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Librarians Without Borders® Workshop Reports and Photos: 2013

Ethiopia | Albania | Macedonia | Samoa

Ethiopia (February 12-14, 2013)

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Submitted by Lenny Rhine, February 20, 2013

A three day National HINARI "Train the Trainers" Course for Information Professionals was conducted at Addis Ababa University, John F. Kennedy Memorial Library from February 12-14, 2013.  The workshop was supported by the WHO Regional Office for Africa and Librarians Without Borders®/Medical Library Association and hosted by the Addis Ababa University. Lenny Rhine, Coordinator, E-Library Training Initiative/LWB, was the instructor assisted by Alemayehu Bisrat, Director of Medical Library, Black Lion Hospital.  Local arrangements were ably coordinated and facilitated by Mr. Mesfin Gezahegn (Director of the University Library), Mr. Alemayehu Bisrat and Mr. Bahailu Jemaneh of the University and technical supports was provided from the ICT center.   

The 25 participants were a mix of information professionals predominantly from the Addis Ababa University campuses – Main, Health, Nursing, Technology and Veterinary Medicine, other health related Universities in Addis Ababa and key librarians from Jimma, Gondar and Dire Dawa Universities. Also attending were 3 Pharmacists from the School of Graduate Studies and a librarian from the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology as that institution has programs relating to numerous health-related disciplines.

In the 3 day workshop, the principal modules covered were searching skills, evaluation of health information on the Internet, health resources on the Internet, HINARI website, HINARI/PubMed (website, limits, history, and advanced search), MY NCBI accounts, e-books resources for HINARI users and evidence-based practice resources for HINARI users.  Also discussed were the Do’s and Don’ts of HINARI, HINARI training material and tools, how to market/publicize HINARI and Internet resources and information literacy.

Since Ethiopia is a Group A country with few Publisher exclusions, almost all the program’s resources are available to the registered universities. Only one institution needed to register for HINARI although some will be registering for the sister programs.

What was unique about this group of participants was the positive perspective on learning and everyone’s ability to complete the exercises during the allotted time frame.   We were able to finish all the training material during the three day workshop.

One specific positive outcome was the training of three pharmacy post-graduate students. They noted that the workshop was invaluable for their current research projects (including the Zotero short course) and how others in their program should receive similar training in the basics of HINARI and Zotero. This training could be incorporated into the curriculum as part of a research methods course.

Also, the three librarians from Jimma, Gondar and Dire Dawa University found the training to be quite useful so that these R4L resources can be better utilized at their institutions. We are discussing the development of a distance learning course to train library staff at these universities.

A series of mini-workshops also were held during this week. On February 11, a HINARI short course was conducted for eight students and faculty of the new Family Medicine residency program at Black Lion Hospital. The workshop focused on the e-journal and evidence-based medicine resources available from HINARI. Also discussed were the e-resources available from the University of Toronto through Ptolemy project. The timing was excellent as the faculty learned what resources are available and their use will be incorporated into the program’s curriculum.

On February 15th, a reference/citation management software called Zotero was presented for 15 professional librarians of the University who engaged in doing research. During the afternoon of the same day, 35 graduate students of the department of health informatics participated in a course in search strategies and the basics of HINARI and PubMed searching .

Durres, Albania (April 9-11, 2013)

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Submitted by Lenny Rhine, April 24, 2013

A three day National HINARI Course was conducted in Durres, Albania from 09-11 April 2013. The workshop was supported by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and Librarians Without Borders®/Medical Library Association and hosted by the Institute of Public Health (ISPH), Albania.  Lenny Rhine, Coordinator - E-Library Training Initiative/LWB, was the instructor. Local arrangements were ably coordinated and facilitated by Dr. Rudina Baboci from the Institute.

The 20 participants were predominantly from Institute of Public Health and included numerous physicians and/or individuals with PhD or Masters in Public Health. Several of the participants also are members of the medical teaching faculty of the University of Tirana. Some of them were from different Districts (Vlora, Fier, Shkodra). Four individuals from the Ministry of Health were scheduled to attend but there was a new Minister. They felt they should not leave their posts under these circumstances.

The librarian from the ISPH was invited but chose not to attend because he felt his HINARI skills were quite good. I did spend 90 minutes with him in the library and reviewed key points that were aimed at enhancing his very good knowledge level. His decision is unfortunate because there was other material (e.g. Zotero, Authorship Skills) that he did not learn about and he possibly would have become more integrated with the other ISPH staff.

In the 3 day workshop, the principal modules covered were searching skills, evaluation of health information on the Internet, health resources on the Internet, HINARI website, HINARI/PubMed (website, limits, history, and advanced search), MY NCBI accounts, e-books resources for HINARI users and evidence-based practice resources for HINARI users.  Also discussed were most of the Publishing Skills modules and Zotero, bibliographic management software that was loaded onto the participants’ laptops.

Since Albania is a Group B country with some Publisher exclusions, we had to note what material is available for the users within the country.

What was unique about this workshop was that it was the first of almost 50 courses where we could view a sea or ocean from the venue.  More important was the excellent skill level of the participants which enabled us to proceed through the basic material and cover additional modules including several authorships skills and the Zotero software material.

The success of the workshop is noted in the surveys.   All the participants ‘agreed’ that the workshop was well organized and the length was appropriate and gave the workshop a top overall rating of 5.  This also is a reflection of the knowledge of the participants and their understanding of the value of current information.

On the following day, I visited the Institute for a post-workshop review.  The discussion focused on several issues:

  • The need for further training for staff within the Institute of Public Health including the Ph.D. and Masters Students - as these skills are essential for their thesis activities.
  • Possible training for University of Tirana medical students as these individuals also need to complete a research project.   In both cases, HINARI training should be incorporated into the research methods courses.
  • The need for additional training in Albania for HINARI (e.g. Ministry of Health staff and medical library staff) but also focusing on OARE (environmental research), AGORA (agriculture research) and ARDI (Research for Innovation) programs.  These three programs are underutilized in many countries and must be publicized.
  • Similar training in Kosovo as the staff of the ISPH has excellent connections in that country

Skopge, Republic of Macedonia (April 16-18, 2013)

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Submitted by Lenny Rhine, April 24, 2013

A three day HINARI Course was conducted in Skopje from 16-18 April 2013. The workshop was supported by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and Librarians Without Borders®/Medical Library Association (LWB) and hosted by the Faculty of Medicine, Ss Cyril and Methodius University. Lenny Rhine, Coordinator - E-Library Training Initiative/LWB, was the instructor. The assistance of Lenche Danevska, Chief Librarian of the Central Medical Library, Faculty of Medicine, was invaluable for the hands-on activities and also the translation of key points. Local arrangements were ably coordinated by Svetlana Petrusevska and Aleksandar Meskov from the WHO Country Office.

The 25 participants were predominantly from the Faculty of Medicine, and majority of them were physicians including approximately 10 who were completing Ph.D. thesis. Departments represented included Surgery, Anesthesiology, Pediatrics, Dentistry, Pathology, Biochemistry, Nephrology, Cardiology, Psychiatry, Microbiology, Anatomy, Epidemiology, and Pharmacy. Several of the participants have teaching roles at the Faculty of Medicine. Also attending were two staff members from the Ministry of Health and two from the Central Medical Library.

In the 3 day workshop, the principal modules covered were searching skills, evaluation of health information on the Internet, health resources on the Internet, HINARI website, HINARI/PubMed (website, limits, history, clinical queries and advanced search), MY NCBI accounts, e-books resources for HINARI users and evidence-based practice resources for HINARI users.  Also discussed were most of the Authorship Skills modules and Zotero, bibliographic management software that was loaded onto the participants’ laptops.

Since Macedonia is a Group B country with several exclusions from key publishers, we had to note what material is available for the users within the country (see #3 in key issues section) and also discussed other options for accessing free full text articles.

What was unique about this workshop was that this was the best teaching room of 50 courses that I have conducted, every participant had their own laptop and the Dean and one of the Vice Deans attended every session of the course. Critical to the success of the workshop were the excellent English as a second language skills and the initial knowledge level of the participants. This enabled us to proceed through the basic material and cover additional modules including several authorships skills and the Zotero software material.

The success of the workshop is noted in the surveys. All the participants ‘agreed’ that the instructional material was relevant and the hands-on activities were useful, 24 of 25 participants "€˜agreed" that the workshop was well organized, 22 of 25 gave the workshop a top overall rating of "5"€™ with the other three ranking it as a "4"€™. These rankings also are a reflection of the knowledge of the participants and their understanding of the value of current information. Regarding specific modules, almost all noted the value of the additional Zotero module and many noted the access to e-books and the PubMed search tools (filters, clinical queries, MY NCBI) material.

During the workshop and subsequent discussions in the Library, several key issues to further the use of these resources were identified:

The requirement for the participants to train others within their departments was repeated numerous times during the workshop. This and also use of the resources will be evaluated in 3 and 6 month "€˜outputs"€™ surveys that will be sent to all participants.

  • The need for integration of Library staff in the training especially for Ph.D. students and medical students during their thesis work. Currently the teaching skills of the Library staff are underutilized. Types of training could include Zotero, basic access to HINARI, HINARI/PubMed searching and access to the full-text articles, access to e-books and e-journals from HINARI and other ‘open access’ resources, etc.
  • The need for access to the "€˜excluded"€™ Elsevier journals. Snezhana Cicevalieva, WHO Country Office, suggested that a plan be developed for acquiring a consortia license for access to Elsevier Science Direct. This would be through the regional SEE Health Network and would allow access to medical colleges and ministries of health in the countries that currently are excluded . HINARI countries with exclusions include Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Albania and Moldova currently have access while the other member countries are not eligible for HINARI. Access for these ineligible countries could be included in a consortia program. Note: Gaby Caro will initia lly discuss this with a possible contact in the Elsevier Sales office.
  • The discussion of the level of distribution of the username and password at the Faculty of Medicine. According to HINARI, access can be granted to all faculty, staff AND students. This is a local decision. At the Faculty of Medicine, this information is available to all physicians, research and teaching staff. One option being considered is to give the username and password to senior level medical students involved in research projects and also graduate students.

P.S. I have confirmed that the access to Cochrane Library is permanent. For all Group B countries, access was added on Friday 12 April. That is why it was available during our workshop.

Samoa (December 3-6, 2013)

Submitted by Lenny Rhine, January 28, 2014

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A four day National HINARI Training Course was conducted at the National University of Samoa (NUS) from December 3-5, 2013.   This was followed by a one day Research4Life Master Trainer workshop on 06 December.  These workshops were supported by the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific and Librarians Without Borders®/Medical Library Association and hosted by NUS.  Lenny Rhine,  E-Library Training Initiative/LWB, and Mark Bendo , WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WPRO) were the instructors.  They were assisted by Marie Villemin-Partow (WPRO).  Local arrangements were ably coordinated and facilitated by Avalogo Nanai Togi A. Tunupopo, University Librarian (NUS) and technical support was supplied by Eileen Hazelman, Systems Administrator (NUS).

The twenty-nine participants for the initial workshop were predominantly from the NUS with a majority being from the library staff but also included eight lecturers from the University chiefly from Nursing.  Other participants were from the Oceania University of Medicine, National Health Services, University of South Pacific/Alafua Campus, Scientific Research Organization of Samoa, Ministry of Health, Secretariat from the Regional Environment Programme and the Nelson Memorial Public Library. 

In the four day workshop, the principal modules covered were searching skills, evaluation of health information on the Internet, health resources on the Internet, HINARI website, HINARI/PubMed (website, filters, history, and advanced search), MY NCBI accounts, information literacy, e-books resources for HINARI users and evidence-based practice resources for HINARI users.  Also covered were most of the Publishing Skills modules and Mendeley, a bibliographic management software tool.

What was unique about this workshop was the general (very good) skill level of the participants and ability to complete the assignments in a timely fashion.  The mix between information professionals and users enabled each group to understand the needs of the other.  With Samoa being a small group of islands, we were able to have participants from all the key academic, research and administrative institutions (e.g. NUS, Oceania University of Medicine, Scientific Organization of Samoa, National Health Service, etc.)  We also had our youngest student as, each afternoon, we were joined by the pre-school granddaughter of one of the participants.

The success of the workshop is noted in the surveys.   Almost all the participants ‘agreed’ that the workshop was well organized, had relevant material with useful ‘hands-on’ exercises and resulted in their obtaining useful knowledge and skills.  There were a broader reply to the length of the workshop with half the participants replying ‘agree’ and the other half ‘somewhat agree’ and ‘somewhat disagree’.  The positive survey responses are a reflection of the knowledge of the participants and their understanding of the value of current health information.

For the one day Research4Life (R4L) Master Trainer workshop, there were eight participants.  The goal of this course was to train individuals to be able to instruct across the four programs – HINARI, AGORA, OARE and ARDI.  It focused on the similarities and differences of these programs’ interfaces particularly the different search tools or databases that are used and how to develop a workshop for a multi-discipline group.   This workshop resulted in the development of a core group in Samoa that can complete inter-program training at their institutions and should result in higher use of the R4L resources.

On December 10, I visited Ms. Matila Faapopo, librarian at the Oceania University of Medicine.  We discussed the specific needs of the Library’s constituency and how these can be addressed.  The issues included the development of an instructional plan for the students, presentations to the faculty and promotion of the HINARI resources including e-books and evidence-evidence based medicine.  This is an example of a situation where there is a need for follow-up and continued support.    Similar on-going activities should be fostered with key individuals at the NUS Library and Faculty of Nursing, University of the South Pacific, Alafua Campus and Scientific Research Organization of Samoa.