REFLECTION

As I complete the MLIS program and begin employment in the world of health information professionals, it seemed timely to revisit this paper as a bridging exercise. LIS 520 Health Sciences Librarianship, was one of the most challenging courses I had the “pleasure” of taking. In fact, it was a pleasure, and I learned a lot about librarianship, the field of health care, and myself.

The course was challenging, but I think that this fact reflects the reality of the health industry – a diverse, fast-pasted and quickly changing environment in which librarians and information professionals can play an important role. I was intrigued by the concept of “expert searching” as it is defined in this paper, because I think it is all too easy to think of ourselves (even as new librarians) in these terms. Our cohort's fumbling and confused attempts at hands-on practice and peer teaching experiences in LIS 520 quickly revealed that this is not the case! Of course, we did improve, but this was a hard-to-learn lesson for many of us students.

Writing this paper provided a context for the difficulties I encountered in practicing the skills of health sciences searching. I got to explore the need for expert searching, its history and development, the role (or lack thereof) of the library school in producing expert searchers, and its relevance in the future. I liked how this combined experience allowed me to balance the practical with the theoretical.

My experience in LIS 520 led me to pursue my current position at the Centre for Health Evidence at the University of Alberta. It is unlikely that the responsibilities of this position will lead me to become an expert searcher. However, Health Sciences Librarianship has whetted my appetite for the exciting possibilities and opportunities for information professionals in this field. I’m looking forward to joining this group – and will continue to admire expert searchers (albeit from a distance).