This conference in Warrington on the 4th June was an excellent overview of the current state of ebook provision in the NHS.

The opening keynote by David Nicholas of CIBER was worth the journey in itself. The rise of mobile has caused a revolution in information seeking behaviour. The mobile now is the library. People now want quick answers, and are unwilling to read lengthy text. This will affect what online information provision we make, and also raises questions on the role of the librarian in this new world. Slides here.

There was then a choice of workshops. The three I attended were:

Highway to unlocking the VALUE of e-books! by Elsevier. Their product Clinical Key aggregates a lot of content together that can meet users’ primary and secondary information needs.

Any which way you can: driving users to e-Book content by Steve Glover, Head of Library Services, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, gave some useful pointers to promotion such as tweeting ebooks. This is an idea we can adopt. He did give some misleading statistics: comparing use per title from issues for print books and chapter downloads for ebooks. These are not the same measurements and would have the effect of underestimating print book usage.

Bridging the gap: Discussion session around user needs, perceptions and expectations of eBooks, chaired by Emily Hopkins, Knowledge Service Manager, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, which was a good chance to share ideas.

At the final question time, I asked what the evidence base was for the digital by default requirement in Knowledge for Healthcare. David Stewart, Director of Health Libraries North West, explained that it is government policy and is supported by the user surveys that were submitted by NHS Libraries in support of the Knowledge for Healthcare production process.

As a result of this day, I need to rethink what information resources I seek to provide to our Library users.

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