“Only Connect” : communities of practice and university students - librarian as conduit
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Communities of practice are learning communities for professionals. In the health area there have been a number of strong developments resulting in some exceptional resources like the UK National Specialist Libraries, which have been designed and developed to “identify and meet the information needs of particular communities of practice”. This presentation considers how liaison librarians can contribute to the development of lifelong learning in medical and health science students, for whom graduating from university might previously have meant leaving behind familiar resources and learning tools which would effectively not be replaced in their working lives. Liaison librarians are in a unique position to promote to students, an awareness of online communities of practice which are high quality, free, easy to access and to use, and are fully supported by a strong knowledge management base. Fostering this awareness in students means they are far better placed to progress as lifelong learners, and as established members of a learning community are better equipped to move seamlessly into their professional lives.