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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

National Library for Health - User Needs Survey

National Library for Health - User Needs Survey

This report, commissioned by NHS Connecting for Health, has been made available (in PDF).

Its aims and objectives were:
1. To ensure the National Library of Health’s direction is strongly informed by customers, including potential customers
2. To make recommendations that ensure that information provision across the NHS is timely, affordable, dynamic and of high quality

Key themes emerging from the findings are:
• Information availability - insufficiency of e-journals and e-books, inequalities of access relating to location, difficulties in getting hold of NHS information
• Information access - the physical inaccessibility of libraries, limited opening hours, access to equipment, the challenge of locating relevant resources within NLH, and the preference for using the Internet and Google.
• Subject coverage and information organisation – many non-clinical staff consider that their subject needs are poorly served by NLS and their local library and information service (LIS); grouping resources for specific role groups and job types would facilitate access, as would well-structured information that leads staff from the top level nuggets to in-depth information; poor access to NHS information is another concern
• Information Service provision – strong interest in electronic document request and delivery services and recognition that LIS staff can play a stronger role in structuring, targeting, and filtering information to increase accessibility
• Constraints on time – job pressure impeded information use as does unease that managers do not acknowledge that finding and using information is a legitimate work place activity
• Concerns with funding and with local investment in libraries and information services – whilst there were many compliments for their local service, staff nevertheless saw lack of investment by Trusts as resulting in a post code lottery for levels of service, and limited investment in experienced staff. The argument for managing procurement nationally was strong
• Ignorance of resources – almost half those consulted did not use their local LIS; over half the questionnaire respondents were unaware of many of the resources already provided by NLH
• Needs for improved information skills - staff consider that their ability to find the information that they need are inadequate. Associated with skills is the issue of information quality; quality assurance of sources provided vis NLH is important

Although I've not finished reading the report in detail yet it appears to highlight some important areas for future development and the recommendations seem to point the way ahead.


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