Evidence based library and information practice (EBLIP)

We hear a lot about the benefits of evidence-based medicine – so perhaps we need to bring evidence based practice nearer to our own work as librarians. The article cited below explains how it may be done in five steps:

  1. Formulate an answerable question using either of the following techniques: Population Intervention Comparison Outcome (PICO) and Setting Perspective Intervention Comparison Evaluation (SPICE)
  2. Find the evidence: If you are eligible to use HINARI and the other Research4Life databases, you are probably better off than most librarians.
  3. Appraise the evidence – critical appraisal checklists can help
  4. Apply the evidence to your situation.
  5. Evaluate how the process went; what might you do differently.


  • For some of you internet speeds and maybe costs will be a barrier
  • Lack of time – EBLIP can save time in the long run as it can increase the chance of successful decsion making (emphasize successful) and ought not to be seen as a separate activity from the day to day work.
  • Lack of management support – show the value of EBLIP by incorporating it into a project or task.

 Based on and with thanks to:

Virginia Wilson (2012) Evidence-based library and information practice: small steps can make a big difference. Link: connecting Commonwealth librarians. Issue 15, May. p.2-3.

Jean Shaw, Phi


About jgreigshaw

I work with Partnerships in Health Information which promotes partnership between libraries in Africa and the UK with an emphasis in African leadership. I have visited Kenya, Mali, Uganda and Zambia though Phi has contacts in many more African countries.
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