Entries in Health Sciences Librarianship (3)


The Evolving Role and Value of Librarians in Health Care

From JAMA:

Recent research has shown the value of information in patient care and highlights the role of the library and librarian in supporting this information revolution. The Value Study, conducted by Marshall et al4 at 56 library sites serving 118 hospitals, surveyed physicians, residents, and nurses who were involved in patient care or clinical research and could recall an event in the last 6 months when they had used an information resource. Of the 16 122 survey respondents (including 5379 physicians, 2123 residents, and 6788 nurses), three-fourths reported that they had definitely or probably handled some aspect of patient care differently as a result of the information obtained from the library and information resources. Among the changes reported were advice given to the patient (48%), diagnosis (25%), and choice of drugs (33%). Most respondents (95%) reported that the information resulted in more informed clinical decisions. Respondents also reported that the information allowed them to avoid or reduce the possibility of the following adverse events: patient misunderstanding of the disease (23%); additional tests (19%); misdiagnosis (13%); adverse drug reactions (13%); medical errors (12%); and patient mortality (6%).


Sollenberger JF, Holloway RG Jr. (2013). The evolving role and value of libraries and librarians in health care. JAMA, 310(12), 1231-2. PMID 24065006


Trends in Health Sciences Librarianship

The Health Information and Libraries Journal has put together a nice series of international perspectives on 21st C health sciences librarianship trends.  While each piece functions well enough in isolation, it's the shared experience of the whole that's most striking.

Common Trends:

  • Evidence-based practice
  • Systematic review support
  • Consortial licensing
  • Team science
  • Aging workforce
  • Scholarly communication (inc. Open Access)
  • Budgetary issues
  • Increasing roles as teachers
  • Greater emphasis on online access
  • Collaborations across institutions
  • Reference software
  • Library space changes

Browne R, Lasserre K, McTaggart J, et al. (2012) International trends in health science librarianship: part 1 - the English speaking world.  Health Info Libr J, 29(1), 75-80.

Dollfuss H, Bauer B, Decleve G, et al. (2012) International trends in health science librarianship: part 2 - Nothern Europe.  Health Info Libr J, 29(2), 166-71.

Haglund L, Buset KJ, Kristiansen HM, et al. (2012) International trends in health science librarianship: part 3 - Nordic Countries.  Health Info Libr J, 29(3), 247-51. 

Edit: Thanks to EagleDawg for noticing the proxied links!  Fixed. 


Health Science Librarianship Quiz

From Trend Spotting - Whither Health Science Librarianship?:

Quiz – Key dates in medical librarianship relating to automation 

1. When was the 1st edition of the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) released for use in both indexing and cataloguing?

2. In what decade did the demand for mediated online searches in the health sciences begin? 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s?

3. Modern machine methods were first applied to the production of index Medicus in the middle of which decade?

4. In what year did the Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (MEDLARS) become operational?

5. When was the 1st International MEDLARS Centre (to implement batch bibliographic retrieval services using NLM data) established?

6. When did the NLM initiate experiments in real time, interactive online access to the MEDLARS bibliographic database?

7. In what year did MEDLINE become operational?

8. When did widespread searching of online commercial databases by academic reference librarians begin?

9. When did services oriented to end users of online databases begin to appear?

10. What was the real breakthrough in end-user searching in the mid-1980s?

11. In what year did NLM develop the software package Grateful Med? (A personal computer-based search interface for health professionals who wanted to do their own searches)?

12. When did MEDLINE on CD-ROM first appear?

13. What was the major benefit of CD-ROM technology compared to online commercial databases?

14. When did the NLM release Internet Grateful Med?

15. When was access to MEDLINE over the Web made free of charge?


1. 1960
2. 1960s
3. Mid-1960s
4. 1964
5. 1966
6. 1970–1971
7. 1971
8. late 1970s
9. early 1980s
10. the introduction of CD-ROM technology
11. 1986
12. early 1987
13. cost-effective, fixed annual cost rather than variable cost of online connect charges
14. in 1996
15. 26 June 1997


1. I need to brush up on the history of my profession.
2. I'm glad I missed the MEDLINE on CD-ROM generation.