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HLSP Manual

This guide is meant for the Hospital Library Service Program members from CDLC.


All Hospital Library Service Program member libraries must offer information services to all personnel of their hospitals. The information services should include reference service, database searching, and interlibrary loan service.

Reference Services

Reference service is assisting the user in securing information and ensuring the optimum use of information resources through substantive interaction with the user. The library manager/staff must be able to assist all staff in their search for information, by either directing them to the on-site collection or to another HLSP member library, if the local resources are inadequate.

The following inquiries may be answered using on-site collection:

  • Specific factual questions using dictionaries, directories, standard texts, manuals, etc.
  • Single topic bibliographic inquiries (e.g., a list of journal article citations on AIDS or Risk Management) using Medline, Cinahl, PsychLit, etc.
  • If a patron is directed to another HLSP library, prior permission should be obtained. It should be clearly delineated as to the obligation if any of another HLSP library to provide on-site reference service to an outside patron.
  • There should be a statement outlining the distinction between the reference service to be provided by the library staff as opposed to individual research.

Database Searching Services

Database search services should be available to all members of your hospital staff.

Access to many health databases is available for free from the National Library of Medicine.

The best results for a search can be achieved by having the requesting patron speak with the staff member performing the search. This provides an opportunity to discuss search parameters and terminology. Some of the questions you should ask are:

  • Do you want English language only or do you want all languages?
  • Do you want to limit your search results to just human studies, just animal studies, or both?
  • How many years do you want searched?
  • Do you want abstracts?
  • Are they willing to pay the standard searching fees, if any?

The requestor should read through the printout of references carefully and select those articles they would like to see. If your library does not own an item listed on the printout, they may request it through interlibrary loan.

The Hospital Services Library Program offers periodic database training for hospital library staff.


Health-Related Websites

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