Health Libraries Group Conference – HLG 2014; A Second Perspective

HLG Nursing Bulletin Vol 34 (2)

Jackie Cousins
Liaison Librarian
St Mary’s Campus Library
Imperial College London
Norfolk Place
London W2 1PG

From the 24-25 July we attended the Health Libraries Group (HLG) Conference in Oxford. There were a number of presentations over the two days, which are available online at:

Among the sessions that stood out included:

  • A ‘Soap Box’ session lead by Angela Davies from Sheffield Hallam University, where we swapped ideas about how to create effective library marketing materials. We were asked to think about to what extent we research our audience and develop marketing to target specific groups. During the session we had an interesting discussion about the challenges faced by many libraries using social media, for example, many libraries cannot create Twitter or Facebook sites due to institutional policies. We also looked at some of the ideas discussed in a book called The Library Marketing Toolkit by Ned Potter (there is a copy in Central Library). This included the importance of making the library as visible as possible and speaking the language of our users.  Ned Potter’s website also contained a lot of useful material  including a link to a specific Library promotional video created by the Harold B. Lee Library at the Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. It is based on the Old Spice adverts and definitely worth a look:
  • Alan Fricker, Library Liaison Manager at Kings College London, gave a very good talk about the challenges faced by Kings in attempting to extend ejournal access for the NHS. This very much mirrored the Imperial experience. The key challenges are outlined very well on slide 14 of his presentation at:
  • Another noteworthy session was from Dr Su Golder, Research Fellow for the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) at the University of York. She outlined the development of a web resource called ‘Summarized Research in Information Retrieval for HTA’ (SuRe Info). SuRe Info was officially launched in June 2013 and is designed to help Information Specialists stay up-to-date with the latest research on information retrieval methods.  See: Dr Golder explained that SuRe Info provides easy access to current methods papers along with structured appraisals of them created by members of the SuRe Info project. The website is divided into topic areas which are updated twice a year. The methods papers include current best practice as well guidance on sources and search strategies. This resource should therefore be useful when working with researchers conducting research projects such as systematic reviews.
  • One session that had a good deal of relevance for us in medicine was by Jane Cooper of Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Trust on screencasting. This saw a demonstration of what they have done in terms of producing short training videos to illustrate basic tasks for users, such as logging into NICE Evidence using their OpenAthens account. The session also looked at some of the products, both free and paid for, that can be used to produce such videos, with the obvious addendum that if you want to do more than the basics with something, you’ll have to pay for it. Although there was no quantum leap forward in terms of what they do, the session was good in showing that our ideas for such videos in medicine are on the right lines. The YouTube channel for Northants NHS Trust can be found at
  • Mary Hill, the library manager at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, took us through how they have begun using voting systems to enhance their user inductions, specifically for new doctors, which, tied in with what the trust does, takes the form of ‘speed inductions’, where each presenter has a small group and a set amount of time before a bell is rung and they move to the next presenter (rotating around all of them). To maximise what they get over in the short period of time, the library has started using clickers to determine knowledge level through asking questions at the beginning and end of the session. Again this is useful as some of the trusts we support are looking at similar induction models, which we haven’t yet experienced. The slides from this session can be found at
  • Sonya Lipczynska and Clare Crowley, Information Specialists at King’s College London, took a session titled How we learned to teach: Formal teaching qualifications and how they transform library training practice. The session focused on the Librarian’s role as ‘Teacher’. Many of the Information Specialist team at KCL are undertaking formal postgraduate qualifications in Academic Practice. These are 2 year postgraduate certificates in academic practice in higher education. The speakers outlined how they put what they learnt on the course into practice in their teaching sessions. They shared some key tricks, tips and tools that they used to improve teaching practice and student engagement in their classes.

As with all conferences now, one of the major elements in knowledge dissemination is through the use of social media, with Twitter in particular an important tool. You can search for #hlg2014 on Twitter to see what was tweeted, but we will aim to try and condense it, along with adding some other stuff, by using Storify.

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