Health Sciences Librarianship
I have been a clinical medical librarian and health sciences librarian since 2012. It is definitely a profession of lifelong learning. I want to share some resources that have helped me find my feet along the way, as well as some that look useful that I haven’t had a chance to explore further.
Take all the opportunities you can: to volunteer in clinical settings; to round with doctors; to attend department/division meetings. Read as much as you can about the disciplines you’re interested in.
Medicine and Medical Terminology
- Harvard Medical School Medical Dictionary of Health Terms
- Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) Browser
- Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) Database and MeSH Home
- SNOMED CT Browser and About SNOMED CT
- Unified Medical Language System Learning Resources
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Symbols
- Classes and Webinars from NLM/NNLM
- Clinical Terminology for International and U.S. Students from Coursera
- Consumer Health Information Specialization through MLA/NNLM
- Design and Interpretation of Clinical Trials from Coursera
- Evidence-Based Practice for the Medical Librarian from the School of Information and Library Science at UNC
- Evidence-Based Practice for Medical Librarians from Strauss Health Sciences Library at U Colorado
- Epidemiology in Public Health Practice from Coursera
If you are going to be doing any type of systematic or expert reviews, then the collection of manuals and guidance below should make for very exciting weekend reading. In addition to engaging in continuing education and professional development around the systematic review process, make sure to be familiar with these seminal publications about the methodology.
The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions
- Especially Part 1 and Part 2.1 – 2.4
Methodological Expectations for Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR) Manual
- Sections C24-C38 address searching
The National Academies: “Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews”
- Standards 2 and 3 are especially relevant to medical librarians
JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis
- Sections 1.5 and all the chapters about different types of systematic reviews, depending on the research question/topic
Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)
- Note the PRISMA-P and the PRISMA-ScR extensions
- Kugley, S., Wade, A., Thomas, J., Mahood, Q., Jørgensen, A. M. K., Hammerstrøm, K., & Sathe, N. (2016). Searching for studies: A guide to information retrieval for Campbell. Campbell Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.4073/cmg.2016.1 from Campbell Methods Guides
Literature Review Methods
If you are a reference librarian who assists research teams with literature reviews, then these sources are critical to aid in understanding the different types of reviews that are appropriate for different types of topics and author goals.
- National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools at McMaster University: Knowledge Translation Methods and Tools for Public Health
- Akl, E.A., Haddaway, N., Rada, G., & Lotfi, T. (2020). Evidence synthesis 2.0: when systematic, scoping, rapid, living, and overviews of reviews come together? Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2020.01.025
- Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91-108. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x
- Munn, Z., Stern, C., Aromataris, E., Lockwood, C., & Jordan, Z. (2018). What kind of systematic review should I conduct? A proposed typology and guidance for systematic reviewers in the medical and health sciences. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 18(1), 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-017-0468-4
- Sutton, A., Clowes, M., Preston, L., & Booth, A. (2019). Meeting the review family: exploring review types and associated information retrieval requirements. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 36(3), 202–222. https://doi.org/10.1111/hir.12276
- Health Literacy from the CDC
- Institute for Healthcare Advancement
- Health Literacy from the National Institutes of Health
- Health Literacy from MedlinePlus
The books I’ve listed here represent a wide variety of stories and memoirs, but they’ve all shaped my vision about clinical care.
- Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon, by Henry Marsh
- Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande
- Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine, by Damon Tweedy
- Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between, by Theresa Brown
- Do No Harm, by Henry Marsh
- Emergency!: True Stories from the Nation’s ERs, by Mark Brown
- The House of God, by Samuel Shem
- The Laws of Medicine, by Siddhartha Mukherjee
- The Man Who Touched His Own Heart: True Tales of Science, Surgery, and Mystery, by Rob Dunn
- The Youngest Science, by Lewis Thomas
- People of the ER, by Philip Allen Green
- Trauma Room Two, by Philip Allen Green
- When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery, by Frank T. Vertosick, Jr.
- When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
It’s important to stay on top of trends and publications in librarianship, but also in clinical care.
- Feedly - a feed reader that can help you follow topics of itnerest
- Read by QxMD - an app that allows you to follow research from PubMed and other sources
- Set up search alerts in PubMed or other open databases
- Set up table of contents alerts from journals that you follow and/or check out JournalTOCs
I found that occasionally browsing these subreddits was very helpful in my understanding of medical education, the clinical experience, and public health.
- Free Open Access Medical Education /Foamed
- Medical School /medicalschool
- Public Health /publichealth
It has been helpful for me to follow these hashtags, sometimes using Tweetdeck to hear about the latest research and controversy. See more about Twitter for Higher Education and how it can help you network and share your research.