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Facing the future how many faces and how many futures for the health information professional l.jpg

Facing the Future: How Many Faces and How Many Futures for the Health Information Professional?

Andrew Booth, Reader in Evidence Based Information Practice, ScHARR, University of Sheffield

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Disclaimer: the Health Information Professional?

  • “Information scientists may be equipped to scan the horizon, but they possess silicon chips, not crystal balls”

BOOTH, A. and WALTON, G., 2000. Some concluding trends and themes. IN: Booth, A. and Walton, G. (eds.). Managing knowledge in health services. London : Library Association Publishing, pp. 289-295

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Looking Back…..Looking Forward the Health Information Professional?

  • Q: What would you consider to be the Unique Selling Point of the “Academic Health Sciences Librarian” i.e. the Bottom line justifying your existence?

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In Other Words: the Health Information Professional?

“What has the Academic Health Science Librarian Ever Done For Us?”

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And Your Response Is? the Health Information Professional?

Many Faces, Many Futures!

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Are we in danger……… the Health Information Professional?

  • Of having so many hats that none of them quite fits?

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Researchers’ Use of Academic Libraries and their Services the Health Information Professional?

  • Significant differences of perceptions and views between researchers and librarians

  • Communication channels need to be improved. How?

  • Research community uses social networking to exchange and share research-based information.

  • Role of libraries presently ill-defined.

  • Researchers don’t readily recognize content on their desktop is provided through library.

    Researchers’ Use of Academic Libraries and their Services A report commissioned by the Research Information Network and the Consortium of Research Libraries

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Not having information skills training can be….. the Health Information Professional?

  • “good because you have to learn the hard way. You tend to have better skills if you have had to find your own way around - but it would've been nice to have been eased into it, in a bit more structured way as well”

    Goodall, D. L. and P. Brophy (1997). A comparable experience? library support for franchised courses in higher education. British Library Research and Innovation Report; 33. Preston, CERLIM, University of Central Lancashire.

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Research habits the Health Information Professional?

Users "power-browse" or skim material, using "horizontal" (shallow) research. Most spend only a few minutes looking at academic journal articles and few return to them. "It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense,”

Not just "screenagers". “Undergraduates to professors….exhibit a strong tendency towards shallow, horizontal, flicking behaviour in digital libraries. Factors specific to the individual, personality and background are much more significant than generation."



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Researchers IL training should focus on IM not IR – 1 (Booth, 2007)

  • Inappropriate to meet IL needs of researchers using instruction methods based on undergraduates;

  • Researchers do not follow neat stepwise progression from state of unknowing (“information need”) to knowing that underpins most IL instruction.

  • Information management, rather than information retrieval, should be focus of IL instruction for researchers.

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Researchers IL training should focus on IM not IR – 2 (Booth, 2007)

  • Information retrieval should focus on “area scanning”, footnote chasing and known author searching rather than keyword searching

  • IL training should be “socialised” through formal collaboration …..and integration with existing research programmes or research groups.

  • Training should focus on practically based outcomes e.g. production of log book or portfolio.

  • Training should optimally be tailored to individual and delivered at time of need.

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RIP - Library as Place (Booth, 2007)

  • “the library has changed from being the place for researchers to visit for help with information searching and for picking up the actual information, to being the “living room” for undergraduate students, making the researchers who visit the library feel outnumbered, and sometimes unwelcome.”

    Haglund and Olsson (2008)

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Rethinking the Library Web Site (Booth, 2007)

  • “Libraries spend huge amounts of time and money to work on the structure and content of the library Web page, while few researchers use it as a starting point for information searching. Many researchers….used the Web of their own department as a starting point, and this is where the library should establish a presence with direct links targeted to that particular group”.

    Haglund and Olsson (2008).

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Future Proofing the Profession (2004) (Booth, 2007)

  • Developments within healthcare library and information services relevant to profession more generally.

  • Certainly true within CPD as health sector ‘has supported work-based learning as one of several ways to improve skills and provide opportunities for lifelong-learning for its workforce’[i].[i]Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. Future Proofing the Profession: the report of the Health Executive Advisory Group. CILIP, 2004.

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In the (Booth, 2007)red corner…… ………………blue corner

  • The Case for Specialist Skills

  • The Case forGeneric Skills

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Generic skills (Booth, 2007)

Literature searching (reference work)

Outreach work

Teaching and training

Numeracy-related skills,

Influencing and persuading skills to work across organizational and departmental boundaries

Experience of financial management

Specialist roles

Knowledge of anatomy and physiology,

Origin and meanings of medical terms,

Project management

Literature searching

Knowledge of evidence-based practice,

Research methods (quantitative and qualitative) and epidemiology.

Generalist vs Specialist (Petrinic & Urquhart, 2007)

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Generic versus Specialist (Booth, 2007)

  • Contextual knowledge [Specialist]

  • Managerial skills [Generic]

  • Professional skills [Generic]

  • Learning and teaching [Generic]

  • Interpersonal [Generic]

  • &NHS Context [Specialist]

  • Technical [Generic]

    = COMPLIANT (Lacey & Booth, 2003)

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Do (Booth, 2007)Technical skills receive unmerited emphasis?

Very volatile training half-life/ time-limited

User can construct, via Google, site-specific search engines (swikis), personalised search page, gadgets e.g. To do list, text translator, person-specific RSS news feeds.

Very few technical skills remain exclusive domain of librarian.

Alternative to Technical?

Knowledge of social networking tools e.g. blogs, wikis and podcasts would be useful.

Little technical knowledge required - comprehensive knowledge of possible uses.

Librarian probably inhabits Facebook community, uses Citeulike to share references and occasionally visit YouTube and MySpace.

Revisiting COMPLIANT

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But what will be the (Booth, 2007)next Facebook/YouTube? COMPLIANT should read COMPLIANCE (T for Technical replaced with CE of Continuing Education!)

Otherwise danger we will settle for alternative - COMPLACENCE!

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FOLIO Programme (Booth, 2007)

  • Two year series [12 courses]; One year extension of 6 courses; 2 x 1 year extensions of 3 courses

  • 6-8 weeks delivered by email and basic Web technologies

  • 2-3 hours per week

  • Submission of Portfolio – Distinction, Honours, Standard, Fail

  • Spawned FOLIOZ, FOLIAGE and Precept-Lite

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FOLIO Breakout Course (Booth, 2007)

‘Breaking out of the Box: Extending the health LIS professional role – skills and strategies”

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Systematic Reviews (Booth, 2007)

Information Literacy

Hybrid Services

Research Training

REF and Impact Factors


Managing within Budget Cuts

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Face(s) Lift(s) - 1 (Booth, 2007)

  • From “Library As Place” to “Information Specialist in Context”

    • Information Commons

    • Facilitating e-learning (not just for Distance Learners)

  • From Teacher to Tutor

    • Problem Based Learning

    • Interactive Learning

    • Learning in Context

  • From Impact Factor to Maximising Impact

    • Article Citations & h indexes

    • Identifying “Impact Stories”

  • From Information Management to Knowledge Translation

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Face(s) Lift(s) - 2 (Booth, 2007)

  • From Scattering to Tailoring and Targeting

    • Institutional Repositories

    • Open Access Journals (Hosting?)

  • From Expert Searcher to Search Consultant

  • From “Handmaiden” to “Genuine Partner” in Research

    • Evidence Syntheses

  • Collaborative Tool Provider

    • Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts

    • Intellectual Property e.g. Reusable Learning Objects

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SPACE (Booth, 2007): Training Styles Inventory



SELLER - I try to convince my audience with my message

PROFESSOR – I try to instruct my audience with my message

AGONY AUNT – I try to help my audience with their problems

COACH – I try to encourage my audience from the sidelines

ENTERTAINER – I try to get my audience to have fun







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Learning in Context (Booth, 2007)

Coomarasamy & Khan BMJ 2004;329: 1017-9.

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The Future Will be “Nip and Tuck”! (Booth, 2007)

  • Before we get our Facelift…….

  • ….We will probably receive a “Tummy Tuck”….

  • OR even……… Amputation  !

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We are Going to Be Very Stretched! (Booth, 2007)

The Future is Here!: It just Isn’t Evenly Distributed Yet!

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Facing the Future (Booth, 2007)

The Me1st and Me2 Generation

  • i-Pod

  • i-Google

  • i-Phone

  • i-Pad

  • i-Will-Survive!

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References - 1 (Booth, 2007)

  • Booth A (2007) Researchers require tailored information literacy training focusing on information management, not simply information retrieval. Report for Research Information Network Consultative Group on Librarianship and Information Science. http://www.rin.ac.uk/training-research-info-spec

  • CIBER.Information behaviour of the researcher of the future – (A British Library/JISC Study) http://www. bl.uk/news/pdf/googlegen.pdf

  • Lacey, T., & Booth, A. (2003). Education, training and development for NHS librarians: supporting e-learning. A review commissioned by the National electronic Library for Health Librarian Development Programme. Sheffield: University of Sheffield, ScHARR (School of Health and Related Research

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References - 2 (Booth, 2007)

  • Boulos MN, Maramba I, Wheeler S. Wikis, blogs and podcasts: a new generation of Web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education. BMC Med Educ. 2006 Aug 15;6:41.

  • Kamel Boulos MN, Wheeler S (2007). The emerging Web 2.0 social software: an enabling suite of sociable technologies in health and health care education. Health Info Libr J. 24(1):2-23.

  • Partridge H & Hallam G (2006) Educating the Millennial Generation for evidence based information practice Library Hi Tech24 (3): 400-419.

  • Petrinic T, Urquhart C (2007) The education and training needs of health librarians—the generalist versus specialist dilemma. Health Information and Libraries Journal24 (3), 167–176.

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References - 3 (Booth, 2007)

  • Haglund L and Olsson P (2008). The Impact on University Libraries of Changes in Information Behavior Among Academic Researchers: A Multiple Case Study. Journal of Academic Librarianship 34 (1), 52-59

  • Research Information Network (2008). Researchers’ Use of Academic Libraries and their Services A report commissioned by the Research Information Network and the Consortium of Research Libraries http://www.rin.ac.uk/researchers-use-libraries

  • Tattersall A (2008) 'Blogging in an Academic Health Library Setting. Libraries for Nursing Bulletin; June 2008.