CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Case Study – Implementing Alma and Primo for NHS Scotland

Case Study provided by Derek Boyle, Senior Knowledge Manager, NHS Education for Scotland.

Project outline:

In March 2017, NHS Education for Scotland Digital Group, in collaboration with library and knowledge services teams in NHS Scotland and partner organisations successfully implemented a new library management and discovery system Alma and Primo, procured from Ex Libris.
Alma, the new library management system (LMS), supports a range of library operations including user and resource management, cataloguing and circulation. Alongside this the Primo Library search offers a single interface to search NHSScotland’s national collection of electronic resources (e-journals, articles and e-books) provided by NHS Education for Scotland, along with all the local NHSScotland library collections (primarily print books). This search is available from The Knowledge Network, the national knowledge management platform for health and social care in Scotland.

Users of the new LMS consisted of around 100 members of staff from library and knowledge services teams across NHSScotland as well as some partner organisations, so it was crucial to the success of the project that they were involved at an early stage and throughout the implementation. An Alma/Primo implementation working group was established to support staff with preparing data to migrate from our legacy LMS systems, reviewing and improving current library management activities across the network and provide support with testing the LMS and discovery platforms. A community website was set up to share relevant resources and regular online and face-to-face meetings were arranged to review and discuss significant developments in the implementation, support staff with training on using Alma and Primo and supporting a user-centred approach to further enhance provision of knowledge to support frontline practice in health and care.

Quote from Ann, Lead Nurse:

“New search is excellent and easy to find articles quickly especially for nurses who don’t use the service frequently”

Quote from Annette, Knowledge Services Manager:

“For users and librarians, integrating access to electronic and print resources increases the return on investment, reduces duplication and supports and builds on the ‘once for Scotland’ approach which has always been a key driver behind the ongoing development of The Knowledge Network.”

Quote from Derek, Project Manager:

“Upgrading to Alma and Primo is the best choice for sustaining a national-quality health and social care library service. Alma will provide all our libraries with modern print and e-resource management technology and an extensive knowledge base. Primo, with its will offer all our staff easy access to professional information and research at the point of need.”

Benefits of the change:
• One search and one login to find print and electronic collections of books and journals available to all health and social care staff in Scotland.
• An improved search functionality and filters to narrow results.
• Increased visibility of content purchased by NHS Education for Scotland and other NHS Knowledge Services in Scotland.
• Access via web or mobile devices.
• Consolidation of library management tasks from multiple systems into one system.
• Improved access to analytics to support management decisions and provide a more user-centred service.
• A cloud based system which will vastly reduce the requirement for local IT support
• Opportunities for staff to develop skills and roles.
• Opportunities for improved collaboration with other organisations who use Alma/Primo, including Higher Education and NHS Wales.