Journal Club: Canadian Health Libraries’ Responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action

Meeting date: Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Presenter: Megan Kennedy

Citation: Maestro, L., & Chadwick, D.J. (2017) Canadian health libraries’ response to the truth and reconciliation commission’s calls to action: A literature review and content analysis. Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association, 38(3), 92-101. doi:

Article abstract:

Introduction: As part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) Final Report on the history and legacy of residential schools in Canada, ninety-four (94) Calls to Action were identified. Of those, seven are health-specific. The objective of this research paper is to determine how Canadian health library websites are responding to these calls to action.

Methods: The authors conducted an initial literature review to gain an understanding of the context of Indigenous health in Canada. A content analysis of Canadian health library websites was conducted to track mentions of the TRC and their responses to the need for Indigenous-focused resources.

Results: The results of content analysis indicated few online responses to the TRC’s Calls to Action from Canadian health libraries. Only thirty-three per cent of Canadian health libraries had content that was Indigenous-focused, and only about fifteen per cent of health libraries had visible content related to the TRC’s Calls to Action. Academic and consumer health libraries were more likely to have both TRC- and Indigenous-focused content.

Discussion: Nuances related to the research question resulted in some challenges to research design. For example, website content analysis is an imperfect indicator of real-world action. Limitations in research design notwithstanding, visibility is an important part of conveying commitment to the TRC, and the information available indicates the Canadian medical community is not living up to that commitment.

Conclusion: Canadian health libraries need to do more to show a visible commitment to the TRC’s Calls to Action.

Critical Appraisal: 


1) At the time the paper was written, only 33% of Canadian health libraries has content that was Indigenous focused and only 15% had visible content related to the TRC’s Calls to Action.

-How much do you feel this has changed in the 2 years since this paper was published?

-Can you think of examples in your libraries where you are actively answering the calls?

2) What are some of the obstacles in your library/organization that you see impeding the answering of the TRC’s Calls to Action?

3) Do you believe that the content-analysis methods used to collect data were robust enough to support the authors’ final conclusions?

4) What do you think about the authors’ comments on their challenges searching databases using controlled vocabulary for “Indigenous”?

-Does your library have a work around to facilitate retrieval of Indigenous content?

5) Do you agree with the authors’ comments about recognizing the TRC in Indigenous initiatives?

“…although we have determined that the important thing to acknowledge is that these initiatives exist, regardless of the catalyst for their implementation, recognition of the TRC as a significant national undertaking is still important, and is not being addressed to the level it should be.”

6) Was there anything you wanted more from in the results or something you wish the authors had included in their analysis?

Completed Critical Appraisal Summary