Patching the publicity disconnect: promoting information resources and services to Ohio's veterinary professionals
Murphy, Sarah Anne
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Veterinarians, like other health professionals, must commit to a program of lifelong learning to maintain knowledge of scientific developments in their field. Continuing education courses, conference attendance, and participation in local veterinary associations offer some opportunities to maintain and update clinical practice skills. Keeping abreast of the scientific literature offers others. Most veterinarians, however, report a preference for consulting a textbook or a colleague when confronted with a situation requiring additional information to resolve. Most fail to consider using the collections and services of a veterinary medical library [1, 2]. In general, access barriers to veterinary information mirror those identified in research on outreach to human health professionals: lack of time; cost; lack of an appropriate source to satisfy an information need at that time of need; and geographical isolation. [2,3]. With only 32 veterinary medical libraries in North America, the reality is most veterinarians live beyond a reasonable driving distance from a veterinary medical library. This inhibits their access to the highly specialized information these libraries collect and retain. Previous research on information needs assessment for library outreach has determined that patrons sometimes suffer from "not knowing what they are missing." An introduction to new information sources, "can awaken an awareness of previously unknown and deeper, possibly more significant information needs" . The Ohio State University Veterinary Medicine Library conducted a study in 2003 of the information needs of Ohio veterinarians and identified a publicity disconnect: veterinarians would use the library more, but were unaware of the collections and services the library offered . To address both the publicity disconnect and update veterinarians’ knowledge of information resources, the library developed a focused marketing plan. Implemented with the release of the library's new document delivery program for veterinary professionals in February 2005, the plan outlined activities intended to promote not only the library's collections and services, but also freely available online information resources such as PubMed and Consultant. The plan was also designed to respect the individual learning styles of the adult learner by using multiple methods and formats for communicating the library’s marketing message. This paper reports the efforts of The Ohio State University Veterinary Medicine Library to remove barriers and facilitate access to veterinary medical literature in Ohio through the implementation of a defined marketing plan.