“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 can demonstrate to partners and stakeholders that efforts have made a difference.
The five goals of the OERC are:
- Develop awareness, skill, and capacity in use of participatory evaluation methods;
- Develop mechanisms to disseminate and use evaluation findings to help NLM and the NN/LM document and demonstrate their accomplishments;
- Strengthen and build an evaluation culture throughout NN/LM;
- Provide consultation and direction in implementing evaluation systems, structured, and resources to help the NN/LM's efficacy and efficiency; and
- Enhance and refine use of community-based approaches to planning and evaluation.
- 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.