Access to reliable data and information plays an important role in the response to the coronoavirus pandemic. This webinar highlights two outlets in which librarians are key players in humanitarian information efforts, OpenStreetMap mapping and the Evidence Aid COVID-19 Evidence Collection.

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. The map geodata is the project’s primary output. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is an international team dedicated to humanitarian action and community development through open mapping. Together OSM and HOT are fighting COVID-19 via three key services: 1. using the UN Humanitarian Data Exchange and similar resources to meet the basic data needs of government agencies and first responders; 2. prioritizing mapping projects so that high-need and high-risk areas receive priority mapping; and 3. creating new mapping projects in high-risk places. This webinar illustrates how librarians can use mapping to both meet humanitarian information needs and as a data literacy instruction model for students.

The Evidence Aid COVID-19 Evidence Collection contains summaries of high-quality systematic reviews related to the impact of COVID-19, written in English and translated into several other languages. The collection’s development required a multidisciplinary effort, including a team of translators, communications specialists, web designers, health care professionals, and librarians.

This webinar illustrates how librarians and library services are helping health care providers and decision makers navigate the rapidly growing expanse of coronavirus-related literature.

This is a joint event between IFLA Evidence for Global and Disaster Health SIG and IFLA Health and Biosciences Libraries section.

Presenter Biography

Bethany McGowan is assistant professor of information studies and health sciences information specialist at Purdue University, specializing in health data & information literacy instruction and systematic review methodology. In addition to her MLIS, she holds an MS in human-computer interaction and is interested in digital technologies that support literacy instruction.

Jo Wood is the Knowledge and Evidence Specialist for Health Improvement at Public Health England. Since April 2020 she has been seconded part-time to Evidence Aid, initially to co-ordinate literature searches for their COVID-19 portal and is now their COVID-19 Project Co-ordinator. In 2019 Jo became a Fellow of CILIP: The Library and Information Association.


Explore and engage in OSM/HOT mapping projects:

Explore the Evidence Aid COVID-19 Evidence Collection:

McGowan, B. (2017). Proactive Planning: Using GIS Data and Mapping Parties to Expedite Disaster Relief Response to Vulnerable Places:

McGowan, B. (2019). The role of the university library in creating inclusive healthcare hackathons: A case study with design-thinking processes. IFLA journal, 45(3), 246-253.

McGowan, B. (2020). Measuring Student Motivation for Participation in GIS Data Activities. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 20(3), 475-494.

Wood, J. (2020). Evidence Aid secondment:

Save the date!  19th August 2020, 18.00 – 19.00 CEST. Check the timezone where you are.