Tag Archives: E-resources

Digital knowledge resource discovery and delivery infrastructure for the NHS in England: outcomes of work with Ken Chad Consulting

The background

One of the key ways to drive delivery of the Knowledge for Healthcare vision is by ensuring the healthcare workforce has quick and easy access to relevant digital knowledge and evidence resources at the point of need. This is the focus of the Resource Discovery work stream.

HEE and NICE (and their predecessor organisations) have provided the same basic digital resource access infrastructure – comprising HDAS search, a national Link Resolver/Knowledge Base and OpenAthens authentication – for many years. There are also multiple library management systems in use across the country, and an increasing number of locally-implemented discovery systems.  With changing user preferences and expectations, shifting digital and publishing environments, advances in technology, and ever present financial scrutiny, there was a clear need to review – and potential to modernise and streamline – the infrastructure.

We had already collected information and opinion about the LMS and discovery systems in place and about products on the market, with desk research undertaken on behalf of HEE by Catherine Micklethwaite (Library Service Manager at Torbay & South Devon NHS Trust). This made a significant contribution to our understanding of the status quo and possible future options, but the sheer complexity of the operational landscape means there was no obvious single way forward.  The audit of NHS library services previously undertaken by Ciber Research Ltd had recommended ‘a national discovery engine’ and ‘a single national LMS’ but we felt these recommendations needed further scrutiny. We decided some external expert input would help us to crystallise our goals and articulate our strategy, and following a tendering process, selected Ken Chad Consulting to provide this.

The approach

Ken’s approach was to facilitate a series of five stakeholder workshops. We invited a mix of librarians to participate, including those working in strategic/resource management roles in HEE and NICE, and those managing services/resources and supporting staff at local level in healthcare settings and so close to end-user needs (see below for a list of participants).

Each workshop had a different focus:

  1. The situation ‘as is’: what do we and our systems currently do, why and what are the pain points?
  2. Strategy: given the context, our customers, the competition and our capabilities, what is it that we should focus on achieving, by when?
  3. Jobs to be done: what jobs do our customers need to get done? What problems do they need to solve?
  4. Value propositions: what are the value propositions (benefits) our system(s) can provide? Can our customers get these elsewhere?
  5. Keep, stop, add: given all the above, what do we and our systems need to keep doing, stop doing and start doing?

The outcomes

The workshops generated a lot of discussion and debate, information and insight. Amongst the conclusions to emerge are that:

  • The goal should be ‘to provide NHS staff with a single national gateway to their trusted library and knowledge service, connecting them seamlessly to quality resources, services and support, tailored to their needs’.
  • The two most critical drivers are to provide end users with a better experience, and to reduce the complexity of the existing fragmented infrastructure, which is contributing both to deficiencies in user experience and high maintenance costs.
  • Our initial focus should be on end-user (non-expert) discovery and access to local and national resources. HDAS and native interfaces are for the most part meeting the needs of advanced/expert searchers.
  • We should invest in a single national discovery system, with an integrated knowledge base/link resolver, end-user article requesting and a library staff interface for mediated document sourcing and supply.
  • Although a single national LMS is not realistic in the short or medium term, we should plan to transition from legacy library management systems, to fewer, more modern systems which would use the discovery layer of the national discovery system.

Next steps

The HEE Resource Discovery workstream leads have developed a plan of work to take forward these recommendations. If you would like more information, or are interested in being involved, please contact any of the following HEE staff:

London and KSS: Lucy Reid, Helene Gorring

Midlands and East: Richard Bridgen

North: Dominic Gilroy

South: Helen Bingham, Jenny Toller

Workshop participants

Helen Alper, Kaye Bagshaw, Helen Bingham, Igor Brbre, Sue Lacey Bryant, Richard Bridgen, Ruth Carlyle, Alan Fricker, Dominic Gilroy, Helene Gorring, Natasha Howard, Celestine Johnston, Sarah Maddock, Catherine Micklethwaite, Tracey Pratchett, Lucy Reid, Marion Spring, Jenny Toller, Fran Wilkie, Helen Williams.

 

 

National Core Content Procurement – Survey Feedback

To follow Richard Bridgen’s update on the national core content procurement work, I’d like to follow up with a short post to mention how we used feedback from January’s survey of NHS library teams to refine the selection criteria for HEE-funded digital knowledge resources.

As a reminder, selection criteria are high level criteria used at the start of the procurement process (the ‘invitation to quote’ stage) to guide our decisions about which resources to seek quotes for, and then again at the end of the process, to select and justify the final resources purchased. They are thus different from evaluation criteria which are used in the middle part of the process, to evaluate all capable providers.

The responses to the survey question about selection criteria were mostly very helpful. They helped further define the criteria we had already proposed, for instance to reflect the aspects of ‘quality’ and of ‘breadth’ that you feel are important. For instance, currency of content (lack of embargoes) is clearly regarded as important, and many survey respondents highlighted the need to try to better cater for specialist groups. Survey responses also pointed to the need to include ‘continuity’ as an additional criterion: many of you commented on the value of long term stability and the fact that if a resource has been purchased centrally for some years, funds which may once have been used to purchase it locally will have long since been diverted elsewhere!

Some of the suggestions for ‘additional’ selection criteria – such as access via mobile devices, interoperability, service availability, stability of content, customer support – were a useful reminder of what is important to customers, but are in fact already built into the Framework Agreement procurement process. This is because they are included in Framework as service requirements: suppliers will not have been included on the Framework unless they can demonstrate they meet these requirements. Some of the suggestions were unfortunately too broad to be useful without further clarification (‘usability’ was our favourite in this category!).

So in summary, as a result of your feedback, we have added widened our definitions for all criteria, and added continuity to the list, which now looks like this.

Breadth: this resource will contribute to a collection which supports our aim to provide the NHS workforce in England access to resources which support the range of NHS functions, specialisms and priorities;

Quality: this resource supports our focus on resources which healthcare and knowledge professionals regard as being of high quality. Key indicators of quality are currency, authority (peer-reviewed content, expert editors) and relevance;

Value for money: there is evidence that

  • central or collaborative procurement of this resource provides a clear discount on local procurement
  •   if this resource were not purchased centrally or collaboratively, many organisations would seek to purchase it locally;
  • current or anticipated usage of this resource indicates that full text cost per download is/will be less than the cost of access via document delivery

Discoverability: this resource is likely to be readily discoverable via multiple routes, including the NICE-provided infrastructure and current/future alternative routes;

Recommended by LKS: a significant number of LKS think it is essential or highly desirable to include this resource amongst those purchased centrally;

Continuity: it makes sense to continue to make procure this resource centrally/collaboratively, because it meets other criteria and there is dependence on its continued availability/discontinuation would have a significant adverse impact.

Thanks again for your input.

Helen Bingham
Head of Knowledge Services and TEL, HEE (South)

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.

Who

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.

Why

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.

Conclusion

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.

Recommendation

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