Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Literature search protocols

We saw these literature search protocols produced by South Central Librarians recently mentioned on Lis-medical and thought that they looked very thorough, useful and nicely laid out. Has your organisation created their own literature search protocols or are there some other protocols or guidelines that you have found to be useful?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reflective Practice

At the CDG New Professional’s Conference in Manchester earlier this year I was introduced to 23 things for professional development. The theme of the conference was ‘Professionalism and Activism in a Time of Downturn’. CPD23 fits into this theme as it offers you the chance to work on your professional development at a pace that suits you at crucially no charge to you or your library.

There is a large focus on developing web 2.0 skills, as well as a mix of practical tasks and ideas to try out in the future. For example one week looks at the different benefits of various online networks and another week looks at advocacy and the benefits of getting published. I think what is great about CPD23 is that it isn’t exclusively for qualified librarians or aimed at a particular sector. Everyone is welcome to participate. Participants create a blog where they write reflectively about what they have learnt and their thoughts on the Thing for that week.

This brings me on to the topic of this blog post - Reflective practice. One thing that CPD23 can be used for is an opportunity to collect evidence of your personal and professional development for your Chartership portfolio. You are even awarded a certificate for participating in the 23 Things. Having recently started Chartership I have been thinking about how I plan to collate my reflections. My mentor mentioned how some people like to keep Chartership blogs whilst others can prefer quickly jotted down notes (computer or paper) or how some people have specifically designed tables with questions to help them reflect.

So what is reflective practice? I first started writing reflectively during my MA at the University of Sheffield. As part of the Management module we had to keep a reflective diary that counted towards our final mark! At first this was daunting but I soon came round to appreciating the value of reflective writing. Reflecting on our experiences, both personal and professional helps us to learn from them and apply these lessons to future practice. Whilst this may sound obvious I tend to find that structured writing can be a great way to order your thoughts. It can also be beneficial to have a chronology of reflections from which you can chart your development.

Dewey (1933) identified the three characteristics or attitudes of people who are reflective as; open-mindedness, responsibility and wholeheartedness. Greenaway’s (1995) 'Do – Plan – Review’ model is quite straightforward. The three simple steps are seen as a reflective cycle.

1. DO - have an experience
2. REVIEW - review what happened and what can be learned
3. PLAN - plan a way to approach the next round of experience

Schon's (1995) model identifies two kinds of reflection which are Reflection-in-action and Reflection-on-action.

1. Reflection-in-action - This involves immediate reflections during an event where you assess how well something is going and divert the course of your actions accordingly. Reflection-in-action more refers to someone being a reflective practitioner all of the time. Perhaps this is the end result of getting into the habits of reflective writing!

2. Reflection-on-action This is retrospective like many of the other models where you reflect on events that have already occured and address what you have learnt and how you would endeavour to do things differently.

My personal favourite is Kolb (1984) which is seen as being one of the more structured models of reflective practice:

Do you find reflective practice a helpful tool in the workplace? How do you tend to record your reflections and is there a particular model of reflective practice that you follow?


Greenaway, R. (1995) Powerful Learning Experiences in Management Learning and Development
Kolb, D. A. (1984) Experiential Learning, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.: Prentice Hall.
Schon, D. 1995. The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action. 3rd ed. Hants: Arena.
CPD23 Thing 5 Reflective Practice http://cpd23.blogspot.com/2011/07/thing-5-reflective-practice.html [Accessed 30/08/2011]

Monday, July 18, 2011

Current Awareness and RSS Feeds

We have recently been investigating the different ways in which people offer Current Awareness Bulletins. We started off by emailing out the bulletins to a list of contacts in each speciality. However, we would like to offer people a range of options for reading the current awareness, in order for it to be as widely available as possible. Whilst some people prefer receiving information directly to their inbox, other people might prefer to subscribe to it via an RSS feed and access it using a feed reader such as Google reader.

I emailed two mailing lists to see what other people have been doing with current awareness, both in and outside the health sector.

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of enthusiastic responses. There seems to be people across different sectors interested in RSS feeds and current awareness. It was mentioned by several that this was something that they were looking at setting up. Netvibes was the most popular choice as well as using blogs and Google Feedburner and Yahoo pipes to create code. You can create code for users to subscribe to the blog via email as well as RSS. A couple of people commented that RSS Readers do not seem to be that popular with their library users. Therefore the subscribing by email option could offer an interesting alternative. You can use Google Feedburner to create code so that you can embed your blog on your library website. It seems to be a good tool if you do not know how to manually create code and it is also free. Some software that creates code does charge. Other issues were people on locked down computers being unable to download any free code creating software.
Zinepal was also mentioned but the free features are limited.

  • Brian raised the issue that people can subscribe via email as an alternative (or possible additional option) to RSS. You can read a blog post he wrote on this matter here.
  • Netvibes is very popular. Here is an example from the University Hospital of North Staffordshire – I like the way the layout is easy to navigate. 
  • Shrewsbury and Telford Health Libraries have done an informative wiki about using Google Feedburner, Yahoo pipes etc 
  • Here is an example of how Keele University Libraries have displayed latest evidence
  • Quite a few people emailed me to tell me about the Current Awareness service offered by CASH – who offer an RSS option for each of their bulletins.
  • A law firm library have purchased a specific product which creates RSS feeds and live news streams for them:

The most popular options within health libraries seem to be using Netvibes or setting up a current awareness blog. Are you offering your current awareness via RSS or otherwise? Please do get in touch or comment on this post if you have more to share on current awareness and RSS!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Virtual issue of HILJ

To mark the 5th International Clinical Librarian Conference 2011, Health Information and Libraries Journal has published a free Virtual Issue on the subject of clinical information.

Virtual Issue: Meeting the Challenges of Clinical Information Provision

Meeting the Challenges of Clinical Information Provision

Edited by Hannah Spring

Meeting the challenges of clinical information provision
Hannah Spring

Review Article
Evaluation of clinical librarian services: a systematic review
Alison Brettle, Michelle Maden-Jenkins, Lucy Anderson, Rosalind McNally, Tracey Pratchett, Jenny Tancock, Debra Thornton, Anne Webb

Original Articles
Using research evidence in mental health: user-rating and focus group study of clinicians' preferences for a new clinical question-answering service
Elizabeth A. Barley, Joanna Murray, Rachel Churchill

Quantifying the information needs of doctors in the UK using clinical librarians
Karen Davies

Clinical librarians, a new tribe in the UK: roles and responsibilities
Janet Harrison, Vera Beraquet

A rapid evidence-based service by librarians provided information to answer primary care clinical questions
Jessie McGowan, William Hogg, Tamara Rader, Doug Salzwedel, Danielle Worster, Elise Cogo, Margo Rowan

Healthcare librarians and the delivery of critical appraisal training: attitudes, level of involvement and support
Michelle Maden-Jenkins

Informationist programme in support of biomedical research: a programme description and preliminary findings of an evaluation
Susan C. Whitmore, Suzanne F. Grefsheim, Jocelyn A. Rankin

Regular Features

International Perspectives and Initiatives
Health science librarianship’s legacy to health informatics
Jeannette Murphy

Learning and Teaching in Action
Better informed for better health and better care: an information literacy framework to support healthcare in Scotland
Eilean Craig

Using Evidence in Practice
Evaluating clinical librarians: mixing apple merchants with orange sellers?
Andrew Booth

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Clinical Librarian definitions

There have been quite a few emails recently on mailing lists about clinical librarians and what exactly the job entails. There seems to almost be an air of mystery shrouding the profession! Therefore in order to offer some clarity we have been trying to come up with our own ideas and definitions of what it is exactly that a clinical librarian does.

The most immediate definition that springs to my mind is the Peter Hill (2008) definition from 'Report of a National Review of NHS Library Services in England'.

"Clinical Librarians seek to provide quality assured information to health professionals at the point of need, to support clinical decision making"

I came across this quote when researching an essay at library school and it gave me some introductory insight into clinical librarianship.

Obviously this quote is not the ultimate. Therefore we would love to hear your definitions of clinical librarianship. They can be your own, or ones that you have read and thought were interesting. Please do share!

Monday, February 28, 2011

International Clinical Librarian Conference 2011

The programme for the conference is now available on our website. It's going to be on the official conference site soon too, but we wanted to get it out as soon as it was finalised. If you're trying to use up money before the end of the financial year (if you're lucky enough to have any left!), then do consider registering to join us in Birmingham this June. The invoices are automatically generated, so there is no waiting around for the post either!

We're very excited about this year's conference, we think it has a truly international feel with presentations from Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Norway. Plus there's the added attraction of a beautiful setting at the Botanical Gardens.

Registration details are here: http://conference.euhl.org.uk