Friday, 26 January 2007

Print, copy, pay

For some time we've been running a two tier system of charges. All copying has to be paid for. Some printing (search results or papers) is free the rest (CVs, job applications, essays) incurs charges. We've decided to change that.

The current system causes some unfairness - if the journal is in the library it costs to copy it - if it's online it's free to print. Some unfairness will continue - there is no mechanism to charge printing to departments as there is with copying. We hope eventually to have a combined copier/printer with one charging system to iron these anomalies out.

The other reason for charging for printing is to encourage you to use the copier which is cheaper to run. And the final reason is that, sadly, some people have been attempting to buck the system to find ways of avoiding paying what they owe.

So as of Monday 5th February all black and white printing and all copying will be charged at 5p per side. It's not perfect, but hopefully it's a little fairer than the current system.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Books galore

OK - I'm going to talk about Athens again. This time, mental health trust staff, I'm talking to you! That nifty little Athens password gives you access to free full text books online.

They say that you get what you pay for. Well, in this case they may be wrong as you get a pretty decent selection of titles and it's utterly free. Titles include the New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry, Psychiatry in the Elderly, and the Maudsley Handbook of Practical Psychiatry. There is also a range of titles on assertive outreach, cognitive therapy, clinical supervision, clinical interviewing, substance misuse, depression and dementia. Books galore - and all from the comfort of your own desktop.

Find the books through My Athens or the National Library for Health.

The North wind doth blow...

...and the library team are praying that there will be no more snow as tomorrow (26th January) the first windows in the library are being replaced.

The job will take the best part of the week. We'll be closed because the library will be no place to study - it will be cold, noisy and full of solvent fumes. We also anticipate having to box up some of the journals and maybe some books so that bookcases can be moved to make it easier for the workmen to reach the windows.

While we're closed we're happy to take emails and phone calls. You can also return books to us.
Normal service resumes on Monday 5th of February. Meantime - don't forget to make the most of your online goodies with your Athens password!

Monday, 15 January 2007

My Journals

My Journals is a new resource available with your ATHENS password. As is often the case with such things there are two ways of finding it. You can either log in to My Athens and find it on the list of resources or you’ll find it on the National Library for Health website.

So what is My Journals? On the one hand it’s a list of the journals that are available free and full text through Proquest or when searching Medline and other databases with your Athens password. The list can be searched or browsed. It will also show you if the full text is embargoed (i.e. you can’t have access until the journal has been published for a certain amount of time), and exactly which dates you have access to. It will show you which journals are held as paper copy in this library.

If you register (just your name and email address to fill in) you can also select as many journals from the list as you like and ask for the tables of contents (eTOCs) to be emailed to you when they are published. You can ask for them to be sent as text attachments or as html. For those of you who used to use Zetoc, this is the replacement. You can also set up alerts so that you receive eTOCs from any journal on the list when they match keywords you have asked for.

Many journals will let you sign up for eTOCs direct on their websites. My Journals makes life easier by ensuring you just need to go to one website to manage all your eTOCs. It also reminds you which titles you have access to online or in the library. Don’t forget that if the paper you need is neither online nor in the library we can still get hold of it for you.

And if you still don’t have an ATHENS password…what are waiting for? Get signed up!

Wednesday, 10 January 2007


Those of you who use ATHENS passwords (all of you - surely?!) will spot a few tweaks on the list of Resources available through My Athens. Some of the resources have been renamed. We (NHS librarians) have complained that some of the names mean less than nothing to the uninitiated. Our complaints have been heard and changes have been made.

This means that the mysterious "Datastar" (which refers to the company who sell access to databases to us) is now called "Clinical databases (Datastar)". Myilibrary - the online collection of full text (mostly mental health) titles is now called "ebooks" and TDNet (a new service which I will post something about soon) is "My journals."

If this still fails to make sense then please read the blurb attached to each mystery title or pop into the library for some enlightenment.

Monday, 8 January 2007

EEL transformed

EEL - not the fish, but the website. You may know it as the Essex Electronic Library for Health. It's the place where you get (among other things) contact details for NHS libraries in Essex, details of information skills courses and a quick link for signing up for an Athens password.

EEL has taken the "New Year, New You" mantra rather more literally than most and has risen from the ashes of 2006 as the Eastern Electronic Library for Health and Social Care. Same useful information, same simple URL - The only real change is that it now covers our partner libraries across the NHS Eastern Region as well as those in Essex.

For those of your who are wobbly on NHS regions you'll find more information on the East of England SHA at

Farewell Monday evenings

Sadly the library will now be closing at 5pm on Mondays. This is because the member of library staff who is working late comes in late and with just three of us we don't have enough bodies to cover mornings in case of holidays, sickness and (the most likely scenario) one of us being out at meetings. It just takes one to be at a meeting and one to be on leave to have no one in the library - or, as happened recently, two of us off sick!

I'd always rather offer hours I can guarantee to cover, rather than opening and closing at short notice. So, painful as it is, hopefully lopping off an evening will ensure that we can offer a full service for the rest of the week.

The library will continue to stay open until 7pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Fridays we close at 4.30pm.

Friday, 5 January 2007

Angels and chimera

Ethics is an important subject in health, whether you are a nurse, a doctor or any other healthcare professional. It may sound like a dry and stuffy topic, but at its heart there is often a human tragedy.

There are two stories in the news at present that raise interesting ethical debates. Nine year old Ashley - who is known as the "frozen child" or the "pillow angel" has been given surgery and hormone treatment to restrict her physical development to help make it easier for her parents to care for her. Is this an aggressive assault made by carers with their own interests at heart? Or the thoughtful action of loving parents? Which is more abhorrent to us - a fully grown adult woman with the mind of a three month old, or a child forced to undergo surgery to prevent her becoming a woman? Does our own revulsion have any place in our thinking on ethics?

Are you revolted by the thought of an embryo that is part human, part cow? Or part human, part rabbit? Are the scientists who want to create these chimera pioneers or madmen? Is their insistence that the chimera will help cure motor neurone disease the truth, or emotional blackmail?

There are no simple answers. All you can do is inform yourselves about all sides of the debate and come to your own conclusions. These stories are often covered in detail on the BBC online health news, with coverage given to a range of opinions. It's a good place to start your thinking on ethics.