Librarians as trainers in a network of collaboration to promote health information diffusion. The NECOBELAC train-the-trainer model and the use of topic maps.
The purpose of this paper is to point out at the training responsibilities of librarians and information specialists with special reference to the NECOBELAC experience in a wide geographical area, including Europe and Latin America. NECOBELAC is a project funded by the European Commission in the years 2009-2012 (www.necobelac.eu) and supporting cooperation activities among institutions operating in the field of public health and ITC. The project partners are represented by institutions seated both in European and Latin American countries, thus conveying different skills and experiences in information dissemination practices, namely: Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Italy (project coordinator), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) Spain, the University of Nottingham (UNOTT), United Kingdom, BIREME/PAHO/WHO, Brasil, the Instituto de Salud Pública (ISP) Colombia, the Universidade do Minho (UMINHO), Portugal.
The Project training program is now in its second year of activity (April 2010-August 2011); the results achieved, together with feedback gained up to now, and in particular, the use of the NECOBELAC topic maps as an innovative support for training, represent the basic ground for the evaluation process of such activity. Up to December 2011, over 30 training initiatives were developed, in particular 7 train-the-trainer courses were organized by the project partners, in chronological order, in the following countries: Brasil, Italy, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Portugal and Mexico, in cooperation with local public health institutions and universities; the train-the-trainer courses were followed by over 25 training replication activities organized at local level http://www.necobelac.eu/en/training.php .
Topic maps were planned as a teaching tool, based on the web semantic technology, linking concepts referring to scientific publication and open access publishing and associating them to graphic schemes, texts, online resources, etc. http://126.96.36.199/necobelac/indexing.jsp Contents are available in the four Project languages: English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese on the Project web site. The specific concept of “quality” will be shown as an example of the interrelation among concepts; in fact such concept appears in different places in the topic maps: within the modules of “Quality of journals”, “Peer review and Quality indicators”, “Metrics”, etc. Topic maps are particularly useful to stimulate discussion during the courses and as a reference tool to introduce selected online resources.
The feedback received by the attendants of NECOBELAC courses through online surveys, telephone interviews and personal contacts will be analyzed and discussed under different perspectives, with special reference to the use of topic maps and to courses carried out in Italy and Mexico. (Were topic maps used only by project partners in their role of teachers in training-for-trainer activities or were they used also in replication activities at local level, and how? Were the topic maps useful for the learning process? ).
The NECOBELAC network currently includes over 200 institutions seated in 15 European and Latin American countries http://www.necobelac.eu/en/contacts.php
This study may help reflecting on the NECOBELAC training approach and use of the topic maps as a valid support for training.
- De Castro P, Poltronieri E, Marsili D. NECOBELAC, a European project to promote the diffusion of scientific information in public health. European Science Editing 2009, 35 (3), 81-82 2.
- De Castro P, Marsili D, Poltronieri E, Agudelo Calderón C. Dissemination of public health information: key tools utilized by the NECOBELAC network in Europe and Latin America. Health Information and Libraries Journal 2012 DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2012.00977.x
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