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European Association for Health Information and Libraries
Association Européenne pour I'Information et les Bibliothèques de Santé



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.

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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 Eve-Marie Lacroix.

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 lives…and dare I say.. many of us made new friends.

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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.

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The Council

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 (Hungary).

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.

Liisa Salmi


Back to ToC EAHIL Newsletter Nr. 48 Aug 1999


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.

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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 recues.

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 professionnelle…et osé-je le dire, de nouvelles amitiés ont été établies.

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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.

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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.

Liisa Salmi

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

Dear Colleagues,

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 very beginning.

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 technology.

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.

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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.

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[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.]

Liisa Salmi

Back to ToC EAHIL Newsletter Nr. 48 Aug 1999


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 Environments."

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.

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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 costumes.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 information professionals"
  • 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 publishing.
  • 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 Internet.

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 knowledgeable guide.

Donna Flake

Back to ToC EAHIL Newsletter Nr. 48 Aug 1999


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