Since 2001, the National Library of Medicine has supported Go Local web sites across the United States. The goal of Go Local was to connect users to health services in their local communities. This seemed like a natural extension to MedlinePlus, which provides health information. In 2001, Go Local was a unique service.
Over the past nine years, the Internet has evolved. Search engines that people use daily, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, bring health services listings to users. These sites include provider-level directory information and can collect user reviews that Go Local cannot. Health insurance sites give insured users local practice details, such as hours, fees, parking, and quality ratings based on provider or facility performance measures. To include this granularity in Go Local would not be feasible.
The changed Internet environment, coupled with declining use, has led to a decision by NLM to phase down and end its support for the MedlinePlus Go Local program. Resources are tight throughout our profession and as the internet has moved forward, it no longer makes sense to use scarce resources to compete with machine-based indexing used by the search engines.
NLM is grateful to the hundreds of people whose time, labor, ideas and patience went into creating Go Local. For many years we could proudly point to Go Local as a unique and valuable service to so many people in this country. We will be working with our partners around the country as they make decisions about what to do in their local areas.
Source: Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region.
Note: In North Carolina, Go Local online resources have been provided by NC Health Info, a service of the UNC Health Sciences Library and collaborators.