The Consumer Health Information Source Book was first released in 1981. A host of librarians have been using the book to help with collection development and referral information. The book has been released in its seventh edition. Still, with a succession of edition after edition the book shows capabilities of keeping up with changes that may be present in the healthcare systems and information delivery. The format of the book remains relatively unchanged but in its later editions its focus has been narrower and more selective. It is much smaller in volume now but it is still one of the most trusted resources of popular health information in America that is available to the general public, offered in print and electronic form.
The Consumer Health Information Source Book consists of 40 medical textbooks, journals, monographs, 31 online and fax-based information services and CD-ROMs, 325 health resource and referral organizations, 215 toll-free information hotlines, 850 pamphlets in Spanish, 1,500 pamphlets in English, 165 popular newsletters and health magazines, as well as descriptive evaluations of 385 books. The first chapter is an introductory section that elaborates on the present trends in medical consumerism and the needs for complete information that all readers of all levels can understand.
The second chapter consists of 151 sources and rates those sources with one to three stars. The subsequent chapters discuss said sources extensively with different chapters offering different amount of information. Chapters that discuss about clearinghouses and info centers will also give out their name, telephone number, address, available URL, annotation about publications and services that they may offer. Asterisks indicate the best books, websites, newsletters, and magazines. Collection development will benefit from a chapter that includes professional literature because the chapter provides an important list of basic sources and recommended texts and journals in the medical world.