“Although improved quality of health is the ultimate goal, NLM recognizes that this lofty goal is long range and not easy to measure. More realistic measures are short term or proximate indicators related to changes in individual health information seeking behavior and changes in community participation and support for health information literacy.” (Burroughs, C. “Outcomes Assessment in Community-Based Health Information Outreach.” Paper presented at Evaluation 2004, the annual conference of the American Evaluation Association, November 5, 2004. Atlanta, Georgia. p3)
The Purpose of the OERC
The OERC builds capacity for health information outreach evaluation in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM). When evaluation is an integral part of an outreach project, participants can identify approaches that work well, learn from experiences, make mid-course corrections, and recognize accomplishments. Through evaluation, members of the NN/LM and staff of the Regional Medical Libraries (RML) can demonstrate to partners and stakeholders that efforts have made a difference.
The three goals of the OERC are:
- NN/LM capacity for evaluation of projects and activities will continue to grow.
The OERC will provide training and continuing education opportunities for NLM, RML and Network members with regard to planning and evaluation of outreach and basic Network services, with adherence to 508 compliance (http://www.section508.gov). Guides will be revised on outreach planning and evaluation to include collaboration with community-based organizations, participatory evaluation, and program logic models.
- NN/LM projects and programs will receive support for evaluation.
The OERC will assist and coordinate the evaluation-related activities and facilitate communication with the RML/Center staff identified as regional evaluation consultants. The OERC will consult with Network members on specific outreach evaluation projects, assist in the analysis, synthesis, and reporting of evaluation results, as well as with the evaluation efforts of the NLM Training Center and Web-STOC.
- Information about effective health information outreach practices will be communicated.
The OERC will communicate results of consultations and encourage sharing among Network members and RM staff through meetings, articles for RML blogs, social media, chapter presentations, and evaluation presentation awards. The OERC will facilitate the identification, promotion and dissemination of best practices and lessons learned via the outreach applications, online reporting system and other mechanisms. The OERC will also participate in a review of the Center, to be conducted at least once during the contract, by selected representatives from NLM and the RMLs.
- provides consultation, education, and training to NN/LM members and Regional Medical Library staff
- compiles techniques for outreach evaluation and program planning;
- works closely with RML staff who hold the newly-created regional evaluation liaison positions;and
- communicates about evaluation approaches and results.
Planning & Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects
The second edition (2013) of this popular series of three booklets by Susan Barnes and Cynthia Olney presents step-by-step planning and evaluation methods. Along with providing information about evaluation, each booklet includes a case study and worksheets to assist with outreach planning. The booklets are designed to supplement Measuring the Difference: Guide to Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach and to support evaluation workshops.
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Copies of this, or any, or all three of the booklets are available from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Outreach Evaluation Resource Center. To receive a free copy send an email request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Acting Assistant Director