Tag Archives: Library Management System

Streamlining inter-lending and document supply 

In the NHS LKS community we have been pondering for years, if not decades, how we might streamline inter-lending and document supply processes, in order to:

  • make it quicker and easier for LKS staff to manage requests and source suppliers
  • make it quicker and easier and for end users to place and receive their requests
  • optimise use of NHS- purchased content and reduce the risk of paying external sources for articles which are in fact available within the NHS

In recent years, reciprocal inter-lending and document supply has extended to cover the whole of England. The INC scheme is a great example of working collaboratively across the country. However, the underpinning systems haven’t necessarily kept up. ILL staff have developed smart ways of working, but it can still be unnecessarily time-consuming to check different catalogues, copy and paste data from one system to another, or maintain holdings data and library user information in more than one place. The need to ensure compliance with copyright and data protection legislation adds to the complexity. The mechanics of requesting items are also different for end users across the country.

The arrival of the National Discovery Service and the plan to migrate towards fewer, regional library management systems presents an opportunity to review document requesting and supply workflows and consider what improvements may be made. Library services which have implemented local discovery systems report that this can increase demand for inter-lending and document supply services. We need sourcing and supply processes to be as efficient as possible to meet the demand and extend the reach of our services.

So, as the National Discovery Service and library management system work progresses, we will work with system suppliers and library staff to explore opportunities. Please look out for future requests for input from library staff willing to help us with considering workflows and test solutions. More news to follow in due course.

For more information on the National Discovery Service, have a look at the FAQs.

Jenny Toller, chair of the SINC Group which oversees the INC scheme

Moving to regional library management systems: the journey begins

In January 2020, in a letter to all NHS library service managers, Sue Lacey Bryant announced that Health Education England has approved an ambitious programme ‘to provide NHS staff with a single, coherent national gateway to their trusted library and knowledge service, connecting them seamlessly to quality resources, services and support tailored to their needs’.

Sue explained that this would involve not only procuring and implementing a national discovery system. HEE is also funding an ambitious programme to deliver a more efficient and coherent infrastructure of library management systems (LMSs). The present LMS landscape in complex and costly with over 91 separate systems across England. This will be reduced to a small number of regional systems delivering improvements for library staff and end users.

The transition to regional library management systems is a significant programme of work. Local LKS engagement in the selection, configuration and implementation of shared systems is critical to their success. We believe that regional LMS will deliver the optimal balance between local ownership and streamlining efficiencies.

The journey has already started. HEE has been working with LKS in the South West, Thames Valley and Wessex to procure and implement a new regional LMS spanning 30 services, and with library teams in the North East to upgrade an LMS shared by 7 services. ‘After Action Review’ and ‘Retrospect’ have been used to capture lessons learned.

Attention now turns to the East of England and Kent, Surrey and Sussex. These regions already benefit from HEE-funded regional LMS, but with contracts due to expire, need to prepare for re-procurement.  ‘Peer Assist’ was used to help ensure they benefit from the experience and insights of the team involved in the procurement in the South West, Thames Valley and Wessex, and Ken Chad, a very experienced library technology consultant, has been engaged to help with next steps.

HEE is also supporting LKS in the West Midlands as they prepare to build on the success of locally-shared LMS to create a joined-up, scaled-up regional LMS. This is a library-led, ‘bottom up’ approach to achieving the same goals: a consolidated knowledge base of regional holdings, a consistent experience for service users across the region, and time-savings for library staff.

Finally in this first phase, Senior Leadership Programme participant projects will help library teams in other parts of the country start to explore the benefits, opportunities and practicalities of shared LMS, using models of change and knowledge mobilisation tools to capture and share learning.

Below Ken Chad explains a little more about the work planned with the library services in the East of England and Kent, Surrey and Sussex:

“The approach we are taking involves three pre-procurement phases: 1) communication, engagement and preparation; 2) formulating requirements 3) determining the solution to meet the requirements.

We recommend communication and engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders — influencers as well as system users. Not everyone will be engaged in the same tasks, but diversity helps to bring fresh thinking and challenge assumptions.

Workshops with library staff will address some key questions. What are the problems we need to solve for NHS staff and learners? What are the problems we need to solve for library staff? Why do we use LMS is the way that we do?  Is there opportunity to standardise policies to give users a more consistent experience?  Can we streamline procedures to ensure less time is spent on administration and quicker delivery times for customers?

We will also be analysing the LMS market to find out the opportunities for change and what vendors can realistically offer to meet the specific needs of the NHS.”

Questions? Suggestions? Please contact the HEE lead on resource discovery in your region: North Becky.Williams@hee.nhs.uk, Midlands & East: Richard.Bridgen@hee.nhs.uk; London and KSS: Helene.Gorring@hee.nhs.uk

Institutional Repositories – keep it simple!

The reason for being involved in the creation of an Institutional Repository

Creating an Institutional Repository (IR) is about connecting people to people, building on the external reputation of your organisation and increasing access to health and care research funded by public money.

You can chose from bespoke software systems, content management systems, library management systems (LMS), or more straight-forward solutions, for example, Excel spreadsheets and Access databases.

Why I chose to use my LMS for an IR.

  • I wanted to keep it simple.
  • I didn’t want to make the IR a silo. I wanted to raise awareness of knowledge outputs to help put people in touch with one another, and raise awareness of library and knowledge services at the board and throughout the organisation.
  • I wanted to do it within my current budget.
  • Using my LMS means customers find staff papers when they are looking for books on a topic, this is an added bonus.
  • As long as the outputs can be found, for me, the system is not the most important thing. I felt it was better to do it, rather than wait for a gold standard system which may not be affordable.
  • I wasn’t convinced a new system would offer us enough added value, or could offer much more than my LMS could offer. Our system is web-based.
  • To buy a bespoke system would not just cost an initial outlay, but ongoing maintenance costs and potentially storage costs too.
  • Using our LMS increases the scope of the system and provides additional justification for its maintenance.
  • My longer term plan is to link to open access articles where they are available. If I can’t link to full text access, I can still raise awareness of the research. The full text can be sourced though the library.
  • If the research is already available via a university repository or an organisation’s internet page, I plan to explore if I can link to it. However if the content is in PubMed Central, I will link to that, as I hope the links are less likely to break.
  • I don’t store the full-text, I would need additional storage space on our server and copyright can complicate this.
  • Cross linking is important to me, to make the content easy to find. Like many LMS I can create links to specific collections. I have a link which displays all staff papers via our Trust research department.

Hints and Tips to get going

  • The time it takes to set up an IR will depend on how research active or publication active your organisation is.
  • Try and pick a system that won’t become another legacy system or a silo, use one your Trust can easily support.
  • Start with items in the public domain and build on that if you can.
  • Start with staff papers as they are relatively easy to find. Begin by importing citations and use author affiliation searches.
  • Start with the current year; then build on this as far back as you need/want.
  • Seek work experience, college/university work placements and pre-employment placement opportunities, these can help you get an IR up and running and to help maintain it.
  • Consider sharing staff from research departments. It is a shared priority, so see if they can enter some of the information into your system, or can you raise awareness or support them with theirs?
  • If you are storing or linking to internal documents choose a method that will keep them internal (e.g. password protected or on an internal system). Often LMS have hidden categories which can be seen with a password.
  • If you are going to use a straight-forward solution like Excel, then ensure you get advice from library colleagues to make sure you get the best out of it. Items can be categorised, filtered and pick lists created to provide consistency.
  • Speak to library colleagues who you know have an IR or ask the members of the IR task and finish group to buddy you up with a colleague who can help.

Vicky Bramwell

Library Service Manager

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

(Members of the IR task and finish group are  Lesley Allen, Vicky Bramwell, Dominic Gilroy, Hugh Hanchard, Jackie McGuire, Sue Robertson and Caroline Storer)