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Librarians Without Borders® Workshop Reports and Photos: 2011

Guyana | Kingdoms of Swaziland | South Africa | Ethiopia

Guyana (February 8-11, 2011)

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Submitted by: Lenny Rhine, Daniel Dollar; 15 February 2011

A four-day National HINARI Training Course was conducted for Health Personnel, Medical Librarians and Researchers at the University of Guyana (UG), Turkeyen Campus. Lenny Rhine, Coordinator, E-Library Training Initiative, Librarians Without Borders ®/MLA and Daniel Dollar, Collection Development Librarian, Cushing Medical Library, Yale University were the co-instructors. Mrs. Gwyneth George, University Librarian, UG and Ms. Carol Parris, Coordinator of the Virtual Health Library, UG were the local contacts and key for the very successful development of this workshop. The assistance of Mr. Ryan Cummings, UG computer technician, was invaluable. This course was sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization, the Librarians Without Borders ®/Medical Library Association (USA) and the Elsevier Foundation.

The main objective of this workshop was to extensively train key institutional representatives so that these individuals would have the knowledge to promote HINARI and educate the users at their respective organizations. Secondary objectives were to instruct the participants about health information on the Internet, searching strategies and underutilized HINARI resources (e.g. evidence-based practice tools and e-books).

The 30 participants were a mix of physicians, lecturers (medicine and nursing) and information professionals from the three counties in Guyana – Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice. In several cases, line staff attended from smaller institutions. The majority was from the UG particularly the professional library staff, Ministry of Health and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation with others from regional hospitals and universities, the National Library and the National AIDS Programme Secretariat. Participants included the Dean and Assistant Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences and several senior lecturers.

Compared to other workshops, the participation by the various units of the Ministry of Health was significantly higher. Plus, the attendance of the Dean and Assistant Dean for almost all modules demonstrated their support for the use and inclusion of this material in the curriculums. Since this is a small country, almost all health-related institutions were represented at the course.

Most participants had good computer skills with approximately 40% bringing their own laptops. The venue was quite adequate – a little tight with all the participants. For the Authorship Skills day, the instruction was moved to a larger lecture room to accommodate a bigger audience. The move was rewarded with 53 participants. A brief overview of HINARI was given for those who had not attended the 1 st 3 days of the workshop. The Internet access definitely was adequate for 95% of the time – with a few slow patches but nothing to alter the program - plus there was WI-FI access for those with laptops. For those in the back of the training room, the screen was difficult to view although, once they received the CDs, these individuals were able to view the PowerPoint presentations on the screen.

Initially, 1/3 of the participants did not know their institutional user name and password and several thought they had to register their institutions. All except 3 participants came from registered institutions and the process for these organizations has been completed.

Besides the detailed overview of HINARI and HINARI/PubMed, we conducted training on ‘Health Information on the Internet’, ‘Searching Skills’ and ‘Evaluation of Internet Resources’, ‘Marketing HINARI Resources’ and also taught the ‘Evidence-based Practice Resources for HINARI Users’, ‘E-book Resources for HINARI Users’ and ‘Information Literacy’ modules (all were well received) plus devoted one day to the ‘Authorship Skills’ modules. We also completed an extensive overview of the training material and how it can be used in instructional settings. When developing the course, we worked with the local contacts to develop the specific curriculum.

Note – we also highlighted the material in HINARI’s Reference Sources drop down menu and new access point for the growing list of e-books. The College of Medicine lecturers were quite pleased to hear about the availability of the Oxford Textbook of Medicine, Oxford Handbook of Tropical Medicine, the additional e-books being added, Cochrane Library and other EBM resources and also EndNoteWeb. We defined this material as ‘orphaned resources’ – as most of the participants primarily think of HINARI as a program for access to health-related e-journals.

We also had a valuable discussion of the three ‘interface’ prototypes that are being developed by HINARI. This was an opportunity to get invaluable feedback from a users’ group. Key points were: develop a new interface that would be from top to bottom—header, search box and browseable lists by content type (including e-books), include a feedback box, add a home link and insure that the interface includes links to PubMed and the training material. The participants mentioned that they would like to see a draft of the revised interface and comment on this version.

The workshop had several by-products, including the usual networking particularly by librarians from various disciplines (e.g. nursing education programs). On the global level, we are planning to set up a User Group network (Guyana HINARI Users) for dissemination of information and discussion between the participants. Another possible network may develop between the University of Guyana Libraries and Yale University Libraries as a result of the workshop.

Other key points discussed included how HINARI resources would be useful in the basic sciences and possibly social sciences plus how OARE would be relevant for environmental sciences (as UG will register for this R4L resource).

At the end of the workshop, there also was a brief discussion about one of the survey questions - ‘length was appropriate for course content’ where, in this survey and most others, approximately 40 % of the participants reply ‘somewhat agree.’ These responses appear to be related to the broad range of skills of the participants. Some need more time to absorb the presentations and complete the assignments while others are able to move at a faster pace. Balancing the needs of all the participants is complicated although a slower pace of the lectures would be useful and easy to adopt.

Kingdoms of Swaziland (March 22-25, 2011)

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Research4Life Training
Location: University of Swaziland, Mbabane (Agriculture) Campus
Submitted by Lenny Rhine, April 13, 2011

We conducted a National HINARI Training Course for Agriculture and Health Staff from the Kingdoms of Swaziland (18 participants) and Lesotho (6 participants). The participants primarily were from two Universities and evenly split between lecturers and librarians. Two physicians from the Royal Memorial Hospital and three lecturers from Colleges of Nursing also attended.

This workshop was a collaborative effort between the Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA) and Librarians Without Borders ®/Medical Library Association (USA). Funding for the workshop primarily was from a Gates Foundation grant to ITOCA (for agriculture resources training) and was supplemented by the WHO/AFRO office and the Elsevier Foundation (for LWB segment).

Michael Chimalizeni of ITOCA was the co-instructor. All the participants were present for 50% of the modules and, for the other 50%, were split into groups by discipline. The split was 12 per discipline. The training material was a combination of modules used by ITOCA for R4L workshops and HINARI courses.

The workshop itself was successful but a bit complicated. While the facilities were quite acceptable, the access to the Internet was problematic. For approximately 1/3 of the time, it was too slow while, for the remainder, it was acceptable. Being aware of this potential problem, we reorganized the schedule to have the hands-on modules during the ‘low-use’ Internet periods. What actually occurred is that we’d have the participants complete the online assignments when the Internet was acceptable and then we’d lecture when the Internet was too slow. This broke up the flow of teaching.

The other complication is the nature of a R4L workshop as we have constituencies with different information needs. For 2 days, the participants are broken into topic related groups. There is more HINARI material to teach so this gets to be somewhat rushed and this was exacerbated by the Internet situation.

All the material was covered although there not time for the online exercises for the ‘e-book resources for HINARI users’ module. We did have sufficient time to cover extensively the ‘Health information on the Internet’ module plus searching skills and Google vs. Google Scholar. The participants are particularly interested in these concepts as it enables them to efficiently identify and utilize relevant material that is on the Internet. For example, an Environmental Health lecturer located an Environmental Health textbook from Hesperian Press that will be invaluable to his teaching.

Overall, the students were enthusiastic, knowledgeable and a ‘fun’ group to work with. We were able to establish a good rapport. Also, the two instructors enjoyed working with each other. In the course evaluation, the only average evaluation was the ‘Length was appropriate for the course content’ where ½ the participants said ‘agree’ and ½ noted ‘somewhat agree.’ This was consistent with other evaluations as it is difficult to pace the course for participants with different needs. In the future, I plan to send the PDF of the HINARI Short Course prior to the course as this should be useful for those with less background.

Per usual, there were several byproducts from the workshop. The most dynamic was the interaction between the lecturers and library professionals from the University of Swaziland particularly those from the agriculture discipline. After several discussions, there is a better understanding of the training that the library staff can do and how this training needs to be incorporated into the course curriculums.

South Africa (March 28-31, 2011)

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Development of Online Courses for the ITOCA Moodle Server
Location: ITOCA Office, Centurion, South Africa
Submitted by Lenny Rhine, April 13, 2011

The goals for this week’s activities were to load 3 distance learning courses on the ITOCA Moodle Server, cross train several staff members on how to create, update and manage these online courses plus develop a marketing strategy for these courses. By making these baseline skills courses available to their sub-Saharan Africa constituency, ITOCA will be able to train end users of the 3 programs. Often, ITOCA has more requests for participation in workshops that they can accommodate. This would be a training option for these individuals.

ITOCA staff involved in these activities were Blessing Chataira, Chipo Msengezi and Michael Chimalizeni. The specific courses included the already developed HINARI Short Course, the jointly developed AGORA Short Course (agriculture research) and the TEEAL Short Course (hard drive essential electronic agricultural library).

Within the allotted 4 days, we were able to accomplish all the tasks- see moodle.itoca.org Besides constructing the courses and transferring the specific files, this included learning how to create new modules, develop a grading scale and master the nuances of managing these courses online. The process was a learning experience for all the participants including the supposed instructor.

Since ITOCA has an extensive network of users in sub-Saharan Africa, they will be able to communicate with numerous potential participants. The initial plan is to conduct a series of online course – 1 week to register and 4 weeks to complete the course. Future plans include developing a Short Course for the OARE program (environmental research).

Ethiopia (October 3-4, 2011)

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Location: Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Sponsors: Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration (TAAAC), Librarians Without Borders ® /Medical Library Association (LWB), Addis Ababa University (AAU), Elsevier Foundation and
the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP)

Trainers: Carla Hagstrom (University of Toronto Gerstein Library), Jeanna Hough (Halton Health Care Services Health Sciences Library), Sandra Kendall (Mt. Sinai Hospital Health Sciences Library) and Lenny Rhine (LWB).

Submitted by: Lenny Rhine, November 2, 2011

A series of six workshops were conducted at the Addis Ababa University and Black Lion Hospital. This training was a collaborative effort between TAAAC and LWB. The TAAAC Library Program was initiated in 2008 as part of the broader collaboration between the organization and the Black Lion Hospital and its educational components. Via the E-Library Training Initiative, the LWB has been conducting HINARI related training since 2007.

The overall goals for these workshops were to provide training in information retrieval skills, HINARI and other health resources on the Internet, evidence based medicine and web design for medical librarians and medical professionals. These training priorities were developed in conjunction with Alemayehu Bisrat, Chief medical librarian of the Black Lion Hospital Library and Sandra Kendall, Director of the Mount Sinai Hospital Sidney Liswood Health Sciences Library. Besides focusing on the various HINARI e-resources, the training also stressed the concepts and application of evidence-based medicine and the resources available from the Ptolemy Project, the University of Toronto's electronic health resources. These resources are available to Black Lion Hospital physicians and key library staff. Most of the workshops included hands-on activities.

The training activities included two 3-day workshops (for Health Library Workers and Professional Librarians – including medical librarians from Makele and Jimma Universities), a 2-day workshop (Web Design) and 1-day workshop (Nursing) and several Short Courses (Authorship Skills and Resources for Residents/Doctors). The participants received CD-ROMs that contained all the training material plus access via www.taaac.com - under Programs, select Library Science Program for access to most of the training materials and agenda.

A majority of the workshops were conducted in the ICT Laboratory of the Addis Ababa University Kennedy Library. This facility has 20 desktop computers and reliable Internet with sufficient bandwidth to access the various online resources and download full-text documents .

To deal with the numerous constituencies and voluminous amount of training material, the trainers had to focus on the needs of each workshop’s participants. For example, the participants of the 1-day Nursing workshop were numerous faculty members and 2nd year students. Since the students are starting their thesis projects, the workshop stressed the use of HINARI and various strategies for literature searches and the organization of research papers.

In total, the workshops trained 110 individuals. An additional informal training session was held at the AAU Technology Library and focused on access to e-books and the use of HINARI as a resource for the science disciplines at AAU. In all the workshops, the participants were attentive and interested in learning the material. The trainers and participants felt that some of the courses were insufficient in length. This is a recurring issue from previous HINARI workshops and needs to be addressed in the future. Some of the problem is caused by having participants with different skill levels.

Special thanks to Alemayehu Bisrat and Sandra Kendall for their considerable assistance with developing the courses, grouping the participants for various workshops and organizing the day to day activities. Also thanks for coordinating the breaks and lunches and other logistical issues.

This training is only one aspect of the ongoing TAAAC Library Program for the Black Lion Hospital Medical Library. For example, the program has shipped over 2,000 current textbooks to the Medical Library. Due to this ongoing partnership, the support for the Medical Library will continue and build on the recent training and other activities.