The impact of library services in primary care trusts in NHS North West England: a large-scale retrospective quantitative study of online resource usage in relation to types of service

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Within NHS North West England there are 24 primary care trusts (PCTs), all with access to different types of library services. This study aims to evaluate the impact the type of library service has on online resource usage.


We conducted a large-scale retrospective quantitative study across all PCT staff in NHS NW England using Athens sessions log data. We studied the Athens log usage of 30 381 staff, with 8273 active Athens accounts and 100 599 sessions from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2007.


In 2007, PCTs with outreach librarians achieved 43% penetration of staff with active Athens accounts compared with PCTs with their own library service (28.23%); PCTs with service level agreements (SLAs) with acute hospital library services (22.5%) and with no library service (19.68%). This pattern was also observed when we looked at the average number of Athens user sessions per person, and usage of Dialog Datastar databases and Proquest full text journal collections.


Our findings have shown a correlation of e-resource usage and type of library service. Outreach librarians have proved to be an efficient model for promoting and driving up resources usage. PCTs with no library service have shown the lowest level of resource usage.

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