An ACOG Note from MLA
I’m at the Medical Library Association conference in D.C. this week (hey, I ‘m one of the bloggers over here in the interim), and had a chance to ask an ACOG rep a question as they have a publications exhibit at the conference. My question concerned the issue of ACOG recommendations and the fact that they are completely removed from online sources when a new version is issued. As was explained to me – and as I expected – many of the changes are minor, and it’s desirable to take the old versions away immediately so clinicians don’t follow the old guidelines.
My concern, though, is that it makes it really difficult, then, to compare the old and new version if one wants to see them side by side and compare documents/changes. Immediate removal is probably great for clinicians and liability reasons, but it’s not so great for historical research. The rep indicated that what people are “supposed” to do is print the new recs off when they’re issued – if they were doing that, they’d have the old print out, but I wondered how many people were actually doing that when the documents are so ubiquitously available online through subscription resources. I also learned that the Compendium publication would include the old versions, although I don’t think the Compendium is frequently preserved in libraries (a quick WorldCat search seems to confirm this) – so again, maybe handy to clinicians, but no good for historical research purposes.
One thing we discussed was that if it’s a major change, there will be a press release, and the press release will almost certainly describe the changes. It’s not as good as having the documents side by side for comparison, but it could provide at least some descriptive information for those wanting some record of the changes.
Hmm. Now I need to make a list of ACOG guidelines to print for posterity…