27 May 2014

HSLG Annual Conference 2014: Synergy: skills, standards and collaboration among health librarians (Day Two)

Guest post by Caroline Rowan, Assistant Librarian, UL

Day one of the conference is reviewed in this post

Day 2 of the HSLG conference started with the AGM and this was followed by the first speaker, Anne Madden, St Vincent’s Hospital presenting on Ranganathan’s rules, their importance today and their relationship to the core competencies for health librarians.  She argued that there are lots of librarians who have stepped outside the traditional roles, by e.g. attending grand rounds etc and noted that there is a history of librarians re-inventing themselves and what they do.  Anne highlighted a very simple way of measuring and proving the financial value of your library:

a) Number of articles requested                                                                               
b) Total cost of full price
c) Total cost through library services 
Savings = b-c

This could also be done on a departmental basis to demonstrate value to each individual unit. 

Next speaker up was Diarmuid Stokes from UCD who took us through a quick interactive demonstration of bibliographic reference management tools EndNote and Zotero. Diarmuid found that involvement on Zotero groups has helped raise his profile with researchers as it offers the opportunity to connect with academics who might not otherwise be aware of his existence.  He gave some useful tips on adding and deleting citations on EndNote and the importance of using the Edit Citation tool.  He also pointed out that if you are sending material to a publisher, you need to remove the EndNote coding from it before you send it as it interferes with the desktop publishing software.
Laura Rooney Ferris from the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) spoke about her journey from a traditional library role to becoming an embedded librarian and her focus on breaking the mental association between the library and books.  Within IHF she did this by highlighting that the library was a multi-channel service involved in:

  •  Harvesting and receipt of information
  • Analysing and processing of information
  • Distributing and disseminating information
One of the most useful things I took from Laura’s talk was that she waits until all of the other departments have done their strategic plan for the year and then has a meeting with the senior management team to discuss what she can do to support key projects. With this information she then structures her own plan. This allows her to highlight areas for collaborative work and also allows her to specify what she will and won’t get involved with allowing her to manage expectations and deliverables.  

The last speaker of the day was Maedhbh Murphy, Archivist at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) who started her presentation with a clip of Penny Dreadful to illustrate that the medical instruments used in the trailer were those from the RCSI Heritage Collections. The RCSI Heritage collections encompass organic items (a baby orang-utan), historical records, photographs, patient casebooks, medical instruments, books, CDs, USB sticks and cassette recordings and consequently offers not only the opportunity to support students, researchers and academics but also to film companies, media etc (centenary celebrations). Maedhbh works closely with the librarians in the Mercer Library and finds the collaboration to be significantly beneficial for researchers and academics.  

There were some really fascinating and insightful presentations at the conference and I have only touched on them here. Keep an eye on www.hslg.ie for the slides so you can have a fuller picture. In the meantime, for anyone considering a career in health science libraries, whether you are a student, a recent graduate, or looking to change the library sector you work in, I would very much recommend attending a HSLG conference. It’s invaluable.


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