King, Samuel B., and Mariana Lapidus. “Metropolis revisited: the evolving role of librarians in informatics education for the health professions.” Journal of the Medical Library Association, 103.1 (2015): 14-18.

The paper follows up a previous study, done in 2003, which established the utility of librarians in helping with informatics programs and interdisciplinary collaboration. It begins with a brief overview of informatics, noting that through its forty year history, the field has come to lay more and more stress upon the information part of its studies, and slightly less on the technology that manipulates it. The area which the authors are particularly interested in is health care informatics, which they define as “the study of how the diverse types of health information are researched and combined to result in decisions to optimize patient care quality” (14). This interest necessarily involves a discussion of the rise of the health informaticist, who (the authors hold) can either threaten or collaborate with health science librarians. Although the two have much in common, informaticists tend to focus more on the design of information tools, while librarians concentrate more on the actual retrieval of information. The splendid research skills which result from such a focus, argue the authors, surely qualify librarians to be leaders in the informatics world. To ascertain whether this actually happens, they sent out a survey via MEDLIB-L (and several other channels). Of the 55 institutions which responded, 34 include librarians in “nonlibrary aspects of informatics training” as teachers, guest speakers, or behind-the-scenes supporters. 15 institutions rely on librarians as leaders/coordinators for an interdisciplinary team in at least one course. The findings showed that the role of librarians (especially in leadership positions) has increased in comparison to the previous study. The authors also concluded that with the skill sets which librarians possess they have definite capacities to expand their informatics teaching and leadership roles even beyond what they have already reached.

The article did a good job of presenting the background and conclusions of the research conducted. However, I think readers would have a better understanding of the study had the authors included a copy of the survey sent out.

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