DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant):
This project proposes the development of an integrated, scalable Digital Library designed to enhance navigation to existing electronic resources to impact the public health professionals' ability to manage information. To complement this effort, we will also explore the application of knowledge management principles to improve inter- and intra-agency communication and to facilitate the sharing of organizational knowledge. Building on partnerships established with the local public health community during previous and ongoing grants, investigators will a) create a public health-oriented digital library applying the Eskind Biomedical Library's expertise in digital library development, b) investigate the
feasibility of incorporating knowledge management tools, such as an in-house authored module content management application, to support diffusion and reuse of organizational knowledge, and c) evaluate the effects of this model on public health professionals' workflow. To achieve the project's specific aims, the project team will partner with three public health agency populations in Tennessee, each providing vastly different environments and user communities. The Mid-Cumberland health region combined with the Tennessee Health Department Bureau of Health Services central office will represent public health
professionals serving a mixed rural / urban population. The second partner group is the South Central health region, a group of 12 rural counties south of Davidson County. Our third partner will be the Metropolitan Davidson County Nashville Health Department representing the professional needs of a metropolitan area of the state. Via a carefully targeted focus group and resulting needs assessment survey, we will analyze the scope of public health professionals' information needs. The results will be used as a basis for creating a core public health resources portal, followed by later adaptation to the specific regions' needs. The public health digital library portal will be evaluated using a combination of techniques focusing primarily on overall use (quantitative assessment) and efficiency of use (combination of quantitative and qualitative assessments). Extending the digital library model to such a diverse group of users will allow investigators to examine technology support requirements for electronic resources, as well as foster the principles of knowledge reuse.