Visintini Librarians & Evidence-Based Information

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What is the role of the librarian in the delivery of evidence-based information?
A Presentation By: Sarah Visintini
What do we mean by ""evidence-based"" information?
"the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients"
(Sackett et al, 1996)
This use
(Li & Wu, 2011)
of evidence-based information
emerged in the 1990s, and came to be known as
evidence-based medicine (EBM) or evidence-based practice (EBP).
The Five Steps of EBP
3. Critically appraise the evidence
2. Find the evidence to answer it
1. Form an answerable question
4. Apply the evidence while incorporating patient factors
5. Evaluate process and decisions
(Center for Evidence Based Medicine, 2011)
However, with the advent of the internet came an explosion of information:
For instance, in MEDLINE alone, more than
750,000 articles
were added in 2012...
(National Library of Medicine, 2013; Statistics Canada, 2013)
...that's nearly one article for every person living in Winnipeg that same year - in just one database.
In addition to the information explosion, many health professionals also have to contend with:
lack of time
difficulty critically appraising the evidence
(Klem & Weiss, 2005; Murthy et al., 2012)
applying the evidence effectively
locating relevant evidence
So, we know what evidence-based practice is...
...And we know some of the challenges faced by health-care professionals in applying it
Where do librarians fit in all of this?
The librarian's role in the delivery of evidence-based information is that of the:
1. Supporter
Whether this be providing evidence-based literature searches, or helping patrons to answer clinical questions, one of the librarian's biggest roles is supporting patrons' needs.
2. Teacher
Another big role for librarians is that of the teacher: helping health professionals become self-learners, providing tutorials, workshops, library ""house calls"", putting together learning materials such as brochures, handouts, e-learning tools, etc.
3. Promoter
Librarians are also charged with promoting EBP tools, resources, and services. This might include new tools, existing resources or an upcoming workshop offered in the area or online.
4. Participant
Being an active participant in the evidence-based practice process is also a really important role for librarians - this might mean working on a team to complete a systematic review, to sit on committees, and/or to provide expertise on various research projects.
5. Student
The last, and perhaps the most important role for librarians in delivering evidence-based information is that of the student. Librarians need to be constantly updating and expanding their knowledge and skills in order to be able to serve and relate to their patrons.
So, how do I see the role of the librarian in the delivery of evidence-based information?
...They are a very important cog in a larger machine.
They help connect health professionals with the information they need, the training they require, the tools they want, and the teammate they were looking for.
Thank you for coming!
Any Questions?
Contact: in/sarahvisintini
ABSC|CHLA. (2013). ABSC|CHLA 2014 Conference: Scaling new heights together. Retrieved from Canadian Cochrane Centre. (2013). Training and events. Retrieved from Centre for Evidence Based Medicine. (2011). What is EBM? Retrieved from Klem, M. L. & Weiss, P. M. (2005). Evidence-based resources and the role of librarians in developing evidence-based practice curricula. Journal of Professional Nursing 21(6), 380-87. DOI:10.1016/j.profnurs.2005.10.004 Li, P., & Wu, L. (2011). Supporting evidence-based medicine: a survey of U.S medical librarians. Medical Reference Services Quarterly 30(4), 365-381. DOI: 10.1080/02763869.2011.609069 McMaster University. (2013). McMaster evidence-based practice workshops. Retrieved from
Murthy L, Shepperd S, Clarke MJ, Garner SE, Lavis JN, Perrier L, Roberts NW, Straus SE. (2012) Interventions to improve the use of systematic reviews in decision-making by health system managers, policy makers and clinicians. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD009401. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009401.pub2. National Library of Medicine. (2013). Citations to MEDLINE by fiscal year. Retrieved from Sackett, D. L., Rosenberg, W. M., Gray, J. A. M., Haynes, R. B., & Richardson, W. S. (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t. BMJ 312, 71. Retrieved from Statistics Canada. (2013). Population of census metropolitan areas. CANSIM table 051-0046. Retrieved from University of Calgary Library. (2013). Supporting clinical care: an institute in evidence-based practice for medical librarians. Retrieved from