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Library and Information Science


Objective: Determine if the profession of health librarianship has matured over recent years as defined by the level of sophistication found in the published research in the leading peer-reviewed, professional journal.

Method: A content analysis of research articles published in Bulletin of the Medical Library Association and Journal of the Medical Library Association during the time span of 1991-2007 will be performed. For those articles that are classified as research, the subjects, research methodologies and analytical techniques employed will be identified, as well as bibliometric characteristics, institutional affiliation, and research funding source. The data will be analyzed using descriptive and quantitative inferential statistics to identify trends and/or gaps in the literature. The subject, research method, and analytical classification schema used throughout the study will be based on the work of Alexandra Dimitroff.

Results & Conclusion: Preliminary findings reflect articles published from 1991-1996 (n = 310). Forty six percent of the articles reviewed were defined as research. The most predominant research methodology employed was survey (47%) and the most prevalent techniques used to analyze findings were quantitative descriptive statistics (62%). Studies examining subjects related to library users accounted for the greatest number of published research articles (20%), followed in popularity by public services (15%), and materials and/or collection development (9%). Sixty five percent of articles were authored by individuals affiliated with an academic health sciences library. The majority of studies (65%) stated no funding source, while 17% reported government support for the research carried out. New areas of research observed to date include consumer health, outreach, and the internet; an emerging research method is focus groups. Additional data on the findings will be presented in May.

Presented at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting on May 19, 2008, in Chicago, IL.

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2008 Medical Library Association Annual Meeting