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MLA 2016 CE305 Workshop Report

Toronto, Canada (May 14, 2016)

Submitted by:  Lenny Rhine, Karin Saric 06 June 2016


The one-day Workshop, "Hinari and Internet-based Information Resources for Health Professionals in Low and Emerging Income Countries," focused on training for health information professionals attending the MLA’16/CHLA/ABSC/ICLC meeting. The trainers were Lenny Rhine, Librarians Without Borders®/MLA and Karin Saric, Norris Medical Library, University of Southern California. Lunch and drinks were provided by the Elsevier Foundation.

The workshop’s goals were to:

  • Provide access to high-quality biomedical and health literature for low and middle income countries
  • Gain the skills to access and utilize HINARI information resources
  • Become certified to train others
  • At participants’ institutions, promote awareness and use of HINARI– to students or visitors from eligible countries, to staff with linkages at registered institutions or students and faculty doing outreach or projects at such institutions

The training assumed that the participants would have a high level of knowledge about electronic information sources. The various HINARI training modules were summarized so that the participants would get an overview of the program’s resources during the one-day workshop.  Also emphasized were the types of training activities that would be useful to the program’s users. 

Key note – during the participants’ introductions, most of the individuals noted concrete plans for use of the course’s material at their institutions or, in one case, with an organization in Bangladesh plus two participants that noted concrete projects with institutions in Africa.

Specific material discussed included an overview of the Research4Life programs, Health Information on the Internet including searching strategies, evaluating Internet sites and various resources, the HINARI portal, HINARI/PubMed searching,  HINARI and Internet e-book resources, Evidence Based Practice resources for HINARI users and overviews of the HINARI and Research4Life training material. The final activity was to develop workshop programs using specific scenarios. All these topics included hands-on exercises to demonstrate the activities that could be used during future workshops. 


Eleven individuals attended the workshop and this group definitely had the knowledge to understand the material and skills to complete the exercises. The survey results were very positive with almost all the variables (instructional material was relevant and hands-on exercises were useful, session objectives met participants’ objectives, content was well organized, the trainers were knowledgeable and organized and the participants acquired useful knowledge and skills) being ranked in the ‘agree’ category. Plus, 9 of the 11 participants also noted that the length was appropriate for the course content. There also were two useful suggestions – to discuss cultural differences and supply information on the specifics of organizing a workshop. We plan to develop such material for future workshops.

Also, the participants all were enthusiastic and regularly interacted with the trainers.  Regarding the content, the attendees noted that the ‘health information on the Internet’ links were very useful and also suggested several to the trainers.   

In conclusion, this small but focused workshop has the potential to have numerous positive outcomes. As previously noted, the participants began the workshop with clear ideas of potential audiences to train. In six months, we will send an ‘outcomes’ survey and expect to receive a list of activities that have been accomplished.

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