At the end of an extraordinary year when online resources and service delivery unexpectedly took on even more significance, this post highlights some of the developments within the Knowledge for Healthcare resource discovery workstream. None of these would have happened without the invaluable input of health library and knowledge services staff across the country.
The COVID-19 Search Bank
In March, librarians from across the regions rallied to create a bank of peer-reviewed evidence searches relating to coronavirus, with the shared aim of making the best use of specialist librarian skills and capacity at a crucial time. Over 200 searches and strategies have been shared to date. We will continue to build this resource into 2021. Learning from this will help inform future thinking about the value of sharing searches and peer review.
Open Access and repositories
The Open Access CoP thrived this year, with so many healthcare library staff involved in supporting open access and organisational repositories. HEE and NIHR jointly commissioned research into open access in the NHS and in October hosted a virtual round table on the topic for national bodies. There is clear appetite for joined-up policy and strategy. There is also interest in shared publishing platforms and repositories, so at the end of November, we were delighted to invite NHS library services to participate in a project to pilot a new shared NHS repository hosted by the British Library.
Moving to using database provider interfaces
Once the decision to decommission HDAS had been taken, we quickly started work on the next steps. As part of a portfolio of work, we were delighted to receive applications from eight library networks wishing to fast-track to using provider interfaces and reference management software – and just sorry that we could only support four. The 120 staff and 33 services in these four pilot groups have gamely undertaken training and testing and provided feedback and are a pleasure to work with. Thank you!
Moving to shared library management systems
At the beginning of the year, HEE announced support for the plan to support the transition from over 90 local and legacy LMS to regionally shared LMS, fully funded by HEE. We all took a gulp: this makes sense in so many ways but won’t be easy. Library staff and users in the South West and North East already benefit from recently implemented shared LMS and, of course, we all know that system upgrades involved pains in order to achieve the gains.
In September, we started engagement with library teams in the East of England and Kent, Surrey & Sussex, the regions being supported to move forward next. Libraries in the Midlands, where there are already some locally shared LMS, are now considering what might work best for them. Participants in our HEE funded Senior Leadership Development Programme will be working with colleagues in the North and London to explore the benefits, opportunities and practicalities of shared LMS so that we can share the lessons learned.
Many library services reported an increase in demand for e-books this year. In May, HEE awarded Kortext a contract to offer collaborative, credit-based e-book purchasing for NHS library services in England. This has taken longer than hoped to mobilise. However, the HEE-funded titles chosen for each region are now accessible, and Kortext is open for business for local libraries wishing to work collaboratively to build on this collection.
BMJ Best Practice
In the second year of our national subscription to BMJ Best Practice, we’ve seen usage continue to rise. Thank you for everything you’ve done to promote the resource to your users. For example, at the outbreak of the pandemic, the team at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust promoted Best Practice as part of a carefully selected suite of knowledge resources suitable for trainees. Analysis of usage in the following months showed that uptake in wave one was followed by sustained growth in use. This year, we have worked closely with BMJ to create resources for inductions and to highlight the role that Best Practice patient information can play in health literacy and shared decision-making. These resources and more are available on the BMJ/HEE landing page. We’ve also worked with BMJ’s Clinical Engagement Lead and Health Informatician to integrate Best Practice into clinical workflows and organisation practices.
Towards a new national website for LKS staff
Lots of work has taken place behind the scenes this year to plan a new website for Library and Knowledge Services staff in England, to replace the current Knowledge for Healthcare blog, libraryservices.nhs.uk website and wiki. The national team has been busy updating and archiving existing content and making documents accessible. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the work to test the new website through alpha and beta phases.
Towards a new national discovery service
At the beginning of December, we announced that the contract for a new national discovery service for the NHS in England has been awarded to EBSCO EDS. Through the year we have developed the specification, undertaken a robust procurement and held virtual engagement sessions with library managers and staff. Our sincere thanks to everyone involved. The feedback and input you provided will be invaluable in helping to shape and develop the system to meet your needs and those of the health care workforce. Now the hard work really begins!
Wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy festive season,
Helen, Lucy, Helene, Richard, Jenny, Franco and Becky