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Inspiration, anyone? (Editorial)

Author(s): Lindsay Glynn

Journal: Evidence Based Library and Information Practice
ISSN 1715-720X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2006;
Original page

I have to admit that writing an editorial for this issue was a struggle. Trying to sit down and write when the sun was shining outside and most of my colleagues were on vacation was, to say the least, difficult. Add to that research projects and conferences…let’s just say that I found myself less than inspired. A pitiful plea for ideas to a colleague resulted in the reintroduction to a few recent evidence based papers and resources which inspired further searching and reading. Though I generally find myself surrounded (more like buried) in research papers and EBLIP literature, somehow I had missed the great strides that have been made of late in the world of evidence based library and information practice. I realize now that I am inspired by the researchers, authors and innovators who are putting EBLIP on the proverbial map. My biggest beef with library literature in general has been the plethora of articles highlighting what we should be doing. Take a close look at the evidence based practitioners in the information professions: these are some of the people who are actively practicing what has been preached for the past few years. Take, for example, the about‐to‐be released Libraries using Evidence Toolkit by Northern Sydney Central Coast Health and The University of Newcastle, Australia (see their announcement in this issue). An impressive advisory group is responsible for maintaining the currency and relevancy of the site as well as promoting the site and acting as a steering committee for related projects. This group is certainly doing more than “talking the talk”: they took their experience at the 3rd International Evidence Based Librarianship Conference and did something with the information they obtained by implementing solutions that worked in their environment. The result? The creation of a collection of tools for all of us to use. This toolkit is just what EBLIP needs: a portal to resources aimed at supporting the information specialists who want to adopt the evidence based model of practice. I have already got it bookmarked and set up an RSS feed. Even before the official toolkit launch, a wealth of information is available on the website including presentations, project and events information, and a blog containing site updates. There has been much discussion on increasing the knowledge base from which to draw evidence for library and information practitioners. Original research needs to be published so that we can use it as evidence to support our decision making. The literature is lacking the significant numbers of publication types widely considered to be the highest level of evidence: systematic reviews, meta‐analyses and randomized controlled trials. This issue of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice proudly boasts both a systematic review/meta‐analysis and a randomized controlled trial. Denise Koufogiannakis and Natasha Wiebe, in their systematic review/meta‐analysis, provide evidence that shows that computer assisted instruction is as effective as traditional instruction for students at an introductory, undergraduate level. Nicola Pearce‐Smith compared the effectiveness of self‐directed, web‐based learning with a classroom‐based, interactive workshop in her randomized controlled trial. I am looking forward to reading and utilizing more and more of these in the future. Another example is even closer to home. I recently attended a strategic planning meeting at my institution where new services and procedures were discussed. Unlike the past, when new initiatives were implemented and later evaluated, all librarians instinctively indicated that the literature should be searched first to see if there was any evidence either for or against changing or adding new services or procedures. The evidence based model of practice is catching on. I know that there are numerous examples of information practitioners taking a proactive role in putting research into practice, and many research papers that are worth mentioning. To highlight them all would be a task much too grand for an editorial. Kudos to all of you, and thanks for the inspiration.
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