Meeting Information Needs: Assessing Information Needs

This course is open for registration.

In Meeting Information Needs: Assessing Information Needs you’ll take on the role of a reference librarian as they spend a busy day responding to several very different requests for information. As you help a nurse find practice information via email, a doctor calls to ask for help addressing a clinical care question, and a student stops by seeking help finding  information for a course. As you assist them, you’ll learn the basics of assessing, finding, and communicating information. You’ll learn how to clarify requests by asking the right questions, use PICO and column format techniques to format searchable questions, and determine when to do the search yourself or teach the patron how to search. 

The course includes:

  • Realistic scenarios that you engage to develop and practice skills in assessing information needs
  • Downloadable job aids and other resources
  • Pre and post self-assessments of your information services skills
  • Guidance and resources on supplementing  your skills

This is the first MLA course of three courses in the Meeting Information Needs Series. The second MLA course, Meeting Information Needs: Fulfilling Information Needs will be available in July 2021. You can take the third course, PubMed Essentials On-Demand, a free course offered by NNLM,  at any point. 

Learning Outcomes

When you complete the course you will be able to:

  • Perform an effective reference interview with health care professionals and students with the goal of providing clear, concise information that minimizes the time and effort needed to use the recommended resources.
  • Identify core health sciences information resources and utilize resources to address patron questions.
  • Develop research strategies for searching databases, electronic books, electronic clinical resources and internet browsers that properly utilize keywords and controlled vocabularies.



Health information professionals who want a solid grounding in the core medical librarianship skill of finding information to answer biomedical and health-related questions at the point of need. 

MLA CE Credits 1.5


Subject Matter Expert

Amy Blevins oversees research, liaison, education, and data services at the Ruth Lilly Medical Library at the Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) in Indianapolis. Since 2017, Ms. Blevins has served as the thread director for evidence-based medicine (EBM) for IUSM. In addition to teaching several webinars and continuing education workshops, she has worked on more than fourteen published systematic reviews and co-edited the book, Curriculum-Based Library Instruction: From Cultivating Faculty Relationships to Assessment.


The Assessing Information Needs Course Creation Team

Amy Blevins, Subject Matter Expert

Leilani Funaki, Instructional Designer

Amy Chatfield, Information Services Committee Representative

Staff support:

Deb Cavanaugh, Project Manager

Barry Grant, Project Manager


Registration Fees:

  • Member: $85
  • Student Member: $43
  • Emeritus, Retired, Unemployed and Lower Dues: $43>
  • Nonmember: $115