|One of the main events of EAHIL in 1999, the Tartu
Workshop has now taken place . Keiu Saarniit and Sigrid Prank with their Secretariat
completed excellent work organising a professionally qualified workshop with a warm and
hospitable Estonian atmosphere. More than 120 participants enjoyed a three-day workshop in
this beautiful and historical city, with pre-workshop visits to Helsinki and the Finnish
National Health Sciences Library and to the National Library of Estonia, the Estonian
Medical Library and the beautifully restored Town Hall in Tallinn. Post-workshop tours to
the Balticum and St. Petersburg were also arranged. The weather was at its best with a hot
spell, clear skies and light nights.
The Finnish National Health Sciences Library
The first day was dedicated to six Continuing Education courses on very
up-to-date topics, during which a lot of useful knowledge was given and received.
At the opening ceremony after Manuela Colombi's opening words, we had, among other
things, a greeting from the NLM given by their new Chief of Public Services Division
In the scientific programme it was very interesting to hear the viewpoint of one of our
main user groups given by Toomas Asser, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of
Tartu. This user point of view was a very good starting point for the other papers given
because it is good to keep in mind who exactly medical libraries serve. We also heard
papers on other user groups, nurses and consumers or patients, users who normally are paid
scant attention in the medical library community.
Distribution of electronic information and quality questions were described from
several points of view, both giving visions of the future and shedding light on some very
pragmatic questions of joint licensing.
The Baltic session informed us very well of the actual situation in the Baltic
countries, and perhaps this was the part of the programme that best fulfilled the basic
aim of the workshop: to get acquainted with relatively new members of our medical library
community. Here also the significance of the social programme must be remembered: informal
talks with colleagues, new relationships with previously unknown colleagues all of which
helped us to expand our understanding of other conditions in our professional
and dare I say.. many of us made new friends.
The Estonian Medical Library
The Board and the Council had their respective meetings, as is the habit
during our workshops and conferences. Because it is a continual problem that we have too
little time for the meetings, we have now decided to have a joint meeting for the Board
and the Council in January 2000 in Amsterdam, and these two days will be totally dedicated
to these meetings. We will discuss and decide on setting up new forms of activities for
the Council Members and brainstorming on novel ideas for EAHIL's aims and goals, part of
which have already been achieved and are running smoothly. There has already been a lot of
discussion on what the members get from EAHIL, and the Board welcomes all comments,
suggestions and complaints. We now have the EAHIL-L list to be easily used to communicate
with each other.
The move from Belgium to the Netherlands was more complicated than anticipated, and
there are still a few problems that have to be settled. These are mostly questions
relating to the Dutch law, and are being clarified now.
The revision of statutes is also an enormous job. We have to remember that we are all
volunteering to participate in association activities and everybody has to do these things
in addition to one's normal paid work. We are halfway through doing the job, and after
Ragnhild Lande had to withdraw herself from heading the Revision Committee, Alice Nørhede
(Denmark) took over the chairing. The other members of this committee are Laura Cavazza
(Italy), Rüdiger Schneemann (Germany), Turid Tharaldsen (Norway) and Livia Vasas
The committee will hand in a draft to the Board by the beginning of November for a
revision by a Dutch lawyer and a final proposal for the new statutes will be decided upon
in the January 2000 Board meeting. With this time schedule, the proposal should be ready
for the General Assembly's agenda in London in 2000.
The 8th International Congress of Medical Libraries in London in 2000 is indeed
approaching, with Tony McSean as the Chair of the Organising Committee and Arne Jakobsson
as the Chair of the Scientific Programme Committee. In addition to the General Assembly,
EAHIL will have a Scientific Session of its own with three speakers. The theme of this
session has been discussed, the idea being to link these three papers to one topic,
elucidated from different points of view.
Privacy and data protection questions have been discussed extensively. The issue
closest to the members is perhaps the possibility to sell our membership labels to
outsiders. The main principle jointly accepted by the Board has been from the initiation
that membership information cannot be sold to commercial agencies. Membership information,
i.e. in most cases labels with names and addresses, can only be given to members for good
purposes. Our sponsors are also our affiliated members, so they obtain membership
information on a one-purpose basis and by paying the administrative costs. This had to be
checked also that it does not conflict with Dutch law.
The home page of EAHIL has been further developed, and suggestions how to improve it
can be sent to Arne Jakobsson. He will add the office periods of the Board and Council
members there, so that we all know when it is time to start to think of new candidates for
the coming elections.
The Newsletter has now a new Editor, Sally Wood-Lamont from the Library of the Cluj
University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Romania as you already saw in the last minute news in
the previous issue of the Newsletter, with the co-editorship of Ioana Robu from the same
Medical Library. Please write to them when you wish to contribute an article or a piece of
news or other copy to the Newsletter. They also welcome suggestions on interesting topics
to the Newsletter. The complete Newsletter is now also in HTML format on the homepage with
a short delay after the printed copy has been distributed to members.
In addition to involving the Council members in a more satisfactory way to the
activities of our Association, our new President is very much concerned of systematising
the relationships regarding international cooperation. For that purpose it was decided
that the Past President will be responsible for coordinating these activities. Our present
Past President, Elisabeth Husem starts this work, first of all with revising our various
forms of cooperation with MLA.
The reassuring piece of news comes last but not least: the finances of the Association
are satisfactory. The move to another country caused quite a few extra costs, but the
economy is stable and we can survive.
Back to ToC EAHIL Newsletter
Nr. 48 Aug 1999
L'ATELIER DE TARTU
FUT UN SUCCES*
Un des événements majeurs del'AEIBS en 1999, l'atelier de
Tartu, a maintenant eu lieu. Keiu Saamit et Sigrid Prank ont accompli un excellent travail
avec l'aide de leur secrétariat en organisant une rencontre de haut niveau professionnel
avec une chaude et plaisante atmosphère estonienne. Plus de 120 participants ont
apprécié cet atelier de trois jours dans la belle cité historique de Tartu, en plus des
visites préliminaires à Helsinki et sa Bibliothèque nationale des sciences de la
santé, la bibliothèque nationale d'Estonie, la bibliothèque médicale d'Estonie et
l'Hôtel de Ville de Tallin magnifiquement restauré. Après l'atelier, des visites de la
Baltique et de St Pétersbourg avaient également été organisées.Le temps était au
beau fixe avec une bonne température, un ciel lumineux et des nuits claires.
La bibliothèque nationale, Helsinki
Le premier jour comprenait six cours de formation continue sur des
sujets très appropriés pendant lesquels beaucoup de connaissances furent échangées et
Pendant la cérémonie d'ouverture, à la suite de l'accueil de bienvenue de Manuela
Colombi, nous avons recu entre autres des salutations de la NLM de la part de leur
nouvelle directrice des services publics, Eve-Marie Lacroix.
Pendant le programme scientifique, un point de vue fut présenté par un de nos
principaux groupes d'utilisateurs, Toomas Asser, professeur de neurochirurgie à
l'Université de Tartu. Le point de vue de l'utilisateur représentait un excellent point
de départ pour les présentations qui suivaient, car il est bon de se souvenir à qui les
bibliothèques médicales s'adressent.
Nous avons également entendu des présentations d'autres groupes d'utilisateurs, le
groupe infirmier et les consommateurs ou les patients, utilisateurs qui généralement
préoccupent peu la communauté médicale des bibliothécaires.
La diffusion électronique d'information et des questions de qualité étaient
présentées selon divers points de vue, donnant une vision du futur et ainsi éclairant
quelque peu des questions très pratiques de licence commune.
La séance baltique nous a fort bien informés de la situation actuelle dans les pays
baltes et peut-être que c'est là que le programme répondait le mieux à l'objectif
central de l'atelier, de faire connaissance avec des membres relativement nouveaux de la
communauté médicale des bibliothécaires. Là encore, la signification du programme
social réside dans les discussions informelles avec des collègues, les nouveaux liens
établis avec des collègues dont on ignorait l'existence auparavant, tout cela en fait
qui nous aide à étendre notre compréhension d'autres conditions de vie
et osé-je le dire, de nouvelles amitiés ont été établies.
La bibliothèque nationale d'Estonie
Le Bureau Exécutif et les membres du Conseil ont tenu leur propre
séance comme c'est la coutume pendant nos ateliers et conférences. Dû au problème
constant de manque de temps, nous avons maintenant décidé d'avoir une séance commune
entre le Bureau Exécutif et le Conseil en janvier 2000, à Amsterdam, et ces deux jours
seront entièrement consacrés aux réunions. Nous considérerons et déciderons
d'établir de nouvelles formes d'activité pour les membres du Conseil et de discuter les
objectifs et les buts de l'AEIBS, dont certains ont déjà été réalisés et sont mis en
vigueur.Nous avons déjà discuté longuement ce que les membres obtiennent de l'AEIBS et
le Bureau Exécutif apprécie tous les commentaires, les suggestions et les plaintes. Nous
avons maintenant les listes de discussion qui sont faciles à utiliser pour communiquer
les uns avec les autres.
Le déménagement de Bruxelles aux Pays-Bas a été plus compliqué que
prévu et plusieurs problèmes doivent encore être résolus.Ce sont principalement des
questions en relation avec la loi hollandaise, qui sont en voie d'être éclaircies.
La révision des statuts représente également un énorme travail. Nous devons nous
souvenir que chacun fait du travail volontaire et participe aux activités de
l'association et chacun doit faire ce travail en plus des charges professionnelles
normales. Nous sommes à mi-chemin et après que Ragnhild Lande ait dû présenter sa
démission comme responsable du comité de revision, Alice Nørhede (Denmark) a repris
cette tâche. Les autres membres de ce comité sont Laura Cavazza (Italie), Rüdiger
Schneemann (Allemagne), Turid Tharaldssen (Norvège) et Livia Vasas (Hongrie).
Le comité présentera une première version au Bureau Exécutif au début de novembre
pour être revisée par un avocat hollandais et une proposition finale pour de nouveaux
statuts sera décidée en janvier 2000 à la réunion du Bureau Exécutif. Avec ce
calendrier, des nouveaux statuts devraient être présentés à l'Assemblée Générale à
Londres en l'an 2000.
Le 8ème Congrès International des Bibliothèques Médicales est proche avec Tony
McSean comme président du Comité d'Organisation et Arne Jakobsson comme président du
programme scientifique. En plus de l'Assemblée Générale, l'AEIBS présentera sa propre
séance scientifique avec ses propres conférenciers. Le thème de cette séance a été
discuté, l'idée étant de présenter trois contributions sur le même sujet selon
différents points de vue.
La confidentialité et la protection des données a été longuement considérée. La
question qui concerne le plus nos membres est la possibilité de vendre nos listes de
noms. Le principe de base généralement accepté par les membres du Bureau Exécutif
résulte de la considération que l'information sur nos membres ne peut pas être vendue
à des agences commerciales. L'information sur les membres, par exemple les étiquettes
portant les noms et adresses ne peuvent être distribuées qu'aux membres avec des buts
clairs. Nos supports financiers sont également des membres associés et ainsi obtiennent
l'information sur nos membres pour un seul but et en payent les coûts administratifs. Ce
point doit aussi être vérifié afin de ne pas être en conflit avec la loi hollandaise.
La page de garde de l'AEIBS a été remaniée et des suggestions peuvent être
envoyées à Arne Jakobsson qui y ajoutera les mandats des membres du Bureau Exécutif et
du Conseil, afin que chacun soit conscient du moment où il est temps de considérer de
nouveaux candidats pour les élections.
Le Bulletin d'Information a une nouvelle rédactrice en chef, Sally Wood-Lamont de la
Bibliothèque Universitaire de Médecine et de Pharmacie de Cluj, Roumanie comme vous
l'avez appris en dernière minute dans le Bulletin d'Information, avec comme
co-rédactrice Ioana Robu de la même bibliothèque.Veuillez leur écrire si vous
considérez un article ou une communication pour le Bulletin d'Information. Elles
apprécient également des suggestions pour des sujets intéressants pour le Bulletin. Le
texte complet du Bulletin se trouve maintenant sous le format HTML avec quelque délai
pour sa parution après que la copie imprimée ait été recue par les membres.
En plus d'augmenter la participation des membres du Conseil dans les activités de
l'Association, notre nouvelle présidente est intéressée par une régularisation
systématique des relations au niveau international. Il a donc été décidé que
l'ancienne présidente serait responsable pour la coordination de ces activités.
Elisabeth Husem, l'ancienne présidente, reprendra ce travail, par une revue avant tout
des diverses formes de coopération avec MLA.
En dernier lieu, une nouvelle rassurante concerne les finances de l'Association qui
sont satisfaisantes. Le déménagement dans un autre pays a présenté des coûts
supplémentaires, mais l'économie est stable et nous pouvons survivre.
Retour à ToC EAHIL Newsletter
Nr. 48 Aug 1999
Address of the EAHIL
Vice-President, Liisa Salmi, at the closing ceremony of the EAHIL 1999 Workshop in Tartu
Last winter an EAHIL member asked the Board why he or she should be active in EAHIL.
This is a question members and potential members ask all associations from time to time,
and it would be easy just to answer superficially by turning the question the other way
round: what can you give the association?
This time, however, proceedings were halted by this question and a lively and serious
discussion on the matter ensued. We were unanimous in that remarks which question the
justification for EAHIL's existence are just what we all need from time to time. The
discussion has continued with informal interviews with EAHIL members, and the result is
that it is very difficult to exactly define all the reasons for being active in EAHIL.
Also, there are activities that have now become a regular occurrence and which we are no
longer clearly conscious of being one of the benefits of membership. The reasons for being
active in an association are very often rather emotional, without being aware of this.
These regular events are our mutual achievements, I mean, firstly, all the congresses
and workshops that EAHIL organizes. The workshops have taken place in countries that have
not had the opportunity to organize big international meetings for a long time, and all of
them have turned out to be great successes. This is also very true of this Tartu Workshop
which we have been enjoying during these gorgeous summer days and light nights. The
organisers have done an excellent job: not only have the papers been professionally very
stimulating, but also the warm and genuine Estonian hospitality has embraced us from the
I go back to the question why anyone wants to be active in an association. What makes a
junior football team coach spend his Saturday mornings with youngsters when he could use
the time for making money? Why does an outreach library in North Carolina have 58
volunteers helping parents and children to find information regarding their health? When
we can find words to express the emotions and values behind these activities, I think we
come very close to the answer why we are active in EAHIL and why we are now in Tartu. In
the end, I think, the conclusion is that there are still people who believe that money
does not solve everything, although it helps a lot. There are still people, and perhaps
nowadays even a growing number, who have a very solid belief that with strong dedication
and commitment we can do a lot to make the world a better place to live. The medical
library community - and the library community generally speaking - is one of these parties
who have always valued these characteristics.
Now I go to the pragmatic level of our EAHIL life. The rapid development of information
technology has made the communication between us much easier than before. I will not go
deeper into that because we all know how much email has helped us to talk to each other or
how much the Internet means to us when seeking information. I just want to say that let us
keep in contact with each other, those who already knew each other before coming here and
those whom we have got to know here. We have each others' email addresses on the list of
participants, so please do not hesitate to get in touch when you want to ask something or
comment on something. We are all mutually available for any kind of consultation. There is
now also the possibility of joining the EAHIL-L discussion list without being an EAHIL
member; for this please speak to Arne Jakobsson, the Treasurer of our Association. Please
do not forget the EAHIL homepage or the Newsletter, either. I think it has been an
overwhelming experience to sense the feeling of unity and togetherness at this workshop,
so let us not lose it but continue and increase it with the help of modern communication
The Board of EAHIL and all participants want to thank the Local Organizing Committee
for the superb work done. In addition to the scientific part of the workshop, which has
helped us all learn new things to take back home, we have been able to enjoy the social
events at some of the most beautoful and historical sites in this city.
Keiu Saarniit has been excellent as the Chair of the
Local Organizing Committee, with Sigrid Prank as her right hand. In addition we want to
thank the whole secretariat: with Keiu and Sigrid we ask Inga Sadrak and Marika Rosenthal
to come up here. We also thank our colleagues from the National Medical Library in Tallinn
for their warm welcome and interesting city and library tour in Tallinn during the
pre-workshop visit. And of course our thanks to all others who have contributed to this
successful EAHIL event.
[The local organizing committee has expressed their special gratitude to
Eeva Kihlberg, who took a very special role in the overall coordination
of all activities for the Helsinki and Tallinn library visits and the workshop in Tartu.]
Back to ToC EAHIL Newsletter Nr. 48
Donna's Report of the
EAHIL '99 Workshop, Tartu, Estonia
Monday, June 28, 1999 - Friday, July 2, 1999
"Towards Quality in Medical Information Services - Virtue of Virtual
The workshop was preceded by a pre-conference tour, which started in Helsinki with a
tour of the University of Helsinki's National Library of Health Sciences. It is a large,
grey, newly built library and it has a computer lab with 45 computers. The library not
only serves the University and the Academic Hospital, but also functions as Finland's
National Medical Library. The library hosted a reception for the 50 librarians who
thereafter travelled to Tallinn in Estonia to visit more libraries, and then to Tartu. The
Estonian librarians had prepared a "Welcome EAHIL Members" banner, which they
held up for all of us to see as we arrived.
The computer lab
The first visit was to the Medical Library of Estonia which is housed in
a beautiful medieval building. The librarians spoke and kept catalogs in a multiplicity of
languages: Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Russian, Finnish, Swedish, and English.
Interesting color combinations were used in organizing and decorating the library. We were
served cake and coffee in the beautiful, old courtyard of the library building with many
colorful types of flowers, and enjoyed the music of a trio of Estonian musicians in native
Next, we travelled to the National Library of Estonia, also in Tallinn, which is an
enormous 8-story brown building, completed in 1993. The library includes space for art
exhibitions, a gymnasium, and a restaurant.
The library serves as a Documentation Center for the Estonian Parliament
and holds an extensive collection regarding the European Council and related subjects. The
library has begun to work on a union catalog for Estonia. It serves a function similar to
the US Library of Congress.
Next, our group took a fast-pace walking tour of beautiful and ancient Tallinn.
Tallinn's Old City, dating from the 14th and 15th century, has winding cobbled streets
with gingerbread facades on the buildings. We saw medieval walls, turrets and needle
spires. On our way to Tartu there was a short stop and visit to the Estonian open-air
museum, which contained several very old Estonian farmhouses, barns, and windmills.
The EAHIL '99 Workshop primarily sponsored by the Foundation for an Open
Society, Estonia, and hosted by the Medical Information Center of the Tartu University
Clinicum started on Wednesday with Continuing Education Courses and EAHIL Board and
Council meetings. The workshop took place at the Tartu University Library.
The Tartu University Library
Tartu is primarily a university town, with 8,000 students living there.
Tartu is a hilly and tree laden beautiful community with classical architecture in the
southeastern part of Estonia with a population of 147,500. Estonians regard Tartu as their
spiritual capital. Tartu is the oldest town in the Baltic States and flourished from the
13th to the 16th century. The Swedish occupied Tartu in the 17th and the 18th centuries;
Tartu then fell under Russian occupation for two centuries. From 1919 until 1939 Estonia
was independent. Thereafter occupied by first the Soviets, then the Germans, followed by
the Soviet period from 1944 until 1991, when Westerners were not allowed to stay overnight
in Tartu due to a supposed security risk to a military air base near the town. On August
20, 1991 Estonia (again) declared its independence.
Six continuing education courses were taught at the workshop:
- MESH and NLM Classification, by Marie Monik of Sweden,
- Benchmarking, by Joanne Marshall of Canada,
- Editing Newsletters, by Shane Godbolt of the UK,
- Resources on the Internet, by Christine Wickman of Sweden,
- How to set up facilitated group monitoring programs, by Ann Ritchie of Australia,
- Evidence Based Medicine by Anne Marie Haraldstad of Norway.
I attended the EAHIL Council Meeting from 3:00 until 5:00 p.m.
The Welcome Party of the workshop was held at the Toomemagi (Cathedral Hill), which has
been a Tartu stronghold since the 5th century. On this hill is a partially ruined Gothic
Cathedral (Toomkirik). Half of the Cathedral was rebuilt in 1804 and the University
Library was built within it. Later the University Library received a new building, and the
Museum of University History moved into this space.
The workshop was held at the Tartu University Library.
The University itself was opened in 1632; however, the current University Library is a
recent building. The library contains 5 million books, subscribes to 636 periodicals, and
has a staff of 200. A total of 116 librarians, from 24 countries and 8 different types of
libraries, had registered for the conference.
The opening ceremony of the conference included a performance of two women in Northern
Estonian costumes playing Kanteles (Estonian harps), followed by welcoming remarks from
Keiu Saarnitt (Chair of the Local Organizing Committee), Manuela Colombi (President of
EAHIL), me as MLA representative to EAHIL, and Eve-Marie LaCroix representing NLM.
Papers presented on Thursday:
- Dr. Toomas Asser, (Tartu University Clinicum, Tartu, Estonia) "Needs for medical
information - doctor's viewpoint". As a physician and a native of Tartu, he stressed
the importance of doctors having medical information in order to provide quality health
care. He called for Evidence Based Clinical Practice to be on the Internet.
- Olof Sundin (Swedish School of Library and Information Science, Boras, Sweden)
"Nurses - a new group in development and some implications for library and
- Donna Flake, Rachel Frick, Daniel Horne, (Coastal AHEC Library and Coastal Consumer
Health Library, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA) "Consumer Health Library Service
Provided by an Outreach Librarian"
- Gertie Veldman (Medische Bibliotheek, Utrecht, the Netherlands) "Towards Quality in
Management by Learning" Gertie used Peter Senge's book The Fifth Discipline and
discussed the library as a learning organization.
- Bas Savenije (Utrecht University Library, Utrecht, The Netherlands) "New models of
scientific communication" He said three problems with traditional publishing are 1)
it takes too long, 2) quality may be a problem, and 3) buying all the required journals is
becoming unaffordable. He presented a Dutch project, which is aiming at digital
- Kristiina Hormia-Poutanen (Helsinki University Library, Helsinki, Finland) "The
Finnish model for consortia and national licenses" This fascinating paper explained
how the country of Finland is purchasing licenses for full- text journals and databases
for the University based faculty and employees which includes physicians and nurses. They
are included because the hospitals in Finland are associated with the Universities. The
Finland Ministry of Education is providing 1.8 million dollars to do this. The system now
contains 2,600 electronic journals and 70 reference databases, and is named FinLib - The
National Bibliographic Database.
- Tobias Fritz (Freie Universitat Berlin, Veterinary Library, Berlin, Germany)
"Online Dissertation Project:" This paper described using the internet in
disseminating information about veterinary digital dissertations, and also the veterinary
faculty of Berlin's Online Dissertation Project.
The Conference Party was held at the "Pussirohukelder (Gunpowder Cellar)
Restaurant". The building housing the restaurant was built in the 1600s, and was
first used for keeping ammunition. When the cellar was no longer needed for this purpose,
it was used for beer, and then later for vegetables. In 1980, it became a restaurant.
Architecturally, it was fascinating with a large barrel ceiling made of bricks. An
Estonian professional folk dancing group performed many dances to the music of an
accordion and a violin. Every Estonia town and village in the 19th century had a dance
group. Some of the dancing reminded me of American square dancing, while others brought to
mind Scottish country dancing or English Morris dancing.
The Baltic Session of papers was delivered on Friday morning. I found these papers to
be the most interesting ones of the conferences. The Baltic Countries are Estonia, Latvia,
and Lithuania, and these three countries were all under Soviet rule from 1944 until 1991.
A great deal has changed for the countries and the medical libraries since 1991.
"Needs for medical information in a new situation" presented by Katrin
Gross-Paju, (Tartu University Clinicum, Tartu, Estonia) This paper dramatically described
that before 1991 in Estonia, languages other than Russian were practically excluded from
school curricula, so the population grew up with no knowledge of other languages. Without
the Western literature, totally new systems were developed for the diagnosis and treatment
of different diseases. Things are different with medicine and libraries in Estonia today.
They have acquired foreign language skills quickly, and nearly everyone is able to read
English. Free information is available on the Internet, even though books are still very
expensive. She suggests that the best method to improve the level of medical knowledge is
to train the staff of the University hospital.
"Activities of Medical Staff and the Role of the Medical Research Library in the
Era of New Information Technologies." by Velta Poznaka (Medical Research Library of
Latvia, Riga, Latvia). This paper reports that the Medical Research Library of Latvia, in
Riga, serving as the National Latvian Librarian, uses new information technologies. This
library has 44 staff, holdings of 594,842, and an integrated library system since 1993. It
collects Russian and Latvian medical materials, but tries also to collect Western medical
periodicals and books in English. They have had Internet since 1989 and have 10 computers
with Internet for the general public.
"Development and Prospects of the library of Kaunas University of Medicine."
by Meile Kretaviciene (Kaunas University of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania) Kaunas University
is the largest in Lithuania, and its hospital has 2,300 beds. The medical library has 42
staff and a collection of 880,000. The librarians teach Internet courses to health
practitioners. It is difficult for the library to afford Western medical journals; in
fact, only two Lithuanian medical libraries subscribe to Western journals. The medical
library receives 2,000 free interlibrary loans annually from other libraries with western
medical journals. This medical library wants to promote contacts with medical librarians
in other Baltic countries and the exchange of medical information.
"Situation of Knowledge Management in Estonia" by Aili Norberg, (National
Library of Estonia, Tallinn, Estonia) Mrs Norberg pointed out that "in today's
Estonia, actual dissemination of information is not influenced by censorship or any other
restrictions imposed by authorities. Instead, it is economic and educational problems that
matter." She called for better education and higher qualifications for librarians.
"Development of the Library of Medical Academy of Latvia in the Past Five
Years" by Ilse Purina (Medical Research Library of Latvia, Riga, Latvia). In this
fascinating paper Mrs Purina addressed the psychological barriers of the library staff of
the Medical Academy of Latvia when the Iron Curtain came down in 1991. She reported that
the library staff were accustomed to every second of their work being guided by those
above them, that they knew little of the activities outside the Iron Curtain, and that the
library staff did not believe they could ever establish contact with the outside world.
After the Iron Curtain came down, the library staff felt abandoned, and were afraid to
travel due to lack of knowledge of any languages other than Russian. But then, major
developments started taking place. In 1994, Ilse was able to attend the EAHIL meeting in
Oslo, Norway, due to the help of Elizabeth Husem (former EAHIL President). In 1993,her
library installed an integrated library system. This new style of work and information
retrieval requires new global links. Now several librarians have attended international
conferences and seminars. From 1994 until 1997, many journal subscriptions, and much
equipment and computers came to the library as gifts from others. In addition the eight
largest libraries in Latvia have joined to participate in a national project - the United
Information Network for Libraries.
"Provision with Medical Information in Lithuanian Medical Library" by
Salvinija Kociene (Director of the Lithuanian Medical Library in Vilnius, Lithuania). This
paper reported that "automation of information processes and integration in the world
network is the only way to achieve further developments and extension of information
services in the library." In 1995, NLM provided her library with funding to provide
full Internet connectivity to her library. Now her library has 40 workstations for
The last session of the conference, entitled "Quality of Information"
included the papers of Anne-Marie Haraldstad (Rikshospitalet Medical Library and
Information Center in Oslo, Norway) on "Evidence-Based Medicine" and of Outi
Merilainen (National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health Information
Center in Helsinki, Finland), "Vocabularies in Medicine and Nursing" Mrs
Merilainen reported that NLM is supporting agencies that translate the MeSH vocabulary
into languages other than English. Translations of MeSH are in Spanish, Russian,
Portuguese, French, and German now. Finnish, Swedish, and Latvian are in process.
After the closing ceremony of the workshop when the organizers received flowers and
much applause from the workshop participants, there was a farewell coffee. And for those
interested and still not tired, there was an excellent walking tour of Tartu by a
Back to ToC EAHIL Newsletter Nr. 48