Data and Digital – The Human Bridge

Published on 22 December 2022, by Susan Smith and Holly Case-Wyatt

Statistics and data, KLS training, Resource Discovery

About the core digital skills needed by knowledge and library services staff.

2022 is the year of the Digital Professional and recently Knowledge and Library Staff have started to think about our own digital skills in the face of rapid technological advancements in healthcare.

It can be overwhelming to undertake learning these new skills, which come with a whole new language to learn as well. You may also be asking why knowledge and library staff should invest their time in this?

Knowledge and library staff already have a number of core skills which help place us as the natural leaders in this area of work. For example, data engineering incorporates the collection and management of raw data, amongst other things. Our skills in collection management, such as cataloguing and understanding metadata, set us in a prime position to undertake this work within our organisations. And whilst programming (the process of writing computer programming) on first thought can seem like a stretch, many of us are already responsible for our own webpages or adding information on to intranet pages, and so are doing some of this on a very basic level. More in depth skills in programming will allow us to make data tell a story, for example pulling your data from several different sources in to one dashboard showing the story of your service through use.

This may still seem out of reach, but HEE want to support our network in building awareness and signposting opportunities to develop skills so they can be used in our current work, future proofing our profession for the inevitable changes ahead. We have created a new page on the Learning Zone with definitions of new terminology and a resource list to get you started. We are putting together a programme of events to build your confidence and skills in this varied area of work. You may have already undertaken a Library Carpentry course, or the recent Chat Bot session. More courses and details will be advertised soon for staff at all levels. If you are interested in being more involved you can join our Current and Emerging Technologies Community of Practice, where we discuss emerging tech and it’s potential application in our work.

The Topol Review (2019) recommended an increase in the number of knowledge specialists to meet the demands of the NHS as a knowledge-based industry. Building our skills and confidence in data and digital advancements will enable us to make the most of innovative emerging technologies in libraries and in healthcare, positioning knowledge and library staff as digital leaders.