Healthcare libraries in Saudi Arabia: Analysis and recommendations

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Khudair, A. ; Bawden, D. (2007)

Purpose – The paper aims to gain a detailed understanding of the current health library/information environment in Saudi Arabia, to identify problems, issues, and areas for improvement, to make recommendations for improvement, and to instantiate these in models and prototypes.\ud \ud Design/methodology/approach – A mixed method empirical approach is used in 11 health libraries, including literature survey, institutional profiling, questionnaire, interviews, non-participant observation, and examination of documents. A model for supporting change management in Saudi health libraries is proposed, and a prototype for a Saudi Health Information Network is developed.\ud \ud Findings – The healthcare libraries are well-used, and appreciated by their users, and the staff are generally satisfied with their work. Problems and issues are identified: use of information communication technologies and digital resources; lack of proactive information services; education, training and continuing professional development for health library work; limited strategic planning and policy for these services. Recommendations are made for improvements.\ud \ud Research limitations/implications – The empirical research is limited to health sciences libraries in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The prototype health information network has not been evaluated by users.\ud \ud Practical implications – Recommendations are made to enable the government of Saudi Arabia and its various agencies to support improvements in the existing health sciences libraries and information provision.\ud \ud Originality/value – This is a detailed study of the health library environment in Saudi Arabia, illustrating factors typical of the situation in many other countries. The paper outlines a novel organisational change model and prototype national health information network.
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