The conference, Innovation, Transformation, Continuation: smarter working in health and medical libraries was held at the Doubletree at Hilton in Bristol this year.
Erika Gavillet, Chair of UHMLG welcomed all. The afternoon kicked off with Janet Peters, Director of Libraries and University Librarian at Cardiff University. She took a sporting theme for her presentation, Limbering
up for the future: are librarians fit for purpose? After a concise overview of the achievements – physical, digital and electronic – which libraries have made, she then went on to consider which races we still have to run, and how we might ‘get fit’ to do so. She helpfully framed this drawing on the RLUK strategy, ThePower of Knowledge. By taking us through the drivers for the strategy and the five themes which emerged (redefining the research library model; shaping ethical and effective publishing; collaborating to reduce costs and improve quality; promoting unique and distinctive collections and modelling the library role in research data management), she laid down a blueprint for how our libraries and librarians can be fit for purpose in the near future. A brief glimpse into how these ideas are being taken forward in Wales completed her presentation. Slides available here: Peters
Our second speaker was Matthew Dovey from JISC Innovations, on Open Access and Research Data Management. Setting the scene with an engaging synopsis of how we have arrived at a need to manage our research data, Matthew then considered data as the new output of research. He spoke about how and why we should be curating research data and how science research is moving beyond just academic institutions. He asked questions about how the subject librarian might engage in the data management process, and what implications there were for the wider institution. Drawing our attention to a variety of JISC projects in and around this work demonstrated to the audience what an active area this is, whilst also being complex and still in a state of flux and development. This gave plenty of food for thought around how we might develop our skills to be ready for this. Matthews’s slides are available here: Dovey
A cup of tea allowed us time to speak to our generous sponsors who had set up exhibits in an ajoining room. We were very kindly supported by BMJ Group, EBSCO, Elsevier,Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Oxford University Press,Sage Publications, UpToDate and WoltersKluwer.
Penelope Dunn, (Academic Liaison Assistant (HYMS, Health Sciences), University of York) the winner of the UHMLG New Professional Bursary spoke next. Her presentation, Work smarter, not harder; innovation through evaluation at HYMS was a well delivered overview of an evaluation of e-book usage at HYMS. The nature of the course, split between York and Hull adds a special dimension to the delivery of resources, and Penelope explained the challenges to us. Moving through the evaluation metholodology to the results and recommendations – it was clearly a well run and carefully considered exercise – and Penelope drew interesting conclusions, outlining the direction the service would be taking with e-books in the future. It was very well received and Penelope made a real impact in her first professional national presentation. Penelope’s slides are here: Dunn
The final speaker was Shane Godbolt, Director of Phi – Partnerships in Health Information, with her presentation, Phi: Saving lives through health information; African leadership and partnership. UHMLG has been a proud sponsor of Phi for a number of years and we were enormously grateful that Shane could give up her time to come and update us on the valuable work which the organisation carries out. Shane outlined to us the expanding work of Phi, and it’s growth in reach and reputation. The future work of Phi over the next five years will concentrate on promoting African leadership to improve the availability and quality of health information; capacity building for health information professionals & librarians; working in partnerships with others to strengthen health information systems in Africa and facilitating health information partnerships & development projects as well as improving public access to health information (PAHI) in Africa. This is not an area in which many of our membership have a great deal of knowledge and Shane’s presentation was both interesting and inspiring. Shane’s slides are available here: Godbolt
In a new departure for UHMLG we decided to have three facilitated sessions as the last item of the day. All the delegates had 15 minutes discussing three themes; open access, smarter working, and supporting teaching and research. A scribe took notes. There was no feedback session, and the notes will be collated and structured into three main areas; what are our frustrations, what innovative work is being carried out by members, and what issues we think UHMLG can work collectively on in the future. The feedback from these will be available here very soon.
After a brisk and productive AGM meeting, the delegates, sponsors and speakers met for a drinks reception and a very civilised conference dinner. We retired to our rooms to do it all again the next day…