Nordic cooperation in all fields has always been a more or less self-evident fact. The ties between the five countries have at all times been very close for historical, cultural, geographical, and climatologic reasons. The languages of the four neighbors, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, are of common origin, only Finnish is completely different. However, even in Finland, there is a Swedish speaking minority.
Nordic Association for Medical and Health Information NAMHI
Cooperation has been so self-evident to us that our Nordic Association for Medical and Health Information was founded as late as 1993. We have had our respective national associations: Norsk Biblioteksforening, Spesialgruppen for Medisin og Helsefag (Norway), Danmarks Biblioteksforening, Faggruppen for Medicinsk Information (Denmark), Svensk Biblioteksförening, specialgruppen för vårdbibliotek (Sweden), Samtarfshópur Laeknisfraedibókavarda (Iceland) and Bibliothecarii Medicinae Fenniae (Finland). English, as official language, was agreed upon at the 1993 meeting in Turku, Finland, where the statutes were passed.
The Board meets at least once a year, and we always have a meeting in connection with other events like the EAHIL conferences and workshops, mostly for financial and practical reasons. The chairmanship passes from country to country in turn.
A Nordic-Baltic cooperation programme was initiated in 1994 when the Nordic medical library associations met with Baltic colleagues in Oslo in connection with the 4th EAHIL conference for medical and health libraries. The starting point was to include the Baltic health libraries into the international professional network. Cooperation projects were
established between different Nordic and Baltic countries.
In 1996 Norway and Lithuania started their cooperation programme. The first projects concentrated on establishing a free article copy service. In 1998 Sweden started a limited free article service to Latvia which ended a few years later when Latvia established a partnership with libraries in the US.
Working so closely with Baltic colleagues, it seemed natural to enlarge the Nordic family. In June 2000 the Baltics were included in NAMHI. A Baltic Association for Medical Libraries, BAML was established. From 2004 BAML was a full member of NAMHI, and the name was changed to the Nordic-Baltic Association for Medical and Health Information. BAML has three representatives on the board, one from each of the Baltic countries.
In June 2003 there was a joint Nordic-Baltic-EAHIL Workshop in Oslo. On the international programme committee were representatives both from the Baltic and the Nordic countries.
St. Petersburg was included in the Nordic-Baltic programme in 2001. SMH’s Baltic See Region Committee and the Medical Academy of Postgraduate Studies (MAPS) are the main partners.
Baltic Sea Region Cooperation
Kaunas 2000. “Transfer of Knowledge I”. Continuing education courses were organized by SMH Spesialgruppen for Medisin og Helsefag (Norway) in cooperation with Faggruppen for Medicinsk Information (Denmark). Thanks to a grant from the Nordic Council of Ministers, the courses, 5 days, were held at the Kaunas Medical University Library. Thirty librarians from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia participated. The course materials were translated to the three Baltic languages and published on the Internet.
Oslo 2001. Six Lithuanian medical librarians came to Oslo, on a one-week study tour. Four came from Kaunas Medical University Library and two came from Lithuanian Library of Medicine in Vilnius.
Kaunas 2002. “Transfer of Knowledge II”. For the 2nd time the Norwegian Library Association, Section for Medicine and Health (SMH), Kaunas Medical University Library and the Union of Danish Librarians, Section for Medical Information held free educational courses at the Information Center of the Library of Kaunas University of Medicine for medical librarians in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and St. Petersburg. The courses were made possible thanks to grants from the Nordic Council of Ministers and Nordinfo.
Oslo 2003. Three librarians from MAPS, St. Petersburg, participated at the Nordic-Baltic-EAHIL Workshop, Oslo, June 25-28, 2003, with a study visit to Library of Medicine and Health at the University of Oslo, two days prior to the workshop.
Kaunas 2004. “Transfer of Knowledge III - 10 Years of Cooperation”, for medical librarians in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg 2004. “Transfer of Knowledge IV”. 5 days continuing education courses were organized for the first time at MAPS. The teachers came from Sweden, Norway and Finland and 17 participants attended, three of them from Estonia. The language of instruction was English, with some written documentation in Russian. The participants received active oral support and help in Russian from two colleagues from Kaunas.
Oslo, Stockholm, Gothenburg 2005. Two librarians from St Petersburg made a study tour to Oslo, two went to Stockholm and two to Gothenburg.
St. Petersburg 2006. “Transfer of Knowledge V”. Continuing education courses were organized over a 4-day period. 30 librarians participated. The course holders came from medical libraries in Oslo, Helsinki, Kaunas and Riga.
Oslo 2006. Study tour. Four librarians from St. Petersburg visited medical libraries.
Helsinki 2007. Two librarians from MAPS, St. Petersburg were on a one-week study visit at the National Library of Health Science (Terkko).
Oslo 2007. Five Baltic colleagues visited Oslo.
Kaunas 2007. Celebration of the New Kaunas Medical University Library.
St. Petersburg 2007. “Transfer of Knowledge VI”. Courses for medical librarians in
St Petersburg and North West Region.
Kaunas 2008. “Transfer of Knowledge VII”. Three days of continuing education courses for medical librarians from Northwest Russia and the Baltic Countries held in the new library at Kaunas Medical University.
St. Petersburg 2009. “Transfer of Knowledge VIII” - “Cross boundaries – join forces. 15 years of medical library cooperation”. Continuing education courses and workshop for medical librarians in St Petersburg and North West Region.
Petrozavodsk 2011. “Transfer of Knowledge IX”. Continuing education courses and workshop for medical librarians held in Petrozavodsk at the State University, Scientific Library.
Oslo 2012. Study tour. One Russian colleague, one-week visit.
EAHIL 2012, Brussels: Four participants from Russia who attended the conference were sponsored by SMH Baltic Sea Region Committee.
Conferences and workshops
• 1st Nordic Conference for Medical and Health Libraries, Oslo, 1984
• 2nd Nordic Conference for Medical and Health Libraries, Stockholm, 1988
• 3rd Nordic Conference for Medical and Health Libraries, Helsinki, August 26-28, 1991
• 4th Nordic Conference for Medical and Health Libraries: "Health Information - research and development", Copenhagen, August 21-24, 1995
• 5th Nordic Conference for Medical and Health Libraries: "Medical and health libraries in the new millennium", Reykjavik, June 1-4, 1999
• 8th ICML, London, 2000. Parallel session organized by NAMHI
• Nordic-Baltic-EAHIL Workshop, Oslo, June 25-28, 2003
• Workshop in Kaunas, April 22-23, 2004.
• Reykjavik, June 22, 1992
• Turku, May 10, 1993
• Copenhagen, April 17, 1994
• Oslo, at the 4th EAHIL Conference, July 1, 1994
• Copenhagen, at the 4th Nordic Conference, August 23, 1995
• Coimbra, at the 5th EAHIL Conference, September 18, 1996
• Budapest, at the EAHIL workshop, September 24, 1997
• Utrecht, at the 6th EAHIL Conference, June 23, 1998
• Reykjavik, at the 5th Nordic conference, June 1, 1999
• London, at the 8th ICML, July 2-5, 2000
• Alghero, at the EAHIL workshop, June 7-9, 2001
• Cologne, at 8th EAHIL Conference, Sepember 16-21, 2002
• Oslo, at the Nordic-Baltic-EAHIL Workshop, June 25-28, 2003
• Santander, at the 9th EAHIL Conference, September 20-25, 2004
• Palermo, at the EAHIL Workshop, June 23-25, 2005
. Cluj-Napoca, at the 10th EAHIL Conference, September 11-16, 2006
. Krakow, at the EAHIL Workshop, September 12-15, 2007
. Helsinki, at the 11th EAHIL Conference, June 23-28, 2008
. Dublin at the EAHIL Workshop, June 2-5 June 2009
. Lisboa, at the 12th EAHIL Conference, June 14-18, 2010
. Istanbul, at the EAHIL Workshop, July 5-8, 2011
. Brussels, at the 13th EAHIL Conference, 4-6 July, 2012
Newsletter and discussion lists
• SESAM the joint Nordic newsletter, was published each year, in printed version: 5(1995), 6(1996), 7(1997), 8(1998). Before 1995 the Nordic newsletter was a yearly special issue of the newsletter of the Nordic medical library associations. The 9(1999) issue was published in an electronic version. In 1999 SESAM was decided to be discontinued.
• MEDBIBL: In 1998 the Norwegian SMH discussion list became Nordic and is now an important way of information and communication between colleagues in the Nordic countries.
• NAMHI-B discussion list for the Board from 1999- 005.
The history was updated February 2013 by Elisabeth Husem