Since 1995, medical professionals, governments and independent organizations have been developing special tools to help lay-persons find websites that are guaranteed to give only reliable medical or health-related information. However, as these different actors also recognize, such a simple-sounding goal is incredibly complex; reliability can mean, in the words of one interviewee, “too many things to too many people on too many levels.” The research discussed in this thesis explored several of the different understandings of reliability by juxtaposing discussions from existing literature about what should be done to review information with actual practices of assessing the reliability of information and websites. The project focused on the work of various institutions that claimed to lead lay web end-users to reliable, web-based health or medical information, as well as on the perspectives and practices of patients and other lay end-users of the web. This thesis does not conclude on which approach works “best,” nor does it explicitly criticize any one approach. Rather, it attempts to bring together a variety of approaches and perspectives in order to reconfigure the questions that are being asked about reliability, work, users and their relationship to the web.

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Berg, Prof. Dr. M. (promotor), Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
M. Berg (Marc)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Adams, S. (2006, June 23). Under Construction: Reviewing and Producing Information Reliability on the Web. Retrieved from