Assessment of Health Sciences and Science and Technology Librarian E-Science Educational Needs to Develop an E-Science Web Portal for Librarians*[dagger] EC

By Creamer, Andrew; Morales, Myrna et al. | Journal of the Medical Library Association, April 2011 | Go to article overview

Assessment of Health Sciences and Science and Technology Librarian E-Science Educational Needs to Develop an E-Science Web Portal for Librarians*[dagger] EC


Creamer, Andrew, Morales, Myrna, Crespo, Javier, Kafel, Donna, Martin, Elaine Russo, Journal of the Medical Library Association


In 2007, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Joint Task Force on Library Support for E-Science issued its report outlining five goals to guide research libraries' burgeoning endeavors in offering e-science services and initiatives [I]. Since 2007 and the ARL report, the library scholarly literature, including recent communications from ARL e-science task force member James Mullins and task force liaison Neu Rambo, has contained a number of discussions on roles for librarians and libraries pursuing e-science initiatives [2-6]. The ARL report included strategies and actions for libraries to take to prepare and position themselves to support this emerging process of scholarly communication. The report's third outcome states that librarians should seek to become "knowledgeable and skilled research library professionals with the capacity to contribute to e-science and to shape new roles and models of service."

Although the scholarly literature discussing e-science collaboration is growing [7-10], few articles exist that have actually addressed how and where current and future health sciences and science and technology librarians should turn to develop the specific e-science capacity prescribed in the ARL report. In the summer of 2009, the Lámar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Medical School applied for and was awarded funding from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region (NN/LM NER), to begin the construction of an e-science educational web portal specifically for librarians wanting to develop this capacity. The motivation for the portal came from feedback and conversations with librarians attending a regional e-science symposium and subsequent science boot camp, jointly sponsored by the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), the University of Massachusetts Libraries, and the NN/LM NER.

METHODS

The e-science web portal team's first task was to assess the region's health sciences and science and technology librarians and their e-science needs and learner preferences in order to help guide and inform the construction of the portal. The objectives of this assessment were threefold. The first was to establish that there was indeed a need for an e-science portal for librarians. The second was to examine what types of e-science and data services were being undertaken by these librarians and their libraries in New England. The third was to identify the background of the region's health sciences and science and technology librarians as well as their educational needs and Web 2.0 tool preferences in order to develop the scope and transmission mechanism of online educational materials concerning e-science.

To construct the assessment questions, the portal team conducted interviews with the health sciences and science and technology librarians who participated in the aforementioned e-science symposium and the science boot camp. With this feedback, the portal assessment team created an online assessment draft survey using SurveyMonkey [U]. A volunteer group of health sciences librarians at the University of Massachusetts Medical School tested and evaluated the survey. In August 2009, after making the necessary adjustments, the team sent the survey electronically to a selected group of regional health sciences and science and technology librarians who serve medical and biomedicai researcher patrons (Appendix, online only). The sample consisted of the sixty-three medical and health sciences librarians at member institutions of the NN/LM NER and the sixty-six members of the New England e-science distribution list, which is a list of attendees of the escience symposia and e-science boot camps hosted by the Lámar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, NN/LM NER, and the University of Massachusetts Libraries.

In addition, the team asked 19 BLC directors and 16 directors of NN/LM NER Resource Libraries to distribute the survey to their institutions' health sciences and science and technology librarians. …

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