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Librarians Without Borders® Workshop Reports: 2012

Belize (January 23-26, 2012)

A 3 day National HINARI Training Course for Health Personnel and Medical Librarians was conducted at the George Price Conference Center, Belmopan from January 23 to January 25. Lenny Rhine, Coordinator, E-Library Training Initiative, MLA Librarians Without Borders®, was the instructor. Local arrangements were ably coordinated by Emir Castaneda, PAHO Country Office and Joel Rancharan, University of Belize (UB) Library.   

The 23 participants were a mix of information professionals predominantly from the UB (three campuses), Ministry of Health and the Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS) plus several UB faculty members, librarians from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, PAHO/WHO Country Office and Belmopan Public Library and a physician from the regional hospital.

In the 3-day workshop, the principal modules covered included searching skills, evaluation of health information on the Internet, health resources on the Internet, HINARI website, HINARI/PubMed (website, limits, history, and advanced search) and MY NCBI accounts. Also discussed were the Dos and Don’ts of HINARI, HINARI training material and tools, and how to market/publicize HINARI and Internet resources.

Since Belize is a Group B country and some of the individuals came from institutions that had not paid the annual fee (although this could be rectified within the next few months), some of the material was modified. This was to give the participants sufficient knowledge of resources that are freely available via the Internet.  Particularly noted were consumer health/patient education materials (e.g. Medline Plus), sources of e-books and evidence-based medicine resources. 

The most unique aspect of this workshop was the excellent skills of the participants. After each PowerPoint presentation, the individuals were able to properly complete all the assignments within the allotted time frame. This was noted in the evaluations where all except one of the participants agreed that the length of time for course content was inappropriate (which is not the case in many other workshops).  During the discussion of the marketing exercises, the participants developed tangible plans for promoting HINARI particularly at the University of Belize. This further demonstrated how these individuals understood the value of HINARI and related Internet resources and the importance of using the material at their respective institutions. It also was a lively group that included many participants who asked critical questions and contributed to the numerous discussions. One key point that was stressed was that networking with their units, departments and other agencies is of paramount importance to improve communication and information sharing.  

A subsequent Authorship Skills session was conducted in Belize City on January 27. A smaller group was selected from the participants of the initial workshop.  The goal was to train individuals who are in the position to teach others in their respective institutions. The small group also facilitated open discussion on institutional memory loss and improvement as per the national institutions’ work plans for 2012. The material was well received and the hands-on exercises ably completed by the 7 participants.  Of particular interest was the material on copyright and plagiarism. 

We also discussed the possible development of a national digital archive using the DSpace software. It included an invaluable discussion between the director of the BNLSIS and individuals from the University of Belize. These two institutions plan to better collaborate so that the BNLSIS obtains the required documents and ultimately builds an accessible digital library of material published by Belizean authors.

Windhoek, Namibia (March 12-15, 2012)

A three-and-a-half-day National Research4Life Training Course for Librarians was conducted at the University of Namibia (UNAM) from March 12 to 15. Lenny Rhine, MLA Librarians Without Borders® and Michael Chimalizeni, Information and Outreach Training Centre for Africa (ITOCA) were the instructors. The workshop was sponsored by these two organizations and UNAM with support from the WHO/AFRO Health Sciences Library and Documentation Centre. Local arrangements were ably coordinated by Chenjerai Mabhiza, Jacobina Mwiiyale and Bravismore Mumanyi, University of Namibia Library. The facilities were very professional with reliable Internet access and the daily logistics were well managed.

The 28 participants were all information professionals, predominantly from the UNAM library system (three campuses) with several individuals from the Ministry of Education, National Library and Archives Services, which includes a Community Libraries division. Regarding health information, one of the participants is the librarian at the health campus. Two individuals from the National Library and Archives Services also focused on health as their 63 rural libraries serve as the health information focal points for community clinics and regional hospitals. For the numerous academic reference librarians, it was critical to cross train them in accessing information from the various Research4Life3 (R4L) programs. This group was equally divided between the two tracks: health and agriculture. Fifty percent of the training was completed jointly with the other instruction being devoted to the specific disciplines. Joint sessions included basic hardware and Internet access (bandwidth) issues, searching skills, evaluation of Internet information, Google vs. Google Scholar, the Do’s and Don’ts of the R4L programs, training material, information literacy, and how to market/publicize R4L and electronic resources. Also included was an overview presentation of the R4L programs, noting the similarities (website design and access options) and differences (database searching), and a summary of Mendeley.

Specific HINARI topics included health resources on the Internet, with an emphasis on consumer health resources, the HINARI website, HINARI/PubMed (website, limits, history, and advanced search), MY NCBI accounts, and e-book resources. We also noted that HINARI is an excellent resource for basic sciences e-journals via the "Find journals by subject" list. For AGORA, the key topics included the AGORA website, searching in CAB Abstracts and Scopus, and an overview of TEEAL (the hard drive–based journal-access program for agriculture institutions).

Namibia has just migrated from being a Group B country to Group A country, a positive outcome, since this eliminates the $1000 per year fee for each institution. Some of the publishers have retained their exclusions, so it was critical to note these limitations.

The most unique aspects of this workshop were the excellent skills of the participants, the adherence to the schedule including in the opening a.m. session, and the lack of lengthy opening and closing sessions. Per the skills, the individuals were able to properly complete all the assignments within the allotted timeframe. This was noted in the HINARI participants’ evaluations, where 70 percent of the participants agreed that the length of time for course content was appropriate (which is not the case in many other workshops).  

During the discussion of marketing exercises, the participants developed tangible plans for promoting the R4L material and also the commercial electronic resources at UNAM.  This further demonstrated how these individuals understood the value of the programs’ material and related Internet resources and the importance of using these at their respective institutions.

A subsequent HINARI Short Course was conducted at the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services. It focused on the information needs of the principal researchers of a unit that conducts research for the effective use of health services and resources within the public sector of Namibia. Consequently, all the presentations and hands on activities were geared toward finding e-journals and HINARI/PubMed searches on the broad topic of "health services research." This specialized training was quite useful for the three participants, and they are planning to train individuals in their respective departments. We were unable to schedule a training session for the public hospital. Several individuals trained in the initial workshop are planning to conduct such training in the future.

Nepal (September 28-October 13, 2012)

Lenny Rhine participated in numerous HINARI and Research4Life training activities in Nepal during this time period. These activities were supported by funding from the WHO Country Office for Nepal and the Elsevier Foundation grant to the Librarians Without Borders ®/Medical Library Association. Logistical support was ably supplied by staff from the National Health Education, Information and Communication Center, Ministry of Health and Population, Nepal.

On September 28, a Research4Life Master Trainer workshop was conducted at the WHO Country Office for Nepal. The goal of this workshop was to cross- train individuals so that they would be able to conduct workshops for HINARI, AGORA, OARE or a combination of the programs. The similarities (website interface) and differences (keyword searching tools) of the programs were detailed. Via hands on exercises, different training scenarios were examined.

Six individuals attended this workshop and now are capable of conducting such training within Nepal and also the SEARO region. We also discussed how to further develop the Nepal R4L users group--to be noted later.

On September 30, an hour long presentation was conducted at the KIST Medical College Nepal. 25 lecturers and students attended the presentation which highlighted keys to searching in HINARI/PubMed and also health information on the Internet. We also completed some live demonstrations at the end of the session.

From October 5-7, a regional Train the Trainers workshop was conducted in Pokhara. Mr. Uttam Shakya was the co-instructor. While most of the 15 participants were from the local region, some individuals came from Bhairahawa and Chitwan - 200 KM in distance. The focus of the workshop was to strengthen/enhance the skills of these health information professionals from active HINARI institutions in keyword searching and evaluation of Internet based health information, Google vs. Google Scholar, searching in HINARI/PubMed and MY NCBI, E-book Resources and particularly other health information resources on the Internet. Also included was an overview of the similarities and differences of the HINARI, AGORA and OARE websites. One individual from the Institute of Forestry/Pokhara attended and completed similar activities in the AGORA database. Most of the participants had good baseline skills (computer and HINARI related) and were able to proceed at a steady pace through the numerous hands-on activities. The workshop concluded with a review of the HINARI training material, the Do's and Don'ts of HINARI and a discussion of marketing/promotion activities for HINARI and related health information on the Internet.

One minor glitch was the lack of access to HINARI for two morning sessions as the login system was not functioning and we were 3 hours ahead of the staff in Geneva. Fortunately, this was not during the initial day where the focus is on accessing the HINARI website and HINARI/PubMed.

From October 10-12, a second regional Train the Trainers workshop was conducted in Biratnagar with Mr. Shakya again being the co-instructor. 16 individuals attended this workshop. Most were health information professionals from colleges or hospitals from the region plus several individuals from the District Public Health Office and an instructor from a nursing campus. What was unique about this group was that 80% had never used HINARI nor were from registered institutions. By the end of the workshop, all of the institutions had registered for HINARI.

Due to the skill level of this group, a different teaching strategy was employed by the instructions. First, the participants completed numerous hands on activities including a set of review exercises on the final day. Second, most of the presentations were translated/summarized in Nepali. This methodology was used to insure that the participants would obtain the baseline skills necessary for HINARI. The key modules included searching skills, the HINARI website, HINARI/PubMed (searching and links to full-text articles, filters and history options), Health information on the Internet, E-book resources from HINARI and the Internet. Also discussed were the HINARI training material, the Do's and Don'ts and (briefly) the marketing and promotion activities.

These participants were hardworking and focused on learning the new skills. By the third day, the trainers noted how, in completing the E-book resources exercises, the skill level of the participants had increased significantly. In the surveys, all except two of the participants checked agree for the ‘length was appropriate for the course content’. This is an indication that the right level of training was conducted with sufficient time for the participants to learn the skills.

On October 13, an AGORA presentation was conducted at the Himalaya College of Agriculture Science and Technology. This was to a small group including the Director, Librarian and 5 post-graduate students. The institution already had registered for AGORA and HINARI but these individuals did not have the current usernames and passwords (now supplied). The reception to the AGORA presentation was very positive (as the students understood the value having access to research material). Mr. Shakya has been invited back to make a presentation to the full faculty.

Special note has to be made of the Nepal R4l Users Group discussion at the Master Trainer workshop (and also followed up at a luncheon meeting). Numerous potential activities were discussed (including developing a hybrid English/Nepali distance learning course, marketing/promoting of HINARI and the other Research4Life programs). Possible options for funding also were discussed. There is potential for this group to be the model for national Users groups in other countries.

Vietnam (October 26-November 1, 2012)

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the National Office of Intellectual Property of Viet Nam collaborated with the Librarians Without Borders ®/Medical Library Association (LWB) to conduct three workshops in Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Titled the National TISC Workshops on Access to and Use of Patent and Non-Patent Data, the training was conducted by Alex Riechel (Consultant, Innovation and Technology Support Section, WIPO) and Lenny Rhine (Coordinator, E-Library Training Initiative, LWB). The focus of these one-day workshops was a discussion of the Research4Life resources (HINARI, AGORA, OARE and ARDI) and related search tools and the use of WIPO's patent databases (specifically Patentscope). The objectives were to disseminate information about the various resources and give the participants sufficient skills to utilize them.

The first phase of the workshop was an overview of the Research4Life programs discussing their similarities and differences plus the use of non-patent databases (HINARI/PubMed, AGORA/CAB Abstracts, OARE/Environmental Index, Summon Search). The 2nd phase of the workshop was the use of patent databases for searching with a focus on the Freedom to Operate Search in WIPO’s Patentscope Database (a free tool for searching international and national patent collections).

In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, over 60 individuals with another 35 in Da Nang attended the day-long workshops. The National Office of Intellectual Property of Viet Nam did an excellent job with the logistics as each venue was quite nice and included a first-rate public address system and qualified translators.

The structure of the programs was somewhat different than the regular Research4Life workshops. Instead of presentations followed by online activities by the participants, these workshops were a series of lectures followed by demonstrations that were displayed on a large screen. What was critical for the success of the demonstrations was obtaining relevant searches for the various databases.

Regarding the Research4Life programs, several participants were from institutions that were registered. A number lacked the username and password of their institutions or their organizations was not registered. Via emails to the help desks of the various programs, these issues have been sorted out. In other cases, the individuals were given the instructions on how to register their institutions.

As previously noted, the format was different than the norm for the non-patent databases material. This made the initial workshop somewhat daunting. We lacked knowledge about the information needs of the participants and also how much material could be covered in the one-day workshop.

What was essential was finding a way to interact with the participants including those who were using the translation services. In all three venues and particularly Ho Chi Minh City, we were able to identify the information needs of several participants and used this information in the various keyword search demonstrations. After the completing the initial workshop, the following ones flowed more smoothly as the trainers had a better feel for the group and the flow of the material. (Special thanks to Alex for his assistance in completing the non-patent database searches that were displayed on the screen).

The objectives of these one-day workshops were to expose a large group to the non-patent and patent databases and resources and teach the participants the necessary baseline skills. Additional training time would result in a more detailed understanding of these resources. While probably not feasible with a large group and the lecture/demonstration format, the participants would have benefited from having hands-on experiences with the various databases. Overall, the three workshops were quite successful in meeting the primary objectives.



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