A Practical Guide for Informationists: Supporting Research and Clinical Practice. By Antonio DeRosa. Sawston, Cambridge: Chandos Publishing, 2018. 100 p. Paper $79.95 (ISBN-13: 978-0-0810-2017-3).

The Chandos’ book series is designed to help the overworked librarian with practical advice using extensive case studies. The book begins with defining “informationist” and outlining the transformation from a traditional reference librarian to an informationist. The theme of the book deals with filling “information” gaps and each chapter focuses on different types of services that can help fill information gaps at a variety of health institutions.

In chapter 2, Rachel Pinotti from Levy Library at Icahn School of Medicine uses the “information needs continuum” by Strauss to outline how the information needs of medical students shift over time. The author also suggests specific outreach strategies, such as tips for presenting and forming professional relationships. Limitations of the chapter were the lack of sources supporting her suggestions compared to other chapters with more extensive bibliographies and the text heavy training worksheets, but this may have been a limitation of the publisher.

Chapter 3, authored by Diana Delgado and Michelle Demetres from Weill Cornell Medicine, describes the lifecycle of how to publish a paper. They discuss using the FINER criteria, issues of registering for a patent before publication, and evaluating factors in choosing the right journal for publication. They finish their chapter with a case study showing how an informationist can make a difference for a psychiatrist seeking to publish a rejected paper.

Chapter 4, written by Christopher Belter from NIH, is the most comprehensive chapter with 45 references on bibliometric analysis. The chapter discusses the importance of bibliometrics, how it is being used to evaluate researchers, and why informationists as ideal candidates for bibliometric analysis. The chapter wraps up with an NIH case study discussing the four types of services provided, including consultations, training, core analyses, and custom analyses. It is an exceptional chapter, but the print copy included 4 pages from another Chandos publication on “Inhaled Pharmaceutical Product Development Perspectives” (41–44).

Chapter 5, written by another NIH all-star Lisa Federer, addresses data management and visualization. As the author notes, data has exploded, and the ability to help manage and visually represent data is where informationists can make a difference. She posits that many researchers and clinicians do not have the time or the required skills to so on their own. A limitation involves the lack of color in figure 5. The chapter wraps up with a case study of the author helping a researcher manage their data and creating a publishable visual.

Keeping up-to-date is the focus of chapter 6, authored by Sarah Jewell from Rutgers. Jewell outlines the key attributes for a successful current awareness program: “(1) speed, (2) ease of use, and (3) relevance” (63). The author recommends surveying users and embracing social media platforms to “embed themselves virtually into these research communities” (66). The chapter concludes with a community current awareness case study from UConn.

In chapter 7, the librarians at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center describe how they have been actively involved in two programs: the Clinical Medical Librarian (CML) Program and their Systematic Review Service. Ironically, the authors mention how systematic reviews and metanalysis are “fading” due to a movement toward “aggregating individual patients genomes..to develop drugs and therapies to target those genes” (74). Nevertheless, the authors do a nice job in detailing how they have embedded in various clinical departments with a focus on “ensuring search methods” and that “documentation were properly adhered to” (77).

This book provides librarians with the names of informationist leaders who can provide guidance, and even though the chapters were uneven in their bibliographies, the case studies provide a solid road map for how to transform from a traditional “librarian” into an informationist.—Daniel G. Kipnis, Life Sciences Librarian, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey


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