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Abstract

Aim:  This article will describe a survey carried out in February 2004, the aim of which was to summarize the form and content of clinical librarian (CL) and other similar outreach information services to UK health professionals in the acute (secondary or tertiary) sector.

Objectives: (i) To survey the activities and views of UK information professionals offering information services involving the librarians’ presence in the clinical setting, (ii) to develop a tool to explore critical aspects of this form of information work, (iii) to create a contacts database for UK CLs, to be made available on the Internet.

Methodology:  All known information specialists/librarians offering CL or similar services were surveyed. The semi-structured questionnaire was piloted. Respondents were asked to consider their activity over a period of 4 weeks.

Results:  Twenty-six people responded to the invitation to take part and met the inclusion criteria.

Conclusions:  A summary of a ‘typical’ clinical librarian revealed by this survey is given, with a major conclusion that there is a very mixed picture of activity. Opinion on how far CLs should go in fully appraising search results is uncertain. The survey suggests reasons for this and the developments that may influence change are discussed. Recommendations for future research and development are offered.