@Librarianpocket posted on twitter asking people to give their take home messages from the 2012 Health Libraries Group conference in Glasgow. I didn’t respond at the time, thinking the task too hard. I suppose, paraphrasing Sterne, I might say, ‘they order these matters better in Scotland’, for I and other delegates from the wrong side of Hadrian’s Wall, the subject of Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time on the morning of the first day, were impressed by the progress our Scottish colleagues have made, and spent some time wondering what the secret might be. My other take home message, for which see my running blog, is mind how you go when running on unfamiliar paths.
The days when I would write a narrative post on every paper in chronological order of delivery are long gone. These days I and others tweet our conference notes, so for this post I shall pick out some of the themes and highlights. For the whole picture there’s:
- a visualisation of the tweets I used Martin Hawksey's TAGSExplorer
- the archive of tweets as a Google spreadsheet
- presentations on Slideshare: Maria Grant’s slides for her workshop Overcoming Challenges when Writing for Publication; the only other presentation on Slideshare that I could find is mine and Erica Rae's, which you will find embedded below. Of course Slideshare is very much last century's thing, and all the fashionable young things are using Prezi, so….
- there are no presentations tagged with #hlg2012 in Prezi, but I did find Claire Beecroft’s at http://prezi.com/14u5rgltskcc/bite-size-learn-something-new-in-20-minutes/, Tracey McKee’s at http://prezi.com/xvbzepzfvoyi/putting-the-net-in-networking-using-web-technologies-to-engage-with-members/ and Neil Ford’s at http://prezi.com/loqete8jqhle/the-using-information-community-and-beyond-exploring-the-potential-of-online-communities-in-delivering-information-literacy/. There may be more but they’re not discoverable.
- Presentations are also going up online at http://www.cilip.org.uk/get-involved/special-interest-groups/health/events/conferences/Pages/hlg-conference-presentations-and-posters.aspx, slowly.
We returned, naturally, at several places in the programme to the work Scottish library and knowledge specialists are doing. In plenaries we heard from Gerry McLaughlin, Chief Executive of NHS Health Scotland. He mentioned what, for me, seems the reason they’ve made progress, that they have a single unified system , in contrast to English fragmentation (which will not get any better as 212 CCGs take over). His introduction to the way they have tried to overcome the barriers to getting knowledge into practice was amplified by Ann Wales in the afternoon. See the papers at Knowledge into Action: http://www.knowledge.scot.nhs.uk/together/knowledge-into-action.aspx. The following morning Peter Reid developed similar themes as he discussed the new skills required of the profession. The final plenary, given by Duncan Service, substituting for Sara Twaddle, was on SIGN's guidelines development work.
I've already posted on the Bishop-Le Fanu lecture, on the topical matter of doping in sport. As for the parallel sessions, a strong theme was how we offer more sophisticated services, particularly in synthesising information, as I learnt from Tracey McKee in her paper on supporting morbidity and mortality reviews, and from Suzanne Wilson and Jan Manson who described the CLEAR Clinical Enquiry and Response service . I chaired a session in which Lyn Allan and Paul Herbert told us how they had brought order and usability to trust intranets and databases of policies, while Paul Stevenson presented results of a survey of job advertisements on jobs.nhs.uk, analysing their requirements for skills in applying the evidence.
The vexed topic of current awareness services, discussed at the TFPL Health SIG the previous month, had an airing, when Ruth Muscat presented on services they have developed; they started with a pilot for physics at http://ceesupdatesphysiotherapy.blogspot.co.uk, and are now developing one for nurses at http://ceesupdatesnursing.blogspot.co.uk, using Yahoo Pipes (controversially perhaps, it seems to be de rigueur to use Netvibes for such things down our way). In the same session, Claire Beecroft's talk on the 20-20 sessions developed at ScHARR caught my and many other delegates' imagination: based on the short cricket games designed to demystify the game (a travesty if you ask me, but let that pass), they were cake-fuelled regular twenty minute sessions for researchers on new social media tools or anything innovative to support research and teaching.
Papers by Enid Forsyth of the RCN and Sue Langley of East Anglia's Children's Hospices gave useful ideas for outreach roles like mine, though I fear I shall not be travelling as Enid does, by helicopter or ferry.
I knew and used Health Management Online before the conference, but it was impressive to hear Gill Earl and Alison Bogle tell us about it and outline some the ways in which it is developing while, in the same session, Louise Goswami and Andrew Lambe presented a knowledge management online learning resource that should be better known.
All I shall say about the paper that Erica Rae and I gave is that no one fell asleep and some people were even kind enough to ask questions at the end. If you want to see the slides, they're embedded below.
By the way, shouldn’t we start to number our conferences, just as they used to the congresses of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union? Conversations with old hands get very confusing, especially when you mention places like Cardiff that we've visited at least twice. There have been many over the years, both as HLG and its predecessor, the Medical Health and Welfare Group of the old Library Association. One day, perhaps, I will list them all and write about those I attended; they may give an interesting view of how much our professional concerns have changed and how much they have stayed the same. I first attended one at Canterbury in 1992. In those days we played cricket, delegates versus exhibitors and, to my and everyone else's surprise, I took some wickets. My abiding memory of that conference is of meeting Mike Roddham, now head of the service I have the honour to be part of, in Canterbury Oddbins as he was collecting the organising committee's impressive drinks order.