Library - Prospects in Jamaica
The MEDCARIB Network, a sub-network within
BIREME's network, was established with the participation of 16 English-speaking
Caribbean countries and Surinam between 1991-1995. The University
of the West Indies, Medical Library (UWIML) in Jamaica is the Regional
Coordinating Center of the MEDCARIB Network and Coordinating Center
for Jamaican Health Information Network. During the Fourth Pan American
Congress on Health Information held in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1998,
the participants of Latin American and Caribbean System approved
the San Jose Declaration towards the Virtual Health Library (VHL)
and SciELO (electronic publication) project. The UWIML is in the
process of organizing and implementing VHL and SciELO projects in
The UWIML has a separate Computer Laboratory
on its 2nd Floor, equipped with three Network Servers,
40 Pentium computers, Digital Camera (for production of teaching
material) and video equipment for the student to retrieve information
from various virtual resources from the library and Internet for
evidence-based and Problem-based Learning. The Ground floor has
22 data outlets and the First floor has 23. Out of these 45 outlets,
20 are left for users to hook up their laptops and 25 will have
computers. The Library is using the Virginia Tech Library System
(VTLS) for automation and some of the workstations will be used
for On-Line Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). The fibre optic cables
and local area network wiring has been completed but unfortunately
UWIML has to wait for Internet connectivity until the University's
Wide Area Network is completed. The Faculty of Medical Sciences
office, all departments and the University Hospital will also come
in the system so the information can be retrieved from any of these
location. Meantime the preparation is going on towards VHL in Jamaica.
Plan of Action
In September 1999, Jamaica and Cuba's joint
project proposal for a Jamaican Health Information Network was approved
by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) under their Technical
Cooperation between Two Countries (TCC) Grant. In October 1999,
two Consultants from Cuba came to assess the Jamaican situation
and prepared the Plan of Action for Virtual Health Library and Health
Information Locators (HIL) Methodology Training. At the same time,
a Network Administrator also came for two months to assist in properly
organizing the Jamaican Health Information Network. The Network
Administrator is presently examining the network infrastructure
and Local Area Network connections in the UWI. He made visits to
other centers of the network to examine the systems used and what
more is needed for establishment of the infrastructure for the realization
of the VHL. He will assess the number of servers and other hardware
required, construction of network architecture and administration
and maintenance of these server.
The Network Administrator will install the
software and configure different aspect of VHL, i.e. web server,
mail server, database server, etc. at the UWIML. When this is successfully
completed, the system will be tested for external connectivity,
i.e. access to the UWIML by other Centers in Jamaica through Internet.
When the central node is established successfully, the same procedure
will be repeated at all participating units.
Meantime the UWIML has established linkage
with some organizations/institutions and selected few Internet Health
Web Sites, which are being placed in UWIML Web Page for users to
click directly to the sources to retrieve their required information.
The Cuban Network Administrator is also assisting in preparing Web
Pages for UWIML and the MEDCARIB Network.
The UWIML, while awaiting the Internet connectivity,
is directing its users to retrieve information through Internet
either from the Main or Science Library of the UWI or from their
personal computers at home. Most of the academic staff and postgraduate
students, in absence of facility at the Medical Library, are searching
the information from Internet from their home or offices. The following
web sites are going to be in UWIML web page where users can click
at the site and retrieve information:
Library of Medicine (NLM) is the gateway to virtual health resources.
Their web page www.nlm.nih.gov/
leads to various health information and databases. Already the users
who have access to Internet are using PubMed (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubMed/)
since it gives free access on Internet to Medline database.
and InfoMed (www.InfoMed.sld.cu)
sites are going to be used extensively.
The Library made contacts
with several networks that permitted to use their virtual resources.
One is the University of California at Los Angeles's Louis Darling
Biomedical Library, which is the regional Library of the Pacific
Southwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.
Their Biosites: a Virtual Catalog of Internet Resources in
the Biomedical Sciences(http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/biomed/cdd)
is a current listing of important Internet resources selected and
evaluated by librarians within the Pacific Southwest Region of the
National Network of Libraries of Medicine.
Digital Libraries Project (CDLP)http://www.slis.ua.edu/cdlp/outreach/uwimona/
CDLP was established in 1995 and is a joint
effort of the School of Library and Information Studies and 5 other
libraries from University of Alabama and University of North Texas.
UWIML became participant in June 1999 and passed on the web address
to its users. Since CDLP is a research project, there is no cost
to participate. All resources in the digital library are high quality
web resources that are freely available. CDLP has built an effective
interface for using clinical digital library collection that is
empirically grounded and tested with a range of endusers. They also
build an effective interface for managing clinical digital library
collections so that the selection of resources can be made by local
library and information professionals who know best what is required
for their constituencies.
University of Puerto Rico
The UWI and the University
of Puerto Rico has signed an agreement for technical cooperation
for five Year (1998-2003) period. The University of Puerto Rico
has been given a grant from NLM on the project "Health Information
Gateway for the Caribbean" which will extend its electronic information
services to other health institutions in the Caribbean.
The user community needs
information on various residency programs, name and addresses of
the hospitals in U.S.A. and Canada. The Web Page will include:
American Medical Association
(AMA) - WWW.ama.assn.org
- AMA has web-based and prints compendiums of practical information.
Also continuing physician professional development programs and
Association of American
Medical Colleges (AAMC) – WWW.aamc.org
- This web site offers information in the areas of medical education,
applicant information, transcript request forms, student and applicant
relations, medical schools, a downloadable version of the AMCAS-E
electronic application software.
FREIDA Online (Fellowship
and Residency Electronic Database Access) - www.ama.assn.org/freida
provides information on all ACGME-accredited and combined specialty
The UWIML is presently
subscribing to MDConsult(www.MdConsult.com)
and advising the users to use it from home. Since this service is
available free of charge for 10 days without obligation, provides
users an opportunity to test the usefulness of the service before
placing a personal subscription. The database offers several useful
access points to narrow down a subject area, reducing retrieval
time and increasing relevancy. The output provides references in
order of availability of full text online and the user can click
on the item to download or print the article. The journal collection
can be searched simultaneously with Medline, which helps the user
to see what is available full text.
The access points include
36 textbooks with full text on clinical practice, 47 journals with
full text, 600 peer-reviewed practice guidelines provided by medical
societies and government agencies, and drug information on over
30,000 medications from leading independent drug reference sources
with alternative medications, cost of therapy etc.
Today in medicine
is a current awareness service that reports latest developments
in medicine with links to relevant reference. The current awareness
services provided by MDConsult offers new trends in the field of
medical sciences, drugs and what patients are learning from the
media and alert the practitioner with information they need at their
fingertips to prepare them to advise patients. In This Week's
Journals section, articles from key weekly journals are brought
on the same day the issue is out of press. Another useful feature
is the section on Drug Information, which provides independent
evaluations of drug with relevant references.
The MDConsult web site
is easy to search, print or download.
provides links to specific, evaluated information resources on World
Wide Web selected by librarians and information professionals at
leading academic medical centers in the Midwest Region of the National
Network of Libraries of Medicine.
is a comprehensive list of free peer-reviewed information for healthcare
Already several electronic
journals are available full-text with free access on Internet. The
EBSCO Subscription Service offered free access on Internet to many
journals with full text which UWIML subscribes. On UWIML web page
listing of all these journals will provide easy access to our users.
The UWIML is waiting to
receive the SciELO methodology and training to start on electronic
publication. Work is in progress to seek permission from the publishers
to include their publications on full-text database.