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Correspondence: Mr Andrew Booth, email@example.com
The Internet is a powerful information resource that offers access to millions of files hosted on further millions of distributed computers. Unlike many information resources, however, the Internet focuses only on technical standards for information exchange. It does not address equally important concerns regarding the content and presentation of the information it displays. There is no editorial control, no unifying mechanism for maintenance or update, nor are there sanctions for the distribution of inaccurate and dangerous information. This overview seeks to guide the busy medical practitioner in their quest for high-quality research evidence. It stresses the value of key information management principles of focusing on the original question, filtering for high-quality sources and finding evaluated information. It briefly summarises the advantages and limitations of three important sources of information: one-stop shops, general search engines and scholarly gateways. Throughout the article, key points are highlighted through the use of a realistic problem-based scenario.
Keywords: critical appraisal, evidence-based medicine, the Internet
Singapore Med J 2006; 47(12): 1023-1029