Reflection on Week 3 of the LIHNN Literature Searching MOOC

23 10 2015

This week the MOOC examined the literature search itself.  As a lot of the content was familiar to me, I found this week’s content most useful for helping me to develop a response to some of those tricky questions that I’m asked in training or assisted searches.

I’m always asked, “Why do I need to search for each keyword in a seperate line on HDAS?” and I have to try really hard not to just say “Because that’s just how you do it”!!!   The MOOC has helped me to prepare a more sensible response, that it helps you to identify any spelling errors in your search terms.

Another common question from my users is “How do I know which concept to start searching with?”.  I think this is something that becomes instinctive when you’ve been searching for a while, and as a librarian I find this really difficult to respond to.  However, the MOOC has provided me with a lovely response that it’s best to “start searching with the most well-defined concept first”.

I also learned a couple of other little tips that are new to me.  I’ve never proximity operators so I appreciated the explanation of how these worked.  I also never knew that when truncating terms you could add a number afterwards to indicate the maximum number of characters.  Illuminating!!

So, overall, this week I found the ‘Help’ and ‘Tips’ slides the most useful part of the MOOC, and it just goes to show that there’s always something you can learn 🙂


Reflection on week 2 of the LIHNN Literature Searching MOOC

16 10 2015

I’ve found it more difficult this week to get round to doing the Literature Searching MOOC, hence why this blog post is being written on a Friday afternoon 🙂

This week looked at scoping a literature search and I found that a lot of the steps covered I tend to skip during a typical literature search – out of habit, or lack of time.  It’s been useful to look at those in more detail.  I am definitely guilty of “sticking with what you do” and the MOOC this week has highlighted some resources that I use less often, such as QIPP, that I’ll certainly look at again in the future.

The MOOC wiki arranges resources according to type of literature and type of question.  I can see how this will be useful in a practical way when conducting searches.  I was especially pleased to see the 6S model resources list , since here at Wirral we structure the layout of our search results according to the 6S hierarchy.

There was one quiz this week that I found really challenging! Participants were asked to identify the best level of evidence to answer a particular question and the quiz required you to figure out the type of question (e.g. prognosis, etiology) and then the best type of study to answer that question (e.g. RCT, systematic review).  I found this quite difficult as when faced with an incoming literature search request, this isn’t usually the thought process that I’d go through.  It certainly challenged my usual way of thinking!  It got me thinking that the questions that we are asked don’t usually fit very well into a question type, and increasingly aren’t clinical questions at all.  For example, this week I’ve been asked to find examples of leadership programmes for clinicians in Emergency Medicine.  So this way of thinking, although useful from a theoretical point of view, perhaps doesn’t always match the reality of delivering a literature searching service (for me, at least).

Another video featured in the MOOC this week (that I LOVED) was one that demonstrated how to use Boolean operators.  I’d really like to be able to use these videos in training and I wonder if an end-product of the MOOC could be a bank (or, dare I say it, a ‘library’) of training videos that people can use in training their end users.

Overall, this was another thought-provoking week on the MOOC and I look forward to the next!

Producing a promotional video for your library service

13 10 2015

There have been several promotional library videos that have caught my attention this year, so I thought I would share some of my favourites and reflect on my own experience of producing one for my own Library and Knowledge Service.


The motivation to produce a short promotional video was inspired in February 2015 by a need to capture the impact of our service, and recognising that a short film might be a good way to do this.

Our inspiration

We were inspired after seeing this excellent offering from Pennine Acute NHS Trust.  We loved the fresh graphics and contemporary feel of the video, but we knew that we didn’t have the resources or expertise to produce similar effects.

More recently this video produced by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals has caught my eye with its slick graphics and clear branding.

We also really like the message of ‘the library everywhere’ that was at the forefront of this video from St Michael’s Hospital in Ontario, Canada.  However, we felt it was important that our video was from a customer perspective, rather than the library staff.

So, what we wanted was a way of demonstrating the impact of the LKS, using the stories of our customers in their own words.

The process

We produced a series of storyboards, liaised with our Communications team to discuss key messages, intended audience and purpose.  We agreed that the core messages we wanted to convey were that we were a service for all staff groups, and could be accessed anywhere, anytime, in any place.

We approached key LKS members that we knew had a story to tell about the impact of our service.  They were customers with whom we had built a good relationship and who indicated they would be happy to be involved.  We arranged a filming schedule over several weeks in April and May 2015 which included interviews these customers as well as some additional footage of the library and departments in the hospital.  We made sure that we filmed in a variety of locations, including Pharmacy, Accident and Emergency, Intensive Care and the Undergraduate Centre.  We were keen to illustrate the wide variety of our customers and access points.

The footage was edited by the Communications team and a first edit presented to us in May 2015.  The first edit was presented to the Workforce and Communications Group as well as the wider HR&OD team for comments and feedback.  Following some minor changes (captions illustrating name/role of interviewees and additional graphics) we launched the final edit on the Trust’s YouTube channel on 1st July 2015.

So, what worked?

We had an extremely good working relationship with the Communications team who prioritised the project and worked to our deadlines.

We filmed in various locations (inside and outside the library) to illustrate the accessibility and flexibility of the service.

We identified people from different staff groups to film so that the video featured a diverse customer base.

Each person being filmed was interviewed in a very informal style and we didn’t use any scripts.  This put them at ease and the end result is a very natural and meaningful series of statements from the customer.

And what didn’t work?

We originally intended to have more graphics – however no resources or expertise were available within our Trust.

Filming took longer than expected due to availability of the people we wanted to film so our timeframe slipped slightly.

Some locations were not suitable filming locations due to technical or logistical issues (lighting, shared offices, patients in background).


The video was promoted on Twitter via the Trust’s official Twitter feed which has over 2000 followers.  It was re-tweeted by many people including other librarians and senior managers from within the organisation.

We got some feedback from people who viewed the video:

“That’s really good, I like how you got interviews with people we’ll have to do that!”

“It is fabulous!  It has the right amount of services information and flows very naturally. The narrator captures your attention without sounding boring. I also thought the length is just about right.”

“This is really great!  It’s a really good idea having customers talking about the benefits of the service.”

“Very impressive!”

“Involving the staff of the trust makes this one stand out from the crowd!   Must have been difficult to organise but well worth the time.”

Final reflections

The entire process from drafting storyboards and approaching customers, to arranging the filming schedule and editing, took months.  However, the project was exciting and fun for the LKS team to work on and strengthened our relationships with the customers that were featured in the video.  The project has also improved our relationship with the Communications team, who now have a more in-depth understanding of the services that we provide.  Less than four months following its release the video has been viewed nearly 500 times on YouTube, and we now have a ‘ready made’ video that we can use at events and library inductions.

Reflection on week 1 of the LIHNN Literature Searching MOOC

12 10 2015

To add to the LIHNN MOOC blog post published today, I though I’d reflect on my own experiences of participating in Week 1 of the MOOC.

This was the first MOOC I’ve done and it’s been really interesting so far.  Although literature searching is something I’ve got experience of, I wanted to keep my skills fresh and pick up some tips from other librarians along the way.  I was also keen to see how literature searching training could be delivered effectively online, as this is an area into which we may be moving within my own service.

The video clips in the MOOC so far have been quite short, and I really valued that.  It made it much easier for me to dip in and out of the MOOC during the working day.  They felt really ‘bite size’ and not long winded at all, which was impressive considering there were some meaty concepts included in the content.  It would have been really useful if there was a way for the MOOC to remember where I was up to; when I’d been interrupted and went back to the MOOC later, I sometimes found it difficult to remember my place!

There were video clips and exercises that would translate really well into training that we deliver to the end user, particularly the exercise matching study types and definitions.  This is something we do in group sessions such as Journal Clubs, but this was a really effective way of delivering that exercise in an e-learning format.

I found the detail that was covered in Week 1 to be quite extensive, especially when describing different types of question.  I wondered if perhaps some of the terminology used here might be quite off-putting to someone who was a beginner to literature searching.  I also found that there was a lot of focus on the PICO framework and perhaps other frameworks could have been used in some of the examples.  We don’t tend to use PICO as standard in training as most of the questions we are asked don’t fit in neatly to that framework.  However, other services might have a different experience.

The discussion boards were a great way to submit answers (and see other people’s answers) to questions posed by the MOOC, and I think there’s huge potential here to share insight and tips internationally with other librarians, which is really exciting.

Overall I really enjoyed Week 1 and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Week 2 will bring!