Call for Papers — Open Sessions

Health and Biosciences Libraries Section

  • 24 November 2017, 12:17
Theme: "Health Information: Targeting, Connecting and Transforming Lives "

Library outreach, in all its forms, requires that the librarians leave their own traditional space, enter someone else’s space, learn about the people occupying that space, and create a connection between the two. For health librarians wishing to connect with traditionally underserved and hard-to-reach populations, this requires not only learning about and appreciating the cultural differences that may distinguish those populations from the librarian, but also about the many health disparities that are likely to exist. For those who may be members of more than one traditionally underserved community, such as the homeless, this may also involve understanding and navigating multiple layers of discrimination and their effect on the person’s health, on their health information needs as well as their information behaviour.

The IFLA Health and Biosciences Libraries Section plans to contribute to this year’s WLIC theme of “Transform Libraries, Transform Societies” by exploring this domain to highlight how health libraries have transformed societies. We shall showcase examples of health librarians reaching out to traditionally underserved communities through their work.  We invite professionals to submit abstracts and later full papers which share specific examples of such work, or which explore the theoretical aspects of such work that may inform and shape future efforts. Within this theme, we also wish to explore and demonstrate alternative ways of measuring impact beyond traditional scholarly metrics.

Sub-theme 1:

Innovative ways health information professionals have reached out to the hard to reach areas in society

For this sub-theme, papers should give examples of new and/or innovative projects that have been implemented by health information professionals to reach out to the hard to reach areas, giving evidence of what was learnt and demonstrating that a specified group of people was reached and supported. This should include evidence of results.

Long viewed as safe spaces, libraries often serve as havens for homeless people and as hubs of service for impoverished communities. New roles undertaken by health information professionals should be highlighted.

Sub-theme 2:

Measurement of impact: traditional scholarly output metrics and emerging alternatives

Papers for this sub-theme should present the options for measuring the impact of medical/health research and scholarly publications, both traditional metrics and those that are emerging. Conventional bibliometric analysis of output can be complemented by metrics that assess the dissemination and impact of medical/health research through social media, usage of biomedical devices, disease epidemiology, and/or other methods that engage the public to improve health.

Sub-theme 3:

Information models or theories that highlight the role of health information in transforming societies

Researchers and academics in the field of health information/informatics should share emerging models or theories that are relevant to the theme. The papers should show how such models or theories advance our understanding, contribute to policy and/or practice to transform lives and societies in general.  

Lightning talks

Abstracts will be selected for either full papers or for lightning talks. If your abstract is not accepted for a full paper, please indicate if you would like it to be considered for 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.

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.

Special Journal Issue

The Health and Biosciences Libraries Section plans to work with IFLA to publish a special journal issue in 2019. Please indicate whether you would like to have your abstract considered either for any of the three (Open session paper presentation, lightning talk or Special journal issue) or  for only one, or two, please indicate your choice. If you select the Special journal issue, you should confirm that the paper has not been published elsewhere.

Submission Guidelines

Only abstracts reporting completed research work or implemented projects will be considered.

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

  • Title of abstract/paper
  • Summary of abstract (250 – 300 words maximum)
  • 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 include some literature review, results/findings and discussion of the results/findings, implications of the study, areas for further research, etc. On the other hand, projects should include the innovative approaches, evaluation, lessons learned, etc. 

Important dates

Friday 16 February 2018:    Deadline for submission of abstracts

Friday 30 March 2018:         Notification of acceptance/rejection

Friday 18 May 2018:             Deadline for submission of full paper 

Submissions should be sent as email attachments, by the dates indicated above, to:

Maria G. N. Musoke,
Chair, IFLA Health and Biosciences Libraries Section
and copied to

Emma Farrow, HBS Secretary 

Proposals will be reviewed by members of the HBS Standing Committee.


All proposals must be received by 16 February 2018.

Please note

  1. Authors should confirm that they will be able to attend the conference in person and present the paper or lightning talk if selected. The confirmation should be made when submitting the abstract;
  2. All expenses, including registration for the conference, travel, accommodation etc., are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. No financial support can be provided by IFLA, but a special invitation can be issued to authors/presenters if that is required.
  3. 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.

Congress Participation Grants

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