Each document for inclusion in a Biblio-Santé thematic booklet is evaluated with impartiality, based on Librarianship practices in place in public libraries, using various general selection criteria. First, the booklets are carefully designed to primarily meet the needs and interests of health system users as well as caregivers. Every title is evaluated based on relevance and quality of its content for the general public, in the Quebec context. In case if equal value, Quebec material is always preferred. The credibility and reputation of the author, creator, illustrator, publisher or producer are also of great importance. Furthermore, special attention is given to the timeliness and long-term relevance of the subject as well as the accuracy of the information. For documentaries, works by health professionals (doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists, etc.) are given preference. However, titles based on lay or experiential knowledge are not rejected outright, especially those involving support by a caregiver. Finally, each thematic booklet is considered as a whole in order to respect the diversity of the topics covered and allow for a balanced presentation of different viewpoints.
The whole series of Biblio-Santé 15 thematic booklets is considered as one entity that is constantly evolving in step with the numerous and diverse needs of the clientele of caregivers, patients and professionals. This entails selecting documents that are adapted to provide appropriate information to various clienteles and reading levels.
In order to keep the booklets relevant and up to date, a significant number of new titles are added every year. The Biblio-Santé booklets also include a growing number of books available on Pretnumerique.ca. To enrich and diversify the digital offer, the collection of audiovisual documents available online is expanded annually.
Inventory of Resources
Organizations and associations
Each Biblio-Santé booklet provides a list of organizations and associations which are specific to the theme chosen, as well as resources common to several booklets. For example, the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation is listed in the “Cancer” booklet; the Foundation is the only charitable organization in Quebec dedicated entirely to the fight against breast cancer. The Conseil pour la protection des malades is also included in that booklet, but it is also present in all the other booklets where the resource is considered relevant. Finally, the organizations and associations selected must serve the whole Quebec territory.
The selected web resources are mainly government or academic websites, or sites that are affiliated to recognized organizations featuring high-quality information. Priority is given to web resources intended for people in Quebec and Canada. However, foreign websites that are pertinent for Quebec caregivers are not discarded outright and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis according to the following standard criteria: relevance of content, reliability of sources, reputation of the author, accuracy of information and timeliness of content.
Health Information Portals
Every health information portal mentioned in the Biblio-Santé booklets is the gateway to a wide selection of web pages (articles, summary sheets, comprehensive dossiers, etc.) on health and healthy lifestyles. Priority is given to portals from Quebec and Canada that provide high-quality, reliable information.
The Biblio-Aidants booklets also propose different databases which organize and structure the information to facilitate access. Selected databases are used to find articles in periodicals or newspapers, lecture notes, book reviews and book chapters, as well as grey literature relating to numerous health problems.
It is important to mention that the reading suggestions contained in the Biblio-Santé booklets are merely suggestions and should not be considered as reading recommendations (recommendation implies a bias). Several sources of information are explored to identify the titles that are selected in the Biblio-Santé program, mainly the Service québécois de traitement documentaire (SQTD) catalogue. The Iris catalogue of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), for titles in French, and the Toronto Public Library catalogue, for titles in English, are also consulted. In addition, the extensive database ChoixMédia is used to review almost all French-language books. Reader assistance resources are also consulted to gain a sense of the general public’s appreciation for a book. Other tools are sometimes used to select titles: radio and television programs, websites and specialized blogs, format and content of the document itself, etc.
Non-fiction books for the general public (i.e. popular works, guides and handbooks) are preferred. Documentaries primarily intended for professionals are labelled “Specialized Books” to facilitate their identification. Quebec works are selected first. Conversely, titles that do not apply to Quebec or Canadian contexts are excluded. For example, a high-quality book on testamentary succession under French Law will not be retained. In addition, documents published in the last five years are given priority selection. However, must-read publications (for example, finalist titles and prize winners) previously published, as well as titles deemed “timeless” (focusing on accompaniment of a loved one rather than medical information) are retained. Obviously, the Biblio-Santé booklets do not present any documentary conveying false or misleading statements or religious messages. Overall, all documentaries are evaluated based on the following criteria: relevance of content, reliability of sources, reputation of the author, accuracy of information and timeliness of content.
Life stories, Biographies and Testimonials
The priority is given to biographies of Quebec and Canadian prominent figures, or personalities well known to Quebecers.
Novels – Comic Books
It is clear that the novels and comic books selected have to be related to the topic covered in the booklet where it is presented. The booklet theme has to be at the centre of the story or closely related to its main character. Biblio-Santé booklets suggest historical novels, fantasy and love stories, science fiction novels, etc., the main objective being to select novels for every taste and for all members of the public. The originality of the document (layout, illustrations, photographs, etc.) and its visual impact are the important selection criteria for novels. These criteria also apply to the selection of comic books. Particular attention is also given to the authority of the author, the beauty of the illustrations, and the originality of the stories.
The selection of material for children and youth is based on the general criteria outlined earlier, plus more specific criteria: the quality and originality of the illustrations, the legibility of the characters, the usability of the document, the handling of the topic (for example, a book giving a very bleak picture of the Alzheimer’s disease could be excluded).
Suggestions of films, series and programs
The Biblio-Santé booklets offer an increasing number of suggestions for films, series and programs on various supports (in particular DVD and Blu-ray). The collection is divided in two main categories: documentaries and fiction. Priority is always given to Quebec and Canadian productions. For documentaries, the main selection criteria are those used to evaluate documentary books (relevance of the content, reliability of sources, reputation of the author, accuracy of the information and timeliness of content). Whenever possible, the recording quality (sound and images) is also taken into account.