Tag Archives: E-resources

A Pay per View project

Examining the efficacy of a pay per view system as opposed to subscriptions for journal access in an NHS healthcare library setting.


In the Autumn of 2015, Jo Thomas, Trust Library Services Manager at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS FT (NLaG) and Jacqui Smales, Knowledge Services Manager at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust  (HEY) discussed submitting a bid to David Stewart to fund a ‘Pay per View’ project within the LKS of our respective Trusts. It led to discussions with Richard Osborn in 2016, under the ‘Discovery’ remit of the KfH strategy that  ultimately bore fruit in the form of some funding from Health Education England, enabling us, after some hitches setting up, to carry out the project from October 2017 until the end of February 2018. Jo and Jacqui enlisted the help of their staff members, Chris Lawton, Specialist Librarian for e-Resources at NLaG and Tim Staniland, Outreach Librarian at HEY, to run the project.

We wanted to see if we could build upon the work that Jenny Lang, Head Librarian at Salisbury NHS FT, had carried out in 2013 regarding Pay per View.


We could see that article requests were declining to a degree within our services, subscription bundles of e-journals were ever increasing in price, and the ‘bundle’ nature of them meant that they always included a considerable percentage of content that we felt we did not need or want.

Although NLaG still subscribed to e-journal bundles, HEY didn’t, meaning that we were potentially good comparison sites to run such a project. We wanted to know if it would be cheaper for our users to access content of journals on a pay per view basis which would mean that we, as librarians/knowledge managers, would only be paying for what was actually being used. We thought that the results of our project may also help inform the procurement decisions surrounding the National Core Content.

Different Approaches

It was decided that we would take a different approach to the project at each site, with NLaG using a debit card to purchase articles online on behalf of our users, therefore taking a mediated approach. HEY purchased a ‘bundle’ of articles/book chapters using Elsevier’s ScienceDirect ArticleChoice®service with the intention of letting their users ‘loose’ in terms of acquiring their own online journal articles via ArticleChoice®

Our Findings

At NLaG we had to promote our PPV article request service regularly to get any uptake, and ultimately used PPV to satisfy our regular article request service.  For the duration of the project we logged ease of access or any difficulties encountered when purchasing articles for our users.

At HEY only 2 people took up the offer of being given access to ArticleChoice® and only towards the very end of the trial, one of those individuals then got in touch to say they were having difficulty using the service.

It was decided at HEY not to open up the project to satisfy regular article requests. However, in order to understand the experience of the individual having difficulties, we tried the ArticleChoice® service ourselves and realised that it could be quite cumbersome for users not regularly searching databases or online journals themselves to access articles via this particular method.


From our small study, it became clear that pay per view using a debit or credit card, albeit a mediated approach, is a viable economic option for LKS with a small budget. However, the drawback of the mediated approach is of, course, that it can only occur during the staffed opening hours of the LKS. The ScienceDirect ArticleChoice®approach can be both a little cumbersome and relatively narrow in scope compared to using a debit/credit card, but has the advantage for the end user of being available outside of normal working hours.


A combination of maintained ILL lending groups that have well thought through subscription plans, spreading the costs across different sites, whilst maintaining access for as many libraries as possible combined with pay per view, British Library On Demand and Open Access, would be an excellent step forward.

Full report can be found here

Chris Lawton, Jacqui Smales, Tim Staniland and Jo Thomas

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
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

LKDN Statistics – what can we learn from them?

I have been trying to turn statistical data from the national collection into information that tells me something about trends and/or the health of our libraries in the south. My thoughts from this exercise may help the Metrics Task and Finish group as one of our next tasks is to review the statistics collection.

First of all I had to decide which of the 139 lines of figures submitted would work well in comparison across the years. I couldn’t compare everything as there probably aren’t enough hours in the day to go through the whole lot, besides which I think a certain boredom factor might intrude on the thinking processes. I worked with Tricia Ellis to decide which lines to include. We wanted some analysis that would identify trends and patterns of progress, investment and activity. We tried to work out which statistics would show our successes and went for 1. Income and expenditure  2. Staffing levels  3. Library activities, i.e. loans from stock, user education sessions, literature searches undertaken, etc. and  4. Changes to library infrastructure, e.g. WI-FI access

These are the specific areas I looked at comparing three years of submissions for the South West: 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15

What did I learn?
Income and Expenditure
 – Library income has not changed very much over this period, some libraries have lost income where staff have moved to other Trusts but this meant that another library in the area then gained that income. However, the non-recurring income has fluctuated wildly, only one library has non-recurring funds which remained fairly static.  For some libraries this may be significant as they rely on these for their service.  I felt that these funding figures didn’t really tell me a lot so I had the idea of looking at the number of users and maybe working out what each library spent per user.

Total number of users – is this an indicator of the busy-ness of the library? Of course this depends on data cleansing – if some libraries do not clear out expired users from their systems they may be over counting memberships.  In order to get a more meaningful comparison of libraries I split them into two groups – small and large libraries based on library staffing figures. I compared memberships with expenditure and was able to work out the average spend per user.   This made me ask a question  – to show value for money should we be increasing our library membership and decreasing our expenditure so that the average spend per user would actually get smaller?
Staffing levels  (wte and staffing mix)  – the data includes library qualifications, other qualifications, none.  I did not pick up on any trends in staffing levels, most remaining static, there are some discrepancies due to reported vacancies.  In the South West over 50% of staff have a professional qualification and are paid on Band 5 or over.  12% of staff have a paraprofessional qualification. I found out that we have had and have maintained a well-qualified set of staff.

Loans from stock  – includes renewals, but there are variants as each library has a different number of loans and renewals allowed. In some libraries book loans to own readers have gone down but overall figures look fairly static showing that our book stock is still of importance to library users. Loans to local networks have gone down slightly as would be expected with the increase in ebooks.  This figure could be an indicator of the importance of the collection to others and shared resources remain vital to the cost effectiveness of libraries and ease of access to our readers.

Copies supplied by other libraries – local networks, British Library, or others – I was looking for trends. Most libraries show a downward trend for document supply but there are exceptions with two or three libraries trending upward.  No conclusions to be drawn here.

Literature searches – total number of mediated searches – are these increasing or decreasing?  In the South West there has been a steady increase which is encouraging as this is one of the areas where some analysis of searches can show how the service impacts on management and clinical decision making.

User education and induction – numbers being made aware of our services. There appears to be a lack of consistency in the way librarians collect these and figures vary greatly – for example, one library has done nearly 5000 inductions in one year whereas all the other libraries have figures nearer to the figure of 700. Two libraries simply can’t supply these figures but don’t say why.  Without comparing membership figures it is hard to tell whether the smaller libraries are doing just as well as the larger ones in providing user education.

Current awareness  – bulletins, blogs, RSS feeds and social media – the number of blogs increased,  RSS feeds figures are static, Social Networking has increased but some Trusts don’t allow libraries to do this so it feels unfair to compare them. As we are simply counting yes or no in this area I can see the activity but this figure does not tell me about outreach or impact. Do library managers analyse the activity in this area to get a more meaningful result?

Journals – print titles, electronic only, print with electronic. Electronic only titles have increased.  Nothing really useful to be learned here so why record it?

Collaborative purchase scheme – figures went up and then back down. Although this collaborative purchases is key to getting good value for money the way we record it doesn’t tell us enough, how many resources were made available to how many libraries through these different schemes?

eBooks  and Databases – these figures don’t have story to tell – why count?

WiFi – most libraries have WiFi now can we now assume that this is the norm and stop counting it?

I would be interested to know if anyone else has tried to get a “story” from the annual statistics collection and if not, are there other statistics that you have used to plan services or make a decision?

Dorothy Curtis
Deputy Library Service Manager
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS FT