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Librarians without Borders® HINARI and Internet Resources Workshop Report Bhutan: September 5-8, 2016

Bhutan (September 5-6 and 7-8, 2016)

Two 2-day workshops were conducted at Keysar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences, Bhutan. They were supported by the World Health Organization, South-East Asia Regional Office, Librarians Without Borders®/Medical Library Association (LWB) and the Faculty of Nursing and Public Health, Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan.  Professor Lenny Rhine, LWB was the instructor. Significant organizational support came from Dr. Suraj Shrestha, WHO Country Office.

In 2015, Mr. Phuntsho Norbu, Librarian at the Faculty of Nursing and Public Health, communicated with Mr. Charles Raby, Technical Information Management & Dissemination, SEARO about conducting a new series of workshops at the University since the previous ones were conducted in 2010.  Mr. Raby submitted a proposal to the Research4Life Training Team and $4,000 was allocated for these workshops.

Local arrangements were coordinated by Mr. Norbu including the focus of the two workshops and the selection of the participants.  Using IT lab of the Faculty and technical support from the IT staff, the workshop had access to sixty computers and very reliable Internet access.  The host institution supplied nice breaks and luncheons.  

In both workshops, the goals were to have the participants learn the critical skills of Hinari and related Internet resources that would be applied to their information needs.  Institutions in Nepal have access to all Hinari publishers except four so that there is a wealth of information currently available to the users. Since the language of education is English in Bhutan, the participants were able to easy understand the presentations and complete the hands-on activities.

The modules covered were searching skills and evaluation of health sites on the Internet, Hinari portal including ‘access problems and solutions’, Hinari/PubMed (website, filters, history and advanced search), the alternate Summon search tool for Hinari, evidence-based medicine, e-book and Internet resources for Hinari users, discussion of Hinari and Research4Life training material, a summary of the Zotero reference management software plus a brief overview of authorship skills material (How to read and write a scientific paper, plagiarism, web-bibliography).  

The initial workshop included a total of thirty-seven lecturers and students from the Faculty of Nursing and Public Health, Faculty of Traditional Medicine and library staff from all the colleges of the Royal University of Bhutan. This included six clinical counseling students in the 1st year of a new program and two faculty members who teach research methods and several.    For the library staff, some of the individuals had not attended any training outside their institutions and one of the byproducts was support and networking for these individuals. 

Regarding the skill level, this was a generally homogeneous group and we were able to proceed through the various modules in a timely fashion especially after the trainer was able to identify those that needed some assistance during the hands-on exercises and those that could proceed on their own.  Plus, many small groups of participants worked together to complete the hands-on activities.

In almost all cases, the trainer was able to identify resources in one or more of the Research4Life programs that had relevant information for the various universities and registered these institutions.  For example, we identified useful resources for the College of Science and Technology in HINARI and OARE (environmental sciences), College of Natural Resources in OARE and for the Colleges of Education in Hinari (for example, special education, counseling, developmental disabilities, etc.)

The second workshop was more complicated although also successful.  Another group of thirty-six attended and it included different lecturers, library staff and in-services and final year traditional medicine students from the Faculty of Nursing and Public Health and Faculty of Traditional Medicine. Additional, more than thirty postgraduate interns and attending physicians participated in the afternoon sessions. 

This doubled the number of participants.  On the 1st day, the additional group had to be integrated into the HINARI/PubMed presentations/exercises as they needed to get to the point of being able to complete the exercises.  For the subsequent modules that day (Summon) and those on the 2nd day (Evidence Based Practice resources and e-book resources), the integration was smoother although the single trainer was overloaded when attempting to check the hands-on activities of sixty plus students.

At the end of the workshop, the participants for both workshops completed post-training surveys (attached).  In the initial workshop survey, almost all the participants ‘agreed’ that the workshop was well organized, had relevant material with useful ‘hands-on’ exercises, that the trainer was knowledgeable/organized, effective presenter and responsive to questions and that the workshop resulted in their obtaining useful knowledge and skills and 80% also ‘agreed’ that the ‘length of the workshop’ was appropriate – this is a high percentage for this question.  According to the participants, major strengths of the workshop included Demos/Hands on, Information Gained and Support Material. 

For the second workshop, there were a significantly broader reply to the ‘length was appropriate for course content’ question.  The responses were 60% replying ‘agree’ and the remaining 40% noting ‘somewhat agree’ or ‘somewhat disagree’ or one ‘disagree’.  Also in the ‘I learned knowledge and skills I can use, 18 noted ‘agree’ while 10 noted ‘somewhat agree.’

These wider ranges can be attributed to the differing levels of knowledge and skills of the participants as many of the students were in their first year and were being introduced to new material plus also the large number of participants that attended the afternoon sessions.  As previously noted, the trainer did not have sufficient time to check on the hands-on exercises for those that needed additional assistance. 

Note – the postgraduate students and attending physicians did not complete evaluation surveys although we think the training was quite valuable for them especially the evidence-based medicine and e-books modules.  One of the postgraduate students noted the following in an email message:

‘Our Consultants and Residents have been saying that they all really appreciated your course, and I feel the same too. I will go through your MESH file and thank U so much for sending it out to me. I have shared it with my whole Department and will do with all other Residents as well. 

...  I hope U can come back sometime next year for a refresher course or a different course altogether.’

In conclusion, these were successful workshops because of the dedication, interest and skills of the participants and excellent local support.  All the participating groups obtained skills that can be applied to their academic and clinical programs.  For the lecturers, this would be either in including up-to-date material in their presentations/lectures or incorporating information skills exercises into the curriculum.  Below are the comments from one of the student participants:

‘Personally, I feel that my knowledge of online databases has been broadened a lot.  I can now look for articles chronologically and not through each and every article.  Very time saving and efficient.  I definitely plan to use it for my thesis.  The workshop gave me proper hands on experience.  It made access to this database very easy and a 123 step…  Hopefully more workshops in the future.  A very interesting 2 day workshop.’ 

At the University of Health Sciences, Mr. Norbu already conducts trainings for the students and this could be enhanced.  For the library staff persons, they now have the skills necessary to answer many of the users’ information needs questions.

Staff Workshop Conducted at the WHO Country Office -Bhutan

On 2 September, an additional half-day workshop was conducted at the WHO Country Office for the staff.  This was organized by Dr. Suraj Shrestha and Lenny Rhine was the instructor.  Twelve individuals attended this training.  Since the office staff is small, all available individuals attended the workshop.  The material included literature searching using PubMed (portal features, filters), a brief overview of key Internet search tools (non-governmental agencies Google Custom Search, Inter-governmental Google Custom Search, Openi image database,  MedlinePlus) and e-book resources- (Booksee, Hesperian, National Academies Press and WHO’s IRIS database) were discussed. Also included was a brief overview of the authorship skills material (How to read and write a scientific paper, Plagiarism) and Zotero/Reference Management Software.  Due to the 3.5 hour length of the workshop, the modules had to be condensed.  Thanks to Kinga Nambyel, the WHO CO IT staff person, Zotero had been downloaded onto the WHO computers so we were able to complete the key functions exercises using several staff laptops.   The staff learned a set of information skills that can be applied to their research and policy development activities.

Additional Training Conducted at the WHO Country Office – Nepal

On 12 September, a half-day workshop was conducted at the WHO Country Office for the staff.  This was ably organized by Poojan Shrestha and Lenny Rhine was the instructor.  Over 40 individuals attended this training as the office staff was joined by the country-based epidemiological and vaccination personnel that were in Kathmandu for additional training.  The material covered was identical to the course material at the similar workshop in Thimphu.  Again, the modules were condensed.  Thanks to Poojan Shrestha,  Zotero had been downloaded onto the WHO staff laptops previously and functioned properly on 40 of the 41 laptops.  Consequently, we were able to complete the key functions exercises using staff laptops.   The staff including the WR learned about many information sources and tools that enhance their access to relevant information resources. 

HINARI Update session focusing on Authorship Skills and Zotero.

On 13 September, a second half day update session was conducted at the same venue for a small group of librarians from key Hinari users in Kathmandu. The material for this workshop Included a Hinari update (new authentication system, login issues, additional features in Hinari/PubMed, health information on the Internet and e-books sources) but focused more on the authorship skills modules and the use of Zotero (reference management software) features.   Although the material was condensed, we did have sufficient time to do the key hands-on activities including Zotero. 

After the workshop, the trainer met with the Hinari Trainers Group/Nepal, to discuss the submission of proposal for Research4Life training to the Medical Library Association, USA (see  This proposal is due by 01 December.

Evaluations of Workshop A (September 5-6) and Workshop B (September 7-8) were conducted.


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