Subject knowledge in the health sciences library: an online survey of Canadian academic health sciences librarians
PublisherJournal of the Medical Library Association
Objectives: This study investigated whether Canadian academic health sciences librarians found knowledge of the health sciences to be important and, if so, how they acquired and maintained this knowledge. Methods: Data were gathered using a Web-based questionnaire made available to Canadian academic health sciences librarians. Results: Respondents recognized the need for subject knowledge: 93.3% of respondents indicated that subject knowledge was ‘‘very important’’ or ‘‘somewhat important’’ to doing their job. However, few respondents felt that holding a degree in the health sciences was necessary. Respondents reported devoting on average more than 6 hours per week to continuing education through various means. Reading or browsing health sciences journals, visiting Websites, studying independently, and participating in professional associations were identified by the largest number of participants as the best ways to become and stay informed. Conclusions: Although more research needs to be done with a larger sample, subject knowledge continues to be important to Canadian academic health sciences librarians. Continuing education, rather than formal degree studies, is the method of choice for obtaining and maintaining this knowledge.