Library Resources Utilization: determining high yield resources for medical students

Camacho, Matthew R.
Hiroi DuBay, Sheri
Anderson, Kristen
Kahili-Heede, Melissa
Kasuya, Richard
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The University of Hawaii (UH) Health Sciences Library (HSL) provides a variety of resources critical for science and medical education at the UH, John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). These resources are accessible by all of the UH students and faculty, including affiliated sites. To provide tailored services for medical students, their educational needs must be identified. Currently, there is no standardized system that evaluates this. The usage data of HSL resources is collected through the number of log-in’s through the UH library system by all of UH Manoa users. As such, it does not distinguish between medical students and other UH users. We propose that resource utilization by medical students differs from those utilized by other UH users.

The objectives of the survey were three-fold: 1) To identify utilization of HSL resources by medical students; 2) Compare the pattern of utilization of the HSL resources by medical students with UH Manoa users by comparing our survey results to 2021 HSL usage data; and 3) To identify utilization of resources not available through HSL system.

An online survey was emailed to all current JABSOM medical students. The six item survey included two likert scale questions regarding utilization of library resources available and not available through the JABSOM library. Items were assigned a numerical value; Never =1, Rarely=2, Sometimes=3, Very Often=4, and Always=5 and an average value was calculated for each resource. The remaining four items were open-ended.

Sixty-six total responses were obtained with 21% first years, 35% second years, 18% third years, and 26% fourth years. The most utilized HSL resources were Access Medicine, PubMed, Textbooks, and Clinical Keys. The least used library resources were Health and Psychology instruments, Natural Medicine database, JoVE, and Psych Articles. For both medical students and UH Manoa users, Access Medicine and Clinical Key were among the most used, whereas Health and Psych instruments, JoVE, and Natural Medicine database were among the least used. On the other hand, Cochrane was ranked higher and Psych Articles was ranked lower in overall relative usage among medical students compared to the relative ranking among UH Manoa users. The most utilized non-HSL resources among medical students were Boards and Beyond, Sketchy, Pathoma, and AMBOSS, respectively.

In conclusion, our study assessed medical student resource utilization of library and non-library resources at the JABSOM library. The rank order of the utilized resources were similar between medical students and UH Manoa users, with some exceptions. The results identified the utility of non-HSL resources, suggesting they are key supplemental tools in medical education. Further studies should investigate why some resources are used more or less to guide efforts in improving availability of these services.

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