News from Nova Scotia - Dalhousie University Libraries

Submitted by MARLO MACKAY, Communications Coordinator

Robin Parker and Melissa Helwig: Training Clinicians from Around the World


Robin, Dr. Gordon Guyatt, and MelissaRobin and Melissa, two librarians at the W. K. Kellogg Health Sciences Library, spent five days In Hamilton this summer assisting clinicians to incorporate evidence-based clinical practice into their work. Clinicians such as doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, surgeons, and naturopaths take part in the workshops.

Evidence-based practice is an approach to clinical practice that teaches clinicians to incorporate not only their expertise, but also the best available research and the patient’s values when making medical decisions. It pushes against the traditional type of clinical education that is mainly expert-based.

McMaster University is considered the birthplace of evidence-based practice, and they have been hosting workshops aimed at training clinicians in this practice since the early 1990s. Librarians became a key part of the tutor team in 2001, brought in to assist with showing clinicians how to tap into the best available research, and how to determine what is the best available research, as efficiently as possible.

Over 130 participants and tutors come from all over the world, so sending two librarian representatives from Halifax is something the Dalhousie Libraries are proud of. This is Robin’s second year taking part in the event, and Melissa’s third. “It’s a great week for us, I always come home with some new teaching ideas that I bring to my work with the College of Pharmacy at Dalhousie,” says Melissa.

“One of the benefits of participating is that it reinforces to us the needs of the clinicians that we work with at Dalhousie and how we can make their lives easier,” says Robin, who teaches evidence-based sessions for residents at Dal. “I design courses for the residents here with faculty in emergency medicine and family medicine. Having had the experience at the workshop allows me to better communicate with and to better deliver evidence-based practice sessions for our own residents.”

These workshops also have wide-reaching benefits for the clinicians that attend. Many of the clinicians play a lead role in training other clinicians in evidence-based practice when they return to their own institutions.

“These workshops also afford us the opportunity to get to know people from around the world in the health care community and make contacts that we can stay connected with throughout our career,” says Melissa.

“The opportunity to network with clinicians and health science librarian colleagues is very valuable to us. I love learning about what’s going on in other institutions,” says Robin.

For more information about evidence-based clinical practice, visit


Heather MacFadyen, the new Collections Strategy Librarian


Heather MacFadyenThe Dalhousie Libraries are pleased to welcome Heather MacFadyen to the new role of Collections Strategy Librarian. In this role, Heather will provide analytical, assessment, consultation, and planning services to support collection activities for the Dalhousie Libraries.

Heather started with the Dalhousie Libraries as an intern in 2011 while she completed her MLIS degree. Soon after graduation, in the fall of 2012, Heather secured a ten-month term as the management and economics librarian at the Killam Library. She was also responsible for helping to build the scholarly communication infrastructure for online journals being published at Dalhousie.

When her first ten-month term wrapped up in June 2013, Heather then worked in a twelve-month term as the Collections Services and Scholarly Communications Librarian. In this role, Heather has proven herself to be a valuable contributor to the Dal Libraries, serving Killam-based faculty and students and also serving system-wide needs in the areas of collections analysis and scholarly communications.

This past year, Heather was heavily involved in a large and significant initiative to develop a new acquisitions allocation formula, and has been instrumental in the creation of the Scholars@Dal faculty profiles and other DalSpace enhancements. In addition, Heather has participated as an active member of several Dal Libraries committees.

Heather has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Ottawa. Before working in libraries, she worked in the telecommunications industry in a variety of communication and information management roles, producing everything from technical manuals to comics. These skills have served her well in the many roles and projects that she’s taken on with the Dalhousie Libraries.

Please join us in welcoming Heather to her new role with the Dal Libraries!


Summer Shine 2014


The Summer Shine Series, introduced in 2012, was designed to give the interns that the Dalhousie Libraries hire from the School of Information Management an opportunity to present projects they have been working on during their summer internships. This year’s event was full of varied and interesting presentations:

  1. Valerie Collins - Preserving Digital Data: Institutional Repositories and the U15
  2. Hilary Lynd - Digitizing the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Journal (1924-1973)
  3. Gabrielle Brydges -  It Takes a Village to Raise a Scholar: LibGuides, Librarians and Faculty
  4. Emily Colford - MSA Project: Agricultural and Campus History
  5. Andrea Kampen - Centre for Art Tapes: Archiving Multimedia
  6. Andrew Roy - Using LibAnalytics to Improve Reference Services at Dalhousie Libraries
  7. Kaitlin Haley & Alison Manley - Kellogg on the Move: Planning for a New Chapter


Two Archives staff complete certificates from the Council of Nova Scotia Archives


Congratulations to Jennifer MacIsaac and Joan Chiasson for being awarded certificates from the Council of Nova Scotia Archives. Both Joan and Jennifer completed six courses to earn this certificate, including: introduction to archives; preservation of archival materials; acquisition, appraisal, and accessioning materials; description and arrangement of materials; an introduction to rules for archival description standards; and accessing and providing reference to the archival collection.

Joan is based in the Dalhousie University Archives at the Killam Library and Jennifer is based at the MacRae Library, where there is also an archive.

Well done, Joan and Jennifer!


Dalhousie and NSCC reach agreement with Esri Canada to promote GIS work


Recently, Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) have entered into an agreement with the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) Canada Limited. This agreement, as part of Esri Canada’s new Centres of Higher Education Excellence (ECCE) program, will encourage more sharing of resources in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS involves spatial data management and analysis. Those in the field help address many business, socio-economic, and demographic challenges from a spatial context and present solutions visually using interactive, digital mapping technology. The GISciences Centre at Dalhousie is located in the Killam Library.

The Dalhousie and NSCC joint agreement with Esri is one of only five ECCE programs in Canada. The ECCE program will foster new and innovative uses of GIS in both institutions. Dalhousie and NSCC will see benefits from this agreement including support from Esri for GIS activities and research including in-kind support for training, software, technical support, and scholarships and awards. This program will open up opportunities with a network of post-secondary institutions across the country that educates students in this technology, strengthening existing relationships in a way that will benefit students, faculty, and researchers.

The ECCE program is the next step in Esri Canada’s support of educational institutions across the country and complements their long-term, ongoing support of NSCC and Dalhousie. The Esri agreement with NSCC and Dalhousie will encourage innovation in GIS research and excellence in teaching in the field.  It will help promote GIS education and course options for future students, pool resources to help increase the creation of custom software application development, promote the sharing of information around student availability and employment opportunities, and encourage collaboration with research funding. The agreements are in place for two-year terms.

Since 2005, Dalhousie has received an annual scholarship from Esri Canada through the GIS Centre and NSCC has received support since the early 1980s. Esri Canada creates software and tools that allow people to distribute GIS services through the web, desktop, and mobile applications.

Dr. Brent Hall, Director of Education and Research at Esri Canada, said, “We are very pleased to recognize the outstanding contributions of Dalhousie and NSCC through their GIS education and spatial data research programs. Bringing the two institutions together through the new ECCE will serve to create a hub in Atlantic Canada that will allow students, researchers, and the regional spatial information technology information industry to continue to thrive.”   

“Programs like this offer a chance for greater information and idea sharing which will help to inspire more real-world solutions for our communities and additional resources for our faculty and students,” says Dennis Kingston, Academic Chair for NSCC’s Centre for Geographic Sciences at its Annapolis Valley Campus.

Dalhousie’s Vice President Academic and Provost Dr. Carolyn Watters says the university is very pleased to take part in the ECCE program. “The opportunities the agreement opens up will not only benefit our students and faculty but will be instrumental in connecting us more closely with a national network within the GIS sector.”

“The ECCE that includes Dalhousie and NSCC provides further incentive for the institutions to work closer together in the field of GIS,” said Mike McAllister, computer science faculty member and Dalhousie’s chair of ECCE. “There’s much to be learned from both institutions, in terms of how each is using GIS technology. Dalhousie has elements of spatial scholarship that underlie research and education in many of its faculties, while NSCC, specifically its Centre for Geographic Sciences, has been providing its expertise in geospatial work to industry nationally for years. The ECCE will allow us to identify more opportunities for innovation and partnership.”