This four day workshop was conducted at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana. The instructor was Lenny Rhine, Librarians Without Borders/Medical Library Association (USA). Eliane Pereira dos Santos, PAHO Knowledge Management, Bioethics and Research, also attended the workshop and taught the WHO/PAHO resources module. The funding for the workshop primarily was provided by PAHO and also the Elsevier Foundation.
The local organization/logistics was handled excellently by Angela Hoyle and the PAHO/WHO Country staff. This included identifying and communicating with the participants, coordinating the logistics with the venue and preparing all the necessary material for the workshop. Ryan Dos Santos, IT Officer/PAHO, assisted with the technical support. The Marriott Hotel was the venue which was excellent. The bandwidth was reliable and speedy, the conference room was comfortable although lengthy but with a good sound system. Also, the breaks and lunches were timely and well prepared. The hotel staff was attentive to the workshop’s needs.
The attendees were a mix of Ministry of Health staff, several librarians from the University of Guyana plus physicians who also are faculty members at the University, four individuals from the Ministry of Agriculture/Guyana Livestock Development Authority and two individuals from Guyana Water Authority plus six staff from the PAHO/WHO Country Office, several individuals based at hospitals and a pharmacy instructor. In total, 50 individuals attended the workshop. Note: Country Office staff will have access to Hinari in January 2016 and, consequently, all the training modules were relevant for this group.
Since Guyana is a Group B country, the institutions are required to pay $1500 per year for access to the material. Fortunately, most of the participants have access through the Ministry of Health and University of Ghana and both have paid subscriptions for 2017. The Ministry of Agriculture registration has been reinstated for three month and they plan to pay for 2018.
In the four day workshop, the objectives were to have the participants learn the critical tools for accessing/utilizing HINARI and related Internet resources particularly focusing on their research. Approximately 1/3 of the participants currently are in post-graduate programs and the skills learned would be invaluable for their thesis. A byproduct of this training would be for the participants to share their knowledge with colleagues.
The modules covered included searching skills, HINARI portal, HINARI/PubMed (website, filters, history and advanced search), the alternate Summon search tool for HINARI (journals and ebooks), MY NCBI accounts, evidence-based medicine, e-book and Internet resources for Hinari users, Zotero reference management software plus authorship skills material (How to read and write a scientific paper, Copyright & plagiarism, Web-bibliography of publishing resources including the Authoraid website.
Besides the Hinari resources, particular attention was given to tools for identifying useful information on the Internet (from non-governmental and intergovernmental agencies, a thesis and several open access directories and e-book sources) and also the publishing process including the Zotero reference management software (that was well received by all the participants). Also, the AGORA (agriculture) portal and some agriculture related Internet resources were discussed as this was relevant for a number of the participants.
At the end of the workshop, the participants completed post-workshop surveys. 85-90% of the participants ‘agreed’ that the workshop was well organized, had relevant material with useful ‘hands-on’ exercises, that the trainer was knowledgeable/organized, the instructor was an effective presenter and responsive to questions and that the workshop resulted in their obtaining useful knowledge and skills. According to the participants, major strengths of the workshop included Demos/Hands on, Information Gained, Support Material and Networking.
There were a somewhat broader reply to the ‘length was appropriate for course content’ question but not nearly as wide a response as in other workshops. The responses were 75% replying ‘agree’ (probably due to the level of knowledge of the participants) and another 25% noting other options. Three individuals that ‘disagreed’ stated that the workshop was too lengthy and this is the 1st time that was mentioned.
A subsequent evaluation will be in six months which will focus on the use of Hinari by the participants.
The pre-workshop knowledge of the participants was quite good (i.e. 50% of the individuals had used Google Scholar and PubMed). Consequently, the participants were able to understand the material and complete the hands-on exercises in a timely fashion. The group also displayed a positive, interactive style. This was noted in how colleagues completed the hands on activities and also in several group undertakings. Although this was a large group, it was one where the goals clearly were accomplished as the participants gained the necessary skills to enhance their research and clinical activities with current scientific information.
Note – this PAHO/WHO sponsored workshop is part of a series of trainings to enhance the research effort in Guyana particularly at the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Agriculture and University of Guyana.