Digital Libraries Network is for health librarians and trainers in the UK, interested in promotion and training.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Training for non-professional library staff

Our Senior Library Assistant has recently completed the NVQ Level 3 in Library and Information Services. As a 'paraprofessional' in the healthcare library service she wanted something that gave some competency validation for her role. Unfortunately not all areas seem to have this available for their library assistants, but she was lucky to get really good support from a neighbouring region.
All paraprofessional library staff should be given the chance to personally develop, to improve and validate their skills and knowledge if they wish, particularly with consideration to 'Agenda for Change'. The Library has benefitted enormously from her doing the course. We need to remember that we can learn from everyone.

Designing effective signs

The latest issue of CILIP Update has a nice little feature on signage for libraries by John Stanley, "Signs dos and donts" on page 25 (April 2004 issue).

By the way, still 7 books to be won so get blogging if you haven't already :-)

Friday, March 26, 2004


We've been having some trouble with emailing very long links to people recently. If they wrap around onto more than one line, then sometimes it's difficult to access the link.

A very useful site is http://tinyurl.com/. It allows you to condense those v long links into much smaller and more manageable urls. As their website says, these URLs will never expire and will not break up in email postings. The website also gives you the option to put the TinyURL link on your browser enabling you to convert links with the click of a button.


Electronic staff record - thinking point

Further to the point on tracking training we should bear in mind that the Electronic Staff Record will pay particular attention to skills and training.

This is a direct consequence of the impact of the Knowledge and Skills Framework within Agenda for Change. We need to make sure that full credit is given to people receiving training from librarians.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Developing training contacts

Rather than just collect training statistics, it has been suggested to me to keep a record of who has been trained what. This data can be captured in conjunction with a training evaluation form. This means that after a reasonable interval you can contact trainees to see how they are getting on and whether they need any more training. Furthermore, they can be notified early of any developments to a training programme, such as new or more advanced courses. In my organisation, the training department has a broad training database on Access, to which I am able to input who has been on which of my information skills courses. In the future I can use reports to export contact details of interest. This data is more useful than just bald training statistics.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004


Have you used the Vivisimo search engine yet?
It's as fast or faster than Google and instead of giving you lots of pages to wade through, it groups them in clusters which you can search in turn to narrow the results down even more.
The address is: http://vivisimo.com

Diane Thompson

Vivisimo search engine

Have you tried using the vivisimo.com search engine? It's as fast or faster than Google and groups the results in sensible subject groupings which you can then search within

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Marketing, Evaluation and User Needs

If you are considering marketing or evaluating your library / information service or examining the user needs of your users you may find these books useful as a starting point:

Marketing concepts for libraries. (2002) Elliot, E. ISBN 1856044262 Facet Publishing.

How to market your library service effectively (1998) Coote, H. ISBN 0851423965 Aslib.

Assessing information needs: tools techniques and concepts (2000) Nicholas, D. ISBN 0851424666 Europa Publications.

FUTON (Full Text On The Net) bias

I'm planning a new training course about full text journals and electronic tables of contents, to help meet the needs of our large numbers of remote users. I'm a bit concerned about users relying on full text rather than doing comprehensive searches in Medline etc. so any participants will have to have had "searching" training before they can attend.

I wanted to say something memorable to warn participants of the dangers of full text bias and my Line Manager mentioned a more evocative name for the concept, "FUTON bias", as proposed by Reinhard Wentz in a letter to the Lancet (Vol. 360, October 19, 2002, p. 1256).

Medpundit, another blog, commented: "Can’t you just see the medical students and junior staff sitting at home on their futons, relaxing to their favourite music or watching television while doing their medical research? Much better than sitting in a stuffy medical library pouring over Index Medicus" (www.medpundit.blogspot.com/2002_10_13_medpundit_archive.html).

So, FUTON bias it is then!

Natasha Davies

City and Guilds 7307

Further to Zoe's contribution, I can confirm what a great course the City and Guilds 7307 is. I have been a temporary information skills tutor since September 2003 (standing in for someone on maternity leave). I felt that I needed support, so I took the 7307 Part II. I took Part I in 1995 and as I needed 30 hours teaching for stage II I could not carry on with it straight after Part I. When I got this job in September I had the required 30 hours, so was accepted on the 7307 Part II. It has been a great help to me, covering lesson plans, teaching and learning strategies, teaching and learning styles, assessment, communication, PowerPoint, etc. I attended one evening per week and it fed into everything I did in my job. I have had a wonderful 7 months, both in my work and on the course. I finish next Monday evening and I would certainly recommend it.
Tricia Garvey

Get the names!

When visiting exhibitions I find it useful to collect business cards from all the reps I speak with. Then I have a collection of 'named persons' when I need to contact a business instead of the 'customer service' department. Makes for quicker responses.

NeLH Summary Handout

In the first session, I usually spend about 90 minutes training people to use NeLH. Because there is so much to remember, I have created a table summarising the session, listing the topic covered, and where they can find the answer on NeLH. For example:
* recent health-related articles go to Hitting the Headlines
* quick search for evidence and guidelines go to Pilot Search Engine and Guidelines Finder
* information to support implementation of National Service Frameworks go to National Service Framework Zones
* patient information, diagrams and treatment guidance go to Prodigy
* evidence based, full-text articles go to Bandolier
* treatment management and diagnosis go to Clinical Evidence Online
* filtered search engine go to OMNI
* specialist information related to a condition or profession go to Specialist Libraries
* further training go to NeLH Tour
I cover clinical databases in the second session, because often they aren't familiar with the Internet. This table is available as an A4 sheet, which they can then display near their computer, as a quick reference chart. Often they know where everything is during the session, but as soon as you leave them, they get a bit lost, so they seem to find this chart useful. It also hangs nicely from the NeLH monitor clips!

Teaching Qualification

To all trainers out there,

Ever considered doing a teaching qualification to enhance your CV and support your training experience? The qualification to do is the City and Guilds 7407 Level 4 Certificate in Further Education Teaching (Stage 1). After Stage 1, you could progress to Stage 2 and then if you're really keen (!), the CertEd. You would then be qualified to teach in an FE environment. For more information: http://www.city-and-guilds.co.uk

As a first step, you could try contacting a local college to see if they offer the Stage 1 qualification. There are some requirements for Stage 1 (which is a 12 week course) but the vast majority of trainers wouldn't have a probem meeting these. Stage 1 is a basic teaching qualification in its own right and therefore you don't need to progress to Stage 2 or the CertEd if you don't want to. Also, the commitment for Stage 1 isn't huge and the coursework is very manageable.

One thing to note: this does not give you QTS (Qualified Teaching Status) which you need if you want to teach compulsory (pre-16) education. The only way to get QTS is to do a PGCE or equivalent. See: http://www.gtce.org.uk/pdfs/ROUTES_INTO_TEACHING.pdf

Looking forward to my free book?!


Making an argument for Open Access publishing

BioMed Central offer a great deal of supporting information to help strengthen your arguments when trying to encourage users to see the possibilities of Open Access publishing. Much of the material is arranged around details of the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee Inquiry into Scientific Publications.

Of particular note are a document that aims to explode (Mis)Leading Open Access Myths and, very close to home, a Report on accessibility of NHS research.

Promoting the NeLH A-Z list of Journals & Training

I designed an A6 flyer (half the size of A5!) advertising the NeLH link to the NCC A-Z of full-text journals with my contact details for enquiries about Athens & training.
For 2 weeks the library staff have included this flyer in any outgoing mail e.g. ILLs & literature search results, and handed them out to users in the library.
This has been quite successful and generated more interest in registering for an Athens password and training and even better, it didn't take too much extra effort!

Information into your inbox

It is well worth having information from useful weblogs sent regularly into your email inbox. I find ERN online at:http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/ to be really useful but don't have time to visit it regularly. Luckily you can have info emailed to you and just follow the interesting links from the email. Has helped me out quite a few times.

Enthusiastic users

When you are giving an induction talk, take along an enthusiastic user. This will help others understand how the Library/Training can be relevant to their job.

Competition for DLnet Reps

Here’s your chance to win your very own copy of Andrew Booth and Anne Brice’s new book : Evidence-Based Practice for Information Professionals….

….and all you have to do is blog!

The first 20 to post to the DLnet weblog (and it has to be something substantial – “hello” doesn’t count!!) will receive their very own copy of the book. 2 or 3 lines will do – just think of something useful to share with colleagues – it could be an article you’ve come across, an idea you’ve tried during training, tips on marketing, anything which your colleagues might find useful. Blogging is lots of fun and takes less than 5 minutes so take the plunge if you haven’t already :-)

Of course, you may have mislaid your password since you registered or you may have declined joining the blog so anyone who needs joining up again, get in touch with us and we’ll sort you out asap.

Here’s the blurb about the book you could win:
Evidence-based Practice for Information Professionals: A handbook
Andrew Booth and Anne Brice, editors

Evidence-based practice is a paradigm that originated within healthcare but is rapidly migrating to other fields. It involves applying the results from rigorous research studies to professional practice in order to improve the quality of services to clients. Familiarity with these methods has caused an increasing number of information professionals to turn a critical eye to their own practice. Is it possible to adapt this model to librarianship and information work? To what extent are its skills and techniques transferable to the various areas of professional practice? Is it desirable for information professionals to integrate research findings into their day-to-day decision-making? These and other related issues are discussed in this book, the first to examine this key topic in depth.
March 2004; 320pp; hardback; 1-85604-471-8; £44.95 (£35.96 to CILIP Members)

The competition is open to DLnet Reps only.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Revelatory moment for library committee

Two months ago the library manager asked me to give a five minute talk on the NeLH to the library committee: the usual mixture of senior health care professionals who are too busy to have heard of the NeLH. As I spoke the manager watched the audience. Afterwards he reported that it was as if the scales had fallen from their eyes. The same day, the Chair of the committee telephoned the Intranet webmaster and demanded that the library be restored to its former prominent position on the front page of the Trust intranet, and that another front page link should be added staright to the NeLH. Both these were added before the end of the day!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Information World Review Feb 04

Last month's Information World Review had some interesting bits and bobs:

Beware the march of the Googlistas by David Tebbutt : "The word is 'marketing'. It has to become a key part of your life. Others in the organisation need to know you exist and understand how you can help them. You have to be in everyone's face, pushing your services, offering talks, influencing the influencers and, perhaps, tipping off every new recruit. Why not work your way round the organisation, meeting department managers to discover what their information needs are, how they're being satisfied and what value they place on better information?"
"Google has introduced individuals to the world of information. Capitalise on this now by showing how you can facilitate access to better value information"

Data as pure as spring water by Stephen Arnold : looks at "stovepiping" (information streams which bypass intermediaries) and RSS feeds

We are the Champions - interviews with Bob Boiko and Lynne Brindley particularly interesting:
  • Boiko : "For a start, he believes we should stop using impersonal terms such as 'users' and think instead of 'audiences'. After all, he says, 'audiences have power - the power to applaud or walk out'.
  • Brindley : "Lynne Brindley believes 'libraries are no longer the cosy backwaters they once were'. They are faced with a number of new challenges: they have to remain relevant to their users, must manage and deliver digital resources successfully and must ensure their organisational and leadership skills are up to the challenge."

Friday, March 05, 2004

Web site on EBM and public health

This site was recommended on lis-medical this week:
Evidence-Based Practice for Public Health Project from the University of Massachusetts Medical School Library - http://library.umassmed.edu/ebpph/

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Article in Marketing Library Services

The Marketing Mix: The 4-P Recipe for Customer Satisfaction by Christie Koontz

Monday, March 01, 2004

Journal of Medical Library Association

Latest issue has some interesting articles:

Evaluating the effectiveness of clinical medical librarian programs: a systematic review of the literature
Kay Cimpl Wagner and Gary D. Byrd
J Med Libr Assoc. 2004 January; 92(1): 14-33.

Research on the value of medical library services: does it make an impact in the health care literature?
Pamela J. Sherwill-Navarro and Addajane L. Wallace
J Med Libr Assoc. 2004 January; 92(1): 34-42.

Identifying and communicating the contributions of library and information services in hospitals and academic health sciences centers
Eileen G. Abels, Keith W. Cogdill, and Lisl Zach
J Med Libr Assoc. 2004 January; 92(1): 46-55.

"Google Guide"

Just came across this snippet on the Sitelines weblog:
"This is a handy new web guide to using Google. Produced by Nancy Blachman, a co-author of the book How to Do Everything With Google. The site is designed for searchers who want to go "behind the box" to understand how Google actually does its job. Although the guide provides better search help than Google's own meagre help files, the coverage focuses on functionality and features."