Magazine article Information Today

Librarians Supporting Health

Magazine article Information Today

Librarians Supporting Health

Article excerpt

Health Sciences Librarianship

Edited by M. Sandra Wood

Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, in cooperation with the Medical Library Association, 2014

ISBN: 978-0810888135

472 pages; $75, softcover


Everyone is interested in health--both their own and that of others. We rely on doctors, nurses, dentists, physical therapists, and a host of other specialists to heal and care for us. Medical researchers develop new treatments, while clinicians seek out the best ways to help their patients. There is now more health related information than ever. Much of it is available electronically, although that doesn't necessarily make it easy to find or use.

Information professionals play important roles in the current provision of health services. In Health Sciences Librarianship, M. Sandra Wood has gathered contributions from leading health sciences librarians, introducing readers to the current state of the field.

Wood is librarian emerita at Penn State University Libraries, where she was a health sciences librarian for many years. She is a fellow of the Medical Library Association (MLA) and the author or editor of many books and journal articles. This title is intended as a comprehensive textbook and guide for students and new health science librarians. It covers academic and hospital libraries as well as other healthcare information centers.

Evidence-Based Practice

The book does a fine job of covering all areas of health sciences librarianship. There are 16 chapters, written by prominent professionals, that discuss all areas of the field, including planning physical facilities and research data management. It is organized into several sections; the first provides an introduction to health sciences librarianship. James Shedlock contributes the first chapter, which introduces novices to the field. He talks about ethics, professional organizations, and the role of the National Library of Medicine. Many of the topics here are expanded upon in the following chapters. Shed lock discusses the MLA, which is the primary professional organization for health science librarians. It provides continuing education and credentialing through its Academy of Health Information Professionals and is also one of the publishers of this book.

The next chapter, by Gale G. Hannigan and Jonathan D. Eldredge, takes a look at the general health sciences environment in the U.S., including how healthcare is organized and provided as well as the biomedical research process. Hannigan and Eldredge also contribute a chapter on emerging trends in health sciences librarianship and emphasize four: evidence-based practice (EBP), active learning, innovative research collaborations, and keeping abreast of emerging technologies. An understanding of these trends is key for anyone entering the field. The authors suggest that EBP is the most important of the four and will be crucial in the next decade. …

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