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BIREME’s MedCarib Database: Surviving the Challenges Experienced in Trinidad and Tobago

Cumberbatch, Ayaana Alleyne and Adams-Baptiste, Beverly and Ganessingh, Ray

Caribbean Library Journal



MedCaribBIREMEEnglish-speaking CaribbeanBIREME databaseMedical Sciences LibraryThe University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and TobagoOpen AccessSurinameHealth LiteratureMedical LiteratureVirtual Health Libraries


MedCarib is a quasi-open access database comprising health information publications from the English-speaking Caribbean and Suriname. This database functions under the umbrella of a network of Caribbean health sciences libraries that contributes records to the larger Latin American & Caribbean Health Sciences Literature (LILACS) database. The Medical Sciences Library, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago is the coordinating centre for MedCarib (Center TT5). Over the years, the MedCarib collaboration faced many challenges and these were outlined at a workshop consisting of past and present MedCarib participants, held June 2017 in Trinidad and Tobago. The workshop was entitled MEDCARIB - Reviewing Progress and Charting a Way Forward Medical/Health Literature in the English-speaking Caribbean. Challenges expressed included the continual loss of personnel trained in implementing the MedCarib Methodology, coordination of the project and allocation of resources. Despite this, the Medical Sciences Library was able to ensure continuous contribution to the MedCarib database by implementing two main strategies. These were integrating the MedCarib database into the Indexing Unit at Center TT5 and training of personnel to use the MedCarib Methodology. Implementing these strategies led to a steady flow of contributions during the period of dormancy (2003–2017) which totalled 1923 entries. This paper outlines the challenges, which were experienced in Trinidad and Tobago, examines the strategies employed to overcome these setbacks and shows how they worked to facilitate continuous contributions to the MedCarib database.



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