Library technicians collaborating with librarians on knowledge syntheses: a survey of current perspectives




Introduction: Though it is well recognized that librarians bring value to knowledge synthesis teams, library technicians have largely been excluded from this process. This study was designed to determine the extent to which library technicians are currently participating in knowledge syntheses, to investigate where these two professional groups, librarians and library technicians, see opportunities for future collaboration, and to identify the challenges and successes perceived by both groups.

Methods:  An electronic survey, consisting of multiple choice and short answer queries, was distributed to targeted listservs. The target audience for survey participants was librarians, or library technicians, who worked in a library with any scale of knowledge synthesis service. Responses were collated, coded, and organized by themes.

Results: 170 responses were received and evenly represented librarians (n=84) and library technicians (n=79), including 7 incomplete responses. 31% (n=50) of respondents stated that they currently collaborate or have collaborated in the past on knowledge synthesis projects with the other professional group. Tasks completed by the library technician included article retrieval, citation management, retrieving reference lists, and database searching. The major challenge reported with collaboration on knowledge synthesis projects was the library technician qualifications. Major successes included time efficiency for librarians, and the opportunity for technicians to develop new skills.

Author Biographies

Glyneva Bradley-Ridout, University of Toronto

Hons. Bsc., MI 
Education and Liaison Librarian 
Gerstein Science Information Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto ON Canada 

Alissa Epworth , Unity Health Toronto

H. Hons. LIT Dip.

Library Technician  
Knowledge Translation Program, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, Unity Health Toronto, Toronto ON Canada  


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How to Cite

Bradley-Ridout, G., & Epworth , A. (2020). Library technicians collaborating with librarians on knowledge syntheses: a survey of current perspectives. Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association / Journal De l’Association Des bibliothèques De La Santé Du Canada, 41(3).



Research Articles