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Digital health and professional identity in Australian health libraries: Evidence from the 2018 Australian Health Information Workforce Census


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Gilbert, C, Gray, K, Butler-Henderson, K ORCID: 0000-0002-6082-2108 and Ritchie, A 2020 , 'Digital health and professional identity in Australian health libraries: Evidence from the 2018 Australian Health Information Workforce Census' , Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, vol. 15, no. 1 , pp. 38-58 , doi: 10.18438/eblip29640.

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Objective: This research aimed to examine the characteristics of the current health libraryprofessional workforce in Australia. The study also sought to explore the areas of health librarycompetency domains and job functions that may reflect progress toward a specialized digitalhealth information capability.Methods: Health librarians’ responses to the May 2018 Australian Health InformationWorkforce Census were analysed and compared with results obtained in earlier census counts.The health librarian characteristics were also compared with other health informationoccupations included in the Census.Results: There were 238 usable health librarian responses. These indicate that the healthlibrarian workforce continues to be a comparatively mature population, with substantialexperience, increasing involvement in data- and technology-intensive functions, high levels ofprofessional association membership, and participation in continuing education activities.Notably there are emerging role titles and job functions which point to a greater digital healthfocus in the changing work realm.Conclusion: The health librarian workforce has adapted its skills, in line with the increaseddigital emphasis in health information work. However, as with other health informationoccupational groups, it is possible that health system planners and funders are not aware oflibrarians’ current functions and skills. This mature workforce may undergo significant attritionand consequent loss of expertise in the next decade. Continued advocacy and strategic planningaround these factors with workforce, healthcare quality, and educational organizations will berequired.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Gilbert, C and Gray, K and Butler-Henderson, K and Ritchie, A
Keywords: libraries, workforce, health information, census
Journal or Publication Title: Evidence Based Library and Information Practice
Publisher: University of Alberta * Learning Services
ISSN: 1715-720X
DOI / ID Number: 10.18438/eblip29640
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 Gilbert, Gray, Butler-Henderson, and Ritchie. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

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