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Business support, on the job training and creative learning – HLG round up

In CILIP, Evidence-Based Librarianship, HLG 2010, How to work better, Information industry, Knowledge Management on July 25, 2010 by Hanna Tagged: , , , , ,

The 2010 HLG conference earlier this week offered an opportunity for health librarians and information professionals to share knowledge and experience in the positively sunny Salford Quays location. Alan F and I presented on this very blog and I also presented about work I do on clinical guidelines. This meant that with lots of parallel sessions I may have missed some great presentations and look forward to catching up on those I couldn’t see in person when they’re posted on the HLG website. I tried tweeting from the conference as well but couldn’t get a signal on my phone and the organisers did seem to miss a trick when they announced the hashtag (they switched from #HLGconf to #hlg2010 or maybe this was not organised, haven’t checked) but in the next breath said please turn off your phones…

So what did I take away from the conference? One inspiring session came from librarians supporting the information needs of managers in Leicester where Louise Hull talked about building on experience of a successful clinical librarian service and Debra Thornton in Blackpool had recruited Trevor Morris to provide a dedicated management librarian service. Trevor was so successsful he has now moved into a care pathway coordination role so the library is providing integral support to improving quality for patients. Stephen Ayre spoke about how his service in Nuneaton started offering literature support for clinical audits being carried out at his hospital and how picking up the phone and having a chat to people about their needs could increase new business for the library. He ended up collecting useful information for the clinical audit team about who was registering audits (nurses don’t have to do this for their statutory professional development so slip under the radar) and even becoming a first check of audits before they are registered proved that library services can be tailored to the information need for non-clinicians. I felt their case studies were inspiring as a way of raising your profile in an organisation even if other people might think ‘why is a librarian interested in audit or quality improvement’; in the right culture and with drive and determination you can push the boundaries of traditional library services. Even in my work place, a more corporate/research setting, we don’t specifically address the needs of managers who are our budget holders and paymasters. Perhaps it pays to think that managers have information needs that stretch the imagination in terms of not needing Medline searches but need to know what other organisations are doing , what the latest management technique du jour is and what is on the horizon in their domain of interest be it commissioning or implementation or planning…

Emily Hopkins set up a ‘library’ service in NHS North West and discovered that there was no need for a physical collection but that there were plenty of projects that could use a bit of information or records or knowledge management. Which linked quite nicely to a talk about strategic planning (or looking beyond things like PEST and SWOT analyses which are part of my vocabulary) as most of us don’t have the luxury of starting from scratch but work with a history which means our services need to be revised and developed as we reflect on where we are going. Sheila Corrall talking briefly about a range of other tools such as information ecology whereby you think about the different environments in which you work, strategic information alignment where we explicitly map our goals with that of our organisation and my favourite way the issues priorities matrix where you are trying to think about what to tackle first.

The plenary session featuring a professional development model based on training by doing (yay!) or on the job checklists of specific skills was brilliant for having an overview of how this was developed from Sara Clarke and a reflection on how this felt to progress through by my fellow grad trainee Zoe Thomas. Of course it couldn’t be called common sense or just recognising my argument that I learnt a limited amount about library work at library school and library schools are often a bit too academic and will inherantly always be so they plumped for ‘Legitimate Peripheral Participation’ model which is just brilliant.

Tony Warne, Professor of Nursing at Salford University, offered us a talk on creative learning and and insight into the blog I’d like to write only I should be approached by the estate of James Joyce for breach of copyright. He actually titled his talk around Vannevar Bush’s 1945 paper ‘As we may think’ and meandered around library services being beyond bounds of physical space and the joys of open access (yes indeed I thought) and then spoiled this by talking about the interface between knowing and not knowing and perhaps his interest in psychanalysis took over…but going back to Bush who was thinking about the limits of organising knowledge in a logical way (albeit Andrew Booth had argued earlier in the conference that us info pros are happier when information is ordered in this way) he said humans think in terms of associations and how about we have a machine called a memex that captures this in some way, storing and organising information in a mechanized fashion, allowing more than one person to look at something at once. How far the internet and contemporary knowledge systems have achieved this is up for debate. I definitely agree with creative learning approaches which builds on Warne’s exposition that creativity and rational approaches to knowledge organisation are not mutually exclusive, almost by being open to different ways of thinking will encourage a broader landscape of a topic, building on the collective knowledge of something (and now I’m falling into the academic that turns me off but his talk was definitely intellectually stimulating!).

Lastly I caught two posters from SCIE the Social Care Institute for Excellence which looked at scoping searches and the fact there is no defined way of rapidly gathering evidence about a topic and how far to go as well as how to choose databases for searching in social care. This latter problem was approached in a systematic way whereby a range of databases were searched and unique references identified to map where overlap in coverage was found. Presumably a few more cases might need to be tested to see if there were any general trends. This is certainly a question we have when searching for medical literature and whether we should search every database we have access to or whether it is a peculiar fear of librarians that we’ll end up in a meeting where we missed a paper and all hell will break lose…

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5 Responses to “Business support, on the job training and creative learning – HLG round up”

  1. […] Top Post (last 24 hours) Business support, on the job training and creative learning – HLG round up […]

  2. Amazing pair of blog posts on the HLG conference- I am glad you got both sun and donuts but it seems a shame about the encouragement quickly followed by discouragement about using Twitter to communicate. Perhaps ‘phones on vibrate’ would have been better advice?

    The scoping search poster from SCIE sounds very worthy- will have to check this out.

    When do you think, we won’t be forbidden from tweeting, using wifi, etc at librarian-focused conferences?

  3. Will hold my hands up to the hashtag issue being a lack of communication between the organisers! I’d always planned for it to be #hlg2010, but looks like I’d been remiss in briefing my co-organiser. Sorry!

    The phone issue was also an oversight – we hadn’t realised just how sensitive the AV equipment at the venue was. Will definitely be checking that for the next HLG Conference.

    • In terms of the phone thing – I think we got off on the wrong foot as the there was mobile interference with the mike during the first keynote. I do wonder if this was down to the speaker perhaps not having turned off their own device as I did not experience any further repeats of this kind subsequently (maybe I was just lucky).

      I suspect also there was a confusion (as Dani identifies) between asking people to turn off ring tones and asking for mobiles to be off. I certainly saw no sign of people having turned off their phones throughout the conference and only turned mine off when I was speaking myself.

      I don’t think I ever received an instruction not to tweet. We just need to refine our messages around good phone / device management during sessions.

  4. I didn’t mean we were forbidden to tweet, just wasn’t easy! Thanks Pip et al for organising, it was a really enjoyable informative conference.

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