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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL) conference

The 14th EAHIL conference was held in Rome and organised by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italian National Institute of Health) and held at the National Central Library of Rome. Details of the slides and posters can be found here.
There were a variety of speakers, mainly from Europe as you might expect, but also some presenters from Canada and the US.  I presented a poster and gave a “gone in 60 seconds” presentation in a poster plenary session about the LIRG work that I did with Andrew Booth. The focus of the poster was on the use of ephemeral evidence in a scoping review of LIS practitioner’s relationship with research. I had quite a few visitors during the poster session and I can definitely cite colleagues from Ireland, Sweden and Norway who introduced themselves.  The poster session was a very busy two hours as it was scheduled straight after the poster plenary, which provided a taster of the work.
Aside from the poster I attended a number of other events:

There are a number of special interest groups in EAHIL, one of which is the Public Health Information Group. This is co-chaired by Sue Thomas from Public Health Wales and Tomas Allen from the WHO. I attended a friendly meeting with people interested in a variety of different aspects of public health information such as HINARI, patient information, cancer patients, open repositories, documents in native languages, systematic reviews and WHO.
I also attended the board meeting which featured reports from key officers in the usual manner. The representative of JEAHIL encouraged people to consider submitting to the journal  (the next copy deadline is 5th August). She also recommended three key sections of JEAHIL as being good for current awareness: “take a look”, “new publications” and “emerging challenges” which is a tech column.
Also mentioned at the meeting was the council election. There are vacancies for country representatives across Europe including the UK. If you want to vote (or stand), you have to be a member and it is free to join, you can register here. There is more information on all this in the journal and the September issue will be dedicated to the conference.

Maria Cassella from the University of Turin was the keynote speaker. She talked about the “open paradigm” (open access, open source, open data, open learning, open knowledge) and the changing environment of increased marketisation, global competition and student demand. She referred to the G8 open data charter and the open research data pilot from Horizon 2020. She described Altmetrics as open social peer review and as being complementary to traditional metrics. One problem is that Altmetrics are not standardised and she referred to the NISO Altmetrics project which aims to develop a published standard. She suggested that more granularity is required with the need to drill down to article level metrics and gave the example of Plos One articles where you can do this. The NISO Altmetrics standards white paper is open to public consultation until July.

Valeria Scotti also spoke about Altmetrics and gave a useful introduction to the topic, linking to  Her research involved comparing the Altmetrics scores from a number of academics at her institution with the citations received in Web of Science, number of Mendeley readers and PubMed citations.  She described Altmetrics as covering academic and social impact and referred to a couple of sources:
Impact story –

Shona Kirtley presented on the EQUATOR library of health research reporting guidelines. “The EQUATOR (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research) Network is an international initiative that seeks to improve the reliability and value of published health research literature by promoting transparent and accurate reporting and wider use of robust reporting guidelines.” (Info from EQUATOR website). The group provides online toolkits aimed at different user groups such as authors, librarians and teachers. They are also hoping to set up an international librarian network, an advisory group and representatives from each country to feed into this work.  Please get in touch if you are interested in any of these opportunities – or just join the network at  Contact details There are also promotional leaflets which can be downloaded freely from the website to display and promote the service. Suggestions on how to support EQUATOR

Patrice X. Chalon presented an update (from their JEAHIL article) on the SuRe information project run by the HTA IR group which aims to identify, appraise and summarise relevant literature on information retrieval for HTA. There are currently 34 appraisals and 7 chapters on the website. Four chapters are in preparation to be published in 2015. The project is a contribution to evidence based information retrieval practice and can be used to update institution’s own methods handbooks or for use in designing teaching sessions. They are looking for people to participate in the project and contribute to the writing, so please feel free to get in touch if interested. 
Janet Harrison and Barbara Sen did a double header reporting back on two EAHIL 25th Anniversary research grants awarded in 2012:  European Library Quality Standards and experiences of European health information professionals respectively. The full report for project WHIPPET (Barbara Sen’s project) is in the White Rose repository.

Wichor M. Bramer gave a presentation on the most effective and quickest ways to remove duplicates when conducting a search for a SR. Working with a group from the Netherlands and the US, they firstly compared the performance of a number of reference manager tools in de-duplication – using the default settings. He had an interesting table which showed how many false duplicates were removed, so worth checking out the slides for this. They then looked in more detail at the algorithm and how easy it was for the user to adapt this to improve the de-duplication performance. The team went on to develop their own algorithm for Endnote which they found speeds de-duplication and has a good precision rate.  Using this algorithm they have de-duplicated libraries of 10,000 records in less than 30 minutes. Secondly, working with colleagues from the medical library at the university medical centre in Rotterdam, Wichor Bramer presented a poster on the search methods for systematic reviews which have been developed to support over 200 SRs a year. They work with the PI for each project to develop an optimised search strategy checking the added value of individual terms. Working in a step by step way they identify missing thesaurus and free text terms.  When a search strategy is arrived at, they use macros which they have developed in MS Word in order to translate the optimised search into the appropriate syntax for other databases

Elena Springhall from the University of Toronto gave a presentation about blended learning (also known as the “flipped classroom” or “hybrid instruction”) which provided useful background knowledge to this way of teaching.  She described a piece of research which is currently in progress to assess the effectiveness of this approach and review its use in teaching Medical students at the UoT. Preliminary finding suggest that achieving an optimal balance between the two elements of online and F2F teaching is difficult but is still overall a useful pedagogical approach. The project is due to be completed this summer. Anecdotal info from the presentation include: make teaching sessions mandatory or the message is that they are not important; she also commented that her medical students often disliked the reflection side of her classes and struggled with this skill. She also talked about having “online office hours”.
Marte Odegaard from University of Oslo gave a presentation on knowledge management and her teaching on an EBP course for final year medical students. She described a piece of research she undertook where she analysed the methodology chapter of 29 final assignments in order to establish the students understanding and improve her teaching methods. Focusing on the students' choices on knowledge management and search techniques, one of her methods was to use elements of FRESNO and the PRESS checklist in order to grade the PICOs that students had written. The illustrations from students’ work gave the usual contradictions such as students declaring that a comprehensive search had been undertaken (which they defined as a certain range of data sources) and then they searched  only one source. She also mentioned that less experienced students often investigated clinical effectiveness questions with students in later years taking organisational / management type questions.
Louise Farragher spoke about the theory and use of systematic reviews and other review types, based on the work of Grant and Booth (2009) and Gough et al. (2012). She also reported on the experiences of the team at the Irish Health Research Board which was set up by the Department of Health to conduct “evidence reviews”. She highlighted that a different approach is required from that of a traditional SR to develop a rapid or scoping review to inform policy decisions. She referred to a diagram from the Gough paper which outlines review approaches. It indicates the different philosophical bases of review types, for example some reviews rooted in an idealist philosophy, which in turn informed the methodology – inductive, exploring or generating theory and the search process – iterative and emergent. She commented on some of the challenges to producing reviews to inform policy and how researchers sometimes found it ideologically challenging to reduce information to small concepts in order to present to policy makers.

The Embedded librarian is obviously a concept we are familiar with at ScHARR and also, of course, common in the NHS with the clinical librarian role. Norbert Sunderbrink, working in a teaching hospital library in Hamburg, reported on how this role had been developed at one of the departments in his institution, where an IS had been employed separately from the University library. He gave a background to the notion of the embedded librarian/informationist/ISIC (Information specialist in context), before covering some of the main advantages and disadvantages of the role. One feature he described was of the embedded librarian being a “power user” of the institutional library services and able to identify information needs of researchers sooner, as in situ. He also spoke about “the move from a transaction based to relationship based model”.
Other highlights include – the development of a new ontology to translate indexing concepts into Finnish, which is a language which has no structural relationship to Indo-European languages such as English, French or German: “FinMESH” presentation by Raisa Livonen (University of Helsinki)
Valerie Durieux spoke about collaborative tagging and folksonomies.  Molinari et al from Italy conducted a survey to capture the location of HTA centres in Europe and the extent to which information professionals are involved in the HTA process. (poster number 16)

Finally, the next EAHIL conference is in Edinburgh, 10-12 June 2015. The theme is research; doing research, supporting research, promoting research…

OK, that’s it, “Arrivederci Roma

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