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Exploiting knowledge in health sciences is a book written by and for healthcare librarians, clinical librarians, information specialists, knowledge managers, and the professionals who train them directly or who work developing healthcare e-learning programmes.
The editors, Graham Walton and Andrew Booth, as well as various contributors of the book, have considerable experience in knowledge in health services. They have developed or taken part in several projects described in the book (for instance, the chapter written by Alison Turner "The National electronic Library for Health").
In 2000, the same editors published Managing Knowledge in health services (out of print but freely available at www.shef.ac.uk/scharr/mkhs/), but due to the changeable health information sector they chose to publish this companion and update.
The book is structured in 3 parts, each with several contributed chapters. The length of the chapters is adequate and the "key points" section at the end of every chapter is very helpful. Part 1 (The context of managing the knowledge based in health sciences) starts with "New structures and principles in health services," which provides a perspective on the sociological, technological, economic, and political factors shaping the health sector in 2004 and emphasises the role of librarians and libraries in facing these changes. The authors then lead us through the key developments that attempt to address the changes and challenges in the health sciences field. Chapters in this first part include: "The National electronic Library for Health," "Knowledge management," "Clinical governance and National Service Frameworks," and "Clinical Librarianship".
Part 2 (Managing the knowledge base) discusses the knowledge base. "Managing projects" explains what project management is, including how to plan a project, the stages, and specific software for project management. "Working collaboratively" describes the challenges and barriers to effective collaboration, and the author remarks that "it is essential to ensure the delivery of high-quality health-information services." Other chapters discuss continuing professional development, the development of hybrid services, creation of portals, and, finally, intellectual property.
Part 3 (Using the knowledge base effectively: information sources and skills) covers many of the functions that a healthcare librarian must develop: searching evidence, appraising the literature, creating effective web pages, supporting research synthesis, and providing information about funding opportunities. I found this part the most interesting because it is very useful in our daily work.
The book ends with a review of the new roles and new challenges the libraries must develop to meet emerging demands.
In conclusion, this book provides a comprehensive, structured, and clear exposition of the role that information professionals must play in an increasingly demanding health sector. The exposition moves from a broad overview to the more specific tasks and skills required to effectively exploit the knowledge base in our clinical daily work.