Gail Fraser
LBA Profile/CaseStudy
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Manager of e-Resources Access & Maintenance
Dalhousie University Libraries
Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Editor’s Note: Every other month, we publish the profile of a member of Doody’s Library Board of Advisors (LBA) or, in this case, of a librarian with whom we’ve had a long and cordial relationship. With gratitude, this month we present the profile of Gail Fraser of the Dalhousie University Libraries.

I began my career at the W.K. Kellogg Health Sciences Library at Dalhousie in 1980. I worked in the Serials Department back when journals were print only, moving on to the Cataloguing Department, then to Acquisitions and then full circle to Serials again. About five years ago my role moved from library-specific to institution-wide as the Manager of e-Resources across Dalhousie’s five libraries. The creation of a dedicated e-Resource Unit has meant a more coordinated response to access problems and eResource maintenance; however, the Kellogg Library is still my “home base” and I have specific duties there in acquisitions, budget management and forecasting.

The W.K. Kellogg Health Sciences Library, part of the Dalhousie University Libraries, serves the faculties of Medicine, Dentistry, and the Health Professions, as well as having a long-standing mandate to serve registered health professionals in the Atlantic Provinces. Besides print and electronic books, serials, and databases, the library provides Dalhousie users with access to computers, bookable group study rooms, silent study space, personalized reference and research services, and more.

From the perspective of an academic health sciences library, an important issue librarians face is training and supporting students, faculty, and professional researchers as they become more involved in conducting systematic reviews which, in turn, improve medical decision-making and create better health information for everyone. Because health sciences librarians are very familiar with the relevant literature and databases, as well as with review methodologies, they can help identify existing systematic reviews; advise on how to create, optimize, and keep track of search strategies; manage citations; and help prepare manuscripts for publication.

Another important mission for medical librarians (and, in fact, for all library staff) is countering the now widespread availability of fraudulent medical advice available online. As a service to the public, libraries must help users differentiate between accurate, trustworthy health advice and bogus, sensational claims. Users must be given the health literacy training and tools to evaluate such advice for credibility and reliability in order to prevent them from making unwise health choices for themselves and their families. A book I plan to purchase for our collection to help with our understanding of this topic is Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us, Gorman and Gorman (Oxford University Press, 2017).

All Canadian libraries have begun to participate in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action which seek to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation” (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action). For Canadian health libraries, this includes being aware of the importance of delivering quality healthcare information to clinicians working with Indigenous people, of making every effort to create and share Indigenous heath subject guides, of updating our collections in the field of Indigenous health, and of making call number and subject classification changes to ones that are more culturally appropriate.

At the Kellogg Library, we all have different subject liaison duties and we purchase in different subject areas, so we like to use the advanced search at Doody’s Review Service to choose our specialties, select date ranges and scopes, and then review (or export to Excel) the results list for possible print and ebook purchases. We know we can trust Doody’s reviews to be both unbiased and written by experts in the field. Another useful feature of the site is the Title List Manager where we can create lists of titles to review later in the year or share a Title List with other selectors in the case of multidisciplinary subjects.

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