Category Archives: Resource Discovery

Core Content Re-procurement Update

As you know, the current contract for core content resources  has been extended to 31st March 2019.  HEE is now in the process of deciding which resources to purchase from April 2019 onwards, supported by a Core Content Re-procurement Group including representatives from HEE and LKS in each region and colleagues from NICE (group members are listed below).  The results of the recent survey of LKS managers and audit of local e-resource procurement are very interesting and have significantly informed our thinking.

The key findings from the survey of LKS managers are that:

  • There is broad support for the selection criteria we have proposed, although several respondents surveyed suggested additional criteria
  • The most popular type of resource for national procurement is bibliographic databases
  • The top three individual resources identified for inclusion in the national collection are Medline, Embase and CINAHL with full text
  • The single resource which was most popular as a suggested addition to the national collection was Clinical Key
  • The most popular resource type suggested as an addition to the national collection is a collection of journals or a specific journal title and there was also considerable support for provision of a point-of-care tool
  • There is general agreement that a bespoke single search solution for access to NHS-funded e-resources is essential, both for end-users and for NHS librarians and advanced searchers
  • There is agreement that it is reasonable to expect NHS librarians and advanced searchers to use suppliers’ interfaces to bibliographic databases, though there is also a significant amount of divergent opinion
  • There is general agreement that evaluation of suppliers’ interfaces should form part of the selection criteria for inclusion of resources in the national collection
  • There is no clear consensus about the desirability of having a national discovery service
  • There is continuing disquiet among some librarians about the reliability and functionality of the HDAS interface and the quality of the ProQuest search interface
  • Most managers indicated that they would definitely or possibly be willing to contribute local funding to collaborative procurement, but with caveats relating to understanding the detail and cost benefits
  • There was broad support for the draft HEE Digital Content Strategy and many useful suggestions for augmentation

If you would like to see the full survey report, if you are in the London & South East please email lucy.reid@hee.nhs.uk, if you are in the Midlands & East please email richard.bridgen@hee.nhs.uk, if you are in the North please email dominic.gilroy@hee.nhs.uk and if you are in the South, please email jenny.toller@hee.nhs.uk.

The audit of local e-resource procurement reveals which e-resources are most commonly being purchased at local level, the total spend on each product/with each supplier, and an indication of usage levels and cost-per-download figures.   We are treating this information as confidential and therefore not in a position to share.

We are now using the survey and audit feedback, together with our knowledge about usage of existing core content resources, to derive a short list from a long list of resources for which we would like NICE to seek quotations. We are, of course, highly mindful of our budget constraints.

In terms of next steps in the process of re-procuring content for 2019-2022, the timeline is:

2018 Activity
End March Confirm with NICE the specific products we would like suppliers to quote for
May Suppliers are invited to quote for our selected products included in tender
July Suppliers respond with quotes and how they meet the tender specification
August – October Quotes evaluated
November Contracts agreed with successful suppliers
2019
April New resources become available

If you volunteered your services to help with the evaluating resources, now’s your chance.  Please see the email from my colleague Lucy Reid from HEE London and South East about what we need you to do and how to get involved.

Richard Bridgen, Knowledge Systems Manager, HEE Midlands and East on behalf of the Content Re-procurement Group:  Nicola Ager, Kaye Bagshaw, Helen Bingham (Chair), Richard Bridgen, Alan Fricker, Imrana Ghumra, Dominic Gilroy, Steve Glover, Celestine Johnston, Lucy Reid, Marion Spring, Jenny Toller

Blockchain

Emerging Technology Group updates will be produced every 2 months, as members of the group take it in turns to update the wider NHS library community on key topics. This time, we will be discussing blockchain and its implications for health libraries.

Blockchain: what is it?

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum have been prominently featured in the media over the past 6 months or so. They are all based on the same technology: blockchain. Simply, blockchain is a secure digital record keeping system that is spread out across a large network. Information is stored in encrypted blocks which are then chained together. Information cannot be changed once it has been added to the chain, and because the chain is distributed across the whole network, it is very secure. There are more detailed explanations available on Wikipedia or from the LSE Business Review blog.

Implications for healthcare

There are a number of different ways in which blockchain could be applied in healthcare. One option which has seen significant interest is using blockchain to manage the storage and sharing of medical records, as is being explored at MIT. Till et al (2017) have also argued that blockchain could potentially be used to finance universal health coverage. Other potential applications of blockchain in healthcare could be in securely storing and tracking research metadata, global health patterns, or administrative and financial information (Gordon et al, 2017). This is an area that is seeing a lot of research and there are numerous startups exploring the opportunities available.

What about libraries?

Hoy (2017) argues that the blockchain could be used as a digital rights management (DRM) tool to aid in copyright protection. Blockchain could even potentially be used as a library management system to keep track of circulation in a decentralised way (Cabello et al, 2017). Another potential could be in the creation and maintenance of authority records for cataloguing and metadata. The project Blockchains for the Information Profession by San Jose State University is a good source of information and probably the best way to stay up-to-date in this field.

There’s always a but…

The long term viability of blockchain remains to be seen. One of the concerns that has been raised relates to the wider environmental impact of these distributed networks, which is already consuming more energy than the whole of the Republic of Ireland, although this estimate is also up for debate. In addition to this, there remain numerous barriers to the more widespread adoption of blockchain in healthcare or in libraries, not least technical issues relating to the interoperability of metadata, as well as a current lack of clarity around governance, regulation, and wider economic impact (Deshpande et al, 2017).

What can we do?

Keeping abreast of developments in this field so that we can have informed discussions with others within and outside our organisations would be a good place to start. I would argue that the proliferation of private companies leading the way in implementing blockchain in healthcare is an issue of concern. For any solutions to be sustainable in the long term, we need to be playing an active role in conversations around emerging technologies such as this.

References:

 

YiWen Hon
Knowledge Resources Manager
Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

How an institutional repository can add value and enable organisational knowledge to be shared.

Every year the information analyst in our Research & Development (R&D) department would spend weeks combing through PubMed, searching for Trust authored publications, assembling incredibly long and complicated search strings, comparing results against spreadsheets of names of Trust researchers… then assembling a publications report to attach as an appendix to the annual R&D report to the Trust board, or a spreadsheet of figures to send off to funding bodies. Reports which would then disappear into filing cabinets, or creaky hard drives, never to see the light of day again…

Until R&D and the Library worked together to launched the institutional repository!

The repository serves a dual purpose:

Firstly, the publications data is collected, checked and added to the repository on a regular basis (by library staff), saving the R&D department literally “weeks of time” (direct quote from a very happy information analyst).

Secondly, the publication details are made freely available online – showcasing all the research that takes place in the Trust.

This data was already being collected, but placing it in the institutional repository added value to it by making it:

  • Visible, searchable, discoverable
  • Organised – by division, specialty or department
  • Shareable – easy to Tweet about new articles, embed RSS feeds of new articles into subject resource hubs/intranet
  • Connected – linking research articles to research projects on the Trust’s research information systems
  • Open Access – including full-text versions of articles within publisher’s permissions, or linking to articles on publisher’s sites.
  • Promotable – ability to create researcher profile pages listing publications (good for CVs!)
  • Patient engaging – research participants can see what has been published in the studies they have been a part of

Institutional repositories don’t have to be limited to just published journal articles, they can also include other organisational assets such as patient information leaflets, Trust reports and publications, conference posters, innovations…the possibilities are endless! Your IR can either be internal or external facing depending on the content (your innovations may be protected by intellectual property for example).

You don’t necessary need fancy technology to put together an institutional repository – it can be something as simple as a spreadsheet or a blog – any tool or mechanism you can use to capture and organise knowledge. If you’re thinking about starting an institutional repository, see the Knowledge for Healthcare Institutional Repository Toolkit for ideas, tips & hints and case studies.

Organising and mobilising knowledge is what we information professionals do best and institutional repositories are a great opportunity to develop and strengthen relationships with other departments in our organisations (we’re certainly working closer with R&D now!) and to demonstrate our skills and value, so go for it!

Cate Newell
Reader Services Librarian and RD&E Research Repository Manager
Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust