Forms of participation and collaboration with the VHL
According to their capacities and interests, the institutions can take three different functions in the participation and collaboration with the VHL:
The institutions that take the function of coordinating center are responsible for leading a group of other institutions (cooperating centers and/or participating units), supporting the training and communication of this group at national, regional or thematic level.
The institutions with the function of cooperating center are committed to collaborate with content for VHL products and/or services, mainly carrying out activities related to the updating of sources of information. To become a cooperating center, the institution must have human resources for the activities of provision, selection, processing and indexing of contents.
The institutions associated with the VHL Network as Participating Units are committed to promoting and disseminating the access and use of VHL products and services to their users. In general, the participating units do not cooperate in the operation of the VHL sources of information, albeit participating in the network as promoters and supporters.
The participation of institutions in the network is formalized through a document of commitment and institutional justification, such as a term of membership, protocol of cooperation or even a meeting minute. Each country establishes the best instrument to formalize the participation of its institutions at the VHL Network.
The participation of autonomous information professionals at the VHL Network is voluntary, to collaborate with a service or source of information.
Regional coordination of the VHL
The VHL is promoted and coordinated regionally by BIREME/PAHO/WHO, which carries out technical cooperation activities in information management and scientific knowledge, aiming to strengthen and expand the flow of scientific information as an essential condition for health development.
To enable the management and operation of sources of information, the regional coordination of the VHL, exercised by BIREME, includes the following attributions:
- To develop methodologies and technologies for the management and operation of VHL sources and flows of information;
- To develop the conceptual model of the VHL;
- To promote the exchange between producers, intermediaries and users of health information at the VHL;
- To offer technical cooperation for the development of national capacities for the management and operation of the VHL;
- To operate the regional multilingual Portal of the VHL, which integrates the sources of information of the VHL network by means of a search service designed to form the single regional index; and
- To promote and report the VHL, LILACS, DeCS and other products and services resulting from its technical cooperation.
The work of BIREME at the regional level is carried out through the VHL Network and other complementary networks, such as the Network of Referral Professionals, which brings together librarians specialized in developing strategies for searching information at the VHL; the Network of Indexers, which gathers librarians specialized in representing themes or content of a document, for its description and identification, and subsequent cataloguing of documents, according to the LILACS methodology; and the Network of Developers - RedDes, which brings together technology professionals dedicated to the development and support of tools and systems used by the VHL, among others.
VHL coordination meetings
The main regional meeting of coordination, exchange of information and experiences, evaluation, and recommendation for the development of the VHL is the Regional Coordination Meeting of the VHL, traditionally held in conjunction with the Regional Congress on Health Sciences Information (CRICS). This event is coordinated by BIREME with the main objective of evaluating actions and defining strategic objectives for the future. At each event, its participants write a declaration reiterating the commitments made before the VHL, aimed to encourage the participation of society in its development to favor dissemination of scientific and technical information on health.
In addition to this conference, meetings are held to discuss technical, methodological and/or operational issues, aimed at groups of cooperating centers, librarians, network coordinators, developers, editors, etc.. The main objective of these meetings is to involve the network in discussions and actions to improve the collaboration and participation of the groups in the development and updating of VHL products and services.
The national or thematic network coordinating centers, in turn, also have the freedom and commitment to promote their own coordination meetings and technical meetings.