Paper details

ECDL HealthDoc: The First European Driving License for Scientific Documentation


Elisabetta Poltronieri, National Institute of Health, Rome. Publishing Unit, Italy


Gaetana Cognetti, Regina Elena, National Cancer Research Institute - Digital Library

Documents to download

Poster Presentation


The European Computer Driving License (ECDL) Foundation releases a series of licenses certifying basic competencies related to the use of information technology.

Documentation skills are essential for managing knowledge in all domains. In particular, in the biomedical field, scientific documentation is vital to ensure the appropriate delivery of health care. Good-quality information guarantees the validity of health treatments and should be considered an essential part of the curriculum of health professionals.

ECDL HealthDoc was promoted in 2014 by AICA (Italian Association for Informatics and Automatic Computing) in collaboration with the Association of Health Librarians Documentalists (BDS).

The project was developed by a Working Group of medical and scientific information professionals affiliated with various Italian research institutions in the field of public health: librarians, documentalists, editors and publishers in the scientific area.

The Working Group produced a syllabus listing the basic competencies required to properly manage biomedical information retrieval and use. The modular structure of the syllabus has been conceived to verify critical learning related to:

  • sources of health information
  • access to full-text information
  • web information quality
  • research evaluation
  • EBM documentation
  • scientific writing
  • health information for citizens and patients
  • web 2.0.

The first five-day course was held in 2014 addressing health professionals (researchers, medical staff, nurses, laboratory technicians and others) practicing in the field of oncology. This training initiative received good feedback.

A driving license for documentation should be spread over to other disciplinary fields and applied also in basic educational programmes to enhance information literacy of all citizens.

Author's professional CV

Elisabetta Poltronieri

She is currently working at the Publishing Unit of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, the leading research Institute in Italy in the field of public health.

Her main responsibilities include bibliographic editing and the diffusion of scientific publications authored by the Institute’s re­searchers.

She deals with the bibliographic control (including indexing with MeSH terms in English and Italian) of material stored in DSpace ISS (, the digital institutional repository, open access compliant, archiving the publications of the internal research staff and those produced by the Italian research institutions partners of ISS.

Gaetana Cognetti

She’s currently staff senior librarian of the Regina Elena National Cancer Research Institute Digital Library „Riccardo Maceratini“ and Patient Library, in Rome (Italy).

She is the President of the BDS, (Health Librarians Documentalists Association), promoting in the 2000 the 1st Census of Libraries and Documentation Centers of the National Health Services, under the aegis of the Ministry of Health.

She has conducted numerous teaching activities. She has organized many conferences and courses regarding various subjects on health information.

Her major interests are focused on scientific documentation, knowledge management, terminology and communication standards, patient/consumer health information, Open Archive Initiative, educational and training activities, health information literacy.

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