Journal clubbing – beyond saints, spies and salespeople

I had been planning to read this article on analogies for liaison roles since it came out so was pleased it was selected for my work journal club

BEYOND SAINTS, SPIES AND SALESPEOPLE: NEW ANALOGIES FOR LIBRARY LIAISON PROGRAMMES – Peter Barr and Anthea Tucker – In the Library with the Lead Pipe 19 Sep 2018

Working in a functionally aligned service it is always interesting to see how others experiences tally with ours.  Locally we have also done a great deal of work around things like Customer Service Excellence so debates around the language of the market in HE are ones we have thought about a fair bit (to the point where I spoke at an event we organised on the student as customer).  We had common experiences with the authors about needing to explain a new role within a functional model and the difficulty other departments could have in understanding this.  Looking at the website for their service it seems they retained some aspects of the traditional subject liaison role that I am not sure this was significant.  In contrast to the authors experience we did not experience a drawing away from the other functional teams.  While it has not always been easy there has been concerted work to bring teams closer together with part of the role locally specifically focussed on liaison internal to the service.

The article considers a range of analogies that have been used to help explain the role of liaison staff and suggests some other possibilities.  It was interesting to see how comfortable people were with these or not and we considered a few alternatives (the fixer perhaps).  I liked the idea of selling being not just about commercial imperatives but also “to convince of the worth of” this tallies with the strong thrust around impact and advocacy in NHS libraries.  There was a somewhat adversarial position taken that viewed sales as purely negative when there is scope for us to work with suppliers in more positive ways – they have things we want to buy and an interest in developing the use of resources (I recognise not all relationships will be positive).

I was glad the article came down ultimately to building and presenting our professional identity as librarians.  We can learn a great deal from the way other people go about their work but we should be strong in our own professional base.

 

 

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Revalidation VI – making a push

A new record for making my MCLIP revalidation submission early in the year.  Why the haste to reflect on 2018?  My experience over the past few years is that the sooner it is done then the more straightforward it is to remember what happened.

The other driver is that last year I promised an FCLIP submission for 2018. This has not come to pass (yet) but has resulted in me being that bit more organised with my logging and reflecting throughout the year.  One last push this time so I can report on how Fellowship went rather than making excuses this time next year!

I have had lots of interesting experiences over the course of the past year including continuing to push the joy of metrics (and annual action plans) at EAHIL and UHMLG.  I got tangled up in the national procurement for NHS databases and conversations around a potential discovery tool.  There was more UX fun at work and some less fun organisational shenanigans.

Brilliant was managing to link my support for health libraries in Africa to the goals of my service which has seen me help organise a stakeholder day for the fantastic folks at African Hospital Libraries, raise a few quid for them (donations welcome till 8/3/2019) and make a bid for Research4life funds to run some HINARI training in Sierra Leone (bid result awaited!).

A good year as M J Hibbett & the Validators reflect on their classic “We Validate” album track “Mental Judo” – “I’m going to enjoy it for what it is – Not for what it isn’t”

 

The NLH Enterprise Architecture – looking to the future

For a couple of years now I have had a copy of “An Enterprise Architecture for the National Library for Health: Direction of travel and deliverables” sat in my inbox.  At the time I was preparing a report considering HDAS (the NHS in England interface for searching literature databases) and I wanted to remind myself of the content of this dimly remembered document.  Linda Ferguson kindly dug it out (on a site since dead) and it has been sat nagging me ever since.

The version of the EA above dates from 2006.  I confess I failed to grasp the scope of the vision it represented at the time.  The language is by nature technical but the ambition is very clear.  A number of initiatives now under way in the NHS in England could be plucked directly from this document and would certainly be much easier to deliver if we had gone further down some of the paths it suggests.

The document lays out a plan for delivery of NHS Library web based services.  At the core is the need for “a set of interoperable, networked services that conform to appropriate open standards”.  This would be supported by various things such as shared schemas for meta data and a central registry for API specifications.

I want to consider how the implications anticipated at the time have worked out and where things might be going in the future.

There were several implications identified for national services

 

A coherent and integrated user journey is desired. Presentation layers, what the user sees as a web page and how results are presented, will be separate from content and services and owned and built by the NHS.

Procurement will focus on content and the necessary APIs to integrate content into the discovery and current awareness processes. Increasingly, we do not wish to purchase content locked into any single portal.

A core search service will index all NHS content. It too will have a SOA, providing the basis for search pages. It will integrate with related services such as link resolvers

An NHS resolver service will be a key component in the delivery process. The NHS will wish to procure and own a resolver solution as a managed service.

An NHS library– wide Access Management System is being procured. Use of this system will be mandated for information suppliers. It will be SAML compliant.

Much of this has come to pass though perhaps without the core search service.

HDAS has reasonably successfully allowed for changes to the suppliers of content (databases) without massively impacting the experience of searching for the end user.  The varying API offered by suppliers have not fully supported the consistent search experience desired and there have been performance issues.  What has not happened perhaps is the ongoing integration of other services such as document supply and support at the point of need into HDAS.

We have seen the procurement and integration into HDAS of different link resolving solutions.  OpenAthens has been a long standing partner for access management.

Looking to the future work is underway to deliver an NHS England wide discovery solution and how well this maintains control over the web page and presentation of results will be interesting.  This could potentially be the “core search service”?  NHS Evidence already does this job for some categories of materials but stays away from the literature databases that would swamp the materials it aims to present.

A missed opportunity was the investment to create an NHS England wide Library Management System based in one of the Open Source solutions.  A small central team could have administered and developed a tailored approach that would have matched some of the ambititions of the EA.  I suspect the overall cost over the past decade would have been significantly lower and the opportunities for creating a platform for services greater.

There were also implications flagged for local services

local e-content, whether procured or NHS generated can, by adhering to EA principles, be integrated with national content, either within NLH or within other portals.

New services can be built up around this technology. For example, local current awareness and alerting services can be integrated with national services to provide the user with one way of getting knowledge updates

A single NHS library-wide Access Management System provides web Single Sign-on linking library services to their user base and will provide a bridge to NHS SSO services, opening up library service to non-library users.

Generally we have been happily plugging in locally procured content into national systems.  A gap has been around a solution for ebooks and this will need to be addressed in any new discovery layer as this format grows in importance.  The ability to integrate local content will depend on standards and considering these might be an early priority (as fixing them later will be trickier).

Recent revisions to HLISD will hopefully have maintained the commitment to the important location and service information being available via API to build other service offers.  The wide adoption of KnowledgeShare raises questions of how this (or an equivalent) might be integrated into a future national digital service.

In an ideal world we would have single sign on using peoples Trust logins – any additional login (even one as familiar as OpenAthens) is an unwanted barrier so an NHS SSO is the right ultimate target.


So quite a lot progressed and quite a lot left to do.  As the NHS in England moves towards the procurement of a new discovery tool it feels to me more critical than ever that we maintain the drive of the NLH Enterprise Architecture for the delivery of “a set of interoperable, networked services that conform to appropriate open standards”.  What I would like to see more of is the role of the person supporting at the point of need within that networked service.

These are my views based on my involvement with various aspects of the health libraries system at different points.  I am very happy to be corrected on points of accuracy – and challenged on matters of opinion!

Stats and stories for impact

I really enjoyed participating in the latest UHMLG autumn forum (not least as the London Mathematical Society is a fun little venue with a surprise garden).

LMS Garden

You can find all the slides from the day here

The day started with an inspiring presentation by Kay Grieves from the University of Sunderland.  What shone out was the importance of having a cohesive and strategic approach to engagement.  Many of the things she presented nicely foreshadowed my own presentation (on making annual reports more useful) and the whole programme hung together nicely.

I liked the process Kay presented of moving from articulating / contextualising through engagement to sharing the narratives and insights gleaned.  It can be easy in engagement work to get pulled in all directions and the careful focus on key strategic objectives / issues for the service is a lesson most could use with applying.  The quality of the presentation of their resulting campaigns was striking and you could well imagine that these would help with getting people interested.

The talk included a worked example around journals showing careful capture of qualitative and quantitative data so that there are stories with the numbers that can often be all we have to go on. The outcome was a positive campaign combining with skills development, academics and the whole library to help people understand the role of journals in learning at university level.

My own talk was tweaked from one I gave at EAHIL this year.  This pulled together the work I have been doing on using a visual action plan format with the work on principles for good metrics prepared for Knowledge for Healthcare.  Placing the metrics work in this context seems to have been an effective way of framing it.  I received very positive feedback from the talk with a number of people planning to take action to improve their own annual reports.

HILJ CPD reading Volume 35 No 3 – Developing a generic tool to routinely measure the impact of health libraries

Welcome to the second experimental online reading group aimed at encouraging discussion of interesting articles in HILJ.  The first attempt took place around Volume 35 No 2 on CILIP Social Link (link may require CILIP login and may not take you to the right place).  Unfortunately we found SocialLink did not really offer quite what was needed so future editions will rove across any ones blog that cares to host.

I raised the possibility of having a regular discussion on articles from HILJ at HLG2018 having muttered about it for some time and as others expressed an interest (in particular Lisa Burscheidt, Morag Clarkson, Catherine Mclaren and Tom Roper) here we are.

As an HLG Member you should have access to HILJ via the link below https://archive.cilip.org.uk/health-libraries-group/health-information-libraries-journal/access-health-information-libraries-journal-hilj though many have it in a Wiley bundle and that maybe easier! The article this time is OpenAccess anyway so should be straightforward.

The idea is that an article will be selected from each issue to be discussed. The group have picked an article but there might be a vote in future or we may carry on picking a favourite by some other means (perhaps the host blogger gets to choose). The intention is to select articles with practical applications. We will offer some questions as prompts but the discussion can go where interest takes it.

The article selected this time is:

Developing a generic tool to routinely measure the impact of health libraries

Stephen Ayre, Alison Brettle, Dominic Gilroy, Douglas Knock, Rebecca Mitchelmore, Sophie Pattison, Susan Smith, Jenny Turner

Pages: 227-245 | First Published: 18 July 2018

Abstract
Background

Health libraries contribute to many activities of a health care organisation. Impact assessment needs to capture that range of contributions.

Objectives

To develop and pilot a generic impact questionnaire that: (1) could be used routinely across all English NHS libraries; (2) built on previous impact surveys; and (3) was reliable and robust.

Methods

This collaborative project involved: (1) literature search; (2) analysis of current best practice and baseline survey of use of current tools and requirements; (3) drafting and piloting the questionnaire; and (4) analysis of the results, revision and plans for roll out.

Findings

The framework selected was the International Standard Methods And Procedures For Assessing The Impact Of Libraries (ISO 16439). The baseline survey (n = 136 library managers) showed that existing tools were not used, and impact assessment was variable. The generic questionnaire developed used a Critical Incident Technique. Analysis of the findings (n = 214 health staff and students), plus comparisons with previous impact studies indicated that the questionnaire should capture the impact for all types of health libraries.

Conclusions

The collaborative project successfully piloted a generic impact questionnaire that, subject to further validation, should apply to many types of health library and information services.


I picked this article as this has been a hot topic for some time now.  I expect many of us will have experience and views on the generic impact questionnaire so there should be useful discussion.  I have not read the article before selecting it!

Starter Questions –
What? What do you think of this article / the generic impact questionnaire / etc?
So what? Does this change your view of the tool?  What changes might we want to see with the tool?
Now what? Are you going to do anything with it?

The next edition of the HILJ CPD Reading experiment (name suggestions welcome! #HILJClub perhaps?) will appear when volume 35 no 4 appears and be hosted by Lisa Burscheidt over at That Black Book.

Look forward to the discussion!  The comments box is further down in this template than I realised so do scroll down to reach it!

Well beyond our walls at UHMLG18

My first attendance at a UHMLG Spring Forum was a positive experience with some inspiring talks that very much appealed to my desire to see positive work by health libraries in the world.

The presentations are available.  The one closest to interests at work was given by Antony Brewerton on what University of Warwick Library are doing around student wellbeing.  This is an important agenda across HE and the NHS and the scope and impact of their work was inspiring.  Recognising the needs of our students and addressing them in ways that drive engagement and create community is so positive.  I loved the idea of free fruit in exchange for sharing a revision tip.  The idea of hosting events related to some of the international students cultures was also a great way to help different student communities meet and address the feeling of being far from home.

I was also very interested to hear about the work of Evidence Aid.  This sounded quite a commitment time wise but with the potential to make a serious difference to workers out in the field.

A key message that came through the various talks looking at partnerships and projects in Low and Middle Income Countries was the imperative to have proper contact with the people on the ground.  This stands for all our interactions with library users (and non-users) where we need to be talking to them to understand what they need and where we might best make a difference.

The day closed with some lightning talks.  I would love to see an integrated membership form in our LMS as it could really free up time of the front of house team.  The Expo stage in the new Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland Library also presented a model for driving ownership and community.

I was one of the tweeting team for the day which I found fitted fairly well around the level of notes I would normally take.  I think I was probably too literal in my reporting some times but hopefully the links I added would have been helpful.

Some random nice extras were the recognition for Betsy Anagnostelis on her retirement and a bottle of champagne I won from one of the supplier stands!  A well organised and useful day. I hope to attend others.

Hum – just found this in draft – oops!

HLG2018 – searching, running and all the rest

In celebration of the HLG2018 conference slides having emerged it is time for some reflections.

Awards-19

This was my first time at Keele University and it was good to explore somewhere new (though not ideal as a conference venue since having found it on the map I then joined the general head scratching about how to get there).  I spent an unhappy hour on the bus from Stoke on Trent and was very fortunate to find a cab to share to get away again at the end.  The campus itself was green and pleasant all be it largely shut down for the summer.

I arrived a day ahead for the HILJ editorial advisory board (EAB).  We had a very productive discussion on the peer review set up for the journal.  Changes should make the peer review reports both easier to complete and more useful for the editorial team.  I was very aware that I do little reviewing and have since made a point of completing one for the journal with the aim to do more in future.  I also continued to flag my idea of driving ownership of the journal amongst HLG members by encouraging a quarterly CPD discussion group (more on this another time or see CILIP SocialLink stream under HLG!).  My involvement in the EAB is great for gaining an insight into the academic processes around journal publication. Do publish in HILJ folks!

A theme for the conference was wellbeing and as part of this I had volunteered to lead a run on the first morning.  I had an initial scout around and got totally lost and we then had a very successful #libraruns effort the next morning (where I lost most of the runners). A good time was had by most (if you run and use strava then join the libraruns club).

The conference started with an update from Nick Poole offering general news of things CILIP.  I get the impression Health remains one of the stronger parts of the membership.  We then heard from Dr Mark Murphy who got us thinking about grey areas in evidence and various lens through which we should consider Evidence Based Medicine.

I attended a session of a Knowledge for Healthcare related working group looking at stats for the NHS LKS.  I may have ended up going off at the deep end about metrics and do feel that the group have been given a brief somewhat too close to the one the metrics group already covered.

I was very taken with a presentation I did not attend (the wonders of twitter to be in more places at once) on a QI bookcase and linked up subsequently with the speaker to learn more.

Good fortune meant I chaired the session where Stevie Russell updated on the work of African Hospital Libraries I am very interested in the work of this charity and have managed to make some headway with making it an area of concern for my own service.  The other talk in the session was on a developing tool for providing Current Awareness Services to biomedical scientists using machine learning.  There was definitely something interesting there but it felt like something of a work in progress and one where librarians experience around delivering CAS could be very helpful.

Work on redeveloping buildings at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Royal College of Surgeons of England  offered contrasting takes with different challenges and needs.  The lack of quality literature on design decisions for new medical libraries was notable.

My favourite talk of the conference was by Kate Misso on reducing waste in systematic review work through the input of librarians to the search process. It was shocking to realise the poor quality of much of the searching under pinning systematic reviews with implications for the findings and reproducibility.  My least favourite was probably laughing yoga which I attended reluctantly as I wanted to hear the Biship and Le Fanu lecture on Evidence Aid that followed it.

For my own part I brought a poster on work I carried out around creating a simple title scheme to support guideline retrieval.

I always enjoy HLG conferences and 2018 was no exception (see my triumph in the raffle at the top of the post!).  It remains a key opportunity to catch up with colleagues and get a feel for what is happening around the place.