Posts Tagged ‘libraries’


Kindle lending – good for Amazon

In Eresources on April 21, 2011 by africker Tagged: , , ,

They said it would never happen but Amazon has announced Kindle Book Lending in the US in partnership with OverDrive who already handle most ebook lending in UK Public Libraries.

As a Kindle owner I am glad to see this and hope we will see it in the UK soon.

There have been some concerns about how it will work in practice but thus far the answers seem pretty fair.

I can see some major wins for Amazon from joining the lending information ecology.

Firstly they will get some money from the libraries for the reading by their borrowers.  Money they were not getting (unless libraries were buying stock from them).  Since I got my Kindle for Christmas I have spent close to five pounds on ebooks (three in all). But I have read many more on the device and borrowed many more paper books from the Library.  I would encourage my local library to buy ebooks now I can actually get them onto my device.  Others are likely to do the same.

Secondly – unless the library buys a lot of kindle copies Amazon will get people on lovely clear purchase path. 

Go to library website, see you are number 20 in the queue, appreciate that when you get to the front of the queue you will have to drop whatever you are reading to read it before it disappears off to the next person. With the link to purchase no doubt near at hand what do I do? I suspect a good number will just buy it when they can see the queue. 

Or I borrow it from the library and before I finish reading it my loan runs out.  Again – will I go back in the queue or just buy it – particularly if a canny Amazon says – you already read three quarters of the book – we’ll let you finish it straight away for a low price (or indeed a high one if they already know I am reading all of a series of books).

So I definitely think Amazon are going to do well out of it.  What about libraries (and health ones at that)?  If they can find the money to pay for a decent collection (and other catches do not become apparent) then it must be good.  Amazon have the collections and Kindle the installed user base.  For health – I was interested to see that a number of health texts are already in the most popular public notes – so usage may well be on the way.  I’ll be looking out for pricing for my library.



University of California fights Nature over price increase

In Information industry,Uncategorized on July 14, 2010 by Hanna Tagged: , , , ,

So reports the BMJ.

The California Digital Library of the University of California is threatening to cancel all its subscriptions to publications from the Nature Publishing Group and to encourage the university’s academic staff to submit their papers elsewhere for publication after a proposed 400% rise in licence fees for electronic access to journal articles.

I meant to blog this earlier but this issue is going nowhere. Good is a mild way of expressing how I feel about this. As public sector myself and subject to increasing cuts we are having to scrutinise journal subscriptions which indeed do not increase by ‘just’ 7% a year (inflation busting as this is). More debate here in the Chronicle of Higher Education.


Guarding privacy

In CILIP on March 18, 2010 by africker Tagged: , ,

CILIP have published a guideline on User privacy in libraries.

This is a very helpful document and just the kind of thing I would expect CILIP to produce.   It is well illustrated with examples and further reading material is linked appropriately.

It would have been nice to see the document embrace a wider audience.  This is one of those times when I think we need to either drop “Library” or broaden the title by adding more terms.

It would be great to build on this to create advice tailored to internet users more generally about their personal data and privacy online.

Issues around privacy of this type arise frequently in the news (though generally beyond the walls of a library) and it is to be hoped that CILIP can provide some responsible and sensible comment on these stories.  This would help raise the profile of the profession and the expertise we offer.


NHS Evidence promotion – what is missing?

In search engines on September 18, 2009 by africker Tagged: ,

As part of a pattern of missed opportunity comes the latest article promoting NHS Evidence.

The notes from the NHS Evidence update to the latest NICE Board show we can expect lots more of this kind of thing over the coming months with articles to be placed in publications and a wide presence at conferences (including the three major UK political party conferences). 

The article itself is positive about NHS Evidence as you might expect.  Some would suggest that it reads a little too like a press release to be entirely comfortably presented as “Double-blind peer reviewed”.    It is interesting to put the satisfaction of the author in contrast to the recent post here.  It is a little strange to read trailers for features that are not yet present on the site.

An earlier article in E-health-insider provoked several frank comments and, ultimately, a reply from Dr Leng (NHS Evidence COO).  The Nursing Times article is certainly a step forward on that one in the accuracy stakes.

So what is missing from NHS Evidence promotion (and this latest article)?  The answer is of course recognition that NHS Evidence users are not alone in facing the challenge of finding the information they need.  No mention of the network of skilled professionals who help those NHS staff on a daily basis.   The L word is not to be uttered. 

There is some progress – the latest issue of Eyes on Evidence (NHS Newsletter number 5) does recognise that a librarian might be a good person to ask for help (in response to a request for someone to do a search for them).  But fails to make the link to any of the ways people might find that librarian.  This is a step forward on a previous issue which answered the FAQ – How do I search for journal articles?  Answer – this is how to sign up for Athens.  Not really what they asked and a question crying out for the L word answer. 

I hope NHS Evidence will soon overcome this seeming aversion to placing itself in the context of the wider NHS knowledge environment.  It is to the disadvantage of the people it seeks to help if it does not.


NHS Evidence: 3 months on

In Evidence-Based Librarianship on July 22, 2009 by Hanna Tagged: , , ,

Went to update workshop held by London Links (no not the bespoke jewellers ahem) and had update on NHS Evidence:

  • See librarians as advocates of the service
  • NHS Evidence is still at an early stage so it is about managing expectations and it will take time for people to use and trust it
  • Aim is to be akin to NHS Search, a single source of information for the NHS
  • Working on integration into 3rd party systems such as hand held devices
  • Highlighted new areas: drugs and horizon scanning, commissioning, public health and e-learning modules
  • More resources that feed into the FAST search (front page) are being ‘ingested’
  • First determinations of accreditation scheme will be published soon
  • Eyes on Evidence bulletin you may have noticed uses the Specialist Collections to promote new evidence
  • They are reviewing many areas of the service including journal provision and the Specialist Collections
  • User testing is continuing and they said they would be happy for librarians to volunteer for this
  • Release 2 will be in October where they hope to roll out personalisation and improved search functionality (user ranking)
  • Release 3 will possibly include the ability of third parties to upload content and/or local information, this is where the look and feel of the site may change more significantly than merely building on NLH
  • Aim is not to duplicate the work of NHS Information Centre or DoH but wants to group all relevant resources in one place. [In answer to a question about attracting commissioners]

There was an interesting report from a test between NHS Evidence, TRIP and Pubmed using a series of clinical questions which (albeit using the surrogate outcome of number of systematic reviews for quality as opposed to relevance of results) found that NHS Evidence is not doing badly. Reinhard Wentz, the ex-medical librarian who carried out the tests said us info pros could learn something from clinicians about single line searching. I’d like to see a more thorough test of this (and my colleagues are talking about testing the utility of Emtree headings so hey which is more positively riveting).

In my modest opinion: I tend to use the primary sources although that’s because of local protocol in the main. However if they could 1. make it more explicit what resources they are ‘ingesting’ (their words) and 2. refine the results to take into account of both currency and relevancy then it may be useful. Look forward to seeing how it is promoted (they are planning to liaise with medical schools to get it on curricula amongst I assume other things).


NHS Evidence Day NHSED-10 and counting….

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2009 by africker Tagged: , , , ,

Well here we are – peering towards the 30th of April and the arrival of NHS Evidence (NB – Site not live at time of writing).  So what do we know?

A fair amount in some ways. 

NICE have a good culture about minutes appearing in public so we can track the progress of developments both through the regular updates to the NICE Board and the minutes of the NHS Evidence Advisory Committee

We can also follow the progress of the Accreditation Scheme.  This will see organisations accredited rather than particular documents (a similar model to the Plain English Campaign). 

We know about the search technology selected – Fast Search.  And we can see it in action in a health setting North of the Border.  Thus far reports from those who have tested NHSE are positive.

We know a bit about the visual style – blue, less cluttered and with a strong visual logo (I haven’t seen this in the wild yet so I won’t spoil the surprise).

An email to librarians brings the welcome news that mooted plans to redirect on to the new domain with effect from the 30th no longer appear to be in effect.  This is a good decision as it would have been a confusing way to transition the users of NLH and gives those working directly with end users a chance to familiarise themselves with the new set up.

One of the decisions I am less sure about is to change the name of the Specialist Libraries to Specialist Collections.  There is a general purge of the stem librar* underway.  I think this is in part due to a concern that “libraries are for librarians” (see page 5 NHSEAC Minutes for March 09).  I have been trying to think of a good analogy – perhaps that restaurants need to be renamed as otherwise people might think they were only for the cooks and waiters who work there – or swimming pools as perhaps these are only for the life guards?  Regardless I am far from convinced that a Specialist Collection sounds like a label less likely to exclude. 

I will be looking for the killer analogy I failed to come up with in the comments…


Conferences galore

In Conferences,Professional Organisations,Uncategorized on February 22, 2009 by Hanna Tagged: , ,

I’m looking forward to a second professional trip across the pond the SLA (or Special Libraries Association) conference in Washington DC. The Americans are a lot more optimistic about things and despite the economic gloom they have the change and hope of Obama to cling onto. I tend to consider them ahead of us Brits in terms of new technology but it’s also an excuse to travel and I share the new found love of the place that Stephen Fry recently brought to the small screen albeit briefly, its scent of opportunity and strangely surprising alien environment, as in we share the same language no? I went to this conference last year courtesy of a student award: this year they have made it for early careers LIS people as well and the application is the end of February so get applying if this applies to you (shameless plug over).

Other conferences of interest:

– EAHIL (European Association for Health and Information Libraries) workshop in Dublin

– CILIP (or cillit bang to us abstaining from the UK professional body for library bods, if only Barry Scott and his magic pennies were made President) Umbrella in sunny Hertfordshire

– MLA (Medical Libraries Association, not to be confused with the Museums and Libraries Association, US based) iFusions conference in Honolulu, Hawaii

– For more Americana the ALA (American Library Association, sister to CILIP) conference in Chicago

I went to the Book Collectors and Collecting conference at Chawton House Library in Hampshire a couple of years ago out of pure aspiration (I have a tiny and possibly non-extending collection of artists’ books) and it was such a fun small conference with a range of people. I remember speaking to a former head of Manchester’s grand John Rylands library who gave me some good careers advice (first four years of his career were tedious and then he worked his way up, which is my general plan), as well as meeting a private collector of agricultural books and some lovely women who worked for Canterbury Cathedral chained library. All very fun and a bit different from a big conference. Apart from the masses of socialising in large hotel suites and packing into lecture theatres filled with gentle debate there are however the queues for the loo and the bumping into people over coffee so I’m hoping for some small scale contact with other information professionals, librarians and possibly even Colin Powell who is the keynote speaker.