Position Statement to support institutional access to Web Tools
– EAHIL’s Statement
The European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL) believes that information shared and generated in interactive web-based tools is an essential element of the present health information environment. Therefore all health information professionals should have institutional access to interactive ‘Web 2.0’ tools, such as social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Google+, ResearchGate), blogs (e.g. Blogger, WordPress), microblogs (e.g. Twitter), wikis (e.g. WikiSpaces), RSS and ‘push’ technologies (e.g. GoogleReader, iGoogle, Netvibes), social bookmarking (e.g. Delicious), citation sharing (e.g. Connotea, CiteULike, LibraryThing), file and image sharing applications (e.g. YouTube, SlideShare, Flickr, GoogleDocs, Prezi), mashups (e.g. Netvibes, iGoogle) and virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life).
– Why EAHIL Supports Institutional Access to Web Tools
In medicine and health care, interactive online applications are used to support professional and scientific information provision, research, education, collaboration, networking, recruitment and community relationship-building. Web tools have a role also in consumer health education, self care management and patient support. Numerous highly regarded institutions – such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, Cochrane Collaboration, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), Mayo Clinic, NHS and WHO – are using interactive web tools for some of these purposes. Also, major medical and scientific journals, such as BMJ, JAMA, NEJM, Lancet and PLoS are using interactive and social media applications.
Health information professionals and medical libraries are actively developing and promoting interactive web applications for medicine, health care and health librarianship. Blogging, microblogging, social networking sites and virtual worlds are used for delivering information, promoting services, dialogue with users, news and communication. Wikis and collaborative spaces are used for generating and delivering information, collaboration, project administration, communication and staff development. File and image sharing applications are used for presentations, promotion, user manuals and education. Mashups and RSS are used for creating personalized services (e.g. current awareness, bibliometrics, homepages). Social bookmarking tools are used for disseminating awareness of scholarly references, managing and discovering references and also for library collection building.
Health information professionals and their customers with no access to interactive web tools and their contents are at a great disadvantage: they are left outside the current developments of the modern information world.
As the web 2.0 evolves to web 3.0 there will be even further possibilities – to apply the technologies of the semantic web on metadata. It is important that health professionals have the opportunity to be among the first to utilize these possibilities.
Exemplar organizations providing examples of utilizing interactive web tools in health librarianship:
Andalusian Public Health System Virtual Library (BV-SSPA), Biblioteca Virtual en Salud España, Cochrane Collaboration, University Medical Center Groningen – Central Medical Library, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, Institute for Oncology and Radiology Serbia Library, Meilahti Campus Library Terkko – University of Helsinki, Norwegian Electronic Health Library and Vall d’Hebron University Hospital.
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