Information in context: integrating information specialists into practice settings

J Med Libr Assoc. 2002 Jan;90(1):49-58.


An information need (the problem) cannot be divorced from its context. The problem context determines the urgency, granularity of detail, authority, and level of certainty required for an acceptable answer and dictates the expertise and resources that can be brought to bear. The size and diversity of the sources that can be marshalled during clinical problem solving is cognitively unmanageable--too large and too complex for a single person to process effectively in a constrained timeframe. Can the clinical team, as currently constituted, collectively handle this information-processing task, or is there a need for special information expertise on the team? If there is such a need, what is the best way to prepare information specialists to participate in context-based problem solving? This article explores preparation for work in information-rich, problem-solving environments. The authors provide two case studies, one clinical and one bioscientific, that elucidate knowledge and training requirements for information specialists who work as peers in patient care and research settings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Information Management / education
  • Information Management / standards
  • Information Services / standards*
  • Inservice Training
  • Internet
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Librarians*
  • Libraries, Medical / standards*
  • Library Science / education
  • Library Science / standards*
  • Professional Competence
  • United States