UKSG Glasgow reflections

This was my first attendance at the UKSG conference. Having mostly been focussed on health information and NHS needs (and with an NHS training budget) I tended to focus my conference attendance on HLG.  I was lucky enough to be able to take my talk on extending ejournals to the NHS for a last outing (slides above) and brilliantly this meant UKSG covered my conference fees, hotel and train ticket. If I ever come up with anything that would fit with UKSG interests again I would submit again for that reason alone!
What interests UKSG was one of the questions I came away with. The range of talks was very wide encompassing apps, open access, open data, copyright, discovery, ethnography and other letters of the alphabet (search UKSG for talk recordings). While I was interested in many of the things I attended they often felt less practical than the average HLG talk. This perhaps reflected the high level of a number of speakers or the very particular specifics of their examples. It almost certainly reflects my ongoing health focus. The open access side was probably the most interesting for building my knowledge.  I did not have any great moments of revelation.
My favourite session was on ethnographic approaches. This an area increasingly in the spotlight and a likely candidate for my next years objectives. It was great to hear about the progress of research by @librarygirlknit and @llordllama (and a big pleasure to have met both of them IRL for the first time). I need to think about how to use these approaches to understand activity away from the library.
The HEFCE review of metrics sounds like it should be a good read but sadly won’t see the light of day till after the election. I enjoyed the presentation on efforts at Faber to make money from digital outside of the sale of ebooks. Having been tempted into buying one of their beautiful editions recently I had been impressed by their website. The model seems to be one of building loyalty and a community of a sort around both their core products but also desirable crafted items. There was some commentary for and against this fetishisation of the book on social media. I think it seems a good way to go – the basic edition remains available and the objects created are useful and beautiful passing the William Morris test.
I was pleased with how my sessions went. Both times there were a good number of people and some really interesting discussion was prompted. Having to spell out a lot of the NHS jargon meant there was no problem timing wise. It took about twice as long as at HLG to deliver a similar volume of material! It was also great to have the chance to talk to lots of publishers about licence extensions. Hopefully a few of these discussions will bear fruit.
The conference itself was very slickly organised (even the wifi worked OK). The social programme was fun though I tapped out early from the Ceilidh. No MD20/20 was served and no Teenage Fanclub played (to my knowledge).


Looking at the new NHS Evidence

NHS Evidence 2015 screen shot

A screen grab of the 2015 revision of NHS Evidence

There has been a significant update to the main portal for NHS staff seeking the evidence for patient care.  The vast majority of the site is freely available to anyone in the UK so it is applicable to both NHS and student / academic users.

NHS Evidence has a snazzy new (fully responsively designed) look.  The giant eye ball is no longer quite so prominent (the extent to which it looks like a liquorice allsort has increased) but the changes are much more than cosmetic.

The main search box (Evidence Search) has been revamped with the promise of speedier time to answer and enhanced results.  I think it succeeds in this.  Filters have been improved to help people narrow their search and the interaction is certainly less faffy than before.  The old topic pages have disappeared but many searches will return handy context specific materials in the right hand column.

These offer things like information on medications from the British National Formulary (BNF), Clinical Knowledge Summaries and NICE guidance arranged by patient pathway.  NICE Pathways is a brilliant distillation of some times unwieldy NICE Guidance into manageable chunks linked to the progress of a patient through their care.  This gets appreciative noises from all the people I have shown it to.

The BNF access is login free which is a boon as the old BNF site has switched to needing the login prompting grumblings from @BenGoldacre amongst others.

A small number of people may be annoyed by the loss of the MyEvidence section.  This allowed people to save searches on Evidence Search and links to documents.  It has been withdrawn pending a revised offer.  I am not sure too many people will be affected (unlike the upcoming saved search issues with HDAS)

The NHS Journals and Databases page looks a bit smarter and can be accessed from the tool bar on all the pages of the NICE website.

Generally I think this is a good enhancement.  I hope this done there will now be a bit of capacity to develop HDAS.

Point of Care tools a four way look

I prepared this poster for the London Health Libraries NHS HE Conference yesterday (it won second prize!).

It was an attempt to find out more about point of care tools than the fact people like one in particular a great deal. I was disappointed not to get more feedback but given the small group I was working with, and Library Survey response levels generally, I think the level of response was acceptable.

I asked other questions about the kinds of questions they were trying to answer which was not very telling. I also have a certain amount of qualitative data that was hard to represent on the poster.  Generally there were not many surprises though the extent to which this group were not keen on BMJ Clinical Evidence was of note given that we have been providing them access to it for some time.

I had a very useful conversation with someone from Ebsco at the conference about Dynamed with some promising developments due in the not too distant future – in particular changes to have a proper app.

Despite the obvious limitations I think it was a worthwhile piece of work.

NHS E-resource transfer deadline day news

The first phase of the 2015-2018 NHS national content procurement has completed. This is a pretty big deal both in terms of the sums involved (in NHS library terms), the duration and the scope of resources involved.

Given the tight, and tightening, budget situation in the public sector it is not a great suprise that some tough decisions are having to be made.

There are three main points likely to be stressing people out in the current announcement.

1. No CINAHL (with or without fulltext) – this is an important database for lots of searches / professions. Medline coverage has improved in some of the areas it covers and BNI access continues but it has generally been regarded as one of the basics. Hopefully this can come through in the second phase of procurement. It will be interesting to consider what happens if it does not with variation in access from Trust to Trust likely to be the result. After EBSCO stopped CINAHL being available on other platforms you have to wonder what they offered by way of pricing. If libraries end up buying CINAHL individually will it still be possible to search it via HDAS?

2. Medline moves to Proquest. This is a big surprise as Medline is normally an inexpensive resource on Ovid and other databases have been retained through this supplier. Given there will still be a contract with Wolters Kluwer you would hope they would find a way to chuck it in for the NHS. I have not tried to do much in the way of systematic searching via Proquest but it is not a prospect that fills me with excitement. Time to start polishing those PubMed skills perhaps. Proquest via OpenAthens also does not play nicely on machines that are IP authenticating other Proquest resources so there may be a problem anywhere this is the case.

3. No BMJ journal titles. This is the end of a long standing deal. Generally the NHS gets charged high prices for low usage by most publishers. The cost per use would be interesting for the past contract.

There is a strand of concern about how quickly the changes to the suppliers of databases can be robustly implemented on HDAS. I am less concerned about this – all of the suppliers are currently already working through HDAS so we have less change than when we transitioned away from DIALOG. Probably a bit brave given the regular HDAS wobbles but I think it should be alright.

We are obviously only part way through the procurement so it will be interesting to see what things look like by the end of the month. All support to the negotiators doing a tricky job. I hope suppliers take the time to consider their customers when pricing things up.