Pick up a book or "google it?" A survey of radiologist and trainee-preferred references and resources

Blake D. Niederhauser, Kevin Liaw, Robert J. McDonald, Kristen B. Thomas, Kathleen T. Hudson, David F. Kallmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate radiologist and trainee-preferred sources for solving imaging questions. The institutional review board determined this study to be exempt from informed consent requirements. Web-based surveys were distributed to radiology staff and trainees at 16 academic institutions. Surveys queried ownership and use of tablet computers and habits of utilization of various electronic and hardcopy resources for general reference. For investigating specific cases, respondents identified a single primary resource. Comparisons were performed using Fisher's exact test. For staff, use of Google and online journals was nearly universal for general imaging questions (93 [103/111] and 94 % [104/111], respectively). For trainees, Google and resident-generated study materials were commonly utilized for such questions (82 [111/135] and 74 % [100/135], respectively). For specific imaging questions, online journals and PubMed were rarely chosen as a primary resource; the most common primary resources were STATdx for trainees and Google for staff (44 [55/126] and 52 % [51/99], respectively). Use of hard copy journals was nearly absent among trainees. Sixty percent of trainees (78/130) own a tablet computer versus 41 % of staff (46/111; p = 0.005), and 71 % (55/78) of those trainees reported at least weekly use of radiology-specific tablet applications, compared to 48 % (22/46) of staff (p < 0.001). Staff radiologists rely heavily on Google for both general and specific imaging queries, while residents utilize customized, radiology-focused products and apps. Interestingly, residents note continued use of hard copy books but have replaced hard copy journals with online resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Digital Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Google
  • Mobile
  • Peer-reviewed
  • References
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Science Applications


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