247934 Transforming the Public Health Department information access culture: The digital library intersection

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:10 PM

Karen Dahlen, MLS , University of Massachusetts Lamar Soutter Library, NN/LM, Project Consultant, Ft. Collins, CO
Elaine Martin, MSLS, DA , Director of the Lamar Soutter Library, University of Massachusetts & Director of the New England Region, NN/LM, Worcester, MA
Javier Crespo, MLS , Associate Director, New England Region, NN/LM, University of Massachusetts Lamar Soutter Library, Worcester, MA
Background, Objective & Purpose: The need to enhance information access to public health departments (PHDs) has been documented. After years of providing articles through traditional delivery, the move towards instant access to evidence-based resources was eminent. A pilot study was conducted with 7 PHDs, located mainly in New England. Objectives were to: (1) introduce trusted electronic resources related to work topics; (2) provide ubiquitous access to licensed resources; (3) deliver hands-on training emphasizing content and functionality of resources; (4) create local librarian partnerships to improve article delivery; (5) employ data driven evaluation; and (6) document process change within participating organizations. Methods: Senior staff were recruited to lead activities and facilitate objectives. Resources, selected on content and interoperability, were made accessible through a "digital library" platform. An initial assessment was distributed to capture and analyze current subscriptions, payment practices, and to identify desired journals. Two half-day training sessions were held on-site to teach evidence-based practice and train on the electronic resources. EndNote X/4 software was supplied to manage citations and provide "cite as you write" functionality. Web-based tests were distributed in relationship to training. Survey results will be reported. Results: Digital Library Web Pages reside on all PHD intranets with e-resources linked by IP authentication. Signed vendor licenses allow access for anyone requiring information in support of work objectives. Four databases and 30 e-journals are being tested. On-site and distance-learning trainings were employed to reinforce use; some have stimulated “Communities of Practice.” Discussion & Conclusion: This project illustrates value in having timely, trusted, resources to improve the quality of public health work. Use of reliable resources can be tied to a more affordable digital library for public health. Seamless access to resources saves time, effort, and reduces duplicative expenditure. A streamlined “article” delivery system has resulted in new partnerships.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
The learner will be able to describe components of a digital library; The learner will understand IT requirements for optimal access.

Keywords: Information Technology, Information Databases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the project coordinator on the project to be presented. I have been both an Academic Library Director and a Communication & Information Specialist for a public health government agency.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.