Tag Archives: Resource Discovery

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

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