Document Type


Original Presentation Date


Date of Submission

October 2022



Literature searching skills and approaches among librarians may vary considerably, based upon the ways that literature searching is taught in formal and informal education. Informal observation of the literature search assistance approaches among health sciences librarians in the Information and Research Services department in Lapus Library indicated that patrons requesting such service might receive varying levels of service. This poster describes the creation of a best practices guideline for literature search assistance to address differential levels of service and build consensus about best practice when consistent pre- or in-service training in this area is missing.


The Literature Search Best Practices Guideline has been shaped by two means: a discussion series and a survey of the department's librarians. The survey sought to identify common logistical and clarifying questions asked by the librarians in response to literature search requests, stratified by stakeholder category (students, faculty, clinicians, etc.). The discussion series focused on technological, procedural, relational, and ethical considerations in literature search assistance. The survey results and issues identified as inherent in literature search assistance have been organized into a draft Literature Search Best Practices Guideline. Librarians have all contributed to the creation of the guidelines through participation in the discussion series as well as written contribution to the guidelines. Furthermore, the discussion series has created an ongoing dialog about ethics and critical thinking in everyday library practice.


We plan to share the final guideline in a public repository, use the guidelines to train new librarians at our institution, and perform follow-up analysis of the usefulness and practical application of the guidelines in our department. Additionally, ongoing discussions related to professional ethics, citation choices, and authorship negotiations will be continued.

Is Part Of

Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association (MAC- MLA) Annual Meeting Posters/Presentations