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Fulbright Specialist Educating Librarians & Researchers in the Republic of Armenia

In 2007 I was introduced to the Fulbright Specialist program for academic professionals in the United States. Once I had applied and was accepted, I soon matched with the needs of Yerevan State Medical University (YSMU) & the Republican Scientific Medical Library (RSML) in the Republic of Armenia. In 2008 I was able to visit the two institutions and be hosted for two weeks, in which I introduced the best practices of online biomedical literature searching, use of HINARI to access highly regarded literature at no out of pocket cost for Armenian libraries, and introduced a pathway to transition from a print to an online library.

I returned a second time to Armenia, again hosted by YSMU and RSML, in 2012, eager to further transition library services to the inevitable online reality. I arrived to find dramatic changes, such as the addition of a new library training facility. I also introduced the efficiency of using Springshare LibGuides to create library web pages, and I also emphasized the growing reliance of clinicians and researchers to best evidence, the intersection of research evidence, clinical experience, and patient preferences. Clearly, RSML was building a case for national library leadership. One one trip to the Armenian Ministry of Health, I met under-equipped library staff without internet for research. These are the challenges of many nations with irregular and contradictory priorities. Fortunately, at the Library where I was training, the internet was stable and persistent. Support from a local foundation had helped to construct the new training room.

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