LGBTQ+ health research guides at North American health sciences libraries: a survey and content analysis
Keywords:LGBTQ , health information, research guides, health disparities, health sciences libraries, transgender, HIV/AIDS, women’s health
Objectives: Current literature recommends online research guides as an easy and effective tool to promote LGBTQ+ health information to both health care providers and the public. This cross-sectional study was designed to determine how extensive LGBTQ+ health guides are among hospital and academic libraries and which features are most prevalent.
Methods: In order to locate LGBTQ+ health guides for content analysis, we searched for guides on the websites of libraries belonging to the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL). Additionally, we searched the Springshare interface for LibGuides with the word “health” and either “LGBT” or “transgender.” Content analysis was performed to identify major characteristics of the located guides, including target audience and the information type provided.
Results: LGBTQ+ research guides were identified for 74 libraries. Of these, 5 were hospital libraries, and the rest were academic libraries. Of 158 AAHSL member libraries, 48 (30.4%) had LGBTQ+ guides on their websites. Nearly all guides (95.9%) provided general LGBTQ+ health information, and a large majority (87.8%) also had information resources for transgender health. Smaller percentages of guides contained information on HIV/AIDS (48.6%) and women’s health (16.2%).
Conclusions: Even though literature recommends creating LGBTQ+ health guides, most health sciences libraries are missing an opportunity by not developing and maintaining these guides. Further research may be needed to determine the usage and usefulness of existing guides and to better identify barriers preventing libraries from creating guides.
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