Clinical librarianship in the UK: temporary trend or permanent profession? Part I: a review of the role of the clinical librarian.

2013-03-08T14:16:45Z (GMT) by Sally J.E. Sargeant Janet Harrison
BACKGROUND: This paper is the first of a two-part series of articles presenting the role of the clinical librarian (CL) in the UK today. It situates the CL concept historically, and specifically reports the findings from a study in 2002 (Skinner, The Role of the Clinical Librarian in the UK. MSc Dissertation. Loughborough University: Department of Information Science). RELEVANCE: The impetus for the 2002 study was the awareness of an increase in job advertisements within the NHS for roles seeking to enhance the practice of evidence-based medicine, which included elements of clinical librarianship. Therefore the research was undertaken to establish whether this increase was coincidental, or the beginning of a new professional role for librarians. METHODS: A content analysis of CL job advertisements, examining job titles and duties was undertaken. Twenty-three advertisements were scrutinized, and these results are presented here. As a complementary investigation, a postal questionnaire was sent to a sample of practising CLs in the UK. RESULTS: Several duties can be classified as core to the role of the CL. However there is a great diversity of duties attached to this core, reflecting an absence of nationally accepted practice. CONCLUSION: Further work was necessary to assess current practice and how clinical librarianship can continue to grow at local and national levels. This is addressed in Part Two of this series.