Call for Papers — Satellite Meetings

Evidence for Global and Disaster Health Special Interest Group

  • 1 February 2018, 13:22
Theme: "Evidence for global and disaster health - where are we now and where do we need to be?"

[Deadline extended to: 19 March 2018]



23 August 2018


Impiana KLCC Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Evidence for Global and Disaster Health Special Interest Group
Sponsored by: Health and Biosciences Libraries Section (HBS)


It is estimated that in the last decade nearly 1.6 billion people have been affected by disasters worldwide. The costs of this, where they can be estimated, amount to more than $1.3 trillion (USD). Spending on humanitarian aid has also reached record levels, and in 2015 alone, investment in international humanitarian aid was estimated at $28 billion (USD) – the highest level ever. The scale and nature of the challenge, and the range of potential solutions is huge, and growing year on year. However, as spending on aid increases, there are other important initiatives which focus on the reduction of risks and how to build back better lives and communities after disasters happen, that require co-ordinated and global action.

The Evidence for Global & Disaster Health SIG is holding a satellite meeting to explore the potential for librarians and their services to play an enhanced, pivotal role in the collation, organisation, assessment and deployment of information concerning global and disaster health. The perspectives of not just librarians but other professionals working in this field are sought.

The satellite meeting will be held in central Kuala Lumpur immediately prior to the World Library and Information Congress. The programme will include presentations from diverse and multi-professional perspectives, and the opportunity to participate in training on searching for evidence in this field. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. In the early evening there will be an informal social gathering followed by/with a short talk plus plenty of time for questions and networking. Light refreshments will be served. The evening informal is offered in conjunction with our sponsoring IFLA section Health and Biosciences Libraries.

Registration Costs

Details of the satellite meeting costs will be available in early 2018.

Theme and Focus

Libraries have the potential to play a key role in protecting and improving global health, through advocacy for, and provision of reliable and relevant information. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) defines disaster as “A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society at any scale due to hazardous events interacting with conditions of exposure, vulnerability and capacity, leading to one or more of the following: human, material, economic and environmental losses and impacts”. Innovative models to support global and disaster health are emerging and a recent evidence briefing showed that library and information centres have a very important role to play in terms of providing support during, and after disasters. From a practical point of view, this can include providing safe places, supporting disaster teams by providing them with the best evidence to inform decision-making, helping in the production of evidence, and acting as knowledge brokers to ensure relevant knowledge and information is being shared effectively. By providing quick and easy access to those looking for reliable information about what to do in an emergency, libraries can demonstrate their value as a primary and crucial source of trustworthy information. Librarians have the skills to work within the wider context of knowledge management (networking, relationship building, sharing) and knowledge translation (using the Knowledge-to-Action Cycle as a guiding framework to integrate evidence with practice).

The IFLA Evidence for Global and Disaster Health SIG plans to contribute to this year’s WLIC theme of “Transform Libraries, Transform Societies” by exploring how libraries in health and allied sectors can play an increasing role in programmes to reduce disaster risk, loss of life, livelihoods and health.


This meeting aims to demonstrate how librarians have contributed to disaster health, including and identify potential initiatives for the future, by:

  • Giving an overview of key players and current practice, with an emphasis on partnerships and community-based action
  • Providing an overview of how librarians have been contributing to disaster health, from the perspective of countries with perceived gaps in provision as well as those where activities have been and are being developed
  • Highlighting and sharing evidence, good practice and innovation in the field
  • Considering what needs to be done to develop skills and services to deliver these for the future


The organizers are particularly interested in proposals for presentations on any of the following sub-themes:

1. Working with partners and fostering community engagement.

How do we build an understanding of the key players and current practice? Those active in this field are invited to share experience and lessons learned, particularly:

  • on working in partnership and with local communities
  • in relation to natural or man-made incidents, e.g. climate change or disease outbreaks
  • in response to initiatives like the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030
  • where library spaces or community-based services have played a major role

We also invite submissions from parts of the world where it is felt that there are gaps in provision, with suggested strategies.

2. Building and sharing the evidence base for global health and disaster risk reduction.

Ensuring that reliable and relevant evidence is available in times of disaster is a major challenge. This part of the programme will consider:

  • what types of evidence best support decision making in global and disaster health, and how
  • where are the gaps in current provision and dissemination, from the perspective of librarians or other professionals working in the field
  • how can librarians contribute to the production and dissemination of evidence and information on disaster preparedness, response and recovery, and what additional resources might be needed.

3. Current and future roles: increasing capacity and capability for expanding the role of the librarian in global and disaster health.

To meet the challenges and fulfil their potential, librarians and information specialists will need flexible, sustainable and cost-effective skills development. This session will consider:

  • What are the new roles for librarians in this field?
  • What are the training needs and skill sets to support these new roles, and how can they best be met?
  • How can the learning be embedded in everyday practice?
  • Can we future-proof such roles?

We invite examples of current practice and future plans.  Examples describing and analyzing new and innovative roles for librarians working in global and disaster health are particularly welcomed.


We invite anyone with an interest or experience related to this theme to submit abstracts,

and later full papers, particularly those which provide transferable examples of current practice, or which outline the developments needed to build skills, partnerships and resilience.

We are very keen to enable sharing and learning from different perspectives and welcome submissions from a wide range of roles including librarians and information officers; health and public health professionals; systematic reviewers; humanitarian and voluntary sector workers, and relief coordinators.

Abstracts are invited for either full papers or for lightning talks.

Full Papers

Papers are invited for presentation on the Satellite themes. Papers can take the form of research or project reports, case studies, and other examples of what works in practice. Please indicate if you would like your proposal to be considered for peer-review and inclusion in the online conference proceedings.

Lightning talks

Our 5 minute lightning talks will enable participants to hear different experiences and ideas in a short space of time.  A lightning talk is essentially a very short presentation that focuses on a key message that the presenter would like to share. It allows the presenter to share what s/he is working on and for the audience to find out what is happening in her/his project/library service/research. The purpose of a lightning talk, therefore, is to articulate a topic in a quick, clear and insightful manner. The selected lightning talk presenters will be required to prepare two slides and will have five minutes in which to speak.

Submission Guidelines

The abstract must be submitted in English, in an electronic format and must contain:

  • Title of abstract/paper
  • Type of submission: paper (research or project report, case study); lightening talk (case study, lessons learned, personal story)
  • Structured abstract* (approx 500 words)
  • An indication of the sub-theme the abstract is focusing on
  • Speaker’s name, address, telephone number(s), professional affiliation, email address, keywords (not more than five) and biographical note (40 words).

Authors whose abstracts will be selected shall be required to prepare full papers that should not be longer than 5000 words. Research papers should conform to relevant reporting guidelines (available on the Equator website) Projects, case studies and other submissions should include the background and context, approaches, evaluation, lessons learned, etc. 

*For information about structured abstracts, see

Mentoring will be available for individuals new to submitting structured abstracts or conference  papers.

Each presenter will have 20 minutes in the programme session to deliver their papers, and time will be allowed for an open forum to allow audience interaction. Presentations should be delivered in English as simultaneous translation will not be available.

Please indicate if you would like your abstract to be considered for both a full paper and a lightning talk. The selection committee will assume that the abstract author is not interested in the lightning talk option if s/he does not indicate so.

Dissemination routes:

Blogs and vlogs
We are exploring working with Evidence Aid to explore the possibility of sharing the outcomes of the satellite meeting with the wider community, during their Humanitarian Evidence Week to be held in November 2018, (HEW2018).
We would welcome the opportunity to work with any other colleagues or networks on initiatives in this area.

Important dates and timelines

Monday 19 March 2018:  Deadline for submission of abstracts

Monday  9 April 2018:     Notification of acceptance/rejection

Friday  18 May 2018:       Deadline for submission of full paper 


Submissions should be sent as email attachments, by 12 March 2018 the extended deadline of 19 March 2018 to:

Anne Brice, SIG convener

and copied to

Emma Farrow, HBS Secretary

Proposals will be reviewed by members of the SIG Satellite meeting programme group.

Please note

At least one of the paper’s authors must be present to deliver a summary of the paper during the program of the Satellite Meeting.

All papers that are presented at the WLIC 2018 will be made available online via the IFLA Library under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Authors of accepted papers must complete the IFLA Authors’ Permission Form.

All expenses for attending the satellite meeting (eg. travel, accommodation, etc.) are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. No financial support can be provided by IFLA.

Congress Participation Grants

List of opportunities for support is available on our Conference Participation Grants webpage.