Tag Archives: Resource Discovery

Digital knowledge resources: rethinking NHS investment

Digital knowledge resources are high on the agenda. We know that NHS library services across England will recently have spent time finalising subscriptions for 2020. Those with April-March subscriptions will be gearing up for a similar round of activity in the Spring, involving publishers and local procurement and finance departments. Next there is all the associated work of updating holdings in catalogues and link resolvers to be done.

Elsewhere in the UK healthcare library staff now spend very little time on activity relating to e-resources. In Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the vast majority of NHS-funded digital knowledge resources are purchased and managed centrally, freeing up time for local library staff to focus their expertise on delivering knowledge services to users.

In England only 25% of total NHS spend on e-resources is invested nationally, and all the work associated with 75% of investment has to take place locally. Given the commonality of the resources we see being purchased locally for acute, mental health and community staff, and in the context of the principles of Knowledge for Healthcare principles relating to equity, efficiency and economy of scale, these proportions should surely be the other way around.

Open access publishing is advancing. The transition from payment for access to payment for publication is gathering pace. In our knowledge-based industry embracing the administration involved in article processing fees hardly seems a good use of the time and expertise of already-stretched NHS library staff. A nationally coordinated approach makes even more sense.

With the majority of HEE library funding distributed to trusts within education tariff, we can currently only take small steps towards this. We continue to engage with suppliers about the need for fair and transparent pricing which incentivises collaborative procurement, uses appropriate workforce numbers rather than bed numbers, recognise the value of content over platform-specific ‘bells and whistles’, and will support cost-neutral transition to open access, and some have responded very positively. HEE has commissioned NICE to procure a new Framework Agreement to replace the one which expires in September 2020 and we expect it to reflect all these principles.

We’re working hard to seek the introduction of a separate LKS Tariff which may provide a mechanism for pooling funded, but re-stacking public investment in digital collections will continue to rely on the willingness of library teams and host trusts to share costs and combine effort. The signs are promising: our 2018 survey of managers indicated that 86% would definitely or possibly be willing to pool e-resource funding nationally. We see lots of potential to scale up successful local collaborative procurement schemes. Greater central and national procurement will avoid replication of effort, freeing up staff time that local service managers can choose to direct resource into services to staff and learners, in the best interest of patients.

As we go into a new decade, the future lies in your hands. We are gearing up for the challenge of the new decade! Are we ready?

Season’s Greetings from the HEE Library Leads Resource Discovery Team
Helen Bingham, Richard Bridgen, Dominic Gilroy, Helene Gorring, Lucy Reid and Jenny Toller

National LKS Website – User Research Update

As you will know, the HEE Library and Knowledge Services’ Resource Discovery Team has been conducting some further user research to establish your requirements for the planned national LKS website.  To this end we have:

  1. Conducted 19 one-to-one interviews with stakeholders, and end users for identified gaps
  2. Ran 2 x user needs face-to-face workshops with a range of stakeholders and end users in Leeds and London (February 1 and 25) to generate user personas and user journey scenarios.  Users were from all regions of the country working in a variety of professional and paraprofessional library and knowledge services’ roles
  3. Ran 1 x user needs virtual workshop with a range of end users (April 10) to generate user-personas and user journey scenarios
  4. Analysis of a user needs validation survey with 172 responses
  5. Analysis of a pre-user discovery phase website functionality needs survey with 199 responses
  6. Created and prioritised 37 user stories with the HEE team

May we say a big thank you to all of who contributed to this research.  The data gathered form all of this activity has been drawn together and a report produced summarising our conclusions.  The report, National Library and Knowledge Services Website: User Research can be found on the KfH blog under Resource Discovery | Websites for Library staff.

27 user needs for the national LKS website were identified and prioritised into Must Haves; Should Haves and Could Haves  Most needs based on the validation survey have been prioritised must haves.

Top needs for the site:

  • Act as for a single point of access to LKS documents and resources whether national or regional.
  • Have good search functionality and filtering.
  • Be easy to use, to be written in plain English and to be visually appealing.  It must be kept up to date.
  • Work within the constraints of the ICT systems and policies in use within local NHS Trusts
  • Work well on mobile devices as well as the desktop
  • Download and upload documentation from and to the site easily
  • Users are alerted to any new and modified content in which they are interested
  • Communities of practice and collaborative tools are important.
  • Support career development and induction of those new to the profession
  • Offer a range of communication tools so that users can find out what’s going on. This must include mailing lists.
  • Calendars of events filtered by region must be available.
  • Allow users to connect to peers, find mentors, coaches, collaborators and others with skills to facilitate learning

This research and the report has now been presented to the Digital Communications Team at HEE and we are meeting next week to discuss how best to start work on developing a national LKS website which meets these identified needs.

Richard Bridgen on behalf of the HEE LKS Resource Discovery Team

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.