers, not Google.  If it's a "smaller" question
(dose, frequency, side effects), people now tend to use one of the many
websites out there that they have gotten familiar with, and which they
can use to get to the answer quickly.

Let me hasten to add that this is based on personal impression, not
formal inquiry.  I'd be delighted to know if it's right, and
particularly if there are generational and practice-setting differences.

Rich Rothenberg

Shannon Clark wrote:

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>
>An observation to consider, however, and one I think may be present in
>current information seeking behavior is the role the Internet and search
>tools more generically play in modern information gathering behavior.
>
>>From a network perspective this is different than "asking your friends"
>and different as well from "asking dedicated experts" (i.e. librarians).
>
>In the example of Doctors, in 1966 this wasn't a realistic or viable
>option, but I would suspect strongly that "do a Google search" followed
>by "search on WebMD" (and perhaps other dedicated medical online
>resources) would now be the first behavior for many doctors (and
>patients) when facing uncertainty, often probably even before consulting
>with others and almost certainly before turning to specific point
>resources (a given journal, specific books/literature etc)
>
>Also, consider the nature of inquiries into groups such as SOCNET. These
>are not queries to a single person - i.e. one on one relationships, but
>neither are they impersonal requests to a non-person resource (looking
>up in the index of a reference work etc.) - there is a "network"
>component - but one that is to some degree different than individuals.
>
>I haven't seen this in any of the literature I have read in the field,
>but it strikes me that mailing lists and other groups - especially when
>the participants list is large and most "members" are unknown to each
>other - represents an aspect of networks that should be considered, I
>think when present groups such as SOCNET change the dynamics of the
>network of relationships in crucial ways.
>
>In a similar manner, large associative relationships without prior
>personal connection - such as an alumni network or in the business world
>the "McKinsey" network people who have worked for McKinsey in the past -
>represent active, and very real parts of the social network for their
>members. In the specific case of information gathering, I know I have
>met many people who described how they very pro-actively used such
>networks when gathering information - the network relationship serving
>as a quick path to people otherwise unconnected. With the importance of
>the relationship being the action taken by the other party, which
>differed had the relationship not be mentioned and utilized.
>
>Fascinating topic, hope this is helpful.
>
>Shannon
>
>Shannon Clark
>Founder, MeshForum
>"Connecting Networks"
>www.meshforum.org
>Join us May 1-3, 2005 in Chicago
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
>Behalf Of Gad Yair
>Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 12:16 AM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: RE: people's information-seeking-behavior -- libraries versus
>friends
>
>*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
>Hello Edith!
>
>Always start with a root. Hence, look at Medical Innovation by Coleman,
>Katz
>and Menzel, 1966. Especially focus on chapter 5 (The Doctor's Decision).
>The
>book shows that under conditions of uncertainty (caused by medical
>innovation), doctors talk to the Detail Man, read Journals and
>Drug-House
>information.  They further show that occupied with this objective
>information doctors then turn to their community of peers and conform to
>others' decision.  In Weber's terms, information is akin to conditions
>for
>practice; but networks constitute the switchmen who decide the specifics
>of
>action and concrete decisions.
>
>This is the nutshell. Go for the real thing.
>
>Gad
>
>Gad Yair
>Department of Sociology & Anthropology
>School of Education
>Rothberg School of Foreign Students
>Hebrew University of Jerusalem
>Jerusalem 91905
>ISRAEL
>
>[log in to unmask]
>voice: 972-25883333
>fax: 972-25324339
>cell: 0507669391
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
>Behalf Of Bill Richards
>Sent: Monday, February 14, 2005 7:17 PM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: people's information-seeking-behavior -- libraries versus
>friends
>
>
>*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
>Edith <[log in to unmask]> wrote to ask:
>
>Hello,
>Can you recommend relevant articles regarding Social networks analysis,
>dealing specifically with the subject of people's
>information-seeking-behavior as related to libraries versus turning to
>friends for information?
>Thanks so much,
>Edith.
>
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>_____________________________________________________________________
>SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
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>
>

--
Richard Rothenberg, MD
Professor, Department of Medicine
Division of Infectious Disease
Emory University School of Medicine
Editor, Annals of Epidemiology
69 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive
Atlanta. GA 30303
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F: 404-616-6947
E: [log in to unmask]

_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
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