Echoes of the 12th EAHIL Conference
The European Congress of Medical and Health Libraries, which was held in Portugal for the second time and was a resounding success, took place at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Estoril Congress Centre during the week of 14th to the 18th of June 2010.
After four years’ work in organizing this event we finally have the pleasure of seeing our efforts rewarded through the dignifying situation of holding the 12th EAHIL conference in Portugal.
This congress is considered to be the greatest European congress for specialists in documentation and information in the field of health, and about 400 professionals from 40 countries throughout Europe, the Portuguese speaking-countries, the USA, Australia and Canada participated, distributed as follows:
THE SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMME Under the heading “Discovering new seas of Knowledge: Technologies, environments and users in the future of health libraries”, the debate and reflection in this year’s conference had to do with the following subjects:
• Health technologies assessment
• Evidence-based librarianship
• Information literacy
• Library spaces and places
• Preservation and memory: old collections in a digital world
• Health and biomedical informatics
• Scholarly publishing and open access
• Emerging technologies and tools: innovative health information management, Web 2.0 / Web 3.0
• Health librarians in the 21st century: opportunities, roles, competencies, skills, marketing, leadership
• User statistics
• Library management
Over the five days of the conference, librarians and information professionals in the area of health from countries throughout the world attended further education courses, participated in various panels and debates, and discussed the future of knowledge management, thus fulfilling a scientific programme full of valuable contributions on the part of Portuguese and international specialists, reflecting upon the role of the librarian in relation to the new opportunities, skills and leaderships of the XXI century.
THE PRE-CONFERENCE COURSES AT THE CALOUSTE GULBENKIAN FOUNDATION
Fig. 1 – Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Building where the CEC courses were held
The CEC - Continuing Education Courses took place on the 14th and 15th of June in the premises of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, kindly loaned for this purpose. About a hundred people from 30 countries attending this congress came to these 16 pre-conference courses. Of particular note among the subjects lectured were CEC 07 – “Writing for scientific/academic publications”, given by Professor Vaz Carneiro, relative to which we reproduce the comment by the participant Maya Samaha, from Lebanon, published in the “Estoril Echo 1: EAHIL2010 Newsletter” a newspaper published and distributed during the conference: “I really enjoyed this course, it was well-structured and very useful and our teacher was very good. What I learnt today I can really use in my university to further teach my student doctors to write well for medical journals”.
OPENING CEREMONY FOR THE CONFERENCE AT YHE ESTORIL CONFERENCE CENTRE
The opening ceremony for the congress took place on the 16th of June at 9 am, during which, besides the usual words of welcome presented by the official authorities, Dr Isabel Mota also spoke, in her position as Administrator of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation responsible for health and as the main sponsor of the 12th EAHIL Conference.
Fig. 2 – Dr Isabel Mota at the opening ceremony
Of particular note at this ceremony was the opening speech given by Professor Alexandre Quintanilha from the University of Oporto on the subject “Evolution of Knowledge and its Impact on Bioethics”, about which we here reproduce the critique from the “Estoril Echo 2: EAHIL2010 Newsletter”: “Many people commented that it was one of the best opening speeches at any EAHIL conference and it was reflected in the appreciative ovation he received from the delegates”
During the conference 75 communications were presented, coming from 25 countries:
All the presentations can be accessed here
We should highlight the communications given by the FMUL professors Professor António Vaz Carneiro, “High quality information for evidence based practice: a practical system” and Professor Armando Brito de Sá, “The knowledge community” due to the scientific quality they added to the conference, with their special contribution according to a users’ view of information systems, the focus of the work done by this group.
Also in relation to the CDI- Library, we should note the communication presented by Dr. André Silva, “Your digital library is my digital library: reflecting in our experience in promoting a rare book collection”, of which we highlight the message from one of the slides in the presentation, which can be accessed here
Fig. 3 – Slide nº. 2 from the presentation “Your digital library is my digital library”
In an area reserved for posters there was the showing of 51 posters by conference members from the following countries:
Particularly interesting is the poster referring to Portugal, titled “ Fulfilling the needs of our users in the Lisbon Faculty of Medicine Library” presented by our colleague in the CDI Library, Dr Susana Henriques.
Fig. 4 – Poster “Fulfilling the needs of our users in the Lisbon Faculty of Medicine Library”
Also for the first time there was the opening of a space for discussion of access to information in the Portuguese-speaking countries, with a panel that included representatives from Brazil, Mozambique and Portugal, besides a presentation on the World Health Organization ePORTUGUÊSe network.
THE SOCIAL PROGRAMME
As suggested by Professor Quintanilha in his opening lesson for the conference, “The best way to be healthy is to combine work with leisure”, in this congress also the social aspect of the event contributed towards reinforcing acquaintances, relationships and friendships among this broad group of professionals, in the reception of the “first-timers” with a drinks reception at the Casa de Santa Maria in Cascais and a visit to the Lighthouse Museum, as well as in the excursion to the Mafra Royal Palace, visiting its impressive, historical library and infirmary, and also at the gala dinner reception in the Estoril Casino, accompanied by our traditional Fado music.
Fig. 5, 6 e 7 – Social Programme Events
Just as in the slide we are now showing, the organization committee also, after the conference had ended, wondered whether “we had achieved the aims we set ourselves?”
Fig. 6 – Slide “Did we reach our goals?”
If some doubts remained, perhaps driven by the high level of demand that we place on this organization, these were dissipated by the messages of thanks and praise received by colleagues from all over Europe, from among which we here reproduce that of the ex-president of the EAHIL, Tony McSean: “The conference was a masterclass in how this event should be run and sets a high standard for Istanbul and Brussels”
Fig. 7 – Email with thanks and praise from the ex-president of the EAHIL
Fig. 8 – Two of the elements who presented candidacy for organization of the conference in Portugal outside the Estoril Congress Centre
Finally, we would like to also express our acknowledgement to the Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon for all the support granted to the CDI-Library within the scope of the organization of the event, which greatly contributed towards the success of this conference.
Emília Calado Clamote
BIBLIOTECA – Documentation and Information Centre