January 25, 2022

Research Article: “Clinical Usefulness of Library and Information Services in Japan: The Detailed Use and Value of Information in Clinical Settings”

The following article was recently published by PLoS One.


Clinical Usefulness of Library and Information Services in Japan: The Detailed Use and Value of Information in Clinical Settings


Yukiko Sakai
Keio University
Japan Medical Library Association

Yoko Sato
National Defense Research Institute

Masae Sato
The Japan Medical Library Association
Chibaken Saiseikai Narashino Hospital

Makiko Watanabe
The Japan Medical Library Association
Kanagawa Children’s Medical Center


PLoS ONE 13(6): e0199944
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199944



Considering that there is a lack of evidence regarding the contribution of library and information services to evidence-based medicine in actual clinical practice in Japan, the purpose of the study is to explore the current status of use and value of library and information services in clinical settings to examine the usefulness of information in implementing evidence-based medicine (EBM) into practice.


A Web-based survey was conducted at seven sites (hospitals with 300–1,200 beds) and interviews conducted at five sites to investigate information behavior among health professionals (physicians, residents, and nurses) in 2016, replicating the Value Study carried out in the United States in 2010 and 2011. Using a critical incident technique, respondents answered questions about their information topics, information resources used, search location, access points, and evaluation of the information.


Analysis from 598 valid responses (275 physicians, 55 residents, and 268 nurses) revealed the characteristics of information use and recognition of the value of information. Physicians and residents showed their information needs regarding clinical care using PubMed (80.4%, 65.5%), Ichushi-Web (61.8%, 63.6%), and UpToDate (40.4%, 65.5%). While physicians rely more on electronic journals (37.8%), residents use more hybrid resources including Japanese print books (38.2%) and online books (30.9% for Japanese, 32.7% for English) to confirm their knowledge. Nurses need more information close to patients and explore a wider variety of information resources such as Japanese print books (60.4%), Ichushi -Web (40.3%), Japanese online books (20.5%), and websites of academic organizations (19.0%). Although the overall recognition of the value of information was relatively modest, concrete changes in clinical practice were found in some areas. Environments with insufficient information and availability of electronic resources should be improved to increase the use of library and information services for implementing EBM.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.