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Changing Roles and Contexts for Health Library and Information Professionals



This timely edited collection examines the evolving role of health professionals and explores the role they play in the context of where they work. It aims to encourage and inspire health information professionals worldwide to take on new opportunities and ensure their continued development and recognition as valuable assets in the changing health care environment.
Library and information professionals working in the health sector face many challenges. Rapid developments in information technology and the provision of information, coupled with organizational developments and the widespread adoption of evidence-based practice have ensured constant change for a number of years. How have library and information professionals met this challenge and how has this affected the roles they play? Will developments in services render the hospital librarian obsolete? Is there a need for academic health librarians amongst the Google generation of students?
The key topics covered in the book are:

  • providing information
  • facilitating access to information and managing knowledge
  • building capacity
  • undertaking research and evaluation
  • supporting research and practice
  • exploiting technology
  • evidence-based practice.

Readership: Information workers and other health professionals, as well as students on librarianship and information studies courses.

Overview – Alison Brettle and Christine Urquhart
1. The changing context of health for library and information professionals

  • The health context – Christine Urquhart
  • Health library and information professionals in Europe – Suzanne Bakker

2. Changes in information generation and use

  • Changes in information generation and use: the effects on NHS library staff roles – Jenny Turner and Louise Goswami
  • Taking advantage of change: how health library and information professionals are shaping the higher education experience – Neil Ford
  • Information generation and use: a primary care perspective – Sue Lacey Bryant
  • Changes in information generation and use: reflections on the effects on academic and NHS information services – Christine Urquhart

3. Changing technology to meet clinicians' information needs

  • Clinician's information needs – Nicholas R Hardiker

4. The influences of governance, consumers and evidence based practice

  • What does information management for clinical governance involve? – Gareth Lawrence
  • Consumer health information – Alison Yeoman
  • Evidence based practice and what it means for health library and information professionals – Alison Brettle
  • Not as easy as it seems: what health professionals can tell us about applying evidence in practice – Prudence Dalrymple

5. Skills, competencies an knowledge - Christine Urquhart6. The librarian as information provider and educator

  • Higher education overview – Pat Spoor
  • NHS overview – Debra Thornton

7. The librarian who analyses information and manages knowledgeChristine Urquhart8. The librarian within research and evidence based practiceAlison Brettle 9. The librarian as decision makerJackie CheeseboroughConclusionChristine Urquhart and Alison Brettle

Dr Alison Brettle is Research Fellow (Information), Salford Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Collaborative Research, Institute of Health and Social Care Research, University of Salford.
Dr Christine Urquhart is Senior Lecturer, Department of Information Studies, University of Aberystwyth.

"Recommended reading if you're wondering where we're going as a profession, the text is a valuable contribution to the professional literature."

Consumer Connection (Medical Library Association)

"However working environments change in the years to come there will always be a need to collect, organize and provide access to health information. These tasks will be performed by someone but not necessarily by librarians, so if our profession wants to avoid sliding into insignificance we will need to understand how to step into the roles that are emerging. This book essentially offers the library profession a survival guide to working in healthcare."

Library and Information Research

"By focusing on the person (health library and information professionals) rather than the place (the library, whether it is physical or digital), and the opportunities for new and developing roles generated by the contextual drivers for change that are common in all health environments, the editors have achieved a valuable outcome – a book that is optimistic about the future, and provides some ideas about how to get there if health library and information professionals are willing to take up the challenge."

Library Management

"Working in the field of health librarianship I wish that this type of book had been available previously as it really examines and explores the whole gambit of roles within the fields of health information. The contributors to the different sections come from various countries around the world. The case studies I found particularly informative. I borrowed this book initially from the North West Health Care Library Unit (HCLU) staff library and was so impressed I bought a copy for my own library for staff to browse at their own pace. There is so much useful information in the book it illustrates all the differing opportunities there are in this exciting field of Library and Information. It is well worth purchasing."


"Recommended reading if you're wondering where we're going as a profession, the text is a valuable contribution to the professional literature." - Consumer Connection, Medical Library Association

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