The operational framework that structures and guides the execution and development of the VHL is based on cooperative work network, which is operationalized in three dimensions, different among themselves and intrinsically related and complementary: the social networks, content networks and the networks of learning and informed environments (AAI). The VHL is the virtual space for which these three dimensions converge resulting in a single network. The meaning of network used here refers to the structure and shape that represents the dynamics of interrelationships set up among the institutions, people, systems, information and knowledge, that constitute and go through each of these dimensions.

The social network is constituted by public or private institutions, nongovernmental organizations and instances of government of management, researches, teaching and services on health, and professionals who act in the VHL as producers – agents of production information , knowledge and scientific and technical evidences; intermediaries – information professionals working in many different institutions of information and documentation, such as libraries, archives and documentation centers, and users including managers, professionals, researchers, students and citizens in their right to information and health.

The social network is a critical factor for the sustainability of the VHL in the achievement of its goals to provide scientific and technical information in health and promote the knowledge sharing network. The actors that constitute it, reorient its production activity and the information and knowledge organization to a new work mode based on the commitment of network production and cooperative operation in products network – the VHL information sources, such as collections of full texts, evidences and others; services – express by the different contexts of presentation of the products, according with the information needs of the potential users, for example, language option, thematic searches, photocopies and others; and events – represented by the flows of information generated on time and dynamically in the meetings, conferences, forums and other channels of communication and knowledge sharing.

By integrating the VHL, the social health networks strengthen the visibility of the scientific production, increase the capacity to exercise its practices with more information and potentiate the communication and knowledge exchange among its pairs.

The greater the level of articulation and socialization of the social network, the greater is the capacity of the VHL to act as a space of convergence and products, services and events reference for health information. The set of all these products, services and events forms the sources and promotes the information flows in health forming, in turn, the dimension of the content network of the VHL.

An information source is any resource that responds to a need for information of the users. In this conception, the VHL extends and enriches the traditional collections of the libraries, mainly constituted by bibliographic documents, and aggregates new types of materials to these collections, as full texts, evidences, learning objects, news, collaborative spaces, search engines, manuals, factual information such as directories of institutions and events, among others.

The institutions that compose the social network of the VHL, share the responsibility to the production and operation of the content networks. The adoption of the cooperative work in network is determinant to the increase of the accessibility and visibility of scientific information in health in the region.

For the institutions and the contents to be structured and operated as cooperative networks it is necessary to create mechanisms that potentiate and strengthen the ties and exchange relationships between these agents. The environments, both actual and remote – training events, participating institutions of the VHL, virtual collaborative spaces and others – are strengthened with functionalities and practices – publication of news and reports, socialization of agendas and sharing of organizational information – increasing continuously and increasingly their learning capability. In the VHL, these mechanisms constitute the dimension of the learning and informed environments networks (AAI).

Thus, the institutions and people that participate to the VHL are stimulated to share information, experiences and knowledge to solve problems and creation of innovative processes, completely exploring its capacity to act as learning and informed environment. The learning and the social participation help to create the necessary connections between the knowing and doing and the collaborative spaces promote approaches to get around the various knowledge gaps.

The dynamics of networking cooperative work proposed by the VHL in line with the paradigm of the Internet, enables new ways of relationships based on the collaboration, characterizing an important resource to collective achievements. The force of the VHL is to potentiate the interconnections between the knots of the social networks, of the contents and of the learning and informed environments, contributing to the collective construction of an identity and a common public good.